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In an ideal world, you’ll never need an auto emergency kit, but in the event that something happens, your kit will be worth its weight in gold. Many new cars in St. Charles will come with a limited emergency kit, but it’s better to assemble your own to make sure you have everything you need. Here’s our recommendations for what to put inside to cover all bases:

Hazard Triangles – If you have to pull over to the side of the road, putting out a few reflective hazard triangles will alert other drivers to your presence and create a safer situation.

Money – It may sound strange to keep money in an emergency kit, but having a few dollars in coins and small bills could be useful in case your phone has died (see the next note) and you need to use a payphone.

Cell Phone Charger – Nothing is worse than having a breakdown and not being able to call for help. Keeping a cell phone charger or mobile power pack in your emergency kit will ensure your phone is operational.

Flashlight – If your car breaks down at night and you’re stranded without a flashlight, repairs can be impossible. Keep a working flashlight as well as a set of backup batteries to avoid that problem.

First-Aid Kit – A simple first-aid kit should include bandages, pain relief medication, and antibiotic ointment. For further protection, you can add anti-burn ointments, antiseptic wipes, gauze, and butterfly closures.

Spare Fuses – Many auto electronic problems can be fixed by just switching out a fuse. Check the wattage levels of your existing fuses and keep a backup for each.

Gloves – A pair of heavy-duty gloves are an essential part of any emergency kit and will not only help keep your hands warm, but will also provide extra grip in wet weather or when dealing with greasy parts.

Water And Food – You never know how long an emergency situation will last, so having a bottle or two of water and some dry snacks that will keep is a way to stave off hunger and thirst until help arrives.

Jumper Cables – Last, but certainly not least, a set of jumper cables will allow passing drivers to help you get your car started in the case of battery problems. Having jumper cables also means that you can help other drivers in their time of need.

In addition to assembling your own auto emergency kit, there are many auto shops and online stores that sell pre-packaged kits. These can be used as a starting point and you can add other items as needed to make sure you’re fully prepared in the case of an emergency. Hopefully, you’ll never need your emergency kit, but should problems arise, you’ll be thankful that you added one to your car.

Of course, the best way to prevent an emergency is to make sure that your vehicle is in a proper functional state. At Rx Automotive in St. Charles, we’re available to perform scheduled maintenance, general check-ups, and repair tasks for a wide variety of makes and models. Drop by our shop or give us a call.

Posted by: In: Auto Maintenance Tips 01 Mar 2016 0 comments

Spring Showers Bring Slippery Roads

Ah, spring in St. Charles – plants and flowers come back to life after the dormant winter, warmer weather means you can shed those outer layers, and everything is green. And there’s rain, lots of it. While spring herald the return to bearable temperatures, it can also present the dangerous situation of slippery roads. Knowing how to drive in the rain is especially important at this time of year to keep both yourself and your car safe from harm. Here’s a few of our tips for staying safe during the rainy season:

Slow And Steady

First and foremost, rainy weather means you need to slow down. With water on the roads, it will take longer to slow down or stop, so driving at a slower speed will help adjust for this problem. In addition, you should increase your following distance to a minimum of three seconds behind the car in front of you. It’s also a good idea to avoid following larger vehicles if at all possible. Semis and buses will generate a spray of water from the road that will reduce your visibility.

Turn On Your Lights And Wipers

It might seem like a no-brainer, but many drivers forget to turn on their headlights in rainy weather. Your own visibility may not be increased dramatically, but what this does is make it easier for other drivers on the road to see you, especially in heavy downpours. Most modern cars will have an automatic feature for this, but it never hurts to turn them on anyway. Windshield wipers should be turned on as well.

The Danger Of Skids

One of the scariest parts of driving is skidding on a wet road and losing control of your car. When this happens, the right way to respond is to turn the steering wheel towards where you want your car to go while slowly moving your foot from the gas pedal to the brake pedal, assuming your car has anti-lock brakes. If not, then it’s better to not use your brakes at all.

Avoid Puddles and Oil

When you see a puddle, it’s a much better choice to avoid it rather than driving through it. If this isn’t possible, then slow down first and go as slowly as possible. Deep water is best to be avoided as it can cause serious damage to your electronic systems, necessitating expensive repairs. Also, be aware that intersections are a prime place for oil and rain to mix, creating a slippery situation. Most dangerous when it first starts raining, you should approach all intersections with more caution than normal.

Tires And Windshield Wipers

If you haven’t used your windshield wipers in a while, it may be time to have them replaced. Fortunately, this is a cheap and quick repair that makes a huge difference in being able to drive safely in the rain. In the same vein, tires with bad tread are poor performers in the rain, so if you’re thinking about changing them out, now would be a good time.

To make sure your car is ready for the spring showers in St. Charles, stop by Rx Automotive and we’ll take a look. In addition to replacing your windshield wipers and tires, we can also test your brakes and other mechanical systems. Call us today for your car’s spring check-up.

