Car Maintenance

It’s No Trick – Treat Your Car Now to Prepare for Winter

Car Care

The crisp temperatures of Halloween are a general reminder that the weather is changing, and wet and stormy weather is on its way. We usually get a rush of customers right after the first cold storm wanting to “winterize,” so beat the crowd and come in now.

Fresh fluids, new wiper blades, proper tires, and any other items inspected and needing service can be addressed now so you’re ready for whatever evil weather is looming outside. There’s no need to be alarmed; our super-heroes on staff will help you to keep your service needs and budget under control. Act now…while there’s still time.

Slime on the Driveway: Monsters Under my Car!


Out of the blue, there’s suddenly green, red, or other color fluids under my car. WHAT’ S GOING ON!! No need to panic…yet.

Depending on the manufacturer, some coolants are red, some are green, and some are yellow. Never mix colors, and always use the color your vehicle already has in the radiator. Also, many transmission fluids are red. If any of these are under your car, you have a leak, and it needs to be addressed. If it’s monstrously large, don’t drive the car, have it towed to us to avoid more damage.

Don't Let your Car Be The Nightmare on Elm Street!


If you notice that your car, truck, or SUV is wandering, or pulling to one side of the road, that’s an indication of a safety issue with your steering. It may be caused by bad tires, a steering component failure, an alignment issue, or some other problem.

Once it starts, it’s likely to get worse, and could lead to a catastrophic failure and a collision. At the first sign of this, come in and we’ll do an inspection. We’ll find your steering goblins and get your vehicle back to handling like a dream!

Summer Is Hard On Your Battery Get It Checked This Fall


Your vehicle’s battery has a lot to do! It provides electrical power to start the engine. It sends power to operate all of the cabin accessories, such as the stereo, lighting, and the blower motor for the A/C and defroster. It powers the instrument panel so we can see what our vehicle is doing. And as vehicles get more complex, even more systems are added, such as navigation, engine, and transmission management, Wi-Fi, lane departure, self-driving modes and much more.

Extremes in temperature are very hard on a battery, and will reduce its lifetime. Summer can be tough, as many accessories (like A/C) are typically running at all times. There was a time when a car battery might last as long as 5 years, but with today’s demands and constant charge-discharge cycles most batteries are tired and ready for replacement in 2 to 3 years.

It’s wise to have your battery checked at each oil change, so you know if it is up to the job requirements. Our technician knows what to do, and what to look for. You need to be able to turn that key and be able to count on your battery to be up to the task and deliver you where you need to go.

Brakes Are An Important Safety Component


The braking system on your vehicle is just as important as the drivetrain that moves it under power. While your engine and transmission provide the “GO”, it’s your brakes that slow you down when you’re ready to “WHOA”! On all vehicles, brakes take a beating every time they are applied. They take the rotational energy of the turning wheel, and by hydraulic pressure turn that energy into heat. This conversion of energy is what allows you to slow down a little, or a lot by pressing the brake pedal. While the pads and rotors suffer with most of the wear, there are other parts of your braking system that need inspection and preventive maintenance as well. The hydraulic fluid can get contaminated over time, making the pedal spongy. Seals can age and start to leak, which not only makes a toxic mess, but as leaks grow your brakes begin to fail. And there are rubber lines that can be damaged by road hazards, as well as brake booster systems that can wear out over time and accumulated miles.

Whenever your vehicle is on a lift, make sure the technician takes a few minutes to inspect the braking system. Without brakes, your vehicle is a speeding missile headed for destruction! Safety demands that your braking system operate at full efficiency at all times. If you find your brakes aren’t working properly, or if you get a BRAKE WARNING light on your dash, stop immediately and have your vehicle towed to us for a brake safety inspection.

Keep Your Car Longer With Proper Preventative Maintenance


Tune Up Your Vehicle For Maximum Performance

Fifty years ago, vehicles needed a “tune-up” about every 25,000 to 40,000 miles. Electrical systems were very simple back then, but they had many parts that would wear out very quickly. It was not uncommon to have to replace the distributor cap and rotor, points and condenser, all spark plugs and in some cases all of the ignition wires. Additionally, this was also a good time to replace the air filter, possibly the fuel filter, and clean and adjust the carburetor.
Today, with the help of modern electronics, tune ups don’t require anywhere near as much time, or as many parts, to run as good as new again. Even better, most owner’s manuals today recommend as much as 100,000 miles before you need to replace the spark plugs!

Today’s Tune Ups

For maximum performance today, a technician will give your entire vehicle an overall inspection. This can include plugging your vehicle into a diagnostic analyzer, as well as a visual inspection. Your tech will be looking for any component that might be dirty, leaking, or making any unusual noises. Of course, if the “Check Engine” light is on, that issue needs to be repaired before starting any other performance enhancing tuning.
Maintenance items are now inspected, and replaced as necessary. These might include the air filter, fuel filter, pcv valve, and possibly some or all spark plugs. Your tech will also clean the fuel injection system, followed by making sure all engine and chassis fluids are clean and full. Typically, the final item is to make sure all tire pressures are on the mark.

Benefits of Tune Up Maintenance

  • More Efficiency – When running smoothly, your vehicle is more efficient. It will use less fuel, and doesn’t have to work so hard to get where you need to go. This saves you money, and can also save you time!

