“When should I get new brakes?”

brake pad wear indicator light

It’s safe to say that the brake system is one of the most serviced systems in your vehicle. Between regular adjustments, periodic inspections,  Brake Fluid Flushes (yes this is a real thing), and pad replacement the average driver can expect to be performing some type of maintenance or inspection on their Brakes about once per year. With that said, one of the most askbrake pad wear indicator lighted questions is “When should I get new brakes?”. The next question is “How much for new brakes?”. Today I’m going to take a few minutes to address both of those questions so that you have a better
understanding of what’s involved and why.

“How do I know if I need a brake job?”

A lot of new cars come with a Brake Pad Wear Sensor. This is a sensor that is located inside the brake pad that gets cut when the brakes wear down causing the wear light to come on. When the light comes on, you’re ready for brakes. Simple! The most common way to know you are due for a Brake Job is during periodic inspections. These inspections are performed regularly when you come in for normal Scheduled Maintenance. Aside from simply changing the oil and filter we perform a visual inspection of roughly 55 key areas on your vehicle. From here we can tell you pretty decisively what will need to be replaced and more importantly, when.

Click here for more information on Brakes and different types of Brake Systems.

“How much for a brake job?”

When the brake pads wear down most cars simply need Brake Pads (or Brake Shoes, read more about this here) and to either machine the Brake Rotors (shave them down just a little to get a nice clean and true surface for the Brake Pad to contact when stopping) or replace them. When everything is being replaced there are a few other things that go into ensuring that the brakes will function as designed for many years to come that are generally overlooked when someone replaces brakes on their own or at a place advertising  an “$89 Lifetime Brake Job”…..

The thing that’s most commonly overlooked is part quality. Yes, you can probably get brake pads for your Mercedes for $29, but when they literally fall apart or fail in a few weeks or months you’ll be replacing them again and again and again. We only use top quality parts. If I wouldn’t use it on my car I’m not putting it on your car, there’s really no other way to say it.

The second most overlooked part  to a Brake Job is actually one of the most simple pieces and we see it every single day. It’s lack of lubrication on the contact points (not to be confused with friction contact points). Friction Contact points are where the Brake Pad contacts the rotor. The brakes create friction so you don’t want any lubrication there. Contact points are anywhere that the Brake Pad touches the caliper or the bracket where the pad sits. The brake pads are constantly moving when braking, sliding back and forth (good movement). Without proper lubrication the pads will eventually stick in the bracket and when you release the brake pedal the pads stay rubbing on the rotor. This causes the brakes to wear out sooner, pulsate, or make noise. You also want to have all of the slides that go into the caliper bracket removed, cleaned, and lubricated. We do all of this during every single brake job as well as a bunch of other things so that you don’t have to worry about any issues until you need your next set in 30-40,000+ miles.

Price for brakes

A few months back a woman called for the first time. She said her regular mechanic didn’t have the “right tools” to do her front brake job (literally any basic set of tools has about everything you brake jobneed). I asked her what she was told needed to be replaced so I could properly quote the job. She told me that the brakes aren’t making noise, need to be replaced soon, and pads and rotors will suffice. She also said that her regular mechanic had been properly servicing and inspecting the vehicle regularly. I explained the importance of properly inspecting the brake system so we could be sure the price we give includes each and every single thing she will need to make sure that everything that needs to be replaced gets replaced. She insisted that she only needed “Pads and Rotors” then began to get pretty upset that I wouldn’t just give her a price. Since I didn’t know the exact brake system on the vehicle (there were 3 choices for this vehicle), I gave her a general quote of “$350-$500 if it’s just pads and rotors” then stressed the purpose of the brake inspection again. Big mistake!!

She scheduled the appointment based on the price that I gave her. When she came in the next day we saw that the brakes not only had been grinding for quite a while (months at minimum, take a look for yourself) but the calipers were also damaged beyond repair because she wore completely through the brake pads and the only thing stopping her were the caliper pistons pressing on the rotors (You can see from the pictures that they’re completely destroyed). Since there was no brake fluid in the system there was also no brake pedal, when you pushed it with your foot it just went to the floor. The car had to be stopped with the emergency brake. Her rear brakes were also grinding. In short she needed both Front Calipers, Front Brake Pads, Front Brake Rotors, Rear Brake Pads, and Rear Brake Rotors. Then the entire system needed to be purged of any air (bled). So I explained it to her and showed her. Clearly since the scope of work changed significantly, the price was going to change. More parts + more time = Brake calipermore money than we initially quoted. We would have known all of this if we inspected the brakes before quoting. Well she wasn’t happy….

