Q
How do I keep track of routine maintenance?
A Keep a maintenance schedule (download the PDF print version). Doing so helps you plan for services that prolong the life of your vehicle, reduce vehicle failures, and gain you peace of mind. If you’d prefer, we can maintain the schedule for you.)

Q
How often should I change my spark plugs?
A Most new car manufactures recommend spark replacement at 100k miles. Our opinion is that between 50k – 75k miles is a better interval. The spark electrodes wear out before the higher mileage and this can cause wear on other parts–we frequently see coils needing replacement on engines with high mileage plugs. Another factor to consider is spark plugs frozen in the plug holes; often these plugs break when replaced. (Some of the newer Ford engine spark plugs are being replaced at 25,000 miles!) Now you might wonder: Do we make extra bucks peddling more frequent spark replacement? No. We make some extra bucks replacing coils on cars that exceed our recommended 50k-75k replacement interval. But we’d much rather do needed than preventable repairs.

Q
Why won’t my car start?
A A non-starting car is a frustration, pure and simple. But there is a difference between not “cranking” (no sound when turning the key) and not starting. Two typical scenarios follow.
This usually means there’s a problem in the starting circuit, which includes the starter motor, battery, switches and wiring–all three areas. Most commonly, drivers want to simply replace the battery as a solution, where, in most cases, doing so will commonly not fix the problem. Only a complete check will pin-point the problem and leads to the appropriate repair solution.

Q
What causes brake pulsation?
A An up-and-down movement of the brake pedal can be caused by two factors, one to be expected, the other a cause for concern. An antilock brake system engaging on a slippery road normally produces pulsation. But pulsation on a dry road is probably cause for concern. It might be caused by a warped rotor, which can be repaired by resurfacing the rotor on a brake lathe. But if the rotor doesn’t meet minimum thickness, it will need replacement.

Q
Why does my dashboard’s “computer” icon light up?
A The check engine (or service engine) light illuminates to alert you that the computer has detected a malfunction in a fuel, ignition, or emission control circuit. You should have this problem diagnosed as soon as possible: if the light starts flashing, your car’s computer has detected an engine miss that could lead to catalytic converter damage if you continue using the vehicle.
Want to diagnose the problem yourself? Say you have a code reader and attempt to check the code. Be careful: many people have replaced parts unnecessarily relying on the code without checking the circuit. If you get a 02 sensor code reading, for example, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the sensor is bad–you could have lean or rich condition caused by a separate issue and, so, a 02 replacement will not solve your problem. Bottom line: get the condition diagnosed by people with both professional knowledge and professional equipment.

Q
What parts should be replaced and at what intervals?
A Your owner’s manual provides all necessary information regarding what parts to replace and when to do it. Read it thoroughly and note any exceptions or severe service notations. Warranties are there to protect the consumer, but you must follow the requirements. If you have questions about warranties, please contact us.

Q
How can I keep my vehicle’s warranty in effect?
A Make sure your vehicle is serviced at the intervals specified in your Owner’s Manual or Warranty Booklet, and keep very clear records of your vehicle’s Maintenance. Be sure to list the date, parts installed, vehicle identification number and mileage recorded on the invoice. Keep these receipts in a safe place. If you have a service log in your Owner’s Manual or Warranty Booklet, use it. For guidance on service intervals, consult our Preventive Maintenance schedule.

Q
Will it hurt my engine if I drive my car when the check engine light is on?
A It is possible but not too likely. However, you do need to get your vehicle checked out as soon as possible. You may see a decrease in performance.

Q
What is the primary cause of tire damage?
A Although there are many things that can cause tire damage, improper inflation is the main problem we see. Always keep a tire pressure gauge in your vehicle and frequently check the pressure of all tires.

Q
How do I know when my car needs a tune up?
A You may see your gas mileage decrease. Your vehicle may start running rough. If your check engine light comes on that could also be an indicator that your vehicle needs a tune up. The owners manual that came with your vehicle may suggest a tune up at a certain mileage.

Q
When do I need to replaced my belts and hoses?
A If you can see cracks in your belts, it is time to have them replaced. We recommend replacing your belts and hoses at least every three to four years. If your hoses look swollen or soft that could be an indicator that they need to be replaced. However, hoses can deteriorate on the inside and if this happens there is no visual evidence that the hose needs to be changed.