Posted by: In: Auto Repair 02 Feb 2016 0 comments

The St Charles Guide To Buying A Used Car

Used car inspection by Rx Automotive in St Charles IL

While there is a special feeling driving a new car off a St. Charles lot, the truth is that many of us choose to buy used cars for a number of reasons – lower cost, better value, and more selection, just to name a few. At the same time, buying a used car does come with inherent risks, especially when buying from a private owner. For that reason, we at Rx Auto Service would like to share a few simple tips that will help make your used car buying experience go as smoothly as possible. Take a look at the following ideas before you head out to buy your next used car.

Do Your Research

This is actually two steps in one, but the old adage that a stitch in time saves nine is certainly true with buying a used car. The first part is to use Carfax – a specialized service for getting a detailed history of the car you’re thinking of purchasing. Most dealers will give you a Carfax report for free, but if you’re buying from a private owner, it’s well worth the ~$35 fee. This report will tell you about any previous accidents and could put a spotlight on major work that might need to be done.

The other side of research is knowing the right price for a specific car, with the best online option being the True Market Value service provided by Edmunds. You’ll be able to price out a model by entering the color, mileage, and condition to get a base cost that you can compare with the price being offered.

 

Take A Comprehensive Test Drive

The temptation is to just drive around the block a time or two, but how well does this really approximate your normal driving schedule? Most owners will be happy and willing to ride with you on a longer test drive that encompasses city and highway driving. Be willing to give the vehicle some stress to identify any issues that might not be found on a quick test drive. If you feel guilty about taking a longer test drive, offer to pay for the gas to create a win-win situation.

Let Rx Auto Service Complete An Inspection

This is a big one. If you’ve done your research, taken a test drive, and the price is right, then it’s time for a professional opinion. Your emotions about the car could cloud your judgment, but a thorough inspection is imperative to avoid buying a lemon. Bring it to us and we’ll perform a detailed test of the vehicle’s major systems and let you know whether we think it’s a good buy or not. Skip out on this step and you could be facing expensive repairs just a short time later.

In a best-case scenario, buying a used car can be a great experience, complete with testing many different models to see exactly what works for you. On the other hand, buying impulsively or without taking the time to do it right could leave you with a car that doesn’t perform to your expectations.

If you’re in the market for a used vehicle in St. Charles and need some help, feel free to contact Rx Auto Service and we’ll help guide you through the process to make sure you’re happy with your new car.

Why Rotating Your Tires Is Important

New tires and Tire Rotation St Charles and Geneva

Ask any St. Charles driver when was the last time they rotated their tires and you’re bound to receive a range of answers, from a few months ago to never. While rotating tires was once part and parcel to preventive auto maintenance, the times have changed and this seemingly simple service has largely fallen by the wayside. One reason is the advances in tire technology that have pushed durability to impressive levels. With these new tires, drivers feel that rotation is no longer necessary. However, tire rotation in St. Charles is still very relevant – here’s why.

What Tire Rotation Does

The first and most important question about tire rotation is what does the service do and how does it help. As the name implies, a tire rotation service moves your vehicle’s four tires to new positions. The reason why it’s done is to prevent uneven wear. There are a lot of factors that can influence wear, such as misalignment, parking next to curbs, and even personal driving style. The rotation of tires to new positions by a trained professional will translate to more even wear and a longer overall life before they need to be replaced.

The Other Benefits Of Tire Rotation

Tire life is obviously the biggest benefit of tire rotation, but there’s more going on than just extending how long your tires will last. After a rotation, one of the first things you’ll notice is the difference in how your car drives. If your car was shaky or had excess vibration before, a tire rotation could completely eliminate the problem. Add in an alignment service and your car should ride like new.

The other side of the coin is that tire rotation also helps you save money. Because uneven tires mean that your engine has to work harder to travel the same distance, a tire rotation should improve your fuel mileage, thus extending how far you can go on a full tank. It may seem like a difference of pennies, but these pennies add up and keeping your tires rotated regularly will save a considerable amount over the life of our vehicle.

How Often To Rotate Your Tires

The optimal frequency of rotating your tires depends on what type of vehicle you drive, whether it’s front or rear wheel drive, and the specific model of the tires. The generally accepted rule of thumb is once every 5,000-8,000 miles, but it’s a good idea to read the owner’s manual and tire paperwork to make sure. If in doubt, contact us at Rx Auto Service and we’ll help you decipher the right time to have your tires rotated.

Tire rotation may have fallen out of favor since the introduction of tire technology innovations that stretch the life of tires, but this service still provides plenty of benefits and proper tire rotation will ensure that you’re able to hit those impressive milestones. For professional tire rotation in St. Charles, give Rx Auto Service a call to schedule a convenient time to bring your vehicle in.

How to Deal With an Auto Recall

Auto Maintenance Tips for Busy Moms by Rx Auto Repair 630-443-8500

 

If you watch the news at all, then you’ve probably seen announcements of car manufacturers issuing recalls, sometimes affecting millions of vehicles. For many St. Charles area residents, there could be a sense of fear that your vehicle is now unsafe to drive. To help with this fear, it’s important to understand what a recall is and what you need to do should you receive a recall notice. Read more…