free check engine light diagnosis west springfield ma at precision auto repair

Check Engine Light Diagnosis

The difference between Paid and Free Diagnosis

“Why do I have to pay for you to tell me what’s wrong with my car?” With all of the information available online these days this is becoming a more frequent question. When your Check Engine Light comes on it can be a scary sight. An immediate reaction might be to seek Free Diagnosis to get some answers to your questions and hopefully cut the already unknown costs.

Going online to research the specific problem you’re having is no better than going online to Web Md when you have a sniffle. You’re going to leave the internet after a few hours unintentionally misinformed and thinking you have a much worse issue than you probably really even have.

The short answer as to why we charge to tell you what’s wrong with your car is because it’s worth it! Free diagnosis of any issue is worth every penny you pay for it.

Back in the 1970’s and early 80’s cars were much more basic. 90% of issues causing them to run rough or stumble could be fixed with a basic Tune Up. Now approaching 2020, cars drive themselves. With such complex systems a common misconception is that there is a super computer that we can plug in and it tells us exactly what’s wrong with your vehicle in a matter of seconds. The reality is, that’s just FALSE! It simply doesn’t exist.

What is vehicle diagnosis?

Check Engine Light Diagnosis at Precision Auto Repair in West Springfield MAThink of your car as the illustration of the buildings. Every floor represents a system and each window represents a different part in each system. What paying for diagnosis does is put us on the floor of the correct building. It’s up to our Technicians to use their training and a host of specialty tools to determine exactly which room has the problem. In most cases, this takes time.

If we didn’t do it this way we would end up replacing a  lot of parts that didn’t need to be replaced and it would end up costing a whole lot more than when we properly diagnose issues. Not to mention it would take a whole lot longer too.

In general you will want to prepare for each concern you have or each light you have on your dash taking us about an hour. Not that it always takes that long, but it’s a great rule of thumb. Some issues do overlap. So in those cases when one issue is causing another, we go after the largest issue first. Again, a lot of training goes into how to properly diagnose not only to ensure accuracy but to also ensure we don’t waste time going after the wrong things.

To make it even more simple, think of it this way. If you come in with 3 specific issues, plan on it taking us 3 hours to determine what has failed and why. Time you request us to spend is time you will be billed for. If we don’t use it, you don’t pay for it.

This is the only way we can comfortably stand behind what we’re requesting to replace. If this is not for you and you rather we simply guess based on information you or a friend found online then you will never be happy with us or the service we provide. While there are a whole host of reasons to come to us, none of them include us repairing cars based on guesses. We prefer to fix cars based on facts and replacing parts that we know are bad.

If that doesn’t work for you, please do not leave your car with us for service. We either perform the job properly, or we don’t do the job at all. Your safety is depending on us and we won’t let you down.

“Why do part stores diagnose my car for free?”

That’s simple, they don’t diagnose. They GUESS!!

Think of it as spear fishing or fishing with a net. Diagnosis is spear fishing, we’re targeting a fish. Part stores throw out a net and hope to catch something but in reality they pull back a bunch of junk.

Our goal is to fix your car, theirs is to sell parts. When they scan for codes they sell you common parts. If it doesn’t fix the car, they sell you more parts that you need to put in.

Still want Free Diagnosis?

Perfect! We want to give it to you. We have quite a few Customer Loyalty Programs that either discount services such as diagnosis or they Precision Auto Repair West Springfield MA Customer Loyalty Cardallow you to get services totally free.

Below are the 3 main programs that we offer.

  • Precision Pride Club / (easily our biggest plan)
    • $0 to enroll
    • Free Diagnosis FOREVER or
    • 5% off any Service or Repair
  • Precision Exclusive 4 Season’s Card
    • $0 to enroll
    • Allows you to save up to $100 per year
  • Precision’s Quick 10
    • This is a totally free 10 minute inspection.
      • Please note: This will not diagnose issues, it’s a quick (10 minutes max) and free inspection designed to tell you if your issue is going to keep you from being safe or not.

All Customer Loyalty Programs cost $0 to enroll and are for Existing Customers Only. Please use the following link to learn more about the programs we offer and how to be enrolled. Customer Loyalty Program Details

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No one is cheaper than me!! No one! I just ran out my factory warranty and about a week later my ABS Light came on. Fearing the worst I did a ton of research online and went into the guys at Precision with my own part and clearly insisting that I knew what was wrong because, I know everything. The guys insisted that I try it their way. Boy was I on the wrong track before them. Not only was all the research I did totally wrong, the issue I was having wasn’t even related to anything to do with my brakes like I thought. They were able to make a few basic adjustments and I was back to work in under an hour and for way less than I would have paid if I did it my way. These people are true professionals and I’m very pleased with their process. I’m also more pleased with the fact that they didn’t make me feel dumb for wasting my time before I asked a professional for help.

Derrick M.

Feeding Hills, MA

Worn Brake pads

Where can I get my brakes replaced ?

Where can I get my brakes replaced?

