“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

2018 Customer Loyalty Plans

Precision Auto Repair 4 Seasons Savings Card

Precision Auto Repair Customer Loyalty Programs

If I could tell you a low cost way to make sure your car ran like new while lowering your chances of unexpected break downs, would you listen? Of course you would! You’re in luck because I’m going to tell you. The secret is “Preventive Maintenance”. You can read more about this here. You’re probably used to calling this an “Oil Change” or a “Tune Up“. The only difference is that over time as technology has improved the name has changed slightly to encompass a variety of services that need to be performed based on your current mileage. Oil change severe service schedule

Even with our years of training and experience, it’s safe to assume that the manufacturer of your vehicle knows more about it than any of us. That’s why they designed this maintenance chart to ensure that your vehicle can run like new as long as possible. Our Technicians use this as a guide to tell us what will need to be checked, reset, and serviced as well as when.

Based on our historical averages for 2016 we found that our customers that follow their Preventive Maintenance Schedule are 86.4% LESS likely to have unexpected issues. In other words, if you perform services on time then the need for an unexpected Car Repair will be significantly lower.

auto repair appointment west springfield ma

2017/2018 4 Seasons Savings Card

Precision Auto Repair Customer Loyalty cardOur average customer makes 3 visits to our shop per year. So we developed a loyalty plan that will allow them to save up to $100 per year for doing nothing more than returning to us for service when they’re due.  The program is designed to give you $25 off during each of the 4 seasons of the year. Getting your savings is pretty simple.

In the fall of 2017 we’re happy to say that we use the same criteria to determine who we give the cards to. Having said that, if you received a card last year it doesn’t mean that you will receive one this year. One of the most major criteria we use to determine who receives our Customer Loyalty Card is by determining if he/she is in fact a Loyal Customer. So without a recent visit (within the past 12 months) you will not be receiving a card.

To use your card:

  1. Bring your card in with you when you come in for a repair or service
  2. We then deduct $25 off your entire bill

It’s exactly that simple!

The only restriction is that we don’t allow you to use this card AND other promotions at the same time. But based on what the other promotion is, we always give the discount that benefits you the most.

We mail these cards out periodically and also hand them out after certain services or repairs. If you do not have one and want one, please feel free to call or e mail us.

 

Last Minute Booking Discounts

We always have and always will operate using an appointment calendar. The reason we do this is pretty simple, we want to make sure that we have enough time to fix your vehicle so you can get back to driving it. The only problem with this is that sometimes when we end up waiting on a part, we get a cancellation, the Big E is going on (if you’re from Western Mass you will understand), or when someone reschedules we end up with a last minute hole in our schedule.

Last year we started a new e mail program that will e mail a select few customers and offer them a Significant Discount if they want to take that last minute slot. This is great for someone that’s been putting off a needed repair for quite some time. The size of the hole in our schedule typically determines the size of the offer . The average last minute offer is typically 15-20% off and the offer has to be used during select dates that are always last minute. These slots are also first come, first served and always fill up fast.

So if you’re in need of a repair and see this e mail come through, take it. Also, if you haven’t seen this e mail and would like to be added to the list please send us an e mail and we will just have our staff reach out directly when we have an opening like this. It’s typically 2-3x per month.

Payment PlansAuto repair payment plan

If this was a perfect world a Car Repair would always come up exactly when you knew it was going to and when you were financially prepared for it to happen. Unfortunately this is not a perfect world. So for those of us that don’t always prepare for the worst and hope for the best, we have partnered with some of the best lenders in the business to bring you payment options for pretty much every income level, credit history, and situation imaginable. We have plans for;

  • Great Credit – some plans as low as 0% for 12 months (most popular)
  • Good Credit
  • Bad Credit
  • No Credit Check…..

*All Payment Plan approvals, terms, and conditions are subject to 3rd party lender approval. 

These are very simple to apply for. Simply go to our Payment Option page and fill out the application. Someone will be in contact with you shortly.

**Please you must be an existing customer of Precision Auto Repair to benefit from any of these programs.

Talk to you soon!

