How Much to Fix It?

Information about auto repair and preventive maintenance

There’s Nothing Worse Than a Car That Won’t Start

You’re in an empty parking lot and your car won’t start. You’re already late for work and you can’t start your vehicle in your driveway. You’re trying to leave the grocery store with items that need to get in the freezer and your vehicle won’t start. It’s frustrating and stressful! Sure, many times these situations can be due to a dead car battery, but there could also be an issue with your car starter failing or in need of replacement.

Car starters today are attached to the rear of your motor, where a gear aligns with the vehicle’s flywheel, the place where the ignition process begins. When the engine turns over, fuel is delivered to the combustion chamber where it is ignited, and the ignition system is activated. This is basically how your engine comes to life. When the car starter begins to wear out or is broken in some capacity, your motor won’t start and you’re stranded.

This can happen over time and is not uncommon. Most people hope for a dead battery instead of the starter, but there are some symptoms to look out for so that you may be able to determine if a faulty starter is to blame, and you can get help from your trusted auto repair shop. Issues with your starter are best left to the expertise of a mechanic.

How can you tell if your car starter is failing? Look out for these symptoms!

  • You turn the key and nothing happens. This is the most common symptom – your engine simply won’t turn over.
  • The starter engages but doesn’t spin the motor. This could mean a problem with the gears not connecting with the flywheel.
  • There is a grinding noise when trying to start the motor. This could mean worn gears.
  • You see or smell smoke when starting the motor. This could be due to a short circuit, a blown fuse or a problem with the ignition switch.

All issues with a faulty car starter are best left to be repaired by a trusted auto repair shop. Our mechanics have the tools and knowledge to fix any and all components of your car starter or ignition system and can diagnose and repair the issue without taking too much time or it costing you too much money. We know you have places to go and things to do!

How to Get your Vehicle Road Trip Ready!

Holiday Travel Preventative MaintenanceAre you one of the 45.5 million Americans who are estimated to be on the road this Thanksgiving weekend? That’s right, AAA has estimated that of the anticipated 51 million travelers this weekend, 89% of them are planning a road trip – there are going to be a LOT of cars on the road. So, the next question is, if you are one of those holiday road-trippers, is your vehicle ready for the journey?

We preach preventative maintenance all year round, which is the way it should be, however, when you are getting ready to hit the road, your car maintenance needs to really be in tip top shape. This is where we can help.

If you’re in the Tempe or Mesa areas, we want to see you BEFORE you head out on your trip, not because your vehicle has broken down in the middle of it. Here at Good Works Auto Repair, we offer a complete preventative maintenance check-up to help you avoid breakdowns along the way. We will be sure to check lights, fluids, wipers, tires, belts, hoses and everything in between, so you can be confident that your vehicle will make it to your holiday destination safe and sound.

Getting Your Vehicle Road Trip Ready

If you are one of those guys or gals who likes to take care of your own automotive maintenance, check out these tips to help ensure a road-ready vehicle:

  • Check all your fluid levels, including your oil, transmission, brake and power steering fluids, engine coolant, windshield washer fluid etc., If it is about time for an oil change or a transmission flush, you should seriously consider having that done before you leave.
  • Inspect your tires and check your tire pressure. If your tires are showing signs of wear and tear, you might want to consider replacing them. It is also a good idea to have your tires rotated and the alignment checked before heading out on your trip as well.
  • Run a battery test on your car battery. Both extremely hot and extremely cold weather, can have negative effects on your battery. If you feel that your battery’s cranking speed is slower than before, it is probably time for you to replace it.
  • Make sure your windshield wipers are in good condition and your windshield washer fluid is topped off – you never know what kind of weather you might run into.
  • Make sure your car is equipped with a first aid kit and an emergency car kit – your emergency car kit should include: two roadside flares, a quart of oil, extra fuses, a flashlight, a multipurpose tool commonly containing pliers, wire cutters, a knife, a saw, a bottle opener, screwdriver, file, and an awl, a tire inflator, some rags, and a pocket knife.
  • It is also highly recommended to inspect your brakes and suspension before getting on the road.
  • Change the air filter if you haven’t done so recently.
  • Look for anything irregular, including worn hoses, loose clamps and leaks.

Preventing Transmission Problems thru Maintenance

Transmission RepairsWhen your transmission goes, you know you’re in for some major trouble.  Not only are you going to be out of a vehicle for a period of time, the resulting bill is most likely going to make you want to pull out your hair! The best way to prevent a transmission breakdown is to properly maintain it with the help of a trusted auto repair shop in the first place. Don’t wait until your transmission goes completely and the repairs become too big to handle. Thankfully, there are ways to ensure your transmission is working properly before the worst case scenario.

Knowing how to spot the first signs of transmission problems could save you a LOT of time and money in the long run. Experts suggest that you follow these tips to prevent a transmission breakdown;

  • Check the level, color and smell of your transmission fluid regularly.
  • Use the correct transmission fluid, as they vary from vehicle to vehicle. Cost isn’t always the answer.
  • Don’t overfill your transmission fluid. That could lead to erratic shifting, loss of internal lubrication and potential transmission damage.
  • Avoid excess heat with your transmission – this is one of the most common reasons for a damaged transmission.
  • Remember not to tow in overdrive.
  • Consider installing an auxiliary cooler. This can help with the dangers of excess heat that we warned about before. When properly installed, they may help your transmission to run 30% to 50% cooler when towing. It could really save you a lot of money on transmission repairs in the future.
  • Don’t overload your vehicle and make it work too hard, too often.
  • On cold mornings, let your vehicle warm up before taking off.
  • Avoid rocking between gears if you ever get stuck on ice or in mud. The wheels should stop moving before changing gears.
  • Avoid high performance starts, or spinning your tires, in any situation other than an emergency.
  • Use your emergency brake when parked on an incline.
  • Play it safe and get potential problems looked at by a certified mechanic who has the knowledge and expertise to properly maintain or repair your transmission and its related components.

It’s no surprise that transmission repairs cost a fortune. However, we hope these tips can help to save you time and money someday!

Protecting your Vehicle Investment

With approximately 17.6 million new cars on the road this year, and the average price of a new car at $34,000, how do you make sure that your vehicle stays in top shape? Modern vehicles are wonders of engineering. In just the past decade, maintenance intervals for things like spark plugs, emissions, and cooling systems have been stretched out to 100,000 miles in some vehicles.car-1751753_1280

But the need for periodic maintenance hasn’t changed. In fact, given the longer life expectancy of today’s vehicles, the need for periodic maintenance has never been greater if you expect to get the most from what has become the second biggest investment most individuals will ever make.

To protect this investment and to get the maximum reliability and safety from the vehicle you depend upon daily, you need to establish and follow a maintenance plan and have a reliable auto repair shop you can trust with your investment.

ASE technicians can be found at every type of repair facility: new car dealerships, independent garages, service stations, franchised outlets, collision shops, tire dealers, parts stores and more. There are more than 360,000 ASE-certified professionals at work nationally. Repair facilities employing ASE professionals usually display the distinctive blue and white ASE sign on the premises and post their technicians’ credentials in their customer service areas.

Keep in mind that the engine is the heart of your vehicle and probably the costliest to repair when something goes wrong. Modern electronic controls have eliminated a lot of adjustments, and what we used to call a “tune-up” has evolved into something akin to a complete physical, where most of the work involved is designed to verify proper operation of computer control systems.

While it’s true that new cars and trucks run cleaner than ever before, the engine and all its related control systems must be kept operating exactly as designed to prevent increased engine emissions and a host of other problems. Keep in mind that it is better to find a reliable auto repair shop before you need one.  Do some research, ask for referrals, and read the reviews online.

If you think you found a dependable shop, take your car in for a simple oil change.  This will give you great insight on customer service, pricing, and performance.  Now is the time to ask questions about warranties, check for professionalism and customer service.

Following a regular vehicle maintenance program is the best insurance you have against unexpected breakdowns and expensive repairs. It also pays dividends by allowing you to get the most out of your transportation investment. Finding the right auto repair shop will make taking care of your investment that much easier.

How A Local Auto Repair Shop Builds Confidence

In a recent AAA survey, it revealed that two-thirds of drivers don’t trust auto repairers in general, but majorities are still able to find a shop they like. The No. 1 concern cited by AAA’s distrustful drivers was “Recommending unnecessary services,” expressed by 76 percent of respondents. Next came “Overcharging for services” (73 percent).68212_315-1

So how does a local auto repair shop gain and maintain new customers?  A local shop in Tempe, that has been in business since 2004, thinks they have a few of those answers.  Glen and RaeAnn Hayward, owners of Good Works Auto Repair, have built a reputable business in Tempe.  It hasn’t been easy.

Hayward acknowledged that being in an industry with a questionable reputation when it comes to being trustworthy can make his job tougher when trying to win over skeptics. Decades of experience has taught him that delivering exceptional service and building relationships with every repair is the best way to accomplish this. This includes doing oil changes, which Hayward said he loses money on. But, it helps maintain clients’ vehicles and gives his team a chance to look at them and offer preventive maintenance advice, which they are free to take or leave. He shows them around the shop and takes photos of what he sees as potentially costly problems and sends them to customers to evaluate.

The 3rd reason many people distrust repair shops is based on a “Negative past experiences” (63 percent). If customers are having bad experiences at your shop, that’s certainly your problem; watching and responding courteously to reviews might help detect this sort of thing and soothe disgruntled customers. If the customer had bad experiences somewhere else, there’s probably not a lot you can do other than be sensitive to that history and be night-and-day better than the other guys.

Glenn and RaeAnn understand that they need to build confidence one customer at a time.  To help do this, they have changed their warranty program.  Good Works Auto Repair has changed their previous two-year, 24,000-mile warranty for parts and labor to an unheard-of three years and 36,000 miles to further earn customers’ confidence. “That’s a part of how you win people’s trust, by offering a warranty that supersedes anything that’s out there in the industry,” Hayward said. “It’s about treating people with respect and dignity … not thinking about how much money you’re trying to shake out of their pockets.”

 

Summer Gas Saving Tips

Summer driving is here. Road trips are being planned, and the kids are busy running from activity to activity.  What can you do so that each errand doesn’t include a stop at the gas station? A few simple changes in your driving habits can save you money at the pump.petrol-996617_1280

One of the biggest factors in saving gas is taking care of your vehicle. Regular maintenance will save you time and money down the road. Fixing a car that is noticeably out of tune or has failed an emissions test can improve its gas mileage by an average of 4%. A well-maintained engine operates at peak efficiency, maximizing gas mileage. Follow the service schedules listed in the owner’s manual. Replace filters and fluids as recommended; have engine performance problems (rough idling, poor acceleration, etc.) corrected at a repair facility. Given today’s high-tech engines, it’s wise to have this type of work done by auto technicians who are ASE certified in engine performance.

Learning to drive more efficient will save you money at the pump. What exactly does that mean? Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration, and braking) wastes gas. It can lower your gas mileage by roughly 15% to 30% at highway speeds and 10% to 40% in stop-and-go traffic. Driving efficient also means that you need to obey the speed limit. While each vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed (or range of speeds), gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 50 mph. You can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 50 mph is like paying an additional $0.17 per gallon.

Another great way to save gas, plan ahead! Schedule your errands around dropping off and picking up kids. By combining trips, you can save both time and money. Several short trips taken from a cold start can use twice as much fuel as a longer, multipurpose trip covering the same distance. Trip planning can reduce the amount of time you drive with a cold engine. It can also reduce the distance you travel. Planning errands when traffic is light, also helps. You can avoid the “stop and go” of busy traffic.

You can improve your gas mileage by 0.6% on average—up to 3% in some cases—by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by about 0.2% for every 1 psi drop in the average pressure of all tires. When hitting the road, simply clean out your car.  Remove large heavy items from the trunk. If planning a road trip, don’t put heavy items on a roof carrier. Make sure everything fits in the car when hitting the road.

Proper Stopping and Steering Means Safer Drivers

With so many vehicles on the roads these days, Good Works Auto Repair wants to keep you safer than ever by reminding you of a few driving habits that could make a difference down the road. car-1751750_1280We know that a safe vehicle means a properly maintained vehicle, but there are a few things all of us drivers can do to protect the lives of our passengers, other motorists and ourselves when we are driving. Back in 2011, there were an estimated 240.5 million cars and light trucks on the road and today, that number is even higher! Manage your vehicle properly and avoid contact with any of them.

According to the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, steering and stopping are two things that when done a little better, could save lives.  Safe driving is something we all can do a better job at; we can all pay more attention to the task at hand, increase the distance we follow another vehicle and make sure we get the proper preventative maintenance to prevent accidents due to our vehicle breaking down or creating a dangerous situation.

It’s simple enough to brake sooner or keep two hands on the steering wheel, but what else can drivers do to improve their steering and stopping habits for safer driving?

  • Pay attention to roads in need of repair. Major potholes or cracks in some of our older roadways could cause you to lose control of your vehicle, cause someone to swerve and hit another vehicle, or simply cause damage to your vehicle.
  • Don’t put off the little auto repairs your vehicle needs now to save a few dollars. This increases your risk of a safety problem when driving or accident, and it will end up costing you a lot of money down the road. Good Works Auto Repair technicians are certified to work on any issue your vehicle has, big or small.
  • Find a repair shop with the best brake service you can get. Reliable shops will do better work and use better products. Likewise, make sure they inspect all brake-related parts and do not choose the cheapest materials or parts to save money there either. Quality parts and quality auto repair shops will make your vehicle safer to drive.

Skipping your vehicle maintenance has proven to cause some pretty serious issues. As one ASE article describes, “diving the unperformed maintenance amount by an assumed (and generous) average repair cost of $300 per vehicle across the entire car and light truck fleet potentially indicates that 206.6 million vehicles need some type of maintenance and repair.” Those are a LOT of vehicles needing service and creating danger on the roads. Come see the ASE certified technicians at Good Works Auto Repair and ensure your vehicle is properly stopping and steering for safer driving!

Protecting Your Vehicle from Harmful Weather

Driving Safety in Extreme WeatherThere’s no way to control Mother Nature or the extreme temperatures or weather that she brings, but when it comes to your vehicle, there are some things you should know in order to prevent some major damage. At our auto repair shop, our customers often come to us with repairs from the weather. Tires, dead batteries and such are just some of the common issues that we can have once Mother Nature has struck. We may not see them all here in Arizona, but if you travel by vehicle, you could encounter them someday.

Extreme Heat

Extreme heat could do harm to your battery, especially if it is a few years old. You see, when the temperatures rise up, the liquid inside your battery may evaporate, according to Interstate Batteries. That means if your battery is more than a couple of years old, you could end up stranded with a dead battery that won’t hold a charge. Bring your car battery into Good Works Auto Repair where we can test it or replace it for you.

Extreme Cold

Extreme cold can also impact your vehicle’s safety by changing the pressure in your tires. The air pressure will be lower in cold weather than in hot. Tire pressure typically changes by 1-2 pounds per square inch (PSI) for every 10 degrees of temperature change. Cooler air means slower molecular motion, and that causes the air pressure to drop. Invest in a tire pressure gauge or have us check your tire pressure regularly if you feel you have an issue.

Rainy Weather

Rainy weather can do damage to your exterior finish if you aren’t careful. Not only is this a cosmetic problem, but water is corrosive and oxidation in the form of rust means the weakening of your car’s frame. Plus, those tiny little droplets of water that pool on your vehicle ends up being magnifying glasses for the sun. That, too, can cause damage to the exterior of your vehicle. After a rainstorm, try to wipe off any excess water. If damage has already been done, we can help you with that, too.

Windy Weather

Extremely windy weather can also be dangerous. While it may not do much damage to your vehicle, it does pose a safety threat. When driving through a windstorm, keep both hands on the steering wheel, don’t follow other vehicles too closely, limit in-vehicle distractions, watch for objects blowing onto the roadways and in extreme situations, pull off the road and wait it out.

For all of your vehicle needs, see Good Works Auto Repair. From preventative maintenance to specific auto repairs we do it all!

 

Check Those Brakes!

Brake inspections are one of the more important maintenance items you can perform on your vehicle. Even if you don’t notice anything wrong with your brakes, yearly brake inspections can ensure that all of the components are in good shape or if you’ll need replacing or repairs in the near future. We understand that sometimes vehicle maintenance isn’t at the top of your list of things you want to do with your time, but if you follow the recommendations and have your brakes inspected regularly, you will be driving a MUCH safer vehicle.GWAR break inspection

It’s not rocket science to know that your brakes are necessary to stop your vehicle – yet drivers around the country still fail to have them monitored on a regular basis. Some minor maintenance and inspections each year could save you money, time and maybe a collision down the road. Your brakes are the top safety feature on your vehicle – doesn’t that make you want to ensure they’re in tip-top shape?

It’s important to know the warning signs of brake problems. Besides an illuminated brake warning light, brake grabbing, low pedal feel, vibration, hard pedal feel and squealing are also signs that something could be wrong. Something could also be wrong if you notice that the car pulls left or right when braking, or if the front end shakes as those are both signs of excessive brake wear.

A proper and thorough brake service should include inspections for brake lining wear, brake fluid level, rotor thickness, check hardware to make sure it is working properly and that it is adjusted properly, condition of hoses and brake lines, look for leaks or fluids, brake and dash warning lights, as well as taking the car for a test drive to detect other potential brake system problems.

If you haven’t done so recently, come on in and have your vehicle’s brakes checked here at Good Works Auto Repair. We want to ensure that you and your family are safe and secure out there on the road!

What auto maintenance should you budget for?

 

automotive preventative maintenanceWhen you own a vehicle, the car payment, insurance premiums and gas costs are not the only things you should consider for your budget. There are some pretty important auto maintenance items that you can expect and need to budget for. In doing so, you’re maintaining your vehicle so that it will last longer and you’ll likely face fewer major auto repairs down the road. By putting in money over the course of owning the vehicle, you’ll save yourself a lot more eventually.

 

So what exactly are these maintenance services that we should budget for?

 

We have listed them out on our site, but here is a brief rundown of what you can budget out:

 

  1. Those major mileage-based services 30K, 60K, 90K, etc… – There are some fluid changes and inspections that you won’t want to miss. Same with oil changes, hose inspections, and other common services that will simply ensure that everything is healthy under the hood.

 

  1. Tire Maintenance – Even though most tires can last between 40K-60K miles, too many other factors can accelerate their wear, such as lack of rotation, incorrect air pressure, weak shocks/struts, poor alignment, and road hazards. Properly inflated tires are safe tires.

 

  1. Oil Changes – This deserves a category of its own. You need to make sure to perform routine oil changes, so that it is lubricating the engine and keeping it healthy. This also gives your auto repair shop an opportunity to check for clogs and other issues with engine components.

 

  1. Fuel Injectors – Today’s vehicles need to watch their fuel injectors and throttle plates more than in the past. Spark plugs and carburetors aren’t as big of issues anymore, but be sure your auto mechanic cleans your fuel injectors and throttle plate every 30K miles or so.

 

  1. Struts and Shocks – These degrade over time and often go unnoticed until an issue occurs. They aren’t cheap to replace and it won’t be something you need to do regularly, but failure to invest in new ones after your mileage gets high could mean more issues around the corner.

 

Budgeting is hard!

 

We know that you have a lot on your plate already, especially when it comes to budgeting for your vehicle. We hope that this blog and our expertise at the repair shop can help keep you and your vehicle feeling a little better. It’s important to remember that a properly maintained vehicle is the best kind of vehicle.