What is Covered Under the Illinois Lemon Law?

Buying a new car is an exciting experience. You’ve saved up, optioned out leather seats, a heated steering wheel, and all the other bells and whistles you wanted. But now, instead of enjoying your new car worry-free as you expected, you’ve made countless trips to the repair shop. What gives?

If this situation sounds familiar, you may have bought a lemon. People throw around the term “lemon” to describe any car with problems, but there is a legal definition. States, including Illinois, have lemon laws in place to protect those who buy problem cars. In this article, we are going to discuss what qualifies as a lemon car in the state of Illinois, and what our laws surrounding lemons do to protect you.

Before we continue, you should know that this article is not legal advice, simply information. If you suspect you have purchased a lemon, you should contact the designated manufacturer representative for your vehicle, which can usually be found in your owner’s manual.

What Constitutes a Lemon Vehicle in Illinois?

For a vehicle to be classified as a lemon, it needs to be:

– A new car, van, or light truck under 8,000 pounds.

– A new recreational vehicle.

– Vehicles purchased in Illinois.

– Vehicles in their first 12 months or 12,000 miles, whichever comes first.

The actual conditions that would cause a vehicle to be protected by lemon laws are as follows:

– A vehicle with an issue from the factory that impacts its useability, value, or safety.

– At least four attempts to have been made by the dealer or manufacturer rectify the problem.

– The vehicle has been out of service for 30 or more business days

What Is Not Covered by the Illinois Lemon Law?

The Lemon Law in Illinois does not cover all vehicles. In addition to any vehicle that falls outside the above criteria, any used, or a modified vehicle is not covered. Additionally, motorcycles and boats are not covered either.

What Should I Do If My Vehicle is a Lemon?

If you are unfortunate and purchase a problem car or truck and think you may be able to get it covered under the Illinois Lemon Law, make sure you begin the process quickly before the 12 months from the purchase is up. You will need to reach out to your manufacturer’s Third-Party Resolution Program. The Illinois Attorney General covers the details of what you need will need to do to submit and preserve your claim.

Other Tips

If you think you will be claiming the Illinois Lemon Law, make sure to keep good records of all the services you have performed on the vehicle at the dealership. Any receipts, repair records, and other documents can be useful.

Becker Service Center is your Destination for Auto Repair in Naperville

We hope you never have to deal with a lemon vehicle. If you are having issues with your car that are not covered by the Illinois Lemon Law, we are here to help! Our shop is conveniently located in the heart of Naperville, and our ASE-Certified technicians have the skills and experience to work on your car, whether you need service or in-depth repairs. Give us a call or schedule an appointment online today!

How Often Should My Timing Belt Be Replaced?

When it comes to major engine services, timing belt replacements are one of the most important. Neglecting a timing belt service can lead to catastrophic issues, including engine failure. In this article, we will discuss what a timing belt does, why it’s important, and how often you should have it replaced on your vehicle.

What is engine timing?

Before we talk about the timing belt itself, let’s go over engine timing. Your engine is divided into two main parts, the bottom end, and the cylinder head. These parts are connected with head studs or bolts and are sealed with a head gasket.

The bottom end of an engine contains the rotating assembly, including the crankshaft, connecting rods, and pistons. Moving parts also use bearings, which aid in reducing friction between metal components. The rotating assembly transfers the power generated by the engine to the transmission, and eventually to the wheels.

timing belt and cam gears

The cylinder head is where the valvetrain, ignition, and fueling system live. The valvetrain contains the camshaft(s), valves, valve springs, and associated hardware. The fuel rail, injectors, and sparkplugs (gasoline only) are housed in the cylinder head. These parts work together to control the intake of air and fuel, the timing of combustion, and the expulsion of exhaust gases.

Engine timing keeps the cylinder head rotating with the bottom end, ensuring proper engine operation. Adjustments in timing can impact fuel economy, performance, and other aspects of engine operation, but that is a topic for a separate article. Correct timing is essential to engine function.

