How Much to Fix It?

Information about auto repair and preventive maintenance

Don’t let your brakes break the bank!

car-brakesThere are many parts of a car that we tend to see people ignore until they break – and then suddenly what could have been inexpensive preventative maintenance is suddenly a major repair that is expensive. Brakes are one of those things that are quick and painless to take care of, but can easily run into the big money if you ignore them. Let’s consider this…

Are your car’s brakes screaming for help?  When you drive down the street are your neighbors holding their ears?  If you notice this, it’s past time for a brake pad change. It is cheaper to keep your brakes in good working condition, than waiting for that first screech and then looking for cheap brake service.   Here at Good Works Auto Repair, we will thoroughly check and replace the pads on your car and have you back on the road in no time.

Don’t let the brakes get worn down.  Simple brake pads will end up costing more if you go too long. If the brake pads get worn down to the metal, the rotors can get scratched and require repair.  Obviously, this will require replacing not only the pads but now you have to buy the rotors too!  So come in for regular service, from a reliable repair shop in your community. Visit our website to see what other services we offer and to schedule an appointment online.

Cars Damaged by Dust Storms in Arizona

auto-damage-from-dust-stormIf you’re new to Arizona, then you may or may not have experienced a dust storm. If you’ve been a resident for a long time, then you probably have. Many of our customers come in to our  auto repair shop because they’re concerned about the damage that their vehicle may have suffered after a dust storm or two have passed. Even if your vehicle is sitting in your driveway as the dust clouds and debris pass by, your vehicle could still see some effects that could be fixed or monitored with some important preventative maintenance every now and then. Of course, damage to a vehicle isn’t the only thing that we worry about when it comes to Arizona dust storms. Safety on the road during a dust storm is also important and we have included some tips for drivers to remember should they get caught while driving.

In Arizona, the months of May through September often produce dust storms that can appear with little to no warning. A dust storm usually arrives suddenly in the form of an advancing wall of dust and debris which may be miles long and several thousand feet high. The dust makes for some pretty hazardous driving conditions, such as little to no visibility, causing accidents that may involve chain collisions, creating massive pileups. Dust storms usually last only a few minutes, but the actions a motorist takes during the storm may be the most important of his or her life. According to AAA, motorists are reminded to:

  • If you see a dust storm forming in the distance, exit the roadway immediately.
  • Reduce speed and turn on lights.
  • Once you are able to, pull off the roadway completely and turn off your vehicle’s lights to ensure other cars do not follow you off the road and hit your vehicle.
  • Wait until the dust storm had passed before getting back on the highway. You want to have at least 300 feet of visibility before you resume driving. You will also want to check your windshield for cracks.
  •  If you are walking or riding your bike, get inside quickly or seek shelter.

After a dust storm, you’ll want to check your vehicle for any damage. This includes your windshield, under carriage, grille, air filter  and paint. Some are cosmetic and other components we like to check for safety reasons. For example, a clogged air filter  can lead to engine  problems down the road if dirt and debris get into it or cannot be filtered. Likewise, obstructions in the radiator or grille can cause your vehicle to overheat. You should get your car checked regularly to ensure that these Arizona dust storms do not do unnecessary amounts of damage to your car. Proper car maintenance can help keep your car running for a long time, as well as keep you and other drivers safer on the road. Contact us today or schedule you appointment online and have your vehicle checked for damage after a long and active dust storm season here in the Southwest.


Diesel Maintenance At Your Service!

We take pride in being able to service just about any vehicle that rolls into our auto repair shop.  From old or new gas-powered vehicles, to hybrid maintenance to diesel repairs, our mechanics are ready to repair or maintain your vehicle so it runs better and drives safer out there on the roads. Did we just say diesel maintenance? That’s right. We have the knowledge and training to work on diesel engines  – including the new passenger vehicles! As technology progresses, our services must as well. With the influx of passenger vehicles now utilizing this type of fuel, we want to make sure you are aware that we do offer this service alongside our traditional menu.

