Learn Basic Car Maintenance

It’s amazing how many people get taken for a ride (ha ha) just by taking their car in for a basic service. A lot of people over think the modern technology of their car and believe everything the repair shop tells them. Modern cars really require way less maintenance, even though the basic concept is the same.

With all this power and amenities, most people forget or never knew that it is the same basic internal combustion engine used over a hundred years ago. And, electric and hybrid cars require even less maintenance than conventional automobiles! Learning basic maintenance about your vehicle can save you thousands of dollars over time and minimize potential breakdowns.

The three thousand mile oil change is a thing of past. If you’re still changing your car’s oil every three thousand miles, you’re wasting your money. You need to know what type of oil your car requires and the capacity. You need to know where the oil filter is located. Cheap oil filters will damage your car over time because they can take up to nine seconds longer to achieve maximum flow at startup. If you use one of those quick lube shops, make sure you know what type of oil they will use to refill the crankcase. Make sure you check the level on the dipstick before you leave the shop. Earlier I mentioned that you need to know where the oil filter is located, here’s why, some shops will not change the filter, but will charge you for one, if you mark the old one before you take the car for servicing, you’ll be able to verify that it has been replaced. Most of these shops lose money on the $29.99 oil change. A good quart of oil will set you back about five dollars, so if your car requires five, that’s twenty- five dollars, add the oil filter and you’re over the thirty dollar mark.

Now pay close attention. This is where you need to be up to date on your car’s maintenance schedule. The $29.99 oil change is a lure, it’s to bait you in and then double or triple charge you for a filter or drive belt or some other regular maintenance item you didn’t keep up with. We’re not trying to make everyone weekend mechanics, we just want car owners to read the owner’s manual so they’ll have an idea of what maintenance has to be done at the recommended mileage intervals. With that said, you tell me if it makes sense to take your new car in for the fifteen thousand mile service and be charged $400 to $600? What did they do to a car with only fifteen thousand miles besides change the oil?

You need to learn what maintenance items to consent to and what to say no to and still be assured your car is in optimum operating condition. A great benefit in learning how to properly maintain your car is also learning how to diagnose potential repair issues.

How to Clean a Yellow Headlight Lens

Quick fix to clean headlights with WD40 or toothpaste

Using WD40 or toothpaste will work to clean your lenses and is very quick and simple. This method only requires you to rub the plastic lens with a cloth to remove the dull or frosted look. This will provide a clear surface, which will improve your vision at night.

However, cleaning headlights with wd40 or toothpaste is a temporary fix and will not last long. But, if you are heading out on a trip or trading your car in, then this may be the quick fix you’re looking for,

Restoration Kits

The second method is to use a restoration kit. For example, 3M has a kit you can buy that comes with the sandpaper and polish to restore your headlamps.

This method will cost more and require more effort. The kit comes with sandpaper to remove the oxidation of the plastic lens. Once removed, then the plastic lens is polished back to a clean and clear lens. This will provide you with a clear light to provide better night vision for a longer time. Although in time, the plastic with dull out again.

Restore Headlights Using 2K Clear Coat

The third method is to use a 2k clear coat. This method also requires sanding, but instead of polishing the plastic, you will apply adhesion promoter and clear coat to the surface. This method may take a little more work, but this is a permanent fix to repairing your headlights. If you don’t have a spray gun, then there is a 2k clear coat available in a spray can.

If you are planning to keep your car for years, then this is the best method to use.

Why Is Headlight Restoration Important?

When you see and drive your car every day, it may become difficult to realize how bad your headlights have become. Night after night they are slowly becoming dimmer due to the plastic becoming yellowed, frosted, or hazed looking.

Just like changing the oil and keeping the tires inflated to the correct pressure, your headlamps lens should me maintained as well.

Not realizing they have started restricting the light to shine through properly at night or procrastinating to restore your them could lead to a preventable accident when driving at night.