What is a Timing Belt, and What Does It Do?

The rotating parts in both the cylinder head and bottom end of the engine need to operate very precisely. This is where the timing belt comes in. The belt connects the bottom end to the cylinder head, ensuring both parts of the engine are in precise time with the other.

timing belt routing graphic

What are Timing Belts Made From?

Most timing belts are made of a reinforced, high-density rubber composite. Some belts use neoprene, polyurethane, or even Kevlar to increase strength and resilience. In addition to the forces generated by the engine, timing belts need to resist extreme heat, weather, and exposure to harmful fluids like oil, gas and diesel, and coolant.  

Why Do Timing Belts Fail? 

Timing belt failure is usually attributed to age and poor maintenance. Even on a well-maintained car, an old belt will still succumb to weakening, stretching, and cracking. A belt that has prolonged exposure to fluids can also weaken. A compromised belt is much more likely to fail catastrophically.

What Happens When a Timing Belt Fails?

The outcome of a timing belt failure will depend on if you have an Interference or Non-Interference engine you have in your car.

The pistons and valves cross paths on an interference engine in the combustion chamber. When the engine is in time, the movement of the valves and pistons occurs in a way that prevents them from making contact. When the timing belt breaks or fails, the timing will be off, meaning the pistons and valves will most likely contact each other. Depending on the engine rpm and severity of the contact, the valves will bend or break. This will normally require a cylinder head replacement and in some cases an entirely new engine.

Non-Interference engines do not have the same risk of catastrophic failure. The valves and pistons never cross paths. If a timing belt failure occurs, the car will simply stop running as the camshaft(s) will no longer be operating the valves. Once the belt is replaced and the engine is re-timed, it will run as it did before with little other work needed.

It’s worth noting that the vast majority of vehicles on the road today, particularly those made in the last 15 or so years, utilize interference engines due to performance and fuel efficiency benefits.

A bent valve resulting from a failed timing belt.

How often should I get my timing belt replaced?

Timing belt replacement is a major service and can be pretty expensive, well over $1000 in most cases. Luckily, timing belts can last a long time. If you take care of your vehicle, you should plan on doing a timing belt replacement every 90,000-100,000 miles. Between these intervals, the belt should be checked periodically to ensure no significant wear has taken place.

Despite being expensive, a timing belt service will always be cheaper than replacing a cylinder head or entire engine. The long intervals between replacements give owners time to prepare for the cost, and knowing you have a new belt means you can confidently drive without fear of it breaking.

Timing Belt Replacement at Becker Service Center

If your car is due for a timing belt replacement, schedule an appointment with Becker Service Center. Our Naperville repair shop is staffed with ASE-Certified technicians with the knowledge and skills to service your car. Submit an appointment form or give us a call to schedule today!

How Much Does it Cost to Replace a Power Steering Pump?

You’ve started noticing a whining noise when you turn, a squealing when you start your car, and your steering feels different while you drive. You go to a repair shop, and they tell you it’s time to replace your power steering pump. How much should you expect to pay to get it replaced? What’s involved in the job?

What is Power Steering?

The power steering system assists in turning the steering wheel. Without it, you would have to work a lot harder to turn the wheel, especially at low speeds or when stopped. Power steering is something a lot of people probably take for granted. If you’ve ever hopped behind the wheel of an older car that doesn’t have it, you know what a difference power steering makes.

The power steering system is driven by a pump running off the engine. The fluid is pressurized by the pump, and directed by a valve into a chamber divided by a piston, located in the steering rack. One side of the piston receives more fluid depending on the direction the steering wheel is turned. The difference in pressure between the two sides allows the wheel to be turned with ease.

The power steering pump directs hydraulic fluid into the steering rack

Manufacturers are now moving to electric power steering systems, which do not utilize a pump. Fuel economy improves without the pump sapping power from the engine.

With that said, many cars on the road today use hydraulic power steering, and the system will be prevalent for many years to come.

What Causes Power Steering Pump Failure?

There are a few reasons why a power steering pump can fail. Here are some of the more common ones:

Low Power Steering Fluid

The hydraulic fluid used by the power steering system also works to keep the pump lubricated and cool. If the pump operates with low fluid for extended periods, it can overheat or succumb to excess wear. The life of the pump will be shorter as a result.


Fluid Leak

A fluid leak is not a direct cause of failure, but if enough fluid leaks from the system, the pump will be operating with less than adequate lubrication.

Snapped Belt

The power steering pump runs off the engine via a belt. If the belt breaks, the pump will not have any power driving it, preventing it from working.

Dirty or Contaminated Power Steering Fluid

If the fluid in your power steering system is dirty or contaminated, it can contribute to premature power steering pump failure.


An old power steering pump can fail simply from years of use. High mileage cars still using the original pump can see an age-related failure occur.

How Much Does a Power Steering Pump Replacement Cost?

Now that you understand power steering and the function of the pump, we can start talking about the replacement itself. The cost of a repair is split into two categories: labor and parts.

When replacing a power steering pump, the parts involved generally include the pump itself, fresh power steering fluid, and in some cases new power steering lines. Lines can be reused if they are in good condition. However, replacing them at the same time will ensure you don’t have more problems down the road.

Replacing Power Steering Lines Can Prevent Future Problems

Power Steering Pump Cost

The price of a power steering pump varies significantly by vehicle. They can be as little as $100 or up to almost $1000 on the high end. Again, it depends on the vehicle. German cars typically have more expensive components, while Asian and domestic makes will be more affordable. For most passenger cars, the price of the pump will likely be in the $150 to $500 range.


Labor Cost

Unfortunately, there is no exact price for labor either. On some vehicles, the pump is easily accessible and requires little disassembly to get to it. The time it takes the technician to replace the pump determines the labor cost. A readily accessible pump will cost far less to replace than one that requires a lot of wrenching to reach. At Becker Service Center, our labor rate is $138 an hour. 

How much should I expect to pay?

 While the price of this repair can vary, expect to pay between $500 and $800 to get your power steering pump replaced. Depending on your car, the cost could exceed that price, or fall below it. The best way to know for sure is to talk with the service advisors are your repair shop.

Power Steering Pump Replacement in Naperville, IL

 Becker Service Center is your destination for power steering service in Naperville. Our team of technicians and friendly service advisors will provide you with the best service and competitive prices on this repair, getting you back on the road with functional power steering fast, the first time. Give us a call or schedule an appointment online today!

How To Jump A Car

There are few things more frustrating than leaving home in the morning, getting in your car, turning the key, and hearing nothing but a repeated clicking noise. Then you notice the headlight switch in the on position. Your car has a dead battery, and now you have to jump-start it or risk being late.

Most car owners have encountered this scenario at some point. Many people know how to jump-start a dead vehicle, but there are equally as many people who have never had to, or don’t know how to. Even if it seems unlikely you’ll ever be in a situation where a jump start is required for your car, you may need to help someone else with a dead battery. It’s a good skill to know, and we are going to cover the steps here.

Safely jump-start your car in these 8 steps

1.) Get your jumper cables

Keeping a set of jumper cables in your car is a really good idea. If your battery dies, it’s one less thing you need to either buy or borrow to get your car back on the road.

2.) Locate the battery

The vast majority of vehicles have their batteries under the hood with the engine. The battery may be covered by a plastic or felt cover, but the posts should be easily accessed. Some luxury car models keep the battery in the trunk. If you are unsure where your battery is, check the owner’s manual.

3.) Connect the positive clips to the positive terminals

The positive terminal may have a “+” or “POS” on it or have a red terminal cap. Connect the red jumper cable clips to the positive terminals on your car and the car supplying power.

red jumper cable clips

4.) Connect the first negative clip

The negative clip on the car providing power should go on the negative battery terminal. The negative post will have a “-“symbol, “NEG” or have a black terminal cap

black jumper cable clips

5.) Place the other negative clip on a section of metal

On your car, place the other negative jumper cable clip on a section of unpainted metal in the engine bay. Find a bolt or rail away from the battery, fuel lines, or moving components like fans and belts. Do not place it on the negative terminal. Doing so can cause an explosion by igniting the hydrogen gas above the battery.

6.) Start the car supplying power

Allow it to run for a few minutes to give your dead battery time to get enough charge to start your car.

7.) Start your car

Hop in the driver’s seat and turn the key. Your vehicle should fire up. If it doesn’t, double-check all the jumper cable connection points to make sure they are attached correctly. Once your vehicle is running, don’t turn it off for at least 15 minutes to give the alternator time to charge up the battery.

8.) Disconnect the jumper cables

Remove the negative (black) clips first. For safety, you can attach the clip to the cable below the positive clip this will prevent the cable from coming into contact with the car while you remove the positive one. Replace the battery cover if you had to remove it and secure all the terminal covers.

Other jump-start tips

  • Once you get your car running and drive it for more than 15 minutes, the battery should be charged sufficiently. If your car won’t start even after a long drive, it’s likely your battery is unable to hold a charge and will need to be replaced.
  • If you are having trouble getting a good connection with the jumper cables, inspect the battery terminals and jumper clips for buildup/debris that may be causing a bad connection.
white audi and black sedan jump starting

Need a battery test or replacement?

If your battery is not staying charged like it should, stop in at Becker Service Center. We can test your battery and determine whether or not it’s time for a new one, ensuring your car starts up every time you get behind the wheel. Our team of skilled technicians can handle all other repairs and services your vehicle needs, too.

What’s Inside a Catalytic Converter?

Catalytic converters have been fitted on vehicles from the factory since 1975. Catalytic converters greatly reduce the number of toxic emissions that come from operating an internal combustion engine. Today, without a cat, you will be unable to pass emissions tests that many states require regular tests. Naperville, Wheaton, or any other town within the Dupage county limits require emission testing, so you better have one!

Most car owners know the importance of catalytic converters in reducing the harmful gasses emitted during engine operation, but what’s actually inside them remains a mystery. In this article, we are going to go over what’s inside a catalytic converter, and why they work.

What is a catalytic converter?

catalytic converters installed on a vehicle

The catalytic converter is an emissions control device located in the vehicle’s exhaust system. Cats are positioned closely after the exhaust manifold or headers, before the resonator or muffler. They accelerate a chemical reaction that changes toxic exhaust gases into less harmful emissions.

Catalytic converters contain a mix of ceramic and precious metals

A“catalyst” made up of various precious metals coats the ceramic material in a catalytic converter. The catalyst is responsible for the chemical reaction that converts harmful vapors like nitrogen oxide, carbon dioxide, and hydrocarbons into carbon monoxide and water vapor.

What does the inside look like?

catalytic converter inside

If you were to open up the metal canister of a catalytic converter, you would find a highly compact ceramic honeycomb structure. The honeycomb layout maximizes the catalyst surface area. Some catalytic converters use a less compact structure to benefit performance and exhaust flow. Emissions control is the primary focus of factory installed cats.


What metals are in a catalytic converter?

Catalytic converters use platinum, palladium, and rhodium to accelerate the chemical reaction needed to reduce NOx emissions. These metals coat the ceramic honeycomb core and react with the exhaust gasses that pass through on their way to the tailpipe.

These precious metals are what drive the prices of catalytic converters so high. This is why catalytic converters are such a common target for thieves. Used catalytic converters can bring $150 or more at a scrap yard. The owner, on the other hand, has to shell out hundreds (or thousands!) of dollars to replace it on their car.

Bring your car to Becker Service Center!

If you need to replace your catalytic converter or have any other exhaust service performed, the skilled technicians at Becker Service Center can help. Give us a call or schedule an appointment at our conveniently located Naperville repair shop today. We look forward to seeing you!