This story doesn’t have a happy ending although it is slightly comical. She demanded that we fix the brake system within the quote I gave her. When I said that wasn’t possible she got very upset (this is an understatement). She ended up screaming that I must be a “Trump supporter” and accused me of trying to ruin her family’s Christmas because we wouldn’t fix her car. Then she took to social media (using our WiFi) to tell everyone how horrible we are and how our staff broke her car because it was “perfect” when she brought it in.

So this was the last time we ever gave a price for brakes without first seeing the vehicle.

I don’t know about you but if I have to pay for a brake job I don’t want to find out the hard way that the one time I need to stop quickly when going 60 mph that I should have paid an extra $40 – $50 to get my brakes done properly by someone that knows what they’re doing.

If you have a brake issue and want us to check it out for you, we would love the opportunity. Simply schedule an appointment by giving us a call 413.363.0306 or feel free to schedule online 24/7.

-James

Precision Auto Repair and Sales West Springfield MA Best auto repair shop near me

 

You want it done right then you go to Precision. I have 4 vehicles I use for my electrical contracting company and each of them have never seen a dealer except for the day I bought them. If my vehicles are down then I can’t do my job. The people at Precision understand that. Top notch service from James and the guys over there for all of the 9 years I’ve been using their service.

Devon R.

Agawam, MA

Volvo grinding noise

Volvo repair differential replacement

Volvo Grinding Noise While DrivingVolvo repair grinding noise while driving

About a week ago we received a call from a long time customer saying that he hears a noise coming from the back  of his Volvo XC90 when driving down the road. We didn’t think much of it because wheel bearings are a common Volvo Repair and they could give him the noise that he was describing. We definitely had the wrong assumption.

When the vehicle came in the customer said that there had been a warning light lit up on his dash for about a month but since the vehicle seemed fine he didn’t bother to call for an appointment. We attempted a road test the vehicle but the noise was a loud grinding that could be felt throughout the entire vehicle as the wheels turned. One of our Master Technicians immediately pulled the vehicle into the shop rather than take the standard road test. We just didn’t want to potentially do any further damage than was already done. When we pulled the Volvo into the shop we hoisted it on the lift and saw a large amount of fluid all over the rear portion of the underside of the vehicle.

Volvo Repair

It didn’t take long to see that the rear differential (in short, a differential is the gears that turn the wheels) was literally split in half. Since there wasn’t any way to know what caused the damage Volvo repair broken differentialwithout removing and disassembling what was left of the Volvo Rear Differential and it had to be removed to be replaced, we went ahead and removed it. It was fairly involved but we got it out without much of an issue at all.

Once we got it out we took it apart for inspection to find out what had failed. There is a bearing in the rear differential called a “Pinion Bearing”. This bearing started to go bad and over time completely failed. This caused the gear that the bearing guides to move around allowing the main gear in the differential to rub on the inside of the differential housing until it eventually banged against it hard enough to break it in half.

Since the housing and gears were all completely destroyed we ended up replacing the entire differential unit. Then we performed an alignment because most of the rear suspension had to come apart to remove the old differential and to install the new one. The part was special order and took a few days to come in but the customer ultimately had their vehicle back in their possession within 2 business days.

When warning lights show up on your dash, it’s never a good idea to ignore them. This differential is equipped with a fluid pump on the differential that’s controlled by a computer that’s also mounted on the differential. The computer had shorted out internally causing the pump to malfunction. This caused a great deal of heat which ultimately caused the pinion bearing to fail.

Do you have any lights on your dash that need to be addressed? Give us a call today or schedule online 24/7.

Precision Auto Repair and Sales West Springfield MA Best auto repair shop near me

Volvo repair differential noise

 

I’ve been going to James since his first shop opened over 10 years ago. I was happy to use him then and I’m happy to use him now. Always professional and honest. The pricing is also more than fair considering the service you get with anything that they do. Great spot and great people.

Matt R

Longmeadow, MA

BMW noise over bumps

BMW repair broken spring

BMW Making a Noise Over BumpsBMW noise over bumps repair

Noises are the worst. From squeaks that drive you crazy all the way through to clunks that make you question the safety of your vehicle. This week we saw a long time customer concerned about a BMW making noise over bumps. His main concern was that the vehicle just didn’t feel safe to him anymore. It’s a good thing that he brought it in… Allow me to explain a little more about this BMW Repair.

BMW Noise

The first step was to have one of our Master Technicians drive the vehicle. During a short road test it was obvious that the noise was coming from the rear of the vehicle. The next step was to physically inspect for any defects in the suspension that would cause this. We inspected the entire suspension system in the front and rear for any potential issues and eventually saw that both rear BMW springs were broken at the bottom of the coil.

This wasn’t particularly hard to figure out, especially since both springs sit in a a cup-like seat and the broken pieces were rattling around in there.

BMW repair suspension spring brokenBMW Repair

The BMW repair process was actually pretty straight forward. The vehicle is in great shape with minimal rust on any of the bolts so it was just a matter of removing some suspension components to access the springs and then install the new ones. The springs sit on little rubber cushions that insulate the spring from rubbing on anything metal that could cause a squeak. These pads are on the top and bottom of both springs. The old ones some cracks where they were showing signs of age, so we went ahead and replaced them.

When we remove suspension components, some have adjusters on them. Even tough we carefully mark everything and put everything back as we found it, sometimes the vehicle will still end up out of adjustment. That being said, if the vehicle was out of alignment just a little prior to service and we put everything back perfectly then the vehicle would still leave out of alignment. So to ensure that the vehicle drives down the road perfectly without any pulling or irregular tire wear, we performed a 4 Wheel Alignment.

Once the repair was finished we took it for another road test to verify that the noise was gone and we’re happy to say that this BMW noise over bumps is fixed.

The total repair took about half a day. All of the parts were in stock and come with our 2 year 24,000 mile nationwide warranty and 12 free months of roadside assistance at no additional charge.

Need your BMW serviced or repaired? Give us a call today or feel free to schedule online 24/7.

Precision Auto Repair and Sales West Springfield MA Best auto repair shop near meBMW repair rear spring replacement

I’ve been coming to Precision for about 8 years now. I first found them by doing a simple search online and asking around to see if anyone else had used them. Based on overwhelming positive feedback I decided to give them a shot. I’m happy to say that after 8 years I now have all of our family cars serviced there. Not to mention most of my friends and co workers use them. They are easily The best BMW repair shop anywhere in the area. I highly recommend them to anyone looking for top quality work and service.

Tom B

Longmeadow, MA

Air conditioner not working

air conditioner not working

“Why isn’t my air conditioner working?”

air conditioner not workingWhile most of us wanted the warm weather to arrive, not everyone is happy about it. Especially if you’re one of the many that has a problem with their Air Conditioner not working in their car. This week we saw a long time customer concerned that there was No cold air coming from the vents of her Honda Civic. This Honda Repair was a pretty funny situation because naturally the customer assumed the worst but the repair was pretty simple and inexpensive.

 

Honda AC not working

The customer called in a bit of a panic because she had just taken her car out of storage so she could enjoy it for the summer and was planning a long road trip. The problem was that when she went to get gas before the trip she found that the air coming through her vents seemed to just trickle out and it was hot. She was incredibly worried about what the repair was going to cost because she had been reading through some online forums on the issue and was lead to believe that the Honda AC Compressor needed to be replaced. One thing I can tell you is that reading online forums about issues with your car is like going to WebMD when you have a headache. The self diagnosis will always scare you.

When she brought it in one of our Master Technicians quickly verified the concern. We also noticed a loud humming noise when the fan was turned on. The first step we decided to take was removing the blower fan that actually creates the air flow moving through the vents. This way we would be able to see if there was a restriction in the vents or a problem with the motor for the fan.

When we removed the fan we were able to quickly spot the problem. When the vehicle was left in storage some mice had found their way into her car, chewed up a blanket she had in her trunk, and made a little nest inside her dash. When she got in the car for the first time in a few months and turned on her Air Conditioner the fan spun all of the blanket pieces creating a blockage that Air conditioning repairwouldn’t allow air to pass through. So even though the fan was moving, it was completely clogged.

Honda AC Repair

Since the fan was already out in the open we just cleaned it out. There was really nothing wrong with it at all. After we cleaned it, we vacuumed out all of the vents to remove any remaining blanket pieces (and mouse “debris”). After cleaning everything out we simply put everything back together and verified that the AC is operating properly. Problem solved!

This is the time of year when we see a lot of rodent related repairs. The reason being is that when cars sit during the winter it gives the rodent a nice warm place to live.  This can happen whether you drive the vehicle daily or store it. The pests will chew insulation, wiring, interior, and anything else they can make a nest from.

Wondering “How can I keep mice out of my car?”

There are several ways to make this happen for you. While I haven’t tried all of them myself, these are the ones we know about;

  • Mothballs
    • I can say from experience that they stink up the vehicle. I’ve found the smell lingering for months while some people never notice it…
  • Traps
    • This can be messy depending on which type of trap you useHow to keep mice out of a car
  • Dryer Sheets
    • This is actually what I use. It just deters the rodents from entering rather than killing them. I blanket any large areas with them and the mice seem to hate the smell. While I happen to really enjoy the smell when I get around to taking it out of storage.
  • Steel wool
    • This method is helpful for blocking up large areas or spaces such as exhaust and air intake pipes
  • D-Con
    • We have a customer that has a large garage with 35 classic cars in it. Some of the cars are upwards of $200,000. He swears by this stuff. It’s available at most home improvement stores.

Have a problem with your AC? Don’t stress yourself out trying to research the problem on a forum. Give us a call or schedule online today. We generally pinpoint the issue in under an hour and most repairs are pretty simple allowing you to drive your vehicle home the same day.

 

Precision Auto Repair and Sales West Springfield MA Best auto repair shop near meThese guys are the best. They could have easily replaced all of the expensive stuff and I most likely would have paid. It’s tough to find good quality work these days and it’s even harder to find honesty. I keep coming back because I find both at Precision Auto. Thanks for taking care of my car once again and thanks for the advice.

Claudia C.

Westfield, MA

 

 

Noise Over Bumps

strut replacement west springfield ma

Clunking Noise Over Bumpsstrut replacement west springfield ma suspension noise over bumps

We feel that there’s nothing better than a nice smooth riding vehicle. Today we met a new customer that feels the exact same way but was going crazy because his vehicle was making a Clunking Noise Over Bumps. Rattles and clunks can almost feel like a form of torture to someone that’s sensitive to them. Not to mention that in most cases a noise can mean that there is a component in the suspension that is loose and could pose a safety concern for the driver.

Suspension Clunk

The first step in any diagnosis is verifying the problem. With this vehicle the customer was a little bit frustrated because he had been going to another local shop that replaced a few suspension parts in an attempt to remedy the issue but unfortunately never got to the root of the noise. When the vehicle came in we took a ride with the customer. The goal is to hear the same noise he is hearing so that we’re not chasing a “normal” noise or another noise he’s not concerned with.

After a short ride together is was very obvious that the noise was coming from the front suspension. Next we had one of our Technicians inspect the vehicle on a lift. We found that the suspension was tight and everything looked normal so we had to go a step further. We opted to use chassis ears on this vehicle. Chassis ears are like little microphones that Strut replacement west springfield mathe Technician can hook up to various spots in the suspension and listen to certain areas to isolate the noise while driving on the road (it sounds complicated but it’s really not).

Strut Noise

After a short road test the Technician found that the noise was coming from the front struts. The struts on this vehicle are filled with an oil that helps dampen vibration in the road. While the struts appeared to be in good shape and full of oil, they had developed a bit of play internally causing the clunk. To fix his concern we needed to replace both front struts.

Strut Replacement

We removed the old struts and replaced them with new ones including new strut mounts and strut bearings. The reason we do this is that the mounts are a solid rubber and compress over time Strut West Springfield maand the bearings take quite a bit of abuse over the years from turning and hitting large bumps. Since they have to be removed from the old strut anyways, it’s best to put new ones on the new strut to ensure the best possible end result that will last for years to come without any issues. There would be nothing worse than putting the whole job back together only to find that there is still a small noise from the mounts or bearing.