In fact, I was talking to a body shop owner yesterday telling me he has an all time high of deer hit accidents. You may not think this is a big deal, but a big percentage of these cars are being totaled. Yes, a deer hit does a lot more damage to newer cars than you may thing. Not that all of these deer hits are due to foggy headlights, but we need to do everything we can to drive safe and prevent these type of accidents. Cleaning headlights with wd40 or toothpaste is a small price to pay to prevent an accident.

I Don’t Have Time To Restore My Lights

There are a lot of do it yourself enthusiasts out there who love to do everything they can to maintain their car. They take pride and enjoy doing this type of work. However, there are other people who are too busy or just don’t want to take the time to work on their car.

You are the people who may have your oils changed and car washed for you. That is perfectly alright because there are businesses out there depending on you to keep them in business. If you don’t have the time for light restoration, then look for a business who can provide you with this service. Many dealerships, details shops, and collision repair shops would be glad to help you out with this service. This may cost you more, but it will free up your time to do the things more important to you.

Characteristics of a Good Automotive Repair Mechanic

Knowledgeable on various auto parts.

This is perhaps the most basic characteristic that any auto mechanic should have. Lots of different auto parts are out in the market today. And because we, as car owners, do not necessarily possess the sufficient knowledge when it comes to vehicle parts, we will inevitably depend on the expertise of our mechanic. A simple trick to determine if your chosen car specialist really knows his business is to ask him to differentiate a few parts and gauge whether he is confidently answering your question or is just making his way around.

Diverse background on automotive repair experiences.

Years ago when the makes of our vehicles were much simpler, any mechanic would have been okay. But with today’s high-tech and complex vehicles including family sedans, sports and luxury cars, SUVs, and pick-up trucks, we need someone who has a diverse background in automotive repair services. Mistakes have no room when it comes to automotive repair as these will only make things even more costly. Choose a mechanic who has certifications of training programs and classes that he has attended. The mechanic’s time spent in studying as well as in the actual practice of automotive repair is very advantageous for us car owners.

ASE certified to be an automotive repair professional.

Speaking of certifications, perhaps the most famous and widely recognized one, when it comes to professionals in the automotive industry is the ASE certification. Annually, an estimated 100,000 automotive technicians take ASE certification exams each May and November at over 750 locations.

With an ASE certification, we are assured that our mechanic has good background in all automotive services because an ASE certification requires a minimum of two years work experience in addition to passing a series of examinations that include Engine Repair, Engine Performance, Electrical/Electronic Systems, Brakes, Heating and Air Conditioning, Suspension and Steering, Manual Drive Train and Axles, and Automatic Transmissions for auto technicians alone. There are separate tests for those who want to be collision repair technicians, engine machinists, parts specialists, and others.

Furthermore, all ASE certifications have expiration dates which requires technicians to re-test every five years to keep up with technology and to remain certified.

Works in a reputable auto center.

Unfortunately, ASE certifications apply only to individuals and not to auto centers. However, an auto center with at least one ASE certified mechanic is allowed to display the ASE sign. Furthermore, an auto center that has 75% ASE certified mechanics among its employees are given the Blue Seal of Excellence from the ASE.

Aside from the ASE recognition, other signs that we should look for an auto center include neat and well-organized facility complete with modern equipment, courteous staff, and good policies (regarding labor rates, diagnostic fees, guarantees, etc.)

Highly recommended by family and friends.

Nothing can attest to the quality service that any auto center and mechanic can give than testimonials of our family members, relatives, and friends. Ask for referrals and recommendations. Local community organizations and business listings are also good sources of information.

Get The Best Auto Repair Services: Important Features To Consider

DIY Car Repairs: Are You Prepared For It?

A DIY approach for car repairs can definitely save your money, but only if you have the essential skills and tools to do the repairs on your own. If you don’t have any idea about vehicle repair and maintenance then you can end up costing a lot of money. It’s advisable to look for certified mechanics who can fix the problems on your car quickly.

