Catalytic Converters

For nearly fifty years, the catalytic converter has been an essential componentcatalytic converter, parts, function, works of an automobile’s emission and exhaust system. These devices have also been in the news in recent years, as they are frequently stolen from the underneath of cars.

What is a Catalytic Converter?

First appearing onto the automotive scene around 1975, a catalytic converter is an oval-shaped device that is connected to a car’s exhaust system. The converter receives toxic gasses from a car’s engine, and transforms it into less harmful pollutants. This is accomplished through a chemical reaction process inside the unit.

What is the Purpose of a Catalytic Converter?

The principle purpose of a catalytic converter is to reduce the amount of emission pollution a gasoline or diesel engine produces while running. Starting in the 1970s, many people were becoming concerned about the air quality in populated areas, as it related to the amount of pollution automobiles were producing.

Where is the Catalytic Converter Located on a Car?

The catalytic converter is normally located about halfway down a car’s exhaust pipe, between the engine and the vehicle’s muffler.

How Do Catalytic Converters Work?

When a car’s exhaust gases travel through a heated catalytic converter, several chemical reactions take place that reduce the amount of toxic fumes the vehicle emits into the air.

What is Inside a Catalytic Converter?

A catalytic converter has multiple components within its metal container that make it work. When heated, a ceramic material, known as a substrate provides a suitable surface area for the unit’s chemical reactions to take place.

The precious metals Platinum (Pt), Palladium (Pd), and Rhodium (Rh) are also contained in the device, which are responsible for the chemical reaction that cleans a car’s exhaust before it is released into the atmosphere.

Why Are Catalytic Converters Stolen?

catalytic converter, stolen, theft Catalytic converters are often stolen because they contain the precious metals, Platinum (Pt), Palladium (Pd), and Rhodium (Rh). After removing the converter from a car, thieves extract these valuable metals from the device and sell them. These metals are considered rare, as they are mined mostly in South Africa and Russia.[/caption]

Criminal activity involving catalytic converters has skyrocketed in recent years, partly due to supplies being adversely affected by the worldwide Covid Pandemic.

How Are Catalytic Converters Stolen?

Stealing a catalytic converter from a vehicle is not easy. Thieves climb under a car with a reciprocating saw and cut the unit off the exhaust system. This process is extremely noisy, but only takes several minutes to do.

Are Catalytic Converter Thefts Covered By Insurance?

If an auto owner has Comprehensive coverage on their policy, the theft of a catalytic converter would be covered.

What To Do If Your Catalytic Converter is Stolen

Should you become the unfortunate victim of a catalytic converter theft, the first thing to do is remain calm. Call the police and file a report. It is also important to alert your insurance company about the theft that has occurred.

Car-X Can Help

Your friendly, local Car-X Tire & Auto can help if your catalytic converter is stolen from your vehicle. Our experienced technicians will replace the unit and restore your car’s exhaust system back to normal operation. We’ve been helping motorists with all types of car repairs since 1971, and we are here to assist you too.

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“Enjoy Illinois” 300 Nascar Races

Car-X, NASCAR, Enjoy Illinois

The BREX Car-X Group sponsored the “Enjoy Illinois 300” Nascar Races at the Worldwide Technology Raceway in Madison County on June 3rd & 4th. It was a very hot 90+ degrees both Saturday and Sunday with just under 100,000 fans over the two days of racing. In spite of the heat, it was a great weekend with lots of fun with the community. Race fans threw Cornhole bags to win promotional items and registered to win Cardinals Box seats and $100 Visa Gift  Cards.

Car-X, NASCAR, Enjoy Illinois

Car-X, NASCAR, Enjoy Illinois

 

 

What’s the Difference Between Conventional vs. Semi-Synthetic Oil?

When it comes to the maintenance of vehicles, motor oil, and oil changes areSynthetic oil change, conventional oil change, best oil for my vehicle imperative. Motor oil is essential for properly lubricating a car’s engine, at all temperatures and speeds.

There are many different types of motor oil on the market today, including conventional, synthetic, and semi-synthetic blends.  No matter what kind of car you have or its age, it’s important to know the right kind of oil to use, so your vehicle can operate at top performance and provide many years of reliable service.

