The longer you own your car, the more problems you’re going to encounter. Even the best vehicles will have parts that can wear out and will need to be replaced. The good news is that as long as you stay on top of your maintenance, you should be able to drastically extend the life of your vehicle while also keeping your auto repair bills low.
There are some common problems older cars will adapt to signal it’s time to have a mechanic take a look at things.
Engines should run quietly and smoothly. Clunking, banging, rattling, etc. can signify a problem that will get worse if you don’t take immediate action. As soon as you notice that your engine is making a strange noise, it’s time to get to your mechanic. The longer you continue driving the vehicle, the greater the risk that you’ll break down in the middle of your commute.
Check the Wheel Bearings
At least once a week, you should turn off the radio and listen to the sound of your vehicle’s wheels. If you notice any unusual noises, it could indicate that one of your wheel bearings is going bad. This is usually a relatively easy fix that can be done quickly and at an affordable rate.
The Battery Is Dying
There are two reasons you’re car isn’t starting as soon as you turn the key. It could be that your starter is going bad, or if it spends quite a bit of time trying to start before finally catching, your battery could be dying.
Don’t assume that since you have a pair of jumper cables in your trunk that you don’t have to worry about a failing battery. Sooner rather than later, the day will come when your vehicle can’t be jumped. In the long run, you’re better off having your battery replaced.
Low Tire Pressure
A surprising number of drivers don’t even know how much air they should have in their tires and never take the time to make sure the tires are properly inflated. Not only does driving on tires that don’t have enough air drastically decrease your fuel economy, it also means your tires wear out extremely fast, forcing you to frequently replace them. A good quality pressure gauge is inexpensive and allows you to check the tire’s air pressure once a week. As for how much air your tires should have, you’ll find the information posted on the tire’s sidewall. Simply look for the letters PSI. The number in front of the letters is how many pounds of air per square inch of rubber you need.
Having trouble with your car? Contact us and set up a repair appointment!
There comes a point in every car owner’s life when they realize it’s time to upgrade. That means selling your current vehicle and replacing it with something a little bit newer. If you’re selling your vehicle yourself rather than taking it to a dealership for a trade, there are a few things you should do first.
When you’re preparing to sell your used car, you need to make sure the interior and exterior are clean. This goes beyond getting your personal belongings out of the vehicle. The best way to attract interested buyers and get your asking price is by taking it to a car wash and making sure the exterior is shiny. Getting the interior detailed is a great idea, but if you don’t want to go to that expense, grab a package of cleaning cloths and remove all the interior dust. Wash the windows and vacuum the floor. If you have a handheld carpet cleaner, you can use it to clean the seats.
You won’t believe how much faster your car sells when it’s clean.
Gather Up Your Paperwork
Don’t wait until someone asks for the paperwork before getting it ready to go. Before listing your car, make sure you have the title and maintenance records. Keep them somewhere handy so you can quickly grab them when an interested buyer wants to see the documentation.
Be Realistic About How Much You’ll Get for the Car
While the Kelly Blue Book is a great place to gauge the potential value of your vehicle, don’t assume that you’ll get the full value the KBB states. Be realistic about your car’s current condition and ask yourself how much you’d be willing to pay for it.
While it’s okay to set a high asking price, be prepared for the buyers to ask for a lower amount and know just how low you’re willing to go.
Create an Appealing Ad
Customers are going to make split-second decisions about whether they’re interested in your vehicle based on the pictures and info you use in the sales ad. Do you best to talk up the vehicle without lying about known conditions? Pair the written ad with some really good photos of the car’s interior and exterior.
Do you want to resolve some minor mechanical issues before selling your car? Contact us today and book an appointment!
Purchasing a used car is always a mixed blessing. On one hand, used cars are usually considerably cheaper than brand-new cars and they generally don’t depreciate as quickly. On the other hand, you always wonder if there’s something wrong with the vehicle that will end up costing you in the long run.
One way to ease your worries is to have a pre-purchase inspection done on the vehicle you’re considering. This process is a little more extensive than simply bringing your car-savvy friend with you on a test drive. When you get a pre-purchase inspection, you actually take the used car to a certified mechanic who will spend a little time going over the vehicle and see if there are any warning signs of a serious problem. The pre-purchase inspection may cost you a few hundred dollars, but it could also spare you the financial headache of purchasing a used car that turns out to be a lemon.
Before bringing the vehicle you’re considering to a pre-purchase inspection, you will want t do a few things.
Choose the Mechanic Wisely
Ideally, you should bring the vehicle to a mechanic you know and trust, but if the vehicle is located out of town, the current owner may be reluctant to have you take it too far away. If you can’t go to your own mechanic, choose one that has a reputation for honesty, who isn’t connected with the vehicle’s current owner, and who is willing to take their time and really go over the vehicle.
Know What You Want From the Vehicle
No used vehicle is perfect and the older the car that you’re considering is, the more problems there are likely to be. Before you take the vehicle in for a pre-purchase inspection know what your expectations are for the vehicle. How many problem-free miles do you hope to get from it? How much are you willing to invest in repairs during the first month of ownership? How will you be using the vehicle?
Make sure you share this information with the mechanic who is handling the inspection. They will use it to help determine if they think the vehicle is a good fit for you.
At the end of the inspection, make sure you really listen to what the mechanic has to say. As they are sharing details about the car’s current mechanical state, feel free to ask questions, just remember that the mechanic can only share their professional opinion. It’s unlikely that they will be able to guarantee anything.
Have you ever had a used vehicle inspected before you purchased it?
Your car’s suspension system does more than simply provide you with a smooth ride. It is also responsible for making sure your car remains stable as you travel down the road. Many people don’t realize that by ignoring the early warning signs of a suspension problem, they are increasing the likelihood of them being involved in a serious accident.
Here are some common suspension problems you should be on the outlook for.
A surprising number of vehicles on the road today have alignment issues. The problem with alignment issues is that they usually start off small but gradually become more serious. Issues with your alignment can cause your tires to wear unevenly, make it considerably more difficult to keep your car steady in its lane, and make sharp steering situations difficult.
It only takes a few minutes for a professional to both check your alignment and rebalance it. This is something you should have done each time you get your tires rotated.
The shocks are the part of the suspension system most people are familiar with. The purpose of the shocks is to dampen the bumps of the road so that you can enjoy a smooth ride. When a shock is damaged, it will often leak fluid, which not only causes the shock to wear down quicker but also means your previous smooth ride is full of bumps and jolts. Not only does the leaking shock reduce the amount of enjoyment you get from your car, but if you ignore the problem for too long, it can put a great deal of strain on the remainder of your suspension system and your vehicle’s frame.
The springs are the unsung heroes of your car’s suspension system. They don’t just absorb road trauma. They are also a crucial element when it comes to supporting your vehicle’s weight. The problem with the springs is that while they are heavy-duty, they aren’t designed to last forever. It’s not uncommon for the rest of your car to outlast your car. Signs of faulty springs include you having a difficult time controlling your car and a strange squeaking noise emanating from under your vehicle.
While suspension problems aren’t much fun, they are completely fixable. You’ll be pleased to know that since each component can be replaced individually the cost may not be as much as you feared. The other good news is that the sooner you get your vehicle in and have a suspected suspension problem repaired, the less damage your car will sustain.
An overheating car is no laughing matter.
Ignoring the situation is the last thing you want to do. Continuing to drive while your car keeps getting hotter and hotter will lead to all sorts of problems. The hotter the engine gets, the greater the likelihood that the cylinder heads will warp. When this happens, the pistons can become so hot, that they weld themselves to the cylinders which effectively destroys your engine. At this point, you’ll have to go to the massive expense of replacing the engine.
There are a few different reasons your vehicle starts overheating, including:
- A leaking radiator
- The radiator fan isn’t working correctly
- The water pump broke
- A clogged coolant hose
Symptoms of an overheating car include:
- A burning smell
- The temperature gauge in your car is at H
- Steam billowing out from under your car’s hood
The most important thing to do when your car starts overheating is to act quickly. Weirdly enough, the first thing you should do is crank up your car’s heater. This might seem strange, but your car’s heater works by drawing heat from the engine block, that’s why your heater blows cold air when you first start driving on a winter’s day. Turning up the heat when the engine is overheating, pulls the heat away and decreases some of the damage being done to your car.
As soon as it’s safe to do so, pull over and shut off your engine. Shutting the engine off won’t cool it down, but it will prevent the temperature from climbing even higher and doing more damage.
Sit and wait for about 15 minutes. This is about how long it will take for your car to cool down enough for you to safely lift the hood and investigate why your car suddenly started overheating.
If the issue is something simple, like you have low coolant, you will be able to add some more and drive at least far enough to get home. The same is true if you have a minor leak, though you’ll have to stop periodically to add more coolant. However if the problem is so severe that any coolant you add simply leaks out or immediately evaporates, you’ll need to have your car towed to your favorite mechanic who will diagnose the problem and replace the damaged parts.
Whether you’re dealing with an overheating vehicle or simply need a tune-up, we’re here and ready to help. We provide outstanding service at prices you can afford.
Contact us and learn how we’ll keep your car in perfect running order.
Road trips are great. You get to see more of the country than you would if you simply flew from one location to another. It’s usually cheaper than flying. If you’re traveling with friends or loved ones, it’s a great way to bond.
The only downside to road trips is worrying about whether your vehicle is up to the experience. The good news is that there are some things you can do to prepare your vehicle for an upcoming road trip.
Four Weeks Before Planned Trip, Take Care of Major Repairs
About four weeks before the planned road trip you should have your mechanic look at your car and make sure there isn’t anything major wrong with it. If they do find something, you should arrange to have those issues repaired in the next week or two. Getting the vehicle checked out should happen four weeks before your trip and all repairs should be done within two weeks of your anticipated take-off day.
Check the Tires
One week before your trip, you’ll want to dedicate to your tires. Don’t just look at them and decide that they’re fine. Take them to your local tire store and have them inspected, filled up, and rotated. Don’t forget to have the spare tire in your trunk done at the same time.
Get the Oil Changed
The week before you leave, you should have your oil (and a few filters) changed. Not only does this mean your car is operating with perfect oil, but it also means that you don’t have to wonder if you have enough oil. When you’re getting the oil changed, ask that they check and top off all other fluids.
Set Up a Safety Kit
Before a road trip, you should have a safety kit in your vehicle. The kit should contain basic first aid supplies, flares, and some simple automotive repair things. Keep this kit in a location that you can easily access if you get into trouble.
Join a Roadside Assistance Program
Don’t underestimate the value of a good roadside assistance program, especially when you’re in the middle of a road trip. They can help you with everything from flat tires, to running out of gas, to locking the keys in the car situations.
Are you in the middle of prepping for a big road trip? Bring it into us for a good checkup that will identify any potential mechanical issues that would ruin an otherwise perfect vacation.
If you have pets, especially a dog or two, you likely want to bring them with you wherever you go. Having your dog with you as you travel is as much fun for you as it is for your dog.
Before you load the members of your fur family into your car, it’s important to make sure you’re vehicle is safe and comfortable for them.
Can you Keep Them Away from You?
As appealing as having your dog or cat on your lap while you drive might seem, it’s not a good idea. Not only is having a pet on your lap while you’re driving distracting, but it’s also dangerous. If something happens and your pet jumps up, it could temporarily cause you to avert your eyes from the road at a crucial moment or even bump the steering wheel, causing you to lose control of the vehicle. It’s best to have your pets either buckled up in their seat or at the very least restricted to the back of the vehicle.
There are lots of pet safety seats, vehicle barriers, and even attachments that hook to the seatbelt that you should consider. Having your pet restrained and far away from the driver is safer for both everyone driving on the road and your pet.
Do They Have Water
Set up your car so that your pet can access water whenever they want. This will keep them hydrated and allow them to enjoy the drive far more than they would if they were thirsty. Look for ways that you can set up a travel water bowl. Placing a thick towel under the bowl will take care of any water that splashes over the edge while you’re driving.
You should also consider setting your pet, particularly young ones, up with a chew toy or snack that will keep them occupied.
How Will They Stay Cool if You’re Parked
The biggest danger connected to traveling with pets is the possibility of them overheating while you’re parked somewhere. Ideally, you’ll be able to plan your day so that your pet is never left alone in a parked car. However, if for some reason you do have to leave your pet alone, park in a shaded area, and cover the windows. Crack the windows enough to let some fresh air in. Set up a battery-powered fan that blows on your pet. Provide them with plenty of cold water and a few ice packs they can lay on. Keep the amount of time they are unattended in the hot car as short as possible.
Keep Your Car Running Smoothly
The last thing you need or want is for your car to break down while you have important members of your fur family riding with you. The best way to make sure you never have to deal with a nervous dog or jumpy cat while you’re stranded on the side of the highway is to keep your car in excellent repair. In addition to routine maintenance, regularly get it serviced and repair any issues your mechanic finds.
Contact us today for an honest quote on high-quality, reliable car repairs.
The odds are pretty good that you rely on your mechanic even more than you do your doctor. They’re the person who keeps your car running smoothly so that you can stay on top of your personal and professional obligations.
Considering how much you rely on your car running smoothly, it’s easy to understand why finding a new mechanic after you’ve moved is so stressful. You know you need a mechanic that provides trustworthy repairs, who works quickly, and who honors their estimates.
While choosing a new mechanic is always going to be a daunting process, there are some things you can do to make the leap of faith a little less scary.
Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute
The biggest mistake car owners make is waiting until there is a problem with their car before they start looking for a mechanic. This means that you are desperate and unable to do any research. Long before your car starts acting up, make a list of local mechanics and check each one out. The more research you do, the better the odds are that you’ll choose the mechanic that’s perfect for you.
The things you want to look up include:
- If they work on your brand/model of vehicle
- If they are fully licensed and insured
- What they’re estimates are like
- If they offer all-around mechanical work or if they specialize
- If they honor warranties
- How long they’ve been in business
Since you just moved to the area, you might not know many people but that doesn’t have to prevent you from asking questions and getting some recommendations for good mechanics in the area. Talk to co-workers, bank tellers, and cashiers. Not only is this a good way to learn which local mechanics have the best reputations, but also to start connecting with people in your new community.
Visit the Mechanic’s Shop
Take a few minutes to visit the mechanic’s shop. It doesn’t matter if it’s a small organization or a massive business, the place should be clean, the employees should look relaxed, and most importantly, you should get a professional and experienced vibe when you walk through the doors.
Take Your Car to the Mechanic for Routine Work
Nothing is saying you have to wait until you have an emergency before taking your car to a mechanic. If you’ve found the one you think you like, have them perform some routine procedure on your car, like an oil change. This will give you an idea about how well they work and the overall quality of the work. If you like them for routine stuff, you’ll probably be more relaxed about leaving your vehicle there when you do need emergency repairs.
Low Estimates Aren’t Always a Good Deal
Everyone loves to get a good deal, but don’t go with a mechanic solely because they gave the lowest estimate. When it comes to repairs and car work, you usually get what you pay for. Go with the mechanic that may charge a little more but who uses top-quality parts, offers excellent customer service, and provides warranties.
If you’re new to the area and looking for a mechanic, feel free to contact us.
Going on a long road trip is a lot of fun. It’s a great opportunity to see things and gain experiences that simply aren’t possible in your hometown. However, when your car breaks down in the middle of that road trip, things quickly go from fun to stressful.
Taking the time to make sure your car is ready for the demands of a long road trip is the best way to make sure that your road trip is relaxing.
Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute
The biggest mistake many people make when prepping their car for a long road trip is waiting until the last minute. About a month before you plan on leaving, take your car to your mechanic for a tune-up. This is a great opportunity to make sure everything is in good working order. If the belts look worn, or the battery is underperforming, your mechanic will correct the issue.
Remember, dealing with these things now instead of when you’re far from home will help you keep your peace of mind and also save you from emergency car repairs which are even more expensive.
Make sure you tell your mechanic about any strange noises or movements your car has been making.
Get the Oil Changed
A few days before the road trip, have the oil changed and all the other fluids checked. Getting this done confirms that your car hasn’t developed a leak and also spares you from having to constantly check the fluid levels while you’re traveling.
Rotate Your Tires
After getting your oil changed, drive to your favorite tire supplier and have them rotate your tires. Not only does this help keep your car traveling smoothly, but also means your tires will get a good check. If they are going bald or seem to be unbalanced, the mechanic will let you know that it’s time for new tires.
Make sure you have your brakes checked at the same time you get the tires rotated.
Don’t forget to have your spare tire looked at as well. If you do happen to blow out a tire, you don’t want to find yourself without a spare or doughnut when you’re far from home.
Make Sure Your Documentation Is In Order
A day or two before you leave, check your car’s glove box and make sure your documentation is in order. You should have your car’s registration and insurance information. If you are unable to find these things, arrange to get copies before you leave.
Right before you leave check to make sure things like jumper cables, tire pressure gauge, the number of your roadside assistance service, tire jack, and flares are easily accessible.
Do you have an extended road trip in the future? Contact us to set up an appointment and make sure your car is ready for the challenge.
It doesn’t matter if you’re driving a brand new car off the lot today or you are in the middle of a long-term relationship with a twenty-year-old clunker, staying on top of your car’s maintenance needs is the best way to not only get the most out of your car but to also reduce your annual vehicle-related expenses.
How Are Your Tires
A surprising number of people don’t give their tires a second thought when they are going through their car’s maintenance needs. That’s why so many people are driving around with underinflated tires. Get into the habit of checking your tires every single week. You’ll find that it only takes a couple of minutes. Set aside five minutes one morning a week and check the air pressure in the tires, if it’s not optimal, inflate them. At the same time, look at the treads and make sure they don’t show signs of wear.
Every six months, have your tires rotated.
Once you make good tire maintenance a part of your life, you’ll notice that your tires last longer and that your vehicle’s fuel economy improves.
Be Mindful of Your Oil
You won’t believe how much longer your car will run when you stay on top of your oil. Running low on oil can take a huge toll on your engine. Each time you check your tire pressure, pop your hood and check how much oil you have. If you’re low, fill it up, but be careful you don’t overfill it.
You also need to pay careful attention to when you require an oil change. If you want to extend the time between oil changes, use synthetic oil, it cost a little more at the time but allows you to drive a few thousand miles between changes.
Whenever you take your car in for an oil change, check out the filters and replace any that are dirty, damaged, or old.
Don’t Ignore Your Dash Lights
If one of your dashboard warning lights comes on, don’t cross your fingers and hope for the best. Yes, sometimes the issue is connected to the dash light and doesn’t need to be dealt with, but most of the time the warning light came on because there is something not right about your car.
Rather than hoping for the best, bring your vehicle in and have your favorite mechanic check it out. Not only will you get peace of mind, but the immediate repair will also save the damage from getting worse and potentially destroying your vehicle.
Tune-Ups are Important
Getting a regular tune-up is a great way to keep your car in perfect running order. Your owner’s manual will tell you how often you should get a tune-up. Follow its guidelines and pay careful attention to everything your mechanic tells you. Getting repairs done during a tune-up is going to save you a great deal of aggravation in the coming months.