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Posted by: In: Transmission 23 Jan 2013 0 comments

So you have some exciting plans for the IL weekend. You’re going to take some of your Saint Charles, IL friends out on the boat for some water skiing. Of course, you’ve gotten the boat all ready. And you haven’t forgotten about your tow vehicle. You’ve gassed it up and even vacuumed it out. But you want to make sure that your sedan maintenance is up to date.

Think about it – heavy traffic on the way out of Saint Charles. There’s hilly terrain as you get to the lake. Some dirt roads – and its going to be pretty hot in Saint Charles this weekend. And all the time you’ll be towing around several thousand extra pounds. That all adds up a lot of severe strain on your engine, brakes and transmission.

Let’s just consider the transmission. It’s going to be working overtime, spending more time in lower gears. The internal transmission temperature is going to be much higher than normal. What’s a fun little blast to the local IL lake for you is really severe duty for your transmission.

It’s important to have enough transmission fluid. If it runs low, the transmission will run hotter and won’t have the protection it needs to cope with the added stress of towing. Transmission fluid breaks down and gets dirty over time. Whether you have an automatic or manual transmission, you need to have it serviced at Rx Automotive on schedule to make sure it runs efficiently.

An automatic transmission contains a maze of passages through which the fluid has to pass to keep it shifting smoothly. If you neglect transmission service, the passages can get clogged up and you start to have problems.

Neglect your transmission for too long, and it can fail. You really don’t want to pay for a major transmission repair.

This reminds us of how much of our driving around Saint Charles, IL is under severe conditions. Towing or hauling a big load is obvious, but there are lots of other things that constitute severe driving conditions. Things like short trips, driving in very hot or very cold weather. Dusty roads and city driving around Saint Charles, IL add to the strain. Basically, any driving that’s not at highway speeds or under ideal conditions.

While you have your vehicle in, ask for a trip inspection. Your Saint Charles, IL service technician at Rx Automotive will check your belts and hoses and let you know if your brakes are in good shape.

Now, don’t forget the sunscreen.

Posted by: In: Tires and Wheels 16 Jan 2013 0 comments

So you love our job, and your family life is great: You have achieved balance. But can you the same for your wheels? You can tell if your tires are out of balance by vibrations at higher speeds. If one of the front tires is out, you feel the vibration in the steering wheel. If it’s a back tire, you’ll feel the vibration in your seat.

Tires and wheels are pretty heavy. When a tire is mounted on a wheel, it is usually not perfectly balanced. So the tire technician will spin the tire on a machine to determine where it’s too heavy. He will then place weights on the wheels in strategic locations to balance it out. When a tire is out of balance, it actually bounces down the road instead of rolling smoothly. Since the average size tire rotates at about 850 revolutions per minute at 60 MPH, it is actually slamming into the pavement 14 times a second. That’s where you get your vibration.

Most people are surprised at how smoothly their car rides after balancing all four wheels.

Most high-quality tires hold their balance pretty well. They just get out of balance gradually with normal wear and tear. If you suddenly feel a vibration, it is probably because you lost a wheel balancing weight along the way. Definitely get a balance if you feel a vibration, change your rims or have a flat repaired. Putting off a needed balance job leads to excessive tire wear, wear to your shocks, struts, steering and suspension parts. wheel balancing not only improves your ride and handling, but also can save you some big repair bills and possibly an accident. Additionally, you will get better gas mileage.

Some people have their tires balanced at every rotation. Others do it every other time. Check your owners’ manual for your requirements, or ask your technician. Doing thus will put you on the path to mechanical wheel balance

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Posted by: In: Maintenance 09 Jan 2013 0 comments

New cars cost so much these days. Add financing and insurance and, well a new vehicle may not seem so attractive. A lot of Saint Charles, IL people are hoping to make their cars last a lot longer.

The good news is that with the current state of automotive engineering and manufacture, there’s no reason a modern vehicle can’t be made to last for a 150,000 miles or more.

There is an old saying that says, ‘a stitch in time saves nine’ and that is really true when it comes to taking care of your car. A great example is coolant service.

Over time, coolant becomes corrosive and actually starts to damage your radiator and other parts. That’s why you need to have your cooling system serviced on a regular schedule.

