Blog

Why won’t my AC turn on in my car?

air conditioning level

Can a blown fuse cause car AC not to work?

With so many moving parts in a car, it is small wonder that it is also built to keep you comfortable during times you drive. So when your air conditioner is not operating correctly, it could be any number of problems affecting it and keeping it from keeping the interior of the vehicle from a climate controlled state. Fortunately, the mechanics at J1 Auto Repair in Lombard, IL understand the possibilities and are here to help you when your car undergoes such an issue. 

One reason why the issue can occur is from a fuse blowing and needing a replacement. Relatively speaking, this is a minor detail that can be checked on and fixed if needed. If you do not know where the fuse box is in your car, the user manual has that specific information. With each manufacturer, the box is in a different location of the car with some being in the glove box, others on the driver’s side above the peddles, under the hood, and in other locations as well. The two absolute items that will tell you for sure is the user manual and a fuse tester, which can be found at your tool and auto parts store. Depending on which one you own or get, there would be an indication when you find the correct fuse. Replacing a fuse is also a simple matter, though you must pay special attention to the one you get if you choose to get your own to replace the blown one. Fuses come in all shapes and sizes, with each fitting into a specific slot and not in another. We recommend you choose us to fix the problem by calling 630-932-4427 today and getting your car to our shop to repair your air conditioning.

How can I test my car AC compressor?

Another reason your air conditioner may not be functioning at any capacity is a problem with the ac compressor that converts with the refrigerant that keeps your car cool. The process involves condensing refrigerate and then circulate it appropriately while helping in the process of removing heat. While you can find the compressor by following the drive belt under the hood to the compressor’s clutch pull, it is heavily recommended that you take it to a professional mechanic. The reason being is that even in a refrigerant refill, you will have to undergo the process while the vehicle is on. Furthermore, more equipment and care is required to undergo the process of fixing the ac compressor even with a refrigerant refill. 

What are the symptoms of a bad AC compressor?

You may be wondering at this point how to at least tell how to that the problem regarding your air conditioning is because of your ac compressor. There are some signs that can lead one to credibly suspect the air compressor may be having issues and require some adjustments or repairs. These signs would include: 

  • Grinding, squealing, or rattling noises when air conditioning is activated
  • Unreliable or lack of cold air blowing into the car interior
  • Ineffective controls to the compressor in the cab and under the hood
  • Repetitive clicking noise at the clutch before the other mentioned noises

Unfortunately, while these symptoms can point to the compressor being the problem, the distinct prognosis of the air compressor’s dilemma is another endeavor entirely. However, a general agreement among mechanics is that when the AC compressor does not turn on entirely then the issue can most likely point to the AC relay. The specific job of an AC relay is to send the electrical current from the directives of you pressing the AC controls and convert them into the air compressor or the clutch specifically. While it will be highly uncomfortable, having these problems does not make the car inoperable, just in some cases unreasonable to drive especially in a hot environment.

air conditioner

Can low oil cause AC to stop working?

Your car’s ability to use oil and it being low on the fuel does not have any particular effect on the air conditioning. In that line of thinking, if your car is insufficiently oiled, the entire system will suffer and not just a singular part like the AC unit. However, like other machines, the AC compressor and the air conditioner in general has many parts that need to be lubricated. Those without training will not necessarily recognize how to undergo this process even with the instructions due to the need of in-depth parts being cared for. The best way to handle that problem is therefor to take it to a mechanic so that they can perform the proper maintenance on your vehicle and it’s air conditioning. Those of us at J1 Auto Repair in Lombard, IL would be more than happy to take care of that with our multiple specialized products. Call 630-932-4427 today to see about getting an appointment and we’d be happy to help in the future.

How do you replace an airbag?

air bags deployed after an incident

Safety with air bags

Cars have evolved over the years from the first Model T rolled off the assembly line. They’re heavier, more detailed and involved, some are more comfortable than some homes. Most of all, they are safer today than they were back in the early 1900s. Back then they never would have imagined having air bags and seat belts, much less have to service air bags.  

Wonder if back in the Model T days, would drivers and passengers received as many airbag benefits as we do today? Maybe they would have gotten more than we do, considering the lack of car body around them. However, the top speed was a whopping 45 mph out of that 20hp engine! Actually, that probably was fast enough air bags being deployed may have helped.

What benefits did they miss out having with airbags in seats, dashes, and doors that we have today, other than having somebody service air bags? The design and intended purpose of airbags is to automatically inflate upon forceful impact and a sudden deceleration, things that could signify a collision has taken place. That sensory fills the bag with air and provide the following:

  • Cushions the driver and passenger’s head, neck, and spine.
  • Reduces the amount of force the driver and passenger’s head hitting the surrounding parts of the car by limiting how far it forces forward. 
  • Decreases a victim’s risk of being projecting into a window or being ejected from the vehicle.

Airbags prevent forceful impacts that could result in injuries like brain injuries, broken necks, severed spinal cords, lacerations, all of which can result in fatality. So, after airbags have been deployed, can airbags be put back in?

Being in an accident is not something we set out to do, they happen by, well, accident, hence the word “accident”. While we can attempt to avoid them, unfortunately, accidents aren’t something we can always control. Fortunately, today, air bags are standard on new cars today, and even more fortunate, not only can you have the damage to your car’s body repair, you can also get service air bags too.

When the airbag in your car has deployed and popped, it cannot be reset, but it may be replaceable.  This entails replacing the complete airbag module with a new one, and if it is the steering wheel airbag, the entire steering wheel and column may need replacing.  Once the service air bags are complete, the airbag sensor will need to be reset to ensure the full functioning of the airbag system.

How do I reset the airbag sensor? 

