Author Archives: Express Auto

How Do I Fix My Car Air Conditioner?

A Car Air Conditioner

Car AC Repair

This time of the year, summer, here in the Schaumburg, Illinois area, the temperatures get hot and miserable, especially when your car has been shut up all day, parked in the sun. Not to be any surprise this is the time of year when mechanic shops are doing the most car air conditioning repair services in Schaumburg, IL. Get cooled off today by calling 847-895-9131.

Why is my car AC not cooling?

This is a commonly asked question when a customer brings their car to a shop. And the answer to that can be one of several things, including: 

  • Freon Leaked: This is the chemical that cools the warm air coming into the engine before it blows back into the cabin. A freon leak can happen from a damaged hose, a loose connection, or a loose gasket. 
  • Needs Recharging: A common question customers ask a car air conditioning repair service tech is, “Why is my AC blowing but not cooling barely blowing cold air?”. Over time, all car air conditioning systems will lose some of the freon (refrigerant). Having your car’s air conditioning system inspected each year before summer arrives is recommended.
  • The Blend Air Door: As a car runs, warm air flows over the engine and returns through the vents. Switching the air conditioning to ‘on’ should cool the air through the blend air door before it comes through the vents. This is an easy and fast car air conditioning repair service. 
  • Compressor Isn’t Engaging: The compressor is the heart of the air conditioning system. It compresses the freon which expands later and gets cold. The air then blows across the freon-filled metal and cools the cabin of your car. If the compressor isn’t working, the air doesn’t get cold. This is a more technical car air conditioning repair service. 
  • The Condenser: This component turns the freon gas into liquid and if it is blocked or damaged, that can’t happen. This is also a more technical car air conditioning repair service that should be done by a professional. 
  • Electrical Issues: Your car’s air conditioning may not be cooling because of an electrical issue, which needs to be diagnosed by a professional car air conditioning repair service center. 

When it comes to Electric Vehicles, if the air conditioner is not blowing cold usually means the engine needs power. If you’re stopped at a light or in traffic, the air conditioning will likely quit cooling. If you’re not comfortable that something is wrong, schedule a car air conditioning repair service appointment. 

What makes your AC cold in your car?

It takes all of the components we listed above to make your car air conditioner work correctly. From the freon and all the gaskets and seals to the compressor and condenser. If any of these are malfunctioning, your car’s air conditioning will not work properly.

How do I know if my AC compressor is bad?

The first thing that will tell you that the compressor isn’t working right, is you’re not getting cold air through the vents. There are indications that the compressor, and the entire system, need a professional car air conditioning repair service such as: 

  • Loud noises
  • Hot air
  • No airflow
  • Cooling is uneven
  • An electrical burning smell

What to do when your car AC is blowing hot air?

Turn the system off and let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour. Then turn it back on and if it still isn’t blowing cold air, schedule an appointment for a car air conditioning repair service. Do not use the system until has been checked by a technician because you could burn the system out completely. 

How much does it cost to replace an AC compressor in a car?

This can vary from car to car and car air conditioning repair service company. Some will have a flat rate and others charge by the hour. If you’re not in urgent need of repaired air conditioning you can check pricing with several locations. 

How often should car AC be recharged?

Unless the area where you live goes through a long sweltering summer, the freon in most cars can last up to 3 years or longer. If you find that you’re getting the freon recharged every year, the car air conditioning repair service technician may recommend replacing the entire system. 

A Car's Dashboard

In Conclusion

Use the window shades properly that are available at your local auto parts store. These keep the interior of the car cooler, which will help it cool down when you get in your car. They also keep the vents covered so they cool down faster as well.  During the winter, turn the air conditioner on at least once a month to keep the gaskets and seals pliable. 

Typically, in the Schaumburg, Illinois area, having your car’s air conditioning inspected in May is recommended. This is before the summer heat waves start and will allow you time to have it repaired if necessary. Schedule a repair time by calling 847-895-9131.

Is it OK to drive with the service 4WD light on?

Four-Wheel Drive Vehicle

Four-Wheel Drive Service

There was a time that four-wheel drive vehicles were only for areas where the terrain was too rugged for the average vehicle. But today, from the southern part of the country all the way to Canada and beyond, four-wheel driving has become a favorite pastime. And that includes here in the Schaumburg, Illinois area! And that has created a need for professional four-wheel drive service centers and mechanics in Schaumburg, IL. If your four-wheel drive light is on, give us a call at 847-895-9131.

How is a four-wheel drive service different from everyday vehicle service? 

Today, vehicles are available in 2-WD, 4-WD, or AWD. And when it comes to maintenance and service, each of these has its own set of issues and repairs. As the names would suggest, a 2-WD (two-wheel drive) versus a 4-WD (four-wheel drive) versus an AWD (all-wheel drive), have parts that are concentrated on that ‘drive’ feature and can determine if your vehicle needs four-wheel drive service. For those that aren’t as informed on the differences:

  • 2-WD means the vehicle is motivated by only 2 wheels, typically the rear, but some cars are ‘front wheel drive’, which takes us to a different topic altogether! 
  • 4-WD means the vehicle is motivated by all four wheels turning. 
  • AWD means that all 4 wheels motivate the vehicle. 

With 4WD vehicle popularity increasing, before you make that investment, you need to be aware of certain things, like gas mileage. Because the engine will be powering all four wheels, it will use more gasoline.  And when it comes to needing four-wheel drive service, it gets more expensive because there are more moving parts. Four-wheel drive service is frequently for the following: 

  • Front differential
  • Rear differential
  • Locking hub
  • Self-leveling system

What does it mean when it says service four-wheel drive?

The 4-WD vehicles today being electronically controlled means there is a computer that tells you when something is wrong. If the “Service 4WD System” light is illuminated, there is a problem somewhere within the 4WD system, and should be inspected by a professional four-wheel drive service technician. 

Can the 4-wheel drive stop working? 

