Frequently Asked Questions

Ask Zach

I have an old car. Should I fix it?

There is a myth that older cars are cheaper and easier to fix … Show MoreWhile diagnosis on the older cars may be easier, the repair process on older, high-mileage vehicles is far more difficult compared to the newer and lower-mileage counterparts.
Often, a faulty part on a car is buried by other components. Time and time again, a tech will begin a repair on an older car by removing these components to gain access to the faulty part. More often than not, several components will break under stress of removal, especially since many are made of plastic or low grade metal. Furthermore, there are also many rusted nuts and bolts with which to deal on old cars. And, worse yet, there exists the nightmares of past repairs which were not done properly. No matter what the case, the result is a phone call to the customer explaining the repair did not go as planned, will not be done at the expected time, and will most certainly cost more than originally estimated.

How do I know if my shop is giving me good advice?

I would encourage any car owner to choose a shop that feels “right” …Show Moreand one that employs ASE certified technicians, with at least one current Master Certified Technician on staff. ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) is an independent, non-profit organization that works to improve the quality of vehicle repair and service by testing and certifying automotive professionals.
An ASE certified shop will offer a nationwide warranty on their parts and services, scrutinize their parts and vendors, employ professionals up-front to communicate with customers regarding their vehicle’s needs, and they’ll provide their employees with the continual training and education required by this continually changing field.

How much does it cost? Why is this so expensive?

Fixing cars is hard. There’s no other way to say it …  Show MoreIt’s a downright difficult job.
Be prepared to pay for testing required to determine what is wrong with the vehicle, as this is the technician’s most challenging task. We often find ourselves telling customers, “Fixing the problem is the easy part, it’s discovering the problem that’s so difficult!” Services vary from shop to shop, but professional shops tend to have very similar procedures and standards to which they adhere. 

What does it take to become a mechanic?

The automobile technician of today’s world is changing quickly …Show More Not only must the tech be able to use their body to perform repairs to the machine, but they must use their experience and education to see into the mind of a computerized machine which is increasingly autonomous.
We look for technicians who possess a college education in automotive technology. They will be required to be master certified once properly trained. In an experienced technician I look for professionalism demonstrated through a willingness to continue their education, as proven by their completion of certification, training seminars and memberships of trade organizations.
Look for a mechanic certified by ASE – National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.

Why is my Check-Engine light on in my car?

Check Engine Light? What is that stupid thing anyway? Show More
Only problems resulting in greater-than-allowable emissions (pollution) output can trigger this light. Cars built after 1995 utilize highly sophisticated computerized engine management systems, which greatly reduce tailpipe emissions.

What is a timing belt?

The timing belt keeps the air intake and exhaust valves in “time” … Show More or synch with the pistons.
This syncopation enables the engine to pump air and fuel mixtures as it’s designed to do.

When should I refuel?

Did your grandpa always tell you to never let the fuel tank … Show More go below 1/4 full?
Well, maybe he was right. These days, most cars have the fuel pump in the fuel tank. Some of us theorize the fuel pump is cooled by the fuel, thus building excess heat when the fuel level is low. This, in turn, could cause the fuel pump to fail sooner than normal.

I’m looking for a used car and need some help. Do you do that?

Before you buy, we recommend you pay your trusted shop to … Show Moreperform a thorough safety inspection, including a test drive, and check for any potential problems. $100-$250 for an inspection goes a long way in prevention and can give you a bargaining point when deciding what price you would like to pay.

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