What Services Does My Diesel Truck Need?

Diesel power plants give pickup trucks extra torque, fuel efficiency, and reliability over gasoline, all of which are important when hauling heavy loads and working long days. The differences from gas-powered engines that make diesel trucks such workhorses also mean they require different maintenance. 

From complicated emissions systems to a lack of spark plugs, diesel motors operate very differently from gas. While it’s true that diesels tend to have more longevity than gas (thanks in part to stronger engine components needed to withstand high compression), they still need to be maintained at regular intervals. 

If you are a new diesel owner, you might be wondering what services your truck needs to run like it should. We’re going to go over the most important regular services for diesel trucks. 

Ford Duramax Diesel V8 Engine

Oil and Filter Changes

Just like gasoline engines, diesels require regular oil and oil filter changes to protect internal moving parts. However, the interval of oil changes varies. Newer diesels can, under ideal conditions, go as long as 7500 – 10,000 miles between oil services. 

Typically, your truck will not be operating in “ideal conditions”. For example, cold weather, extreme heat, short driving distances, towing and hauling, stop-and-start driving, or exposure to dust and dirty air are not ideal conditions. For these trucks, an oil change every 5000 miles is advised. The same is true for older diesel trucks. When in doubt, more frequent oil changes are always advised.

Most modern diesels are turbocharged. Turbochargers generate massive amounts of heat, and can cause oil to break down more rapidly. This is especially true when the engine is shut off and the oil stops flowing. Some of it will sit inside the bearing housing of the turbo and “cook”, eventually leaking to the deposition of carbon deposits throughout the motor. 

It’s important to take into consideration operating hours as well as mileage. If your truck spends a lot of time idling or powering auxiliary equipment, you should base oil changes off of engine hours. In these cases the mileage will not accurately reflect the condition of the engine oil.

Bottles of oil and a filter sitting next to a jack

Fuel Filter Change

Fuel injection in diesel engines happens under unbelievably high pressure. Depending on the engine, the injection pressure can be between 20,000 and 40,000 psi. In order to protect this system and its expensive components, the diesel fuel passes through a filter. The fuel filter keeps contaminants out of the injection pump and the injectors themselves. 

Fuel filters on gasoline engines can easily go 100,000 miles between changes. On diesel engines, the filter(s) should be swapped out every 10,000-15,000 miles to ensure optimal performance. 

Air Filters

For your diesel engine to operate at its best, it needs an unlimited supply of clean air. The engine air filter is responsible for removing any contaminants from the air before it enters the engine. If your truck spends a lot of time in dusty environments like construction sites or on dirt roads, the filter can become dirty pretty quickly, choking the engine and reducing its performance. 

Similar to the fuel filter, you should plan on getting your engine air filter changed every 10,000 to 15,000 miles depending on the conditions your vehicle is used in. 

Glow Plugs

Glow plugs (Not to be mistaken with spark plugs), provide heat to the combustion chamber, aiding in more efficient combustion and easier startup. Glow plugs typically have a very long life of 100,000 miles. 

However, if they fail, you may not be able to get your diesel truck started. Luckily, they are not an expensive part and due to their longevity, they aren’t much of a concern. 

General Maintenance 

Outside of the services above, the maintenance on your diesel will remain similar to any other vehicles. Regular coolant flushes, brake, and differential services are all critical to keeping your diesel truck running reliably. 

Diesel Services at Scott’s U-Save

Whether you daily drive a diesel truck or manage a fleet of them, having a trustworthy and knowledgeable repair shop is essential. Scott’s U-Save is your go-to for diesel service in New Lenox and Steger Illinois, as well as Schererville Indiana. Give us a call or schedule an appointment online today!

Why are my Tires so Loud on the Highway?

Have you ever noticed loud road noise coming from your tires? Sometimes it can be enough to disrupt music or conversation, which is frustrating when driving for long periods. 

If you’ve ever experienced excessive tire noise, you may have wondered why. After all, aren’t tires supposed to provide a comfortable, safe, and quiet ride? 

There are a few reasons for excessive tire noise, and we will cover them here!

Why are My Tires So Loud?

While there is no specific reason that covers all cases, there are a few things that might be causing the noise.

Some level of tire noise is expected from all tires. The compression of air through the tire tread creates noise you can hear from the driver’s seat. Tires utilize tread to ensure proper traction in a range of conditions. The type and size of the tread pattern vary significantly by the variety of tires and impact the amount of noise the tire will make on the road. 

Even without tread though, tires would still create noise at speed. The more contact patch the tire has with the ground, the louder the tire noise will be. This is why wider tires will almost always be louder than narrow ones, as the narrower tires have less surface area touching the ground. 

Type of Tire

As stated before, two of the major factors in road noise are the tread of the tire and the contact patch of the tire. Different types of tires have different uses and will vary significantly in construction. A high-performance summer tire will have a less aggressive tread and more surface area touching the road, while a snow tire is narrower with aggressive tread (even studs) making it loud on dry roads. 

One of the most obvious examples of this is off-road tires. Not only are they wide for maximum contact with the road or trail, but they also have deep treads. Off-road tires are very loud on regular roads, especially at highway speeds. 

Those aren’t the only factors though. The sidewall of the tire can impact tire noise as well. Run-flat tires are a popular choice and even standard on some BMW models. These tires have thick sidewalls that make the tire stiffer, absorb less vibration, and in turn transmit more noise to the cabin. 

Close-up photo of tire tread

Road Conditions

Road conditions can play a role in the sound of your tires. Rough roads have a more porous and uneven surface which can lead to an increase in noise. You will typically hear more road noise on dirt roads, in construction zones, or on poorly maintained pavement streets and highways.

Tire Size

Regardless of tire type, sidewall, or tread; the biggest contributor to excessive tire noise is the width of the tire.

Wide tires are louder than narrow ones due to the increased surface area and contact patch with the road.

Because of this, cars that often run wider size tires (such as sports cars or trucks) will most likely be louder on the freeway than an economy car with narrower tires. 

Tire Profile

The profile of a tire is the height of the sidewall. Tires with larger profiles will often be more comfortable and softer feeling on the road, as they have more material to flex with. Low-profile tires are great for aesthetics and performance, as they provide a lower center of gravity and the ability for larger wheels. With a lower profile though, there’s less material in the sidewall, and vibrations are both felt and heard in the cabin much more. 

Uneven Wear

While not common, uneven tire wear can cause some of the loudest road noise. Uneven tire wear causes an increase in noise due to gaps in the tread or flat spots in certain areas.

Cars with positive or negative camber, (the angle that the tire makes contact with the ground), will wear down on one side much more quickly. 

Tires with flat spots from hard braking and lock-ups will produce a noise every rotation, which can become what sounds like a low drone from the cabin. 

Underinflation and overinflation can cause the tire to contact the ground unevenly, and cause wear in the center of the tire or sides of the tire depending on the pressure. 

Which Tire Should I Choose?

If lessening road noise is your number one priority in a tire, then a narrower tire with light tread and a high profile is ideal. It gives the tire minimum contact with the ground to cause noise, and the depth and shape of the tread are less aggressive than other options. Some manufacturers, such as Continental and Cooper, even make tires with sound in mind. 

The real answer for what tire you should choose comes down to how you use your vehicle. If you’re focused on performance on the road or trail you’ll need to sacrifice a little noise and comfort.

For those who live in places with more extreme weather, you may focus on the versatility of your tire in different conditions. All-season or winter-focused tires will have a more aggressive tread and might be louder when driving at highway speeds. 

Tire nuts being removed by tire gun

Tire Service at Scott’s U-Save

If you want help choosing what tire would be best for your vehicle and driving style, the experts at Scott’s U-Save in the Chicagoland area can help! We have three different locations, two in Illinois (New Lenox and Steger) and one in Indiana (Schererville).

