Here’s a question for Rockford, Illinois car owners: How long have you been enjoying the romantic glow of your check engine light?
Hey, it’s not there to create ambiance; it’s a warning that something’s wrong. (And, by the way, Homer Simpson’s fix of covering it with tape is not a good idea.)
If your check engine light comes on, check your gas cap. A loose gas cap can cause a false sensor reading that’ll make the check engine light turn on.
Many conditions that trigger the check engine light can hurt your fuel economy. A lot.
If your date’s eyes are smoldering in the soft glow of the check engine light, try to think of all the gas money you’ll save by getting it fixed. Give Kurt’s Service Centers a call when you are ready: 815-395-1900
If you’ve ever heard a squealing sound under your Domest Vehicles hood, chances are it was your serpentine belt. Your serpentine belt is a long belt that’s driven by your engine. It winds around several accessories that power important automotive systems in your Domest Vehicles. Let’s go over them.
First, the serpentine belt drives your air conditioning system. It spins the compressor that makes the cool air that takes the edge off the summer heat in Rockford. More importantly, the belt powers the alternator. The alternator creates electricity that’s used by your Domest Vehicles’s electrical systems and also charges your car battery. Without the alternator, the battery will go dead in a few miles.
The serpentine belt may also run the pumps for both the power steering (some are electric) and power brakes (some use vacuum boost).
And, on most Domest Vehicless, the serpentine belt powers the water pump. The water pump circulates coolant through the engine to keep it within optimal operating temperatures. On some Rockford cars, the water pump is powered by the timing belt instead of the serpentine belt.
When they understand what it does, Rockford motorists realize that if it breaks, it affects a lot of systems. That’s why manufacturers outline recommended replacement guidelines in the owners manuals. If this important maintenance component is not included in your owners manual, come see us at Kurt’s Service Centers.
At Kurt’s Service Centers in Rockford, your service advisor can perform a visual inspection of the belt to see if it has any cracks that signal the belt could fail soon. If the belt has more than three or four cracks every inch, has deep cracks that penetrate half the depth of the belt, is frayed, is missing pieces or has a shiny glazed look, it needs to be replaced regardless of age or mileage.
If it has lost a significant amount of thickness, it also needs to be replaced. There’s a special spring-loaded pulley attached to the engine called the tensioner pulley. Its job is to make sure there’s a constant tension on the serpentine belt so that it doesn’t slip. The spring can become worn and no longer provide the necessary pressure to keep the belt tight. At Kurt’s Service Centers, we recommend that the tensioner be replaced at the same time as the serpentine belt.
As mentioned, a squealing sound could alert you that the serpentine belt needs to be replaced. It may be loose if you hear a slow, slapping sound when idling your Domest Vehicles.
All in all, the serpentine belt’s is critical to the operation of your Domest Vehicles. And it’s not that expensive to replace at Kurt’s Service Centers – so it’s good to do so before it fails.
There are so many tire choices in the Rockford, Cherry Valley, and rockton area, selecting the right one can be a bit overwhelming for Chicago car owners. And even though it’s kind of fun to have new tires on your Domest Vehicles, they’re a significant investment for most Chicago folks so you want do it right.
Tip: talk with your Friendly, and Honest Kurt’s Service Centers tire professional. He’ll help you sort through the choices.
Here are some of the issues you’ll talk about: One is size – you know, all those numbers on the side of the tire. The right size is essential. All new vehicles are required to have stability control which, along with other important safety systems, is calibrated to work with specific tire sizes. Your Rockford tire professional can help stay within manufacturers’ specifications or program a different tire size into your Domest Vehicles’s computer.
And you’ll want to discuss how and where you drive in Chicago to determine the type of tire you need: summer, winter, all-season tires or all-terrain. There are tires for every Chicago auto owner’s needs.
Like we said, tires are a big investment, so you want to get a good value on tires. Now that doesn’t always mean the cheapest tire. A top tier tire from Kurt’s Service Centers will last a long time and give Chicago car owners good performance throughout its life. Tires sold in Rockford bargain tire shops may not live up to that promise. Again, your Friendly, and Honest Kurt’s Service Centers tire professional can give you options that offer the best long-term value within your immediate budget.
