How Much to Fix It?

Information about auto repair and preventive maintenance

Clunk! Signs it’s Time to Schedule a Tune-up

speed-1249610_1280Do you ever wonder if the sound your vehicle is making is normal? If it sounds like you’re grinding silverware in a blender every time you start your car, it’s a no brainer that your car needs a trip to the auto repair shop. But sometimes it’s not that easy to know when we need to schedule a tune-up or have some other preventative maintenance performed. However, there are some tell-tale signs that can help you decide when it’s time to see a car doc.

For starters, if you notice that an engine warning light has come on, that’s a good indication that a tune-up is needed. It could be something little, like one of your headlights is on its last leg, or something major, like your transmission is about to kick the bucket. In this case, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Scheduling a tune-up with your local mechanic is the best way to ensure you don’t find yourself stranded on the side of the road.

If you find that your vehicle stalls at red lights, or at any other abnormal time, or if starting your car in the morning seems like pulling teeth, then it’s time to schedule a tune-up. When your vehicle is functioning at its best, stalling and slow starts should be nowhere near the picture. There could be a slew of issues causing your car to drive you insane, so bringing it in for a mechanic to look at is your best bet.

Notice that your fuel mileage has decreased significantly? A dirty or malfunctioning engine can lead to decreased gas mileage, which none of us look for in a vehicle. Filling up with gas more frequently, due to decrease fuel mileage, is a not only a nuisance, but a drain on your pocketbook. However, there is a simple fix to this issue: preventative maintenance! Scheduling a tune-up allows your mechanic to identify and fix any dirt or mechanical issues that could be impacting your gas mileage.

Have you ever feel like you could skip leg day because you have to press the pedal through the floor before your car stops? Spongy breaks, lack of brake fluid, or another host of issues with your breaks can pose a significant threat to your driving safety. Any abnormal breaking should be looked at right away, as to prevent further damage or stress. Be sure to tell your auto mechanic what happens when you brake, so they can help determine what the issue is.

Any other weird noises or vibrations that you experience while driving are also reasons to schedule a tune-up. Taking care of your vehicle and repairing any minor problems before they have the opportunity to become major problems will save you both time and money in the future. Performing regular preventative maintenance is the one overwhelming theme of car enthusiasts that plan on keeping their vehicles on the road for the long haul. We firmly believe in preventative maintenance here at Good Works Auto Repair and will perform a courtesy inspection of your vehicle each and every time your visit our repair shop.

Should you Repair your Vehicle or Buy New?

overheatingSo, you’ve had your vehicle for a while and now you’ve noticed that you’ve been putting more and more money into it for auto repairs. After a while, this gets very stressful and very annoying. You constantly say that you refuse to put another penny into fixing your vehicle, but then you break down and decide that you aren’t quite ready to give it all up just yet, so you pay for the repairs and keep your fingers crossed it won’t happen again for a while. Anyone who has kept a vehicle for several years has probably run into a similar situation.

No matter how well you have maintained your vehicle through the years, used vehicles will undoubtedly need repair work at some point.  Some of these repairs are just minor expenses, however others can cost well into the thousands of dollars. But before you give up on your car and start to search for a brand new one, you may want to consider the true cost of repairing your vehicle versus buying a new one. Of course, we realize that everyone’s situation is different, but oftentimes, buying a new car just to avoid paying for an expensive auto repair is not the best financial decision.

No one wants to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars every month in order to keep their used vehicle on the road. But how much more will a new vehicle cost you in the long run? Sure, new vehicles come with a warranty, they sometimes include vehicle maintenance costs and new features like backup cameras and blind-spot sensors. But it is also important to remember that they will also come with a down payment, monthly payments, higher insurance premiums, tax and registration fees, depreciation and more. Buying a new car may seem like a good choice, but for some people it will just end up costing more in the long run.

Even if you’ve taken good care of your car, some-high priced repairs are unavoidable, sometimes due to excessive wear or just time itself. According to an article from Edmund’s, rubber belts and hoses dry out and crack, metal on rotors warp or wears too thin and electrical parts stop working. Wear-and-tear items such as axle boots, belts and brake rotors will eventually need to be replaced. The repair costs  are not cheap, but they are necessary, and will give your vehicle some additional time on the road. This will give you more time to save up for a new vehicle and catch back up with the money you spent on the repairs.