In this and every case the customer is given options. We ended up replacing everything because that’s what the customer wanted. The additional expense was only about $100 and the customer was able to take advantage of one of our Payment Plans so he could defer payment for a few months. We also backed the repair with our 2 year 24,000 mile nationwide Warranty and 12 months of roadside assistance.

The end result was a smooth running vehicle without any rattles and one very happy new customer. If you have a noise that’s bothering you it may not necessarily be a safety concern, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Noises like this can also cause some uneven tire wear that will result in a second noise. Feel free to give us a call today or schedule online. We’re happy to help.

 

Precision Auto Repair and Sales West Springfield MAThis noise was driving me nuts to the point of wanting to get rid of the vehicle. I was thinking there was something wrong with the frame or something major. David was great! He set me up with one of the guys over there and they had me in and out in a day. I think the price was very reasonable and frankly the car has never driven better. I’m happy I gave them a shot and will be back for all services whether minor or major.

Matthew A

West Springfield, MA

Porsche Vibration Repair

Porsche repair technician

Porsche Vibration Repair

In my opinion, Porsche makes one of the nicest vehicles on the road today. But there’s nothing worse than driving one that has squeaks, noises, and vibrations. We saw one today where the customer was concerned about an aggressive vibration when accelerating. While there are many things that can cause this issue, this one was pretty simple to identify. Today I’ll tell you about this Porsche Vibration Repair, what happened, how it happened, and how you can prevent it from happening to you.

Porsche repair driveshaft replacement
You can see from this picture that the housing for the bearing support is just hanging on the shaft. It’s not connected to anything.

Porsche Vibration while accelerating

This customer’s concern was a vibration while accelerating. The back story is that he called a few other shops and went to one that wanted him to replace the front brake calipers (spoiler alert, the brakes and calipers are perfect). The first step for any customer concern is to first verify it. This is done with a simple road test by one of our Master Technicians. In this case when accelerating normally the vibration was so violent that it felt like someone was under the vehicle hitting the bottom of the driver’s seat with a hammer. The next step was to put the vehicle up in the air to take a look and inspect for the exact cause of the vibration.

The Technician checked all of the tires, brakes, suspension, and drive line. While most everything was in great shape it was obvious that there was a problem with the drive shaft. A drive shaft is a rotating shaft that transmits torque in an engine. More simply put, when you step on the gas pedal the engine turns, the engine turns the transmission, the transmission turns the drive shaft, the drive shaft turns the gears that make the vehicle move forward or backwards.

On this Porsche Cayenne the drive shaft is pretty long so in the center of it there needs to be a support to hold it tight while rotating so there is no vibration. This support is called a “Carrier Bearing”. The carrier bearing just sits in the center of the shaft and the shaft rotates through the center of it.  There were a few problems here.

First, the customer recently purchased the vehicle second hand. The drive shaft in the vehicle was replaced somewhat recently with a used part from a junk yard. This was obvious due to faulty installation, missing bolts, and yellow writing all over the shaft indicating a stock number from a junk yard. The second issue was that the bearing wasn’t just faulty, it was completely destroyed. It literally wasn’t connected at all. So when the drive shaft would spin to turn the wheels, it would vibrate and essentially hit the floor of the vehicle causing the aggressive vibration felt while driving.

Porsche repair technicianPorsche Repair in West Springfield, MA

The repair was actually pretty simple. Since the carrier bearing is part of the drive shaft and has to be purchased as one unit, we simply removed the old shaft and installed a new one. While putting the new one back up, we installed any and all missing hardware to ensure this one lasts. The total repair took a little over an hour and the customer had the vehicle back the following day because we had to order the part.

After the repair we took a second road test with the vehicle to be sure that the vibration was gone. We’re happy to say that this Porsche Cayenne Repair fixed the issue and the vehicle is back to

rolling down the road as smooth as silk.

How can you prevent this from happening to you?

The reality is that if you drive a vehicle, things wear and eventually break. If a vehicle sits and doesn’t get driven, things break down and need replacement. In this case the bearing was pretty bad. On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the worst) this bearing was about a 12. There was nothing left to it. Which leads us to believe that there was a significant noise and smaller vibration for a while before the bearing came completely apart.

