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NAPA

GENERAL MAINTENANCE

It's Time for the 21st Century Tune-up

Times are changing...cars are changing. One of the biggest changes in today's automotive industry is the perception of a "tune-up." Ask 10 vehicle owners their definition of a tune-up and chances are there'll be 10 different answers. The classic "tune-up" was once the heart of the automotive business and contrary to some beliefs; today's modern vehicles still need tune-ups to keep them performing at the most efficient levels.

The tune-up was historically associated with the routine replacement of key ignition system parts like spark plugs and ignition points, along with some basic adjustments to help "tune" the engine. Mounting pressure for increased fuel economy and lower emissions drove the car manufacturers to adopt electronics and to do away with ignition points in the '70s, along with the carburetor in the middle '80s. This eliminated the need for the replacement and adjustment of a growing number of ignition and fuel system parts.

As the pace of technology quickened, the procedures required to perform a traditional tune-up changed dramatically. Highly sophisticated ignition and fuel systems are now the norm, using one or more onboard computers to control critical engine and transmission management functions. Things that were once handled mechanically are now controlled electronically through the widespread use of onboard computer technology.

Because vehicles have changed so much over the years, the Car Care Council has introduced the 21st Century Tune-up. This program is designed to help re-define and educate motorists as to what a tune-up should consist of on today's modern vehicles.

"There is a misconception that today's modern vehicles don't need tune-ups because they never break down, but that simply is not true," said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. "If you're at work and your computer goes down, you can't get any more work done. It's the same with your vehicle. If the vehicle isn't being properly maintained, you're not going to get where you want to go."

As part of the 21st Century Tune-up on today's modern vehicles, the following systems should be inspected:

  • Battery, charging and starting
  • Engine mechanical
  • Powertrain control (including onboard diagnostic checks)
  • Fuel
  • Ignition
  • Emissions

Vehicle owners ask for tune-ups for a variety of reasons, including improving performance, maintaining reliability, planning a vacation, preparing for winter/summer or because they're giving the car to a friend or family member.

To help ensure good performance, fuel economy and emissions, the Car Care Council also recommends that motorists take the time necessary to become familiar with their vehicle from every aspect. Study the owner's manual to become thoroughly acquainted with the operation of all systems. Pay special attention to the indicator lights and instruments.

Getting Your Vehicle Ready for Winter

Mechanical failure—an inconvenience anytime it occurs--can be deadly in the winter. Preventive maintenance is a must. Besides, a well-maintained vehicle is more enjoyable to drive, lasts longer, and could command a higher resale price.

Some of the following tips can be performed by any do-it-yourselfer; others require the skilled hands of a professional auto technician.

  • Engine Performance - Get engine drivability problems (hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.) corrected at a good repair shop. Cold weather makes existing problems worse. Replace dirty filters-air, fuel, etc.
  • Fuel - Put a bottle of fuel de-icer in your tank once a month to help keep moisture from freezing in the fuel line. Note that a full gas tank helps keep moisture from forming.
  • Oil - Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual—more often (every 3,000 miles) if your driving is mostly stop-and-go or consists of frequent short trips.
  • Cooling Systems - The cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled about every 24 months. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. (A 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is usually recommended.) DIYers, never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled! The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses should be checked by a pro.
  • Windshield Wipers - Replace old blades. If your climate is harsh, purchase rubber-clad (winter) blades to fight ice build-up. Stock up on windshield washer solvent-you'll be surprised how much you use. Carry an ice-scraper.
  • Heater/Defroster - The heater and defroster must be in good working condition for passenger comfort and driver visibility. Newer models have a cabin air filter that should be replaced periodically. Check your owner's manual for the location and replacement interval.
  • Battery - The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment. Routine care: Scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections; clean all surfaces; re-tighten all connections. If battery caps are removable, check fluid level monthly. Avoid contact with corrosive deposits and battery acid. Wear eye protection and rubber gloves.
  • Lights - Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs; periodically clean road grime from all lenses. To prevent scratching, never use a dry rag.
  • Exhaust System - Your vehicle should be placed on a lift and the exhaust system examined for leaks. The trunk and floor boards should be inspected for small holes. Exhaust fumes can be deadly.
  • Tires - Worn tires will be of little use in winter weather. Examine tires for remaining tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. Check tire pressures once a month. Check the tires when they are cold, before driving for any distance. Rotate as recommended. Don't forget your spare, and be sure the jack is in good condition.
  • Carry emergency gear: gloves, boots, blankets, flares, a small shovel, sand or kitty litter, tire chains, and a flash light. Put a few "high-energy" snacks in your glove box.

Getting Your Vehicle Ready For Summer

Summer's heat, dust, and stop-and-go traffic, will take their toll on your vehicle. Add the effects of last winter, and you could be poised for a breakdown. You can lessen the odds of mechanical failure through periodic maintenance. . . Your vehicle should last longer and command a higher resale price, too!

Some of the following tips are easy to do; others require a skilled auto technician.

  • Air Conditioning - A marginally operating system will fail in hot weather. Have the system examined by a qualified technician. Newer models have cabin air filters that clean the air entering the heating and air conditioning system. Check your owner's manual for location and replacement interval.
  • Cooling System - The greatest cause of summer breakdowns is overheating. The cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled about every 24 months. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. (A 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is usually recommended.) DIYers, never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled! The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses should be checked by a pro.
  • Oil - Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual-more often (every 3,000 miles) if you make frequent short jaunts, extended trips with lots of luggage, or tow a trailer.
  • Engine Performance - Replace other filters (air, fuel, PCV, etc.) as recommended-more often in dusty conditions. Get engine drivability problems (hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.) corrected at a good shop.
  • Windshield Wipers - A dirty windshield causes eye fatigue and can pose a safety hazard. Replace worn blades and get plenty of windshield washer solvent.
  • Lights - Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs; periodically clean dirt and insects from all lenses. To prevent scratching, never use a dry rag.
  • Tires - Have your tires rotated about every 5,000 miles. Check tire pressures once a month; check them while they're cold before driving for any distance. Don't forget to check your spare as well and be sure the jack is in good condition. Examine tires for tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. An alignment is warranted if there's uneven tread wear or if your vehicle pulls to one side.
  • Brakes - Brakes should be inspected as recommended in your manual, or sooner if you notice pulsations, grabbing, noises, or longer stopping distance. Minor brake problems should be corrected promptly.
  • Battery - Batteries can fail any time of year. The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment. Routine care: Scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections; clean all surfaces; re-tighten all connections. If battery caps are removable, check the fluid level monthly. Avoid contact with corrosive deposits and battery acid. Wear eye protection and rubber gloves.
  • Emergencies - Carry some basic tools-ask a technician for suggestions. Also include a first aid kit, flares, and a flashlight. Consider buying a cellular phone.

Keeping Your Vehicle in Tune with the Environment

Car care is definitely a win-win situation. Besides helping the environment, a properly maintained and operated vehicle will run more efficiently, will be safer, and will last longer-up to 50% longer, according to a survey of ASE-certified Master Auto Technicians. The following tips should put you on the road to environmentally conscious car care.

  • Keep your engine tuned. A misfiring spark plug can reduce fuel efficiency as much as 30%. Follow the service schedules listed in your owner's manual. Replace filters and fluids as recommended.
  • Check your tires for proper inflation. Under inflation wastes fuel-your engine has to work harder to push the vehicle. Wheels that are out-of-line (as evidenced by uneven tread wear or vehicle pulling) make the engine work harder, too. Properly maintained tires will last longer, meaning fewer scrap tires have to be disposed.
  • Keep your air conditioner in top condition and have it serviced only by a technician certified competent to handle/recycle refrigerants. Air conditioners contain CFCs-gases that have been implicated in the depletion of the ozone layer. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, almost one third of the CFCs released into the atmosphere come from mobile air conditioners; some simply leaks out, but the majority escapes during service and repair-so it's important to choose a qualified technician.
  • Do-it-yourselfers: dispose of used motor oil, anti-freeze/coolant, tires, and old batteries properly. Many repair facilities accept these items. Or call your local municipal or county government for recycling sites. Never dump used oil or anti-freeze on the ground or in open streams.
  • Observe speed limits. Mileage decreases sharply above 55 mph.
  • Drive gently. Avoid sudden accelerations and jerky stop-and-go's. Use cruise-control on open highways to keep your speed as steady as possible.
  • Avoid excessive idling. Shut off the engine while waiting for friends and family. Today's vehicles are designed to "warm up" fast, so forget about those five-minute warm ups on cold winter mornings.
  • Remove excess items from the vehicle. Less weight means better mileage. Store luggage/ cargo in the trunk rather than on the roof to reduce air drag.
  • Plan trips. Consolidate your daily errands to eliminate unnecessary driving. Try to travel when traffic is light to avoid stop-and-go conditions. Join a car pool.

Remember, how your car runs, how you drive it, and how its fluids, old parts, and tires are disposed of all have serious consequences on the environment.

ASSOCIATIONS

  • ASA (Automotive Service Assocation)
  • ASE (Automotive Service Excellence)
  • BBB (Better Business Bureau)
  • IDENTIFIX
  • Jasper
  • NAPA AutoCare Center
  • World Pac
  • Schaumburg Business Association
  • NFIB (National Federation of Independent Business)
  • Car Care Aware

Testimonials

  • Thank you DJs for being there "once again" for me when needed. Yesterday my rear tire was rapidly going flat. I pulled into DJs late in the day. Though he was busy, Chris willingly took care of my car in minutes. You have been servicing my Honda for 14years. I feel so grateful to have a trusted, honest repair shop to bring my car for maintenance & repairs all these years. Thank you for your wonderful customer service!
    -Kathy M.

  • These guys are great! Dan (DJ), the owner, is the best. I recently limped into the shop with a flat tire on my BMW. They took me right away, put on my spare, ordered me a replacement tire, had my bent rim repaired and the new tire mounted and balanced within 24 hours! I also had the brakes on my wife's truck done there for LESS THAN HALF what the dealership quoted me. Quick, reliable, cost effective and great customer service!
    -James B.

  • I ordered tires from Tirerack and had them delivered to DJ's for install on my Nissan GTR. The service and work perfromed was great. I had an 8:30am appointment and was in and out very quickly. I really appreciated the honest and proffesional work done. I will absolutely recommend DJ's Auto for honest quotes and great work.
    -Michael J.

  • DJ's was great. I needed to get a uHaul for my business to pick up supplies and equipment down in Peoria. Chris went out of his way to find the best deal for me since I would be driving 400 miles in one day and also made the drop off easy for me so I would not have to come back during business hours the next day. Quick, Friendly, Reliable, and made my boss happy with the cost. Thanks!
    -Andrea R.

  • DJ's is a great place to have your vehicle repaired. Dan, Chris and Matt are very friendly, professional and honest. They really know how to take care of their customers. One time I went to a dealership for a "safety inspection check." They said my vehicle had an oil leak. And they were going to charge me thousands of dollars to make the repair on my 10 year old car. But because of the reviews online, my wife recommended I stop by DJ's to get a second opinion. Matt looked at the car and found absolutely nothing wrong. The issue was only some dry oil from a problem three years ago. Because of their honesty, I saved hundreds of dollars. DJ's will tell you if your car needs a repair or if it isn't necessary. They have always done a terrific job and I highly recommend them!
    -Alisa B.

  • I recently had some work done to my BMW at DJ's and was very impressed with their friendly and professional service. As a women it can be intimidating going to get your car serviced but I never felt that way here. Chris was very good at explaining things without talking down to me, like since I am not a man I could not possibly understand what he was saying. The guys are all nice looking, clean cut men, not greasy creepers like other places. The work on my car was done fast and the charges were very reasonable. I will definitely return and recommend them!
    -Lisse C.

  • U-Haul:
    The rep here was extremely helpful and make the process of returning the vehicle quick and easy. By the time I got home I had received a confirmation email on our return. VERY pleased with our experience, from start to finish.
    -Lucy H.

  • U-Haul:
    Service was really fast and very friendly and informative employee at the front desk. Will use your services again. Thank you!
    -Sigute H.

  • U-Haul:
    100% better experience than I had with Budget
    -Tom T.

  • U-Haul:
    They were very professional, it took less than 5 minutes to my truck. I'll highly recommend this location to all my friends.
    -Shaun Z.

  • Went here to get a set of tires installed (shipped from Tire Rack directly), and these guys were nothing but great. Gave me a call when the tires arrived and even squeezed made in at the very end of the day. Would absolutely recommend them on customer service alone.
    -Dave T.

  • I've been taking all of my cars to DJ's for well over 15 years, and I've had nothing but positive experience. Dan & his staff are quite knowledgeable & helpful. I've found prices to be fair & competitive, and they always go the extra mile to ensure that I'm satisfied.
    -Marty B.

  • I have only been coming here for about a year but DJ'S has fixed problems for me that my dealer didn't find in 4 attempts. My car has run great since then and now this is the only place that I will bring my car.
    -Anonymous

  • I have been bringing my vehicle as well as my wifes vehicle to D.J.s for quite some time. Everytime either the service manager Steve or Dan (the owner himself) has fully explained every situation thoroughly before I have authorized repairs. They have answered all of my questions with clear explainations. I just had 4 new tires installed at an unbelievable price and the truck is running great. Thanks again D.J.s!!
    -Anonymous

  • Very Professional Shop. Highest recommendation. I have been dealing with Dan ans Steve at DJ's for over 8 years and have always been impressed with their service. I have also recommended DJ's to friends and clients in the Schaumburg area and they have become loyal customers. Honest, organized, and friendly people!
    -Anonymous

  • I have been bringing my vehicle to DJ's for many years now and every visit is a great experience. They always take the time to explain why a certain repair needs to take place and they offer great prices. You can fully trust everyone that works at the shop. Dan and Steve are great. I recently had my SUV repaired here and while it was being worked on, Chris was able to follow up with me regarding the status of my vehicle being repaired. DJ's is definitely a place to bring your vehicle for an oil change or to get repaired. THANKS DJ'S!!!!!!
    -Anonymous

  • Very pleased and impressed with DJ's service over the last 5+ years. Dan has gained our trust through honest appraisals, super effecient repair time, numerous labor discounts, quality products at reasonable prices, and even a super reasonable loaner vehicle. Dan listens to our needs and takes the time to patiently and understandably explain and educate us on the repairs needed. He and his team honestly assess the priorities of our repairs needed and empathizes well with the hard economic times we are in. We enthusiastically recommend DJ's Auto Service Center!
    -Anonymous

  • DJ's Auto was recommended to me by a neighbor. All of my interactions validated that I'm glad he helped me discovered the team there. I presented them with a unique challenge and they well exceeded any expectations I had about how they'd be able to help. What I suspect most people want from an auto service entity is honest information and suggestions as though our car was their own and the money being spent was their own. I had the good pleasure of speaking with Dan and his team at length and can tell that this is their very approach. Make relationships for the haul not for a quick buck.
    -Anonymous

  • Just wanted to know if Chris is the manager? He was so helpful with all the question I had. He really knows his stuff. Great job.
    -Cheryl