Holiday Road Trip Survival Tips

Are you and your family planning to drive to a holiday get-together this year? Whether you’re heading to Grandma’s cottage or a favorite vacation spot to celebrate holidays with family or friends, Douglas Automotive Repair has simple tips to help make your drive a smooth one, so you can arrive at your destination safely and without incident.

  •  Ensure your vehicle is properly maintained. If maintenance is not up to date, have your car and tires inspected before you take a long drive.
  • Map your route in advance and be prepared for busy roads during the most popular times of the year. If possible, consider leaving earlier or later to avoid heavy traffic.
  • Keep anything of value in the trunk or covered storage area.
  • If you’re traveling with children, remind them not to talk to strangers. Go with them on bathroom breaks and give them whistles to be used only if the family gets separated.
  • Have roadside assistance contact information on hand, in case an incident occurs on the road.
  • In case of an emergency, keep a cell phone and charger with you at all times. AAA and many other companies offer smartphone applications that enable motorists to request help without making a phone call.

With a little prep, you can leave the road-trip stress at home and enjoy your holiday with family and friends.

Give Douglas Automotive Repair a call today to have your vehicle checked out before you hit the road.

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New Email Reminder Service

Douglas Automotive Repair is pleased to be able to offer our customers another way to help you keep track of your vehicle maintenance needs.  Not only do we offer you an owners website where you can access your vehicle records for the past two years, but we can also send email reminders for appointments, and other mileage based maintenance reminders.

Once a month, you’ll receive word of our current specials!

Take advantage of this service! It’s free and easy–just make sure we have your email.  If you haven’t signed up already, visit our website today, or just give us a call.


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Happy Thanksgiving!

As we approach the start of this year’s holiday season, we wanted to pause a moment to express our appreciation for your confidence and loyalty.  We are deeply thankful.

On behalf of all of us at Douglas Automotive Repair, we extend our best wishes for a happy, healthy and safe Thanksgiving Day as you celebrate with family and friends.

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Is Your Car Ready for Winter?

Have you given your car the tender, loving care it needs to survive the ravages of winter? Following our checklist can help ensure it’s prepared to take on the cold.

Antifreeze and Cooling System

  • Before temperatures drop significantly, drain your cooling system and add new antifreeze (draining the car radiator and refilling it with new coolant should be done at least once a year)
  • Check the owner’s manual for the proper coolant level
  • Make sure the reserve tank or overflow tank fluid levels are sufficient


  • Check tires weekly for proper tread and air pressure (you’ll find the recommended tire pressure inside the driver’s side door, door frame or in the owner’s manual)
  • Replace worn tires
  • All-weather tires are generally adequate for winter, but some areas require vehicles to have chains or snow tires with studs, so make sure to check local laws
  • If you live in an area prone to snow and ice, consider winter tires, which are designed to better grip icy pavement

Windshield Wipers

  • Replace worn windshield wipers, since sand and salt will be more prevalent after a snowstorm
  • Replace wiper fluid with a winter mixture and maintain the proper fluid level
  • Consider winter wiper blades to help cut through snow and ice


  • Check brake fluid levels and brake pads for wear and tear
  • Replace worn pads and rotors


  • Make sure battery cables and terminals are secure and free from corrosion
  • Test your battery by turning on the headlights before starting the engine – if they get brighter once you start the engine, schedule an appointment with us for further electrical inspection
  • If your battery is more than 3 years old, have it inspected

Heater and Defroster

  • Turn your heater and defroster on and off to make sure they are working correctly


  • Make sure all lights are clean and working properly
  • Clean lights off prior to driving in any type of precipitation
  • Replace foggy, hazy or damaged lens covers to improve visibility (we also offer headlight restoration–ask us about it).