Last, with a 2-wheel drive vehicle you should always replace both tires on an axle. Modern sensors and computer safety systems for Domest Vehicles brakes, stability and traction control need both tires to have the same amount of wear to work properly. And always put the new tires on the rear so you don’t fishtail in a turn. With all-wheel drive you should replace all four tires at the same time.
Schedule a tire inspection at Kurt’s Service Centers to see how much life is left in your Domest Vehicles tires and seek the help of a professional when choosing new shoes for your vehicle.
Give us a call
Kurt’s Service Centers 815-395-1900 5730 Wansford Way Rockford, Illinois 61109
Your car is important to you and keeping it running is vital to your Rockford lifestyle. That’s why you should have it serviced regularly at Kurt’s Service Centers. And even though it may just be routine maintenance, you want it done right.
It’s also very important to your Rockford service center to keep you happy and on the road. You might be surprised at the amount of money our Rockford service center spends every year to make sure our technicians are properly trained.
Kurt’s Service Centers offers a variety of car care services to many kinds of vehicles. We need to be up to date on the latest techniques and parts so that they can care for your car properly. Our Rockford centers subscribe to data services that list the high quality parts and fluids recommended by your manufacturer.
And each service has a checklist of standard procedures. Kurt’s Service Centers technicians follow these procedures so they can safely deliver a consistent level of high-quality service.
Some services require the use of specialized equipment. Kurt’s Service Centers technicians are trained extensively on this equipment so that they can service your car quickly and efficiently.
Classroom, video and hands-on training is provided by the company and outside trainers. It’s not only important that service technicians be able to perform a given task, they also need to be thoroughly trained in inspection and diagnostic techniques. One of the great services they perform is to spot potential problems before they become serious.
The automotive service industry has standards for classifying and communicating problems to customers. For example, it’s one thing to learn that your manufacturer recommends that you change your serpentine belt every 30,000 miles and another to learn that the belt is on the verge of failure. These standards help you understand the urgency of recommendations, letting you make better service decisions.
You may be interested to know that service technicians are trained in compliance with federal and local Rockford laws and regulations, including environmental regulations regarding the disposal of used parts and fluids.
It’s the goal of our Rockford service center to provide fast, courteous service. You should feel free to ask your technician or one of the managers about your service or for more information about their recommendations.
Well-trained service providers, established procedures, industry standards, and, of course, AutoNetTV, combine to give you the best service experience possible.
Having trouble with your fuel system? Bring your Domest Vehicles into Kurt’s Service Centers for a check up. 5730 Wansford Way Rockford, Illinois 61109 815-395-1900
Today we’re talking about fuel system cleaning. The first thing to know is how important it is to have a clean fuel system. You need fuel to go, and the cleaner your fuel system, the more efficiently the fuel will burn. That means more power and better fuel economy.
A clean fuel system saves money at the pump. We guess you could say, it all starts and ends at the pump. One of the most important things you can do to keep your fuel system clean is to buy good quality gas. Major brands have detergents that keep gum and varnish from rapidly building up in the fuel system.
So buying cheaper gas can actually cost you in the long run. Now, most cars on the road are more than five or six years old. That means they’ve had time for some dirt and rust to start accumulating in the fuel tank. This junk needs to be filtered out of the fuel before it hits your engine. That’s the fuel filter’s job.
When the fuel filter is clogged, the dirty fuel will bypass the filter and go on up to the engine where it can clog fuel injectors and get into the cylinders. That could do some damage. So you should have your fuel filter changed when recommended. Check your owner’s manual or ask your service advisor if your fuel filter is due for replacement.
The fuel then goes up into the throttle body. This is another area where varnish and gum can accumulate. A professional fuel system cleaning will use a combination of special cleaning chemicals and old fashioned swabbing to clean out the throttle body. Now, the fuel injectors are the last stop in the fuel delivery system.
It’s real important to keep those fuel injectors clean. The fuel injectors need to deliver a precise amount of fuel, at exactly the right time, in a particular spray pattern. They just can’t do that if they’re dirty. Dirty fuel injectors really rob power and waste fuel.
It is important for the fuel system proper, but there are a couple other things that will help keep your engine clean as well. Of course, air is mixed with the fuel before it’s burned. Dirty air means dirt gets into your engine, so you need to replace your engine air filter when it’s dirty.
