Have you ever thought, “Why is my Check Engine Light on in my Volkswagen”? Today we saw an interesting case for why the light came on and the fix was pretty neat. We have all heard someone at some point tell us “Just check the gas cap”. While that may be true in some cases, the fact remains that we really only see that once in a while. The engine computer monitors every sensor and system in the engine at all times and when it sees anything out of the ordinary, it will turn the light on. This can be for any of a few hundred reasons. Today I’ll explain how we got to the bottom of a Check Engine Light in a customer’s Volkswagen.
“Why is my Volkswagen Check Engine Light On?”
A long time customer came in today. He was concerned because he had been driving to Rhode Island when his Check Engine Light came on suddenly. He called us and said that the light had come on but the car was running just fine. He made his way back and brought the car in. The first step was for one of our Master Technicians to first drive the vehicle to see if anything felt out of the ordinary. The only thing we noticed was a minor shake at idle and that the Check Engine Light was in fact on.
From there we use a Volkswagen Diagnostic Scan Tool to pull a code (a code is a sequence of numbers that lead us to a problem area in the engine, transmission, SRS system, or ABS system). The customer actually had 5 separate codes. All of the codes were related to the engine misfiring. From there we begin diagnosis. Vehicles need 3 things (more than that but these are the 3 main ones) to run. Air, Fuel, and Spark… In this case he had all 3. the next step was to measure compression (this is the internal pressure that the engine builds when running). It was slightly low. Next we performed a cylinder leak down test. We want to make sure that the engine is capable of holding the internal pressure that it builds.
Bingo!!! 3 of the 4 cylinders in this engine were leaking down. We looked into the cylinders with a bore scope (little camera that fits in tight places). This allowed us to see into the cylinders and intake. The technician noticed a great deal of carbon built up so we needed to remove the intake for further diagnosis.
Once the intake was removed we could see the top of the valves. “We found our problem!!!” The top of the valves were so caked up with carbon that the valves weren’t able to fully close. This was the cause of the cylinders leaking down and the cause of the misfire.
We cleaned the top of all of the intake valves by hand then used a vacuum to suck out the debris. Then a small machine called a “Walnut blaster” is installed and it blasts in finely crushed up walnut shells and vacuums them out to make the area brand new again. The intake is then reinstalled.
In total the diagnosis and repair took about 4-5 hours. We have seen this issue before but this was definitely the worst one. Since it was harder to clean, we had to take a little more time. Once the repair was finished, the car was cleaned and returned to the customer.
So if you’re wondering “Why is my Check Engine Light on in my Volkswagen“? Give us a call. Our trained Technicians have the experience to get you back on the road quickly without wasting any time replacing things that you don’t need. This will only save you time and money
Last year we started a program called Repair It Forward. For those that don’t know, Repair it Forward is a program we created to give back to the community that supports us by helping a family that has fallen on hard times and can truly benefit from having a safe and reliable vehicle. The Repair it Forward Winner will receive up to $3,000 in repairs for their vehicle. While this may seem like a lot of money, and we assure you that it is. We found that the people that really needed a program like this had been putting off repairs for so long that that some of the minor and inexpensive repairs had now become major ones.
Applicants were asked to submit their hardship through our website using an online form. From there the panel would pick one winner. This year we had almost 300 participants!! Which is about 100 more than last year. This made the decision making process much more difficult because like last year, we found that there were a lot of very deserving families.
After careful consideration we were able to come up with one family that really stood out. So today we are happy to announce the winner of the 2nd annual Repair it Forward Program….
Congratulations to Patrick Driscoll of West Springfield. Patrick is a veteran, father, and husband. We hope that this $3,000 in vehicle repairs will help you advance your career as your wife Shelby was very concerned about the safety and reliability of your vehicle while traveling to and from work. Patrick also uses this vehicle daily as his work vehicle.
I personally want to thank all of our customers that come in and trust us to service their vehicles. A portion of all repair bills go towards this program, so without your trust in us we couldn’t afford to have Repair it Forward. I would also like to thank Autopart International of West Springfield for helping to sponsor this program.
Congratulations again to Patrick and Shelby. And to everyone else that applied for the program. We wish you all the best of luck.