Air bags are a required safety feature in new cars today and they require an airbag sensor in order to function. Without that sensor, the airbags won’t know when it needs to be deployed.  Once it has been deployed, you can get service air bags to replace the bags and reset the sensor.

Replacing the bags requires special tools and skills, but the sensor is something you can reset yourself. Chances are, the sensor won’t need resetting if the bag didn’t deploy, but sometimes a car may have an electrical short that could cause the sensor needing resetting. The following three steps will reset the air bag sensor: 

  • Step One – Refer to Owner’s Manual:
  • Not all vehicle models are the same, so refer to the owner’s manual to your car in order to find the precise sensor location.
  • Step Two – Disconnect the Battery:
  • Disconnect the negative terminal on the battery. 
  • Step Three – Reconnect the Battery:
  • Wait five seconds to pass, then reconnect the negative battery terminal and turn the key on. If the airbag warning light is off, then reset was successful. If the airbag warning light is still on, repeat the process. 

What has to be replaced when airbags deploy?

Airbags in your car will not last forever, even if you never have an accident that deploys them. However, if you are in an accident and the airbags deploy, they do need to be replaced along with the airbag control module being reprogrammed.

If any of the impact sensor or the clock spring were damaged or melted from the accident, they will need replacing in order for your airbags to work correctly again. Always have a licensed technician service air bags to replace your airbags and resetting the sensors.

SRS Airbag

Are airbags hard to replace?

The first thing that any DIY kind of person needs to know, replacing airbags yourself is illegal. By law, licensed technicians only may service air bags legally, including resetting the sensor or replacing the airbags. Is it hard to replace airbags? No. So can I install airbag in my car? You can, but it is ill-advised to do that because, if they aren’t installed in the precise position correctly, they can do more harm than good, like not work at all when needed.

Safety First

Keep in mind that the design and implementation of air bags in the cars today are meant to be used with seatbelts.  Both are only as good as they can be when used together and correctly. Finding somebody to service air bags isn’t difficult, and it may be more expensive than you have budgeted, but the end results can determine minor injury or fatality. 

J1 Auto Repair is your source for quality auto repair. Dial 630-932-4427 today for your air bag replacement service in Lombard and Wheaton, IL.

How to Tell if Timing Belt is Bad

A timing belt along the side of an engine

Is it time for service?

Before we can answer the question “What is timing belt service?”, Let us get a definition of what a timing belt is first and what purpose does it serve. You could consider the parts of your engine as the symphony, and the timing belt is the conductor.

The timing belt of your car is a part of the engine that synchronizes the camshaft and crankshaft rotation so the valves open and close at the right time for every cylinder’s intake and the exhaust strokes. The timing belt gets everything inside and, on the engine, move when it supposed to, aka “timing” part.  Timing belt service is crucial because if the timing is off with the belt, it causes all the rest to be off too.

Timing belt symptoms

A timing belt that is going bad or starting to wear out, you may experience one or more of the following five symptoms: 

  • Engine Idling Rough: A timing belt has teeth that grip gears while they rotate different components and parts of the engine. If the teeth fall off or the timing belt becomes brittle, it will slip away or off the gears and jolt the engine. When this happens, the engine will stall because the timing of the camshaft is off. Seek the help of a professional timing belt service technician.
  • Engine Misfiring: A worn timing belt will jeopardize the engine’s firing rate. As the worn-out timing belt slips away or off the gears, it can fall on the camshaft, making the cylinder open and close off time. Sometimes, the timing belt can be tightened, but most times, it needs the attention timing belt service to keep from damaging the engine further.
  • Engine Smoking: During the winter, when you first start your car, you’ll see what looks like smoke. This is a vapor, but in most cases, it is harmless. When it doesn’t winter and you see this smoke coming from the tailpipe, your car may need the attention of a timing belt service. This smoke could tell you that the timing belt is unsynchronized, and you need a timing belt service.
  • Oil Pressure Drops: The camshaft gears are spun by the timing belt, and if the belt’s timing is off, it can jump out of time and pieces break off. Those pieces can get in the oil pan on the bottom of the engine, which can cause a drop in the oil pressure. Not only will you need a timing belt service, but you may need an engine overhaul.
  • Broken Pistons and/or Valves: This will be the worst thing that you could notice symptoms your car is experiencing: The timing belt breaks or is cut off. If this happens, the crankshaft will turn on its own, losing the identity and not be in sync with the motion of the camshaft. This can cause the pistons and valves to come in contact, bend the valves, and damage the piston. Turn your car off and seek help from a timing belt service.

How to Tell if Timing Belt is Bad

Your timing belt could be showing signs of wearing out if it has any of the following common symptoms. If you are experiencing one or more of these, seek professional timing belt service.

  1. Engine as ticking noise: The timing belt is connected with a series of pulleys that make the engine crank and camshaft. The crankshaft powers the connecting rods inside the engine that are attached to pistons found inside the combustion chamber. When the timing belt wears out, you may start hearing a ticking sound coming from the motor. If not the timing belt, then your car could be low on oil, which a timing belt service technician could check your oil level too.
  2. Engine not turning over: When a timing belt has broken, the engine can’t turn over or start. ignite. You may hear the starter engaging, but the timing belt is crucial in the camshaft and crank can’t turn over. A timing belt service can check the belt and check to see if there is more serious damage to the engine. 
  3. Misfiring engine: A worn timing belt can impact the firing rate of the engine, but if the timing belt slip on the camshaft drive keeping one cylinder to close or open to early. A timing belt service can fix this before the problem grows into a catastrophic level.
  4. Oil leaking: Oil leaking from your car is never a good thing. If the timing belt cover is loose, it could leak oil from there and a timing belt service is needed to get the covered secured.
  5. Serpentine belt: A serpentine belt is more than a timing belt. It is one belt that threads continuously around, and to multiple peripheral devices to make them function. Those devices include the alternator, air conditioning, air pump, power steering, water pump all found in the engine of your car. When a serpentine belt breaks or malfunctions, several of these things are affected at the same time. Timing belt service technicians can replace these.
Replacing a timing belt

Cheap timing belt replacement near me

The basic timing belt is not as complicated as the serpentine belt to replace.  So, if you have any basic level and understanding of a car engine, you can do the replacement yourself. Purchase the belt from your local automotive parts store and find tutorials on the internet. This would be the least expensive way to replace your belt. Otherwise, you must search for a mechanic that offers a timing belt service.  Ask about their price to do the job, and if that includes the belt.