The PCV value routes unburned fuel that escapes into the lower engine back up into the intake system to be burned. A sticky PCV valve needs to be replaced to make sure that system is working properly and the breather filter needs to be replaced if it’s dirty as well.
Do all these things and your engine’s air and fuel will be as clean as possible. You’ll get much better fuel economy and better power
Hello Rockford, let’s talk about brakes. Braking, as all Illinois car owners know,is slowing or stopping your vehicle. As you can imagine, brakes are engineered to work well on a particular vehicle application. For example, you would expect more powerful brakes on a heavy-duty pickup that routinely hauls big loads and pulls trailers, than you would on a compact car. And a Corvette that can go over 180 miles per hour would have much different braking needs than the family mini-van you drive around between Rockford, Chicago and rockton.
But the mechanical aspects of the brakes themselves are just one issue. There’s also the power brake pump and brake fluid. And then there are the tires, which are critical to the effectiveness of the brakes.
Let’s step back. A new Domest Vehicles or truck rolls off a local Rockford showroom floor. It has brand new brakes with brand new brake pads. The brake lines and pump are filled with fresh fluid and are completely clean inside. And the tires are brand new, with full tread. It is ready to go.
Naturally, braking power is at its peak performance. Now the miles start to add up on the Domest Vehicles. Rockford car owners tend to focus on the brake pads. In the automotive business, the pads, and shoes on drum brakes, are called the friction material. That’s because they provide the friction used to stop the vehicle. The pads are designed to be effective throughout their useful life – it’s not until they are worn so thin as to be out of auto makers’ specs that they lose their ability to stop.
The mechanical parts of the brakes have pistons and springs that get quite a workout while breaking. Over many miles around Illinois, these wear and get gummed up. They start to lose effectiveness gradually and could even fail – a scary possibility That’s why a regular brake inspection at Kurt’s Service Centers is important for your Domest Vehicles and your family’s safety. At Kurt’s Service Centers we can test the operation of the brakes and see if any parts need cleaning or replacing.
That leads us to brake fluid service at Kurt’s Service Centers. Some of the critical additives in the fluid that lubricate and clean the Domest Vehicles fluid system are depleted over time. That and moisture building up in the system reduce the performance of the brake fluid. A brake service at Kurt’s Service Centers cleans out deposits, water and dirt. Then the system is filled up with fresh fluid.
The tires are what connect the Domest Vehicles to the road. Stopping force all comes down to traction. The better the tires grip the road, the quicker you’ll stop.
This is especially important on wet Chicago area freeways and surface streets. Studies have shown that wet stopping distance increases significantly as tires wear down. Illinois car owners need to understand that they can have brakes that are operating at peak efficiency and yet still be in danger because their tires are worn out.
No matter how well they’re made, cars are bound to have problems with their design or manufacturing. When the government thinks a problem is really serious, they require the manufacturer to issue a recall notice to Rockford residents and to fix the car free of charge. The manufacturer then tries to contact everyone who owns that type of car in Rockford and elsewhere until the work is done.
If you have questions about vehicle recalls, give us a call: Kurt’s Service Centers 5730 Wansford Way Rockford, Illinois 61109 815-395-1900
These recalls always affect safety, so you need to take them seriously. It’s really easy to find out if a vehicle is being recalled. For links to government sites, look in the AutoNetTV website.
Recalls are pretty serious and don’t happen all that often. But sometimes cars have less serious problems that you still might want to know about. In this case, manufacturers issue what is known as a Technical Service Bulletin – or TSB. These bulletins tell service centers how to repair a problem that occurs frequently or is especially difficult.
The pros receive updated information through subscription plans, which are sometimes available in consumer versions too. You can buy access to these for an annual fee.
Whatever your source, pay attention to vehicle recalls to keep you and your passengers safe.
There’s a segment of the Loves Park population that’s not committed to proper vehicle maintenance. Mistaken perceptions have crept into the Illinois area over time. Many Loves Park motorists think the root lies in the fact that modern cars are so reliable. Reliability has improved dramatically in recent years. Quality surveys report fewer problems with new cars than ever before.
Back when cars spent more time in the repair shop, Loves Park drivers were more mindful of routine service. Now, it’s much easier to put it off.
