How Much to Fix It?

Information about auto repair and preventive maintenance

Simple Car Maintenance Tips for Summer Road Trips

summer auto maintenancePacking up the car and hitting the road is on everyone’s calendar right now. Before you hit the road however, it is important to have your local auto repair shop perform a few basic car maintenance items.

Tires

Let’s start with the tires that hit the pavement. Bald, slick tires are hazardous on the road. If your tires are showing signs of wear, and the tread is worn down, it’s time to invest in a new set. Don’t chance a flat, or even worse, and blow-out on the highway.

Your auto technician will also check your tire pressure. The pressure in tires will change with the rising temperatures. Changes in tire pressure can affect fuel economy and the way your car handles on the road.

Engine Belts

Your auto repair shop should also check under the hood. They will begin by looking at the belts in the front of your engine. There are a series of rubber drive belts that loop around various pulleys, driving everything from the alternator to the a/c compressor. Rubber will break down over time, and even more so in extreme conditions, like those found in an operating engine bay in the heat of summer. It’s important to have your timing belt and accessory drive belt checked every 25,000 miles, preferably replacing it every 50,000 miles.

Engine Fluids

While your technician is under the hood of your auto, they will check, and refill/flush the fluids in your vehicle. Your car relies on several major fluids to keep it running smooth. Oil changes are a basic preventative maintenance item that should be performed on a regular basis. The technician will also check the coolant levels, and if low, will fill them to the appropriate levels. Your engine can’t run without engine coolant.

Battery

Another big item to check before a road trip, the battery. Your auto repair shop will check the connections and cables of your car’s battery. It is important to check for loose connections and corrosion with the cables. Also, batteries, can lose their charge in the hot summer months.  The heat of summer can suck the life right out of your battery. Make sure it is checked so you don’t end up stranded on the side of the road.

Electrical System

The electrical system of your car is complex. The good thing about it however, is that you will be notified with all sorts of “warning” lights if something is wrong. Your auto mechanic will be able to find the problem and fix it quickly even though there are thousands of electrical systems in your car.

Every new car now comes with OBD-II – On Board Diagnostics 2. This is a fault-registering system connected to sensors all over the car, including the engine, fuel and emissions system. When the check engine light comes on, it can mean many different things. There is something like 4,000 unique OBD2 codes that can be stored. Handheld OBD2 diagnostic tools can be plugged in to the OBD2 port which is normally under the dash on the driver’s side. These tools can read out the fault code and/or reset the system to contain no codes.

Wipers

Last, but not least, don’t neglect your wipers! You never know when you might drive into a nice summer thunderstorm. Take care of your car and be safe on the road.

The Benefits of Handing Over Fleet Maintenance

Fleet maintenanceIf your business handles a fleet of vehicles, Good Works Auto Repair can help lift some of the burden when it comes to the preventative maintenance and auto repairs that your fleet of work vehicles may encounter. When your fleet of vehicles – even just one – is out of commission, we know that it can cost you time, money and customer satisfaction. Our goal is to allow you to outsource your fleet maintenance to our technicians and manage your vehicles so you can get back to focusing on what is really important to your business. Providing OUR customers with the best solutions and service is what is best for YOUR customers.

 

When it comes to handing over your fleet maintenance, so we can maintain your vehicles rather than repair them, there are numerous benefits that you will enjoy over the course of our relationship. Some of them are obvious and others are a bit more subtle, but when combined, they can add a lot of value and ease for your business.

 

What benefits are there to outsourcing with GWAR?

 

  • Fiscal benefits due to improved fleet safety, increased availability and reliability, greater cash flow, and enhanced productivity.
  • Improved company focus and less time worrying about the condition and maintenance of your fleet vehicles.
  • Reduced fleet operating costs due to optimal preventative maintenance and avoiding major breakdowns and repairs.
  • Improved human resource productivity with fewer persons to manage, resources going directly to the business and better fleet services.
  • Improved fleet performance because the vehicles are properly maintained.
  • Access to constant fleet expertise.
  • Quick turnaround on fleet maintenance and repairs as well as warranties on parts and service.
  • Improved quality of repairs.
  • Reduced capital investment because you won’t have to purchase backup vehicles or non-core business purchases.
  • Increased cash flow.
  • Increase in control by telling us what you need.
  • Reduced overhead.
  • Reduced risk because we follow OSHA, EPA, DOT as well as various federal, state and local laws.

 

Your fleet of vehicles is essential to the success of your business. Utilizing our fleet maintenance service will make things a lot easier for you and a lot better for your customers. Learn more here.

Car Maintenance Schedules made Easy

GWAR Auto Vitals 2Although most good quality cars are built to last for at least 10 to 16 years, you can prolong the life of your vehicle if you follow a car maintenance schedule.  To find out what maintenance and servicing issues you need to address, read your car’s owner’s manual.

