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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.

Posted by: In: Timing Belt 26 Dec 2012 0 comments

Your engine is like a finely choreographed dance. All the parts have to work together. If the timing is off at the ballet, dancers crash into each other and fall down. It the timing is off in your engine, it may not run at all. One of the most intricate dances in your engine, has to do with the combustion cycle.

Your sedan engine has cylinders in which a piston travels up and down. At the top of the cylinders are valves open to bring in the air and fuel. And there are valves that open to let out the exhaust after the fuel has been burned.

Call Rx Automotive at 630-443-8500 for answers about your timing belt, or drop by our Saint Charles IL service center on 602 Sidwell Ct Unit I , 60174

It’s critical that the values be timed to open and close at precisely the right time in the combustion cycle, or the engine will run poorly or not at all.

The timing belt is responsible for rotating the shafts that control the valves. It’s vital and precision work. Timing belts are made of very tough flexible material. They can last a long time. But they eventually wear out and can break. The consequences can be disastrous.

In some engines, the valves actually protrude far enough into the cylinders that they could come in contact with the piston. If the timing belt breaks, the pistons will smash into the valves. Valves get bend or broken. If the engine is spinning fast enough, the broken parts will shred the cylinder head as well. Repairing this damage can cost several thousand dollars.

It’s a sad day when this happens; especially since it usually can be avoided. Manufacturers have issued recommendations for when you should replace your timing belt. For some engines, it’s at 60,000 miles. For others it’s at 90,000 miles or more. If you’re approaching 60,000 miles, or have passed it, make sure you check your owner’s manual or with your Saint Charles IL auto service advisor at Rx Automotive for when the timing belt should be replaced. Don’t let this one slip by.

Now some timing belts are visible and can be inspected. Others are hidden under a protective cover and are hard to get to. Some timing belts also drive the water pump. If you have a leaky water pump, the coolant will contaminate the timing belt and could make it fail sooner. So if you have this kind of engine, get it in to Rx Automotive for an inspection right away if you have a coolant leak.

Most people in the St Charles area with this engine design end up with a new timing belt when they replace the water pump. And when you’re having your timing belt replaced on schedule, check with your Saint Charles IL auto service advisor at Rx Automotive to see if it makes sense to install a new water pump, even if it isn’t currently having problems, since most of the labor is already being done any way for the timing belt replacement.

As a heads up; larger engines will often have metal timing chains rather than belts. The chains don’t need to be replaced like belts.

We’ve already told you how very expensive it can be to get your car running again after a timing belt fails. You also need to know that replacing the timing belt is very labor intensive and is one of the most costly maintenance services you will have. So if you will be at the point where your timing belt should be replaced in the next year or so, ask for an estimate from Rx Automotive in Saint Charles IL so you can begin to prepare for the expense.

We at AutoNetTV are committed to helping you make your driving experience as safe and economical as possible. Rx Automotive, your Saint Charles service center, can be a valuable partner. Please take advantage of their knowledge and experience, and check out http://AutoNetTV.com for more great auto tips.

Hello, welcome to Rx Automotive. Today’s topic is batteries. It seems like everything in Geneva runs on batteries. Of course, the batteries we’re most concerned with here at Rx Automotive are those in our vehicles. Car batteries wear out just like any other battery and need to be replaced. There are a couple of things Geneva drivers should know when looking for a new battery.

There are two measurements that come into play: one is cold cranking amps and the other is reserve capacity.

Let’s start with cold cranking amps. Battery Replacement At Rx Automotive This can be thought of as the power output used to start a cold engine. The number of cold cranking amps you need depends on your vehicle and where you live, specifically how cold it is where you live. The two factors are that the colder your sedan’s engine is, the more power it takes to turn the engine over to get it started. It has all that cold, sluggish oil to contend with.

The other factor is that the chemical reaction in the battery that creates electrical energy is less efficient in the cold. We even have a table. Let’s say it’s eighty degrees Fahrenheit out. At that temperature, 100% of the battery’s power is available. At freezing, only 65% of battery power is available, but it requires 155% as much power to start the engine as it did at eighty degrees.

As you can see from the chart, the colder it gets, more power’s needed, but the available power drops.

Percent of Power Available Celsius Fahrenheit Power Required  
100 27 80 100  
65 0 32 155  
40 -22 0 210  
25 -32 20 350  

So if you live where it’s cold, you need a battery with more cold cranking amps than you do where it’s moderate or hot. The battery that originally came with the vehicle was based on averages. At Rx Automotive, we like to remind Geneva auto owners that they should always get at least as many cold cranking amps as the manufacturer recommends, but may want to upgrade if they live where it gets real cold.

And the type of engine you have will impact the battery you need: A six-cylinder engine requires more cold cranking amps than a four. An eight cylinder needs even more. And diesel sedans require more than a gasoline engine with the same number of cylinders.

Now on to reserve capacity: It’s a measurement of the number of minutes of reserve power the battery has at a given load. The number is more important to Geneva drivers these days because of parasitic drain. Parasitic drain is the battery energy that’s used when the key is off in your sedan. So, the power drawn by the security system, the remote start system, even the power the computers require to maintain their memory.

Reserves are also needed when you make very short trips around Geneva. You’re not driving long enough for the battery to recover the energy it used to start the engine. So go with the minimum recommended by your manufacturer or Rx Automotive and upgrade if you need more.

Talk with us at Rx Automotive about your options. If you need more from your battery, a larger, heavy-duty battery may be called for. At Rx Automotive, we remind our customers that it’s very important that the new battery fits your sedan: the terminals can’t be touching other parts and stuff.

Batteries are a big ticket item for most Geneva motorists, so the warranty gives piece of mind. There’re two kinds of car battery warranties: pro-rated and free replacement. With the pro-rated, you get a credit for a portion of the battery if it fails during the warranty period. With a free replacement warranty, you get just that, a free replacement. Be sure to ask us at Rx Automotive about the warranty so you know what you’re getting.