Diesel powered engines aren’t what we think of them anymore. As you learn from this video, diesel  isn’t a loud, smoky, roaring engine made only for big trucks. They can now hold up to American standards, those which ensure they’re quieter, cleaner and more efficient. Plus, they are up to 30% better when  comes to fuel economy. Drivers in Europe and Asia have been enjoying the benefits of diesel engines in passenger cars for many years. They are also becoming much more popular due to their power. It is very impressive to so many American drivers because so much torque is available at a low rpm and is preferred for towing. Diesel engines combine excellent low-speed tractability with fuel-efficient cruising. They also don’t have to be run just on fossil fuels. As this mechanic points out in the video, they can even run on something like vegetable oil or cellulosic waste from food or even solids such as wood chips. Biodiesel technology is only improving and we know that this will lead to the improvement and increased popularity of passenger cars fitted with more diesel engines in the near future.

As more and more of our customers begin to acknowledge and contribute to the popularity of diesel technology, we will make sure that our maintenance services and diesel repair services meet your needs.  Diesel vehicles are becoming more reliable here in the United States, but they may come with some common issues at times. Because they work so hard, we know that you may deal with no start, long crank, glow plugs, power loss, and excessive smoke. We are prepared and trained for these types of issues and can work to get your diesel engine efficient and powerful just like the day you bought it. Are you interested in a passenger vehicle with a diesel engine? Does your diesel engine of any type or size need repairs or maintenance? Contact us to make an appointment today and feel confident in all of the services that we offer!

Why Are Oil Changes So Important?

If there is one thing we can guarantee in the auto repair business, it’s the simple fact that regular oil changes are the key to Oil Changevehicle preservation. So why are oil changes important? Motor oil is the lifeblood of your engine, and when it is depleted or full of sludge, you can be sure that your engine is going to suffer. The engine oil is responsible for lubricating the engine components, ensuring that they all work together smoothly – can you imagine what would happen if there wasn’t any oil? Complete engine failure!

There are literally thousands of explosions occurring every minute inside a vehicle’s engine and the heat from those explosions can be immense. This is another area where oil helps; motor oil actually draws heat away from the combustion chamber, which keeps the engine from overheating. When the oil is low, the heat rises and your engine is in danger of overheating.

Another key job of motor oil is to prevent carbon buildup and keep debris from entering the engine compartment. While the oil works as a barrier for metal on metal contact, there is still contact, and as a result tiny metal shavings end up floating around. As the oil moves through the different engine components, it picks up these metal shavings and they are trapped in the oil filter The oil will also pick up carbon – a byproduct of combustion – as it moves around, which is one of the main reasons why regular oil changes are so important. Oil will grow more and more acidic over time as it accumulates these byproducts and can actually get so corrosive that it can etch engine surfaces.

One thing that consumers often overlook when they change their oil, is the type of oil used, but this is a vital part of the oil change process. We are seeing a shocking number of vehicles here in the auto shop with engines damaged by wear and sludge buildup, because they have used the wrong type of oil in their engine. The type and viscosity of the oil is just as important as the oil change itself. Every engine is designed differently and requires a specific type of oil to run efficiently. Fortunately, every vehicle lists the exact type of oil needed and what specifications it needs to meet.

 One question we are asked all the time is if synthetic oil is really necessary and worth the extra cost. Well, we believe that synthetic is much more superior than conventional oil and well worth the extra couple dollars. There are some vehicles that require synthetic and will suffer engine damage if conventional oil is used, but even for those where it isn’t specified, synthetic oil can really help. It is a much higher-quality oil and is infused with longer-lasting additives that work to keep your engine cleaner. It also flows faster and can improve cold start efficiency.

So whether you are a DIY oil change guy or gal or whether you take your vehicle into an auto repair shop to have your oil changed, always, always, always make sure the correct oil is being used. Take a minute to pull out your vehicle manual and double check that you, or your automotive technician, is up to date on what oil your vehicle requires.

Monsoon Madness!

When you live in Arizona, New Mexico or many other places in the Southwest, you know that monsoons and flash floods can threaten you at any time during the warmer months. It is one thing when you’re protected being inside, but when you’re driving and a monsoon comes through, it can threaten your safety. In fact, June 15th through September 30th has been defined as “The Monsoon.” It is a period of extreme heat that is typically followed by an influx of moisture leading to daily rounds of thunderstorms. These thunderstorms present an array of hazards which often strike suddenly and with violent force including flash floods. Some of these hazards include slippery roads, unexpected wind gusts, flooded highways, and poor visibility.

In order to minimize accidents, deaths or even car repairs, we want you to know what to do in these types of events. Your safety should always come first when driving a vehicle and driving through or during flash floods is not a good idea. An average of 75 people have died in the U.S. from flash floods each year from 2004-2013, according to the National Weather Service. You don’t want to be a statistic! If you find yourself approaching a flooded area, do not drive through it, especially if you don’t know the depth of the water. Even six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control and potential stalling. Just a foot of water will flood most vehicles and the National Weather Service warns that even just two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles, including SUVs and trucks! Once your vehicle begins to float, the floodwater is what will be steering it, not your steering wheel.

What else can you do to protect yourself driving during monsoon season? To start, be sure to check your windshield wipers for cracks, your tire tread and headlights or brake lights. Allow for extra time when driving, plan ahead and leave early. Slow down, too. When it rains, oil and grime rise to the surface making it slick. Avoid jerky movements when braking, accelerating or turning. Avoid tailgating cars ahead of you, as it takes three times longer to stop on wet pavement than a dry one. If you’re unsure whether you can handle driving through the storm, pull over to a safe place. Keep your lights on but make sure you’re completely off the road. Don’t drive through flooded areas, avoid downed power lines and don’t take pictures, all of which are dangerous actions.

Driving through flooded streets or low levels of water is not only unsafe, but not good for your vehicle. If the flash flood has turned into your car sitting in water for a long period of time, you’ll want to start the process of drying out your vehicle right away. You don’t want mold to grow inside your vehicle and you don’t want a vehicle that will stall or not start either. We encourage you to bring your vehicle to an auto repair shop so that we can change the fluids. Starting a vehicle that has water in your oil can destroy the engine; the same with your transmission. Corrosion can occur if water has been in contact with your vehicle for too long too. Remember the saying, “turn around, don’t drown!” Safety first when driving during the Southwest monsoon season! If you do find that your vehicle has been through water and you’re concerned about damage, our repair technicians can help to identify any car repairs which are necessary to keep your vehicle performing well and safe in the future.








Keep Your Engine Clean with Air Induction Service

Air Induction ServiceWhen is the last time you checked to see how clean your engine was? Is it clogged with dust, debris or gunk? If you’ve never had an air induction service, then it very well could be. Over time, as you drive road after road, your fuel system can get dirty. Deposits accumulate on intake valves, injectors, ports, fuel injectors and combustion chambers causing loss of power, rough idle, hesitation, misfire, pinging, knocking, mileage and hard starting. These small issues could turn into major engine problems down the road.

As you’ll learn from one of our recent auto repair videos online, all internal combustion engines combine fuel and air to be burned in the engine.  With some types, fuel and air get mixed outside of the engine and with others, they’re mixed right in the cylinder. The fuel and air induction systems bring the components of combustion together and both get dirty over time. An air induction service is important because it will keep your fuel system cleaner which equates to better fuel economy and improved engine performance.

During the air induction service, our Tempe auto repair technicians will flood your engine with gasses that contain special cleaning agents into the intake manifold while the engine is running. This agent actually removes and dissolves the deposits emitting them out of your car’s tail pipe. This is important because the deposits that build up crusted on form a barrier and act as a sponge, soaking up fuel and restricting air flow. The service takes care of this buildup, letting your engine breathe and do its job – and well.

We can perform the air induction service on all vehicles and you’ll enjoy a boost in fuel efficiency, a reduction in harmful pollutants emitted from your vehicle and a longer engine life because it can perform with less stress. If you aren’t sure of the condition of your engine, now may be the perfect time to contact our auto repair shop and schedule this service. If you’re interested in learning more, take a minute and enjoy our short but informative video right here on our website. We hope to see you soon!


Your Tires Are Heating Up

flat tireWe always see a strong correlation at the repair shop between hot summer temperatures and increased tire blowouts.  Here in Arizona, during the heart of summer, the average temperature is a scorching 104 degrees, with many days soaring way above that. These extreme heat conditions are exceptionally hard on vehicles – the engine, batteryfluids, leather, consoles and especially the tires are all susceptible to heat damage. Today we are going to focus on the tires, how does heat affect them, should they be replaced and how can you minimize the damage as the temperature soars?