After reading our piece here on timing belts and timing belt service, you may wonder how much does timing belt service cost and What does timing belt service include.  As with any car service, labor is the biggest part of the cost you’ll endure. This is because the mechanic or timing belt service must remove several parts to get to the defective timing belt. Then there is the cost of the timing belt, which can cost $20 or as much as $50 and up. The labor for replacing a timing belt can take several hours, thus, the actual service can be as low as $200 and as high as $900.

When you need timing belt service, do an internet search for “Timing belt service near me” and find several listings. There will be more in big cities than there are in small towns. Choose a quality service that has a warranty offer and will back up the work performed, just as you would when finding somebody to repair or replace your car’s gas line.

Need timing belt service in Lombard and Wheaton, IL? Call J1 Auto Repair today at 630-932-4427 for your auto repair needs.

Is Check Engine Light Serious?

A Check Engine Light.

Is check engine light serious?

If you’re driving along and your check engine light suddenly comes on, you will probably worry about the seriousness of the problem. What can create stress is not knowing what’s going on with your vehicle is that when the light comes on, it could mean different things. In general, it just signifies a malfunction. The malfunction could be something as minor as a faulty gas cap or as serious as misfiring engine.

To determine the seriousness of the problem, you’ll need to take the vehicle to a repair shop for a check engine light diagnosis. For the most accurate diagnostic in Lombard and Wheaton, IL, bring your car to J1 Auto Repair. We offer a full range of reliable repair and maintenance services. Call 630-932-4427 to schedule a service appointment.

What could cause the check engine light to come on?

When the check engine light comes on, it could mean various things for your vehicle. Below are  common reasons the check engine light may come on.

  • A missing or loose gas cap: The car’s computer is sensing a pressure change in the fuel delivery system, which will cause the light to come on. Tightening the gas cap or replacing it will normally cause the light to turn off.
  • A faulty oxygen or O2 sensor: This sensor measures the level of unburnt oxygen in the car’s exhaust system. If the oxygen sensor isn’t repaired it will cause your vehicle to burn more fuel and can damage components like spark plugs and the catalytic converter.
  • Catalytic converter has failed: The catalytic converter processes carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide and is essential to the vehicle’s emissions. 
  • Spark plug or ignition coil issues: Ignition coils generate the electricity for the spark plugs to ignite the fuel. Worn or dirty spark plugs can cause the engine to misfire and bad spark plug wires can cause a drop in engine performance and lower gas mileage.
  • Problem with mass airflow sensor: This part monitors the amount of air that gets into the engine, and a malfunction can cause a rough idle or problems with starting, as well as lower gas mileage or even stalling. 
  • Aftermarket alarm problems: An alarm that’s installed aftermarket can create problems including turning on the engine light if improperly installed.

Where to get check engine light diagnosis

When the check engine light comes on, you’ll need to have a diagnostic run to find out what is wrong. There are several options you can take to get the diagnostic done. You can purchase a diagnostic tool yourself and scan the codes yourself. You can also go to an auto parts store like AutoZone, but these diagnostic tests aren’t always comprehensive, and further tests may need to be made. You can also go to your dealership or to a professional repair shop like J1 Auto Repair, where you can be assured the tests are comprehensive, and you can rely on any repairs that need to be made.

One area where there are no warning lights to show you have problems is your plumbing. Sometimes plumbing repairs come as a surprise, and you’ll want a reliable plumber for emergency plumbing repair.

Can you diagnose a car without check engine light?

If you’re having problems with your car like a rough idle or are experiencing engine misfires, but your check engine light doesn’t come on, it is possible to run a diagnostic to find out what the problem is. A skilled mechanic can download the error codes that are stored in your car’s computer system, and make tests and checks from there to diagnose the issue. From there, they can recommend repairs. Never hesitate to bring in a vehicle for a diagnostic, even if no warning lights have appeared on the dash. 

Can check engine light turn itself off?

Most of the time if a warning light comes on, the problem has to be remedied before the light will go off. Occasionally, the light will go off on its own. The car’s computer may adjust briefly, especially after extended highway driving, but after a short time, the light will probably come on again. Some issues like a malfunctioning catalytic converter may cause the light to flash or flicker, and it may shut off briefly. In other instances, the light may turn off and on as you drive, but will only stay off permanently once the repair is made.

How long does a check engine light diagnosis take

The time it takes to run a diagnostic can vary. Some of the free diagnostics provided by auto parts stores may just take a few minutes. Generally, these tests just find error codes, but may not be comprehensive enough to fully diagnose the problem. A test at a repair shop like will be more comprehensive J1 Auto Repair. These tests can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours, depending on the situation. 

How much is check engine light diagnosis?

While you can get free diagnostics performed at auto parts stores or you can do it yourself by purchasing a scanner for about $60, you’ll get a comprehensive diagnostic from professionals at auto repair shops and dealerships. These diagnostics will cost on average anywhere between $88 and $111. Some repair shops may offer diagnostics for free or as part of other services. The cost may also vary depending on the make and model of your vehicle and your location. Check with your local mechanic to find out prices in your area.