  • More Power - By completing your tune up, parts that were working at less than 100% efficiency are replaced with new parts that have it operating like new (or better)!

  • Efficiency – Since a full inspection is completed on the vehicle, marginal and worn-out parts are replaced, and adjustments are made on other components. Future maintenance needs are noted, and breakdowns are averted because service and replacements have been made before those items could break.

  • $avings – Your tech will catch small problems, before they can become larger issues with more expense. Running efficiency is at maximum, so you’re also saving on fuel. You’re also extending the life of your vehicle, so there’s no need to replace it just yet.

Get your vehicle in maximum performance today. You’ll be glad you called us, and your vehicle will run at its very best!

For more information please call Aztecas Muffler & Brakes.

Open and Honest Repairs


For many consumers, taking their vehicle in for service or repair can cause anxiety and lead them to postpone necessary maintenance and repairs. Neglecting routine service can cause more expensive repairs later. Our no-nonsense blog here provides tips and advice for motorists who need help finding and working with an auto service and repair shop. It is a must-see for everyone who owns or operates a vehicle.

  • Find a reliable shop who will tell you the upfront truth.
  • Find a reliable shop that explains the problems with your vehicle, in a way that you understand them.
  • Find a shop that reminds you to stay on a regular maintenance schedule.

We understand how important it is to change your oil on a regular basis, and we care about our customers. We want to keep you on a routine maintenance schedule, because it will help you avoid costly surprise repairs in the future. Make sure to ask us any questions that come to mind, as we believe there are no silly questions. Our team is committed to providing you with service excellence in every aspect, so you can put your trust in us.

For more information please call Aztecas Muffler & Brakes .

Maintenance You Can't See

underside of car

We take care of our vehicles by keeping them clean and by providing the regular maintenance they need. As much as we do, however, we typically neglect one area that needs regular cleaning, but doesn’t get it. I’m talking about the underside of your car.

When new, the underside of your car is shiny, just like the outside. But over time and many miles, the dust, dirt and road debris will cling onto every item under your car. And in the wet Winter months, more mud, snow, even sticks can accumulate under your car, becoming lodged in moving parts and causing rust to untreated surfaces. Without removal, these items can age your car prematurely, from the inside out! They can also hide or damage areas of your car that technicians must access as part of needed maintenance.

Many car washes today will spray off the bottom of your car as part of the wash process. If you take your car to one of those self-service “wand” washes, stay a minute longer and point it at the underside to clean loose debris and dirt.

A few minutes like this can make a big difference to the way your car ages, and to the technicians who work on your vehicle. It only takes a few minutes, but the benefits will extend the service life of your car.

At Aztecas Muffler & Brakes, your complete automotive care center in Chicago, Cicero, Berwyn, and Oak Forest, IL we install only quality replacement parts. Give us a call and let us help keep you safely and economically on the road. We serve Chicago and the surrounding areas.

Shocks & Struts – Noticing the Signs of Wear

Shocks and Struts

Your shock absorbers (or struts on most vehicles today) have a primary function: To help you maintain control of your vehicle. And even though you think of them as the reason your vehicle rides so nicely over bumps, it’s actually working hard to keep the suspension and steering controllable by the driver. If worn or damaged, control will be compromised, and the ride will be uncomfortable.

Some telltale signs of worn or failing shocks and struts

If your vehicle feels like it is sliding around or feels like you have a heavy crosswind when you don’t…it’s likely that your shocks or struts are doing very little to control the car. It’s most noticeable if you find yourself constantly correcting your direction, or over-correcting in what should be a straight line of travel. These are dangerous symptoms and the shocks should be replaced as soon as possible.

On failing shocks or struts, your tires will become “patchy” and uneven. This is because they are not making full flat contact with the road. This has the potential to increase the risk of hydroplaning, and can also lead to thin or weak spots that can result in an unforeseen loss of pressure.

If the front end of your vehicle dips forcefully under braking, or swerves to one side the struts are the likely culprit. This can be very dangerous in wet weather; it’s imperative to bring this behavior to a halt!

Over even the smallest bumps, or perhaps a train track crossing, your vehicle shakes and bounces like you’re in an earthquake! The shocks aren’t doing their job, as they are moving up and down rapidly with no damping, feeling every impact and sending that impact to other parts of the steering and suspension. Over a period of time, this can do severe damage to other steering and suspension components, and also result in the creation of many rattles and loose parts all over your car.

You need your brakes to do what you expect when you press down on the pedal. With worn shocks or struts, your stopping distance can increase by up to 20%, making your vehicle extremely unsafe to operate! Your vehicle needs an inspection NOW.

Shocks and struts will wear out over time, so none of these symptoms will appear overnight.  Just as soon as you experience even one of these signs of wear, get your vehicle into us at your earliest convenience. To delay could result in damage to other components, broken mounts or bushings, or even loss of control or an accident resulting in serious injury or worse. Get the vehicle inspected and repaired so it’s once again safe and comfortable.

At Aztecas Muffler & Brakes, your complete automotive care center in Chicago, Cicero, Berwyn, and Oak Forest, IL we install only quality replacement parts. Give us a call and let us help keep you safely and economically on the road. We serve Chicago and the surrounding areas.