While there are a lot of things we put into every job to make sure the customer is happy. Safety is what tops 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;
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 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.
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….
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.
About 2-3 months ago we received a call from a man that was having trouble with his car. In certain situations he would lose all power and the vehicle would just shut off. He wanted a price for a Tune up but based on what he was telling us, a Tune Up wasn’t going to help him. It was actually going to just waste time and money. We told him that it sounded like an issue with his Subaru Fuel Pump and that we would need to check a few things to be sure.
He said he would call us back and a few hours later called to tell us that his buddy is a mechanic that used to own his own shop (here we go again….) and can fix it for him cheaply (and again…). Then thanked us for the help. Now fast forward 2-3 months to this week.
Subaru Fuel Pump Replacement
It turns out that in this case the mechanic friend almost killed him….. literally! Those are pictures of the Subaru Fuel Pump. The friend verified what we said and that there was an issue with the Fuel Pump. What was actually happening was the pump was just worn out internally and it needed to be replaced. This “friend” just ran more power to the pump by running a wire from the battery right down to the pump. The only way to explain how much more power that is would be to say, it’s like lighting a birthday candle in a bonfire. It’s WAY too much power. So what happened?
The power wire to the pump got so hot it melted itself, the connector to the pump melted from heat, and the pump got so hot internally it began to melt the cap of the pump. Remember, not only is this pump hot and melting but it’s submerged in gasoline….
If you don’t know what happens when fire and gasoline mix check this out.
(In his defense there was a Spider)
The customer only realized that there was a problem because the “Friend’s Fix” didn’t work and actually made the problem worse. He had no idea that he was driving around in a rolling bomb. We took care of all of the issues and had the customer back on the road safely within a few hours and backed our repair with our 2 year 24,000 mile Nationwide warranty and 12 month roadside assistance.
It’s tough to find a good mechanic and one that you can trust. I thought my friend knew what he was talking about because I’ve known him for years. I was almost in disbelief to see what Precision found but I’m thankful that they found it. They kept me informed the whole time my car was there and even sent me pictures and e mails showing me everything that was going on with my car. It’s tough to find transparency like that in this day and age. For anyone looking to get their car fixed I want you to take it from me. I’m cheap! I’m as cheap as it gets. I tried to take the cheap way out this time and it almost killed me. That’s not cool. Leave the car stuff to the professionals at Precision auto. They know what they’re doing and they’re really not all that expensive when compared to the dealer. A+++++ guys.
It’s very common to receive phone calls from individuals asking for quotes to repair certain issues on their vehicle. The majority of the people ask this question because they simply just don’t know the right questions to ask. From here we try to get some more information about what’s going on with their vehicle and book an appointment to properly diagnose their concern so that we can provide an accurate quote and ultimately fix the issue. Then there are some that are only shopping for the Cheapest Auto Repair they can find. With almost 20 years of experience in this field I assure you that if you’re making your decisions based solely on price, you’ll end up paying much more to fix the issue in the long run. Allow me to explain.
Here are 3 separate stories from the past few months where the customer was ONLY concerned with getting the Cheapest Auto Repair they could find.
Pre Purchase Inspection
The first customer was buying a new vehicle for his wife. Apparently his friend that’s a “Mechanic” has owned the car since it was new. He wanted us to look the car over prior to him purchasing it but insisted that “any shop will do it for free”. Then got upset when we informed him that there would be a charge. Well he found someone to check it over for free…… and he was back to our shop 1 week after purchase with a very loud noise when driving over bumps;
Unfortunately this story didn’t have a silver lining. The rest of the underneath of this vehicle was just as rotted out as this mount. The person that checked the vehicle over for him for “free” was the previous owner of the vehicle and the guy that sold it to him (this has to be a conflict of interest). He paid $4,000 for the vehicle, just to fix the immediate rot damage would be about $1,500, and he still has a myriad of other issues. If he had us perform a Pre Purchase Inspection we would have caught all of this prior to him purchasing the vehicle. At the end of the day we ended up choosing not to repair the issues on this vehicle because the repairs would far exceed the value of the vehicle.
BMW Check Engine Light
This customer came in with a BMW for a Check Engine Light issue. We quickly diagnosed the concern but the customer had a “friend of a friend” that could fix the issue cheaper (read more about this one here). The customer wasn’t even remotely concerned with the quality of parts or that Trained Technicians would be working on the vehicle. She just wanted the absolute Lowest Price Auto Repair she could find. Well the “friend of the friend” not only failed miserably at fixing the one basic issue but he successfully created many more issues.