Will check engine light fail emissions test

In Illinois, your vehicle will not pass an emissions test. In fact, if your engine light is on when you pull in to have the vehicle inspected, the vehicle will not be inspected. Repairs must be made before the vehicle will be inspected. Even if repairs are made, the trouble codes must not appear or the vehicle may fail the inspection.

A Mechanic Tests an Engine.

Check engine light diagnostic near me

If your check engine light in Lombard and Wheaton, IL comes on, don’t hesitate to get the vehicle checked to avoid further problems. The reliable professionals for diagnostics and repairs are those at J1 Auto Repair. Give us a call at 630-932-4427 to set up a service appointment.

What Happens to a Car When the Serpentine Belt Breaks?

A Serpentine Belt Winds Its Way Through the Car

What Happens to a Car When the Serpentine Belt Breaks?

Serpentine belts are a very important part of a vehicle. If a serpentine belt is broken, it can lead to a sudden loss of power assist for the steering system. In fact, if a serpentine belt breaks, the steering wheel becomes incredibly hard to turn. This happens because the serpentine belt keeps the water pump circulating coolant, also known as antifreeze, through the cooling system. This means that the engine can overheat anywhere, including the highway.

What is the Average Cost to Replace a Serpentine Belt?

Hiring a mechanic to replace a serpentine belt usually costs approximately sixty to two-hundred dollars. This cost includes the approximately twenty-five to seventy-five dollars that it takes for the purchase of the belt and the half-hour to full hour of labor. Labor costs can range from seventy-five to one-hundred-twenty-five dollars per hour. The wait on the job takes longer for some vehicles versus others due to the fact that the serpentine belt is harder to access on some cars.


What are the Symptoms of a Bad Serpentine Belt?

How do you know that you have a poor serpentine belt? That’s a great question! Please browse through the following bullet point to learn more about the troubling symptoms of serpentine belt disrepair.

  • Squealing noise. This noise should be coming from the front of the vehicle in order to be attributed to the serpentine belt. 
  • The power steering and air conditioning are not working in your car.
  • The engine is overheating.
  • Cracks and signs of wear on the belt.

If you have witnessed any signs or symptoms of the above-bulleted list with regard to your vehicle, please consult a located, trusted auto mechanic. Nothing could be worse than your serpentine belt failing while you are driving or on a highway.

How Long Does it Take to Replace a Serpentine Belt?

Serpentine belt replacement and repair in Lombard, IL can help your vehicle if you are experiencing serpentine belt issues. It usually takes approximately thirty minutes for a mechanic to replace a serpentine belt. With the right tools and equipment, an auto mechanic can complete the process within thirty minutes to an hour. As previously noted, the amount of time that serpentine belt replacement takes depends on the make, model, and year of the vehicle.

Can I Drive My Car Without a Serpentine Belt?

If you are wondering whether or not you can drive your car without a serpentine belt, the answer is firmly in the negative. Under no circumstances can you drive a vehicle without a serpentine belt because the serpentine belt serves the important function of delivering antifreeze to important parts of the engine. The serpentine belt drives the water pump, and without it, there is insufficient coolant flow to maintain the engine temperature. It is also important to consider that the serpentine belt drives the power steering pump. Without the serpentine belt, the power steering pump, which provides hydraulic pressure, no longer functions. As a result, it will be difficult if not impossible to turn the steering wheel. 

Which Serpentine Belt Do I Need?

Serpentine belts are essentially a large rubber band that is located within the hood of the vehicle. The serpentine belt loops around the air conditioning compressor, the idler pulley, the power steering pump, the crankshaft, and a few other components. Serpentine belts can have different sizes. In order to determine the size you require for your serpentine belt, you’ll need seven and a half feet of string, a ruler, and a marker. Would you like a pro-tip? If you have the old serpentine belt in your possession, measure it and purchase the same replacement size. If you do not, use the piece of string and wind it around the engine as described in the owner’s manual. Once you have the measurement, mark the area on the string where it completely wraps around. You will need a size slightly smaller than the measured area. You should subtract approximately ½ an inch.

Different types of fuel power our world. The gas lines in your home require attention from time to time. Gas line services in Oak Park, IL are an example of the services that you should review for your property’s gas lines.

Where is Tensioner on Serpentine Belt

For the fan belt replacement, the tensioner should be addressed first. A solid tensioner should exhibit a slight vibration with about 1/32 inch or less of arm movement. This means that the belt should run smoothly with no true visual vibration. 

Which Serpentine Belt is Best

There are many different variations of the serpentine belt. According to new trends in research, the Bando USA 6PK1305 is noted as the best version currently on the market. This is based on a reviewing and purchasing guide that is engineered to enable reviews from mechanics nationwide.

The innards of an engine reveal many of the different parts, including the serpentine belt

What is a Serpentine Belt Tool

A serpentine belt tool kit releases the tension on the serpentine belt with spring-loaded idler pulleys. A serpentine belt tool kit is not expensive, usually costing less than twenty dollars.

Have you experienced one of these auto issues? Our friendly operators at J1 Auto Repair are available now at 630-932-4427 to schedule the repair for your serpentine belt in Lombard and Wheaton, IL.

How Do You Know If Your Battery or Alternator is Bad?

alternator replacement

Alternator Failure

Car trouble stinks. There’s not much worse than a breakdown. They always seem to come at the worst possible moments. One of the most common car issues people encounter is problems with an alternator or battery. Both parts affect how a car starts and operates. Without them working properly, drivers are dead in the water. The good news is, though, that problems with an alternator and battery are easily identifiable. If it’s a battery problem, it can be solved by a quick trip to the car parts store to swap in a new one. If the problem lies with the alternator, though, car part retailers will say a mechanic’s help is required. When it comes to spotting and fixing an alternator, Lombard and Wheaton, IL has J1 Auto Repair on hand to deliver the following breakdown.

What causes alternator to fail?

An alternator provides electrical power to a vehicle’s ignition. It works in tandem with the car’s starter, battery and other parts to get a car going. Alternators generate power by spinning plates across a roll of copper wires. When an alternator breaks down, it’s because one or more components in it fail due to wear and tear. Sometimes, one of the plates fail or the alternator can’t spin well, it will still work, but voltage output is lower. When the voltage an alternator generates gets below 12 volts, it’s a good indication that the alternator is bad.

What would cause alternator to keep going bad?

Some people struggle with alternators that act up over and over. A dying battery can cause repeated alternator failure. When a car is running, the alternator recharges the battery. When a battery is on its last breath, the alternator has to work harder to push capacity back into the battery. The heavier load on the alternator can cause it to fail faster.

Poor repair work on alternator issues can also lead to ongoing troubles. Perhaps plates in the alternator continue to fail, or there’s some other fix that provides only temporary relief. Most people who try and fix a bad alternator end up wishing they’d just replaced it at the start of their worries.

Things to watch for in a bad alternator

What are the signs of a bad alternator? Thankfully, spotting problems with an alternator is simple enough. Obvious signs usually start with strange sounds. What does a bad alternator sound like? One of the most common signs of a broken alternator is loud grinding coming from under the hood. Alternators spin on a set of ball bearings and when the alternator is worn down enough, the ball bearings start to catch and clank around inside it causing a loud grinding noise.

When a car feels like its electronic systems are working right, it’s another sign of a bad alternator. Drivers may notice their headlights are dim or flickering, indicating low electrical output. Additionally, there may be some difficulty starting when the ignition is turned over. As mentioned, battery issues could be due to a faulty alternator’s inability to recharge it. If the car’s battery is relatively new, it could point to problems with the alternator.

Weird smells can also direct drivers to broken alternators. Alternators work together with engine belts to distribute power throughout the engine and keep things humming. If an alternator’s ball bearings aren’t letting it spin freely, or something else is affecting its ability to spin, then the belts have to work a lot harder. Under increased strain, the belts can heat up and the engine will start smelling like burning rubber. Usually, this problem happens because a belt is loose. A quick tightening generally solves the problem, but if it persists, then it’s likely an alternator issue.

Of course, one sure sign there’s a problem is when the ‘check engine’ indicator light comes on. A lot of car monitoring systems aren’t specific enough to pinpoint problems with a filter, alternator or some other part, but it’s a good idea to take a car in for service anytime the indicator flashes up on the dashboard.

What to do

Most of the time, alternators need to be repaired or replaced by a professional. Mechanics can usually swap out an alternator in around an hour. Even though it may be an inconvenience, it’s not a terribly expensive fix and it will be a relief the problem has been solved. The easiest way to know if it’s an alternator problem is to make sure the car battery is fully charged. If it drains quickly and dies, then it’s almost certainly a faulty alternator.

When people start noticing problems with their alternator, they wonder, “Can you jump start a car with a bad alternator?” They want to know how if they can get their car started and to the shop without having to call for a tow. Jump starting a car with a bad alternator is possible, but it takes following these steps to get the job done.

  1. Make sure the car jumping has a good battery.
  2. Connect the jumper cables.
  3. Start the car with the working battery and let the engine run for a few minutes.
  4. When enough time has passed, start the car with the bad alternator.
  5. Take the car directly to a mechanic shop. The battery won’t last long without a functioning alternator.

For help with an alternator, Lombard and Wheaton, IL drivers know they can turn to J1 Auto Repair. We help our clients get back on the road and back to normal life fast. For any questions about alternators in Lombard and Wheaton, IL, contact our team today at 630-932-4427.

How Often Do You Really Need to Change Your Oil?

Replacing Old Oil During Oil Change

What To Do When You Need an Oil Change

Owning and driving a car comes with a large amount of responsibility. We’re not just talking about your responsibility to other drivers, though. We’re talking about your responsibility to your vehicle. Cars are high-demand machines that need regular and consistent attention. Without it, you can easily find yourself stranded on the side of the road with a broken-down car. The best place to start with any car, of any age, is the oil. Scheduling an oil change in Lombard and Wheaton, IL every 3,000 miles, or when your owners manual says is appropriate, will guarantee you a lasting vehicle. For that, rely on J1 Auto Repair to get the job done. Contact us at 630-932-4427 to get started.

Checking the Dipstick is Part of Oil Change Service

Signs When Oil Change is Needed

Every vehicle, new or old, is a high-demand machine that requires your attention in order to operate efficiently. The number one reason most cars fail is that the owners fail to keep up with oil changes. While most homeowners can perform this task themselves with Pennzoil, many cannot, which is why it’s important to have someone you can rely on. For that, trust J1 Auto Repair. We can help identify signs of oil problems and fix them for you. 

  • Oil Smells: The obvious smell of oil in your car when it is both on and off could be an indication of an oil leak and the indication you need repairs.
  • Exhaust Smoke: When the vapor that comes from your tailpipe changes from translucent vapor to actual smoke, you need an oil change.
  • Excessive Mileage: If you have driven your car further than you typically would, you may need an oil change sooner than normal. 
  • Dark, Dirty Oil: Clean oil is actually amber in color. When in the engine, it collects particles from inside. Pull the dipstick out and clean it before putting it back. Then pull the dipstick out again, if you can’t see it underneath the oil, it’s time for a change.
  • Engine Knocking: Engine sounds are never a good sign. Oil helps to lubricate the moving parts so they don’t knock together and wear out. If you hear knocking noises, an oil change is needed as soon as possible.
  • Change Oil Light: And of course the most obvious sign you need an oil change is when the oil light comes on. The oil may not need to be changed, but your engine certainly needs to be checked. 

When it comes to oil changes, there can be a bit of a misconception. Many think they can get away with top-up rather than a complete oil change. An oil change vs top-up is comparing two different services. Just like comparing a repair service vs an auto tune-up. While there is some overlap in the service, they produce different results. With an oil change, you are removing old oil and particles so new oil can be poured in and used.

Benefits of Oil Changes

What most vehicle owners want to know is, will an oil change improve performance? The answer is, yes! There are several proven benefits to keeping with regularly scheduled oil changes including:

  • Smooth Operation: The better you maintain your vehicle, the better it will operate. Sticking with a regular schedule for oil changes will ensure your car will run smoother, longer.
  • Improved Gas Mileage: With fresh oil, your engine will be able to operate more efficiently. This means it will use gas more efficiently and effectively, so you aren’t wasting as much.
  • Extended Life: An engine with fresh oil, that is regularly replaced, will simply last longer. Older oil contains particles that can clog other areas and cause problems, resulting in an engine that fails sooner than it should. 

Caring for your vehicle will guarantee a lasting and dependable investment. It does help when you can have someone to rely on for things like oil changes, repairs, and more. For that, look no further than J1 Auto Repair.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long can you go without getting an oil change?
    • You could possibly go about 5-6,000 miles over the recommended mileage before needing an oil change. Depending on the age of your vehicle, you could even get up to 7K miles but this is highly discouraged. Driving without oil can seriously damage your engine.
  • What happens if you go too long without an oil change?
    • Eventually, your engine will get too hot. The oil won’t be there to keep parts moving efficiently and over time, they will warp. After a certain amount of time, your engine will just stop and you’ll have to have the complete thing replaced.
  • Can I just add oil instead of getting an oil change?
    • No, you can’t. Just adding oil will not remove any build-up or find any possible leaks. Additionally, just adding oil whenever you feel like it could pose more of a problem. Check the owners manual to see when your vehicle needs oil changes.
  • Is it safe to drive with the oil change light on?
    • How the oil change light works is like this. It will turn on for any reason involving the oil in your engine. The oil could be low, there could be something wrong with the delivery system, or any other reason. You can drive for a very short period of time, but it is highly recommended that you take your car in as soon as possible.
  • Is it bad to add new oil to old oil?
    • Only if you are using the same weight oil. The two will mix and neither you nor your engine will be able to tell the difference. When you change the type of oil you add, you’ll run into problems. 
Pouring Oil for Oil Change

Schedule an Appointment With Us Today! 

Turn to J1 Auto Repair when you need an oil change in Lombard and Wheaton, IL. Dial 630-932-4427 to get started. 

What Hybrid Car Means

J1 Mechanics Service All Types of Hybrid Cars.

Car repair for hybrid cars

With hybrid cars you get the benefit of two sources of energy for your car, gas and electric. The kind of repairs you might need will depend on the type of hybrid you have. A mild hybrid uses both gas and electric for power, the gas powering the engine when the car is being driven or accelerated, while the engine saves gas when you are braking, cruising or stopped. A full hybrid relies almost solely on the electric power, while giving the driver the option to use gas. Each type will require unique repair services.

When it comes to hybrid car repair in Lombard and Wheaton, IL, make sure to bring your car in to J1 Auto Repair. Our ASE certified mechanized are well trained to handle both types of hybrid cars. Call us at 630-932-4427 to find out about all of our services.

Hybrid car repair cost

Overall, basic repairs for hybrid cars are about the same as regular cars. In fact, regular maintenance costs tend to be a little lower for hybrid cars because the gas engine gets less wear and tear. Brakes also tend to get less wear on hybrid cars. Of course, some components like the battery may cost more to repair or replace, especially if the part is no longer under warranty.

Costs, of course, will vary, especially depending on where you take the car for service. J1 Auto Repair repair services are always an affordable option.

Both hybrid cars and standard cars have sophisticated auto-electric systems that will also require regular maintenance and repair.

Hybrid car repair tools

Because they operate on both electric- and gas-powered engines, hybrid cars will require special tools for repairs not normally used on regular cars. Electrical testing equipment like multimeters and circuit testers are necessary and it’s a good idea to use insulated tools to protect against shock. Electrical safety gloves should also be worn.

Do hybrid cars last as long as regular cars?

In general hybrid cars do last longer than regular cars and generally get longer warranties than regular cars. Much of this is due to the lower wear and tear on major components like brakes and engines. At the same time, as with regular cars, your driving habits will affect how long your hybrid will last. Upkeep is also important for hybrid cars and they need to be maintained regularly.

What are the disadvantages of a hybrid car?

While hybrid cars have advantages like being environmentally friendly and regenerative braking systems, they also have their disadvantages over regular vehicles. Because of the dual engines, the gas engine is usually smaller in hybrid cars and has less power and not suited for speed or acceleration. Your initial investment into the vehicle will also be substantially higher. Most hybrid cars cost $5,000 to $10,000 more than regular vehicles. Handling can also be a problem for hybrid cars. The presence of high voltage batteries can also be dangerous for drivers and passengers when there is an accident.

Are hybrids more reliable?

As with standard vehicles, reliability will differ from car to car with hybrid cars. Overall, most consumer advocates say hybrid cars are at least as reliable as standard cars, and some brands like Toyota and Lexus tend to get highly ranked for reliability. Other brands have problems with batteries, especially in older model cars. As manufacturers work out the kinks, hybrid cars are expected to become more and more reliable.