– James

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

Mercedes Benz Engine Replacement

Mercedes Benz Repair

Mercedes Benz Engine Replacement

Mercedes Benz oil change needed
You can see some of the metal chunks in the bottom of the pan

Recently we had customer buy a new vehicle because their last one literally fell apart from lack of service. He had always wanted a Mercedes Benz so he was finally ready to make that dream come true. The car was only a few years old and he was concerned about potential Mercedes Benz Repair bills so we checked it over first and gave it a clean bill of health (it just needed a set of tires). He went back to the dealership, made the purchase, and got an Extended Warranty (something we do not recommend purchasing) just in case something major went wrong he wanted to be covered. Well something major did go wrong and it wasn’t covered. Want to know why?

If you have ever been to our shop or read any of our other posts you’ll know that we’re huge advocates of servicing your vehicle regularly. We actually cover this in great detail in another post. The way this benefits us is that if you use us for service and your car runs properly without any major issues, the chance of you returning to us in the future are greatly increased. It’s also not a huge secret that by performing K Services on time it will dramatically lower your chances of small and large unexpected issues.

Mercedes Benz Repair

So when this customer bought the car we gave him the full maintenance schedule for his vehicle. Then we explained how following this schedule will keep his

Mercedes Benz Repair
Here’s another picture. You can clearly see the large metal pieces that came out of his engine

factory and aftermarket warranties current. Last we pointed out how important this car is to him and if he didn’t want to have what happened to his old car happen to this one, he would need to service it. Well his neighbor is a “Mechanic” somewhere and told him that he doesn’t need to follow maintenance schedules because (exact quote) “Those cars use synthetic oil, that stuff lasts pretty much forever. They’re trying to rip you off”. Well…..His engine literally came apart internally about 11 months later and he wasn’t covered….

This customer is constantly driving around the Northeast. He also idles quite a bit. Between mountains, excessive idling, temperature change, road conditions, etc he would fall under a Severe Service Schedule. But even if he followed Normal Service he would still need to service the car at minimum every 13,000 miles. In this case he went almost 1 year and 34,876 miles. That’s 21,876 miles overdue. Kaboom!

As you can see from the pictures the bearings in the lower end began to come completely apart. When the warranty company came out to look at the engine the first thing they asked for were maintenance records, which the customer didn’t have. Claim bounced immediately! They didn’t even want to inspect the engine. His $3,000 warranty is now only as valuable as the paper it’s printed on and he has NO recourse.

Mercedes Benz Repair
Out with the old engine, in with the new one

This Mercedes Repair now turned into a $6,500 engine replacement bill + the cost of the warranty that he can’t use for $3,000. So he was in for $9,500 after all is said and done. The service he missed that his “Mechanic” neighbor said he didn’t need was only $125. That would have brought his vehicle right up to date and the warranty would have covered the whole repair.

In closing I want to ask this one question. If you went to the doctor and she told you that you need to lose weight and lower your blood pressure then suggested a nice clean diet and exercise. Would you tell her “No, my neighbor said I can do the same by watching Netflix and eating pizza all day”? Then why would someone in their right mind bring their expensive car to trained Technicians for advice then completely disregard the advice given to them?

Need service? We make scheduling online very easy.

Precision Auto Repair and Sales West Springfield MA

 

I can’t believe I did this! James told me too but I didn’t listen and I paid for it. He really is great at what he does over there. Everyone that works there is. They got me right in and tried to get me covered but it was my mistake so I had to pay. The car was done in 3 days and I got back to work. It’s been about a year since they replaced the engine and it’s still running great. I also now follow the e mails and updates James sends that tell me when I’m due back in there. Sorry I didn’t listen guys and thanks again for the great work. I love this car!

Terrence W.

East Longmeadow, MA

 

Oil Change Part 2

Audi Oil change west springfield ma

In Part 1 of this post about Oil Change intervals and/or Scheduled maintenance we covered how to properly check your engine oil as well as detailing what is classified as Factory Scheduled Maintenance and/ or “K Services”. In Part 2 we will cover K Services based on driving habits, how “K Services” are the new “Tune Up”, and how performing these services not only adds value to your vehicle but it will help save you money and time by keeping the car running like new while maintaining the factory warranty.

Normal Service vs. Severe Service

The easiest way to explain this is to point out that clearly some people are harder on their vehicles than others. To piggyback on this, there are also areas of the country that are harder on vehicles than others. Below is what Acura describes as “Severe Service”. This is a pretty industry standard description and applies to most vehicles;

oil change severe service description
Do these match the conditions your vehicle sees or your driving habits?

 

 

 

 

 

 

If your driving habits and geographical location don’t apply to that description, then you fall under “Normal Service”. The difference between the 2 is basically that Severe Service schedules are a little shorter. They do this because if the vehicle is exposed to harsher conditions it’s only natural that your vehicle will need a little bit more attention to stay running like new.