If you decide that it would make the most financial sense to come up with the money and make necessary repairs for your vehicle instead of buying a new one, we here at Good Works Auto Repair can assist you with any repairs you need. From car engines to tires, we do it all. If you’ve already made the repairs and are now looking for a trusted auto repair shop to do some preventative maintenance and help your vehicle last longer and drive better, we do that too. Or maybe you’re just looking for some friendly advice as to what you should do if you find yourself in this very situation – should you buy a new vehicle or should you put some money into repairs? We can offer suggestions with this as well. Owning a vehicle can be stressful at times, but it is our job to help you make the best decision for your vehicle and your family.

Which auto repairs top the list?

mechanic-1696914_1280When you own a vehicle, you know that auto repairs are almost always a given at some point down the line. Hopefully they’ll occur while your vehicle is still under warranty, but many times they do not. Even with proper preventative maintenance, you are still likely to have some minor repairs done at some point. In a recent article from Auto Service Costs, their infographic details the most common auto repairs and how much each one will cost. This is a great reference for anyone who owns a vehicle and is responsible for the bill. Trusted auto repair isn’t something to take lightly. Finding an auto mechanic who will take care of your vehicle through the years will hopefully limit the most of these common auto repairs.

You can start with replacing your oxygen sensor which could run around $240 and is often the result of a check engine light diagnosis. They usually require replacement around 60,000-100,000 miles, but it can occur earlier if your vehicle has not been well-taken care of.  Another cause of a check engine light warning could be that your gas cap needs to be tightened. It can cause gas fumes to leak from the tank. 95% of gas leaks in the engine are caused by an improperly tightened fuel cap. A new one typically costs less than $1.

When it comes to auto repairs with a little higher price tag, on the list is a catalytic converter replacement, which could end up costing around $1,000. This is a vital component of your vehicle’s emission control system however, and is responsible for the recirculation of the unburned gas back to the engine and cleans up the car’s exhaust. A sulfur or rotten egg smell could mean a catalytic converter problem.

You may also need to replace your mass air flow sensor at some point. This repairs runs around $350 and is another culprit of a check engine light. Spark plug replacement will be another $200. Spark plugs are responsible for sending electric current from the ignition and igniting fuel in the process. Without properly working spark plugs, your vehicle may not start or your gas mileage will begin to suffer.

Another common repair is an EGR valve replacement. Plan on around $275 for this service. An EGR valve comes with newer vehicles to help reduce carbon emissions by circulating small amounts of exhaust back to the engine’s combustion chambers. It also helps to keep your engine in top performance shape. Don’t wait on this service if it needs it.

A coolant temp sensor is another common part that often needs replacement during your vehicle’s lifetime. Coolant is necessary to maintain your car’s temperature and if the sensor goes out, it’s a vital part that needs replaced. This service will cost around $125, but could save you thousands of dollars if your engine overheats and needs replacement. This is another repair that you won’t want to wait to have done.

An ignition coil replacement costs around $225. It is another important part of the car’s ignition system. A defective ignition coil could result in stalling, no-starts, loss of power and other problems. There is also an intake manifold gasket replacement which runs a little more at $350. It directs the air-fuel mixture to the cylinder where it is burned to produce power. Bad gaskets can have leaks which can result in contaminated engine oil. This is very important to maintain. Aftermarket electronics repair is another common issue that costs around $100. Adding parts to your car will cost you up front but could also end up costing you in repairs down the road as well.

All of these repairs are pretty common and Good Works Auto Repair is ready to help you with these and any other automotive repair needs you may have. Having a reference guide of common repairs is a helpful tool in knowing what you need to keep your vehicle running smoothly and safely. Contact us today and don’t wait on your next preventative maintenance service or any of your other necessary auto repairs.

Car Battery Betrayal: Why did it Die?

jumper-cables-926308_1280Have you ever had a morning where you just wanted to throw in the towel? You wake up late, the coffee overflows from the pot, you can’t find your keys, and when you finally run out the door, you find that your car battery is dead. If so, you are not alone! It is in moments like these that we realize we have taken our car batteries for granted. It should always be there, the car should always start, and when it doesn’t, we wonder why this is happening to us and if we once again need to visit an auto repair shop.

