If you enjoy reading about cars and other related topics, we’d love to share our Auto Care Blog with you. At CARS of America, Inc., our highly trained auto mechanics deliver the very best in auto repair services through our two locations in Glenview. One way we accomplish that is in the time we take to help educate our customers so they feel confident making auto repair decisions. Our Auto Care Blog is just one way we meet that goal. Let us know if there’s a topic you’d like to hear more about!

 

Articles:

Toyota Prius Maintenance Tip: Vacuum out the dog hair regularly

Toyota Prius Maintenance Tip: Vacuum out the dog hair regularly

What does vacuuming your Toyota Prius or Camry hybrid have to do with maintaining the car? Here’s the deal: The air intake vent for the battery cooling system is in the backseat where the right rear door meets the pillar post. Any dog hair, cottonwood fuzz and even your kids’ gummy bears can get sucked into the vent and then pushed through to channels beneath the battery, where the air is supposed to circulate to keep the battery cooler. If there’s a lot of fuzz, pet hair or other debris clogging these passageways, the battery can’t cool as well. That wears and tears on the battery. And in fact, if the temperature in the battery compartment gets hotter than 110 degrees, it starts to degrade the battery. At CARS of America, we can use a boroscope (a camera with a flexible wand) to take a peak at the air cooling passages a ... read more

Categories:

Hybrids

4 signs your hybrid battery needs to be reconditioned or rebalanced

4 signs your hybrid battery needs to be reconditioned or rebalanced

We use this machine to “stress test” your hybrid battery. This will help us determine if its in good health, needs to be reconditioned or rebuilt. When you own a hybrid car or truck, one of the most important elements “under the hood”—or in this case, in the trunk—is the hybrid battery. And until recently, when that battery failed, you’re only choice was to spend $4,500 to replace the entire battery pack. But at CARS of America, we can rebuild or recondition your hybrid battery for less than half the price of a new one and we guarantee it for 3 years. How will you know if your hybrid battery needs to be reconditioned or rebalanced? Here are four signs: The gasoline engine kicks on more often than it used to. When the battery is depleted or tired, the electric mot ... read more

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Hybrids

To buy or not to buy: What are the real costs of buying a new car?

To buy or not to buy: What are the real costs of buying a new car?

Owners of older cars often enjoy immense satisfaction in not having to shell out the bucks every month for a car payment. On the other hand, as the car ages, the uncertainty surrounding “what will conk next?” can sometimes burst that no-more-payments bubble. Conversely, the new car driver knows s/he’s facing plenty of debt, but also realizes that new car is far less likely to break down. Are you wondering whether you should repair your current vehicle or cough up the sizeable cash for a new car? A car salesperson might make that new set of wheels sound awfully enticing, but what are the true costs of a new car vs. maintaining your current ride? You might be surprised. The average new car price has jumped in recent years. Kelly Blue Book analysts ... read more

Categories:

Car Ownership

Hybrid Car Maintenance Tip No 2: CARS can save you money by repairing, not replacing, the transmission

Hybrid Car Maintenance Tip No 2: CARS can save you money by repairing, not replacing, the transmission

The PicoScope is one of the pieces of equipment we use to test transmission/transaxle on a hybrid vehicle. The “transmission” in your hybrid vehicle barely resembles a conventional automatic transmission. It contains an electric motor and a few gears to connect the internal combustion engine and the electric motor to the wheels. It also contains an electric generator to charge the hybrid battery. Most shops and  dealers do not have the equipment to test these electrical components. Instead, when the transmission fails, they replace the entire unit. At CARS of America, we have the equipment to test and replace either electric motor in the transaxle. We can also repair the “mechanical” gears inside the transaxle, but fortunately, they rarely fail. We’ve also invested in world-class training to help you keep your hybrid affor ... read more

Categories:

Hybrids

Hybrid Car Maintenance Tip No. 1: How to make your hybrid battery last longer

Hybrid Car Maintenance Tip No. 1: How to make your hybrid battery last longer

You can prolong the life of your hybrid battery by having the battery pack cooling system inspected or cleaned each year. Hybrid batteries are made up of a number of individual modules—28, for example, on the Prius. These individual modules must operate at a temperature of no more than 110 degrees F. Most hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) ventilate and cool the battery pack with air drawn in from the passenger compartment. For longer battery life on your hybrid vehicle: Have the HEV Battery Pack Cooling System inspected or cleaned annually. Replace the Cabin Air Filter (which is the same as in a non-hybrid vehicle) every 15 months or 15,000 miles. Why is this important? Let’s look at the Toyota Prius: They have air-cooled packs battery packs. Replacing the cabin air filter is important because the inle ... read more

Categories:

Hybrids

Why does a tire repair cost so much money?

Why does a tire repair cost so much money?

Question: I got a flat tire last weekend in Chicago and had to use a shop there to repair it. The cost was $40! Why was the repair so much? I remember paying $10 for a tire patch. —All Out of Air, Evanston Here’s why it costs more to have a tire repaired than it used to Answer: In the Good ‘Ole Days, patching a tire was a 10-minute task. We plugged it from the outside, and it was a quick and easy repair. But for safety reasons on today’s tires, the Rubber Manufacturers Association and tire manufacturers require a plug-patch repair. First, a rubber stem (a.k.a. a plug) must be applied to fill the puncture, and second, a patch must be applied to seal the inner liner. A plug by itself i ... read more

Pre-trip vehicle inspections: Why you should have your car checked out at least a week before you leave

Pre-trip vehicle inspections: Why you should have your car checked out at least a week before you leave

Before you hit the highway with your family this summer, make sure your vehicle is up to the driving task ahead. A pre-trip inspection helps to help reduce the risk of being stuck on the side of the road and trying to keep your kids safe and entertained while you wait for a tow truck and then repairs to be made. Not to mention, breaking down on vacation can put an expensive damper on the family trip. Whether you’re heading to Mackinac or the west coast, make sure a pre-trip car check is on your pre-trip to do list. The best time to schedule your pre-trip check is a week or two before you leave. Here’s why: You’ll be sure to get an appointment. Summer is the busiest season for auto repair shops. Scheduling a week or two in advance ensures you can pick an appointment time that’s convenient for you. And if you ... read more

Categories:

Road Trips

5 road worthy trips within a day’s drive of Chicago

5 road worthy trips within a day’s drive of Chicago

Even if a flight to Disneyland or trek to Walley World is on your summer vacation agenda, a day-long road trip here and there sure can cut the monotony. Illinois boasts plenty of road-trip-worthy destinations, so whether your starting point is Glenview or Evanston, the Land of Lincoln provides the ticket to cool times during the warm weather. We present our Top 5 picks: Volo Auto Museum—Fanatic about all things four-wheeled? This is the place for you. The museum in Volo includes such iconic vehicles as Herbie, Fred Flintstone’s stone-age ride, the Batmobile, Speed Racer’s Mach 5 and much more. In addition, there’s an antique mall on the grounds and the site is host to many special events throughout the year. Starved R ... read more

Categories:

Road Trips

Get your car ready for spring with our 6-point checklist

Get your car ready for spring with our 6-point checklist

Glad to have waved winter goodbye? Us, too. Funny thing is, though, the snowy season has a way of lingering past its expiration date when it comes to long-term effects on your car. Frigid temperatures, potholes, road salt and more conspire to do a number on your vehicle. Some of the casualties caused by wintry conditions are wheels knocked out of alignment or damaged shocks, struts and other suspension-system parts. And there’s more where that came from. Many times, cold-season-created problems become apparent only after the mercury has risen. In other words: Just because spring has sprung doesn’t mean you’re immune from a sproing! Add to that the effect rising temperatures have on Chicago-area roads (warmer weather often opens up a lot of potholes) and you can see why now is the time to “spring clean” your car. Here’s the CARS of America Spring Cleaning f ... read more

How to diagnose the Check Engine light

How to diagnose the Check Engine light

A Check Engine light isn’t cause for panic. It is a preventive maintenance safeguard that equips vehicle owners with a warning signal that something simple or serious could be afoot. The not-too-great news is its presence can signal any number of under-the-hood snafus. Hard to believe, but that light can pop on for more than 1,400 different reasons–all related to your vehicle’s tailpipe emissions. Part of your vehicle’s on-board diagnostics system, the Check Engine light can indicate anything from a quick fix (such as a loose gas cap or faulty spark plug) to a mid-sized problem (mass air flow sensor or oxygen sensor) all the way up to a big-time repair (such as a catalytic converter that’s on the fritz). Make an appointment to diagnose the check engine light. In some cases, you can avoid those larger repairs by responding immediately to an illuminated check engine light. For ... read more

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