Is it worth buying a hybrid car?

Whether it’s worth buying a hybrid car will depend totally on the consumer. Hybrid cars on the initial investment cost more than standard gas vehicles, but in some cases you can get tax rebates for buying a hybrid. Smaller engines mean less power so hybrid cars are generally best for driving in the city. They also tend to last longer than standard cars and get longer warranties. And, of course, hybrid cars are environmentally friendly, so if this or any other aspect is important to you, you may find buying a hybrid worth it.

Does hybrid really save money?

Hybrid cars can save you money, especially on fossil fuel consumption since the gas engine is smaller. Maintenance and repair costs are about the same, though in some cases you’ll save because there is less engine wear and brake wear. Repair costs may be high in some cases, especially because it’s hard to find qualified mechanics to repair hybrid cars. You never have to worry about qualified mechanics when you choose J1 Auto Repair for repair services.  On the other hand, as mentioned, you may pay more for the hybrid than you would a standard vehicle.

J1 Mechanics Are Able to Service All Makes and Models of Hybrid Cars.

Hybrid car brands

There are several brands of hybrid cars that have come on the market in the past few years as their popularity spreads.

Here is a list of some popular brands and models:

  • Toyota Prius
  • Chevrolet Bolt
  • Toyota Camry Hybrid
  • Honda Accord Hybrid
  • Kia Optima Hybrid
  • Ford Fusion Energi

If you are looking for someone who services all makes and models of hybrid cars in Lombard and Wheaton, IL, J1 Auto Repair has highly qualified mechanics on duty. Give us a call at 630-932-4427 for service options.

Why Did My Car AC Suddenly Stop Working?

A Picture of a Hand Checking Air Coming From Vent.

What is Wrong with My AC?

We are fast approaching the summer months, which means we are going to be using our car’s AC every day. Being in a situation where you don’t have air conditioning in your car sounds awful, but it happens more often than people realize. If your car’s air conditioner suddenly stops working, it can be incredibly inconvenient. Some of the most common auto ac repair questions that are asked are why the car’s air conditioner stops blowing air, why it stops blowing cold air, or why the AC is blowing hot air. In order to understand more about why your car’s air conditioner stops working, its important to identify the most frequent issues and why they happen. Knowing about these problems will prompt more people to take their cars in for auto AC repair. Below are some of the issues that plague car air conditioners the most.

Why Did My Car AC Stop Blowing Air?

It can be incredibly frustrating when you turn on your car on a hot day only to find that air isn’t blowing through the vents. There are a couple of reasons why your air conditioner might not be blowing any air when you turn on your car.

  • Damaged Relay: In order for the AC’s ventilation system to work, it needs small and large electrical current. The relay is the small current powers the larger current, so when the relay is damaged, the ventilation system isn’t able to work.
  • Defective Resistor: Our air conditioner uses blower motors to move air through the vents. In order for the blower motor to work, it needs a resistor to control how fast or slow the air goes through the vents. When this is broken, air won’t be able to flow through.
  • Broken Blower Motor: Since the blower motor pushes air through the vents, it is an important component to the air conditioner. When it doesn’t work properly, the air won’t be able to go through the vents.
  • Air Intake Clog: There are two types of air intakes, fresh and recirculated. Each of these can become clogged, which causes the ventilation system not to work well.

If your car’s AC isn’t blowing any air, you will need to get auto AC repair, with repairs needed for certain parts. Get in touch with a mechanic for auto ac repair parts.

What Are the Symptoms of a Bad AC Compressor?

The most common reason that your car’s air conditioner might not be working is that the AC compressor might be damaged or defective. The compressor is known as the heart of the air conditioner because it takes freon and pressurizes it, where it will then pass through the AC’s evaporator. Without freon pumping through your car, you won’t have cold air, but warm air flowing through your car. Fortunately, when a compressor starts to fail, it will exhibit certain signs that are specific to a damaged compressor, some of those issues include

  • The clutch for the compressor is not working.
  • The air conditioner is not blowing cool air.
  • There are loud noises coming from the air conditioner.
  • There is fluid leaking from your car.

When your car’s AC compressor isn’t working, your air conditioner isn’t going to function the way that it’s supposed to. To ensure your AC compressor is performing normally, it’s important to get auto AC repair to remedy the issue. An auto ac repair shop will be able to locate the problem and provide your car’s AC with the necessary repairs.

What Does It Mean When Your Car AC Blows Hot Air?

A Picture of a Manometer Used To Gauge Air Conditioning Pressure.

Why Is My Car Blowing Hot Air?

Why is my car air conditioner not blowing cold air? That is the most common question that people will ask in regards to their car’s air conditioner not working. When your air conditioning system isn’t blowing cool air, that is the first sign that you need auto AC repair. There are a couple of reasons why your AC isn’t blowing cool air and instead is blowing warm air. The first reason why your AC isn’t blowing cool air is because it needs a freon recharge. When there isn’t enough freon, the air conditioner’s clucth won’t come on, which will also affect the compressor from cycling. Another reason why your air conditioner is only blowing warm air is because the condenser is broken. The air conditioner condenser converts gas into a liquid, so if its broken or clogged, then your air conditioner won’t blow cool air. Your air conditioner might also have issues if the system has some sort of blockage. When there is a blockage in the air conditioning system, it won’t be able to blow cool air out. Whatever the reason for your car not blowing cool air, it’s important to get auto AC repair to correct the problem. If you are looking for auto AC repair in Lombard and Wheaton, IL, you can depend on J1 Auto Repair to help you. Auto repair is so important, so whenever your car’s air conditioner isn’t working, contact our auto mechanic shop for repairs. We can go over auto AC repair cost, as well as our process. Dial 630-932-4427 in order to make an appointment today.

