Articles:

My check engine light came on!

My check engine light came on!

My check engine light came on!    Don’t Panic.  A check engine light is a message from your car telling you that it’s not feeling right and it needs to be checked out to find out what’s wrong.  It is important to find out why that light came on and assess the severity of the issue.  Check engine light diagnosis can lead to extensive repair or a minor quick fix. The first step to getting rid of that pesky check engine light and making your car feel better is retrieving codes from the computer. This is achieved by hooking up a code reader.  You can use a basic reader, but there is a lot more information accessible when you use an actual scan tool.     The best way to explain check engine diagnosis is comparing it to looking at a road map. You are here on bea ... read more

How long will your car last?

How long will your car last?

I was talking to my doctor the other day about what we eat today will affect our health the latter part of our life.  It made me think of our cars and how we maintain them today will affect them as they age. Granted when something breaks on our car we can just replace it but at what cost?  If you look at what is spent on maintenance over the life of a car, you will see there are smaller costs that are fairly spaced out and easy for your buget to handle. Routine maintenance will also bring dependability and a peace of mind knowing you can trust your vehicle and it will get you home safely.  We have vehicles come in for the first time, we open the hood, look around and can see how well the vehicle was maintained. Usually these vehicles need a few repairs immediately to continue running and functioning properly and then prioritize a “to-do ... read more

Changing oil in changing times

Changing oil in changing times

Oil is the life blood of your engine, yet it is one of the most neglected fluids.  In the last article we discussed the importance of using the correct oil and why.  In this article we are going to discuss the importance of changing your engines most vital fluids.  During this past year, people have been driving less and their cars have been racking up less miles.  But your engine’s oil is still degrading over time.  Just because you're driving has decreased, doesn’t mean the oil is fine.  When oil is new, it is designed to keep your engine well lubricated and provide protection to all those internal parts.  As you drive, even if it just a couple of miles a day, your engine oil is slowly becoming contaminated with small fuel and exhaust particles that break down that protection oil provides.  That ... read more

Engine oil

Engine oil

Wow! where to begin? Years ago, the fluids were almost all universal throughout all vehicle makes and models, which made it easy to find and top off fluids anywhere you were. In the shop you could have one type of coolant, a couple different grades of oil, a couple different transmission fluids, some power steering fluid and a bucket of 90 weight gear oil and that would about cover 90% of the cars on the road. With the advancing technology in vehicles since about the 1980s, fluids have been redesigned and modified to function and service the technological advancements in our cars today. Each particular vehicle manufacture has their own specific fluids, most designed for that particular vehicle.  Engine oil has one of the most diverse assortments, it’s like going to our local Thai restaurant and looking at the 6-page menu, what do I order? There are oil grades t ... read more

Quality Is Important

Quality Is Important

Have you ever price shopped?  Looked for the lowest price on an item or some service for your car or house? There are times when price shopping may be worthwhile.  You know you want that 24-volt DeWalt drill and you shop around and find the big box store has a sale on it, but what about replacing the alternator on your car or reroofing your house?  While price shopping makes you feel good that you may have found the lowest price, did you get the best, or at least a good quality repair for what you paid? Not all auto repair shops offer the same quality parts or service. You can almost always find some shop that can replace your alternator for less, but what are you getting for less? Quality parts, proper training to make sure the job was done correctly?  Did you know that on some European vehicles you need to tell the computer&n ... read more

Benefits of belonging to ASA, an automotive association

Benefits of belonging to ASA, an automotive association

The importance of belonging to an automotive association.    We belong to ASA NW, the Automotive Service Association, Northwest Chapter. Being part of an association is an important key to our success and business model. Our membership not only holds us to a higher standard than other repair facilities, it is a network of other shops who are like minded and who also have the same values as us. We value ASA and the important services it provides to us and our industry.      The most important aspect of belonging to ASA NW, is the network of other like-minded people and shops. The comradery between ASA members is vital.  As a group we are able to put years of experience to use, and improve each other and our industry.  Every business has struggles, whether it is technical in ... read more

ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems)

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) is becoming ubiquitous in today’s vehicles, providing a tremendous safety and convenience benefit.  ADAS has also been proven to be a significant safety concern if not repaired correctly.  We have been studying these systems and have gone through extensive training in order to service and repair these new technologies.    We have known that aftermarket parts may visually look the same as original equipment but are definitely not constructed the same as the original dealer parts.  These aftermarket parts when combined with an ADAS system on a vehicle have created compromises in emergency braking; lane departure warnings; dynamic cruise control; and blind spot detection.  Also, there are specialized techniques and guidelines that need to be observed when repairing a vehicle to make sure your ADAS system will function properly when you need it most.    Replacing a windshield that houses a forward-f ... read more

Hybrid Battery Rejuvenation

What causes hybrid batteries to degrade and fail? Eventually all batteries will fail. Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) NiMh batteries have a life cycle. When the hybrid battery does not last as long as the rest of the vehicle, replacing it costs several thousand dollars and creates hazardous environmental waste. Delaying battery failure beyond the service life of the vehicle will reduce the negative environmental impact of hybrid vehicle ownership and save the vehicle owner thousands of dollars.   There are three major phases of hybrid battery lifespan. Usable capacity and performance decreasing as the battery ages:     Typically begins: Typically ends: Phase 1: Healthy hybrid battery New Vehicle 3-6 years Phase 2: Weakened/weakening hybrid battery 3-6 years 5-11 years Phase 3: "Failed" hybrid battery (DTC code present) 5-11 years   Each hybrid battery 'pack' is comprised of many indi ... read more

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