Car Repair Fails

Brake line repair

We all make mistakes. Some more frequently than others….. We’re human, it’s normal. Mistakes are an opportunity to learn and get better. We see a lot of customers monthly/ yearly and sometimes they make mistakes too. We get a lot of e mails and requests from customers about what they want us to write about so today I’m going to give a few examples of Car Repair Fails and then explain how to prevent them from happening to you.

 

Coolant Leak

This was a first time customer. He was actually here a few weeks prior applying for a job… (spoiler alert, we didn’t hire him). He had been experiencing a coolant leak on his wife’s vehicle and Thermostat repairdecided to fix it himself. This leak was causing the vehicle to overheat when the car would get up to operating temperature so it was really causing a headache for them.

When he reached out he said that he was “having trouble getting the gasket to seal”. As you can see from the picture, it’s pretty obvious to see why. What happened was that one of the bolts that hold the thermostat housing in place had broken when coming out. So him and his friend figured that they could just use vise grips to hold the flange in place.

We removed the flange, drilled out the broken bolt, replaced the gasket, replaced the bolt, and properly filled the cooling system. It took about 2 hours.

 

Exhaust Repair

exhaust repairThis was another first time customer. They were having trouble with their exhaust system. It seemed loud to them and they just wanted it fixed. We took a look at it and found that there were some rot holes throughout the system and it had been repaired a few times previously so we recommended replacing the entire system to eliminate the chance of any further issues. We didn’t want to just “patch” the immediate issue because they would start to notice the other leaks further back in the system and a “patch” just wouldn’t be a proper repair.

The customer declined the repair and ended up returning about 1 month later. They had a “friend” that “works on cars” replace the catalytic converter for them. The problem was that they noticed that after a few days the exhaust seemed louder than the original noise. They also had a significant loss of power.

When our Technicians took a look we not only found that the catalytic converter was completely missing but there were no signs of the clamps that should have been installed to hold the catalytic converter in place. You can actually see one of the factory clamps that’s welded to the front pipe still on the pipe. That may be the reason it fell off… We ended up replacing the entire system. It took about an hour and a half.

 

Pre Purchase Inspection

frame rotThis was a long time customer that had problems with their previous vehicle. It ended up needing more work than the car was worth so we suggested they start looking for a new car. About 3 months later they came in for normal service with their new car and were shocked at what we found.

The front support that connects the left and right sides of the front frame section and supports the radiator had a huge rot hole in it. The hole was just about big enough to put an entire fist into. When they bought the car they had the dealership that sold it to them look it over prior to purchase. The vehicle also had a myriad of other issues. The customer ended up getting rid of this vehicle and purchased another one. We performed a Pre Purchase Inspection on the new vehicle and they have been worry free for roughly 1 year since they bought it.

 

Brake Line Repair

Brake line repairThis is actually an older story from a few years back. This customer reached out after having a neighbor that worked at another local shop replace his brakes for him. The story is that the brake pedal felt soft and he was told that he needed new brakes. Sounds simple enough… The brakes were replaced by the neighbor and when the owner of the car started to drive the car he felt that the car didn’t stop like it used to and the brake pedal still felt soft. He was told that it was just an adjustment.

He actually drove the car for about 6 months before contacting us for a second opinion. We immediately found that while the brakes in the rear of the vehicle were in fact replaced they weren’t working at all. The main issue the customer initially had was due to rotting and leaking brake lines. So instead of repairing the lines the Neighbor just used Vise Grips to clamp off the fluid to stop it from leaking. Unfortunately this won’t allow any fluid to the rear brake system, so they weren’t working at all when the brake pedal was pressed. Not to mention that this was very unsafe.

We ended up replacing most of the brake lines in the vehicle. While this section was the major source of the leak, there were other problem areas. The brakes themselves were actually good quality parts that were installed correctly. So after replacing the lines we just needed to adjust the brakes and bleed the system of any air. This job took about 2 days. Mainly because the customer requested pre bent factory lines that needed to be ordered.

 

Coolant Leak

This customer was also having trouble with her cooling system. The car was overheating and there was a large puddle of coolant on the ground where she parks at work. Her boyfriend had a friend Coolant leakthat “fixes cars” so they took this car repair to him because he gave them a price to repair the issue before even seeing the car when we unfortunately could not do the same (here is why).

The repair ended up being pretty simple. The car developed a leak at the upper radiator hose and the hose really should have been replaced because it was swelling under pressure and hoses really do have a shelf life on them. But this “Friend” had another fix… electrical tape. Rather than replace the hose or even the clamp(s) he just poured crazy glue around the end of the hose, reinstalled the clamp, then covered the connection with electrical tape. Clearly the hose continued to leak.

The customer called us that day. We were able to get her right in, replace the hose, both clamps, and properly fill the system. It took about 45 minutes,  we had the hose in stock, and it cost less than the friend initially quoted them.

 

How can you prevent this from happening?

The common denominator here for most of these stories is the quality of the repair. It’s no secret that some Auto Repairs can be expensive. But in all of these situations the customer paid for the car repair elsewhere then ended up paying to have the same repair performed again correctly later. So how much did they really save? The simple answer is nothing at all. They actually paid more and in some cases had to pay to have the same parts replaced again by our trained Technicians.

Now I’m not saying that good Technicians don’t make mistakes. Even with experience and training, I assure you that mistakes still happen. But these situations are clearly not mistakes. They are Car Repairs that were performed to intentionally deceive the customer. It’s sad.

When your car needs repairs do yourself a favor and give us a call or schedule online. Our staff has the training and experience to get you back on the road quickly and safely at a reasonable price. Then we back our repairs with a 2 year 24,000 mile Nationwide warranty and 12 month roadside assistance at no additional cost.

“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” – Benjamin Franklin

Subaru Head Gasket

Subaru head gasket replacement

Subaru Head Gasket

Those of us that live in Western MA were pretty lucky this year when it comes to cold weather (if you don’t like snow or cold that is). We only had a few weeks of really cold weather, but other than that the temperatures have stayed pretty warm. A long time customer had come in a few weeks back concerned about a loss of heat in his Subaru. When he would warm the car up in the morning the temperature coming out of the vents would stay icy cold no matter how long he ran the car. Sometimes the fix can be something simple such as a loose clamp or a faulty thermostat. Unfortunately for this customer he needed a Subaru Head Gasket Replacement

Subaru Coolant Leak

It’s very common in the winter to see cars coming in with heat loss and in the summer we see cars come in overheating. Both concerns are typically (but not always) caused by the same issue, a Coolant Leak. For this Subaru Repair we road tested the car to verify what was happening. When we pulled the car into the shop we found that there was a significant loss of coolant. This will most definitely cause the customer’s concern.

We then applied some pressure to the cooling system to help us identify where the coolant is leaking and hoist the vehicle on a lift to check for any obvious leaks. Coolant was actually leaking out of the driver side Subaru Head Gasket. When inspecting the passenger side of the engine there was a large amount of coolant staining that indicted there was a small leak from that side of the engine. If left untreated this small leak will most definitely turn into a larger leak. It was determined that both cylinder heads would need to come off this engine to be checked for warpage or cracks.

Subaru Head Gasket Replacement

Subaru Head Gasket replacement
This is one of the cylinder heads after being cleaned up and serviced at the machine shop

We removed both Subaru Cylinder Heads and had one of our Certified Technicians look them over. There were no obvious issues but to be safe we sent them to a machine shop to have them properly cleaned and serviced. The machine shop makes the mounting surface perfectly smooth so that the gasket can seal properly. Then they clean all of the valves and replace any seals in the cylinder heads. The heads always come back a day or so later looking and functioning like brand new Subaru Cylinder Heads.

Subaru Head Gasket Replacement Tip

A few months back we put a picture of another Subaru Head Gasket Replacement on our social media. There were some question as to how we were doing the job. For those that don’t know, most shops that do this job once or Subaru head gasket replacementtwice a year will remove the entire engine from the car, then disassemble and reassemble the engine. We average a few every week so we found a slightly better way to do the same job. What we do is leave the engine in the car and disassemble and reassemble the engine right in the car. The outcome is exactly the same in terms of the quality of work. But the bonus is that it saves about 2-3 hours doing it our way. What this means for the customer is that they save almost $300 and get their car back sooner!!!

The trick is using some special tools that we have had specially fabricated to make this job go much smoother. You can also achieve the same result without the special tools by using carefully positioned wedges of wood that will give you the proper angles to remove the heads while keeping the intake out of the way. Doing this puts no stress or strain on anything in the engine compartment and allows plenty of room to remove and reinstall the cylinder heads. There really is no need whatsoever to remove the entire engine. It’s just a wasted expense that the customer really doesn’t need to incur.

Now it’s time for the whole job to go back together. Because of the mileage on the vehicle we installed a new timing belt and water pump too. The vehicle was roughly 10,000 miles away based on the service history but the customer decided to replace them while the engine was going back together instead of reinstalling the old ones, then have to take it all back apart again in a few months when he hits the required mileage. It saved him quite a bit of money doing it this way. After all parts were installed we performed all the necessary scheduled maintenance so that this customer can just enjoy their car for a while and not have to worry about anything.

Subaru head gasket leak
It’s important that when cleaning the block to make sure none of the metal shavings get into the cylinders, oil passages, or coolant passages. We plug them all with shop towels while prepping them

We see a lot of Subaru Repairs that require the replacement of the Head Gaskets. Unfortunately it’s a very common issue on these cars. But the repair process is pretty quick and the price is reasonable. We then back the repair with our 2 year, 24,000 mile Nationwide warranty and Free 12 month roadside assistance. It’s all about giving the customer the best service possible at the best price possible. Peace of Mind!

 

 

 

 

 

Precision Auto Repair and Sales West Springfield MA2 Days! My car was in and out of there in 2 days!. That’s unbelievable! This car is my life. I need it for shuttling around family and I’m in it all day for work. When Precision told me I needed to have the engine taken apart I was in disbelief that they we’re going to have it back to me the next day. But I’ve been going to them for years and they have never put me in the wrong direction yet. Sure thing the next day around 4 o’clock they called to say it was done. They even came to pick me up. Over the years I’ve used other area shops, I’ve used 2 area dealers, and I’ve used chain repair places. I’ve never seen the high quality and empathy that the staff at Precision always brings to the table. These guys are good. Like really darn good! Do yourself a favor and take your car to these guys. Not only do they care, they know what they’re doing.

Matt M.

Westfield, MA

Cheapest Auto Repair

Kia Repair frame rust

It’s very common to receive phone calls from individuals asking for quotes to repair certain issues on their vehicle. The majority of the people ask this question because they simply just don’t know the right questions to ask. From here we try to get some more information about what’s going on with their vehicle and book an appointment to properly diagnose their concern so that we can provide an accurate quote and ultimately fix the issue. Then there are some that are only shopping for the Cheapest Auto Repair they can find. With almost 20 years of experience in this field I assure you that if you’re making your decisions based solely on price, you’ll end up paying much more to fix the issue in the long run. Allow me to explain.

Here are 3 separate stories from the past few months where the customer was ONLY concerned with getting the Cheapest Auto Repair they could find.

