Joe Cotton Ford Call Us
Joe Cotton Ford Get Directions
Main: 866-277-0159 Service: 866-312-0166 Parts: 866-418-5048
Main: 866-277-0159
Service: 866-312-0166
Parts: 866-418-5048
Summer Car Care Tips | Joe Cotton Ford | Carol Stream, IL | Local Ford Dealer


We know you hate driving in snow. We do too.

But did you know driving in heat can present similar challenges for your vehicle? When your vehicle works as

hard as it does in the Chicago summer, it'll need a lot more care than usual - including preventative care to avoid larger fixes. 

Here are our top 10 tips for keeping your car in good shape this summer.

Number 1: Air Conditioning


Air conditioning is always an essential on a hot summer day. Generally speaking, a car’s air conditioning doesn’t die without warning. It will consistently give you signs that let you know repair is needed. Heeding these signs will help you get onto the problems early before the full A/C system fails, leaving you and your passengers sitting in a sweaty car.


1. Air isn’t as cold as it used to be – Your car’s refrigerant may need to be topped off or recharged. Not enough refrigerant in the system, means you have a leak, older systems could be leaking freon into the atmosphere which is not good.

• Because AC systems are pressurized, they must be completely sealed to function properly. Over time, these pressurized systems can eventually develop leaks.

• Once any sort of leak has begun, they will eventually cause enough refrigerant to leak out to the point where the AC will no longer be able to produce cold air.

• Usually an AC system will begin to display a few symptoms when it needs to be recharged.


2. Foul smell like mildew coming from the AC vents – This could be an indication of mold in the system.

• An aged or filthy cabin filter can trigger this problem. Funky odors also can be caused by mold that has accumulated on the air conditioning system’s evaporator case.


3. Unusual banging or rattling sounds – The condenser or fan belt could be worn out, or debris could be clogging the fan.

• Your car’s compressor also uses a clutch, and this component suffers lots of wear and tear over time. If your compressor’s clutch is worn out, you’ll hear a rattling sound. In cases like this, it may be possible to solve the problem by installing a new clutch. But sometimes the entire compressor will need to be replaced.


4. Puddles or stains from water on your car’s floorboard under the dash – Your car could have a clogged drain hose.

• An air conditioning system with a blocked drain can cause water to pool under your car’s front floor mats or beneath the dash. Water stains or pooled water in these areas may indicate your vehicle’s air conditioning needs professional attention. With enough time this smell in the summer can get horrible.



Keeping an eye out for the symptoms discussed above can help you nip certain problems in the bud before they have a chance to cause complete failure of your car’s air conditioning system. If your vehicle exhibits any of these warning signs, give us a call as soon as possible and let us get you in, to see what is going on.

Air Filter


A clean air filter means a happy engine. Before singing Jason Aldean and chilling on a dirt road, make sure your air filter is ready for the road trip. A properly functioning air filter helps stop contaminants from getting into the engine, helping to extend its life. It also lets the engine breathe easier, which can help enhance performance and efficiency.


1. Ford Motor Company recommends that you replace this filter every 15,000-30,000 miles, depending on your vehicle model.

2. Replace or have checked if:

• You drive on dirt roads (like Jason Aldean) or in excessively dusty conditions.

• You see a lot of dirt or debris in the filter or note oil contamination.

• You experience a rough idle or sluggish acceleration. If you notice the vehicle vibrating or coughing or slipping sound, these could be conditions from damage spark plugs resulting from a clogged air filter.

• You experience decreased efficiency. Your car’s gas mileage is a common symptom of a dirty air filter.

• Service engine light comes on, inadequate air can result in deposits accumulating on the engine, which can trigger your service engine light.

• If your car does not respond normally when you press the accelerator or if you notice jerking movements, this is a sign that your engine is not receiving the air it needs to perform.

• If your car does not respond normally when you press the accelerator or if you notice jerking movements, this is a sign that your engine is not receiving the air it needs to perform.