What Are Symptoms of Bad Brakes

Having your brakes serviced can keep you from getting in an accident.

Call us for all of your brake system service needs.

Most people recognize some of the symptoms that they need to take their car to the auto shop for inspection or repairs. The check engine light is one of the best indicators that your vehicle could need some repairs. These days the car’s computer is connected to every small component and system in your vehicle. Even a loose gas cap can set off the check engine light. Keeping your eye on your dash can keep you from getting in a serious accident. You can figure out other issues with your car by driving it. If your vehicle is pulling to one side, your cars alignment could need readjusting. Your brakes stop you when you hit the brake pedal, meaning they do one of the most important jobs in your car. Working brakes keep your sudden stop in traffic from turning in to a multiple car pileup. So if suspect you are having problems, you should get them checked immediately. But how do you tell if your brakes are going bad?

Common Brakes Issues

Brakes are just like every other system in your vehicle. Your brakes are built to last. Eventually they’ll require maintenance and repairs to keep working properly. There are several signs to look for if you suspect that your brakes need maintenance.

  • Brake Light Warning Yes, this is a given. There is a problem with your brake system that requires your immediate attention. Many people tend to ignore the check engine light until it becomes a serious problem since it is connected to most of the small components in your car and could be a loose gas cap. We do not recommend ignoring the check engine light, and we don’t recommend ignoring the brake light warning. If something is wrong with your brakes, it can cause an incident on the road that injures people.
  • Grinding or Screeching It’s time to get a brakes check if you hear the sound of metal grinding on metal while braking. This means your brake pads are wearing thin, or have worn down completely. This will damage your brake rotors to where they need repairing or replacement.
  • Reduced Responsiveness You stop your car all the time. You’re constantly braking for red lights and stop signs. How your vehicle drives is one of the key indicators that something is wrong with it. If your car takes long and longer to pull to a complete stop, it’s time to take it to the shop for an inspection. Your brake system might be leaking air or brake fluid. This is almost always a clear sign that you require brake repair service.
  • Smell Friction can cause a burning smell from your brakes. If you’re using the brakes constantly while traveling down a large incline, this is not a problem. A burning smell during normal car operations is never normal and should be investigated by professionals immediately.
  • Uneven Braking Grinding or screeching noises mean your brake pads are wearing down. Uneven braking could be a side effect of a worn down brake pad causing a warped brake rotor. If you pull to one side while braking, your brake rotors could be damaged on one side of your vehicle.
  • Vibrations Brake pedals should not vibrate when you press them. Multiple things cause a brake pedal to vibrate. The resin in your brake pads might be unevenly spreading on your brake rotors. Your brake rotors could be warped. Either way it’s time to get your brakes checked by a professional.

How to Keep Your Brakes Working

If your brakes fail, it can cause an accident

Let us service your brakes to keep you out of accidents like this one

Your brake system is made up of several different working parts. Many modern vehicles have drum brakes because of their efficient design. These brake systems contain a caliper, a rotor, a piston, and brake pads. The brake pads are mounted on the caliper and the piston and press the rotor. These pads convert the kinetic energy in your vehicle to heat. This is the basic concept of how your brakes work. Your primary concern is the brake pads. Worn brake pads can cause your brakes to wear down faster by letting the metal in your caliper and piston grind into the rotor to make it stop. If you find yourself asking “Do I need new brakes?” the real question maybe be whether or not you need new brake pads.

Is it Hard to Replace Brake Pads?

This depends on what tools you have. You have to raise your car and remove the wheel to access the brakes. Next you have to remove the brake caliper. Now you can change the brake pads. Make sure the caliper doesn’t dangle from the brake lines as this can cause damage. But what causes brake pads to wear quickly? Time wears down all brake pads. Damaged components in your brake system will speed up this process. Your master cylinder can cause problems for your brakes and brake pads. Corrosion on your calipers or pistons can create problems as well. Damaged seals in the piston can keep it from returning to its rest position. Contact a mechanic or auto garage if you suspect your brake pads are wearing out too quickly.

How Long Should Front Brakes Last?

Regular maintenance on your brakes keeps your car working safely

We can perform all of the necessary brake system services.

Every vehicle is different. Most drivers drive their vehicles in completely different ways. As a result, it is difficult to know exactly how long your brakes will be good for. The general rule of thumb is that you should replace your brake pads when they get worn down to 25% of their original size. This can be anywhere between 25,000 miles to 50,000 miles. Some peoples brake systems last without new brake pads for almost 70,000 to 80,000 miles. This is a rarity, however, and you should at least check your brakes every so often for signs of damage to the brake rotor. Brake pads aren’t very expensive and you need to change them, on average, once every 50,000 miles. If you’d prefer to save the cost of these brake pad changes, you can always get brakes with lifetime warranty. Once your brake pads wear out, you can take them to where you got your warranty  and trade them out for new ones. This is a good option for people who drive a lot, or who want the knowledge that they won’t have to worry much about the brake pads themselves.

You should always hire a professional to service your brake system. By paying attention to the warning signs that you have a problem, you’ll know when you need to take your vehicle in for maintenance. You could also just take your vehicle in for a brake system inspection if you’re concerned but not positive that you have a problem. You can also always lump in your service with other services and inspections, as most mechanics are willing to inspect your brakes and more. Keeping your brakes working will keep you out of potential accidents. Just like if you broke down in Mission Viejo, CA, you would probably end up at this CA auto shop, you should find an auto shop that can service your brake needs. If you need brake system service in Lombard and Wheaton, IL, contact the mechanic experts of J1 Auto Repair at 630-932-4427 today!