My husband has a jeep that has literally been falling apart for years. Precision offered a program called Repair it Forward and I entered my husband. By some small miracle we were chosen by James and his employees. They were incredible and not only repaired our car for free but they went over budget to make sure my husband would be safe in his daily driver. The work is fantastic and I can’t thank them enough for what they do. I won’t go anywhere else for my repair needs. Impeccable work, honesty, and they do what they can to help.
BMW makes some of the most well engineered vehicles on the road today. From having ample amounts of power right through to the finely tuned suspension, these vehicles truly are a pleasure to drive no matter what type of driving you’re used to. This week we had a customer concerned about their BMW Check Engine Light coming on and when he would slow down the car would begin to “chug” and sometimes even stall. Naturally he thought the worst but this was actually a very simple repair that only took a few hours.
BMW Check Engine Light Diagnosis
This customer used to take his vehicle to a local BMW dealer but after exploring his options and talking with a few other BMW owners that trust us he decided to give us a shot. We’re happy that he did and from what he tells us, he’s happy that he made the switch as well. He’s actually been using our service for about 6 years now.
When he brought his car in this week he was really in a tough spot. His main vehicle was having issues and was actually in our shop being repaired when he called with a concern about his BMW Check Engine Light. Since his other vehicle was here for only a minor repair and some needed maintenance and his BMW was having trouble running he felt that he was in a tough spot because he would end up with no transportation. Going from 2 cars to 0 cars can make for a stressful day.
We got him right in and began diagnosing his BMW Check Engine Light. The first step in this process is always to drive the car. Our Technicians are trying to do a few things.
They want to verify the customer’s immediate concern. In this case the Check Engine Light is on and the car is stalling when coming to a stop. Simple enough…
The Technician then gets a feel for anything else that may be wrong with the vehicle that the customer may not be noticing. The point here is to get a better idea of the overall health of the vehicle so that when we inspect the vehicle on the lift in the shop, we can get a better idea of areas in the vehicle that may require more attention. We do this because our customer’s trust us to tell them 100% of what’s wrong (or right) with their vehicle 100% of the time. We want them to be able to make an informed decision when deciding to repair their car. It wouldn’t be ethical to sell them an immediate repair without telling them that there is another issue with the vehicle that they didn’t know about. We want them to make an informed decision and give them options every single time.
Then the vehicle comes into the shop to continue the diagnostic process so we can find out what’s causing this BMW Check Engine Light to come on
Once the vehicle is on the lift the Technician scans for “codes”. The easiest way to explain this is that a “code” is a sequence of numbers stored in the vehicle’s computer. This sequence of numbers leads us to a troubled area in that vehicle so we can start testing that area. Contrary to popular belief, there is no such tool that can be plugged into your vehicle and tell the Technician exactly what went wrong and what is wrong without some form of testing. A tool like that is literally a Unicorn.
This vehicle had a BMW P0171 (Bank 1 is running lean, too much air). If you’re a Technician yourself you know that this can be one of the hardest codes to diagnose on a vehicle. Fortunately we got lucky with this one. A vehicle needs 3 things to run. Air, fuel, and spark. Since this engine was running lean and pulling in too much air the first place we wanted to look was for large air or vacuum leaks. This one was very obvious.
The air comes into the engine through the air filter, passes through the air intake tubes, and into the engine. One of these intake tubes had a huge hole in it! What was happening was this engine was pulling air through the air filter while also pulling air through the hole in the side of the boot. Too much air, causing it to run lean. On this particular car we actually see this specific part fail quite regularly. The boot is rubber and over time it develops a small crack that eventually splits. The Technician also performed a Free 55 Point Inspection (done on all vehicles that enter our shop unless the customer specifically says not to) and gave the vehicle a clean bill of health other than the BMW Check Engine Light repair.