• Rodents love air filter material for nesting, so always be suspicious if you see mouse droppings or nesting materials under the hood of your car.


3. If you know how to check your filter you probably know how to replace it. – Your car could have a clogged drain hose.

• If so, give our parts department a call and they can get you the right Genuine Motorcraft air filter or an Omnicraft part for your Non-Ford vehicle.


Like everything else we mention in this article: When in doubt, give us a call to set up an appointment with a qualified technician.

How do you know it it's time for a wheel alignment?


When your car rolled off the manufacturer assembly line, it came preset with special angles that position your tires correctly. And for good reason. In order for your vehicle to travel the way it’s supposed to; it will need precise alignment. Mis-alignment can lead to uneven tire wear, poor handling and shorter tire life. Tires are expensive. Keeping them aligned isn’t.


1. How do I know if my vehicles alignment is off and it is time to get it checked?

• If your vehicle pulls to one side or the other.

• If your steering wheel vibrates.

• When your steering wheel isn’t centered when driving straight.

• Uneven or rapid tire wear.

• Squealing tires

• By the way there is not warning light but all of these things you can notice on your own. Better to check now then it cost you gas money and new tires later.


2. Which brings up – How will a wheel alignment help my vehicle?

• A wheel alignment ensures optimal drivability. It helps tires last longer, your vehicle drive smoother. If your vehicle is pointed in the right direction and driving smoothly, it will require less energy to keep it going, which means saving money on gas. Which right now is huge in Illinois!

• Poor alignment can shorten a tire’s life by thousands of miles and compromise very crucial steering and suspension parts. That’s a big hit to the wallet. If you don’t want to replace tires as often and enjoy the benefits of better fuel economy, have your alignment checked, at the very least, with every other oil change or at the first sign of uneven or premature tire wear.


3. Are you curious if your driving conditions affect your vehicle’s wheel alignment? You bet they do!

• Bad roads can be your wheels’ worst enemy. (Hmmm, do you drive anywhere in Chicagoland?) If, you drive down poorly maintained roads, drive through pot holes, or even hit a curb (or your young driver hits curbs), your alignment will be greatly affected.

• This can cause even the slightest, tiniest alignment issue, which can accelerate uneven tire wear. Make sure you have your alignment checked every 6000 miles or so. Your tires and your wallet will thank you later.


4. Is there anything you can do to avoid alignment issues?

• Winter is over – finally! Remove the salt or sand you had in the trunk or anything else that might me extra weight. Alignment is based on tire angles, which go hand-in-hand with vehicle chassis height. If you have too much weight loading down your back end, that lowers your vehicle height, throwing off your alignment. Remove what you don’t need, and make sure to have your alignment check since your alignment can’t adjust itself.

• Maintain correct air pressure in your tires.

• Embrace conservative driving. (Not easy in Chicagoland, but heed your mother’s advice.) It will place less strain on steering and suspension components which are key to maintaining proper alignment.




We know tires are on your mind after the previous section. Remember to check your tires once a month and especially before you head out on you summer vacation – time to check for Wear, Air & Spare.


1. Tread Wear

• A penny can buy you peace of mind when it comes to your tires and safety. Place a penny head first into several tread grooves across the tire. If you always see the top of Lincoln’s head, your treads are shallow and worn. If this is the case, your tires need to be replaced. If part of Lincoln’s head is always covered by the tread, you have more than 2/32 of an inch of tread depth remaining. This means you probably don’t need new tires.

• Rotating your tires ever 6,000 miles helps to prevent uneven tire wear and tear.

• Cracks, cuts and bulges in sidewall are warning signs that you need to get new tires.

• Treads should be free of stones, stray nails, etc.

• When your tire treads are worn, your car may respond poorly in adverse weather conditions like rain and snow. With good treads your car will grip the road better. Also, having insufficient tread is considered illegal in many states. And finally, worn treads can make other parts of your car wear prematurely.


2. Tire Pressure

• It is especially important to check your tire pressure in the summer and having proper tire pressure is beneficial to your fuel economy, safety, and to avoid blowouts on hot pavement.

• It’s easy to check your tire pressure yourself. You can find the recommended PSI located on the driver’s side door jam.

• Cracks, cuts and bulges in sidewall are warning signs that you need to get new tires.

• Benefits of properly inflated tires include optimization of fuel economy and better traction.

• Under inflated tires wear out much more quickly and generate heat which increases the risk of a blowout.

• You should check your tire pressure once a month.

• To get the most accurate reading on your tire pressure, you should measure it when the tires are cool.


3. Additional Items

• Check your spare.

• Is it there?

• Is it old? Is it cracking because it’s been in the trunk for 10 years?

• How are the trends on it?

• How is the pressure in it?

• Grab a can of Fix-A-Flat to throw in your trunk for everyday and for you summer vacation.

• Tire Age - How old are your tires? Regardless of tread wear, vehicle manufacturers generally recommend you replace your tires at six years. Most tire manufacturers recommend you replace your tires at 10 years.


When it’s time to change your tires, Joe Cotton Ford wants to make purchasing a new set as simple as possible. We have the best selection of quality tires to fit your vehicle, your budget and your driving style.

Your Battery 


You won't be going anywhere without your battery this summer.


“Summer heat accelerates the rate of fluid loss and resulting oxidation of battery components, which can leave you stranded without warning,” says Steve Fox, Director of Automotive Services for AAA Oregon/Idaho. “Most people don’t realize that heat is the number one cause of battery failure and reduced battery life,” he adds.


1. Battery problems don’t always occur in the winter. In fact, summer heat can have a more negative impact on your battery than freezing winter temperatures. Wow, 2 things we have a lot of in Chicagoland.

2. The summer heat and vibrations can lead to internal breakdown and eventual failure, and if you’re not careful, you could be left stranded without warning. Mount your battery securely to reduce vibration and double check that the clamps are tightly secured so they don’t move.

3. The heat can speed up the evaporation of the battery fluid, which causes corrosion, so you should clean up any corrosive build-up when it does appear.

4. If your battery is more than 3 years old, it is a good idea to have it tested by a trained technician to determine how much longer if will last.

5. To find out for sure, come get your battery tested at Joe Cotton Ford.

Inspect Your Brakes



The condition of your breaks could be the difference between life or death in a quick-reaction situation. In both bumper-to-bumper traffic and sudden stops at high speeds, worn brakes can let you down. There are many signs of bad brakes; here is a list of some of them.


1. Brakes feel spongy or squishy under your feet, or you hear unusual noises, that’s a sign that you need new pads and a system bleed.

2. Hear squealing or grinding noises when you stop.

3. Car pulls to one side when you brake or the other.

4. Smell something burning or brake pads are discolored or crumbling.


Drastic changes in temperature from season to season negatively impact your car’s brakes. This is the perfect time of year to get them inspected.

Coolant System


This one should seem like a no-brainer in the summer heat. Warm weather can take a toll on your vehicle, and a malfunctioning cooling system can lead to overheating and damage to your radiator. Keeping cool is paramount, not just for ourselves but also for our cars.


1. Warm weather uses up coolant more quickly, make sure to check your coolant fluid levels, in addition, go the extra mile and inspect the state of the hoses and the coolant reservoir. Keep an eye out for leaks, especially at joints and connection points, such as where a hose connects to the engine block.

• Squeeze the hoses (when the engine is cool) every once in a while, to make sure they feel firm and not excessively squishy or soft.

2. Coolant loses its effectiveness over time.

3. Warning signs of coolant issues include the temperature gauge rising near red zones, steam, white smoke, hissing under the hood, and/ or a strong, sweet or burnt sugar scent.

4. Get system checked and flushed, especially as debris collects and can clog the system.


Warm weather can take a toll on your vehicle, and a malfunctioning cooling system can lead to overheating and damage to your radiator. Come in and get it checked out before you hit the open road.

Engine Belt


1. To find out for sure, come get your battery tested at Joe Cotton Ford.

2. Extremely warm weather increases the chance that engine belts will become loose or misaligned, wear out, or be exposed to fluids from leaks.

3. Visually check belts for missing chunks, cracks, embedded debris, and glazing, which indicated wear or oil on the belt.

4. Belt problems are indicated by a burnt rubber smell, screeching or squealing during acceleration, or chirping at low speeds.


Oil and Oil Filter | Other Fluids

1. All intense weather conditions (wet, hot, or cold) put extra demands on oil and the oil filter. Oil works to keep engine parts lubricated.

2. The oil filter works to capture harmful debris, dirt, and metal fragments that have managed their way into the system.

3. A clean filter will pick up more material, resulting in cleaner oil and ultimately a happier and healthier engine.

4. Check oil, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and windshield washing fluid regularly because these fluids never stop being used.

5. Seasonal weather changes can lead to lower transmission fluid, power steering fluid, coolant, and windshield wiper fluid.


Wipers | Dashboard Sunshade


1. Thunderstorms can roll in out of nowhere (especially here in Illinois), and it’s important that your wiper blades are up to the task when they do.

2. By the time spring rolls around, snow and rain have likely worn out your wiper blades.

3. Wiper blades are cheap and easy to replace by yourself, but if it’s too tricky or you don’t have the time, you can always get it done at Joe Cotton Ford.

4. Check and refill wiper fluid.

5. When your wiper blades are cracked and torn, they leave streaks across your windshield that affect your vision while driving and you should replace them.

6. If your wipers start chattering or streaking, you need to get them replaced.

7. While we are talking about the windshield, might as well mention, grab a sunshade and keep your car cooler during these hot summer days.


Bonus Tip: Be prepared just in case of summer breakdowns


A well-stocked emergency kit will make things easier if a breakdown happens.


1. Water

• Store in heat resistant and BPA – free container.

2. Non-perishable food items

• Granola Bars, etc…

3. Roadside kit

• Flares

• Emergency beacon and/or Warning Triangle

• Spare tire

• Tire Jack & Lug Wrench

• Tire Patch Kit

• Flashlight

• Jumper Cables

• Bungie Cord

• Electrical Tape

• Zip Ties

• Small Towel

• Whistle

• USB Charging Stick

4. Basic hand tools

• Swiss Army knife

• Multi-tool kit

• Quality knife

5. First Aid Kit

• Make sure to put painkillers, antihistamines (Benadryl), BandAids, antiseptic wipes, antibiotic ointment, gauze, burn cream, and tweezers.

6. Blanket and/or emergency foil blanket

7. Rain Poncho

8. Sweat Shirt

9. Sunscreen

10. Bug Spray


Even with preventive maintenance, summer breakdowns can still occur, so Joe Cotton Ford recommends drivers have a well-stocked emergency kit in their cars.


The Summer Car Care WORKS® Synthetic Blend Oil Change and More*

With THE WORKS, you’ll get virtually everything you need to maintain the performance of your Ford including tire rotation and pressure check,

brake inspection, vehicle inspection, fluid top-off, battery test, filter check and belts and hoses check.

Sounds like just what you need before you head off on a great summer road trip!

Give us a call or schedule an appointment now.

Vehicle Information

Services Requested

Contact Information




Google - 5 Stars

Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star

My son just bought his first car today! This was the best dealership experience I have ever had! Danny Greico is absolutely positively AMAZING! He was with us from start to finish! I would definitely recommend buying a car from him! The whole staff at Joe Cotton Ford was incredible, with all that is going on in today's world it was so nice to feel so normal and so much love! Words can't even express how grateful and blessed we are thank you Danny Greico! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DealerRater - 5 Stars

Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star

Professional, Prompt, Integrity Brought my car in for new tires and a brake fluid flush. Work was done on time, at the quoted price and then returned my car washed. Nice touch Joe Cotton Ford!

Google - 5 Stars

Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star

Definitely 5 stars. They made the process of buying a new car easy. They took time helping us choose the car that fit our needs and budget! Rich, Danny, Rick and Mike were the best and huge thank you!! We would highly recommend Joe Cotton Ford!

Google - 5 Stars

Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star

Great experience from beginning to end. On their Website, I saw one of their Internet specials advertised, so I went in, set up a test drive, asked my questions, set up financing, and -- only around 3 hours after I'd walked in -- drove away with my new car. The purchase went quickly and efficiently.

DealerRater - 5 Stars

Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star

Everyone at Joe Cotton is the greatest! Always friendly and willing to help with anything. Roman is the best!!! Mike Diehl also is one of the best! Would not buy anywhere except Joe Cotton. Recommend them to anyone asking!

Facebook - 5 Stars

Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star

I went in for my 6 month check up as required for my maintenance package. Quite some time passed and I remembered that I needed new wiper blades. I went back and asked if that could be added and my service guy just smiled and added it. It was all covered in my plan. I'm bad at getting names but I have had nothing but great experiences in the dealership and service department. Highly recommend them. Not everyone is perfect, nor does everyone have a good day everyday. I have read the bad reviews and am thankful I have not had the same experiences. Keep up the good work and get these reviews up! 5 star for this household!

Google - 5 Stars

Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star

I have been servicing my 07 Navigator L at Cotton since I bought it new. Great service still going strong. Wouldn't take it anywhere else! Service manager Davy Malloy is one of the main reasons that I still service my Ford and Lincoln vehicles at Cotton. Great attention to detail.

Dealer Rater - 5 Stars

Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star

Good service and excellent customer service, I am so happy with my new car, thanks for your good service they are very friendly. Thank you!!

Google - 5 Stars

Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star

Excellent customer service. Variety of options. Genuine effort to reach our budget. Special heart for non-profits that give back to the community. Efficient on every level. Personable care from multiple staff.

Dealer Rater - 5 Stars

Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star

Really like Jason our salesman. No pressure trying to sell us something we didn't want and found our Edge we love it and no problems with it. Like the free 2 yrs service for oil changes. We got 3 and only have 13,000 and its 2 years old. We even went to one of there summer open houses free food etc and won 5 free oil changes!!Well buy our next car or truck there for sure! Fair price great service

Google - 5 Stars

Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star

Dealer Rater - 5 Stars

Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star

A great experience. The sales team is well versed and very helpful. I will be purchasing all of my vehicles from Joe cotton in the future and would recommend them to anyone looking for a new vehicle.

Facebook - 5 Stars

Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star

Multiple successful visits to their service and parts departments. Great and friendly customer service and fair pricing on every visit. Thank you!

Google - 5 Stars

Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star

Always helpful, and good selection of new and used cars

Facebook - 5 Stars

Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star

Thank you for your Honesty. Joe Cotton service will be saving me a ton of money for correctly diagnosing an issue that another dealer said was a complete engine

Google - 5 Stars

Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star

Great people they tread u right make u feel like home

Dealer Rater - 5 Stars

Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star

"Golden Rule Service - Second and third generation dealership. Quality and Service as you want it. Comfortable waiting with amenities. New and used vehicles to select, with staff who will search for the right vehicle if not found here."

CarGurus - 5 Stars

Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star

"Great - on top of things -Stan was very informative of the car I was interested in" - 5 Stars

Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star

"Fast, quick and never met nicer people to deal with. I don't believe I will go anywhere else."

Dealer Rater - 5 Stars

Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star

"Best sales and service at Joe Cotton Ford. Best Ford dealership to buy a new or used car. Best price and best service. Employees are all great."

Read More

Dealership Information