When dealing with vehicle repairs, it’s very essential to get the repair and servicing done by an experienced professional. It’s very hard to trust any mechanic or repair shop with your car. If you have a classy and luxurious car, you should always look for a specialist who can assure quality services.

How To Find The Best Auto Body Shop?

Check The Online Review Websites

Before you decide to take your car to the nearest auto shop, you should first check the online review of the body shops in your area. There are many review websites where you can check the feedback from the old or existing customers about the repair station. It will help you to make the right choice.

Get The Opinion Of Your Co-Workers

The very first thing is to make a list of the top five garages or repair stations in your area. The best way to find the car garage is through referrals or recommendations from your friends or family. You may also check online to find the local repair shops or garages operating in your area.

Make A List Of The Top Five Auto Shops

Once you have made a list of the top five repair stations in your area, you should check their ratings and reviews online. There are many good review websites which offer genuine reviews of the garages or auto body shops.

It’s very important to speak with the old customers before choosing the garage. If the old customers are not happy with the services of the auto shop, you should look for some other option.

The Final Tip

When it comes to taking care of your vehicle, these auto repair shops can do the best job. You can also hire them for your expensive car models. They have certified mechanics who can do all the necessary repairs for your car.

Make sure that the mechanics are ASE certified. Keep your eyes and ears open to choose the best auto repair shop

Finding Your Auto Repair Shop

Every household in urban and suburban cities own at least one automobile. They are an important part of the family. With time, automobiles have become advanced and complex technological beings. It is not as easy to maintain them at home as it used to be. With the advancement in computers and engine systems, it is critical that an expert with ample experience and training get involved. This is also because the consumers lead a very fast life. Therefore, it is important to identify a trusted and reliable auto repair shop for your vehicle needs.

Before looking at how to find a resourceful auto shop for vehicle repairs and maintenance, let us understand the difference between these two terms. Maintenance items are shared with the owner at the time of purchase. These are to be checked as part of preventive maintenance at regular intervals. Repairs deal more with a problem that has to be fixed. Both go hand in hand. If you have a good auto repair shop who can do the maintenance check well, then the need for car repairs will reduce. Scheduled maintenance can also be done at your dealership.

A key thing to remember is to find a suitable auto repair shop as soon as you get a car. Do not wait for the need to arise. This will give you less time to choose a shop. If you already have a trusted mechanic, then stick to that shop. An internet hunt can let you know the auto repair shops in your area with reviews and customer responses. Try to avoid choosing a place that is too far away and becomes inconvenient during emergencies. Another option is to do this old style. Talk to friends, family and even directly to different mechanics.

Look for an auto repair shop that suits your car brand. Many shops today have a brand or model of vehicle they specialize in. Use this information to narrow down the shops that will work for you. Once you decide on a shop, ask for two important things –

  1. Ask them about guarantees and warranties they offer. See if the options are making sense to you as a consumer.
  2. This is important, ask for the shop’s certification. The auto repair shop should be certified and have relevant authorization.

The final thing that you can do is to try out two to three auto repair shops for maintenance. A car is a long-term asset. Therefore, invest time in finding the best auto repair shop for your car.

Auto Body Work Done the Right Way

Auto Body Work Done the Right Way

Cars are everywhere. This means that thousands of accidents happen around the world daily. When you have an accident, of course the first priority is to ensure that everyone is OK. Eventually you will need to take care of the damage done to you car. Heading to an auto body repair shop can be an unpleasant experience with the industry constantly fighting speculation of poor quality work, overcharging for work done and dishonesty. Knowing when your car has had auto body work done the right way is crucial. Here is what you need to look for.

Research Online

The internet is a great place to get information on anything and everything. A quick browse of car related forums can enable you to find out what you should expect. Posting a photo to a forum of the damage that needs to be repaired will see you receiving estimates from people who love anything and everything to do with auto-body work repairs.

Word of Mouth

It is old school, but people still do talk to their friends (or post on social media sites). Asking your local friends both online and offline, which auto body repair shops they recommend is a great way to started. At worst you will find out the body shops you want to avoid, you may get an earful about good and bad experiences they have had.

Consider the State of the Business

Price is always a consideration when getting auto body work completed. It is not something that you shop for regularly, so knowing what to expect price wise is tough to gauge. Two key influencers on price are shop format and location. In prime locations, prices are higher as a result of rental costs. In terms of shop format, if there is no admin staff or large overhead the costs will be lower.

Shop Around

There is no shortage of auto body repair shops in your area. There is no harm in getting quotes from at least three locations; most body shops provide you a quote for free. When shops realize that you are willing to shop around, you may be surprised how competitive they can get. Remember, the highest bidder may not be the best to go with simply because of pricing, and the lowest bidder may not have the man power to get the job done on your schedule.

Ask Questions

Going in with your wallet open ready to fork out whatever is required is a bad idea. Asking questions is good. You’re the buyer, putting them under pressure will quickly let you know whether you can trust them or not. Top three questions to ask:

– Does you service have a warranty?

– Are you able to provide references I can call?

– How long will my car be in service for?

Dealing with auto body repair shops can be frustrating. However taking your time and really considering the above points can save you hundreds, even thousands of dollars. Ultimately, you can do all the research you want (a good idea), however your intuition should never be doubted. If someone has a great price but something smells fishy, move onto the next shop. On the other hand, if someone has a price you feel is high but insists you will not find cheaper, ignore him and find out for yourself. Good luck shopping for the auto-body repair shop that fits your expectations.

Finding the Ideal Repair Facility for Your Vehicle

No matter what kind of car you drive, chances are, you will eventually need to have it repaired. Some cars are a little more difficult to repair, due to the complexity and the equipment needed to properly service them. Unfortunately, not all repair shops are created equal. It used to be, most garages could perform most repairs, on most cars. Now that electronics are found on almost every square inch of the car, only the shops that specialize in particular brands can truly offer the same level of expertise as the dealer.

Finding the right shop for you and your car is important, not only for your regular service intervals, but also to have a trusted place to go, should an actual problem arise. Having an established relationship with a shop can help facilitate the repair process and put your mind at ease. Returning to the same shop for repair, that also services your vehicle, means the techs are familiar with your car and usually know your wants and expectations.

So where do you find such a shop, that's local to you? There are many locator services on the internet, that can help you find those "specialty" shops you seek. Here are a few that I know of:

1) Extremewrench.com You can search for shops in general in a given zip code or you can narrow it down by vehicle brand, such as BMW or Mercedes. This site gives ratings, lets you see what conveniences they offer was well as any affiliations (like BIMRS, a trusted BMW community).

2) Saabshops.com A listing of Saab specialty shops by state.

3) Bimmershops.com A listing of BMW shops by state.

4) FourRingsRepair.com This is a listing of independent Audi repair shops by state.

5) Lexusshops.com This is a listing of independent Lexus repair shops.

These are just a few, you can typically GOOGLE keywords like "Mercedes shop locator" and similar sites will show up.

Once you find a shop near you, make sure you look at pictures. See what the shop looks like, what other kinds of cars they have there, read any reviews or comments and definitely, if they have a website, check it out! Here is an example of a BMW shop's website: BMW Repair There are a few key things you will want to look for. First, looking through the pictures, are there other BMW's in the shop? Just because somebody says they work on them, does not mean they really do. Its good to see other cars like yours in the shop. Also, see if there is any mention of what kind of tools they use. For a BMW, either a GT1, ISTA or Autologic is a must. If the shop does not use one of these three, they are not fixing BMWs. Shops that don't have the proper tooling usually do the "easy" and "money making" repairs and then refer you to the dealer for everything else. A properly equipped shop can handle all aspects of your repair, preventing you from having to make a trip to the dealer, which can cost you more money and eat up more of your time.