Though you need to read and follow the instructions listed in your owner’s manual, there are a few things you must do on a regular basis. You need to perform regular oil changes and the oil filter to prevent engine problems.  Also replace the spark plugs and refill the coolant after flushing out the old fluid. As a general guideline, the engine oil and the oil filter should be replaced every 3 months or for every 3,000 miles it is driven.

There are several other things you need to be doing at least once a year. For instance, you will need to schedule a transmission flush and replace it with the right fluid that’s recommended in your owner’s manual every 12 months. In addition, get the brakes and brake pads inspected once a year, to prevent any mishaps.

If your vehicle has been driven over 60,000 miles, you need to be extra diligent to keep on top of your preventative maintenance schedule. If any part of the vehicle begins to malfunction, get it fixed at the earliest signs to avoid expensive repairs in the future. You must also change the timing belt and refill the power steering fluid. Preventive maintenance not only prolongs the life of your car, but it also ensures the reliability and safety of your vehicle.

We want to help you keep track of all your car services. Visit our website at www.goodworksautorepair.com to view our new web based Service and Rewards Program! It calculates your personalized service schedule and helps you earn and track points with every maintenance visit. In one location, you can view your service history online and earn loyalty points for every visit.

Pre-Purchase Inspection Means Post-Purchase Confidence

GWAR Pre Purchase Inspection 2When you make the decision to buy a used vehicle, you’re making a financial investment no matter how big or small. Whether it is a high-mileage or low-mileage used vehicle, this vehicle has some sort of story behind it. If you’re not looking for surprises or other repairs that come up once the keys are in your hand, a pre-purchase inspection makes a lot of sense. It can take the surprise out of owning this vehicle and could save you a lot of money down the road on the things that the seller “forgot” to tell you or that you may have overlooked.

Consumers don’t take advantage of pre-purchase inspections enough in our humble opinion. At Good Works Auto Repair, a pre-purchase inspection will only cost you $89.95. Investing a little bit of money before you purchase a used vehicle could end up saving you a lot of money in the long run. Knowing what is wrong or what needs to be repaired can help sway your decision, or at least give you leverage when bartering for a better price. Then, you can use those savings to have the auto repairs done by a trusted repair shop.

According to an article from Trusted Choice, there are several things that your pre-purchase inspection checklist should include. At our repair shop, this is exactly what you’ll get and then some! Make sure you have the following systems or parts examined:

  • Tires
  • Frame and axle
  • Suspension
  • Windshield and other glass
  • Lights
  • Brakes
  • Radiator
  • Hoses
  • Wiring
  • Belts
  • Fluids
  • Battery and alternator
  • Body condition

Ready to buy that “new” used vehicle? Come on in and get your pre-purchase inspection done by us. You’ll be glad you did. A little knowledge and awareness will make you a better consumer and better car-buyer for the future!

How to Find a Quality Auto Repair Shop

Auto Repair ShopSo, you’re new in town and need a simple auto repair. But how do you decide where to take your vehicle? Anyone can hop online and search for an auto repair shop, but how do you know if it’s a good shop or not? The best time to find a repair shop is BEFORE you need one. If you are suddenly broken down on the road, you may not have the time to do your research. Ask friends and family where they take their car for service.

After you have narrowed down your choice for auto repair services, take your car in for a simple repair or oil change. While you are there, look for several things that will let you know it is a professional auto repair shop. Make sure to look at the parking lot as you drive in. Are there other cars like yours? Is the area organized and clean? How are you greeted when you enter the shop? Does it seem professional and friendly? Once again, is the waiting area clean? If they care about their shop, it will be clean and organized on the outside as well as on the inside.

One important thing to look for is awards and certifications. Shops that train and certify their auto mechanics will display certificates of excellence. Look for trade school diplomas and ASE certificates. This will show that they only hire trained technicians to work on your car. Labor rates, fees and other charges should be displayed in the waiting area. These items should never be a surprise.

Always get an estimate in writing. Ask questions if you are unsure about a particular charge or service. After the work has been performed, make sure to get a receipt for all the work performed on your vehicle. There shouldn’t be any surprises on your bill. If you are happy with the service, let the shop know. Auto repair shops rely on good reviews. On the other hand, if for some reason you are unhappy, ask to speak with the manager or shop owner. A professional, well run shop will want to make you happy and make the situation right. Give them a chance to fix it.

Importance of Vehicle Emissions Planning

 

Emission Tests in AZWhen we drive a vehicle, we are giving off emissions into the atmosphere that can really add up and cause damage. How much of our emissions we give off, is monitored by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ). Why? Because we want to make sure our air is safe to breathe, and that the millions of cars on the road aren’t giving off dangerous levels. That’s why your vehicle will have to pass mandatory emissions tests.

