Sunday, February 23, 2014

Common Vehicle Maintenance Questions

Car owners have to be mindful of maintenance concerns. A vehicle that is well-maintained will last longer. One that is neglected has the tendency to break down sooner than you can expect. There are common car maintenance queries that all motorists should be aware of. It is equally important to know the answers to these essential questions.
• When do you need to change your engine oil?
Regular oil needs to be replaced every 3,000 miles and artificial oil after 5,000 miles. Keep in mind that engine oil is meant to lubricate and cool internal engine components. The oil will eventually lose its efficiency reducing its capacity to disperse heat and act as lubricant. Regular checkups are needed to make sure that your engine oil is still in shape.
• What should be done if the car engine overheats?
Turn off the car air-conditioner or heater the moment you notice that the car begins to overheat. Pull over to the shoulder assuming you are driving at normal speed. The problems may have to do something with the cooling mechanism, busted drive belt, shattered hose, or congested radiator. When you have parked safely on the shoulder, turn off the engine and open the hood. Allow the engine to cool down for approximately 20 minutes. Refrain from opening the radiator cap while the engine is still hot or running. Add some coolant if you see nothing defective. Start the car and drive at a guarded speed to the nearest service shop.
• What is the correct tire pressure reading?
The tire pressure should be adjusted according to the recommendation of your car manufacturer. These specifications (PSI or pounds per square inch) can be seen on the side of the tire. Tires that are inflated correctly will assure you of improved fuel mileage and reduced deterioration. You can also control the vehicle effectively if tires do not have any inflation problems.
• What is the life span of spark plugs?
Spark plugs of newer models can last up to 90,000 miles. Older cars usually have spark plugs that last from 12,000 to 20,000 miles. Plugs with iridium tips are more durable than those with platinum points.
• Why do the brakes make strange sounds?
As soon as you hear a squeaking sound every time you step on the brake pedal, there is certainly a need to replace the brake pads. The brake system should never emit any sound. It may be hazardous to continue driving when this happens. Ask a mechanic to inspect the brakes right away even if the problem is very minor.

Article Source:

Monday, February 17, 2014

Check Engine Lights

Alan gives an explanation of what to do when your check engine light comes on. See more at

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Finding the Right Mechanic for Your Import

America is home to some of the largest and best auto companies in the world. GM and Ford are home-grown and as such, finding mechanics familiar with the various makes and models is almost as easy as finding a neighborhood electrician.
But Europe and other parts of the world use different voltages, and even their electrical outlets can be different. So, trying to fit an American-made plug into an Italian socket could create a problem. The same is true of having a mechanic trained on American cars work on your precious and expensive imported auto. Be it a BMW, Toyota, VW or Mercedes, you will need to find a mechanic who has the training in foreign auto repair and, hopefully, who has the same passion for imports that you have. Once you find someone with your love of cars, hang onto them, because they will be sure to give you the highest level of mechanical care.
Finding the right foreign auto repair technician is important, and it can be challenging. It is important because many foreign auto systems require specialized knowledge to correctly repair them. Systems interactions can be vastly different from their American counterparts. Foreign auto parts are also an issue and can be difficult to locate unless your mechanic is familiar with the market or, even better, keeps a parts inventory on hand.
To find a creditable mechanic for import auto repair, pay attention to the input you may get from friends and co-workers. They may not have the same type of auto as you, but they are likely to have shopped around and tried various mechanics themselves. So while they may not lead you to the perfect mechanic for your vehicle, they could at least help you by letting you know which shops to avoid. People who have foreign vehicles tend to have a particular love for them, so you likely won't have trouble getting them to open up about their repair experiences.
Advertising isn't often the best way to discern the best foreign auto repair shop. As with many true craftsmen, those in the foreign auto repair business tend to earn their reputation through the excellence of their service and the reliability of their repairs. So the company with the most advertising may need to resort to that to get customers.
Check out the reviews online. There are a number of websites, like, that will show you the reviews from customers of the repair shops in your area. Do a search of the specific shops your friends mentioned. Negative reviews typically cannot be edited out by the subject shops.
When you've narrowed down the selections, go and visit them before you are desperately in need of their services. Ask questions. Ask how long they've been in business and what type of specific training they have. Ask whatever comes to mind. A good mechanic will be glad to spend time with you, even before you are a customer.
Finally, you just have to trust your instincts. You likely will get a feeling about this service shop, from the condition and order of the shop itself to the friendliness and cooperation of the technicians. And once you discover your perfect mechanic, tell your friends.

Article Source:

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Characteristics of a Good Automotive Repair Mechanic

Knowledgeable on various auto parts.
This is perhaps the most basic characteristic that any auto mechanic should have. Lots of different auto parts are out in the market today. And because we, as car owners, do not necessarily possess the sufficient knowledge when it comes to vehicle parts, we will inevitably depend on the expertise of our mechanic. A simple trick to determine if your chosen car specialist really knows his business is to ask him to differentiate a few parts and gauge whether he is confidently answering your question or is just making his way around.
Diverse background on automotive repair experiences.
Years ago when the makes of our vehicles were much simpler, any mechanic would have been okay. But with today's high-tech and complex vehicles including family sedans, sports and luxury cars, SUVs, and pick-up trucks, we need someone who has a diverse background in automotive repair services. Mistakes have no room when it comes to automotive repair as these will only make things even more costly. Choose a mechanic who has certifications of training programs and classes that he has attended. The mechanic's time spent in studying as well as in the actual practice of automotive repair is very advantageous for us car owners.
ASE certified to be an automotive repair professional.
Speaking of certifications, perhaps the most famous and widely recognized one, when it comes to professionals in the automotive industry is the ASE certification. Annually, an estimated 100,000 automotive technicians take ASE certification exams each May and November at over 750 locations.
With an ASE certification, we are assured that our mechanic has good background in all automotive services because an ASE certification requires a minimum of two years work experience in addition to passing a series of examinations that include Engine Repair, Engine Performance, Electrical/Electronic Systems, Brakes, Heating and Air Conditioning, Suspension and Steering, Manual Drive Train and Axles, and Automatic Transmissions for auto technicians alone. There are separate tests for those who want to be collision repair technicians, engine machinists, parts specialists, and others.
Furthermore, all ASE certifications have expiration dates which requires technicians to re-test every five years to keep up with technology and to remain certified.
Works in a reputable auto center.
Unfortunately, ASE certifications apply only to individuals and not to auto centers. However, an auto center with at least one ASE certified mechanic is allowed to display the ASE sign. Furthermore, an auto center that has 75% ASE certified mechanics among its employees are given the Blue Seal of Excellence from the ASE.
Aside from the ASE recognition, other signs that we should look for an auto center include neat and well-organized facility complete with modern equipment, courteous staff, and good policies (regarding labor rates, diagnostic fees, guarantees, etc.)
Highly recommended by family and friends.
Nothing can attest to the quality service that any auto center and mechanic can give than testimonials of our family members, relatives, and friends. Ask for referrals and recommendations. Local community organizations and business listings are also good sources of information.

Article Source: