Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

My Car Needs What?

  • How often do I really need an oil change?

    As with most things, it depends. Generally, we recommend a car has its oil changed once every 3,000 miles or 3 months (as indicated by the sticker we place discretely in the upper left of our customers' windshields). Some higher performance cars that are used in less rigorous driving conditions (highway vs. city) can probably go a bit longer, but 3,000 miles or 3 months are good benchmarks and rules of thumb for how often you should be changing your oil. Changing your oil regularly also improves the mileage of your car, so it essentiallly pays for itself.

  • Should I be using synthetic oil?
  • Synthetic oil has a number of benefits over regular oil: it can maintain integrity in heat; improves engine lubrication; is relatively pure; and rarely ever becomes sludge, which can wreak havoc on your engine. Most drivers will see the obvious benefits synthetic oil has to offer and decide to use it in their car, but for others it may not make sense. To a large extent, people who beat up their car with a daily commute featuring a lot of stop and go, or a lot of short trips, live in warmer climates, or care deeply about the integrity of their engine should probably be using synthetic motor oil.

  • What exactly is a tune-up?

    There is not an exact definition for a tune-up, but rather it is best defined as a series of preventative checks performed to ensure the engine is running at peak performance and is highly recommended prior to long trips or if the car has not been serviced in quite some time. A simple maintenance tune-up involves a new set of spark plugs, which makes an engine easier to start, improves fuel economy, lowers emissions, and can improve engine performance if the old plugs were worn out. A series of checks can also be performed during a tune-up, such as a vehicle diagnostic, battery voltage check, dynamic compression or power balance (to identify mechanical problems such as leaky exhaust valves, worn rings, bad head gaskets, etc.), engine vacuum (to detect air leaks or exhaust restrictions), exhaust emissions, ignition timing, and fluid (oil, coolant, transmission, power steering, brake) check. Other replacements that may be made include the rotor or distributor cap, the fuel filter, air filter, PCV valve and breather filter, and any belts, hoses or wires identified as in need of replacement.

Tips For Improving Your Mileage

Gasoline is EXPENSIVE, but routine car maintenance and slight changes to your driving style can drastically improve mileage and result in significant cost savings. Something that puts the true cost of the miles we drive is the IRS mileage rate. The IRS mileage rate is the deduction a business can take in lieu of actual expenses incurred, and is intended to encompass the true cost of a mile driven after factoring in gas, wear and tear on the vehicle, and insurance costs. The IRS mileage rate for 2012 is 55.5 cents per mile, meaning just two miles costs you more than a $1! Keep that in mind the next time you are running a quick errand or even picking up instead of getting delivery. Here are some of our recommendations on how to put some money back in your wallet.

  • Check Tire Pressure - Probably the simplest way of improving mileage is to regularly check your tire pressure. We all have a tendency to only fill our tires when the tire pressure sensor starts going crazy or one of our tires looks extremely low. Try to get in the habit of filling more often. Having your tires rotated and balanced is another way to improve mileage.
  • Change Air Filters - Dirty air filters can increase fuel consumption by as much as 10 percent.
  • Use Synthetic Motor Oil - Synthetic motor oil reduces friction which in turn improves engine performance.
  • Clear Out The Trunk - Are you constantly driving around with a bunch of junk in the car? Extra baggage increases the weight of the car and results in lower miles per gallon.
  • Consolidate Errands - Try to run errands at the same time, and plan out a route that is the most efficient. This isn't always easy (especially around Christmas!), but can really help.
  • Get Into Hypermiling - The idea of hypermiling is that you can drastically improve your mileage by changing your driving habits. If you have a car that gives real-time MPG readings, you will see just how well these adjustments can work. A few basic changes can help significantly without constantly having people giving you the finger.
    • Don't Stomp on the Gas - When you are coming out of stops, gently press down on the accelerator rather than going pedal to the metal and burning up your hard earned cash.
    • Don't Speed Into Stops - Probably the easiest way to save gas (and your brakes!) is to at least attempt to anticipate the flow of traffic ahead of you, i.e. don't speed into a red light and slam on your brakes. Your car burns gas when it is accelerating. When you are coasting or decelerating without braking, you are getting the most bang for your buck. If you see a red light or stop sign ahead, take your foot off the accelerator way in advance and allow the car to slow itself down. Don't tailgate the cars in front of you or drive aggresively, which results in a lot of starts and stops. You would be absolutely amazed at how rapidly your average mileage will increase by following those tips and how much longer your brakes (and your car!) will last.
    • Slow Down - Probably the most unpopular of the hypermiling techniques, slow down. Your car is operating at its maximum efficiency when you are driving at a constant speed somewhere between 45 and 55 miles per hour (mph). Few people want to hear about going slower than 65 mph in a 65 mph zone, but you could at least avoid going 75 or 80, which exponentially decreases your average mileage.

Preparing For Your Visit

  • Can I Drop My Car Off The Night Before My Appointment?

    Sure! We have a convenient locked key drop box located outside of the gate (if the gate is pulled across we are closed). Just go ahead and find a place to park the car and drop your key in the box (please only drop your car key in the box). Our lot is monitored by security cameras so you can rest assured your car and key are in safe hands.

  • Can I Wait While My Car Is Being Repaired?

    Of course! We have a very nice and comfortable waiting room with a flat screen TV, snacks, and coffee to make your visit as painless as possible.

  • Why Can't You Give Me An Estimate Before I Have To Schedule An Appointment?

    Every car and every problem has its own complexities and intricacies that we prefer to see first hand before creating an unrealistic expectation with the customer. If we are able to take a quick (and free) look at your car, we are happy to quote a price on the work it may need.

  • How Long Will I Be Without My Car?

    We know how inconvenient it is to be without your vehicle, so we do our best to let you know how long the repair is expected to take. Unfortunately, in unusual circumstances we encounter problems we were unable to anticipate and a repair takes longer than expected. Believe us when we say that as a small family-owned shop we do everything possible to meet our commitments.