Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why can't you just tell me on the phone how much it will cost to fix my vehicle? Why must you inspect it before you give me the estimate?
A: There are many reasons. The most important is that we don't like surprises and we know that you don't either. It is nearly impossible to diagnose a problem over the phone. There are descriptive differences, where you might describe a "whine" as something we might describe as something else. There are also observational differences, where you might explain the problem as being in the transmission when it is actually in the engine, as well as the reverse.
Today's modern engines and transmissions frequently require diagnostic equipment to read the vehicle's computer error codes and status to make an accurate diagnosis of a problem. We do not believe anyone can accurately diagnose a vehicle problem over the telephone.
Q: What does it really mean if my "Check Engine" or "Service Engine Soon" light comes on and if it goes back off again, does that mean the problem just went away?
A: The "Check Engine" or "Service Engine Soon" light indicates that the vehicle's computer has received an error from one of the many sensors on a modern vehicle. Some of these are minor and some are very major and require immediate attention.
The only way to know for certain is to read the code. Even if the light went out, the problem may still exist. Since codes may be sent for everything from a loose gas cap to an engine misfire, it is best to have the code read as soon as possible so that you understand the problem and remedy options are available.
Q: What should I do if my car overheats or the temperature warning light come on?
A: An overheating engine is the beginning of what could turn out to be an extremely serious problem. How you handle it the moment it is detected can make the difference between a minor repair or a complete engine rebuild.
First, find a safe place to pull off and shut the engine off as soon as possible. The longer you delay, the better the chance of major damage. DO NOT check the fluid levels while the engine is hot. It will take more than an hour for the engine to cool down to a point where it is safe to check. The best advice is to have the vehicle towed to a reputable repair facility to determine the cause of the overheating. The money spent on towing is small compared to the risk of driving the car after overheating, even if the engine has been allowed to cool and the coolant level checked.
Q: How often should I have my oil changed and should I bother with the oil filter?
A: Most new car manuals recommend every 6000 miles or ever 6 months these days. Most engine rebuilders still say that once ever 3000 miles or 3 months is a better idea. This is for standard oil. Synthetic oil can go a bit longer. At the very least, you should never exceed the recommendation in the manufacturer's manual. Remember that clean oil makes an engine last longer and can save you money by improving performance.You should ALWAYS change the oil filter when you get an oil change. The filter is where all the dirty gunk and nasty stuff ends up. When a filter just can't take any more, it opens a bypass and just lets the dirty oil continue to circulate through the engine. Always buy a top quality filter. Your wallet will thank you in the long run.