To improve air quality and reduce vehicle emissions, ADEQ administers a mandatory vehicle emissions testing and repair program known as Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program (VEIP).

VEIP emphasizes the importance of maintaining vehicle performance to lower emissions and extend the life of one of your most valuable assets – your car.

How do you get your vehicle emissions-ready?

Thanks to our good friends at Bumper-to-Bumper radio, they have a few important tips to help you prepare your vehicle to pass an emissions test and other maintenance items.

  • Gather some information about vehicle test codes. If a code is on your dashboard, there are a few ways to learn what is going on. Check engine lights mean automatic failures!
  • You won’t pass if you clear the code and haven’t gone through the drive cycle and end up failing the readiness monitor. This can also happen if you changed your own battery. Not being able to clear the code and going directly to the emissions test keeps people honest.
  • Buying a new “used” car? You can actually use the VIN number to check the emissions history of used vehicles to see if there were major issues or repairs.
  • The new computer systems in vehicles today are much different than in cars post 1996. It can be harder to find a shop that will work on an older vehicle because the technology and tests have changed so much.
  • There are some other less common reasons that you may fail the emissions test, too. Gas caps, check engine lights, O2 sensors, etc … are common reasons, but brakes, bad tires and other safety features are also important before you take it in.

A healthy vehicle is always better off before going in for an emissions test. You want to make sure the vehicle is running smoothly and is safe, then it will have much better odds of passing. No one likes to fail tests – especially when failing that test means investing your time and money to make things better. Before you go get your vehicle emissions tested, remember that our auto repair technicians are here to help you get your vehicle ready. We will check all engine codes, and apprise you of anything that needs repaired in order to pass your emissions test.

Avoiding the Nightmare of Costly Auto Repairs

Expensive auto repairs

We all know SOMEONE who has had the misfortune of having to pay for major auto repairs. They can suck whatever savings there may be in the bank and then some. Sometimes, expensive auto repairs leave people in credit card debt, other times it leaves them with a vehicle that they cannot afford to fix and therefore cannot drive. None of these situations is ideal and something we all want to avoid. So how can we do that? Easy – by maintaining a consistent preventative maintenance schedule on your vehicle.

Interested in knowing just WHICH repairs may cost you your life savings? Here you go!

Battery Cable or Alternator Failure

The cost? Up to $750.00 The cause? Using a cheap car battery which can leak gas and corrode the battery cable terminals over time. Being cheap could cost you when it comes to car batteries!

Head Gasket Failure

The cost? More than $1000! The cause? Using improper coolant or failing to flush your coolant system. You could pay between $130-180 for a proper coolant flush, or you could allow your cooling system to be eroded by electrolysis.

Premature Tire Wear

The cost? $300 to $2,500 for suspension problems, alignment, ball joints replacement, control arm bushing, etc.  The cause? Failure to rotate tires and check for proper inflation. We check these for FREE with our oil changes. Now that’s something to think about!

Transmission Failure

This is a bad one. The cost? $2,000 to $4,000 for a new transmission. The cause? Failure to flush your transmission and use the proper fluids. Find a certified auto repair shop who will use proper transmission fluids and remember, a transmission flush should start with a pre-cleaner to loosen sludge and deposits. Next, be sure you are getting fluid that meets or exceeds O.E. requirements; improper fluid may actually cause shifting problems. Finally, a conditioner should be added to help keep the seals soft.

Engine Failure

This one hurts, too. The damage? $2,500 to $5,000 for costly repairs including engine replacement. The cause? Failure to change your oil every 3,000 miles. Spend the $30-50 on oil changes and save yourself thousands. Today’s engines have very tight tolerances, variable valve and cam timing, multi-cylinder elimination strategies and hydraulic timing chain tensioners. Sludge build-up can quickly lead to an expensive repair or engine replacement, costing you way too much!

Avoid costly repairs and let us maintain your vehicle properly!

How to Manage Mind-Blowing Auto Repair Costs

GWAR Repair FinancingThere isn’t much worse than getting an auto repair bill that makes you want to fall to your knees, punch something, tear your hair out and cry at the same time. But most of us have been in that situation where we had to find a way to pay for some major repairs because our vehicle was older, had high-mileage and was no longer under warranty. Are you prepared for hundreds or maybe even thousands of dollars in auto repairs at any moment in time? Many Americans are simply not prepared for that.

What can you do if your repair bill is too high to pay out of pocket?

A recent article from Ask the Money Coach has some great tips for helping people in this intense, stressful financial situation.