Tires are made of rubber, and while that means they have some great heat tolerance properties, they are still vulnerable to extreme heat. Tires obviously produce friction as they propel your vehicle down the road, and as we all know, friction produces heat. Tires are engineered to withstand the normal heat produced from tire friction, however, when the temperature soars well over 100 degrees and the pavement begins to boil, the heat produced can become so extreme that it can have some disastrous results on underinflated or already damaged or compromised tires.

Heat affects tire pressure, so it is even more important during the summer months to monitor your tire’s air pressure. Your vehicle’s optimum tire pressure recommendations are typically found inside the driver’s side door jamb, but they can also be found in your owner’s manual. Most auto manufactures recommend checking tire pressure once a month, usually in the morning when they will be the coolest.  Underinflated tires allow more surface area of the tire to come into contact with the road, causing more friction and heat. This is why underinflated tires are one of the leading causes of blowouts.

It is also extremely important to check the integrity of your tires before the heat soars out of control. If you notice any bulges, cracks, uneven wear or low tread, it is vital to have your tires replaced as soon as possible. Driving on damaged tires, especially during the summer when tires are already subjected to abuse, can easily lead to a blowout. Also, if you notice that your car isn’t handling as well as normal, feels like it might be drifting a bit on the road or you squeal your tires easily, have them checked out because they most likely need to be replaced.

When replacing your tires, you might want to consider buying a higher quality tire with a better heat rating as well. All tires are given a temperature rating from A to C. Tires with an A rating are able to dissipate more heat under load than a C rating. Tires with lower heat ratings are more prone to heat-induced failure, especially in hot weather climates or if the vehicle is regularly driven at high speeds. A vehicle’s tires might not seem all that exciting, but they are probably one of the most important safety components on your vehicle, and as such should be inspected often and replaced as soon as they start showing any signs of damage.



Tips for a Vehicle That is Summer Ready

Summer is here! We know you must be as excited as we are. If you’re like most people, then you probably have some road trips and exciting travel in your future. But will you be able to rely on your vehicle to get you there safely and easily? Knowing how to prepare your vehicle for the demands of summer – additional miles, high temperatures and so on – can help reduce your risk of a breakdown or anything else that could hinder your plans. Here is a list of checks to make before you hit the road.

1. Get an oil change. This simple service typically comes with some important and free checks of tires, fluids and so on which we’ll get to below. The other option is to get an oil change at your destination before you head home. Check what your interval schedule states and compare that against your current mileage. 

2. Check your engine and cooling system. Your cooling system has an important job – to keep your engine from overheating. In addition, additives in the coolant protect the radiator and internal engine components against wear and corrosion. Without proper cooling system maintenance, the odds of long term engine damage, and a summer time boil over, definitely increase. Older engine coolant can become dirty and contaminated, more likely to lead to problems that could put a damper on your plans for driving.

3. Have your tires checked. Driving on under-inflated tires not only affects the handling and braking of a vehicle, it also can cause tires to overheat and increase the likelihood of a blowout. This problem becomes even more of a concern when road temperatures are extremely high. When is the last time you checked your own tire pressure? More than half of vehicles on the road were found to have at least one under-inflated tire, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association, and 85 percent of motorists do not know how to properly inflate their tires! Good Works Auto Repair offers a variety of tire services to ensure that when your rubber meets the ground, you’ll be safer and ready to go. Don’t forget to ask them to check the spare tire, too!

4. Check your vehicle’s fluids. Your vehicle utilizes many different types of fluids – windshield washer, brake, power steering, motor oil, transmission to name a few. All of these do a job to keep your car running smoothly so be sure to have a repair technician top them off or check the levels. Brake fluid is extremely important to have checked before you hit the road. Degradation of that fluid can lead to reduced braking performance or, in extreme cases, complete brake failure.

5. Check your car’s air conditioning system. A cool passenger is a happy passenger, especially during extra-long road trips in the summer heat. Maintaining a comfortable driving environment also reduces fatigue, which can play an important part in driver alertness and vehicle safety. A/C filters could also benefit from being checked so that they properly filter debris which could enter your vehicle cabin.

6. Be prepared for something to go wrong anyways. A summer emergency kit should include things like water, non-perishable food items, jumper cables, a flashlight with extra batteries, road flares or an emergency beacon, basic hand tools, and a first aid kit. For summer weather, we also recommend including a reflective emergency blanket, sunscreen, a hat, a phone charger, a clear plastic bin, tire pressure gauge, duct tape, rags, gloves, and even a tow strap.