  • Change the oil and filter at recommended intervals
  • Heavier oils thicken at lower temperatures and may not lubricate as well, so consider switching to “winter weight” or less viscous oil

Exhaust System

  • Replace or repair leaks and crimped pipes to help keep carbon monoxide out of the passenger compartment

Fuel and Air Filters

  • Replace and keep water out of the system by using additives
  • To keep moisture in the gas line from freezing and for easier cold-weather starts, keep at least a half tank of gas in the tank


  • Prevent road salt from damaging your car’s paint by washing your vehicle periodically
  • Apply a fresh coat of wax to avoid corrosion
  • For better visibility, clear snow and ice from your car’s hood, roof, head and taillights before driving
  • Consider winter floor mats to protect your car’s carpeting

Along with these maintenance tips, make sure your vehicle has a winter emergency kit before you hit the road this winter.

Is your car ready for winter?  Give Douglas Automotive Repair a call today!

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Happy Halloween!

Please remember to drive slowly through your neighborhoods, and be extra vigilant entering or exiting driveways while the ghouls and goblins are collecting their goodies!

Douglas Automotive Repair is wishing everyone a safe and fun evening with lots of treats!

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Axles – What Do They Do?

The axle assemblies in your vehicle transfer power out to the drive wheels. On a rear-wheel drive vehicle, there is an axle shaft that goes from the differential in the center of the axle to each rear wheels. On a front-wheel drive vehicle, the axle shafts go from the transmission to each front-wheel. All-wheel drive vehicles have axle shafts connected to all four wheels.

Axles assemblies are pretty tough parts: they transfer torque from the engine to the wheels to move the vehicle. Tough as they are, they are still subject to normal wear and tear. The axle shafts are in a sealed housing with lubricant that protects the axle shaft. When there is a leak anywhere in the axle assembly, lubricant gets out and dirt, water and other contaminants can get in. This can greatly accelerate axle wear. If an axle assembly fails, you’re not going anywhere.

A worn or damaged axle assembly on the front will make a clunking sound during low speed turns – often just when turning one way. A worn rear axle also makes noise but may be more difficult for the driver to hear. Also, if you see any oily leaks around your wheels, have them checked out.

If you have a bad axle assembly, your Douglas Automotive Repair technician can make the repair. It is often more cost effective to replace an axle assembly than it is to take it apart and rebuilt it.

If you are hearing strange sounds coming from your front or rear wheel area, have us inspect your vehicle. We can determine if it is an axle problem or perhaps a worn steering, suspension or brake component.

Give us a call today!

#automotive #carrepair #mechanic #localshop

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Power Brake Preventive Maintenance

How do they work? Basically, the power brake system helps you provide braking power so that you don’t have to do all the work with your brake pedal.

The brakes themselves are applied at the wheel using hydraulic pressure. When we step on the brake pedal, we create pressure in the power booster that’s multiplied by vacuum from the engine. The resulting pressure pushes brake fluid through the master cylinder into tubes and hoses that run to the brake at each wheel.

When there’s a problem, it’s usually a fluid leak somewhere along the line. It could be at a fitting or a hose, or even an internal leak in the master cylinder. A leak gives the pressurized fluid somewhere to go other than to the brakes, so stopping power is hurt. Lose enough fluid and you can’t stop at all. Of course that’s extremely dangerous.

If you notice any decrease in stopping power or if your pedal seems mushy, you could have a problem. There are some preventive maintenance items for the power brake system that will help them last longer.

Obviously you’d want to make sure your brake fluid is filled to the recommended level. Low fluid in the master cylinder could indicate a leak or worn brake material. Master cylinder leaks are usually due to it wearing out, but leaks in the brake lines and connectors can be minimized by replacing the brake fluid from time to time. Additives in brake fluid protect against corrosion that can damage brake components.

Brake fluid also attracts moisture which can lead to rust — not a good thing for expensive anti-lock brake components. Also, significant amounts of water in the brake fluid can affect stopping power because the water has a much lower boiling point than brake fluid. In the high temperature environment of the brake system, the water can vaporize, and steam doesn’t do a very good job of providing hydraulic pressure.

A final word — make sure you use the recommended type of brake fluid. There are several kinds, and using the wrong one can lead to total brake failure.

Douglas Automotive Repair, Inc. can help you. Just give us a call at 630.904.6300 with your brake questions or to schedule an inspection.

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