Jump Starting Your Vehicle Safely

A dead battery is a nuisance, particularly because it often happens at the most inconvenient time.  However, with a pair of emergency jumper cables (which you obviously keep in the trunk of your car at all times) and a friendly motorist, you can have your car up and running in a jiffy.

To safely jump a start, follow these steps:

Safety First
You should consider all safety risks before performing any basic maintenance or repair on your car. First, make sure that small children are in a safe area away from the engine. To prevent dangerous electric shocks, do not touch metal clamps to anything but the appropriate areas. It’s also recommended that you wear a pair of protective glasses in case sparks fly into the air.

How to Jump a Car Battery
– Bring the two cars together nose to nose, about 18″ apart.
– Place both vehicles in Park or Neutral and shut off the ignition in both cars. Engage both parking brakes as well.
– Open the hood to both cars, and locate the batteries and battery terminals.
– Attach one of the red clips to the positive terminal of your battery. It has “POS” or “+” on it, or it’s bigger than the negative terminal.
– Attach the other red clip to the positive terminal of the other car.
– Attach one of the black clips to the negative terminal on the other battery.
– Attach the last black clip to an unpainted metal surface on your car that isn’t near the battery.
– Start the working vehicle and let the engine run for a few minutes.
– Try to start your vehicle.

If the jump works and your car starts, don’t shut off your engine! Drive around for at least 15 minutes to recharge your battery. If the jump fails to start your car after a few short attempts, or if the car starts but then dies again, call on Discount, Muffler, Brake & Auto repair shop in Crystal Lake, IL. Your car likely has other issues besides a dead battery that needs to be addressed.

Warning Signs of a Bad Starter

One of the most important but forgotten components of your vehicle is its starter. Without the starter relay to your car, SUV, or truck, your vehicle won’t run. A bad or failing starter relay can happen quickly and without much warning. It starts fine one time and the next time it won’t start at all. Most people’s first reaction is to assume their vehicle not starting is the result of a dead battery. In some instances that might be the case. So, how can you tell if your vehicle’s problem is the starter, battery or another electrical component? Here are some warning signs your vehicle’s starter is the problem:

Clicking Sound Coming from Starter:  This symptom is common when your battery is low, but is also an indicator that your starter relay is not sending a full signal. The relay either sends the full electrical current or sends nothing to the starter. However, when damaged, a starter relay will cause the starter to make a clicking sound when you turn the key.

Intermittent Issues Starting the Vehicle: It is possible that the starter relay will become damaged due to excessive heat, dirt, and debris or other issues that might cause sporadic operation of the starter. If you try to start your car and the starter doesn’t activate instantly, but you turn the key switch once again and it works, this is most likely due to a problem with the relay.

Vehicle Won’t Start: This is the most obvious sign that there’s a problem with the starter relay. If you press the start button or turn the key on a manual ignition switch and the vehicle does not turn over, it may be caused by a problem with the starter relay. If the circuit has not yet completely failed, you may hear a clicking noise as you attempt to start it.

If you notice these warning signs, contact Discount Muffler, Brake, and Auto repair in Crystal Lake, IL to have your vehicle inspected, as these symptoms may indicate additional problems you’ll want fixed immediately.

What to Expect from a Car Estimate

We’ve all heard a tale or two from someone who took their car to an auto repair shop to have one thing repaired, only to end up with a hefty bill after several issues arose that required fixing. Those stories lead some to distrust auto mechanics for fear their lack of knowledge of cars will make them a victim – being billed for work that wasn’t done or paying for fixes that weren’t necessary.

At Discount Muffler, Brake and Automotive we pride ourselves on our honesty. If it’s not broke, we won’t fix it. Our #1 goal is and always will be 100% customer satisfaction. We will never lie and tell you that your car needs service it really doesn’t. We’ll fix what’s necessary to ensure your safety and that of your passengers and will make suggestions to improve performance, gas mileage, etc.

Whether you bring your vehicle to our auto repair shop in Carpentersville, IL or one of our other locations, your car repair visit will begin with an estimate. Car repair estimates include the cost of the parts the mechanic expects to use and the labor required to complete the repairs, giving you a total cost.

Many garages will either stock most of the common parts needed for routine repairs, such as batteries and spark plugs, or they have a trusted local supplier they use. There is a mark-up on the parts at the garage over what you would pay if you bought your own parts.

Labor is usually the most costly portion of auto repair. Every garage has their own fees, which can usually range from $60-$100 per hour.

Other Fees
Some services such as alignments, radiator flushes and similar work does not get a breakdown into parts and labor, instead they are charged a standard flat fee.

In the end the price you pay may end up being higher than expected if additional repairs are needed, but your mechanic should explain all the repairs beforehand and get your permission before doing any work not on the original estimate.

What To Do If Your Car Breaks Down

If you take proper preventative care of your car then you’ll hopefully never experience being stranded roadside and in need of a tow truck. But, if you aren’t that lucky and one day find yourself stuck at a light or on the side of the road, it’s a good idea to be prepared for what to do, and not do, if your car decides to stop working – because car breakdowns can happen anytime, particularly at the least convenient times, in the worst possible places.

