Articles:

Procrastinating on auto service can cost you!

Procrastinating on auto service can cost you!

We had an older nice German vehicle that was towed in because of an engine fire this month. The repair bill was well over $2000 to replace the composites that were burned. The sad news was this was so preventable. The valve cover gasket (the gasket on the very top of the engine) was leaking oil. The owner was aware that something was amiss because of a strange odor that was being given off from under the engine compartment. A burning smell, even after the vehicle was shut off. As time progressed, this smell got more and more pungent. The intention was to have this checked out but wasn’t checked and repaired until disaster set in. The pools of oil, heated by the exhaust manifold caught fire. The good news, it was a small fire and didn’t do much damage as fires go. The even better news, no one was injured. Your vehicle is a very complicated piece of machinery, incredible amounts of components all working together to provide you with a safe and comfortable ride with impeccable dependa ... read more

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Car Tip #9

Car Tip #9

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Car Tips

Gadgets – I love them

Gadgets – I love them

If you have read my column much, you know that I love gadgets. I have acquired a 2014 vehicle that has one of the newest gadgets to enter the car market. I believe this forward looking duel camera system will be standard in most vehicles in the future. This system has a camera on each side of the rear view mirror that scans the road ahead for hazards, vehicles and reads the painted lines on the In day to day use, I have really enjoyed this. The chime goes off when I get close or over a painted line without using my turn signal is nice. I do need to be reminded to always use my turn signal and that I’m getting close to the painted line on the side of the road. The feature that I really like is the chime and message on the info panel that says, “Car in front has moved”. Yes, at times at a red light, I’m not paying attention that the traffic is moving and I need to accelerate.The camera’s information is feed into a computer and the outputs include many. This system has the ability to ch ... read more

Car Tips #5

Car Tips #5

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Car Tips

How much maintenance is just right?

In the 1950’s and 60’s, tune-ups were done every 5000-7000 miles, coolant was flushed every fall and oil changes every 2000, with engines reaching 100,000 miles at most. With today’s more precisely built engines, it’s not unusual for one to reach 300,000 miles with regular maintenance. But what kind of maintenance should modern cars have, and how does one maintain a vehicle for the fewest dollars per mile to drive it? For starters, how often should oil services be preformed? Some manufacturers are recommending up to 18, 000 miles on oil changes, other sources say every 3 months, or every 3000 miles. Some manufactures are recommending that their transmission never needs service. There are documented cases with Japanese and European car engines slugging up and needing major repair after fewer than 50,000 miles, even though oil service were done in the prescribed factory times. With lifetime transmission fluid, an instructor who worked for a major European dealership found that tra ... read more

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Car Tips #4

Car Tips #4

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Car Tips

Intermittent Car Troubles

Intermittent Car Troubles

One of the daily challenges that we have at our shops is the diagnosis and repair of intermittent problems – things like noises, poor running, no start conditions, vibrations that don’t happen all the time. In any kind of problem solving in any kind of profession, there are four logical steps to problem solving. The first is to experience the problem. From this you can move to step two which is to theorize what the problem is. Moving to step three, you test, inspect, diagnose to prove or disprove your theory. The forth and most important of the steps is you repair or replace the part in question to make sure your theory is correct. If that fixes the problem; the proof in the pudding, so to speak. If the problem is not there all the time, you can lose two to three of these steps. This is where the challenge exists. We have had vehicles that will crank over but won’t start. One of the first steps is to read the onboard ECU (electronic control unit) to see if any fault codes are pre ... read more

Beware of problems with aftermarket rims

Beware of problems with aftermarket rims

At Autohaus, Mike installed new front brakes on an Audi A4 that a customer had bought a few months earlier. This car had nice looking aftermarket wheels on it, with sweeping spokes. After installing the wheels back on the Audi, the wheels would not turn; the brake caliper with new pads and rotors were interfering with the aftermarket rims. We had another customer who installed their snow tires at home with the stock steel wheels. The customer used the lug bolts that were installed for the aftermarket rims. Theses lug bolts where longer than the stock lug nuts and they were too long, went through the hub and did a lot of damage when the customer tried to drive the car. Then we had a car in last week, with aftermarket rims, that had a vibration at higher speeds. The customer had just bought new tires and rims, and we found that centering hubs had not been installed to “center” the rim on the hub. Aftermarket rims can make a car look great but be sure you know the potential pitfalls wh ... read more

What is your risk factor with your Vehicle?

What is your risk factor with your Vehicle?

Your risk factor has to do with how you repair and maintain your vehicle. I had a husband and wife come into the shop last week with a check engine light on. Our shop scanned the control unit in their SUV and found 2 different items that the code scanner read. We also found a bad battery, it was over due for an oil change by 5,000 miles, and was well over due for a major service. It was the wife’s SUV but the husband was to make all the calls on the needed repair on this vehicle. His first comment was “it didn’t need a battery” but I did explain that it is a very scientific approach in checking a battery condition and it flunked the test very badly. It was the only time that the wife said anything about the vehicle, that it was starting very slowly. As conversation about this vehicle proceeded, it became very apparent that the husband was a risk taker. He didn’t want to make this a dependable vehicle for his wife to drive. “She has a cell phone and towing insurance” so she is covere ... read more

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George’s Car Tip #3

George’s Car Tip #3

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Car Tips
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