Monday, April 29, 2013

Friday, April 26, 2013

Things to Ask Your Mechanic

· Are you affiliated with the automotive service association?
Only shops with a consistent record of excellent service may affiliate with the Automotive Service Association. Look for an ASA sticker or seal in the mechanic's office. Association with ASA is a sign that the shop provides really high quality service.
· Do you have an Automotive Service Excellence certificate?
This is another sign of quality service. ASE workers do evaluations of vehicle repair shops. Shops that conform to the ASE standards are given a certificate. A certificate signifies that the shop's work is approved and of great quality.
· What are your credentials?
You want technicians that have been trained at trade school. Trained technicians are more knowledgeable and skilled. Sometimes shops will have untrained rookies work on cars.
· Does your shop specialize in any particular type of car?
Certain mechanics specialize in certain vehicles or repair work. Find out what the shop's strengths and weaknesses are.
· Do you charge an inspection fee?
Do not assume that the shop has a free estimate. You don't want any surprise charges later.
· What did you do to my car?
Ask for a detailed explanation of the repairs done. Question every single detail of the job. Also ask for a detailed breakdown on your invoice of the repairs done. This will protect you from getting scammed. Ideally, you should ask the mechanic to point out each of the repairs on your car. Ask the mechanic to discuss what was removed, replaced, or repaired. You should also ask to see the old part.
· Do I get a courtesy car?
If the repair will take a long time, you may be eligible for a courtesy car. Always ask for a courtesy car. Don't forget to ask for the cost. Sometimes repair shops will charge large amounts for a rental car.
· What are your payment policies?
Each repair shop has different labor rates and payment options. Ask your mechanic about the payment policies. You want to know exactly how much you will be paying for a repair.
· Do you offer any guarantees?
When you get your car fixed, you want to know that the repair is guaranteed. Make sure there is a warranty on the repair. You also need to know long the warranty is. If you have any issues with repairs shortly after, you will want the repair shop to cover the additional fixing costs. The warranty on your repairs is incredibly important.
These questions will help you find a great mechanic. These questions will also make sure you are getting the best possible repair service. Mechanics are necessary for proper car maintenance. You want to be able to find a great one you can rely on.

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013


We are a family owned full service auto repair shop in West Sacramento, California. We offer comprehensive automotive maintenance & repair for all foreign and domestic vehicles. As a Napa AutoCare Center, we take pride in offering our customers quality auto repair at a fair price. Our ASE Certified Technicians go from start to finish to repair your car, truck, SUV  or van no matter what the problem including fleet maintenance and repair, brakes, oil change, tune up, transmission, electrical, alignment, diagnostics, etc. 
We are a STAR certified test and repair smog station. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

How to Talk to Your Mechanic

Communication tips for getting the most out of your automotive repair experience.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Diesel Engine Vs Gasoline Engine

Whether you're thinking about buying a diesel car or truck or becoming a diesel mechanic or simply would like to compare a diesel powered vehicle to a more conventional unleaded gasoline powered vehicle, there are a few things you need to bear in mind and understand. Each type of engine has its own advantages and drawbacks, so knowing what you need and how you need it for your personalized lifestyle is really important.

Today's diesel engines are certainly not what they have been 10 or even five years back. Gone are the days of pungent exhaust and unacceptably obnoxious engine sound. Diesel engines have become much cleaner, have more power and are considerably more dependable. These are some of the reasons that we are seeing more and more ordinary automobiles with diesel engines rather than the traditional gasoline engine.

Let's take a look at various differences between these two engine types.

Are the Engines of Diesel Trucks and Cars Better?

Theoretically, a diesel truck engine is quite similar to the engine of a truck powered by gas. They are both internal combustion engines that are designed to transform one type of energy to another type of energy. This energy then results in linear motion, which then causes forward motion to take place. The major difference is how the combustion takes place. A gas truck engine has fuel combustion come about thanks to sparks from spark plugs. A diesel truck engine has the fuel combustion take place from the heat of the pressurized air within the engine.

Safety of the Engine

As any diesel mechanic will tell you, although you can flame diesel fuel in the open air using merely a wick, it is significantly less explosive than gas and does not develop a flammable vapor. That means a diesel engine won't ever vapor lock. Moreover, a diesel mechanic will tell you that the engines in diesel trucks will be more efficient because of their fuel efficiency, which is practically constant as compared to the sporadic nature of a gasoline engine which often can use more fuel to get less power.

Engine Performance

As any diesel mechanic will explain, what makes a car so appealing is its ability to accelerate swiftly. For that reason, we need to evaluate the performance difference between both engine types. Because engines in diesel trucks and cars are focused on torque as opposed to horsepower, they'll run more efficiently but accelerate fairly slowly in comparison. For many automobile owners, that lack of acceleration is unsatisfactory. For motorists who are looking to use their car or truck for pulling heavy loads such as campers or boats, a diesel engine makes more sense.

Efficiency of the Engine

When you compare a diesel engine to a gasoline engine, we cannot overlook the efficiency between both engines. If you are looking for an engine that's going to be used long-term, then a diesel engine is going to be best for your needs because you will save money over the lifespan of the engine. With 20 - 30% less fuel consumption, the savings really can add up. Diesel engines also have a longer lifespan than their gasoline counterparts. A typical diesel engine lasts around 350,000 miles before needing an overhaul, the gasoline counterpart is good for about 120,000 miles. Should you be looking for short term benefits, however, then a gasoline engine will likely be for you since it will take a few years for a gasoline engine to be less cost effective overall than a diesel engine.

Ultimately the environmental advantage of using a diesel engine is what shifts the debate in favor of using it primarily. The engines of diesel trucks and automobiles produce only a minimal quantity of carbon monoxide, so minimal, actually, that they can be used underground. Less carbon monoxide impact on our atmosphere means a healthier planet, and that's something we should all be striving toward.

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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Your Clutch, and Why to Choose ASE Master Certified Techs

The Monday Morning Mechanic, David Rogers, shows how a clutch works, and why bringing your vehicle to a trusted repair shop with ASE Certified Master technicians can save you money.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

5 Steps to Passing Your Smog Check, Without Wasting Time

You receive your DMV notice in the mail and it's that dreaded time again. Thank God, it only happens once every 2 years but it still can be quite a daunting task. Getting that Smog registration form in the mail can be pretty nerve racking, especially with today's strict environment standards and poor economy. Failing your smog check is no joke too because it often results in expensive repairs, dirty shops and hidden fees and upsells.
Although, I cannot fix your car, I can give you tips on how I got my smog check done in as little as 30 minutes, without having a heart attack.
1) Research - First things first, you have to do your research. If you don't, you'll end up going to the wrong shop that can play you like a fiddle. I like to go to yelp to find the top restaurants, dry cleaners, and yes smog shops in my city. If you are in San Francisco, I personally recommend Clean Air Smog. Ive been there three times already and I cannot agree more with the over 100+ 5 star reviews on their place.
2) Call To Set An Appointment - You would be surprised at how many friends I talk to that say they waited 3 hours to get their smog check. Simple solution, set an appointment and you'll be in and out in 15 minutes. (Bonus: look for a shop that has 2 smog machines and usually, you'll get done a lot quicker.)
3) MapQuest - Don't get lost and miss your appointment. MapQuest it so that you will get their prompt and on time.
4) Bring Your Favorite Mag - You will have to wait for your car to be smogged. Make sure you keep yourself entertained.
5) Drive Your Car - Don't lag, get in your car and head over to the car smog station.

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Monday, April 8, 2013

The Importance of Getting Your Brakes Checked Regularly

Brakes are undoubtedly the one feature that is crucial to safety within a vehicle. The need to slam on the brakes to prevent an accident can arise in a split second. Because they mean the difference between life and death, brakes should be checked regularly and the parts should be replaced as necessary. Brakes send out several warning signs that indicate that there is trouble.
1. Any peculiar sounds occurring while slowing down are not to be ignored. Grinding, squealing or other strange noises could indicate that the brake pad has been worn through. Replacing the brake pad is an easy repair that does not cost much.
2. A squealing noise occurring right after a brake pad has been replaced or any other brake repair has been done could be a sign that the mechanic did not properly lubricate the brake pad. Take the car back to the mechanic right away, and they should remedy the problem.
3. Shaking of the brake pedal or steering wheel are the symptoms of a broken or damaged rotor. This should not be ignored, and the car needs to see a mechanic as soon as possible. If the rotors are still thick enough, a simple rotor rotation is an affordable fix; however, if the damage is too severe, they must be replaced.
4. The brake light lighting up could indicate a myriad of different problems and a mechanic should be consulted. One of the more common problems that triggers the brake light is the brake fluid level. This can be easily checked at home. The brake master cylinder is usually found on the driver's side of the car, under the front hood. The level of brake fluid should be closer to the maximum line than the minimum line. Low brake fluid could mean a leak or the wearing out of the brake pad. A mechanic should perform necessary checks to rule out any further problems.
Besides the obvious safety concerns, there are other financial reasons for having the car brakes checked on a regular basis. If the car is used with a worn out brake pad, this could damage the hardware of the brake system which could cost much more than a simple pad replacement. With frequent brake checks, the most repairs should be a simple and cheap brake pad replacement. Trying to save money by prolonging the time between brake checks will lead to the need to replace whole parts of the brake system which is extremely costly.

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Friday, April 5, 2013

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Regular Oil Change - How Important Is It?

Regular oil change is one of the most effective and simplest methods for ensuring the smooth working of any car irrespective of its make and model. Here is how this activity can help in the smooth functioning of the vehicle:
Oil in any vehicle moves through the engine to lubricate it for ensuring the smooth functioning of not only the engine, but also the other parts that promote the engine to run. It is also protecting the other parts around the engine from abrasion. As time passes by this lubricating equipment gets contaminated due to dust and grime thereby reducing the efficiency of the engine in moving smoothly. Even though, most of the instant oil change locations recommend change once in every three thousand miles, this might not be essential if the user could check the oil change indicator located in the dashboard panel of his vehicle. Even the dipstick under the hood can be used for checking the color of the oil in the engine and if it is found that it is of rich amber color, the change can be done after some months or so and it is not needed to be done immediately. On the other hand, if it is of dark grimy shade, it is an indication that the change should be done immediately.
When compared to traditional motor oils, modern synthetic oil is known to degrade slowly and so if the vehicle has traditional one, the owner can convert it into synthetic alternative when doing a change of oil. This will ensure that the changing of lubricating equipment need not be done quickly as in the case of traditional oil. When, the user finds that it is time for the oil to be changed for his vehicle, he can get the help of his car mechanic. But, the mechanic will be taking at least a day for doing this service. On the other hand, when an instant oil change location is selected, they are ensuring that the work can be done just in 10 minutes and during the process, they will also be suggesting the owner about any parts in the vehicle that needs to be replaced with a new one.
Regular change of oil is highly essential for ensuring the smooth functioning of the motor and the nearby parts as well. This is because, only when they are lubricated with fresh lubricating equipment without any dirt or dust, they will be offering a very good performance.

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