The first step towards preventing this level of failure would have been to have the vehicle properly inspected by us prior to purchase. Whenever buying any used vehicle you always want to have a trained and impartial set of eyes check it over for you to spot any apparent problems or anything on the horizon (like a faulty drive shaft….). Our Technicians see Porsche Repairs all the time so it’s  very easy for us to spot common problems before they fail.

Porsche repair carrier bearing replacement
This is how the bearing should look without the bracket in place.

The next option is to have your vehicle serviced regularly. I say it all the time, “Scheduled maintenance is the key to avoiding costly and unexpected break downs.” By following the service schedule for your vehicle we would see your vehicle roughly every 3-5,000 miles. During each of those visits the vehicle gets a full 55 point inspection for FREE. This inspection is specifically designed by our staff to spot safety and mechanical issues before they cause major issues or put you in harm’s way. If we had seen this vehicle, we most definitely would have seen this so that the customer would have time to prepare and budget for the repair.

In this case since it was unexpected and the part was pricey, he took advantage of one of our Payment Plans. Approval took about 10-15 minutes and he had the funds available the same day. His repair is also backed by our 2 year, 24,000 mile Nationwide Warranty and 12 months of Roadside Assistance at no additional cost. This customer can rest easy knowing that he received a quality Porsche Repair and peace of mind at a fair price that he can pay for over time.

Precision Auto Repair and Sales West Springfield MAI’m new to Porsche ownership. I always wanted one and finally had a chance to get my dream Porsche Cayenne. When I had this issue I just din’t know where to turn. Some co workers recommended James so I gave him a shot. I was not even slightly disappointed. They got my baby in right away and had the issue pin pointed in a few minutes. The pricing was very fair and the financing was a breeze. I got 0% for 6 months, my car back the next day, and they even washed it for me. I’ll most definitely be returning for future service here. Great job James and staff. My family and I are very appreciative.

Adam R.

Suffield, CT

Where can I get my brakes replaced ?

Worn Brake pads

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

Volkswagen No Start

Volkswagen turbo burning oil

Volkswagen No Start

Preventive maintenance really is the key to ensuring that any vehicle owner can minimize the the chance of costly and unexpected break downs throughout the life of their vehicle. Most Volkswagen owners think that their regular Volkswagen Service is just an oil change once or twice every year but it’s actually much more than that (read more about this here). This Volkswagen No Start could have been avoided if the vehicle was serviced following the Manufacturers Scheduled Maintenance Schedule. Allow me to explain;

Volkswagen Won’t Start

We received a call from a customer a few weeks back. She said that she had just bought a car and it needed an

Volkswagen oil pump
This shows the oil pump assembly inside the oil pan. You can see that one of the gears is missing and the chain that drives is has snapped and hanging down

engine. She was having trouble finding anyone to work on a Volkswagen Diesel Engine (small hint, this was not even a Diesel engine, it was just really noisy). The vehicle came in on a tow truck and we quickly found that the engine had seized up. The next step was to check the oil level which was a little low but only about 1 quart which isn’t all that bad. We then removed the oil pan to inspect the engine internals. What we found was shocking to say the least.

The engine had run low on oil at some point causing a large amount of friction and heat in the lower end of the engine. This friction (cause of the heat) made the oil pump drive (fancy name for the oil pump) get so hot that it seized up and broke the chain that makes it pump oil while also breaking off the main gear that allows it to turn. The oil pan had various parts from the inside of the engine and chunks of metal in it.

Why did this happen?

For an engine to run low on oil one of a few things has to happen. The oil is never changed and the vehicle just burns it slowly over time, there is an external leak, there is an internal leak (burning oil or leaking into the coolant), or oil is never put back in after service. After a brief

Volkswagen engine repair
The debris and gear in the oil pan are a result of the engine failure. The oil pan shouldn’t have anything in it except for oil

inspection the Technician found that the turbo had been malfunctioning for quite a while. This caused a loud noise that caused the customer to think her car was a Volkswagen Diesel (she was also told it was a Diesel by the used car dealer that sold her the car a few months prior). What was happening here was the turbo started to come apart internally. Little by little this got worse causing the oil that is fed into it to keep it lubricated to simply pass through it and find it’s way out the exhaust.

Wondering how following the Volkswagen Service Schedule could have helped? That’s also a very simple answer. At specified mileages Volkswagen will detail exactly what they want checked. This customer happened to be roughly 4,000 miles past the Volkswagen Service that required the turbo to be inspected. The other way this could have been prevented is with a Pre Purchase Inspection.

Just to be clear, absolutely none of this is the customer’s fault. She bought a car that had problems and trusted the company that sold her the car to check it over and give her an honest assessment. That was never done. The engine was so loud when she bought the car that the dealer told her it was a Diesel Engine and “They’re all noisy”. She was also told that the vehicle was up to date on all of it’s services which clearly was not the case.

Volkswagen Engine Replacement

Fortunately for this customer she had a warranty that she purchased with the car. The warranty company was willing to cover the majority of the engine replacement cost for her. So we replaced the engine and turbo. The repair itself

Volkswagen oil pump
This screen blocks any debris from going into the oil pump and getting sucked back up into circulation. There is a large piece of metal stuck in there

only took about 2 days but the process to get approval through the warranty company lasted about a week and since the warranty the customer purchased says that the warranty company will provide parts over $xx.xx, we had to wait about another week for them to ship us the engine.

The entire process took a lot longer than we would have liked, but unfortunately there are some aspects of some jobs we simply can not control.

How can you avoid this from happening to you?

  1. When buying any used vehicle you’re going to want to get a Pre Purchase Vehicle Inspection from a licensed repair facility other than the one you’re buying the vehicle from. It’s also important that when you choose a shop you verify that they have experience working on the car you’re buying.
  2. Ask for service records when buying a new car. Sometimes the deal that’s too good to be true is exactly that.
  3. Trust your instincts. This woman was told that her car was a Diesel but she was required to use gasoline in it…. For me, that’s a bit of a red flag.
  4. Read your aftermarket warranty in full before buying it from the selling dealer. Some of these contracts are awesome and some are terrible. This customer had absolutely no idea how long the warranty company could
    Volkswagen turbo burning oil
    The light brown-ish white color is a sign that oil is passing into the turbo. The failed portion is the part that looks like a little fan

    delay her repair. She also didn’t know that she had to pay for diagnosis or that the warranty company could dictate what parts had to go in her car even if it’s not in her best interest…. Her understanding was that she could bring her car anywhere and the the bill was completely covered, this was not the case. Most (not all) warranty companies will make the customer pay to disassemble an engine until the “point of failure can be established”. In some cases this requires the engine to be completely torn apart, at the customer’s expense.

  5. Make sure that your vehicle is serviced using the K Service Schedule in your owner’s manual. These Services are designed to help you get the most out of your vehicle. It’s much cheaper to pay for preventive service today than it is to pay for repairs like this later.

Also, if you’re buying a car and you have some questions. Give us a call. One of our staff will be happy to answer any questions you have.

 

Precision Auto Repair and Sales West Springfield MA

I feel very silly about this. I can’t believe I took everything the salesman said at face value. I half expected you guys to make fun of me because of my naivety. But you all remained very professional and really helped me understand the process as well as what I need to do for my car in the future. While I hope this never happens again I’m happy to know that I have your shop to help me through it. I’m still embarrassed though =)

(Customer requested to stay anonymous)

Springfield, MA

Dodge Brake Job

Brake Job

Dodge Brake Job

While there are a lot of things we put into every job to make sure the customer is happy. Safety is what tDodge Brake Jobops the list of importance for us. Not just for the customer but for their families, friends, pedestrians, and other motorists. If your vehicle is unsafe you are literally a rolling liability to anyone and everyone you pass. We don’t take that lightly. Today we saw a new customer come in that had failed Mass State Inspection for a faulty Emergency Brake. He decided to perform this Dodge Brake Job on his own and failed….

Brakes are one of the more simple maintenance items we perform here daily. As you step on the brakes, the brake pads wear out. So it’s not uncommon to see a need for brakes. But replacing them isn’t as simple as just putting new pads in. There’s quite a bit that goes into it because you don’t just want the brakes to work and be safe. You want them to last and function properly for years to come without noise or any other issues. That all starts with having a properly Trained Technician installing top quality parts, the right way….

This customer felt that they would save a few bucks and replace their faulty Emergency Brake Shoes on their own. The problem they ran into was pretty obvious. Take a look;

 

Cracked Rim
As you can see there is a crack where the caliper finally wedged itself into the rim causing it to lock up

Not only did the brake caliper and bracket grind into the rim, but it wedged itself into the rim causing a crack. When it did this the vehicle skidded to a stop because the wheel was locked up. VERY DANGEROUS!!!!! He probably saved about $100 or so doing it himself, which is cool….. But he could have crashed or worse, he also needs a rim for $600-700, and he had to get the car towed for probably another $100. So how much did he really save?

We completely understand that price is important. But do you really want to find out that you probably should have had your Brake Job performed by a Professional Technician now by reading this or find out at 70 mph while uncontrollably skidding to a stop on the highway in the middle of the night like this guy did?

Need brakes? Give us a call at 413.363.0306 today or Schedule Online today.

There’s no added cost to having it done correctly, just added value.

Brake Job

Brake pad replacement at Precision Auto Repair and sales west springfield ma

“How do I know when I need brakes?”

Brake pad replacement is something we see overlooked regularly. When we survey customers that come in with major brake system failures we ask them all the same question. “What made you wait so long?” The resounding answer is that they typically didn’t know they needed a Brake Job because the Brakes simply weren’t making noise.

Today I want to give you a few examples of what happens when you wait too long for to perform a Brake Job, the Cost To Replace Brakes sooner vs. later, and a fool proof way to know exactly when you will need Brake Pad Replacement.

Brake Job West Springfield, MA

This was a case where the customer performed their own Oil Change about every 10,000 miles (which is far too long on conventional oil). They thought that by changing the oil and filter every 10,000 miles that the rest of the vehicle would be “Ok”. The problem here aside from excessive time between oil changes was that the vehicle sat quite a bit and it took the customer about 2 years to hit the 10,000 mile intervals. What ended up happening was that the Brake Pads froze up in the Brake Pad Slides which wouldn’t let the brakes fully release when releasing the Brake Pedal. It was like driving with the brakes engaged at all times. This caused the outer Brake Pad to wear not only through the pad, but completely through the backing plate so that the caliper was rubbing on the outside of the rotor. This vehicle was very unsafe.

The discoloration on the surface of the rotor is actually just built up rust and rot.
The discoloration on the surface of the rotor is actually just built up rust and rot.
You can clearly see that the brake pad and backing plate are completely missing
You can clearly see that the brake pad and backing plate are completely missing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For this Subaru Repair we had to replace 1 Brake Caliper, the Brake Pads, and Brake Rotors. It cost the customer roughly $775. If this issue was spotted in advance it would have cost him about $300. Not to mention some other issues that we found with the vehicle when initially checking it over for the Brake Job.

Additional cost/ $475

Brake Job Longmeadow, MA

This Nissan Brake Job was one of the worst we’ve ever seen. The customer had their Oil Changes done at a local quick lube place regularly. One day they said that the brakes just felt “Soft”. One of our Master Technicians drove the vehicle to verify the concern and never even made it out of the parking lot. He pulled the vehicle into the shop for inspection and found that the brakes were grinding for so long that the customer wore through the pads completely and ground through the entire surface of the rotor. There was literally no rotor at all….. nothing….

The brake pad backing plate wore directly through the disc portion of the rotor
The brake pad backing plate wore directly through the disc portion of the rotor

For this Nissan Repair we had to replace the Brake Pads, Brake Rotors, and both rear Brake Calipers. In addition one of the emergency brake cables was frozen and rotted so that was replaced as well. The total job cost the customer $1450. If the brakes were replaced on time he would have spent $315.

Additional cost/ $1,135

How to know when you need a Brake Job

The guaranteed way to know when you will need brakes BEFORE you need them is…… Having your vehicle serviced regularly by us. When you bring your vehicle in for Scheduled Maintenance we check various areas on your vehicle. You’ll leave knowing what needs to be done now, what needs to be done later, and the overall condition of the vehicle. It’s much more than just performing an Oil Change and the additional 55 Point Inspection is Complimentary. That’s right, having one of our Certified Master Technicians perform this 55 Point Inspection is Complimentary when performing Scheduled Maintenance with us.

Schedule your appointment today, don’t wait.