Hopefully you’ll never need to use these, but in the event you find yourself in need of a tow, here are some tips to remember so you can be prepared.

Get Your Car Out of Traffic
Your first priority is to get your vehicle to safety. Even if the engine cuts out, attempt to coast your car to the side of the road on a straightaway, avoiding curves if possible. If you’re stuck in rush hour traffic and can’t get out of the flow of cars, never get out of your vehicle. Turn on your hazard lights and call 911 immediately.

Call for Help
If you’re not safely out of the flow of traffic, your first call should be to the police. Then, if you have roadside coverage, you should give them a call. Finally, if you don’t have roadside service, you’ll want to call a towing company to tow your vehicle to Discount Muffler, Brake and auto repair in Palatine, IL. You can count on our experienced team to pinpoint the problem and get your vehicle running again.

Stay With Your Car
Once you’ve called roadside assistance or a tow truck, you should stay with your car until help arrives. If there’s a barrier, then wait behind it. If there isn’t and traffic is somewhat close to your car, then stay in your car with your seat belt on.



Tips for Better Gas Mileage

Want better gas mileage? Watch your weight – and we don’t mean your waistline. That’s just one of the tips that can help you optimize your vehicle’s gas mileage. What, with fuel the cost it is today, wouldn’t we all like to save a little at the tank?

No matter what kind of car you drive, you can be getting better fuel economy than what you’re getting now. Increasing your vehicle’s fuel mileage is the best way to protect your pocket, especially when on a long road trip. Some are simple to implement and some take a little more dedication, but these tips and tricks will help you spend less and increase your car’s efficiency.

Tip #1 Change the engine air filter – The filter keeps dirty particles from damaging the inside of your engine and helps it run more efficiently. A dirty filter will reduce fuel economy.

Tip #2 Inflate your tires – Properly inflated tires can reduce fuel consumption by up to 3%.  It is recommended to check tires at least monthly, preferably weekly.

Tip #3 Don’t fill up – When you fill up with gas, fill up halfway and try to keep your tank above one quarter full. Ten gallons of gas adds 60 pounds of weight.

Tip #4 Buy the better fuel – The cheaper gas contains a higher percentage of ethanol, which burns at a faster rate. While the better gas may cost more up front, it will give you better gas mileage.

Tip #5 Lay off the gas – The faster you move, the harder your engine has to work to push through the air. Speeding can reduce fuel efficiency by up to 33%.

Tip #6 Don’t ignore the “Check Engine” light – Make sure the oxygen sensors, engine emissions system, and evaporative emissions control systems are in good shape. Often the “check engine light” is an indication that there is a problem with one of these components. A damaged oxygen sensor may cause your car to have too rich of a fuel mixture, decreasing your fuel mileage by 20% or more.

When your car’s in need of its annual maintenance there’s only one auto repair shop in Rolling Meadows, IL to rely on and that’s Discount Muffler, Brake and Automotive. Call us at the first sign of that check engine light for service!

The Importance of Preventative Car Maintenance

A well-maintained, operating car is important to everyone. Whether you have a brand-new car or one that’s got over 100,000 miles, keeping up with maintenance will ensure your vehicle is working well.

Your car gets you to and from work, drives the kids to school and activities, runs errands and takes you on vacation. Even just one day without it can send you in to a tailspin. To avoid breakdowns and overnight trips to the shop, preventative maintenance is essential.

Conducting regular car maintenance can keep your vehicle safe, running efficiently, and provide you some peace of mind knowing it’s running smoothly and keeping you and your precious cargo safe. Regular service checkups will minimize the risk of significant repairs, breakdowns and accidents.

Here’s a list of preventative maintenance checks that should be performed regularly on your vehicle.

Don’t skip scheduled service. This includes replacing parts like spark plugs, wires and timing belts.
Replace the air filter. This is your car’s lungs. Replacing them can improve a car’s fuel economy and acceleration.
Get an oil change.  This is one of the simplest car maintenance services you can do to keep your vehicle in good running condition. Not maintaining it could void your warranty too.
Check the cooling system. This is also a good time to have a system flush. Getting the pump, hoses, fluids and belts checked is also part of proper cooling-system maintenance.

Life can get busy, but imagine the inconvenience you’ll face if your car breaks down. Avoid this with preventative maintenance from Discount Muffler, Brake and Automotive auto repair in Crystal Lake, IL. To schedule an appointment for a tune-up, contact any of our locations:
Carpentersville- (847) 428-8000
Crystal Lake- (815) 356-7109
Palatine- (847) 991-3660

Signs Your Car Needs a Tune-Up

auto repair shop Carpentersville ilThe intervals you need to bring your car in for a tune-up varies with the age, current mileage, etc. Older cars usually need a tune-up more often than any newer models. If you are unsure if your vehicle needs to be brought into our auto repair shop in Carpentersville, IL, please read some of these signs!

The Engine Runs Rough

If you feel like your engine is running rough when you’re idling or when you accelerate, this is usually an indication you need a tune-up.

It’s Hard to Start Your Car

If your car is taking longer to start or it is hard to start, this indicates there might be a problem in the starting system. Some of these issues can be a weak battery, a weak fuel pump in the fuel system, troubles in the ignition, or a broken electronic component.

Your Car is Stalling

Another sign your car needs a tune-up is if your car is stalling a lot. This could mean the spark plugs are worn out, a part in the spark plug needs to be adjusted or replace, or your electronic sensing device needs adjustment.

To schedule an appointment for a tune-up, please contact any of the following numbers and locations:

Carpentersville- (847) 428-8000

Crystal Lake- (815) 356-7109

Palatine- (847) 991-3660

Signs Your AC Needs to be Recharged

auto repair shop Carpentersville ilWith the hot summer weather approaching, you will definitely want to make sure your air conditioner in your car is running the way it should. To learn about some signs that you might need an AC recharge, please read on!

AC Clutch is Not Engaging

Whenever you put your AC on full blast, you usually hear a clicking sound that indicates the AC clutch is engaging. This clutch engages with the AC pressure switch and it will read the pressure level of your car’s system. If the level drops too low, the switch for the pressure will not activate and the clutch won’t engage. When the clutch doesn’t engage, then your system cannot circulate any refrigerant and your AC will not work.


If your AC is not working like it used to and you’re noticing puddles of liquid near your car, this a serious sign that your car’s AC needs a recharge ASAP. The puddles of liquid will be the refrigerant that is required to make your system work. You might also notice greasy film building up near the AC components and fittings.

No Cold Air

If you are turning your AC on and it is not blowing cold air, this is probably the most obvious sign that you need a service from our experts. Another sign is that if you notice the cold air is not as cold as it should be.

If you are experiencing any of these issues, please schedule an appointment to stop by our auto repair shop in Carpentersville, IL, and other locations!

We can be reached at the following numbers:

Carpentersville- (847) 428-8000

Crystal Lake- (815) 356-7109

Palatine- (847) 991-3660

What’s That Sound? – Typical Noises Troubled Cars Make

Beige Vintage Car

Your car is going to make some noises but there are some noises that you should definitely take note of.

Metallic Screeching

If there is a screeching sound when you use your breaks, you most likely are dealing with worn out pads. If this is the case, it is important you come to our auto repair shop in Carpentersville, IL, to get a professional brake job. The reason is because if you leave it, you might be causing your pads to completely wear down. This would destroy your brakes and end up being an even more expensive repair.

Hissing Sounds

If there are hissing sounds coming from your car, this could indicate a leak in either the cooling system or vacuum line. A leak in the cooling system could result in your engine overheating, while a leak in the vacuum line could affect the drivability of your car.

Shrieking Noises

If your engine is emitting a shrieking sound, this might mean the serpentine belt in your car is getting old or it does not have the right amount of pressure on it. As a result, the belt is slipping and causing the sound. Either way, it is important to talk to one of our qualified professionals to identify the issue.

Noisy Wheels

If the wheels of your car are making noise, you might be having an issue with the constant velocity or CV joints. They are an important part of making your car run and the noise could indicate a bad universal joint.

If you are experiencing any of these problems with your car, please schedule an appointment with our professional mechanics by dialing any of the following numbers:

  • Carpentersville- (847)428-8000
  • Crystal Lake- (815) 356-7109
  • Palatine- (847) 991-3660

Vehicle Maintenance Checklist for Spring

car repair

While spring cleaning might apply to houses, it also helps to do a spring maintenance check on your vehicle. After the winter weather, it is always a good idea to have your car looked at to make sure everything is working at it should. For some tips on what your maintenance checklist should be, please read on!

Windshield Wipers

This is one of the parts on your car that is most affected by the cold weather. The icy temperatures of winter can cause the rubber blades to lose their effectiveness. They can also start to tear from overexposure to ice, salt, and snow. If your wipers are not cleaning as well as they should, you should definitely just switch them out. This is especially important because you will want to plan for the rainy spring weather.


Your tires are another thing you should get checked out as the weather gets warmer. The ice and snow on the roads can take a toll on the rubber of your tires by wearing them down, forming small holes, or make them lose traction. Monitoring the tread on your tires is another important thing you should do regularly. The change in temperature can cause your tires to change to lose pressure very easily. As a result, you will want to top off the air in your tires and have them rotated at our auto repair shop in Palatine, IL, and surrounding areas.

Check Fluid Levels

This is also a great time to get your oil changed and other fluid levels topped off. If your engine needs more coolant, our experts can help fill you up and check the condition of your engine. You might also want to check on your car’s air conditioner. If it is not blasting out cold air, you may need more refrigerant.

To schedule a maintenance visit, please select one of our following locations:

  • Carpentersville- (847)428-8000
  • Crystal Lake- (815) 356-7109
  • Palatine- (847) 991-3660