The issue with the hoses was just one of many problems. The “Cheaper Shop” had her car for 7.5 weeks and wanted to charge her 2.5x what they initially quoted her. She was able to get her BMW back over to us in pieces and we had the car running like new within a few days for what we initially quoted her even with some additional repairs that were needed to fix what the “Cheaper Shop” messed up and hacked.
Subaru Brake Job
Brake jobs are very common. Every car is going to need it done at some point. When you drive the vehicle and step on the brake pedal, the brakes wear. This customer brought his Subaru in to have us look over the brakes. They were making a very loud grinding noise and it was pretty simple for one of our Master Technicians to quickly spot that the pads were just about completely worn out and the brake rotors were rusted too badly to be machined. So we recommended replacing the brake pads and rotors. The customer insisted that the rotors were fine and to just replace the brake pads. Then he informed us that the most he would pay was $20 because that’s what his “Mechanic” would charge.
Just so we’re clear, to perform this job properly it takes a Trained Technician about 1.5 hours and the parts alone are almost $180. Then we back the repairs with our Warranty. There’s no possible way we could have done the job for $20. So the customer took the vehicle to his “mechanic”…. and the vehicle came back to us about 2 days later making the same noise.
His “Mechanic” replaced just the brake pads with the lowest quality part available. They weren’t even the right pads for the car and he put them over these rotted rotors. That’s not even remotely taking into consideration the safety of the customer or anyone else on the road. We fixed the brakes, properly, in about 1.5 hours, and for the price we initially quoted. The customer was happy that his noise was gone.
We can all agree that price is one of the deciding factors for all of us when purchasing goods and services, but it shouldn’t be the only deciding factor. With that said, we’re not the cheapest. We don’t want to be, we want to be the best and make sure that you’re safe. But we’re also not even close to the most expensive…. If you’re only concerned with finding the cheapest repair possible, I assure you that we’re not the right shop for you.
It’s no secret that Weather in Western Massachusetts can be tough on your vehicle. From pot holes that are large enough to make you question whether there was a meteor strike the night before all the way through to temperatures ranging from -10 degrees one day then 75 degrees the next.
What does this mean for your car? The most common reason we see for a customer to get rid of their vehicle is due to rot and rust. If a car or truck is literally rotting away at the body and frame, it’s rarely going to be a wise investment for the customer to sink even $1 into it for mechanical repairs. All of this rot and rust is generally due to the road treatments, temperature change, and lack of preventive maintenance. If these issues are spotted early enough it’s simple to prevent them from spreading.
Wash your car after winter storms
When bad weather is expected the salt and sand on the roads are heavy and loose. After the storm, most of that has been melted down into the road or pushed out of the way. The problem here is that the treatment will find it’s way onto the undercarriage of your vehicle and create big problems in the coming years. Make sure when you take a trip through the car wash that you’re utilizing the high pressure wash for the bottom of the vehicle too.
Wax your car when the seasons change
I know this can sound like a difficult task but with the advancement in the quality of wax these days, it’s simple to get a high quality coat of wax on your vehicle in a short amount of time. In the shop we use this wax. It goes on and off nice and easy while giving you a wonderfully deep shine. The more frequently you wax, the easier it gets.
“What do I do if I have some rust on the frame?”
When we see vehicles come into the shop with rust that’s just starting we take appropriate steps to help prevent it from spreading by using this spray. Think about a rusted bolt. If you wanted to try to breakdown the rust you would soak the bolt in penetrating oil. This is the same principle. We use this spray on all pivot points, brake lines, the frame, and any other areas that become problematic. There’s really no technique here, just spray it on and leave it. Some may drip so if you’re doing this at home and don’t want to stain your driveway just put some cardboard down. Do this 1-2 times every year. I personally do it before and after winter.
“What can I do for some surface rust on my frame?”
If your vehicle is new enough or “clean” enough sometimes you can just use a paint that’s meant to treat light rust. For this we use a stiff wire brush and clean the area so that the paint will adhere and use this paint. No need to go crazy here. Just a nice light coat will work just fine. Then when you wax your car with the change of seasons, just be sure to take a look around under there and touch up anything that might need attention.
It’s definitely much easier to prevent rust than it is to repair or treat rust. Feel free to give us a call with any questions at 413.363.0306, or to schedule an appointment feel free to schedule online today.
Winterizing is important to do every year as the weather starts to get cold. Precision Auto Repair can make sure your car is ready and safe for the cold, snowy winter season. Call to for an appointment or schedule online today:
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: