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Monthly Archives: July 2018

Car Repair Prices

First, 98 % of ALL service centers are overcharging. This includes dealerships, local shops and franchises. Stating that dealerships charge four to six times higher unfairly singles out this portion of the industry. We need to watch out for every type of service facility. While it’s always easier to focus on the big, faceless name of a dealership, it’s unwise. Your local mechanic who you pass in the grocery store is just as likely to rip you off.

Surprisingly, in many respects, a dealership is often less expensive. To be clear, I am not siding with dealerships. Again, no matter what type of facility one services a vehicle, some type of price-gouging will occur. Having said that, here are some common myths about dealership prices.

Myth One: The parts are more money.

This is not true. Dealers, for the most part, stick to MSRP (manufacturer suggested retail price) guidelines. Guidelines, as abused as they are, are better than none. Local shops have no guidelines. They can charge whatever they want.

We’ve all been taught that aftermarket parts are less expensive than factory/MSRP parts–this is not true. A frequent “case in point” is air filter prices. Below is a sample from one of many actual invoices:

  • Dealership/MSRP Price: $17.00 (factory fiber filter)
  • Local Shop/Aftermarket Price: $32.00 (aftermarket paper filter)

Tip…always compare you’re aftermarket part price against MSRP, you’ll be surprised just how much your local garage is charging you for inferior parts.

Myth 2: The labor “time” is higher.

Actually, many dealers follow manufacturer recommendations and industry standard multipliers. In other words, they’re not just shooting from the hip. The labor “time” (i.e., how long it takes to repair something–1, 2, 3 hours…etc.) may be lower than the resulting times from the labor price-gouging tricks practiced by your local garage.

This is not to say that dealers don’t practice labor tricks–they’re the masters! It is to say that they are more inclined to follow suggested guidelines.

Deal With an Overheating Car Engine

ALLOW THE ENGINE TO COOL

Once you have pulled over and turned the engine off, be sure to turn on your hazards to alert people of your position. This is especially important at night. Keep all car lights on in the evening if you are ever pulled over on the edge of a street. Many people make the mistake of opening their hoods right away and touching the radiator cap; this is a huge mistake! The car engine and radiator will be very hot and can cause second and third degree burns. Always allow your vehicle to cool off for at least fifteen minutes, depending on the amount of time spent driven prior to the break down. This way you can protect yourself from accidents and injury.

CHECK FOR FLUID LEAKS

When the vehicle has completely cooled, check around and underneath it for any signs of leaking. This could indicate a wide variety of issues, from a cracked radiator to a faulty radiator hose. If there is no sign of leakage, take a look at the oil. Remove the dipstick and concentrate on the color. If it is dark brown and sludgy-looking, this means the liquid coolant might be seeping into the engine. This can result from a blown head gasket or cracked engine block. Even if the oil looks normal, these damages may still be the underlying problem.

CONTACT A MECHANIC

The best thing to do in a situation like this is call a mechanic shop once you have the car pulled over. They are the professionals that can accurately diagnose the issue behind your overheating vehicle. When antifreeze and coolant aren’t the answer, trust a licensed auto repair technician to figure it out for you. Use a directory to contact a towing service that can transport your vehicle directly to the auto repair shop, and give you a ride there too, all in the same trip.

Fuel Injection Services

Depending on the product, injection services clean naturally forming carbon deposits from the fuel injectors and fuel rails–some will even clean the fuel tank, and valve carbon deposits.

Do they work?
In short, yes. Provided it’s a premium product (such as BG), and the service is performed correctly. Fuel injection services can do amazing things. They can improve fuel efficiency, increase horse power, and repair some performance concerns, although this last benefit is rare.

Whether or not fuel injection services will do all the above “every time” is another story.

I have even seen fuel injection services quiet horrendous carbon knocks–a knocking noise from the engine due to excessive carbon build-up coming in contact with internal engine components.

Are they worth it?
Maybe. It really depends on the condition of the vehicle. If the service achieves any of the advertised claims, it may be worth it. In truth, most cars don’t need it. The consistent use of quality fuel, and proper vehicle maintenance should be all that is necessary to keep a car running properly.

However, consistent use of cheap gas and poor adherence to an auto maintenance schedule, as well as certain driving styles can significantly increase the accumulation of carbon deposits. Thus the possibility of poor fuel efficiency, decreased horsepower, and performance issues increases–all of which could be helped by injector maintenance.

The other factor to consider is the expense. How much fuel savings justifies the cost of the fuel injection service, and how long is the pay off. BG claims that their product will pay for itself in a year’s time. However, remember that the condition of the vehicle is a big variable!

How often should it be done?
It depends on the product, but generally between 15,000 to 30,000-miles is the average.

Are they necessary?
It depends: See the discussion under Are they worth it?

Can a fuel injection service do any damage to my engine or car?
Not if done correctly. Done incorrectly, anything goes. A technician could conceivably hydro-lock your engine, or blow a hole in the piston–although both scenarios are rare.

If anything does go wrong, there is usually an underlying problem, which gets exacerbated by the fuel injector auto maintenance.

Why doesn’t my manufacturer recommend fuel injector cleaning auto maintenance?
No manufacturer recommends fuel injector cleaning auto maintenance under normal operating conditions. From a manufacturer’s viewpoint: take care of your car right (i.e., as the manufacturer dictates) and you’ll be fine.

However, depending on the problem, some manufacturers will recommend fuel injector cleaning auto maintenance as the cure–especially carbon knock. With the variety of fuel qualities available, manufacturers may reconsider fuel injector cleaning auto maintenance.

How much does fuel injector cleaning auto maintenance cost?
Prices vary depending on the service center and the actual procedure performed, and product used. The procedure you want should clean the entire fuel system including the tank and should not cost more than $150.

Brake Shoe Bonding

Was it squealing? That could be as simple as the pads wearing down. No big deal, right? Was the pedal sticking? That’s a little bit of a bigger issue because that is a sign of a faulty master cylinder. It is safe to say that if they lock up with just a slight bit of pressure, you need to get to mechanic as soon as possible.

Since brakes are one of the most important parts on a car, you need to be cautious if you notice anything strange. If you can’t stop or slow down, how are you going to drive? A typical car has two forms of braking; the primary one, which is your pedal, is used when the car is running and on the road. While the secondary one is usually referred to as the emergency or parking brake and is used to keep the car stationary, or in case of an emergency. It is important to perform routine check-ups and service your vehicle regularly to avoid having to use your emergency brake.

Assuming your car has drums as opposed to discs, you may need to add shoes to your brake repair to-do list. The shoe is typically used because it has the quickest response time when stopping. It sits inside the drum in front of your hydraulic slave cylinder and is an essential factor into getting your car to stop. It is made with heat resistant metals like zinc and has rubber shavings to reduce excess noise. Whereas, if you had disc brakes, the callipers and pads are what’s controlling the stopping motion of your car.

With brakes being the number one most replaced item on a car, it is definitely a good idea to have some understanding about them and their critical role in your everyday commute.