Are you hearing a grinding or squealing noise when braking and wondering “Where can I get my brakes replaced?” We’ve got you covered. Other than Oil Changes, Brake pad replacement is one of the most common services we perform here on a daily basis. The reason being is that much like how your engine oil is breaking down whenever your vehicle is running, your brake pads wear whenever you step on the brake pedal to slow your car down. Today we’re going to give you some insight into how to know when you need to have your brakes replaced and what goes into our Brake Job to make it last longer without incident.

Brake Pad Warning Light

One of the biggest questions that customers have about their brake system is “How do I know when my vehicle needs new brake pads?” The simple answer here is, by having us perform your Brake pad warning lightscheduled maintenance….. All of our Factory Scheduled Maintenance Services come with a complimentary 55 Point Vehicle Inspection. This Inspection includes a visual inspection of the brake system. So when you use us regularly for auto service we will have a better handle on your driving habits so that we can predict when you will need brakes.

The other way is by watching the brake pad warning light. Most newer vehicles will come with this option but it is important to understand that not all vehicles have this option. If you’re unclear if your vehicle has this option or not you may want to consult your owners manual or simply give us a call, we can walk you through how to figure it out. The brake Pad Warning Light is a very simple system. The sensor that reads the brake pad depth is a long wire that creates a loop. When the brake pads wear down, the wire wears until it’s cut, turning on the light. When that light comes on, it’s very important to have your brakes checked in the immediate future.

The next way is by watching your brake light. This is a red light that says “Brake” or “Brakes” This light comes on only for a few reasons. It should always come on when the emergency brake is pressed (or pulled, depending on the vehicle). The next is when the brake fluid is low. Brake fluid is a sealed system, so when the brake pads wear the fluid in the reservoir gets lower. When it gets to the minimum level the light will come on and stay on until the issue is resolved. The other reasons the “Brake Light” will come on are due to a fluid leak or a faulty circuit. In any event, if your brake light comes on and stays on, you will want to have your brake system checked immediately to avoid any safety issues and further repairs caused by putting off the initial repair.

Brake Pad Replacement

Worn Brake pads
From left to right; worn brake pad, new brake pad

When a customer ultimately comes in to have their brake system checked a a few things happen to ensure that we’re replacing what needs to be replaced to be certain that the vehicle is safe and the customer is happy. The process always starts with one of our Technicians performing a road test of the vehicle. This will give us a feel for the vehicle’s brake system. We’re looking to see that the brakes function somewhat normal without a low brake pedal, excessive noise, pulsation, pulling to one side or another, or any of the other many issues that can happen. Next we remove the wheels to inspect the Brake System.

The first area that’s checked is the brake pads and calipers. We’re checking for even pad wear and pad depth remaining. Next we check the brake caliper slides, brake caliper pistons, all of the brake lines and brake hoses, the master cylinder, brake fluid level and condition, brake rotors (and drums if equipped), and the emergency brake system. Then we always follow up the Brake Inspection with our complimentary 55 Point Inspection. It is essential that this inspection is performed correctly to ensure that we don’t miss anything. An example of an improper inspection would be just looking at the brake pads and saying “Your car needs brakes….”, meanwhile you have a loose ball joint that is causing your vehicle to be unsafe. While our way takes a little longer (literally 20-30 minutes), we want to ensure that we know everything about your brake system and the safety of your vehicle so that you know everything bad and good about it. We want you safe and we want you to make a well informed decision. You can’t achieve either of those if we just give a quote without seeing the vehicle or by performing an improper inspection.

Brake Job

In most cases there is really nothing out of the ordinary. About 80% of the Brake Jobs we perform just needs brake pads, brake rotors, or to have the brake rotors machined. The brake rotor is

Brake rotor replacement
From left to right; old rotor, new rotor

something commonly overlooked. It is the metal disc that takes all of the pressure when braking and takes most of the punishment from the heat from braking. It’s important to have these machined if possible or simply replaced when replacing brake pads. This will not only help to ensure that you get the best performance from your new brakes, but it will also help them last a long time without any problems.

You’re probably wondering what’s the difference between machining and replacing a brake rotor. “Machining” is a process where the brake rotor is placed on a brake lathe and the braking surface is shaved down slightly to create a new and clean surface. Not all rotors can be machined though. You see, some rotors come with a “Machine to spec” or “Minimum thickness”. This is a spec that tells us exactly how much we can shave off the surface of the rotor to make that a new and clean surface. Sometimes rust and rot or even a pulsation (warped rotor) will require more machining than is allowed by the minimum thickness. Machining past this point will leave you unsafe and it’s not a good idea.

When the brake pads and rotors are replaced it is essential to lubricate all of the contact points. We see cars come in weekly with newer brakes that are wearing unevenly due to improper installation. Brake pads need to move freely back and forth when pressed. If they don’t, you will find yourself replacing your brakes much sooner than expected. We also coat the back side of the brake pad with a special coating that is meant to eliminate the chance of any noise.