  1. Put those negotiating skills to the test and ask your auto mechanic for some available discounts, specials, payment plans, etc.
  1. Shop around and get a second opinion. Unless the work needs to be done at that shop at that time, you could probably take it to a few places for a free estimate and go with the lowest bid.
  1. Barter with someone who can do it for you. Do you have someone in the neighborhood that is handy with vehicles? They need to be a professional. Don’t take your vehicle to any ol’ Joe on the corner. But if there is someone who you could trade services with, it may be an option.
  1. Get a loan from a family member or a friend. This is a tricky one! It’s hard to ask for help but if those necessary auto repairs will affect your livelihood, you may have to set that pride aside.
  1. Use a credit card. High interest rates will have you paying even more, but sometimes, an emergency needs to be handled.
  1. Sell personal items for quick cash. Sad but true.

Are there other options?

Come on in to our auto repair shop and we’ll help get you set up with auto repair financing if we can. We have partnered with GE Capital and EasyPay Finance – to give you options to pay for those repairs over time and still keep your vehicle on the road. After all, you need it for everything – family, work and your life in general!

Is it worth it to invest in high mileage oil?

GWAR Oil ChangeSome of us live in our cars. We eat in them, work in them and sometimes, even sleep in them. Over the years, the miles begin to start adding up. If you happen to own a vehicle with over 75,000 miles on it, you are going to be confronted with a few maintenance issues and some car repairs.

You’ve heard us say it before, but regular preventative maintenance is the secret weapon to vehicle longevity, and it always will be. Consistent oil changes top the list for preventing early engine failure. When your car reaches 75,000 plus miles, one thing you will need to take into consideration is switching over to high mileage oil. But is it really worth the extra expense?

Industry experts maintain that there are distinct differences in oil, especially oil formulated for high mileage cars. Most will have a seal conditioner added to them. So what will this do for your car? The added conditioners can help shrink, and in some cases, even stop small leaks. They can even help condition other parts of you vehicle, which in turn will make your engine happy.

Drips and puddles on the driveway can be embarrassing. If your car leaves its “mark” it is often because the engine seals are starting to crack and shrink. The seals are made of rubber, and over time will degrade, which will eventually lead to leaks and seepage. These special conditioners will help the seals to become more flexible and expand. The expansion can also help stop leaks.

In general, a high mileage oil will cost a few dollars more, but in the long run, could also save you money on replacing worn and leaking parts. The benefits outweigh the added expense. Auto experts also note that some of the high mileage oils contain additives that help clean out sludge and prevent engine build up.

Maintaining an older engine is important. Talk with your local auto repair shop and ask your mechanic to give you the low-down on taking care of a “mature” vehicle. They can give you some practical, and invaluable, advice on keeping your car running smoothly for the long haul. Take care of your vehicle, and it will take care of you!

How can you improve driving safety? Smartphone Apps!

GWAR Smartphone AppsDriving safety is a huge concern, and by now, most of us are aware that using our phones while driving is one of the most dangerous things we can do in the car. Looking down at a text message, checking email and Snapchatting are exceptionally dangerous and have been the cause of way too many accidents.

Smartphones are here to stay, but we need to use them responsibly. One way to use them sensibly when we are in our vehicles, is to download some driving apps. There are some apps out there that not only make driving easier, but perhaps safer as well.

Waze

To start with, most of us use the GPS function on our smartphones almost daily. This function provides handsfree guidance to wherever our destination is, but many smartphones do not offer information regarding police presence, red light cameras, or even alternative ways to avoid traffic.

One app that does is Waze. Waze utilizes information from its many users to let you know when there are accidents up ahead, vehicles stalled on the side of the road and even if there are police officers lurking in the bushes. It also notifies you on which stop lights are photo-enforced.

Probably the best function of Waze is alerting you on how much traffic lies ahead. It automatically recalculates to provide you the best, fastest and traffic-free way to your destination. This reduces the need for you to figure out for yourself the best way to avoid traffic, thus making your commute safer.

Gas Buddy

For those who dread filling up at the first gas station they see because they either don’t have time, or can’t seem to find a cheaper station, there’s an app for that! Gas Buddy is great because it offers a selection of nearby gas stations for your choosing. This app uses your location to pinpoint the closest, cheapest gas stations, so you don’t have to stress over where to get off the highway on your road trips. Don’t drive stressed, people!

iOnRoad

As the technology in our vehicles improves, newer features are added to improve our driving experiences. Some of these technologies, such as lane keeping assistance, blind spot detection, and adaptive cruise control, are not found in those vehicles that are less than brand new. However, iOnRoad is an app that turns your smartphone into a lane keeping assistant and a cruise control inspector. Keeping you safe and aware of your surroundings.

So for those who can’t do without their smartphones, even in the car, do yourself a favor and download some of these apps. You’ll end up thanking yourself in the long run.