Call or schedule an appointment with our friendly team, and we’ll ensure that you’re pleased with your tires when you drive off our lot!

Why is my Car Leaking Oil?

There are a few fluids that are vital to a vehicle, the most important one being oil. It keeps the moving parts in the engine lubricated, preventing excess friction and wear. Without oil, your engine would not be able to run very long.

Oil is pumped in a loop through the motor to lubricate the motion of internal engine parts such as pistons, valves, crankshafts, and other vital engine components. Engine oil also absorbs heat while preventing friction between metal parts, which keeps the motor from reaching a dangerous temperature. 

It should be no surprise that leaking oil can cause problems down the line. Losing oil from a leak decreases the amount in the oil loop, and that can get to a dangerous level if not fixed or refilled. Running with low oil can cause numerous issues, including accelerated wear on components, increased engine temperatures, and decreased performance/efficiency.

How do I Know if I Have an Oil Leak? 

It’s often easy to see if you have an oil leak, as they’re usually noticeable in puddles of oil under the car or wet components in an engine bay. The trouble comes when trying to find where the leak is and why it’s happening. 

The oiling system directs oil through the engine block and cylinder head. Gaskets and seals throughout the engine keep oil inside. Over time, these seals can wear out and fail. Hundreds of potential failure points can cause an oil leak. 

While most oil leaks are slow and won’t cause immediate issues, letting them linger and allowing oil to leak can cause costly repairs in the future. 

Leaking oil can cause telltale signs such as a burning smell, drips under your car, or sounds of grinding and metal on metal when the oil level gets dangerously low.

Luckily, there are a few common causes that are most often the culprit, and this makes it a bit easier to narrow down. 

Damaged Gaskets

The gaskets in an engine are responsible for sealing the surface between two components. Commonly made of rubber, silicone, or similar material, these seals can degrade over time and eventually fail due to high heat, pressure, contaminated oil, and everyday wear. 

Gaskets/seals are used throughout the engine. If you have an oil leak, check the visible connection points and look for failing gaskets around the valve cover, oil pan, timing cover, and cylinder head. 

When a gasket fails, oil can leak from these connections and make its way out of the motor’s oil loop. 

Proactively changing gaskets at the first sign of a leak is the most effective way to prevent oil loss. Using high-quality synthetic oil can extend the life of the material.

Engine without valve cover

Faulty or Damaged Oil Pan

The oil pan sits at the bottom of the engine and acts as a reservoir for the vehicle’s oil. With their location at the very bottom of the engine, oil pans can take damage from rocks, collisions, and large bumps. This can cause a crack or failure in the pan and allow oil to leak right below it. 

If you notice a leak right below the engine, the oil pan could very well be the cause. Keep an eye out for signs of damage on your oil pan or visible oil dripping down from the pan’s gasket and connection. 

Improper Installation

The oil system is highly pressurized and has a knack for finding any way to allow oil to exit the engine. This makes the improper installation of parts a common cause of oil leaks. 

Whether the oil pan is bolted too tight or the valve cover isn’t tightened equally, these small mistakes can cause oil to make its way through the seals and out of the oil loop. 

Ensuring correct installation and use of gaskets is the obvious way to avoid this. When installing new parts within the oil system, make sure even tightening is being used, proper gaskets are being installed, and the correct torque specifications are being followed. 

Oil Leak Repair at Scott’s U-Save

Suspect an oil leak in your vehicle? Do you notice symptoms of low oil but can’t tell where the oil is going? The experienced technicians at Scott’s U-Save have your back. Come visit us at any of our three locations to get quality service and peace of mind. 

Call us or schedule an appointment online today to meet with our team. We’re excited to take care of you and your vehicle!

What Kind of Brake Fluid Do I Need?

You might not think much about what goes on when you press the brake pedal in your car. Behind the scenes, the brake booster amplifies the pressure from your foot and transfers it to the calipers via lines filled with hydraulic brake fluid.

Like other fluids in your car, the brake fluid needs to be changed periodically. Over time, it loses its effectiveness thanks to its hygroscopic (tendency to attract and hold water) properties. Not all brake fluid is created equal, and not all vehicles use the same type of fluid. In this article, you will learn about different brake fluid types and how to identify the variety you need to use in your car!

brake lines in a vw golf

Brake Fluid Properties

Brake fluid needs to have a high boiling point, be incompressible, and be lubricating to work properly.

Brake Fluid is Incompressible

This is one of the most important properties of brake fluid. To effectively transfer the force of your foot on the pedal to the brakes, the fluid cannot compress. If it did, the brakes would not be as strong, and the pedal would be spongy.

Brake Fluid has a High Boiling Point

Brakes are all about friction and pressure, both of which generate heat. If the fluid in the lines boils and turns to gas, it becomes compressible, and the effectiveness will drop. This phenomenon is known as brake fade. While it is most common in racing environments (due to high speeds and heavy braking), street vehicles can experience it too. Brake fade is particularly prevalent in vehicles that tow trailers or drive up and down long, steep mountain roads.

Dry vs. Wet Boiling Point

Brake fluid boiling points have two ratings. The dry boiling point is the temperature at which the fluid will boil when it is new. The wet boiling point indicates the temperature the fluid boils once it has absorbed water.

Brake Fluid is Lubricating

The antilock braking system (ABS) and calipers need to be lubricated to work right. Brake fluid has lubricating properties that keep the system working as it should.

Hygroscopicity in Brake Fluid

Hygroscopicity is a property that causes water attraction and retention. All but one variety of brake fluid (we will cover these below) is hygroscopic. This property is the main reason the brake fluid needs to be changed. Despite being an enclosed system, the fluid in the lines will still attract and retain moisture over time. Water in the brake lines reduces the boiling point of the fluid and can cause corrosion in the system, both of which can have negative impacts on your brakes. Brake fluid replacement is all about keeping water out.

Types of Brake Fluid

Brake fluid classifications begin with the acronym DOT, which is short for the United States Department of Transportation. These are the four categories of brake fluid you are likely to encounter:

  • DOT 3
  • DOT 4
  • DOT 5
  • DOT 5.1

You are probably wondering about the differences between them. Can you use different brake fluids interchangeably? In the next section, we will dive into the differences between each type of brake fluid.

What is DOT 3 Brake Fluid?

DOT 3 brake fluid is glycol based, and has a dry boiling point of around 400°F, and a wet boiling point of around 280°F. DOT 3 brake fluid absorbs less water than other types, meaning it needs to be changed less frequently.

What is DOT 4 Brake Fluid?

DOT 4 brake fluid is also glycol-based but has a higher boiling point than DOT 3. DOT 4 has a dry boiling point is 446°F, and a wet boiling point of 311°F. This makes it more reliable and consistent under heavy usage. The tradeoff with DOT 4 is it’s more hygroscopic, meaning it will take on more water and need to be changed more frequently.

What is DOT 5 Brake Fluid?

DOT 5 is the only non-glycol-based brake fluid variety and has a dry boiling point of 500°F and a wet boiling point of 356°F. Made of silicone, this type of brake fluid is typically used in classic cars, military vehicles, show cars, or any vehicle that sits a lot. Silicone is much more compressible than glycol, so the performance of the brakes is not as good. DOT 5 does a better job of protecting the system from the effects of water corrosion.

What is DOT 5.1 Brake Fluid?

DOT 5.1 has the highest boiling point of glycol-based fluids. It’s typically used in heavy-duty/racing applications. It has a dry boiling point of 500°F and a wet boiling point of 356°F, combining the high boiling point of DOT 5 with the superior performance of DOT 3 and 4. Keep in mind, DOT 5.1 is will retain water and requires frequent changes.

How Do I Know Which Fluid to Use?

If you bring your car to a shop for service, you probably have never thought about the kind of brake fluid you use. However, if you are in a situation where you need to top off your brake fluid, it’s important to know what fluid you need.

There are two ways to find out what brake fluid your car needs. First, you can look in the owner’s manual. The second way to tell is by popping the hood and looking at the cap on top of the brake fluid reservoir. On most vehicles, the brake fluid reservoir will be located in the engine bay directly in front of the driver’s seat and will have a yellow cap, or a cap with yellow lettering. The fluid rating will be printed on the cap.

brake fluid cap in car

Can I use Different Brake Fluid Interchangeably?

Here are some rules for brake fluid compatibility:

  • DOT 4 can be used in a car that calls for DOT 3
  • DOT 5.1 can be used in a car that calls for DOT 4 or DOT 3
  • DOT 3 SHOULD NOT be used in a car that requires DOT 4 or DOT 5.1
  • DOT 4 SHOULD NOT be used in a car that calls for DOT 5.1
  • Systems that call for DOT 5 (silicone based) SHOULD NEVER use a glycol-based fluid, and they should never be mixed.

Brake Fluid Changes at Scott’s U-Save

The teams at Scott’s U-Save know how to service your braking system and keep your car stopping reliably. If it’s time for a brake fluid flush or other services, give us a call or schedule an appointment at our locations in New Lenox, Schererville, or Steger today!


Why Does my Car Shake When I Press the Brakes?

Why Does my Car Shake When I Press the Brakes

There’s no more unsettling sensation behind the wheel than feeling your vehicle shaking. Whether it be at idle, under acceleration, or when braking, you know there’s something off with your car. 

There are many reasons this could be happening under braking, some being more serious issues than others. While you should always bring your car to a technician if your car feels even remotely unsafe, there are a few common reasons that your vehicle may be behaving like this:

Warped or faulty brake rotors

When you press on the brake pedal in your car, the brake pads are pressed with force against your brake rotors to create friction, and in turn, slow down your car. These rotors come from the factory as near-perfectly flat disks, but as they’re exposed to the elements and temperature changes, these disks can warp slightly or become uneven. When this happens, the brake pads will “jump” on these valleys on the rotor, and can cause heavy vibrations. 

Silver wheel with blue brake caliper

Wheel or Tire Problems

Oftentimes the vibrations in your vehicle can be explained by something as simple as an unevenly worn or unbalanced tire. If your alignment is off, certain tires may wear faster than others and this uneven wear can lead to the vehicle vibrating or shaking slightly when braking. Although less common, this problem can also be caused by a warped wheel, which can be a product of an accident or hitting a large pothole.

Loose/Bad Wheel Bearings

Wheel bearings are small ball bearings contained within two rings. They help your wheels spin freely and with the least friction possible. When these bearings become worn over time, they can cause the wheel to vibrate under braking. These problems are often accompanied by a grinding or rubbing noise.

Worn Brake Pads

Brake pads are abrasive pieces squeezed by the caliper against the rotor. With use, brake pads will wear down and can become uneven, which can lead to the pad not pressing squarely against the rotors. This can cause a result similar to a warped rotor, where the pad will jump and vibrate, causing the car to vibrate. 

Worn Suspension Components

Suspension is what keeps your car gliding smoothly over uneven roads and pavement, but what happens when it’s not working properly? Sometimes these components get so beat up and worn from use or have large bumps/potholes that they may become slightly bent or shifted. The suspension is connected to the steering components and wheel, so a shaking sensation can be felt if something is off.

Underside of a car

Brake Service at Scott’s U-Save

Are your brakes feeling uneasy? Scott’s U-Save is the place for that in Chicago’s Southland. Our shops in New Lenox, Schererville, and Steger will take care of your vehicle with our ASE-certified technicians with years of experience, and have your car feeling good again in no time. Call or schedule an appointment with us today!