Pre Purchase Inspection

The first customer was buying a new vehicle for his wife. Apparently his friend that’s a “Mechanic” has owned the car since it was new. He wanted us to look the car over prior to him purchasing it but insisted that “any shop will do it for free”. Then got upset when we informed him that there would be a charge. Well he found someone to check it over for free…… and he was back to our shop 1 week after purchase with a very loud noise when driving over bumps;

This mount essentially holds half of the differential in place. It's completely rotted out
This mount essentially holds half of the differential in place. It’s completely rotted out
Here's another view of the same mount
Here’s another view of the same mount

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately this story didn’t have a silver lining. The rest of the underneath of this vehicle was just as rotted out as this mount. The person that checked the vehicle over for him for “free” was the previous owner of the vehicle and the guy that sold it to him (this has to be a conflict of interest). He paid $4,000 for the vehicle, just to fix the immediate rot damage would be about $1,500, and he still has a myriad of other issues. If he had us perform a Pre Purchase Inspection we would have caught all of this prior to him purchasing the vehicle. At the end of the day we ended up choosing not to repair the issues on this vehicle because the repairs would far exceed the value of the vehicle.

 

BMW Check Engine Light

This customer came in with a BMW for a Check Engine Light issue. We quickly diagnosed the concern but the customer had a “friend of a friend” that could fix the issue cheaper (read more about this one here). The customer wasn’t even remotely concerned with the quality of parts or that Trained Technicians would be working on the vehicle. She just wanted the absolute Lowest Price Auto Repair she could find. Well the “friend of the friend” not only failed miserably at fixing the one basic issue but he successfully created many more issues.

This is a picture of the heater core hoses. These are under pressure with 180 degree coolant while the car is running. Zip ties are not an acceptable way to secure them in place
This is a picture of the heater core hoses. These are under pressure with 180 degree coolant while the car is running. Zip ties are not an acceptable way to secure them in place
We installed proper clamps on the hoses. The proper repair literally cost the customer about $1.25 in parts
We installed proper clamps on the hoses. The proper repair literally cost the customer about $1.25 in parts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The issue with the hoses was just one of many problems. The “Cheaper Shop” had her car for 7.5 weeks and wanted to charge her 2.5x what they initially quoted her. She was able to get her BMW back over to us in pieces and we had the car running like new within a few days for what we initially quoted her even with some additional repairs that were needed to fix what the “Cheaper Shop” messed up and hacked.

Subaru Brake Job 

Brake jobs are very common. Every car is going to need it done at some point. When you drive the vehicle and step on the brake pedal, the brakes wear. This customer brought his Subaru in to have us look over the brakes. They were making a very loud grinding noise and it was pretty simple for one of our Master Technicians to quickly spot that the pads were just about completely worn out and the brake rotors were rusted too badly to be machined. So we recommended replacing the brake pads and rotors. The customer insisted that the rotors were fine and to just replace the brake pads. Then he informed us that the most he would pay was $20 because that’s what his “Mechanic” would charge.

Just so we’re clear, to perform this job properly it takes a Trained Technician about 1.5 hours and the parts alone are almost $180. Then we back the repairs with our Warranty. There’s no possible way we could have done the job for $20. So the customer took the vehicle to his “mechanic”…. and the vehicle came back to us about 2 days later making the same noise.

The brake rotor on the left is brand new and the rotor on the right is the rotted out old one
The brake rotor on the left is brand new and the rotor on the right is the rotted out old one. You need ZERO automotive experience to see that there is a problem here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

His “Mechanic” replaced just the brake pads with the lowest quality part available. They weren’t even the right pads for the car and he put them over these rotted rotors. That’s not even remotely taking into consideration the safety of the customer or anyone else on the road. We fixed the brakes, properly, in about 1.5 hours, and for the price we initially quoted. The customer was happy that his noise was gone.

 

We can all agree that price is one of the deciding factors for all of us when purchasing goods and services, but it shouldn’t be the only deciding factor. With that said, we’re not the cheapest. We don’t want to be, we want to be the best and make sure that you’re safe. But we’re also not even close to the most expensive…. If you’re only concerned with finding the cheapest repair possible, I assure you that we’re not the right shop for you.