Take tune-ups for example. In the days of mechanical ignition systems, an engine needed to be tuned-up every couple of years. The ignition points had to be replaced, spark plugs and coils replaced and the timing adjusted. If your engine was out of tune, you knew it. It ran poorly and got bad fuel economy.
Now, the ignition system in your Domest Vehicles is electronic and controlled by the engine management computer. Spark plugs rarely get fouled and will last for as much as a hundred thousand miles. So tune-ups used to force you in to Kurt’s Service Centers for service and while you were there you just took care of whatever else was on the list.
Also, in recent years, a large percentage of new cars in Loves Park have been leased. These folks plan on turning the car in after two or three years, so they haven’t focused on the maintenance that helps your car last longer.
Given all that, what’s the benefit to keeping up with factory scheduled maintenance? Well, your Domest Vehicles will perform better and return better fuel economy.
Those benefits pay for themselves as they go along. The big plus is that major repairs are prevented. And these aren’t just repairs that are a long ways off. Modern Domest Vehicles engines are far more sophisticated and have many parts that are in critical need of proper lubrication. Missing just one oil change can allow oil sludge to start forming. Sludge clogs small engine passages, robbing parts of the lubrication they need. An expensive failure could easily occur within two or three years.
And modern engines require more sophisticated fluids. Because of the different types of materials that are used to make auto parts, things like aluminum, plastics and steel, different types of additives are required to protect automotive components from corrosion. These additives deplete with time as well as with use.
For example, your Domest Vehicles engine coolant could actually become so corrosive that it eats holes in your radiator or other cooling system parts. Of course, that could lead to massive engine damage, all for the want of replacing the coolant on schedule.
Taking care of the little things now prevents big problems later. At Kurt’s Service Centers, we have been taking care of all those little things for 37 years. Your Domest Vehicles still needs to be taken care of – it’s just that some of those points of care have changed with automotive advancements. The need for proper maintenance in Loves Park did not go away.
Everyone in Rockford Illinois eventually replaces their tires, whether it’s because they’re worn out or they’re just looking for something different. There are so many great tire choices in Rockford Illinois, it can be difficult to sort them out. Let’s group the broad spectrum into several categories that will help in the selection process.
One category is often referred to as “summer tires”. Summer tires are designed to be driven on the road when temperatures are generally above 45 degrees. Their tread design is optimized for traction on dry roads in Rockford Illinois and they’re also able to effectively displace water on rainy roads.
Now the rubber compound gets a little hard and stiff as temperatures drop below 45 degrees as it occasionally does here in Rockford Illinois. And the tread which handles dry roads so well, can get packed with snow or mud – which provides very little traction in those conditions.
So if you live where its summer all year round, these tires will work well for you. If you like maximum performance in warm weather, but still live where it gets cold and snowy, you’ll want to change your summer tires for winter tires as the weather starts to change.
Summer tires can be purchased with an emphasis on handling performance, smooth ride or long life. Your Rockford Illinois tire professional at Kurt’s Service Centers can help you find the right tire for the way you drive.
As you can imagine, winter tires are designed to work very well in snow and ice. Their tread is designed with many channels and grooves that throw the snow out of the tread as the wheel turns. This means the tire is always be able to bite into the snow.
The rubber compound used in winter tires is specially formulated to be flexible at temperatures below 45 degrees. This maximizes cold weather traction. When it gets warmer, the softer rubber will wear faster on warm dry pavement than summer tires, so change them out once the weather has turned.
There’s a range of tires within the winter tire category. If you live where there’s a lot of snow and ice, look for the mountain and snowflake icon that signifies a severe snow rating. If you have milder winters and still want a performance component, they make a winter tire for you as well.
For many people, an all-season tire is the answer. You will give up some of the performance at the extreme ends of the summer tire/ winter tire spectrum, but you will find a long wearing tire that gives both good highway performance and winter traction on our Rockford Illinois roads.
Within the all-season category, there are many choices that you tire advisor can help you evaluate.
Outside of these three main categories, some people in Rockford with trucks and SUVs like a tire that is designed for both on-highway and off-highway use. They can handle the rocks and bumps off-road, but still work well on the street. Again, many options depending on the relative emphasis on on-road verses off-road.