Today’s 4-wheel vehicles are controlled electronically, so they don’t just quit working without letting you know that you need four-wheel drive service. However, that doesn’t mean it won’t quit working without notice (or maybe you ignored the “Service 4WD System” message that is illuminated on the dashboard). Some common problems that could stop your 4-wheeling are: 

  • Shift Solenoid: There is a solenoid at the transfer case that makes the vehicle shift in and out of the 4-wheel drive. If that solenoid fails, the vehicle isn’t going to shift, leaving you stuck with only 2 wheels working. When this happens, the solenoid needs to be replaced, then having a professional four-wheel drive service technician inspect the entire system is recommended.
  • Fuse/Wiring: If there is an interruption of the electrical current between the switch and the solenoid, the solenoid can’t shift and isn’t receiving any driver input. Most four-wheel drive service technicians find that a fuse needs to be replaced, and sometimes, the wiring is the problem. 
  • Faulty Switch: If the switch is bad, the current from the battery can’t flow to the solenoid, and the transfer case can’t engage the four-wheel-drive function. The vehicle needs a four-wheel drive service of replacing the switch to get the vehicle back on the road. 

How often should you service 4-wheel drive?

A 4WD vehicle has more fluid than other vehicles, and that fluid should be checked on a regular basis. For instance, professional four-wheel drive service centers recommend the differential fluid be checked no less frequently than every 36,000 miles. But depending on how much you use the 4WD for actual four-wheeling, you may need to have it changed every 15,000 miles. 

By having your 4WD vehicle checked by a professional four-wheel drive service center, they will check all the various fluid levels, gaskets, seals, and more.  What is included in a professional four-wheel drive service appointment? This service should include no less than the following: 

  • Drain the Transfer Case and refill it with fresh, clean fluid.
  • Drain the Front Differential and refill it with fresh, clean fluid.
  • Drain the Rear Differential and refill it with fresh, clean fluid.

Is all-wheel drive service necessary?

Yes, just like any 2WD or AWD vehicle, regular maintenance is just important for a 4WD vehicle, perhaps even more so because of the additional performance the vehicle provides. Having your 2WD car serviced for oil changes and tire rotations is important, and so is regular four-wheel drive service.

A Vehicle in Four-Wheel Drive

At The Road’s End

Not all 4WD vehicles are in 4WD mode constantly. It is more common to either push a button inside the vehicle that puts it in 4WD mode. But what happens if you don’t use your 4-wheel drive? If you go for extended periods of not using the 4WD mode, or maybe not at all, the seals will dry out and need to be replaced. So, whether you go four-wheeling or not, have your four-wheel drive serviced on a regular basis and every now & then, go four-wheeling to keep the system lubricated! If you need four-wheel drive service in Schaumburg, IL, give us a call at 847-895-9131.

What To Do With Deployed Airbags

A Motorist With Deployed Airbags

What to do with deployed airbags

When states first enacted mandatory car seats and seat belts, it was an adjustment for most of us. And once we got past the frustration of being told what to do, again, we come to understand it was for our safety. And so, this safety concern continues with manufacturers required to install air bags and car owners are required to keep them.

How do I get rid of air bags?

The air bag installed on the steering wheel is a part of the steering wheel assembly. Typically, the airbag is attached to a fuse that will need to be disconnected before removing the air bag in a safe manner. For most cars, it can be done within an hour if you have the right tools. 

The air bag removal process can vary with each make, model, and year of a car. The basics, once you have disconnected the battery and the fuse, is to turn the steering wheel to the left for 180 degrees. This should put the other side of the steering wheel on top. Next, position a flathead screwdriver on the right into the hole. This should pop the air bag out where you can grab and pull it out. 

What happens if you remove an airbag?

The first thing you’ll notice when you disconnect or remove an air bag, the dashboard air bag light will illuminate. Next, you should know that any vehicle that falls within the State of Illinois safety inspection process will fail the inspection. 

It is a federal law that car manufacturers must install air bags in any vehicle made after 1999. Whether your car will pass the state’s inspection will be determined if the inspector checks that the air bag is in place and in working order. 

At what speed of impact do airbags deploy?

According to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), you will need to reach speeds between eight and fourteen miles per hour before your air bags will deploy upon impact. 

However, the car you’re in doesn’t have to be moving for air bags to deploy. If you’re sitting still in a running car and you’re hit by another vehicle traveling between sixteen and twenty-eight miles per hour, the air bags will deploy. If your car engine isn’t on and you’re hit by another vehicle, the air bags won’t deploy. 

How do I start my car after airbags deploy?

Every car manufacturer has implemented different methods to prevent a car from starting once it has been involved in an accident that caused the air bags to deploy. This is done by programming certain systems automatically disconnects, like the battery, fuel pump, or starter, and sometimes the fuses blow. 

The things that you may notice after an impact that caused the air bags to deploy include: 

  • The engine won’t start
  • Ignition turns but there is no power to anything
  • Ignition doesn’t turn on.
  • Warning lights on the instrument cluster illuminate
  • The SRS malfunction light on
  • The EBS malfunction warning on
  • Fault code for the Engine Control Module engages

Things that you may be able to bypass to get your car started again: 

  • Check the fuse block and replace any blown fuses
  • Check the battery
  • Disconnect the antitheft system

Can you fix airbags once deployed, or is a car totaled if airbags deploy?

No, deployed air bags does not mean your vehicle has to be totaled. But the air bags cannot be repaired, they will need to be replaced. If the cost of replacing the air bags is more than the value of the car, it is up to your insurance company to declare the car a total loss. 

Can I cut off deployed airbags?

If the air bags have been deployed, they cannot be reused, so removing them is the only option. It is best to have an authorized repair facility do the removal, but if you’re needing to drive the car, you can cut them out using a knife or scissors. Be prepared to clean up the power that comes out of the deployed air bags. 

Is a car worth fixing if the airbags deploy?

It depends on the value of your car.  Replacing air bags is expensive, but your car may have a high value. For example, a 2022 Mercedes Benz would be well worth paying to have repaired and the air bags replaced. However, a 1999 Chevy may not be worth as much as it cost to replace the air bags. 