BMW Check Engine Light Fix
From here the repair process was pretty simple. Since this is a part that fails somewhat frequently, we already had it in stock. It was as simple as removing the old one and installing the new one. After the failed part(s) is replaced we need to then clear the fault code and drive the vehicle. We want to make sure that the repair fixed the customers concerns. We also want to set readiness. Readiness is a code that generates behind the scenes when you drive. You’ll never get any indicator that it’s set unless you were able to access the computer with a factory scan tool. This readiness is in place to monitor all systems in the engine, once all of the tests pass then readiness is set. This is a semi-fool-proof way to verify that our repair took care of this BMW Check Engine Light. After a little bit of a road test we had Readiness, no stalling, and no more BMW Check Engine Light. Success!!
A lot of people fear that when their BMW Check Engine Light comes on that it’s going to cost them an arm and a leg. While that is the reality in some cases, it’s VERY rare if you have your BMW Service performed regularly. These services are designed to spot failures before they become major ones. Since this customer always follows our e mail and text reminders, he really didn’t have much to worry about. His Check Engine Light Repair was only a few bucks and it didn’t take much time at all. We also backed out repair with our 2 year 24,000 mile Nationwide Warranty and 12 months of roadside assistance and since this customer was having both of his vehicle’s repaired he chose to use one of our Auto Repair Payment Plans to pay for the work.
If your BMW Check Engine Light is on, give us a call today or you can schedule below. Our Technicians have the training, experience, and tools to get your BMW back on the road in no time.
I’ve been using these guys for a while. Back when it was just James and Tai. You have always taken care of me. I generally have no worries about my cars and I can’t thank you enough for helping me through this random issue. I recommend you to everyone and anyone looking for the best BMW repair shop around. Thanks again
We all make mistakes. Some more frequently than others….. We’re human, it’s normal. Mistakes are an opportunity to learn and get better. We see a lot of customers monthly/ yearly and sometimes they make mistakes too. We get a lot of e mails and requests from customers about what they want us to write about so today I’m going to give a few examples of Car Repair Fails and then explain how to prevent them from happening to you.
This was a first time customer. He was actually here a few weeks prior applying for a job… (spoiler alert, we didn’t hire him). He had been experiencing a coolant leak on his wife’s vehicle and decided to fix it himself. This leak was causing the vehicle to overheat when the car would get up to operating temperature so it was really causing a headache for them.
When he reached out he said that he was “having trouble getting the gasket to seal”. As you can see from the picture, it’s pretty obvious to see why. What happened was that one of the bolts that hold the thermostat housing in place had broken when coming out. So him and his friend figured that they could just use vise grips to hold the flange in place.
We removed the flange, drilled out the broken bolt, replaced the gasket, replaced the bolt, and properly filled the cooling system. It took about 2 hours.
This was another first time customer. They were having trouble with their exhaust system. It seemed loud to them and they just wanted it fixed. We took a look at it and found that there were some rot holes throughout the system and it had been repaired a few times previously so we recommended replacing the entire system to eliminate the chance of any further issues. We didn’t want to just “patch” the immediate issue because they would start to notice the other leaks further back in the system and a “patch” just wouldn’t be a proper repair.
The customer declined the repair and ended up returning about 1 month later. They had a “friend” that “works on cars” replace the catalytic converter for them. The problem was that they noticed that after a few days the exhaust seemed louder than the original noise. They also had a significant loss of power.
When our Technicians took a look we not only found that the catalytic converter was completely missing but there were no signs of the clamps that should have been installed to hold the catalytic converter in place. You can actually see one of the factory clamps that’s welded to the front pipe still on the pipe. That may be the reason it fell off… We ended up replacing the entire system. It took about an hour and a half.
Pre Purchase Inspection
This was a long time customer that had problems with their previous vehicle. It ended up needing more work than the car was worth so we suggested they start looking for a new car. About 3 months later they came in for normal service with their new car and were shocked at what we found.
The front support that connects the left and right sides of the front frame section and supports the radiator had a huge rot hole in it. The hole was just about big enough to put an entire fist into. When they bought the car they had the dealership that sold it to them look it over prior to purchase. The vehicle also had a myriad of other issues. The customer ended up getting rid of this vehicle and purchased another one. We performed a Pre Purchase Inspection on the new vehicle and they have been worry free for roughly 1 year since they bought it.
Brake Line Repair
This is actually an older story from a few years back. This customer reached out after having a neighbor that worked at another local shop replace his brakes for him. The story is that the brake pedal felt soft and he was told that he needed new brakes. Sounds simple enough… The brakes were replaced by the neighbor and when the owner of the car started to drive the car he felt that the car didn’t stop like it used to and the brake pedal still felt soft. He was told that it was just an adjustment.
He actually drove the car for about 6 months before contacting us for a second opinion. We immediately found that while the brakes in the rear of the vehicle were in fact replaced they weren’t working at all. The main issue the customer initially had was due to rotting and leaking brake lines. So instead of repairing the lines the Neighbor just used Vise Grips to clamp off the fluid to stop it from leaking. Unfortunately this won’t allow any fluid to the rear brake system, so they weren’t working at all when the brake pedal was pressed. Not to mention that this was very unsafe.
We ended up replacing most of the brake lines in the vehicle. While this section was the major source of the leak, there were other problem areas. The brakes themselves were actually good quality parts that were installed correctly. So after replacing the lines we just needed to adjust the brakes and bleed the system of any air. This job took about 2 days. Mainly because the customer requested pre bent factory lines that needed to be ordered.
This customer was also having trouble with her cooling system. The car was overheating and there was a large puddle of coolant on the ground where she parks at work. Her boyfriend had a friend that “fixes cars” so they took this car repair to him because he gave them a price to repair the issue before even seeing the car when we unfortunately could not do the same (here is why).
The repair ended up being pretty simple. The car developed a leak at the upper radiator hose and the hose really should have been replaced because it was swelling under pressure and hoses really do have a shelf life on them. But this “Friend” had another fix… electrical tape. Rather than replace the hose or even the clamp(s) he just poured crazy glue around the end of the hose, reinstalled the clamp, then covered the connection with electrical tape. Clearly the hose continued to leak.
The customer called us that day. We were able to get her right in, replace the hose, both clamps, and properly fill the system. It took about 45 minutes, we had the hose in stock, and it cost less than the friend initially quoted them.
How can you prevent this from happening?
The common denominator here for most of these stories is the quality of the repair. It’s no secret that some Auto Repairs can be expensive. But in all of these situations the customer paid for the car repair elsewhere then ended up paying to have the same repair performed again correctly later. So how much did they really save? The simple answer is nothing at all. They actually paid more and in some cases had to pay to have the same parts replaced again by our trained Technicians.
Now I’m not saying that good Technicians don’t make mistakes. Even with experience and training, I assure you that mistakes still happen. But these situations are clearly not mistakes. They are Car Repairs that were performed to intentionally deceive the customer. It’s sad.
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
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
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
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?
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.
Ask for service records when buying a new car. Sometimes the deal that’s too good to be true is exactly that.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 =)
Those of us that live in Western MA were pretty lucky this year when it comes to cold weather (if you don’t like snow or cold that is). We only had a few weeks of really cold weather, but other than that the temperatures have stayed pretty warm. A long time customer had come in a few weeks back concerned about a loss of heat in his Subaru. When he would warm the car up in the morning the temperature coming out of the vents would stay icy cold no matter how long he ran the car. Sometimes the fix can be something simple such as a loose clamp or a faulty thermostat. Unfortunately for this customer he needed a Subaru Head Gasket Replacement
Subaru Coolant Leak
It’s very common in the winter to see cars coming in with heat loss and in the summer we see cars come in overheating. Both concerns are typically (but not always) caused by the same issue, a Coolant Leak. For this Subaru Repair we road tested the car to verify what was happening. When we pulled the car into the shop we found that there was a significant loss of coolant. This will most definitely cause the customer’s concern.
We then applied some pressure to the cooling system to help us identify where the coolant is leaking and hoist the vehicle on a lift to check for any obvious leaks. Coolant was actually leaking out of the driver side Subaru Head Gasket. When inspecting the passenger side of the engine there was a large amount of coolant staining that indicted there was a small leak from that side of the engine. If left untreated this small leak will most definitely turn into a larger leak. It was determined that both cylinder heads would need to come off this engine to be checked for warpage or cracks.
