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Broken Subaru Timing Belt West Springfield MA

Subaru Timing Belt Replacement

Subaru Timing Belt Replacement

Broken Subaru Timing Belt West Springfield MA
As you can see the belt literally just snapped

A well maintained timing belt is essential in making sure that your vehicle will last for years to come. They don’t need to be replaced too often and the cost to replace the belt is fairly inexpensive. In most cases it only takes a few hours and should be done roughly every 100,000 miles. The trick here is to replace the timing belt as Preventive Maintenance and not as a repair like this customer had to do. Today I’ll tell you about a Subaru Timing Belt Replacement that ended up being a much larger job than the customer had hoped.

Subaru Check Engine Light

This customer started using us about 1 year ago. They needed an oil change and we were happy to help. With our oil change we perform our complimentary 55 Point Precision Inspection. This Inspection checks over the entire vehicle as well as pointing out any past due maintenance that the customer might need. This customer had roughly 145,000 miles on their car at the time and was told that it may be time to replace the timing belt as it appeared as if the belt had never been replaced. The rest of the car was immaculate.

When we suggested it to the customer she immediately said “That’s a myth, I was told that it lasts forever and replacing them is a scam”. We assured her that it’s not a scam and she told us she would think about it and get back to us. Last week she was driving and had her Check Engine Light come on and about a mile later there was a “bang” and the vehicle simply shut off. She tried to restart it but unfortunately needed to be towed. Fortunately she was able to take advantage of our Free Roadside Assistance.

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Subaru Head Gaskets

Subaru Timing belt and head gasket replacement
After the engine was repaired and put back together it is ready to be reinstalled in the car

The vehicle came in and it was obvious what had happened. The timing belt had snapped causing some internal engine damage. The purpose of the timing belt is to keep the upper and lower ends of the engine moving in sequence. Should one of them find themselves out of sequence there can be some serious internal engine damage. In this case when the lower end (pistons and crank) spun free they hit the upper end (valves) causing some big problems.

The only way to repair valves in a cylinder head is to remove them by removing the entire cylinder head(s). When removed we found significant damage that was fortunately very easily repaired. The technician repaired the cylinder heads by replacing all of the damaged valves and reinstalled them along with new seals and a new timing belt.

The job only took a few days to complete but cost the customer roughly $3000 more to perform this repair due to the engine damage than it would have been if she just replaced the belt as preventive maintenance rather than as a repair after it snapped. Like many others that have unexpected repairs, she wasn’t prepared to spend that kind of money so she was happy about being able to take advantage of one of our Payment Plans.

Need your timing belt replaced? Not sure if your vehicle has a timing belt or a timing chain? Give us a call or feel free to schedule online. We’re happy to help.

 

Precision Auto Repair and Sales West Springfield MAIt’s frightening to have your car shut off on the highway. It’s even more frightening to know that all of this could have been prevented if I just listened to their advice. While I take full responsibility for what happened I’m just happy that James and David were able to get me right in and take care of the issue so quickly. I have a few friends that use this shop and everyone raves about them. Now I see why. I’ll be sure to take their advice more seriously going forward and can’t sing more praises about how professional all of them are and how well my car is running. For anyone considering this shop I can say that they’re not cheap, but they’re GOOD!! Like really good! I find that they’re cheaper than the dealer and blow the dealer away in terms of quality and professionalism. I would rather know my car is fixed properly than cheaply. Highly recommended by me.

Cathy L

West Springfield, MA

strut replacement west springfield ma

Noise Over Bumps

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

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

Suspension Clunk

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

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

Strut Noise

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

Strut Replacement

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

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

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

 

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

Matthew A

West Springfield, MA

Porsche repair technician

Porsche Vibration Repair

Porsche Vibration Repair

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

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

Porsche Vibration while accelerating

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

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

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

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

Porsche repair technicianPorsche Repair in West Springfield, MA

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

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

rolling down the road as smooth as silk.

How can you prevent this from happening to you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Adam R.

Suffield, CT

Worn Brake pads

Where can I get my brakes replaced ?

Where can I get my brakes replaced?

Are you hearing a grinding or squealing noise when braking and wondering “Where can I get my brakes replaced?” We’ve got you covered. Other than Oil Changes, Brake pad replacement is one of the most common services we perform here on a daily basis. The reason being is that much like how your engine oil is breaking down whenever your vehicle is running, your brake pads wear whenever you step on the brake pedal to slow your car down. Today we’re going to give you some insight into how to know when you need to have your brakes replaced and what goes into our Brake Job to make it last longer without incident.

Brake Pad Warning Light

One of the biggest questions that customers have about their brake system is “How do I know when my vehicle needs new brake pads?” The simple answer here is, by having us perform your Brake pad warning lightscheduled maintenance….. All of our Factory Scheduled Maintenance Services come with a complimentary 55 Point Vehicle Inspection. This Inspection includes a visual inspection of the brake system. So when you use us regularly for auto service we will have a better handle on your driving habits so that we can predict when you will need brakes.