There are many reasons for car battery failure. For starters, as a vehicle ages, the battery ages. According to a Johnson Controls survey, the average car battery lasts about 37 months in hot climates, which here in Arizona, is something of which we are all painfully aware. This heat causes evaporation under the hood, and a loss of water in the battery itself, which the battery uses to create and to restore electricity. As the battery ages, this progressive loss of water causes the battery to become weaker, and eventually it will fail.

Another reason for car battery failure is something that we have all been guilty of a time or two. We have all been told not to leave our lights on or leave the door open while the car is off, but why? Our car batteries recharge when the car is running, but if the vehicle isn’t on while the battery is being used, well, (for those of us who have left our lights on overnight) we know what happens. Not the brightest idea we’ve ever had.

Undercharging or overcharging a battery can lead to corrosion and failure. While this could be a problem with your vehicle’s alternator, a big cause of this is the improper use of a battery charger. Undercharging leaves the battery weaker than it should be, which causes obvious problems. Overcharging however, is a different story. If the battery is overcharged, it becomes too hot, which can again lead to a loss of water, and damage the internal components of your battery.

Dead car batteries are a nuisance. They take our time, our money, and our sanity. However, with a little preventative maintenance, we can have some peace of mind running to our cars on those hectic mornings. A good cleaning and inspection of your battery is key to ensuring you get the most out of your battery life. Spending a little time and money having your battery serviced at a trusted auto repair shop every couple of years will save you in the long run.

Avoid Holiday Breakdowns with a Little TLC

 

gwar-holiday-travelYou depend on your vehicle to run safely and smoothly, especially during holiday travel. Yet, without the proper preventative maintenance, your vehicle very well could end up broken down on the side of the road, halting your holiday travel plans and costing you more money than Santa had expected to spend. We hear it all the time – customers need us to fix their vehicle after a major breakdown ruined their plans. Tow truck operators along the highways or major roadways stay very busy during the holiday season, towing vehicles with car trouble usually due to things that could have been prevented with some vehicle TLC and a trusted auto repair shop. Let’s be honest, no one wants to spend the holidays sitting around in a repair shop waiting room with strangers, no matter how good the coffee is!

Most years, AAA, which has around 49 million members, expects to be out on the highway assisting 1.4 million of them between December 18 and January 2. About 60 percent of these stranded travelers will be sent on their way from the roadside, but about 500,000 are going to need a tow. Being prepared ahead of time will go a long way toward helping get you safely to your holiday destination. When you make an auto repair appointment at our shop before heading out, you’ll enjoy peace of mind, knowing that your vehicle has been thoroughly looked over, top to bottom. We can complete all routine maintenance services with pre-vacation inspections performed by a well-qualified automotive technician. Before your trip, you should always have the following systems checked; cooling, braking, steering, suspension, tires, battery and charging system, fluids, belts, hoses, wipers and safety features such as horns, lights and mirrors.

Not only could a pre-travel inspection save you money, but it could also prevent dangerous road travel. You are also choosing a trusted repair shop, not just the closest shop to wherever you break down. This alone creates peace of mind for any driver and eliminates unnecessary holiday stress. Of course, we aren’t able to guarantee that nothing will happen down the road, but we can certainly tip the odds in your favor. Give us a call today and learn more about our preventative maintenance services or make an appointment for a pre-travel inspection. Don’t become an unfortunate statistic this holiday season.

Don’t Get Auto Repair Scammed!

 

road-sign-464653_1280 As a motorist, you need to be constantly aware. This time, we aren’t talking about avoiding accidents on the road, we’re talking about auto repair scams that could happen to anyone. If you don’t currently have an honest auto repair shop that you can trust, there are a few things we want you to know before your next major repair service. When you’re educated and aware of your vehicle’s needs, you’ll be less of a target to those places that may try to scam you. While we certainly hope that they are few and far between, we are saddened to admit that there are still repair shops out there looking to take advantage of your trust and your wallet.