The same is true for your power steering system, brake fluid, air conditioning system, differential and transmission. And your oil changes should be done right on schedule to avoid the build up of harmful oil sludge.

Don’t let your brake pads go too long before they are worn to the point that they cause damage to rotors. Preventive maintenance is a great way to keep your operating costs down.

Replacing belts and hoses is much cheaper than repairing the damage that can be caused by failure.

Now this is a lot to remember. Rx Automotive can keep on top of this stuff. We can tell you what your manufacturer recommends and help you with a plan to take care of it.

Bottom line – take care of this stuff on schedule and you will reduce operating costs, prevent costly damage and maintain your warranty coverage. Call Rx Automotive today for an appointment; you can reach us at 630-443-8500.

Take good care of your car, and it’ll take good care of you.

Rx Automotive
Give us a call today at 630-443-8500.
Or stop by at 602 Sidwell Ct Unit I , Saint Charles, IL 60174

Posted by: In: Battery 03 Jan 2013 1 comment

Today’s report from Rx Automotive is on car batteries, why they die and what we can do to lengthen their life. Most of us have had a dead battery at one time or another. In fact, it would be very unusual if you hadn’t. You may be surprised to learn that only 30 percent of Saint Charles vehicle batteries last for 48 months.

Now that’s an average. How long a battery lasts depends on many factors. You may not know that one of the biggest factors is the temperature where you live and drive around Saint Charles. You might suppose that cold weather was harder on batteries because it takes more power to crank a cold engine, but the opposite is actually true.

For more information on your battery, please visit us:
Rx Automotive
602 Sidwell Ct Unit I
Saint Charles, IL 60174
630-443-8500

Batteries in very cold climates have a life expectancy of 51 months as opposed to 30 months in very warm climates. The reason is simple: batteries are chemically more active when they’re hot than when they’re cold.

A car battery will actually start to discharge on its own within 24 hours in hot weather. It takes several days in cold weather. When batteries are left too long in a state of partial discharge, the discharged portion of the battery plates actually, for the lack of a better word, ‘die’. Recharging the battery will not restore the dead part of the battery plate.

One of the big problems for the way most of us drive in the Saint Charles area, is that our batteries are often partially discharged. The biggest job the battery does is to start the car. It takes some time for the alternator to recharge the battery after starting. If you’re driving short distances, especially if there are several starts and stops, your battery may not fully recharge.

Another issue is that vehicles are coming equipped with more and more electricity hungry accessories like navigation systems, DVD players, CD and MP3 players, heated seats, heated steering wheels and so on. And we often plug in cell phones, computers and other gadgets. Combine that with short trips and it’s no wonder that our batteries are partially discharged.

Experts say we can extend our battery life by topping off the charge periodically using a good quality battery charger. You may’ve heard these chargers referred to as ‘trickle chargers’. They’re attached to the battery and plugged into a wall outlet to slowly bring the battery up to full charge.

Now there’s some science involved with how fast a battery should be recharged. If you buy a cheap manual charger, you’ll have to tend it. Frankly a learning curve on how to do it right and requires much attention. A computer controlled charger – or smart charger – monitors the process and determines the appropriate rate of charge. And it even stops charging when it’s fully charged. It costs more than the manual charger, but the automatic model is worth it.

The suggestion is to charge once a month in warm weather and once every three months in cold weather.

Another thing to avoid is deeply discharging your battery. Something like running the headlights and stereo with the engine turned off. That’ll take months off the battery life every time you do it.

Now, as we discussed, heat is hard on a battery. A dirty, greasy battery holds more heat. You can wipe off excess dirt with a paper towel or ask your service advisor at Rx Automotive to clean it for you. Rx Automotive can even test your battery and tell you if it’s time to replace it.

Batteries are fairly expensive, so taking a few steps to make them last longer is well worth it. Of course, the battery will eventually need to be replaced. Always make sure you get a new battery that meets the factory specifications for your vehicle. If you feel you need more battery capacity than what came with your vehicle, talk with your service advisor at Rx Automotive about appropriate upgrades.

If you have a dead battery, be careful to inspect it before you jump start it. If the case is bulging, cracked or leaking, do not jump start it. Damaged batteries can explode or catch fire. And deeply discharged batteries can freeze. Do not jump start a frozen battery.