You may want new wheels to go with your new tires – well, there are hundreds and hundreds of styles to choose from. That’s a matter of personal taste. If you want to change the size of your wheels and tires, do get some professional help.
The computers on your vehicle are programmed to the size of wheel and tire combination that comes from the factory. Tire size affects various computer controlled functions like anti-lock brakes, traction and stability controls, speedometer and odometer. Of course, you want these systems to work properly. The computers can be re-programmed for different tire sizes.
And if you want to increase the size of your wheels and tires, you’ll want so help to make sure they’ll fit in the wheel wells of your vehicle without rubbing during turns or over bumps.
Most Rockford and Cherry Valley motorists want to save on gas and seek our advice on improving fuel economy. At Kurt’s Service Centers, we are frequently asked, however, if it is really worth the extra effort. Just how much money can Cherry Valley motorists actually save?
The US government has a website dedicated to helping us use less fuel. It presents the cost savings in a way Cherry Valley motorists can relate to and is relevant for all vehicles. Let me give you an example: Having your Domest Vehicles engine properly tuned, can save up to 4%. If you’re paying three-fifty for a gallon of gas, you could save fourteen cents a gallon.
In today’s Kurt’s Service Centers article, we’re focusing on the things you can do to improve your Domest Vehiclesfuel efficiency driving around Illinois. We’ll tell you the potential savings per gallon of gas at three dollars and fifty cents, and we’ll show a chart that also shows the savings at three and four dollars.
DOLLARS PER GALLON
TUNE UP 4%
The next item is replacing a clogged engine air filter. Your engine needs enough air to burn fuel efficiently for the best fuel economy. A clean air filter means you get plenty of air. The fact that the air’s clean protects your engine. That can save you up to ten percent or thirty-five cents a gallon.
DOLLARS PER GALLON
AIR FILTER 10%
Fixing a faulty oxygen sensor can improve economy by up to forty percent. That’s a whopping dollar forty in savings per gallon. Bring your car to Kurt’s Service Centers and we’ll check your oxygen sensor.
DOLLARS PER GALLON
FAULTY O2 SENSOR 40%
Chances are that if your oxygen sensor is kaput your check engine light will come on. Now, there’s any number of things that could cause your check engine light to come on besides oxygen sensor problems. But if it’s on, get it checked out as soon as you can at Kurt’s Service Centers.
Here’s an easy one. Inflate your tires to the recommended pressure. That could save you three percent or eleven cents a gallon. Even a little drop in pressure will bring down your fuel efficiency, so check your tires every week.
DOLLARS PER GALLON
TIRE INFLATION 3%
Your Domest Vehicles manufacturer has recommended a specific weight of motor oil. The recommendation is based on engine design and will give you the best protection. Using a heavier weight could cost one to two percent in reduced fuel efficiency, or up to seven cents a gallon.
DOLLARS PER GALLON
RIGHT GRADE MOTOR OIL 2%
Here’s one that’s free: Take it easy when you drive. Aggressive driving (we’ve all seen this on Cherry Valley roads), rocketing away from stop lights, standing on the brakes, punching it for lane changes – really takes a toll on your fuel efficiency.
Cutting out aggressive driving around Cherry Valley can save five percent or eighteen cents a gallon. Now on the interstate it gets really costly: thirty three percent or a buck sixteen a gallon. Think about that – and leave a little earlier.
DOLLARS PER GALLON
DRIVE AGRESSIVELY – MIN. 5%
DRIVE AGGRESSIVELY – MAX. 33$
A related item is exceeding the speed limit. For example, if the speed limit is sixty miles per hour an additional five miles will cost seven percent or twenty-five cents a gallon. Fifteen miles per hour will cost you upwards of eighty cents a gallon.
DOLLARS PER GALLON
SPEED LIMIT – MIN. 7%
SPEED LIMIT – MAX. 23%
The last thing we’ll talk about is excess weight. Our Domest Vehicless tend to accumulate a lot of things and the weight adds up. Clear out the trunk and only haul stuff when you really need it. For every one hundred pounds you can save two percent or seven cents a gallon.
Sorry honey, your brother can’t come with. It’d cost an extra thirty cents a gallon.