Some of the things that may happen when it comes to auto repair scams include, but are not limited to:

  1. Padding charges and inflating prices. While repairs are often expensive, some shops will present the final bill above and beyond what the estimate was. Or, when you sign the estimate, the mechanic may not even put a total on that blank. Pay careful attention to this and avoid paying an inflated amount that you weren’t told about.
  1. Repairs you don’t need. This one happens too often. You go in for one auto repair service and learn that your vehicle needs other repairs, too. Sometimes these mechanical issues exist, and sometimes they don’t. Knowing a little bit about vehicles and repairs can help you avoid this.
  1. Watch for counterfeit or used parts. Some dishonest shops will charge for new parts but give you used. This is more than an ethical issue – this is also a safety issue!
  1. Poor work, or no work at all. Be sure the work was done and done well. You can, and should always ask to see it what was done.
  1. Watch out for specials and hooks for maintenance. Dishonest repair shops advertise super-low prices on specific repairs or check-ups and then use these specials to bait their customers. A simple oil change and lube job can turn into expensive and unneeded repairs.

If you’d like to learn more about how to avoid being the victim of an auto repair scam, you’ll want to click here. This is a great article to help give any driver a little bit of knowledge that could go a long way. It is our goal to help you stay safe on the road and to focus on customer service, so that you trust us and we can do our job on your vehicle. Stay safe out there and avoid auto repair scams!

Relieving the Stress of a Vehicle Recall

auto recallWhen you have an issue with your vehicle, from check engine lights coming on to major breakdowns, it can be a very stressful thing. You’re wondering how much it is going to cost you, what other problems your auto mechanic will find with your vehicle while they’re in there and how long you’ll be stranded without your vehicle. When you receive a vehicle recall in the mail, those can be stressful, too. Sometimes they’re just minor fixes and other times, they’re serious issues that could pose a major risk to you and your passengers if they aren’t addressed right away.

If a problem or negative trend is discovered that may be safety related and a recall is issued, the vehicle manufacturer must notify the National Highway Traffic Safety Association NHTSA of the recall. Once the NHTSA has been notified of the recall, the manufacturer has 60 days to notify car owners of the recall. Recalls have become a common issue in recent years. In 2015, more than 52 million recalls were issued in the United States, and that number is expected to climb in subsequent years. With so many complex parts of a vehicle, things are bound to go wrong.

A recent article in Your Mechanic by Jason Unrau, talks about how to handle a vehicle recall and what you’ll need to know throughout the repair process. Sure, recalls don’t usually cost you money, but they do take time. One of the most common consumer complaints is that bringing a recall to a dealership takes a very long time. Most recalls must be performed at the dealership so they can be recorded, the quality can be monitored, and recalled parts can be made available to the manufacturer for inspection. With many customers in the same situation, it could take weeks or even months to settle a recall situation in some circumstances.

People react in different ways to a recall; anger, frustration, complacency, or filing them away to never look at them again. However, it is important to promptly address any recall notices you may receive. Jason Unrau urges recipients of recalls to first confirm the recall applies to your vehicle by checking the VIN number, then determine if you have to pay for the recall, and third, contact your dealership service department right away. Have the recall completed and stay safe on the road.

We also urge you to regularly have our preventative maintenance services performed. You’ll be able to maintain your vehicle and save on major repairs and maybe even keep your vehicle running so that a recall doesn’t cause even more harm. Big or small … we do it all.

What Makes a Female Friendly Auto Repair Shop?

 

There has been a focus lately on finding female friendly auto repair shops, and for good reasons. Historically, auto repair has been solidly in the “man camp” but all of that is changing; female customers make up 60% – 70% of repair shop clients these days. Women today make more than half of the spending decisions in a family and influence more than 85% of consumer purchasing decisions. Statistics also show that there are more women drivers on the road than men, and they purchase over 50% of all cars. So, it just makes sense that auto repair shops need to focus more on their female clients and become more female friendly. But what makes an auto repair shop female friendly?

The first criteria for a female friendly auto repair shop is – honesty, integrity and a willingness for open communication. Women tend to be more analytical when it comes to auto repair and want to know the details about what needs to be done. A written estimate of the work to be performed is a must. They will also ask more questions than their male counterparts, and expect to have their questions accurately answered with a full explanation. If their auto mechanic is curt and dismissive with their answers, or seems to be disingenuous, that is one of the fastest ways to lose a woman as a repeat customer.

Another thing that appeals to female customers is the overall environment of the shop. A friendly greeting upon arrival and a comfortable waiting area, will go a long way toward garnering their favor. Women aren’t looking for a spa like experience when they go in to replace brakes or have an oil change, but they are looking for a few female friendly amenities; comfortable chairs to sit in, free wi-fi to get some work done, current magazines that aren’t all about fishing or cars, an area where their kids can sit and color, clean bathrooms and even a fresh cup of coffee to smooth out the edges.