Only top quality products

I said it before and I’ll say it again, we just want to give you the best product possible so that you’re safe and happy. The last way we ensure this is by using ONLY top quality parts. We use only factory parts or better. These products are proven to stand the test of time and any abuse you can throw at them. After we replace your brakes, you’re not going to have to worry if you need to stop quickly. You’ll get a fair price, speedy service, great customer service, and peace of mind that’s backed by our Nationwide Warranty.

 

Precision Auto Repair and Sales West Springfield MASo I found Precision when passing through town on business. I figured I would try them out because my brake light came on when passing Enfield. I met James and his staff and everyone was nice. They got my car right in and inspected the brakes. I simply needed rear brake pads and rotors. When they gave me the price I figured I would shop around. I googled “cheapest place for brakes” and some chain popped up. They gave me a price over the phone that was $20 cheaper than Precision. So regrettably I went to the other shop. Worst decision ever! The other shop didn’t look as nice, the people were rude, and the guy that got in my car was filthy (1 point Precision/ Chain 0). I wait in their lobby for 3.5 hours until my car is ready which only gave me more time to research the horrific reviews about the chain and the amazing ones about Precision (Precision promised it in 1 hour, Precision 2/ chain 0). So now I pay for the repair and should be on my way but my brake light is on and the brake pedal goes to the floor. The Chain told me that there was nothing they could do and that the car was like that before. Not to mention they were closing and I would now have to stay in a hotel (Precision 3/ Chain 0). I called James and thought I would have to beg for his help. He was pretty understanding and got my car right back in shortly after closing. The problem they found is that I drive a 2008 Audi A6. The rear brake calipers require special tools and software to push them back to allow room for the installation of the new brake pads. What the Chain did was remove the calipers and crush them in a vise. This caused the insides to break and leaks that made my brake pedal low. So in short, by trying to save $20 being cheap I cost myself 2 new electronic calipers and a stay overnight in a hotel waiting for the parts to come in. The guys at precision are competent, polite, and very accommodating. To date I’ve been using their service for 5 years. I find their pricing reasonable and even very inexpensive when considering the level of service they provide. I have since relocated to the area and James and his staff currently service my entire fleet of vehicles as well as friends and family vehicles. They always go above and beyond and I couldn’t be happier with them. To anyone reading this, you need to do yourself a favor and go to precision. They’re professional, honest, and passionate about what they do.

Matthew W.

Longmeadow, MA

New Honda brakes

Honda Brakes

Honda Brakes

This week we had a customer come in concerned about his ABS light being on and his Honda Brakes were causing the entire car to shake when slowing down. The first step was verifying the concern. This is done through a simple road test where the Technician will drive the vehicle and see that the ABS Light is in fact on and that the brakes are pulsating (causing the car to shake when the brakes are pressed).

Honda ABS Light Repair

From there we use a factory scan tool to access the ABS module. This tool will pull a sequence of numbers (code) that leads us to a troubled area in the system. Then we diagnose accordingly. In this case the right front ABS Sensor was broken off and hanging down. The purpose of this sensor is to measure wheel speed at each individual wheel. There are 4 ABS Sensors in total.

Broken Honda ABS sensor
As you can see, the magnetic portion of the sensor is completely missing. It would appear to be a somewhat recent break

The next issue to address was finding out where the brake pulsation was coming from. In this case it was obvious to the Technician that the pulsation was coming from the front brakes. What happens here is the brake rotor (metal disc that the brake pads press against) should be a nice flat surface. Unfortunately over time the rotor has become a little bit “wavy”, the technical term is “excessive run out”. It’s a very common issue caused by the heating and cooling of the brakes during normal operation and sometimes by a driver that’s a little bit hard on their brakes.

After we were able to identify the cause of each customer concern the Technician performed a 55 point inspection on the vehicle. The point of this inspection is to make sure we have a firm grasp on the overall condition of the vehicle. If we call a customer and tell them they need “$xx.xx amount in repairs”, their next question is always “Is there anything else wrong with the vehicle?” So the inspection will check all safety items, maintenance items, and other systems that allow the vehicle to function like new every single day. We perform a 55 point inspection on most vehicles (unless the customer tells us otherwise) and this is always complimentary.

New Honda brakes
Nice and new top quality Honda Brakes

Honda Brake Repair

We ended up replacing the front brake pads, front brake rotors, changed the engine oil, and replaced some filters. For the ABS concern we had to drill out the broken portion of the ABS Sensor so a new one could be installed. After all repairs were completed we took the vehicle for a road test to ensure that we addressed all of the customer’s concerns. It came out perfect!

From start to finish the job took about half a day and the customer had the vehicle back later in the afternoon. It wasn’t a particularly difficult repair but it was definitely necessary. When the ABS light is on there is always a possibility that the brakes will malfunction. The ABS light will also cause the car to fail State Inspection. So if this or any other warning light is lit up on your dash, it’s always a good idea to have it checked and properly diagnosed by trained Technicians sooner rather than later.

If your vehicle is in need of service or repair feel free to schedule here or give us a call at 413.363.0306.