How Much to Fix It?

Information about auto repair and preventive maintenance

Budget for Auto Repair or Buy New: Which is better?


office-620822_1280It’s the question that has been haunting drivers for decades. Do you keep your vehicle and budget money for auto repairs or do you buy a new vehicle once your warranty is up? No one wants to put tons of money into major automotive repairs, but if your vehicle is paid off and you can still safely and comfortably drive your vehicle, is that the best thing to do? Vehicles on the road these days are lasting longer, but how do you know when it’s time to trade her in? That’s exactly what is examined in an episode of Bumper to Bumper radio.

We see it all the time here at our repair shop; people have major repairs and get so stressed out finding ways to pay for them. Their warranty is up, but they still want to drive their used vehicle. Preventative maintenance during your vehicle’s life can certainly help, but here are some tips to follow from the advice of the professionals:

  • Know and plan out those service interval schedules and preventative maintenance items. You’ll know what you’ll have to spend on repairs and services, no matter what mileage you have. You can budget these services and plan for exactly what your vehicle needs. Our repair technicians can walk you through this and explain what is needed.
  • Save the money that WAS your car payment. We know you’re concerned about coming up with major bucks, but if you plan ahead, there won’t be that moment of panic when something happens. It’s a pretty good bet that your older vehicle is going to break down at some point – use those saved car payments to finance your repairs!
  • If you are driving past 100,000 miles on a vehicle, you will probably need some new parts – however, that doesn’t warrant going out and buying a new $40,000 vehicle. That’s way more expensive!
  • Used vehicles will always need brakes, tires, alignments and oil changes. The older they get, the more they may need. Setting aside money now will save your the headache when you need it.
  • When you begin to think about a new car payment, make sure you include preventative maintenance, repairs and higher insurance costs as well. What you think you are paying may actually be more.

Don’t be car poor. Pay attention to your vehicle’s needs from the beginning to the end. THAT’S how you’ll save big time!

Help! My Car is Shaking Like Crazy!

What causes a vehicle to vibrate?

Have you ever been driving along and suddenly the steering wheel on your car is vibrating out of control? Almost every driver has experienced some sort of shaky, bumpy or vibrating driving from time to time.

Don’t Ignore It

Never ignore those shakes and shimmers; they could be a simple fix now, that could turn into a more expensive auto repair in the future. To make matters worse, it could be a serious safety concern if you ignore the vibrating. Make sure you see your local repair shop and have the problem evaluated by a certified auto mechanic.

The Main Culprits

tire replacementOne reason for the steering wheel to vibrate may be due to a tire or tire balancing problem. Have your auto repair shop find out where it’s coming from. If there are no issues with the wheels or bearings, the problem may lie in the suspension. A car’s suspension includes many components that are all involved in steering. Some of these components include shocks, struts, tie rods and steering dampers. A trained auto repair technician will be able to diagnose the problem and let you know what parts are in need of fixing or replacing.

Do you notice a slight vibration when applying the brakes? Worn brake pads, disks or rotors could be the problem. Your repair shop will be able to evaluate your vehicle’s brake system and suggest any necessary repairs.

If the problem of shaking seems to be coming from inside the engine bay, then it may be one of the motor mounts. A worn motor mount can cause some violent vibrations of the engine which can be felt inside the vehicle.  Have a technician inspect your engine mounts, open the hood, and look at the mounting bolts or rubber inserts. They will be able to tell if the inserts are worn or cracked and if the mounts will need to be replaced. If the bolts are off center the mounts will need to be properly adjusted.

Don’t Take a Chance

Vehicle vibrations might seem like a minor annoyance, but without proper care, they could turn into a serious safety concern. It’s important to have your vehicle evaluated at a repair shop to determine the cause of the vibrations. It could be a simple tire rotation that is needed, but what if it’s something more dangerous, like an engine ready to fall out? Don’t take a chance – have an auto mechanic give it a thorough run through to make sure you are safe.

Extreme Temperatures: Why is my Car Overheating?

overheated engineAs many of us know, the hot temperatures here in Arizona can take a toll on our vehicles. Not only can it lead to certain mechanical failures in our cars, but it can also cause an overheated engine. However, what many of us might not know, is that cold weather can also cause issues with overheating, even though it seems contrary to the matter.

