1. Oils/Filters/Fluids
Oil is a very important part of all automobiles. When oil is fresh, additives inside help to cool and lubricate the engine. As the oil sifts through vehicle over time, it becomes contaminated and dirty. Once this starts happening, the dirty oil is no longer doing your vehicle any good and can actually start to degrade the performance. Increased friction and chemical buildup will slowly deteriorate your engine.

But all this is completely preventable. Just make sure you get your oil changed regularly to avoid any trouble. A well accepted guideline regarding an oil change is to get one every 3 months or 3,000 miles. Along with an oil change, a check of the filter is also a good idea.

Small Fact: Brand new oil is a light amber color and somewhat clear. After just a few minutes of use, that amber color quickly turns to a dark brown. After months of use, if left unchanged, it will turn to an icky black.

2. Belts and Hoses
When starting your vehicle, the engine combustion system mobilizes the parts inside, which then power a belt or multiple belts at the front of the engine block. The main belt is called the serpentine belt. Most cars that are built today rely mostly on this one belt, for it is critical to the operation of many engine components, including the alternator, power steering pump, water pump, and air conditioning.

Worn out belts could prove to be a danger to your car's engine. If this crucial belt breaks, many other parts in the vehicle will no longer work. With the serpentine belt broken, it is even possible to overheat the engine.

Tip: Listen for a high-pitched sound while in operation of your vehicle. Such a sound could indicate a loose belt. Treat this as a high risk and seek getting it replaced as soon as you are able.

3. Lights
Another important aspect of any vehicle is lights. While your car's headlights obviously help you to see where you're going in the dark, they also help other cars see you. Other vehicle lights help to communicate with other drivers. Tail lights alert drivers behind you when you brake, for instance. The most noted communicative lights are the turn signals used to tell drivers that you are going to make a turn and in what direction that turn will take.

Check all exterior lights, including headlights, tail lights and turn signals on a regular basis. Make sure to have broken light bulbs replaced as soon as possible.

Reminder: Turn off those headlights! Okay, not when you're driving in the dark, but when you park and turn your car off. Most cars will alert you when you leave your lights on, but some will not. Leaving your lights turned on is one of the leading causes of completely draining your battery. This is a simple avoidable scenario if you're careful.

4. Wipers
The windshield wipers of your car sweep blades of rubber across your windshield to remove snow and rain, as well as dirt. Your wipers will age depending on a few factors such as changing weather conditions, other environmental contributors, as well as excessive use. Over time, the wiper blades will begin to slowly deteriorate. Wipers that are worn out can cause streaking on the windshield. Although this might not seem like a serious problem, this could very well cause visibility issues.

Reminder: Be sure to keep your windshield washer reservoir full with wiper fluid. It can be frustrating when you need it and upon using it, nothing comes out.

5. Transmission Flush
Your automobile's transmission enables you to put your vehicle into gear.Lower gears help the engine turn faster to produce more power. Higher gears enable the engine to run more slowly on long or flat parts of the road. All the while, fresh transmission fluid lubricates the transmission and keeps the system running nicely. When replacing old fluid with new, your vehicle will have cleaner, cooler, and better lubricated internal components.

Simple Fact: There are two kinds of transmission:

• Automatic
• Manual (Stick Shift)

Automatic transmission does that shifting for you. Manual however, requires the driver to put the car into gear him or herself. Manual transmission vehicles are more commonly called stick shifts.

6. Fuel Injection
The gas pedal controls how much gas and air your engine takes in. An automobile has a computerized system that responds to the pressure on the pedal by telling the throttle valve how much air to let in and the fuel injector how much fuel to spray. The air and fuel are mixed together and then sucked into the combustion chamber of an engine cylinder. Then, a spark plug ignites this mix, producing the tiny explosions that mobilizes the car.

Fuel fumes and contaminants can stick to the throttle valve. When the throttle valve cannot open the way it should, the right amount of air cannot enter the fuel system. ?This can disrupt the ratio of the fuel/air mixture. Dirt and such particles can also clog the fuel injectors and these impurities can also find their way into the combustion chamber. If this happens, the combustion chamber cannot be ignited effectively enough by the spark plug.

To prevent clogging, be sure to have your fuel system professionally cleaned when you notice declining performance. Warning signs to look for:

• Difficulty Starting
• Shuttering During Idling
• Hesitation During Acceleration
• Stalling While Driving
• Decreased Engine Performance
• Lowered Fuel Efficiency

7. Heating/Air Conditioning
Who wants to drive a car in hot muggy weather without air conditioning? Unfortunately, the air conditioning system in your car can stop working. This can happen when air and moisture find their way into the system. Cooling degrades, but even worse, failure of the system is possible.

And just as important of a question, who wants to live without heat during that cold winter drive? Both heating and air conditioning need to be cared for if they are to be used effectively when you need them.

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"It feels good that I can trust Mr. Londono and his team. Not only do they do a great job on my car, but I feel I'm never misled or taken advantage of. Honesty and service at it's best."

-Margaret Ravens,
Round Lake Park

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July 20, 2009: Enhanced Web Site
This website now expands to fit the whole window, taking advantage of larger monitors with higher resolutions.

May 1, 2009: Updated Car FAQ
We added two new additional questions and answers to the FAQ. We will be adding more in the future.

April 29, 2009: New Web Site is Up!
We have a new and improved website for Londono's Auto! We hope you like it as much as we do.

What can happen if I drive with no or little/old oil?
Oil is important to lubricate your vehicle. Without it, your engine can lock up. This can result in engine replacement and costly repairs.

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