Articles:

Love It or Get Rid of It?

If you have not been investing in the care of your vehicle, there will come a time when you bring it in for service and learn it will cost some money to do the required work. At that point, we often hear the question "Should I spend the money to fix this car or should I just go buy a new one?" Our answer? That depends! If you’re tired of your current car and can afford to buy a new one, maybe that would be best. But if you are thinking about buying a new car because of the cost to fix your current one, here are some points to consider: 1. Buying a new car will increase your real costs of vehicle ownership significantly. 2. Your new vehicle will depreciate (lose its value) from the time you drive it off the lot, most dramatically within the first 3 – 5 years. 3. Both your vehicle insurance and registration costs will be much higher. 4. If you need to take out a loan to purchase your new vehicle, take into account the interest you ... read more

Categories:

Auto Maintenance

Your Battery Needs Attention, Too

Your car is starting just fine and everything is working as it should, so why be concerned about your battery until it stops working for you? Here is what you should know: batteries deteriorate over time from normal use, and the condition of a battery should be checked regularly as part of a complete automotive service. This is easily done by performing a load test on the battery using a special piece of equipment that is connected to the battery. This equipment applies an electrical load to the battery for 15 seconds at which time the voltage of the battery is measured. A healthy battery’s voltage needs to be at or above 9.7 volts. If the voltage measures below 9.7 volts, the battery is considered unreliable and may fail to start the vehicle at any time. It is also important to know that a weak battery causes the vehicle charging system to work harder than designed and will result in the alternator failing sooner, which is a much more expensive repair than replacing the battery ... read more

Categories:

Batteries

Free Check Engine Light Diagnosis?

There are so many different ads out there announcing different prices for and even FREE check engine light (or service engine soon light) diagnostics that most people are confused. Why the differences, and if it can be done for free, why pay for it? And just how important is it to bring your car to a shop when that check engine light comes on? First, it is important to understand that the check engine light performs a valuable service. It should not be ignored. It is telling you that something is out of sync within your car’s emissions system that needs to be addressed. That is why if your check engine light is on when you need to have your smog certificate renewed, it will be an automatic failure. It is also important to understand that the service to diagnose the cause of your check engine light can only be performed correctly if the shop has invested in the right equipment, the right software and trained technicians with access to the right information. Equipment and software ... read more

Will Your Vehicle Pass the Unavoidable Smog Test?

Most of us have received those registration renewal reminders in the mail that tell us we must prove our vehicle meets the smog requirements before we will receive our registration sticker. For those of you that have been religious about visiting your auto shop for maintenance services, there should be no worries. But if maintenance visits have been infrequent or just plain forgotten, passing that smog test may not be a given! So, what can you do to improve the chances your vehicle will pass? The most important item is to make sure that your vehicle “check engine” or “service engine soon” warning lights are not on. If they are, your vehicle will automatically be failed, regardless of how well the engine is running. In that case, bring your vehicle to a trusted auto repair/service shop to take care of whatever is responsible for turning on the warning light(s) before making your smog check appointment. There are many other reasons your vehicle may fail a smog test that may or may ... read more

Categories:

Smog Test

Heavy Keys Can Mean an Auto Repair Bill

Take a look at the key ring you are using to hold your ignition key. How many other keys are hanging there? More than 4 or 5? Do you have charms, a flashlight, a can opener on the ring? How about the mini plastic scan card from Borders or another store you frequent? Your child’s photo? A cute, stuffed animal? It’s amazing how many of us, (and I have to say it is usually us women!), use our key ring as a place to collect mementos and other gadgets we are fond of or want to have immediate access to. Having a large and heavy key ring may make it easier to find in your purse, but there is a critical down side. Over time, that heavy key ring swaying to and fro from your ignition, will wear down the tumblers in the lock and cause problems with starting your car. The worst case scenario is when your car won’t start at all. Think of your own front door in your home. The key inserts in the lock and turns the tumblers inside until the lock is released. If the tumblers wear down or become dam ... read more

Categories:

Auto Maintenance