Acura scheduled maintenance chart
The chart breaks down mileage and specific services based on the exact mileages
Oil change severe service schedule
As you can see, the Severe Service Schedule doesn’t allow as much time between services

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see from the side by side comparison. Vehicles that are driven in Severe conditions will see almost twice as much maintenance than “Normal condition” vehicles. Just a small hint, everyone of us living in New England fall under Severe Service based on temperature change alone from day to day.

Tune Up

Every single day we get a few calls from people that are asking for a price for a “Tune Up”. The problem here is that years ago a Tune Up would fix about 90% of the issues a vehicle could have, but that’s no longer the case. When these people are calling it’s typically because they have fallen behind with their K Services and have developed an issue that needs to be addressed and most people are under the impression that a “Tune Up” will fix whatever is broken. The K Service Schedule will lay out an exact plan as to when to change all fluids, filters, spark plugs, timing belt, and any other serviceable components. In addition it allows our Factory Trained Technicians a chance to properly inspect a list of other areas detailed on the Schedule. If your Service has lapsed the process is still simple, we figure out what’s been missed and bring it up to date. How does this benefit you?

“What’s in it for me?”

This is a question we all ask ourselves when making any decision. By performing these K Services and following the schedule laid out by the manufacturer of your vehicle it does a few things for you.

First, it keeps your factory warranty current. that’s correct, You do not need to go to the dealer to keep your factory warranty current. plus our average customer saves about 20% under what the dealer charges for the exact same service.

Next, you get a safe running vehicle. With all of these mileage based services there are various points of inspection on the vehicle that we check. We can quickly assess the immediate condition as well as being able to spot any other issues on the horizon before they become a problem. This way it allows you to plan.

Last, is that when your vehicle is running it’s best not only are you going to have many miles of worry free driving but you’ll also have better fuel economy. In addition when you decide to sell or trade your vehicle, having all of the up to date maintenance records will really help the resale value.

I hope this has been helpful. If you have any other questions just feel free to reach out to us at anytime. We’re here to help. Or to schedule an appointment you can do so here.

Precision Auto Repair and Sales West Springfield MA

 

I started going to James back when they first opened about 10 years ago. I was definitely skeptical when he told me what needed to be done and when basically because I had never heard anyone else tell me this. How could he predict the future? My Audi had 5,000 miles on it and he was telling me how to get to 200,000 miles. I literally left the first visit with a schedule and prices for services broken down all the way up to 200,000 miles. I had to admire his passion but I also have to admit that I never thought I would get this far or own the car this long. 10 years and 240,000 miles later I can honestly say that the only issue I had that James didn’t tell me about was when my starter went bad. It worked one day and didn’t the next, oh well. This is also the first car I’ve ever owned that didn’t give me a heap of trouble around 80,000 miles. I’m happy to see how much Precision has grown over the years and based on my first and many interactions with James I can definitely see why. They are fair, honest, caring, and transparent. If you want your investment to last you’re going to want to take it to Precision. These guys know their stuff!

Karen P.

West Springfield, MA

Oil Change Part 1

Audi Oil change west springfield ma

It’s no secret that we all want to drive our cars as long as possible, staying as safe as possible, while spending as little as possible, and ultimately have no breakdowns. The truth is that with very little planning this is a very realistic goal for every one of you. But if you are one of the many that think by just getting an Oil Change a few times every year that is going to help you reach this goal, I’m sorry to say that you won’t. Our experience shows that the customer that only gets an Oil Change once or twice every year and doesn’t perform any other maintenance will pay up to 5x more (based on ownership up to 150,000 miles) to keep their car running safely than someone that follows the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule.

In this 2 part post I’m going to explain what Factory Scheduled Maintenance is, how to properly check your engine oil, how performing these services actually cover what some call a Tune Up, the difference in services based on driving habits, and why you need to use this schedule if you don’t want to pay for expensive and unexpected repairs and keep your factory warranty current.

Checking your oil level

Cars are definitely built a lot better than they were years ago. They’re much more efficient and are built to much stricter specifications which typically means that they won’t burn through fluids, last longer, and can go longer between services. With that said, the life blood of your engine is the oil. I typically check my oil every other time I fill my gas tank. This helps me monitor the condition and level of the oil regularly so I can spot an issue before it becomes a major problem. Here’s how;

Factory Scheduled Maintenance

The manufacturer that built your vehicle came up with a plan for your vehicle. This plan was laid out to ensure that all essential systems in the vehicle get checked or serviced at specified times. The plan was also made to ensure that you will have worry free driving so that you will stay loyal to the brand you drive and ultimately buy another one in the future. The example below is actually the plan for an Acura RL (your plan will vary based on the vehicle you drive, this is just an example. If you need information for a specific vehicle, feel free to call us and we can get that for you);

The chart breaks down mileage and specific services based on the exact mileages
The chart breaks down mileage and specific services based on the exact mileages

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see the plan is broken down into specific mileage based sections that point out exactly what needs to be checked and/or replaced as well as when. These services are commonly referred to as “K Services”.

In Part 2 of this post we will cover K Services  based on driving habits, how “K Services” are the new Tune Up, and how performing these services not only adds value to your vehicle but it will help save you money and time by keeping the car running like new while maintaining the factory warranty.

Follow me over to Part 2 now.

or

Schedule an appointment today

 

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.

 

Subaru Service Scheduled Maintenance

Subaru Service west springfield ma

The most frequently asked question we hear day to day is “How much for a tune up?”. While this was a very easy question to answer in the 70’s and 80’s, cars have become much more complex and the term “Tune Up” ultimately doesn’t have a ton of bearing on ensuring that your Subaru runs it’s best for years to come.

So I want to take a few minutes to explain what a “Subaru Tune Up” used to be, what it currently is, and also explain  the benefits of having your vehicle serviced properly. A “Tune Up” used to essentially be an oil change, spark plugs, air filter, fuel filter, and a distributor cap and rotor. The owner of the car did this pretty much whenever the car started to run rough or about every 20-30,000 miles based on driving habits. This would solve most issues a vehicle could develop back then. Now the manufacturers have changed over to what is called a “K service”. A “K Service” is a mileage based service (you can find this schedule in your owners manual or just call us if you’re unclear on your vehicle’s actual schedule and we can e mail it to you) that ensures that your vehicle is in our shop at specified mileages. During these specified mileages we check various areas of the vehicle and perform some required services such as fluid changes, computer resets, air filters, timing belt replacement, and even spark plugs. It is very rare however that if you have a “Check Engine Light” lit up on your dash that this service or a “Subaru Tune Up” will resolve the issue. You may need to have that issue looked at as well.

One of our Master Techs performing a Subaru Service
One of our Master Techs performing a Subaru Service

The benefit here is that with all of the new technology in vehicles these days we find that the required replacement of parts is minimal and the benefit to the consumer is that since your vehicle is in the shop at such regular intervals the chance of a major part failure or break down that will leave you stranded is lowered by roughly 90%. That’s correct, by performing your mileage based service laid out by the manufacturer we have found that you are 90% LESS likely to break down than someone that just wants to change their oil every 3,000 miles. In addition, by performing these services on your vehicle it keeps the “Subaru Factory Warranty” current and on average our customer’s pay about 20% less for the same service than the “Subaru Dealer” will charge.

So in short following your Subaru Dealer’s Service Schedule will help ensure years of enjoyable driving and safety for you and your family. Rest assured that when it comes to Subaru Service in West Springfield MA, we’ve got you covered.

 

 

In need of Subaru Service? Call us today at 413.363.0306 or schedule online today.

5 Star Rating

 

I was always under the impression that I needed to go to the Subaru Dealer in West Springfield or my warranty would be void. I was under this impression because that’s what the dealer told me. After a few minutes of research I found that it’s not true and then started to question other things I was told such as, Why do I need a major repair every single time my car is in for service? So I looked for other options. I found Precision Auto Repair in an online search and decided to give them a shot. They got me right in, gave me a ride to work, and the price was more than reasonable. I also enjoyed the personal interaction I got from the staff there. They make me feel like a friend and not a customer. My husband and daughter both drive Subaru’s and we all currently take our vehicles to Precision and have been for the past 3 years. They’re the best.

Mary Beth W.

Southampton, MA

 

Western MA Auto Repair – Oil Change

Changing the oil in your car is crucial for the life of your engine. Oil needs to be changed every 3000 miles. In this video learn how to check the oil in your car and the difference between synthetic and conventional oil. Feel free to give us a call to schedule your oil change or you can make your next appointment here:

Schedule An Oil Change Today!

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