Of course, pricing is one of the top concerns of any customer. However, studies have shown that while cost is one of the biggest factors when choosing an auto repair shop, women tend to not put as much importance on cost, if they feel that they have found an honest mechanic and a shop they can trust, who treats them with respect. This isn’t too much to ask, and if you are looking for a female friendly auto repair shop in Tempe, look no further than Good Works Auto Repair. We pride ourselves on not only being friendly, but female friendly on all fronts, and hey even our manly guys enjoy the little extras they never knew they wanted!

5 Tips From a Mechanic

 

automotive-repairIn any relationship, communication between two people is important, and communication between you and your auto repair shop along with the auto mechanics that work there are no exception. Being able to let your mechanic know what has happened to your vehicle is vital to efficient and practical repair services. You don’t want to spend extra time and money over the diagnosis of repairs, and your repair shop doesn’t want to waste that time either – they would rather get to the problem too.

Below are five very important and helpful tips straight from the mechanics who know and love your vehicles. If you follow these tips, your repairs will be easier and quicker than they ever were before. We see it too often – people don’t pay enough attention to their vehicles and don’t know what to tell repair technicians about the problem at hand. A little attention and a little more love for your vehicle and it could save you a lot of time and money down the road. Here are some important things to remember:

  1. Give as many details as you can when you call. Too often, someone will tell us “my car died.” While that is something to go on, the information is way too vague for us to know where to look and what needs to be repaired. Details like what happened when you were driving, the speed you were driving when you broke down, any unusual sounds or vibrations, smoke or odors, or if there were any dashboard lights on can help tremendously. Be specific, not vague.
  1. Don’t diagnose the problem yourself. We are experts in our field here at Good Works Auto Repair. Misdiagnoses happen, and it takes additional time and money to fix the errors.
  1. Pay attention to your dashboard indicator lights. Know what the lights mean and when they come on, don’t ignore them. Your manual can be helpful if you don’t know what the light means. This can help to avoid many complicated and expensive auto repair costs down the road.
  1. Preventative maintenance and simple, routine car checks can prevent major breakdowns. Maintaining your vehicle is one of the best and easiest ways to avoid major problems. By checking little things like belts and hoses, and replacing them if they’re worn, you can avoid major, costly repairs in the future.
  1. Give our auto mechanics a call if you have questions. If you don’t know if you should have your vehicle serviced or not, give us a call. Don’t wait until things get too bad. You and your vehicle deserve quality auto repair and it always starts with communication.

We take pride in ensuring that your vehicle is safe and performing well. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Major Auto Repairs Financed Right Here!

gwar-auto-repair-financingOur auto repair shop is big on preventative maintenance because we know how important it is to have your vehicle checked routinely in order to avoid major auto repairs down the road. But as we see our clients’ vehicles aging more and more and are working more often on high-mileage vehicles these days, some major auto repairs are bound to happen. The problem for many Americans is that paying for major repairs isn’t always easy. It’s one thing to budget car payments, insurance payments and even routine maintenance costs, but it is the unforeseen surprises, with big price tags, that can leave us shocked and concerned about how to pay for our vehicle. Even The Atlantic recently featured an article about how for many people, is that saving hundreds or thousands of dollars is a struggle.

Consumer Reports estimates that over five years, 4 percent of the total cost of your vehicle will be spent on repairs and maintenance. The problem comes when something major like an engine or a transmission goes. Then the sticker shock really hits. According to one recent study, the average American household spent $5,477 on gas and automotive expenses last year. $2,208 was for gasoline, but the rest – $3,269.00 – was for expenses like dealership maintenance, service station fixes and body shop repair.

We hope this situation never happens to you, but if something major does break down on your vehicle, and you are concerned that you don’t have the means to fix it, we can help. Auto repair financing is available to our customers as we have partnered with GE Capital and EasyPay Finance – to give you options, and take the burden out of keeping your car on the road. Expensive auto repairs don’t happen just to consumers with money. Even with excellent preventative maintenance habits, these expenses can occur and it’s good to know that you have options out there when it comes to financing your automotive repair. So, the next time you have some major car needs, give us a call and see how we can help. Quality auto repair shouldn’t suffer due to an unexpected expense.