A Driver With a Deployed Airbag

Ending With a Frequently Asked Question

Are airbags covered under insurance? If the accident isn’t your fault and the insurance company doesn’t total your car, your policy (or the at-fault driver) insurance will pay for the air bag to be replaced, if you have collision coverage in your policy covering the car. If the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance, it will be up to your insurance company how to pursue the matter, like suing the other driver.

Are you looking to replace deployed airbags in Schaumburg, IL? Schedule an appointment with Express Auto Repair & Emissions by calling 847-895-9131.

Is it Worth it to Repair an Engine?

car service, repair, maintenance and people concept - auto mechanic man with lamp working at workshop


Buying a car and keeping it insured are expenses we expect and can budget. But those car engine repairs are an expense that is typically unexpected.  So, can engines be repaired? Maybe, maybe not. 

If your car engine troubles, there may be car engine repair options, depending on the location and severity of the damage. If the engine damage is contained to a part or specific system, repairs may be possible. Like replacing the fan belt or a hose. 

If the problem is with a larger component or system, like the radiator or transmission, a car engine repair may cost more than the car is worth. This is a decision you’ll need to make after talking to a mechanic that knows how to repair a car engine.

What parts are in the engine of a car?

Under the hood of a car are over 30 components and parts that make a car run. Too many to list in this article, but the 5 biggest components are: 

  • The Engine Block
  • Camshaft
  • Crankshaft
  • Cylinder Head
  • Pistons

Any car engine repair needed for these components is when the decision if repair is a viable possibility. 

What is a major engine repair?

Major car engine repair is repairing or replacing the engines, power train, or transmission. This can involve all or part of the following: 

Replacing damaged parts using OEM or equivalent parts, new or refurbished such as: 

  • Piston rings
  • Bearings
  • Gaskets
  • Seals
  • Camshafts
  • Crankshafts
  • Pistons

Major car engine repairs often include reconditioning internal surfaces like the cylinders and/or the cylinder head to give the piston rings a proper seal. A proper seal is needed for how car engines work with the following process: 

  • Cars that have a gasoline engine will have a 4-stroke combustion cycle that converts the gasoline and makes the engine run and puts the car into motion.  Internally the engine has pistons that are connected to the crankshaft with a rod. When the crankshaft revolves, it goes through a cycle of the following steps: 
  • The piston begins at the top and the intake valve opens. This allows the piston to move down, and this allows the engine to take in air and gas in the cylinders, aka, the intake stroke. Then the piston moves up and compresses the gas/air mixture and that compression explodes more power. 
  • As the piston stroke reaches the top, the spark plug sparks and ignites the gas, which charges the cylinder to explode, pushing the piston down. After the piston reaches the bottom, the exhaust valve opens and the exhaust escapes through the tailpipe. 
Auto mechanic checking car battery voltage

How much does it cost to repair a car engine?

Car engine repair costs can vary from the make and model of the car, and the size of the engine. The biggest factor that will determine the price is the amount and type of car engine repair needed. Replacing a belt or hose is less expensive than replacing a piston or repairing a cylinder.

Is it better to repair or replace an engine?

Replacing a car engine is sometimes a more affordable option compared to a car engine repair. Factors to consider include: 

  • Warranty coverage: If the car is new enough, the engine may be covered by a manufacturer’s warranty. 
  • Insurance coverage: If you have engine insurance, replacing the engine may be the better option, depending on the deductible. 
  • The Cost:  If you don’t have engine insurance or a warranty, car engine repair may be the better option within financial limits. If the car engine repairs are outrageous, buying a new car may be the better option.

If the car has a sentimental value, car engine repair costs may not even be an issue for you. Examples would be if it is your first car and you want to keep it, or if the car belonged to a family member and the car should stay in the family. 

Does car insurance cover engine replacement?

If you have full coverage on your auto insurance and have an accident that damages or destroys the engine, then yes, insurance will pay for car engine repair or replacement, if the accident is your fault. If the accident isn’t your fault and the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance, your auto insurance will cover car engine repair or replacement. 

Lights, Camera, Action? 

Why is my service engine soon light on? There are several things that this could indicate, which are usually more involved than a routine car engine repair or service. It can be a system failure involving the emission system, fuel system, ignition system, or transmission. 

When this light comes on, pull over and check the gas cap. If it is not secure or has gone bad, this can cause the check engine light to illuminate. After securing or replacing the gas cap, if the check engine light is still illuminated, take your car to your trusted garage, and have the mechanic inspect the engine and transmission. It may be low on oil or have some other issue. 

Express Auto Repair & Emissions can help you with your car engine repair in Schaumburg, IL. Call 847-895-9131 for a consulatation.

What are the signs of bad brakes?

bad brakes after being removed from a vehicle

Keep Your Brakes in Shape

If there is anything you’re going to skimp on with your car, brake repair is not the one to choose! Running out of gas or needing to jump your battery can be annoying. Not having any brakes is downright dangerous and scary! Just as important as having good tires and air pressure on the ground, you want to make sure your brakes are in good working order too. 

How can you tell you need new brakes?

The brakes on your car are essential for your and your passengers’ safety. They will often work for thousands of miles without any problems. And that can be a problem. They say the squeaking wheel gets oiled. That same thing can be said of brakes. The noisy, malfunctioning brakes need brake repair! 

Most of the time, your car brakes are quietly doing their job. So, what kind of sounds will tell you that you should take your car in for a brake repair job? Here are some tell-tale sounds you should be listening for: 

  • Squeaking: If you’re hearing a high-pitch squeak as you apply your brakes, it is probably because the brake pads are wearing thin. Brakes today have indicators built-in on brake pads that make shrill, squeaking sounds at a certain point. This is your notice that you need either a brake inspection or a brake repair. 
  • Grinding: Okay, what if you can’t get your car in the shop when that squeaking sound starts, what happens? You’ll start to hear a grinding, growling sound. What is the grinding noise when I brake? The brake pads have worn down further. If you wait much longer to get a brake repair job, the caliper and rotors will get damaged, and that brake repair job is going to be expensive! 
  • Responsiveness Reduced: Not only will brakes that are wearing out begin making noise, they also won’t be as responsive, meaning they aren’t going to stop as quickly as they have been. If you’ve noticed you’re having to start stopping sooner than before, or you’re pressing harder on the brake pedal, you need a brake repair service pronto! It may not be the brake pads, it could be the hydraulic lines where the brake fluid flows, or your car could be low on brake fluid. Regardless, if they aren’t working as they should, have them checked. 
  • Pulling: If your brakes are pulling to one side when you press on them, this is an indicator that you need to have them checked. Typically, this will be because the brake pads on one side of your car have worn differently than the other side. It could be the hydraulic lines too. Regardless of the reason, a brake inspection is needed now. 
  • Vibrations: A car will vibrate from time to time as the pistons move up and down rapidly inside the engine. That is not a bad vibration. Regarding the brakes on your car, the vibration is not good. It could be as simple as the front-end needing an alignment, or the tires needing to be balanced. It can also be worn-out pads or rotors. Take your car to get a brake inspection. 

Why is my car shaking when I brake?

As you drive your car, the brake pads accumulate dirt, dust, oil, and more and this can cause the brakes to vibrate when the pedal is pressed. If the rotors are wearing out or the pads are getting thin, excessive heat builds up and warps the rotors, resulting in vibration. A brake job will stop this shaking as the pads are replaced, possibly the rotors. 

How long do brakes typically last?

The average lifespan is 30,000 miles, and with each oil change brake pads are inspected to check for wear.

It isn’t possible to put an exact number on the lifespan of brakes. The average will typically be from 25,000 up to 65,000 miles, with some exceptions up to 80,000 miles. With proper maintenance and as little abuse as possible, 40,000 miles would be the number if you were to give an exact number.

For a safe and legal break job, you must either resurface or replace brake rotors along with pads at the same time. Nowadays most manufacturers only allow 1.5 millimeters to 2 millimeters from new until the replacement of rotors is required. Also, when you resurface the rotors, on average it takes around 15 feet more to stop. With how many people are driving distracted, 15 feet can be the difference between hitting somebody or not, if you have to stop quickly or unexpectedly. This is why we only replace the rotors with the pads at every brake job.

What causes brakes to malfunction?

The three most common issues for malfunctioning brakes are: 

  • Loss of brake fluid. Each time you push on the brake pedal, fluid transfers to the brake disks. If a leak develops in the lines or at the disk, your brakes will malfunction. 
  • The brake cylinder fails. The brake cylinder is a crucial part of a car’s braking system. This is where the brake fluid gets compressed; if the cylinder is bad, your brakes won’t stop. 
  • The brake booster goes bad. This part of the brake system takes the force pressing on the pedal generates and amplifies it. When the brake booster goes bad, the force you push onto the pedal will not produce.

Should you replace all your brake pads at once?

You don’t need to replace all brake pads at once, just the wheels that are bad, two at a time.

What are the symptoms of a bad brake line?

The brake lines are the pipe for the brake system. They are what helps works the hydraulic pressure, taking brake fluid from the master cylinder and sending it to the wheels. Most brake lines are steel because of the high pressure they are put under. There are three things that are telling you that your car needs a brake repair job:

  • Brake fluid leaking: This is the common indicator your brakes are going out. Over time, even though they are made from steel, they can get damaged and wear out, getting a small hole in them and start leaking. A professional brake repair job is needed. 
  • Warning Light: Like the check engine light, never ignore the brake warning light. This is telling you that something is right with the braking system, and you need to get your car to a brake repair shop quickly. 
  • Corrosion: When your brake lines become corroded, this usually means the lines are getting weak and starting to leak or it could be from exposure to the elements. Either way, your brakes need to be inspected. 

What happens when a brake caliper goes bad?

When brake calipers go bad, they will either freeze up or stick. When this happens, you’ll start hearing noises from the damaged part. Ignore getting a brake repair job for too long, the brakes could lock up and keep the wheels from turning. 

What happens if your brake rotors are bad?

When the brake rotors go bad, it can get dangerous driving. Not only is braking delayed, but the handling is affected and that can cause an accident. Once you have a brake repair where the rotors are replaced, your car will handle better. 

close-up of brakes being repaired

In Closing

The brake system on a car requires regular routine maintenance and service. Each year as you get your car inspected, they will also inspect the brakes. As the driver, if you notice any of the things we’ve discussed, take your car to a shop as soon as possible for a professional brake repair job.

How often do you need a brake job?

close-up of a driver's shoe on the brakes

How often do you need a brake job?

While we’re concerned about what makes our vehicle go, we also need to think about stopping too. The motor, transmission, wheels, and tires, and all the other components that keep a vehicle are running and moving are important, and so are the brakes. That’s why when the brakes go bad, a brake job becomes a necessity. 

How do you know when your brakes are bad?

A vehicle with bad brakes is dangerous and it can get expensive if not addressed immediately. Some indications that your vehicle needs a brake job are: 

  • Brakes Pads: 

The brakes pads on a vehicle press next to a rotor on the front wheels. This creates the resistance that makes your vehicle stop. Over time, they begin to thin, and they get to a point where they can’t make the friction needed to stop the vehicle. A visual inspection can be done by looking at the spokes of the two front wheels. If you see a thin pad or nothing but metal, it is time for a professional brake job. 

  • Squealing Sounds: 

Newer vehicles today have a small metal piece that will make an irritating sound as brake pads get thin. Once you hear that irritating, shrill screech while depressing the brake pedal, it is time to schedule a brake job.

  • Poor Performance:

If the brakes on your vehicle aren’t working well, take the vehicle in for a brake inspection. This could be what they call a “soft” pedal, meaning that as you press on the brake you aren’t feeling it stopping the vehicle, requiring you to press harder. If the brake pedal is going all the way to the floor before it stops, your vehicle definitely needs a professional brake job. 

  • Vibration

When you press on the brake pedal and you feel it vibrating, this is the brakes telling you that it is time for a brake inspection and a possible brake job. Sometimes the problem is deformed rotors, in which case “turning” them to even them out is all they need. However, by the time this kind of work is needed, a complete brake job may be the better option. 

  • Driveway Puddles

Finding small puddles under your car can mean many things such as a leaking radiator, a leaking transmission, or an oil leak. It can also mean your car has a brake fluid leak, as it can be another sign of a leaking brake line. Can you repair a broken brake line? Yes, taking your vehicle immediately to a professional mechanic who knows how to repair a brake line is recommended. It is often safer with a broken brake line to have them come to collect your vehicle with a town truck instead of risking driving the vehicle. 

  • Pulling

If you feel your car going to one side or the other as you press on the brakes, you need to have your brakes inspected right away. 

  • Metallic Sounds

If your vehicle’s brakes make grinding metal sounds when you press on them you need a brake job now. This indicates they have worn through the brake pads, and if you don’t get them replaced soon, your vehicle is going to need even more extensive brake repairs.

  • Warning Lights

When the anti-lock brake light or “ABS” comes on and stays on, you have a brake problem that needs immediate attention. It may only need brake fluid added, but it should not be ignored. If a “BRAKE!” light comes on, it could be that the emergency brake is still engaged. If both lights are on, call your mechanic to get your vehicle in for a brake job. 

When is brake pad replacement needed?

The average lifespan is 30,000 miles, and with each oil change brake pads are inspected to check for wear.

Keep in mind that your driving habits will affect this, but the average brake life can be as short as 25,000 and up to 80,000 miles. Other factors that determine this are the quality of the brake pads and rotors. An average lifespan is around 40,000 miles.

For a safe and legal break job, you must either resurface or replace brake rotors along with pads at the same time. Nowadays most manufacturers only allow 1.5 millimeters to 2 millimeters from new until the replacement of rotors is required. Also, when you resurface the rotors, on average it takes around 15 feet more to stop. With how many people are driving distracted, 15 feet can be the difference between hitting somebody or not, if you have to stop quickly or unexpectedly. This is why we only replace the rotors with the pads at every brake job.

Can you repair a brake master cylinder?

The master cylinder is one of the most common brake job repairs needed. Over time, these begin to leak around the seal, and most of the time, they can be rebuilt. Each make and model of a car can be different in this regard and depending on how old the master cylinder is and how damaged it is, replacing the master cylinder may be required. 

Can you repair brake hoses?

Brake hoses usually require total replacement rather than a simple brake job when you are having problems with them. They become brittle with time, and repairing them isn’t possible. 

How long does it take to do a full brake job?

Depending on the make and model of the vehicle, a brake inspection will take between thirty minutes to an hour. This will include inspecting the brake pads, rotors, and other components of the brake system. A brake job can take between forty-five minutes to an hour unless the brakes are severely worn and damaged. 

close-up of mechanic working on car brake pads

Coming To A Halt 

So, how much does a brake job cost? It can vary from make and model to make and model; pads, and rotors only start at $345 per axel, and
new calipers start at $175 each. With higher-end cars, the brake job could cost up to $1,000 or more. With that expense, you may be asking how many miles should a brake job last? Your driving habits will affect this, but the average brake life can be as short as 25,000 and up to 80,000 miles. Other factors that determine this are the quality of the brake pads and rotors. An average lifespan is around 40,000 miles.

Will a clogged heater core cause overheating?

close-up of car heater knob

What is the Heater Core?

With fall coming in fast and winter already knocking on the door, you want to make sure your home heating system is in working order right? What about your vehicle’s heating system? It won’t hurt to have it checked out too, cause if your vehicle has a clogged heater core, you are going to have one cold ride to work. 

What is the heater core and why is it so important for helping your vehicle stay warm inside? Let’s review how the heater core works:   

A heater core is like a small radiator, with the key difference being it diverts the coolant in the motor from the cooling system and heats the interior of the vehicle. As the engine runs and warms up the coolant (aka antifreeze), the water pump sends it through the cooling system. It is passed through the main radiator to keep the engine from reaching a boiling point and overheating.

When the heater inside the car is turned on, a valve opens, allowing that heated coolant to flow to and through the heater core. There, a door opens, and the air is directed through the heated heater core. As the coolant reaches 200 degrees, it delivers heat to the vehicle’s interior. Depending on where you have the controls placed, it warms the feet or defrosts the windshield. If there is a clogged heater core, that heat won’t reach your feet or windshield. 

What are the symptoms of a clogged heater core?

If there isn’t warm air coming into your vehicle’s cabin, that would be a possible symptom you have a clogged heater core. However, that isn’t the only indicator you have a clogged heater core. Other indicators would be: 

  • Airflow from the vents is weak or there is no airflow
  • Airflow is cold coming from the vents
  • The floorboard is damp
  • There is the smell of coolant (antifreeze) inside the cabin

Where there is an obvious difference in airflow, it can be the heater core fins are bent or there is a clogged heater core restricting the airflow. The smell of coolant or a wet floorboard usually means the heater core is leaking or there is a hole either in the heater core or a hose connected to the heater core. At this point, the only remedy is to replace the heater core. 

How Do I Know When to Replace a Heater Core?

What happens when a heater core goes out? When the heater core is bad, the coolant isn’t running through the engine as it should, keeping it cool, so a lot of expensive and extensive damage to the engine can happen. So, if you notice any of the following, this could indicate your vehicle has a clogged heater core, or the radiator could have a problem:  

1. Coolant Fluid Leaking Into Floorboard

When there is fluid dripping down from behind the dashboard, that is the worst! Your floorboard is wet, and it smells inside your vehicle.

2. Heating System Not Working 

A broken or clogged heater core will keep the engine heat from transferring to the vehicle heating system to warm the interior. You can diagnose this problem yourself by driving for 20 minutes, then turning the heating system on inside the vehicle.  If the interior doesn’t start getting heat immediately, then you probably have a clogged heater core. 

3. Engine Losing Coolant

A leaking heater core or a  partially blocked heater core will affect the engine’s cooling system. A leaking heater core means the engine isn’t getting the coolant it needs either. Check the radiator for coolant level and if it is low, then there is a leak somewhere in the engine or heating system.

4. Condensation and Fogged Windows 

If there is a clogged heater core, it can’t get hot, and then only cold air will blow through the vents.  If the windows get fogged and steamed up and you can’t get the defroster to clear them, it is a typical indicator of a clogged heater core. If the windows have an excessive amount of condensation, feel the carpeting, and if it is damp the vehicle’s heater core is probably leaking. 

5. Overheated Engine 

While your vehicle’s heating system needs coolant to warm the interior, the engine needs coolant to keep it from overheating. If there is a clogged heater core, it will keep the coolant from flowing through the engine, causing it to overheat.        

How do you unclog a heater core?

There are several maintenance steps your vehicle needs, including flushing the radiator, transmission, and the heater core. The radiator and transmission flushing should be done by a professional mechanic.  The heater core is something you can do yourself, even with minimal mechanical inclination: 

  • Locate the Heater Core: This is found on the vehicle’s firewall and will have two hoses – an inlet and an outlet.  Trace those to the engine.
  • Disconnect the Heater Hoses: Place a bucket under the car then disconnect those hoses from the vehicle’s firewall. There are usually clamps holding them in place that can be removed by squeezing with pliers or loosening screws. Once you disconnect these hoses, you should have water pouring into the bucket. If not, your vehicle either doesn’t have enough coolant and water or you have a clogged heater core. 
  • Apply the Pressure: Connect an air compressor to the outlet house, seal it up with duct tape, and turn the compressor on. Let this “pressurize” the heater core for 10 minutes, and then turn the compressor off. Now, let the system drain into the bucket. 
  • The Water Hose: After everything is drained thoroughly, attach a water hose in the same manner as the air compressor. Turn the water on and it let run through the system 10 to 20 minutes, or maybe longer if your system is dirty. You’ll know when the water starts coming out clear. Now, using the air compressor, blow off the excess water.
  • Reconnect the Hoses: With the flush and pressurizing completed, reconnect the heater hoses using the same clamps and one additional clamp on each for security. 
  • Refill the Coolant: Now add new coolant back into the heater core system through the radiator – a 50:50 ratio of antifreeze and water is recommended. You will need to add some, start the car, and let the fluid get into the system, then add some more. This will ‘burp’ the system, getting all the air out. 

Will a clogged heater core leak?

Yes, and of all the components a vehicle has under the hood and behind the dash, this is the one that will leak inside your car the most.

Can the heater core affect air conditioning?

Not usually – the air conditioning and the heating are two different systems. Your vehicle’s heater relies on the coolant being heated by the engine. The air conditioning, however, uses its own refrigerant. 

mechanic inspecting vehicle interior

In Closing

During the winter, while the heater core may seem small, it is a powerful component to your comfort and the operation of your vehicle.  Taking your car in now for “winterizing” is being proactive before winter arrives. This includes flushing the transmission, radiator, and making sure you don’t have a clogged heater core. If you need this kind of help you can reach out to us by calling 847-895-9131.

Car Emissions – What You Need to Know

Busy road with several cars surrounded by car exhaust.

What can cause a car to fail an emissions test?

What happened to the days when we could just get in our cars, start them up and take off without having to worry about car emissions? And for those of us who aren’t sure, what are the emissions of a car anyway? Car emission is what comes out of a car as it is running. Emissions consist of these primary substances: 

  • Nitrogen oxide
  • Non-methane organic gases
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Particulate matter
  • Formaldehyde

What causes car emissions?

Car emissions are the worst contributor to the air pollution problems we have today according to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). With that said, what is it that causes these car emissions? The answer is simple – gasoline. Car emissions are explained as simple as that – it is the gasoline you pump into it once a week at the neighborhood gas station that forms the pollution that comes out of the tailpipe. Those same pollutants are escaping from the gas pump too as you gas up your car and as the car engine idles at the signal light. 

How much emission does a car produce?

The average passenger vehicle discharges almost five metric tons of carbon dioxide annually – if it is running properly. With an average fuel economy of just over 20.0 MPG and roads traveled over 11,000 miles a year, each gallon of gasoline in a car will create almost 9,000 grams of CO2. 

Maybe these numbers don’t mean much to you personally. You may be thinking, “I don’t drive 11,000 miles a year,” and maybe you don’t. But many do, and some drive even more. And you’re not the only driver on the road are you? If you were, there wouldn’t be a need for traffic reports at rush hour, or traffic enforcement and wreckers. 

In 2020, the year that we were “quarantined” to our homes, there were still 280 million vehicles on the roadways of America in the 4th quarter. Just for basics, multiply that by 280 million times the 9,000 grams of CO2 discharged in a three-month period. Apparently, not everyone was staying quarantined. 

What happens if your car fails an emissions test?

While there are federal laws about car emissions and testing for them, each state in the country has their own laws that typically follow suit. In Illinois, if your car emissions test fails, it is required to be retested. You’re even given a piece of paper stating that the test showed the car emissions were high and you didn’t get a sticker. 

When this happens, you will have a deadline for getting the problem resolved and the car brought back in for retesting. The State of Illinois provides a limited test extension, during which the garage you visit for your car emission tests will advise you on your next steps.

But what else happens when your vehicle can’t pass the state car emissions testing? Keep the numbers we mentioned above in mind and remember – you’re not the only one on the road. The large amount of gases and solid matter that cars emit are affecting several things, like: 

  • Contributing to global warming
  • Causing acid rain
  • Harming the environment 
  • Harming human health

But maybe this is exaggerated? Or are there facts to back this up? Keep reading and you can make your own conclusion: 

  • Global Warming – Greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and others are a major part of global warming. Yes, most of the country was buried under snow in early 2021, but there is still proof of global warming everywhere you look. Global warming is affecting farms, nature, sea levels, and wildlife. 
  • Air, Soil and Water – Car emissions and the pollution they create are having a widespread effect on the quality of our air, soil, and water. While the nitrous oxide is a contribution to depleting the ozone layer that protects the Earth from the UV rays of the sun, the sulfur dioxide mixing with nitrogen dioxide is changing our refreshing rainwater to acid rain. That is damaging our buildings, crops, forests, and any vegetation. With oil and fuel spills, even more is seeping into the soil and contaminating the water from our lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands. Have you noticed your water tasting different over the years? 
  • Human Health – The pollutants from car emissions have a high number of particulate matters that can become airborne, like metals and soot. These are causing eye and skin irritation, aggravating allergies and, as they become lodged in our lungs, more of us are experiencing respiratory problems as well. At ground level, the reactions of hydrocarbons with nitrogen dioxide and sunlight form ozone. While this is beneficial to a point, it can also damage human health by causing breathing difficulties, chest pains, and making us cough more. 
Car tailpipe with a green leaf coming out of it.

In Conclusion

If this article has shined a light on problems with car emissions and the environment, you may be asking yourself, “How can I reduce my car emissions?” Well, many would say buy an electric car, but that brings about a whole new batch of concerns. However, there are some things we can all do that will help reduce car emissions and in turn, help the planet. 

  1. Drive less and wiser.
  2. Drive fuel efficient cars.
  3. Don’t sit idle if you don’t have to.
  4. Use the home delivery services that COVID brought to us.
  5. Keep your car, garden, and lawn equipment in good condition. 

If your car failed its car emissions testing, things you can do that may help pass it next time would be: 

  1. Put a fuel additive in the gas tank – be sure to follow the instructions
  2. Put top grade premium fuel in your car 
  3. Get oil changes more frequent and stay regular with them
  4. Keep the basic services up-to-date like changing the air filter

Need help with car emissions testing for your vehicle? Or are you looking for a way to make sure your vehicle is producing as few emissions as possible? Contact the team at Express Auto Repair & Emissions by calling 847-895-9131 to get the help you need.

What’s Wrong with My AC in My Car?

car ac knob

What does it mean when your car AC blows hot air?

It is only June, but the heatwave of 2021 has started, and now is not the time for anyone’s car air conditioner to quit working!  But then, if it is, getting it to a car ac repair shop now should be a priority, be cause the heat is only going to get worse car ac repair and service shops are just going to get busier. 

The air conditioner in your car is a complex system and if it isn’t blowing cold air, it could be one of these four reasons: 


A car air conditioner needs refrigerant just like the A/C in your home, and if it low or out, then it is going to blow hot air. That refrigerant is like the refrigerant in your HVAC system a liquid that circulates through the A/C system. It contracts and expands as it removes the heat and humidity from inside your car. Without that refrigerant, the other A/C components aren’t able to function.

Why is it leaking? It could be an old hose, a punctured or rusted evaporator. When A/C refrigerant leaks, it doesn’t leave a puddle under your car like an oil leak. The refrigerant, also referred to as freon, evaporates when it is exposed to the air. 

You’ll need a professional car ac repair technician to inspect the system to determine if this is the problem. They do this by injecting a dye into the A/C system which will show them if there is a leak and where, then they are able to repair and recharge the system. 


When a car’s A/C system pulls that heat and humidity out of the car, that refrigerant we mentioned absorbs them. Then, the condenser keeps that refrigerant cool to continue the cooling cycle you know as cold air blowing from the vents. When the condenser isn’t working right, the whole cooling process quits. 

The condenser is located under the hood at the front of your car, usually between the grill and the radiator. The air that flows through the grill help with the cooling and if the condenser has anything blocking it or it becomes clogged, the air can’t the refrigerant cool.

If you have had a fender bender where the grill has been bumped or smashed, the condenser may be broken. Take your car to a car ac repair shop and they can confirm it is the condenser, and install a new one, recharge the system and get your car cooling again. 


The heart of any air conditioning system is the compressor. That is what circulates the refrigerant through the A/C system and if it isn’t circulating the refrigerant, then the condenser isn’t cooling. 

This is a common issue after a long winter where the A/C wasn’t used (who need air conditioning when its 10 below right?). You can prevent this from happening by running your A/C once a month for a few minutes throughout the winter.  Many cars activate the condenser when the defroster is on, so check with your car ac repair shop about your car’s mode of operation. 


When all the components we’ve mentioned here are working, but your  A/C is blowing hot air, then it could be the electrical wiring. Anything from a blown fuse to frayed wiring will keep an A/C system from working as it should.  Your car ac repair technician can evaluate this for you and make any repairs or replacement needed. 

Why do we recommend that you take your car to a car ac repair shop for these issues? Because a professional car ac repair shop will have all the proper tools for car ac repair as well as the experience and knowledge. Remember, the A/C system is a complex system and recharging the refrigerant takes specialized tools and the knowledge to know when it has enough. 

Why did my car AC stop blowing cold air?

When a car air conditioner starts blowing mild cool air or warm air, you’re probably asking yourself, “Why did my car AC suddenly stop working?”.  It can be any number of things, some of which we mentioned above. Any of those things could be damaged, like the condenser we mentioned, or simply just worn out from use.  A few things that and car ac repair technician may find wrong with your car’s A/C could be any of these:

  • The Freon Leaked – a connection, gasket, or hose could be the culprit. 
  • Recharging Needed – all A/C units in cars will loose some freon/refrigerant over time. 
  • Stuck Blend Air Door – a small door that opens/closes the vent system could be stuck closed.
  • The  Compressor Isn’t Engaging – the heart of your car’s A/C system may need to be replaced.
  • Condenser – as we described earlier, where this part is located if vulnerable to getting blocked or broken. 
  • Electrical  – again, mentioned earlier, the wiring could be broken or frayed, or a fuse blown. 
adjusting car ac knob

What are the symptoms of a bad AC compressor?

The air conditioner compressor in your car is under a lot of stress. It gets turned on, turned off, and these puts a lot of wear and tear on it. After a few years, it can wear it out to where it doesn’t work anymore. A few warning signs that you may need to take your car into a car ac repair shop soon before the compressor is totally gone are: 

  • Strange Sounds: When the air conditioner in your car makes strange sounds, it could be a sealed bearing or a number of the components inside the compressor.  A trained car ac repair technician can diagnose those sounds and determine what is happening, or not happening.
  • Hot Air: When the A/C in your is turned on and blows hot air, this could be the compressor going out.  Again, have a car ac repair technician inspect the system and diagnose the issue. 
  • Fluid Leaking: Anytime your car has fluid leaking, it isn’t good, and that is especially true of the AC compressor. The internal bearings needs that pressurized fluid to work correctly. Your car ac repair technician can determine that is the problem and replace them if possible. 
  • Belt Skipping or Squealing: When your car air conditioning system has a loud squealing sound, it has a belt problem. Take your car to the car ac repair shop before you use the A/C again. 
  • A/C Compressor Clutch Stuck: The clutch on the A/C compress  allows the compressor to work from the engine power, but if that clutch gets stuck or seizes up, then it isn’t getting power. This is definitely something your  car ac repair technician will need to inspect.

Okay, so now you know some possible issues with the A/C system in your car. So, how much does it cost to get air conditioning fixed in a car? The range of  car ac repair costs will vary based on the make and model of your car, and the problem with the A/C. 

General ballpark pricing can range between $200 and as much as $800 or more. When it is the compressor, you can expect that to cost you as much as $1,000 and up.  To have the A/C recharged, that can average between $100 to $150. Need your car air conditioner repaired in Schaumburg, IL? Call 847-895-9131 today.

Why Does an Engine Stall?

engine stalled on a road

What causes an engine to stall at idle?

Is there anything more nerve raking and worrisome than your car engine stall at the intersection, or in the fast food line?  What is stalling? When a person is stalling, it is usually because we are procrastinating doing something, like washing dishes or filing taxes. When a car engine stalls, this means the car has died. It means you’re not going anywhere until you get it started again. A car engine stall can happen even while you’re going down the road! 

Today, we’re going to answer some questions about Why would an engine stall and what to do when that happen.  Often an engine stall isn’t any major problem, but it could be.  If you know a few things about what causes for a stalled engine, it won’t be as scary if it does happen to you. 

No matter what kind of car you drive, every engine needs 3 key things to operate with a smooth idle:

  • Good air to fuel ratio
  • Sufficient idle speed
  • A strong spark

If a car is lacking any one of these three things, it will stall at an idle. There could be any number of things that cause these three important things not to be working properly.  Some possibilities are the idle air bypass motor, or the idle speed control motor is bad. When these two devices aren’t providing the right idle speed, it can cause the engine to die. Another device that can cause an engine stall is the PCM.

The PCM is the power-train control module, which is a control unit. It works with two other devices: ECU (engine control unit) and the TCU (transmission control unit). If any of these three are working in conjunction with each other, it can cause an engine stall.

What causes rough idle and stalling?

There can several reasons why a car engine is idling rough. Those reasons could be something minor or major, if the engine stalls while idling rough, it could be a bigger problem. In either situation, it isn’t just something annoying and inconvenient and the car should be inspected by a professional mechanic.   Some of the most common reasons for a rough idling and engine stall are: 

  • Fuel Injectors: The fuel injectors could be dirty and not mixing the air and fuel right, cutting back on the amount of fuel is getting to the engine. 
  • Idle Speed:  The idle speed on a car is typically between 600 to 1,000 RPMs. A car that has a rough idle may be the speed setting is incorrect. A professional mechanic can reset this for you. 
  • Vacuum System: Every car has a vacuum system and if it develops a leak, the computer isn’t able to regulate the ratio of the air and fuel mixture, leading to a rough idle and possible engine stall. 
  • Spark Plugs: Spark plugs create the spark that allows a car’s engine to bur the fuel. When they are damaged or have been installed improperly, it can case the car to idle rough.  
  • Fuel Pump: Fuel delivery problems can cause a rough idling car. If the fuel pump is clogged or about to go out, it can’t get the fuel where it needs to be. The car will idle rough and the engine stalls. 
  • Fuel Filter:  Just like the fuel pump, if the fuel filter becomes clogged, it will cause a rough idle and engine stall too.
  • Electrical Components: A car has several electrical components and if any of them fail or are having problems, you can get a rough idle or the engine stalls. The electrical components include the spark plugs, plug wires, coil, or the ignition module.  
  • Airflow Sensor: If the airflow sensor goes bad, it can cause a rough idle because the engine can’t get the right amount of air the computer is telling it needs. This can also lead to an engine stall.
  • Oxygen Sensor:  The oxygen sensor measures if the gas is lean or rich and tells the computer ow to adjust the ratio to the air. When oxygen sensor is bad or dirty, it isn’t sending the right signal to the computer and causes the car to idle roughly and can cause the engine stall.

Why does my car stall when I stop?

An engine stall while a car is stopped could be the air to fuel ration, the fuel not pumping, or something electronic. A common reason why this happens is because there isn’t enough fuel getting to the engine to keep it running while stopped. What should I do if my engine stalls?

burst engine smoking

Is stalling bad for the engine?

Manual shift cars are known more for experiencing an engine stall, but automatic shift cars will stall too.  In the case of a manual shift car, it is usually because you didn’t engage the clutch. Simply restart your car and you’ll be on your way in most cases.  In the case of an automatic shift car, you’ll notice the engine stall when your power steering quits, then the power brakes won’t work. At this point, do your best to coast to a safe place off the road, turn on the hazard flashers and try to restart the engine. If it won’t start, call for help. 

Should you have any of these issues of engine stalling with your car, keep your safety in mind first.  Then get your car to a professional mechanic that will know how to fix a stalled engine. The sooner the better because while it may be a small issue know, ignoring it could allow that small issue turn into something bigger and more expensive. Call 847-895-9131 today for your engine repair needs in Schaumburg, IL.