Different Types of Motor Oil

Let’s look at the different types of oil used in cars on the road today.

Conventional Oil

Conventional oil is a refined crude oil, and compared to other oil types, it generally has fewer additives. Conventional oil is recommended for older vehicles and those seeking the least expensive option.

Full- Synthetic Oil

Unlike conventional oil, which is made of crude oil, synthetic oil is entirely manufactured, so its formula is always the same and helps with vehicle performance. The chemical properties in fully synthetic oil have been refined, removing impurities and adding properties that will benefit fuel and engine efficiency. Synthetic oil is recommended for high-performance vehicles, and although it is more expensive, it will allow for less frequent oil changes than conventional oil.

It is important to know that not all cars can run properly on full-synthetic oil. Be sure to refer to your owner’s manual for proper guidance.

Semi-Synthetic Oil

Semi-synthetic oil, or a synthetic blend oil, combines both full synthetic oil and conventional oil. While this mixture generally has more conventional oil than synthetic oil, it does get the beneficial additives of synthetic oil that help protect the engine. This type of motor oil is less expensive than full synthetic, making it a more economical choice.

Be sure to check your car’s specifications for the right oil to use.

How To Know Which Motor Oil Is Best?

The advantage of a conventional oil is the cost. And for older vehicles, it is best and provides the best engine protection and lubrication for aging engines.

Synthetic oil is made of properties that prevent corrosion and is designed to protect today’s high tech engines. It’s more expensive than conventional oil, but is a necessity for many newer cars.

Synthetic-blend oil is a good middle of the road option, as it combines both conventional and synthetic blends together. Be sure to consult your owner’s manual about whether your car was designed to utilize a hybrid blend such as this one.

Car-X is Your One Stop Auto Repair Solution

Car-X has been providing quality, reliable automotive service since 1971. Proper maintenance and service of your vehicle can make a big difference in providing you with many miles of trouble-free driving.

Call Car-X today and schedule an appointment for an oil change on your vehicle! We make the process easy and fast!

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Why is My Check Engine Light On?

Check Engine LightYou are driving your car down the freeway, and everything seems to be fine. Then suddenly the Check Engine Light illuminates on the dashboard. When this issue occurs, it is important that you address this problem in a timely manner.

In this blog, we will take a look at what to do when your Check Engine Light comes on, some possible reasons for it, and most importantly, how to get the problem resolved.

What is the Check Engine Light?

Today’s vehicles are extremely intricate machines, with many onboard computers controlling all the vehicle’s complex operations.

When the Check Engine Light becomes illuminated it is a warning to the driver that the car’s onboard computers have detected a problem that a system in the vehicle is not performing as it should.

Your vehicle will also tell you the severity of the situation by illuminating the Check Engine Light in several different ways.  A solid yellow light means that the issue at hand is not immediately urgent but should be addressed.

A flashing light is an indication that something is seriously wrong and requires immediate attention.

Anytime your Check Engine Light comes on it is very important to take your car to a qualified repair shop to diagnose the issue.

Top Reasons That Check Engine Lights Appear

Engine Issues

Various engine problems can trigger the Check Engine Light to come on. Whether it be low oil pressure, overheating, or drivability issues, the light is a warning that something is going on that should not be happening.

Transmission Problems

Your car’s transmission plays a critical role in its operation, as it transfers engine power to the wheels, so the vehicle can move. Some transmission issues are mechanical in nature, and others are electronic or computer related. Transmission problems may cause the Check Engine light to illuminate. 

Emission System

Today’s modern cars are equipped with sophisticated emissions systems that are designed to minimize the amount of pollution a vehicle produces while in operation.

There are many sensors and other components that make up a car’s emission system. If any component stops performing as it should, the Check Engine Light will appear.

Overheating

Engines and transmissions produce a tremendous amount of heat as they drive down the road.

A car’s cooling system is designed to keep the vehicle’s operating temperature within the proper range. When this system develops an overheating problem, serious damage to the engine can result.

How Do You Resolve a Check Engine Light Problem?

Just as cars have many sophisticated on board computers today, modern repair shops invest in complex diagnostic equipment that is used to determine what is wrong with a vehicle, and the best strategy to fix it.

Highly trained technicians connect to a car’s computer system by using diagnostic equipment at the repair shop. Based on a wide variety of trouble codes and performance measurements, a technician can interpret the nature of a vehicle’s issue and decide how to properly repair it.

Once the proper repairs have been made, the technician can “clear” the Check Engine light and turn it off. Then the technician will take a test drive and ensure all systems are operating properly.

Car-X is Your One Stop Auto Repair Solution!

For more than 50 years, the pros at Car-X have helped our customers keep their vehicles on the road and operating at top performance. In our shops, we have the latest diagnostic equipment for most type of vehicles, and our experienced technicians receive specialized training on how to use it. Should you find yourself with a Check Engine light illuminated on your dashboard, be sure to visit your local Car-X repair shop today.

We will get you back on the road in no time! Click to request an appointment today.

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Should your College Student Take their Car to School?

taking car to collegeBack to school can be a time of big decisions for parents and students. One of the most difficult is whether or not to take a car away to college. Consider the following when making this decision:

Responsible use – Has your child done his or her part in taking care of their vehicle so far? Have they driven safely and not had a problem with speeding tickets or accidents? Keep in mind the atmosphere of college inevitably means less supervision and more opportunities for poor decisions, so trust is a major factor.

School policy – Colleges have varying policies on cars for students. Many universities don’t allow first-year students to bring cars to campus. If your student’s school does allow vehicles, the next thing to look into is parking. Will there be a nearby lot or deck they can park in, or will they have to park further away? If the parking area safe?

• Convenience to family – Does it make sense to the rest of the family that your student’s car be gone for semesters at a time? There could be younger siblings near or of driving age that may need the car.

Jobs or internships – If your student has a part-time job or internship this fall, especially off-campus, then it is important they have a reliable means of transportation.

Cost – Does your child have a way to pay for gas, parking permits, etc., or will you be covering that? Come up with a plan, such as you paying a certain percentage if your student maintains a certain GPA.

Rules – Should you make the decision your student will take their car, establish some ground rules. Classmates will surely ask to borrow or drive the car at some point.

Alternatives – Should you decide your student won’t take their car, there are several alternatives to having a car on campus to consider.

How to Maximize Fuel Economy

Improving fuel economy is a matter of changing your driving habits. The benefits range from environmental to personal and financial. Here are some easy and effective tips on maximizing your fuel economy.

  • Drive Conservatively – Rapid acceleration and hard braking can reduce your fuel economy by 15-30% at highway speeds (10-40% in stop and go traffic).
  • Use Cruise Control – Cruise control reduces the fluctuations in speed keeping your car at a consistent pace helping to saving gas.
  • Avoid unnecessary Idling – Between 1 quarter to ½ gallon of fuel per hour is used when idling. Turn off your engine until you’re ready to get on your way, restarting your engine only uses 10 seconds worth of fuel. Only shut off your engine when it is safe to do so.  
  • Practice Proper car Maintenance:
    • Remove any extra items from your car – More weight = more fuel your car needs to use
    • Change your oil regularly
    • Check your tire pressure
    • Check your engine air filter and replace if needed
    • Choose to roll down your windows instead of using AC
    • Regularly track your fuel economy

Everything you Need to Know About Vehicle Recalls

Vehicle recalls occur more frequently than most of us are aware of. This results when a manufacturer determines that a car model has a safety related defect that does not comply with the government’s safety standard. The manufacturer is then required to alert owners of this problem and may offer to repair the issue at no cost to you.

These alerts are usually delivered by mail or email, but they can often be overlooked. If you have a feeling that your car may be involved in a recall but haven’t received an alert, you can go online and check for yourself.

All you need is your VIN number which can be found in a few different places: the driver’s side lower corner of the windshield, vehicle registration, insurance card, or on a placard on the driver’s door jamb. Visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s recall page (www.nhtsa.gov/recalls) and enter you VIN. If your car has been issued a recall it will pop up on the page and if nothing populates then your car has not been recalled.

If your car has been issued a recall you should call your local dealer and schedule an appointment to fix the recalled issue. If you didn’t buy your car from that specific dealer, they will help you with the recall if it’s the same manufacturer.

