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Boys Under The Hood April 17, 2018

auto repair springfield ma car repair springfield ma boys under the hood lazer 993Mass State Inspection issues but missed the show today? No problem! You can catch up right here 24/7.

Don’t forget to ask your questions here.  If your question is picked for “Question Of The Week” a donation will be made in your name to 1 of 3 local charities that you choose!

You can also listen live every Tuesday just after 8am only on Lazer 993

or catch up on prior shows at Video Library

Mass State Inspection in Springfield, MA

This week Anthony Santore from Tech Auto Service in Springfield joined us to talk about some of the changes to the Mass State Inspection process. We earned a little more about how it affects and helps the consumer. Check it out below.

Listen to Boys Under The Hood Live Here/ Every Tuesday at 8am

Coats for cars precision auto repair west springfield ma

Coats For Cars 2017

The warm weather is fading away in our rear view mirror and the temperatures are starting to drop. This means only one thing….. The start of our second annual

Coats for cars precision auto repair west springfield maCoats For Cars Coat Drive!

Last year with your help we collected a total of 237 lightly used jackets to benefit Friends Of The Homeless in Springfield, MA. This year, together we will do even better.

The second annual Coats For Cars will now benefit the West Springfield Public School System. They have expressed a very serious need for new and lightly used;

  • Jackets
  • Sweatshirts
  • Winter Hats
  • Gloves

As far as size is concerned the West Springfield Public School System has said that the most significant need is for sizes that will fit Middle School and High School students.

Why should you help us with Coats For Cars?

precision auto repair west springfield ma coat driveAside from the immediate gratification you get from giving to help those less fortunate we have something else for you. For everyone that donates we give them 10% off their entire bill (max discount of $100).

Simply donate one of the items listed above when you bring your vehicle in for a needed repair or scheduled service and take 10% off your bill. It’s just that simple!

Don’t need a discount?

Thats fine too. If you want to help but don’t need a discount please feel free to stop in, say hello, and drop off your donation at the shop M-F 7:30am – 5pm.

Please take a minute to look in your closet or basement and consider donating some of the items listed above that you can afford to part with. You will be helping to change someone’s life by doing something as simple as donating things you forgot you even had.

This program ends Friday December 1st



Precision Auto Repair and Sales West Springfield MA Best auto repair shop near meLast year I was fortunate enough to be able to help with Precision’s Coats for cars coat drive. I brought in a few coats that my family and I had been wearing the year before when we got new ones. The coat drive also came at a great time for us because our main family car started making a horrible grinding noise when I would turn or step on the brakes. It was actually pretty scary! Turns out I needed brakes and by helping to donate to this coat drive I was able to save a few bucks off something I already needed anyways. To be clear, I didn’t donate for the discount but I wasn’t going to turn down Precision’s generous offer. I’ve been a customer of theirs for about 3 years now and we have 3 cars. I always find that James and his staff are very helpful, thoughtful, and reasonable. I’m proud to see all that they do to help everyone in our area. Repair shops and most businesses in general don’t do a fraction of what these people do and I will continue to support them and their fantastic programs.

backpack donation, giving back to the community

Tools for Back to School

Backpacks for Local Families

Today was a very special day for us here at Precision Auto Repair. As you know we love giving back to the community that continues to support us. We have great programs like Repair it Forward and our Winter Coat Drive as well as many other programs that your support helps us run year after year. But today…. today was something even better. Today we were able to give 200 backpacks to local children going Back to School. Something we like to call “Tools for Back to School“. Needless to say, it’s been an AWESOME day!!!

backpack donation
From left to right: Superintendent of Schools / Michael Richard, Jennifer Stephenson, James Stephenson, Mayor of West Springfield / William Reichelt

Giving back to the Community

Last May I was out in the lot and there were a few kids riding bikes past the shop. One of them in particular had fallen behind his friends because he was trying to hold his books while riding down the street. It looked like he was really struggling. He  stopped at the intersection waiting to cross Route 20 so I decided to walk over and talk to him. After a quick conversation about his bike (to break the ice) I jokingly said “You would be a lot faster on that thing if you put your books in a bag”, sort of prying to see why he’s carrying the books.  His answer…. “I would but I don’t have one.”

I have a few extra gym bags in my office so I immediately gave him one of mine. This got me wondering how many children actually need something like this? Something small that most of us take for granted or like myself, have multiple of that we’re not even using.

Google can tell you pretty much anything so I did a search and found that there’s actually a huge need for all sorts of school supplies. I found an article that said that the average family spends about $1000 on Back to School shopping PER CHILD!!! So I sat down with Jennifer and we came up with our newest program “Tools for Back to School“.

For those of you that haven’t actually met Jennifer, she’s my sister. Jennifer has been involved with the company for quite a few years and currently serves as our Office Manager. What she actually does is organize the million tasks I throw at her everyday and help to keep us all organized. As well as make sure that Tai gets his Cheeseburger Chowder every Wednesday from Celery Stalk (if you haven’t tried it do yourself a favor….). Aside from being my sister, she’s a loving single mother of 2, and a valued asset to the overall success of this company. She always plays a large roll in creating and implementing programs like this and she has more than earned some recognition. “Thank you Jennifer.”


best auto repair shop near me west springfield ma james stephenson west springfield ma volkswagen repair BMW repair200 Backpacks with Pens, Folders, and Notebooks

Jennifer and I didn’t grow up wealthy and while our parents did what they could, both of us can remember several years of not having backpacks and other essential things we now take for granted. So this became a wonderful opportunity to help some local families.

The plan started small. I said “How about 50?”, she said “100”, then as sibling rivalry would have it I doubled it.  We both agreed that 200 backpacks would be the right amount to make a meaningful impact.

When we got the 200 bags we still felt that wasn’t enough so some of the staff took a few hours and filled each one with a folder, a notebook, and 2 pens. My oldest daughter also helped and wanted one so there are actually only 199 bags that were donated…. I couldn’t tell her no.

Once everything was assembled we dropped them off at the Mayor’s office and received a very warm welcome from Mayor Reichelt and the Superintendent of Schools, Michael Richard. Superintendent Richard spent a while with us discussing his current position and talked a bit about his career path that led him to where he is now. He’s a very driven and goal oriented man with big plans for the West Springfield School System. We should all be very proud to have him and Mayor Reichelt running the show. They do a wonderful job.


What’s Next?

Everyone here really loves doing things like this. It was a nice way to close out an amazing summer and we will be announcing another program that allows us to give back to the community in a huge way in a few weeks. Hint: It’s is our biggest one of the year. Stay tuned and thank you all for your continued support. Without you we wouldn’t be able to continually grow this company year after year or afford to provide amazing programs like this.

From the bottom of my heart. Thank you all!!



brake pad wear indicator light

“When should I get new brakes?”

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.


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