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Simple Answers from Ernie's Auto Service for Zion: Windshield Wipers

Question:
When should I replace my windshield wipers?

windshield wipers

Ernie’s Auto Service Answer:
Windshield wipers are one of those under-appreciated items on our cars; we only think about them when we need them .  The problem with that is that you find out they have failed when you actually need them most – a little too late.

Wiper blades are indeed an essential safety system for each car.  As you can imagine, 90% of our driving decisions are based on what we see. If you can’t see well because your wipers can’t clear your windshield, your ability to drive safely is significantly impaired.

So the simple answer, of course, is that car owners should change the wipers if they don’t work well. However, try making it a point to replace them before they go bad so your wipers are always ready when that storm hits. For some car owners, once a year may be enough. For others – those who drive a lot, whose wipers are exposed to a lot of sun, or use their wipers more – replacing the blades a couple of times a year might be in order.

There are several types of wiper blades. The conventional blade is the base model. On the other end of the spectrum are beam blades. These have a solid beam that provides uniform pressure over the entire wiper surface for better contact with the windshield. And there are hybrid blades that are a combination of conventional and beam blades. Upgraded wiper blades last longer and provide a cleaner wipe. Motorists can always upgrade, but should never go with a lower grade blade than what was installed on your vehicle from the factory.

Finally, there are special winter blades. The unique design of winter wiper blades resists snow and ice build-up in the blade. The price of winter blades might be more than conventional, beam or hybrid blades, and are not required to drive in winter conditions, however all wiper types will work well in snow and icy conditions as long as wipers are replaced when first showing signs of wear and tear.

Remember, using your wipers on an icy windshield will tear up your wiper blades. Scrape your windshield before running your wipers. If there is ice build up on the blades themselves, carefully scrap that off also.  If you find your blades have become stuck to the windshield due to frost or ice, do not force them free – that is the fastest way to peel off the rubber on the blade.  It is best to start your windshield defroster and let it run a bit until the blades move freely.

Your professionals at Ernie’s Auto Service can recommend wiper blade options and help you select what’s best for this critical safety system. Give us a call today!

Ernie’s Auto Service
2804 Deborah Ave
Zion, Illinois 60099
847.746.5861

Simple Answers from Ernie's Auto Service: Power Brakes

Question: What is power brake service and why do auto owners need to have it done?

brakes

Ernie’s Auto Service Answer:

Let’s take, for instance, a plain ordinary garden hose.  When you turn on the water and it comes out the end it just pours and splashes out.  However, if there is a nozzle attached to the end of the hose, and you turn the faucet on and squeeze the nozzle, the water shoots outs.  Which water would go further?

Of course it’s the water squirting out of the nozzle. That’s because you pressurized the water. Your power brake system utilizes the same idea.  When you step on the brake pedal, the master cylinder pressurizes brake fluid which actuates the brakes so you can stop.  Vehicles which don’t have enough pressure – can’t stop properly. In some cases, when all pressure is lost, the brake pedal will go all the way to the floor board and the driver will not be able to stop the car at all!

A leak in your brake system would lessen – or even eliminate – your stopping power. Brake fluid attracts moisture which can cause harmful leak-inducing corrosion.  So a great way for motorists to keep their brake fluid free of contaminants is to change it as recommended by the car’s manufacturer.  You can find this schedule in your owner’s manual.

Enough brake fluid is essential for the proper function of any vehicle’s anti-lock brakes, traction control and stability control systems. Your professionals at Ernie’s Auto Service will inspect your brake fluid level during a full-service oil change.  If it’s low it may indicate that a thorough brake inspection is needed.

Low brake fluid is most frequently caused by worn brake pads. Some of the signs of a leak are reduced stopping power and spongy or hard pedal feel.  If you suspect a problem, come into Ernie’s Auto Service for a brake inspection right away.  Give us a call!


Ernie’s Auto Service
2804 Deborah Ave
Zion, Illinois 60099
847.746.5861

 

 

Simple Answers from Ernie’s Auto Service for Zion: Selecting Tires

tires

Question:
I need new tires.  How do I know which tires to purchase?

Ernie’s Auto Service Answer:
Let’s look at selecting new tires in light of three factors: Function, Fit, and Value.

Function: This refers to what your needs are for new tires: weather conditions, terrain, temperatures, etc.

New passenger vehicles commonly are sold with all-season tires. They can be used all year long and do pretty well on most road conditions – but they aren’t ideal at all the extremes in terrain and temperatures.

Winter tires have a more aggressive tread for handling snow and ice and they have a rubber compound that creates better traction as temperatures drop below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Such tires are definitely better at stopping and road-holding characteristics than all-season tires in Midwest winter weather.  However, once spring arrives, these tires must be changed out for summer tires.
Summer tires enhance warm weather performance driving.  Often called high-performance tires — these tires are better for, not surprisingly, performance driving, but they’re going to wear out faster than all-season tires — and they typically cost more, too. Summer tires are made from a softer rubber that does a better job of gripping the road, which improves handling, braking and acceleration.

If you drive off-road, there is a spectrum of tires from all-terrain (a good mix of highway and off-road capability) to dedicated off-road tires to choose from.
The key is to discuss the function you need with the tire professionals at Ernie’s Auto Service to get the type of tire, load rating, speed rating and wear rating for best performance and safety.
Fit: The easiest thing is to select tires in the same size that were installed on your vehicle at the factory.  If you want a different size wheel and/or tire profile, be sure to work with a tire professional that can make sure that your new wheels and tires fit properly on your particular car and don’t rub the wheel well in bumps or turns.  It’s also vital to make sure that important safety systems like anti-lock brakes, stability control and traction control are not adversely affected by the new tire size.
Value: Note, we didn’t say “price”. The tire that meets all your needs AND has the warranty and tread life you expect will probably not be the cheapest option – but it may well return the best value for your tire dollar.  Repair shops and dealerships that offer tires sales have access to numerous tire brands, styles and models, so that you can do a cost and value comparison before you buy.

Your professionals at Ernie’s Auto Service are eager to assist with all the options available for vehicle owners in this important automotive decision.  Give us a call today!

Ernie’s Auto Service is an authorized Hankook Tire Dealership

 

Ernie’s Auto Service
2804 Deborah Ave
Zion, Illinois 60099
847.746.5861

Springtime Auto Tips

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Springtime is a prime time for auto maintenance. That first wash-n-wax on a warm Saturday afternoon is liberating. Winter’s gloom (to say nothing of grit and road salt) is literally washed away. Take out the snow shovel, the gloves, and heavy boots and store them ’til next season. Surely summer can’t be far away.

Some preparation now will help ensure that your summer driving plans go as smoothly as you envision.  The staff at Ernie’s Auto Service offers the following tips on getting your vehicle ready for summer:

  • Read your vehicle’s owner’s manual and follow the recommended service schedules.  If you have never been in the habit of doing so, it is never too late to start!
  • Have hard starts, rough idling, stalling, etc. corrected before hot weather sets in.
  • The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked.  Flush and refill the cooling system (radiator) according to the service manual’s recommendations or if your automotive technician recommends such a service is needed after an inspection.
  • The tightness and condition of belts, clamps, and hoses should be checked by a qualified auto technician to see if anything is worn and needs replacement.
  • Have a marginally operating air conditioner system serviced by a qualified technician to reduce the likelihood of more costly repairs – before the hot summer temperatures are upon us!
  • Change the oil and oil filter as specified in owner’s manual.  Oil is the life’s blood to your car.  If you are not sure when the last oil change was done (should be a sticker on your windshield) then schedule an oil change now.
  • Replace other filters (air, fuel, PCV, cabin, etc.) as recommended.
  • Check the condition of tires, including the spare. Always check tire pressure when the tires are cold.  If any tread is worn too low or if there are bulges or wire belts showing through the tread, now is the time to replace.
  • Inspect all interior and exterior lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs.
  • Replace worn wiper blades and keep plenty of washer solvent on hand to combat summer’s dust and insects.

Ernie and his professional staff are here to assist in getting your car ready for the warm weather.  If you have any concerns about your vehicle safely making it through the summer, or know that your car is in need of scheduled maintenance, give us a call at 847-746-5861 to make an appointment.

Cabin Air Filter Explanation

cabin-air-filter

Question:
My car has a bad odor when I run the heater or air conditioner. My friend said I might need a new cabin air filter – what’s that?

Ernie’s Auto Service Answer:
A cabin air filter is a special filter that cleans the air that comes into the drivers’ passenger compartments – or cabin – of their vehicles. Most new vehicles sold now have a cabin air filter. A cabin air filter catches dust, pollen, spores and other detrimental pollutants before they can get into your cabin. It’s kind of like the filter on your furnace in your home, cleaning the air you breathe inside your vehicle.

As car owners can imagine, it eventually gets filled up and can even start to get smelly. So – you just have it replaced.  Now some are really easy to access and others are tougher to get to. Your professional Ernie’s Auto Service tech will be able to take care of it for you.

Your auto maker’s owner’s manual likely has a recommendation for when to replace the cabin air filter. If you live and drive in areas where there is a lot of dust, pollen or dangerous pollution, the filter will fill up quicker. Of course, if you’re getting a bad odor bring it to the attention of your professional Ernie’s Auto Service technician.

Give us a call

Ernie’s Auto Service
2804 Deborah Ave
Zion, Illinois 60099
847.746.5861

CONTACT US

auto shop repair
  • Ernie’s Auto Service

    2804 Deborah Avenue
    Zion, IL 60099

  • Phone: 847.746.5861

  • Feel free to call or email us to schedule your next appointment.

    Business Hours

    Monday - Friday
    8:30AM - 6:00PM

    Saturday - Sunday
    Closed

  • CONTACT US