Winterize your vehicle

If the weather turns frightful is your vehicle ready for winter driving? Stay safe & keep your vehicle in good working order this winter with the following tips:

Battery Test Check Mark Battery test-If the battery is not checked, there is a chance the particularly cold nights will be too much, making the battery unable to power on the next day.

Antifreeze Check Mark Antifreeze-Another serious issue that often comes up in the winter is lack of enough coolant, which can cause the engine to freeze and possibly crack, causing detrimental harm.

Charging Systems Check Mark Charging system check-Your charging system needs to be tested to ensure it can handle running multiple items such as your defrosters, headlights, and heater at once.

Belt and Hoses Check Mark Belt & hose inspection-Cracked or worn belts are a big reason why cars break down. Similarly, hoses need to be inspected for leaks, bulging, etc. These should be checked annually before the winter months, so there is no chance of getting stranded out in the cold unnecessarily.

Brake Check Mark Brake check-Having brakes in good condition is imperative for slippery winter roads. Having your brakes and ABS system checked each year ensures you will be able to come to a stop easily should you happen to slide.

Oil Change Check Mark Oil change-Important year-round, having your oil changed for the winter months is a step you should not forget. Be sure to refer to your car’s owner manual, as some car manufacturers suggest using a different grade of oil for colder temperatures.

Wiper Blade Check Mark New wiper blades-It is necessary to have windshield wiper blades in good condition for when you get caught driving in the snow. There are even a variety of specialty wiper blades made specifically for snowy weather.

Tire Check Mark Tire maintenance-It is of utmost importance to make sure your tire pressure is at a good level. Tires should be inspected, as well as rotated if you have not done so recently.

Other helpful tips:

  • Run your air conditioning roughly once per month. This will help decrease the time it takes your windows to defog.
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full. The added weight helps in slippery conditions, and it also helps prevent moisture from forming.
  • Do not forget to keep a snow brush/ice scraper in your car.

Car-X provides a wide array of winterization products and services. Find a location near you, and let us take the worry out of winter driving.

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Please let us know how we are doing. We want to recognize our outstanding mechanics, managers, and other employees.

Leave us a review on Google, or contact us – we look forward to hearing from you.

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Car-X is Pleased to Announce the Opening of a New Car-X Store in Ankeny, Iowa

CAR-X ANKENY, IOWA – NEW STORE OPENING

SCHAUMBURG, IL – Roger W. Hill, President and CEO of Car-X, announced the opening of a new store in Ankeny, Iowa. Mark Goldner, the Des Moines franchisee opened his seventh Car-X Tire and Auto location in Ankeny on September 22, 2014.

The new Ankeny store located at 2105 South Ankeny Boulevard and has 10 bays. The service center will be open Monday thru Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and accepts appointments. The phone number is 515-964-1155. Car-X Tire and Auto repairs all makes and models, including diesel and hybrid vehicles.

“Mark is one of our visionary franchisees providing outstanding customer service,” said Rich Brayer, VP Marketing – “he has a 26 year history of great performance at Car-X.”

In 1988, Mr. Goldner partnered with Car-X Tire and Auto in Des Moines as Store Manager and Inventory Manager. As the business grew, he moved into a Supervisor role where he helped to grow the business. Mr. Goldner and his wife purchased the business in 2008 and have been operating and building the Car-X Tire and Auto brand to the seven locations in Des Moines, Ames, and now in Ankeny, Iowa ever since.

Car-X has over 40 years of experience and is known for its great customer service by providing products and services that help your car or truck perform at its best. Car-X offers complete auto maintenance services, from regular tune-ups to emergency repairs, timing belts to hoses to brakes – Car-X does everything in, on and under your car.

So “Don’t Worry Call the Car-X Man.”

Car-X Tire and Auto was founded in 1971 by a group of enterprising and experienced muffler shop owners. During the early years, Car-X was primarily an exhaust specialist. But today, in our 24/7 non-stop, fast paced world, we’ve adapted to providing just about any automotive repair you can imagine. We continue to evaluate our position and business and add products and services that are comparable to today’s auto repair climate.

Car-X Tire and Auto has 149 locations and has built a reputation on exceptional customer satisfaction

For additional information, contact Rich Brayer, at Direct Line: 847-273-8934 or rbrayer@carx.com