But if you want your vehicle fixed properly the first time, unparalleled customer service, peace of mind, top quality parts, all of the conveniences we offer, and have that all backed by our 2 year 24,000 mile warranty AND 12 month Roadside Assistance. Then give us a call today, we won’t let you down.

 

“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” – Benjamin Franklin

BMW overheating repair

BMW heater hoses fixed incorrectly

A few months ago we saw a new customer come in. She drives a 2004 BMW 325i and was looking for help diagnosing his Check Engine Light.

We quickly diagnosed the issue as being related to a vacuum leak (simply put is an air leak) in her intake system and the intake would need to be removed and resealed to clear up the issue. Unfortunately the customer declined the repairs because she found that he could get the “same” BMW Repair performed somewhere else cheaper……. (wait for it…)

The car came back in this week overheating and in pieces…… Literally in pieces and what was put back on the car wasn’t even close to anything that would be considered a “BMW Repair“. Take a look at some of what we found;

This is a picture of the heater core hoses. These are under pressure with 180 degree coolant while the car is running. Zip ties are not an acceptable way to secure them in place
This is a picture of the heater core hoses. These are under pressure with 180 degree coolant while the car is running. Zip ties are not an acceptable way to secure them in place
We installed proper clamps on the hoses. The proper repair literally cost the customer about $1.25 in parts
We installed proper clamps on the hoses. The proper repair literally cost the customer about $1.25 in parts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While we would like to say that was the worst issue we found, it wasn’t. We understand that price is important and we also understand that sometimes BMW Service is costly. But these vehicles are built to very specific specifications that require a great deal of training, equipment, and technical information to be able to properly repair them. Improper repairs like this not only create a major inconvenience for the customer but now she has to pay for the work to be done by someone that blatantly lied to her about their abilities and then she has to pay for us to fix all of their mistakes.

Fortunately for the customer we ironed out all of her issues in about 2 days. The overheating concern was fixed when we repaired the leaking hoses and filled the cooling system properly. Then we just removed and reinstalled the intake the right way while fixing any other “new” issues caused by the previously inferior quality repair. The car is now running the way it did when she bought it at the BMW Dealer in West Springfield MA and she was able to take advantage of our payment options for her repair that allowed her to pay over time for a proper BMW repair that’s warrantied for 2 years or 24,000 miles nationwide and comes with free 12 month roadside assistance. We gave her peace of mind!

There’s no added cost to having your BMW Service performed correctly, just added value.

 

5 Star Rating

 

James and his staff are the best! I feel like at first I was more concerned with having the job done cheaply and that’s what I got. The other shop I went to not only tied up the car for 7.5 weeks while this was my only form of transportation but when they gave me the bill the price they wanted me to pay was 2x what they initially quoted me to get me in the door and hundreds more than Precision wanted to charge a few months ago. When I went back to precision with my tail between my legs practically begging for help they were very welcoming and considerate. They got my car right in and I had it back within a couple of days. Since I had to pay the other shop I didn’t have much money and Dave set me up with financing for the job so I didn’t have to worry. I love my car and I won’t trust it with anyone but the staff at Precision. Thank you all so much for all that you have done.

Meghan A

Longmeadow, MA

Subaru Coolant Leak West Springfield, MA

Subaru coolant leak

Subaru Coolant leak

We see a lot of no heat concerns this time of year. While the cause of the no heat can vary from vehicle to vehicle (and most of the time it’s caused by a Coolant Leak ) one thing we see a lot of is misdiagnosis from other shops that are calling for repairs that aren’t necessary and ultimately won’t fix the customer’s concern. In the case of this Subaru Coolant Leak the outcome was very good for the customer.

Subaru Repair

In the case of this Subaru Repair the customer called us and asked for a price to replace Head Gaskets on their Subaru and were told by an area dealer that their Subaru Forester needs them to fix a Coolant Leak. They were quoted roughly $3,800 and would be without their vehicle for about a week and an half. Unfortunately we don’t provide quotes for repairs when we haven’t properly diagnosed the concern and here’s why (take a minute to read up on this policy).

The green is coolant leaking down from behind the timing cover
The green is coolant leaking down from behind the timing cover

Fortunately the customer had us look into the issue and properly diagnose it because it wasn’t the head gaskets causing the coolant leak. After a short visual inspection one of our Master Technicians quickly found that the head gaskets were fine. On this vehicle Subaru recommends replacing the timing belt and water pump between 90,000 and 100,000 miles. In this case the customer went just under 140,000 miles (yikes). In this time the water pump just went bad and needed to be replaced along with the timing belt.

Here's a slightly better angle. The left of the picture is the front of the engine
Here’s a slightly better angle. The left of the picture is the front of the engine

For this Subaru Repair we replaced the timing belt and water pump. The customer had their vehicle back to them by the end of the day, saved herself about $3,000 UNDER what the Subaru Dealer said she “needed”, and she didn’t have to be without her vehicle for a week and a half.

5 Star Rating  I have always bought Subaru’s and have always felt that the dealer knew the vehicle best because they’re the dealer. I’m humbled to say that’s not the case. Precision Auto Repair’s Service Manager David had phones ringing all around him and other customer’s that were there but still took the time to walk me out to my vehicle and show me what was going on then give me a plan to fix it. I’ve never received this sort of service at the dealer in my 25+ years of going to the dealer. Great job and thank you for not allowing me to tell you what was wrong with my vehicle. It would have been a very costly mistake made by me. You earned a new customer and I’ll tell everyone!

Kayla B.

West Springfield, MA

Auto Repair Springfield MA, Car Repair, 8 Steps To A Safe Car This Winter

Okay, so here’s the thing.

Winters in Western MA are very tough on cars.

We have had a very warm Fall season but the cold weather is right around the corner and I want to make sure you and your car are ready.

I’ve listed 8 simple steps you can follow. If you have any problems or if I can answer any questions, please give me a call.

Step 1: Check your battery. During the cold, your engine requires more power to get going. A mechanic can run a battery load test to see if you need to replace it and clean the posts and add distilled water if necessary.

Step 2: Stock your car with emergency supplies. There are many long, lonely roads in Western MA and being stranded anywhere could cause major problems while you’re waiting for assistance. Some good supplies to have are: a fully charged cell phone, flashlight, jumper cables, blankets, ice scraper, first aid kit, tow strap and a folding shovel.

Step 3: Check your belts and hoses. Cold weather can weaken belts and hoses, any signs of wear and tear and they should be replaced.

Step 4: Change the oil. Cold weather reduces oil’s effectiveness and the colder it gets, the thicker the oil gets. As oil is used, it gets thicker which can make it difficult for the oil to circulate through the engine.

Step 5: Check your antifreeze. Antifreeze and water mixture should be about 50-50. This will prevent the coolant in your radiator from freezing.

Step 6: Check tire pressure. Cold weather causes air pressure in your tires to drop. For every 10 degree drop in temperature, your tire’s air pressure will drop about one psi. Your tires need to be properly inflated to make sure they are getting the proper contact with the road, which is important during wintry conditions.

Step 7: Snow tires are always a good idea. Snow tires are made with a softer rubber which allows them to stay flexible during the coldest weather. The tire is made with tread patterns designed to grip in snow and ice.

Step 8: Check wiper fluid and change wiper blades. We all agree that we need a clear windshield, but worn wiper blades and an empty wiper fluid reservoir can quickly lead to an accident. Replace worn or frayed blades and top off your wiper fluid with a brand that has a lower freezing temperature.

Before taking off, one more thing.

Precision Auto Repair is always here to help and we do provide winterization appointments. You can schedule online by going here next:

Schedule Online Today!

Thank you.

James