While we may not be too familiar with below freezing temperatures here in Tempe, they too can take a toll on our vehicles. As the temperature drops below freezing, the coolant in our cooling system can gel up, leading to a blockage and therefore a lack of circulation. It is this lack of circulation that renders our cooling system useless, and leaves our vehicle unable to cool itself, which causes overheating. A simple way to fix this is to keep our cars in a garage during the winter months, and make sure that it does not sit idle for weeks on end.

Even if we might not experience issues with our cars overheating in the winter months, the gelling that can occur in freezing temperatures may have lasting effects into the summer months. Because there is a lack of circulation associated with the cold, internal components of your cooling system can be damaged. If this occurs, it is only a matter of time before our cooling system fails and we find ourselves stranded on the side of the road. Taking your car to a local auto repair shop for an automotive cooling system service is recommended to make sure any damages are taken care of as soon as possible.

Heat, as we all know, is one of a vehicle’s worst enemies. If the temperature outside reaches extreme levels, the engine can run too hot and cause a myriad of issues. Not only can the internal components of your cooling system malfunction, but the engine itself can suffer damage. So as spring and summer roll around, it’s a good time to take your vehicle in for preventative maintenance. Staying on top of your car will help keep you on the road longer.

Extreme temperatures are something of a nuisance, to both us and our vehicles. However, a cooling system service every 1-2 years can help prevent any damages caused by either the heat or the cold.  Keeping up with preventative maintenance helps assure that your car stays running smoothly, even when the heat or the cold is out to get us.

Damaging Your Vehicle One Bad Habit at a Time

We are all guilty of some driving habits that aren’t exactly what we were taught in driving school or in driver’s education. But it’s easy to fall into the habit of doing something, and it can be hard to reverse it. However, here at Good Works Auto Repair, our main goal is to maintain your vehicle, not repair it. We firmly believe that preventative maintenance, along with good driving habits, will help you to drive a vehicle that is safer, smoother and will last longer with less major auto repairs along the way. We love sharing our favorite tips and articles with you so that you can enjoy your vehicle and not worry as much about fixing it. A little education about your vehicle can go a long way.

A recent article from MSN shares some bad habits that we are all guilty of, but could be damaging your vehicle more than you know. Whether you need to change one, a few, or all of these bad habits,  starting the New Year off right could keep your vehicle healthier this time around.

  1. Ignoring the parking brake – yes, even on level pavement using your parking brake can help take away some of the weight that your vehicle will deal with.
  1. Keeping your gas tank low – we know that gas doesn’t come cheap, but only putting in a few dollars at a time isn’t good for your vehicle. Many fuel pumps keep cool by staying submerged in the fuel in the tank, so if you’re regularly running at a quarter full or less, you may end up needing a fuel pump replacement sooner than anticipated.
  1. Shifting from reverse to drive too quickly – the sudden direction change isn’t good for your vehicle and can damage your drivetrain. Always come to a complete stop before shifting.
  1. Revving the engine before your vehicle has warmed up – give it 60 seconds or so to get your car warmed up before you hit the road. Waiting a minute or two helps distribute oil throughout the engine and get the engine block and engine oil up to temperature.
  1. Flooring it when you don’t need to – it might feel good but it can also damage your vehicle. Plus, it uses more fuel. Avoid sudden braking or accelerating too quickly … smooth and steady is the name of the game.
  1. Using the shifter as a hand rest – it is so convenient, but it also puts strain on the transmission bushings and synchronizers, leading to premature wear.
  1. Abusing the clutch – this is something that a lot of drivers do and don’t really realize. When you come to a stoplight, for example, it is easy to keep the clutch pressed to the floor so that you can creep forward or go when the light turns green. However, it also causes its surfaces to scrape against each other, wearing them out and creating the possibility of failure. It also can cause damage to the release bearing, release arm, and pressure plate.
  1. Carrying too much weight – for families this can be hard, but a lot of unnecessary cargo adds work for your vehicle and also requires more fuel.
  1. Riding the brakes downhill – we want to slow down, sure, but riding the brakes on the way down isn’t good for them. It causes heat to build up in the brake pads and rotors, causing wear and increasing the risk that they will overheat or warp.
  1. Avoiding the warning signs – through sounds, feels, and lights, your vehicle will often tell you when you have a problem on your hands. Don’t ignore them! It may end up costing you in the long run.

Save money, time and stress on repairs by learning to drive with better habits. If you have any questions, give our automotive technicians a call and let’s start the New Year off with better driving and fewer repairs! Sounds like a great New Year’s resolution to us!

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!