Subaru Head Gasket Replacement
We removed both Subaru Cylinder Heads and had one of our Certified Technicians look them over. There were no obvious issues but to be safe we sent them to a machine shop to have them properly cleaned and serviced. The machine shop makes the mounting surface perfectly smooth so that the gasket can seal properly. Then they clean all of the valves and replace any seals in the cylinder heads. The heads always come back a day or so later looking and functioning like brand new Subaru Cylinder Heads.
Subaru Head Gasket Replacement Tip
A few months back we put a picture of another Subaru Head Gasket Replacement on our social media. There were some question as to how we were doing the job. For those that don’t know, most shops that do this job once or twice a year will remove the entire engine from the car, then disassemble and reassemble the engine. We average a few every week so we found a slightly better way to do the same job. What we do is leave the engine in the car and disassemble and reassemble the engine right in the car. The outcome is exactly the same in terms of the quality of work. But the bonus is that it saves about 2-3 hours doing it our way. What this means for the customer is that they save almost $300 and get their car back sooner!!!
The trick is using some special tools that we have had specially fabricated to make this job go much smoother. You can also achieve the same result without the special tools by using carefully positioned wedges of wood that will give you the proper angles to remove the heads while keeping the intake out of the way. Doing this puts no stress or strain on anything in the engine compartment and allows plenty of room to remove and reinstall the cylinder heads. There really is no need whatsoever to remove the entire engine. It’s just a wasted expense that the customer really doesn’t need to incur.
Now it’s time for the whole job to go back together. Because of the mileage on the vehicle we installed a new timing belt and water pump too. The vehicle was roughly 10,000 miles away based on the service history but the customer decided to replace them while the engine was going back together instead of reinstalling the old ones, then have to take it all back apart again in a few months when he hits the required mileage. It saved him quite a bit of money doing it this way. After all parts were installed we performed all the necessary scheduled maintenance so that this customer can just enjoy their car for a while and not have to worry about anything.
We see a lot of Subaru Repairs that require the replacement of the Head Gaskets. Unfortunately it’s a very common issue on these cars. But the repair process is pretty quick and the price is reasonable. We then back the repair with our 2 year, 24,000 mile Nationwide warranty and Free 12 month roadside assistance. It’s all about giving the customer the best service possible at the best price possible. Peace of Mind!
2 Days! My car was in and out of there in 2 days!. That’s unbelievable! This car is my life. I need it for shuttling around family and I’m in it all day for work. When Precision told me I needed to have the engine taken apart I was in disbelief that they we’re going to have it back to me the next day. But I’ve been going to them for years and they have never put me in the wrong direction yet. Sure thing the next day around 4 o’clock they called to say it was done. They even came to pick me up. Over the years I’ve used other area shops, I’ve used 2 area dealers, and I’ve used chain repair places. I’ve never seen the high quality and empathy that the staff at Precision always brings to the table. These guys are good. Like really darn good! Do yourself a favor and take your car to these guys. Not only do they care, they know what they’re doing.
A few weeks back we posted a picture to our Facebook page showing us starting an Audi Repair that consisted of us replacing an engine on an Audi RS6. Within a few days I received some texts and e mails asking me to update people on the progress. So I didn’t want to leave everyone hanging.
The customer that owns the car absolutely LOVES it. Him and his wife bought it when it was new and at the time it really was one of the top cars out there, in my opinion it still is. It’s called an Audi RS6. This car was made for the person that wants a nice car to cruise on the highway with during the week, then turn around on the weekends and take it to the track. It’s really the best of both worlds.
About a month ago it was towed in. They were driving on the highway and the vehicle just shut down and wouldn’t restart. I personally took a look at this one because Audi and Porsche are 2 of my favorite brands to work on. I quickly found that the vehicle had low compression and I suspected a bent valve(s). I performed a compression (internal engine pressure created by the engine) test and as expected there was no compression but only on the left side of the engine. So I removed all of the covers that sit over the timing belt to check the timing and the timing was perfect. The belt was also relatively new. So I had to dig a little further.
On this and many Audi and Volkswagen engines there are external and internal timing components. The external timing component would be the timing belt. This is replaced around 90-100k miles (always replaced with the water pump, tensioner, rollers, seals, and thermostat). The internal component(s) would be the timing chains and tensioners. On this and a lot of Audi and Volkswagen engines they have 2 camshafts (simple explanation would be to call it a long metal bar that has lumps in it that open and close valves in the engine) in each cylinder head. The timing belt spins just one of the cams and the internal timing chain(s) spin the other camshaft in sequence. Make sense? Well if it doesn’t that’s “ok”. Just know that these are vital components and if there is a failure, it’s pretty bad.
To access the chains I had to remove the valve covers. Since there was a major failure on just one side I wanted to start with that side. Once removed I was able to check the internal timing. I found that the left bank was off by roughly 180 degrees. In layman’s terms… Kaboom!
Now to find out why it happened. The tensioner was removed and I found that the tensioner that holds pressure on that chain had an issue, it was just compressing with one finger and shouldn’t do that. When the car is off there is a spring inside that holds a good amount of tension on the chain. It also requires oil pressure to keep pressure on the chain while it’s running. The problem here is that the passage the oil goes through to get to the tensioner was plugged solid with engine sludge. Sort of like a varicose vein. Without proper oil pressure the tensioner would allow the chain to bounce around and eventually jump timing.
Audi Repair Options
The customer was ultimately given 5 choices.
Start looking for a new car
Remove the engine, take it apart, fix what’s broken
Remove the engine, completely rebuild it
Replace the engine with a brand new one
Replace the engine with a used one
The customer chose option 5. There weren’t a lot of these engines available so we went with a low mileage option. When it arrived it was in great shape but we wanted the customer to be completely worry free so we resealed the entire engine, replaced all external timing components, and brought it up to date on any other maintenance. There were a few minor hick-ups along the way but nothing even remotely major. It was by far the most cost effective and time sensitive option available.
This really isn’t all that difficult of a job if you know what you’re doing and you have the proper tools…. but it does take a long time. The total time spent was somewhere around 45 hours.
So after about a week and a half the new engine was in the car and running perfectly. The customer really loves the car so for him and his wife it was money well spent. They’re great people and we really hope they enjoy all of the time they can spend in it once again.
Most us can look back at a time when we got stuck in the snow or mud. It’s a horrible feeling. For me personally I get mad at my car when I’m the one that got it stuck…. Last week we saw a customer come in with a really nice Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. He was passing by someone that was stuck and decided to help pull them out. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to pull the vehicle out and the whole ordeal ended up with the need for a Jeep Axle Repair.
“No good deed goes unpunished” – Clare Boothe Luce
When the customer brought the Jeep in he was holding a large piece of the axle in his hand and there was a puddle of differential (gears that help move the wheels) fluid under the right front of the vehicle. It didn’t take much time to see where the problem was. The only potential issue here is that when the axle breaks there is a large possibility that the remaining portion of the axle can damage other components when it spins free, or the piece that broke off could damage things on the way out.
One of our Master Technicians checked the whole front suspension and the damaged area. The customer was pretty lucky because the only major problems were the axle being broken and the axle seal. We also noticed an ABS light on the dash that was caused by an improper alignment (the skid light will come on if the steering wheel is off center because the vehicle thinks it’s sliding sideways down the road sideways and the driver has turned the steering wheel to correct course). So we recommended replacing the axle, the seal, and an alignment.
It was a pretty simple fix. The broken portion of the axle was removed. Then the front differential had to come apart to replace the seal. There are special tools that are “supposed” to make replacing this seal easy but we have the tools and the seal never goes in correctly… So we access the seal by going into the differential. After we put everything back together we performed an alignment.
In conclusion, this was a pretty simple repair. The only problem was that we had to wait a few days for a new axle to come in. Other than that the customer was out the door as quickly as possible and he won’t be towing anyone out of the snow anytime soon. A somewhat happy ending to a good deed that went wrong.
I don’t know anyone that hasn’t had a hard time at some point in their life. Whether it’s losing a job, an illness in the family, or any other life altering event. It’s happened to all of us. When we’re in that low, all we want is to get out of it and get back to where we were or to be even stronger than we were. My family and I created Repair it Forward for people in situations just like these.
You never really know how much you need your car until you’re without it.
2015 Repair it Forward Winner
Last year was a huge success. We knew there would be a huge demand but never expected almost 200 applicants. It was a tough decision to make but one family really stood out in the crowd. Wendy Thibault of West Springfield, MA allowed us the chance to get her family mini van back in proper working order. The only real problem was that when the van started coming apart for repairs we started to find more problems…. It was like an onion, every time we peeled back another layer there was another problem. We couldn’t just put it back together like that so our staff and the staff at Autopart International of West Springfield chipped in their own personal money to help pay for the additional repairs. It was awesome!!! The van ran like new when it was done. The Thibault family couldn’t have been happier.
Want to know more?
Just go to the Repair it Forward page, fill out the form, and one of our staff will contact you in a day or so. If you can’t fill the form out, that’s ok. Just ask a friend or family member to assist you, it should only take a few minutes. From there we will inspect the vehicle to make sure that $3,000 will actually make the car safe and reliable. Our only intent is to make you safe so that the vehicle will pass state inspection and get you and your family wherever you need to go. If you’re happy and this helps you, we hit our mark. Then we back our repair with our 2 year 24,000 mile Nationwide Warranty and Free 12 Month Roadside Assistance.
One of our passions here is giving back to the community that supports us. We will never be a business that takes and takes without helping as many people as we can along the way. So a few times every year we are presented with an opportunity to help someone without looking for anything in return. When we’re presented with this opportunity we go big. With all of the causes we have helped through the years and continue to support such as Brakes For Breasts, Repair it Forward (this is actually our own charity that my wife and I fund), Brightside for Families and Children,
Western Mass News reached out to us about a week ago and told us that they were interested in surprising 1 customer by paying for up to $500 of their bill. We thought that this was a great idea! So we took it a few steps further….. First, we decided to match the $500 from Western Mass News and The Big Y SurPRIZE Squad. The reason being is that most people that are REALLY in need of repairs have put off issues for so long that there is subsequent damage (issues created by other issues) and the bill can get out of control quickly. We felt that $1,000 was a good number (It gets much better).
We first met Ricardo a few months back. We see a few thousand customers every year and this class act stood out among the rest because of how genuinely polite he was. He brought in his 2009 Honda Civic for a major issue and ultimately didn’t have all of the money to address all issues with the vehicle. Like many people he was left in a situation where he had to prioritize by repairing the issue that was causing the car not to run at all and push aside some other issues until he could get some more money together. The hardship comes in because Ricardo is Active Duty in The US Army National Guard, has 2 children (1 of which turns 5 today), and a baby on the way. He’s doing everything he can to make ends meet for his family and to provide for them, so even though there are issues with his car he just has other priorities that top that list. Which we can all relate to. Ricardo puts his butt on the line for us protecting our country, the least we could do is fix his car for him. To learn more about this repair process you can find it here.
So as promised, there was a twist at the end. Ricardo’s bill came out to $1,000 (slightly over actually). We took the $1,000 ($500 from us and $500 from The Western Mass News Big Y SurPRIZE Squad) and gave it all to Shriners Hospitals for Children. Then we paid the remainder of his bill for him. The hospital is in need of an EOS Imaging x-ray machine that will help assess the needs of children by using Ultra-safe low dose radiation technology that reduces the risk of cancer for patients who receive repeated x-rays. It uses Nobel-Prize winning technology. This machine will cost just under $900,000.
Thanks to Western Mass News, Brittany Decker, The Big Y SurPRIZE Squad, Melha Shriners, Shriners Hospitals for Children, and our wonderful staff that fixed Ricardo’s car. Today was a great an awesome day!!!
If you’re interested in donating to Shriners Hospitals for Children you can click here. Every bit helps….
Are you or do you know an Automotive Technician that shares the same passion for helping the community and fixing cars as we do? We’re looking to hire 1 more Superstar Technician. Learn more here.
“I can’t believe this happened to me and my family. I do my job because I love it. I’ve never looked for any recognition and never will. But to be noticed in this way and receive a gift like this… It’s really special. This is something I will never forget. Thank you to everyone that made this possible for me and my family. You don’t know how much it means to us.”