The other way is by watching the brake pad warning light. Most newer vehicles will come with this option but it is important to understand that not all vehicles have this option. If you’re unclear if your vehicle has this option or not you may want to consult your owners manual or simply give us a call, we can walk you through how to figure it out. The brake Pad Warning Light is a very simple system. The sensor that reads the brake pad depth is a long wire that creates a loop. When the brake pads wear down, the wire wears until it’s cut, turning on the light. When that light comes on, it’s very important to have your brakes checked in the immediate future.

The next way is by watching your brake light. This is a red light that says “Brake” or “Brakes” This light comes on only for a few reasons. It should always come on when the emergency brake is pressed (or pulled, depending on the vehicle). The next is when the brake fluid is low. Brake fluid is a sealed system, so when the brake pads wear the fluid in the reservoir gets lower. When it gets to the minimum level the light will come on and stay on until the issue is resolved. The other reasons the “Brake Light” will come on are due to a fluid leak or a faulty circuit. In any event, if your brake light comes on and stays on, you will want to have your brake system checked immediately to avoid any safety issues and further repairs caused by putting off the initial repair.

Brake Pad Replacement

Worn Brake pads
From left to right; worn brake pad, new brake pad

When a customer ultimately comes in to have their brake system checked a a few things happen to ensure that we’re replacing what needs to be replaced to be certain that the vehicle is safe and the customer is happy. The process always starts with one of our Technicians performing a road test of the vehicle. This will give us a feel for the vehicle’s brake system. We’re looking to see that the brakes function somewhat normal without a low brake pedal, excessive noise, pulsation, pulling to one side or another, or any of the other many issues that can happen. Next we remove the wheels to inspect the Brake System.

The first area that’s checked is the brake pads and calipers. We’re checking for even pad wear and pad depth remaining. Next we check the brake caliper slides, brake caliper pistons, all of the brake lines and brake hoses, the master cylinder, brake fluid level and condition, brake rotors (and drums if equipped), and the emergency brake system. Then we always follow up the Brake Inspection with our complimentary 55 Point Inspection. It is essential that this inspection is performed correctly to ensure that we don’t miss anything. An example of an improper inspection would be just looking at the brake pads and saying “Your car needs brakes….”, meanwhile you have a loose ball joint that is causing your vehicle to be unsafe. While our way takes a little longer (literally 20-30 minutes), we want to ensure that we know everything about your brake system and the safety of your vehicle so that you know everything bad and good about it. We want you safe and we want you to make a well informed decision. You can’t achieve either of those if we just give a quote without seeing the vehicle or by performing an improper inspection.

Brake Job

In most cases there is really nothing out of the ordinary. About 80% of the Brake Jobs we perform just needs brake pads, brake rotors, or to have the brake rotors machined. The brake rotor is

Brake rotor replacement
From left to right; old rotor, new rotor

something commonly overlooked. It is the metal disc that takes all of the pressure when braking and takes most of the punishment from the heat from braking. It’s important to have these machined if possible or simply replaced when replacing brake pads. This will not only help to ensure that you get the best performance from your new brakes, but it will also help them last a long time without any problems.

You’re probably wondering what’s the difference between machining and replacing a brake rotor. “Machining” is a process where the brake rotor is placed on a brake lathe and the braking surface is shaved down slightly to create a new and clean surface. Not all rotors can be machined though. You see, some rotors come with a “Machine to spec” or “Minimum thickness”. This is a spec that tells us exactly how much we can shave off the surface of the rotor to make that a new and clean surface. Sometimes rust and rot or even a pulsation (warped rotor) will require more machining than is allowed by the minimum thickness. Machining past this point will leave you unsafe and it’s not a good idea.

When the brake pads and rotors are replaced it is essential to lubricate all of the contact points. We see cars come in weekly with newer brakes that are wearing unevenly due to improper installation. Brake pads need to move freely back and forth when pressed. If they don’t, you will find yourself replacing your brakes much sooner than expected. We also coat the back side of the brake pad with a special coating that is meant to eliminate the chance of any noise.

Only top quality products

I said it before and I’ll say it again, we just want to give you the best product possible so that you’re safe and happy. The last way we ensure this is by using ONLY top quality parts. We use only factory parts or better. These products are proven to stand the test of time and any abuse you can throw at them. After we replace your brakes, you’re not going to have to worry if you need to stop quickly. You’ll get a fair price, speedy service, great customer service, and peace of mind that’s backed by our Nationwide Warranty.

 

Precision Auto Repair and Sales West Springfield MASo I found Precision when passing through town on business. I figured I would try them out because my brake light came on when passing Enfield. I met James and his staff and everyone was nice. They got my car right in and inspected the brakes. I simply needed rear brake pads and rotors. When they gave me the price I figured I would shop around. I googled “cheapest place for brakes” and some chain popped up. They gave me a price over the phone that was $20 cheaper than Precision. So regrettably I went to the other shop. Worst decision ever! The other shop didn’t look as nice, the people were rude, and the guy that got in my car was filthy (1 point Precision/ Chain 0). I wait in their lobby for 3.5 hours until my car is ready which only gave me more time to research the horrific reviews about the chain and the amazing ones about Precision (Precision promised it in 1 hour, Precision 2/ chain 0). So now I pay for the repair and should be on my way but my brake light is on and the brake pedal goes to the floor. The Chain told me that there was nothing they could do and that the car was like that before. Not to mention they were closing and I would now have to stay in a hotel (Precision 3/ Chain 0). I called James and thought I would have to beg for his help. He was pretty understanding and got my car right back in shortly after closing. The problem they found is that I drive a 2008 Audi A6. The rear brake calipers require special tools and software to push them back to allow room for the installation of the new brake pads. What the Chain did was remove the calipers and crush them in a vise. This caused the insides to break and leaks that made my brake pedal low. So in short, by trying to save $20 being cheap I cost myself 2 new electronic calipers and a stay overnight in a hotel waiting for the parts to come in. The guys at precision are competent, polite, and very accommodating. To date I’ve been using their service for 5 years. I find their pricing reasonable and even very inexpensive when considering the level of service they provide. I have since relocated to the area and James and his staff currently service my entire fleet of vehicles as well as friends and family vehicles. They always go above and beyond and I couldn’t be happier with them. To anyone reading this, you need to do yourself a favor and go to precision. They’re professional, honest, and passionate about what they do.

Matthew W.

Longmeadow, MA

Volkswagen check engine light repair

Why is my Check Engine Light on ?

Why is my Check Engine Light on?

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 Volkswagen check engine light repairsystem 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.

volkswagen P0300 P0301 P0302 P0303 P0304 misfire
This was only about 1/3 of the carbon we took out of the cylinders. The pile is about 1/2′ high. (That’s a lot)

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

 

precision auto repair and sales west springfield MA Repair it Forward

2nd Annual Repair it Forward Winner announcement

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.

Patrick’s repairs will also be backed by our 2 year 24,000 mile Nationwide Warranty and 12 months of Roadside assistance. So the peace of mind doesn’t end once the repairs are finished.

Precision Auto Repair Repair it Forward Winner
From left to right: James Stephenson (Owner/ President, Precision Auto Repair and Sales), Shelby Driscol, Patrick Driscol

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.

 

-JS

 

Precision Auto Repair and Sales West Springfield MAMy 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.

                                                                    Shelby Driscoll

West Springfield, MA

BMW check engine light air intake boot

BMW Check Engine Light

BMW Check Engine Light Repair

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 air intake boot
You can see a sizable tear towards the top of the boot

 

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.

  1. 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…
  2. 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.
  3. 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
BMW check engine light repair air intake boot
You can really see the difference between the new and old boots

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. BMW repair technicianAfter 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!!

Conclusion

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.

 

Precision Auto Repair and Sales West Springfield MA

 

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

Antonio H.

Springfield, MA

Brake line repair

Car Repair Fails

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.

 

Coolant Leak

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 Thermostat repairdecided 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.

 

Exhaust Repair

exhaust repairThis 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

frame rotThis 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

Brake line repairThis 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.

 

Coolant Leak

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 Coolant leakthat “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.

When your car needs repairs do yourself a favor and give us a call or schedule online. Our staff has the training and experience to get you back on the road quickly and safely at a reasonable price. Then we back our repairs with a 2 year 24,000 mile Nationwide warranty and 12 month roadside assistance at no additional cost.

“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” – Benjamin Franklin

Volkswagen turbo burning oil

Volkswagen No Start

Volkswagen No Start

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

Volkswagen Won’t Start

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

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

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

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

Why did this happen?

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

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

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

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

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

Volkswagen Engine Replacement

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

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

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

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

How can you avoid this from happening to you?

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

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

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

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

 

Precision Auto Repair and Sales West Springfield MA

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

(Customer requested to stay anonymous)

Springfield, MA

Subaru head gasket replacement

Subaru Head Gasket

Subaru Head Gasket

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

Subaru Head Gasket replacement
This is one of the cylinder heads after being cleaned up and serviced at the machine shop

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 Subaru head gasket replacementtwice 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.

Subaru head gasket leak
It’s important that when cleaning the block to make sure none of the metal shavings get into the cylinders, oil passages, or coolant passages. We plug them all with shop towels while prepping them

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!

 

 

 

 

 

Precision Auto Repair and Sales West Springfield MA2 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.

Matt M.

Westfield, MA