Good Works Auto Repair is ready for you and car. We love a good road trip – we know you do too! Don’t let your vehicle shut down your summer plans. Give the shop a call today to schedule your appointment!

Driverless Technology – The Future of Automobiles?

driverless-carThere’s no question about it, technology is fascinating, and with each technological advance there seems to be another one right behind it, pushing the boundaries of conventional wisdom. We have long dreamed about the day that automobiles would drive themselves, and while this technology seemed to be somewhere in the nebulous future, the reality is that it is here now.

Google’s driverless cars have made headlines as they take to the streets, however Google isn’t the only company who is researching and developing this technology. Currently, there are thirty different corporations who are working on driverless cars; Ford, GM, Apple, Audi, BMW and Tesla are just a few of the big name corporations who are looking to develop this technology.

Autonomous driving isn’t just limited to cars either, Daimler piloted a test in Europe this month testing truck convoys, called platooning. They successfully tested six different convoys in real traffic, across borders and over several distances with no issues. The thinking is that by letting the truck do the work, it will result in quicker braking, less passing and a 10 percent fuel savings for the subsequent trucks.

While this technology is exciting, there are still a lot of practical and ethical dilemmas to consider. Car Buzz put it this way, “Humans aren’t consistent enough to any degree for a computer’s assumptions to be accurate.” One example of this was back in February when Google’s self-driving car was involved in an accident. It was pulling away from the curb in front of a bus and the computer determined that the bus would slow down, unfortunately the bus driver didn’t, which resulted in an accident. When human reasoning is involved, it makes computer programing that much more complicated.

While most of us would enjoy the convenience of just sitting back and letting our cars chauffer us around, there are more practical applications of this technology to consider as well. For one thing, drivers who are sleepy or who had a few too many drinks at dinner could certainly benefit from a driverless car. Google happened to give one of their driverless vehicles to a blind man to use, and the video of him being able to get around town on his own was amazing. Giving back some independence to those unable to drive would be a truly remarkable gift.

There are undoubtedly some kinks that need to be worked out, but actually seeing the application of this technology on the road is thrilling. It will be interesting to see how this evolves over the next few years as more companies unveil their prototypes and start putting their vehicles into real life situations. This is the day and age of automotive technology and we are loving every minute of it!

Common AC System Problems You’ll Want Repaired

auto air conditioningWhen you take your vehicle for routine maintenance or a scheduled check-up, the priority is typically with the engine, or other essential vehicle systems. Consequently, this means owners often overlook any issues that could develop with their air conditioning system and fail to have it routinely inspected. This could dramatically impact the vehicle with any of the common A/C system issues costing heavy fees to be fixed or replaced. Good Works Auto Repair recommends an A/C service inspection annually before the hot Arizona temperatures rise too high.

At Good Works Auto Repair, some of the most common problems we see range from clogged hoses to major leaks. For example, a clogged hose from debris over time can mean that your system may lead to moisture in the cabin which means foggy windows and an inefficient cooling. If moisture or debris contaminates the air conditioner installed in the car, it will fail to cool the surroundings. Then there are leaks, also very common when it comes to an AC system. Leaks can lead to other AC components being overworked and breaking down – and that means money out of your pocket. Because so many little things are potential repairs waiting to happen, just run routine checks so that when something does crop up, you can tackle the issue promptly.

Your auto AC system is meant to cool, condition and circulate the air inside your vehicle. But what happens without an efficient system? Sick car syndrome can occur. This means that bacteria, fungi, and micro-organisms can develop when the air conditioning system is not in use, especially during winter. The dark and damp interior of your car’s AC is the perfect breeding ground for them, and they often make themselves known in the form of pungent odors. These germs can grow quickly behind your dashboard and without inspection and a flush, you may be breathing in cabin contamination each time you drive the vehicle. Yuck!

If you haven’t had an A/C inspection in quite a while, it may be the right time to get your car serviced by Good Works Auto Repair. During your AC service, they’ll inspect the system pressures, vent temperatures, belt tension and air volume to make sure your air conditioning system is working properly and efficiently. Don’t take for granted your cool, clean air any longer.

To watch a quick video on automotive air conditioning, click here: