Greater Springfield Habitat For Humanity Tommy House
Then Dianne Mullin stopped by to talk about The Greater Springfield Habitat For Humanity Tommy House and how the community can get involved.
They’re looking for cash donations as well as in kind donations. If neither of those work for you, then they would love it if you could come out and help build the home. Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated.
This week Anthony Santore from Tech Auto Service in Springfield joined us to talk about some of the changes to the Mass State Inspection process. We earned a little more about how it affects and helps the consumer. Check it out below.
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 =)
This week we had a customer come in concerned about his ABS light being on and his Honda Brakes were causing the entire car to shake when slowing down. The first step was verifying the concern. This is done through a simple road test where the Technician will drive the vehicle and see that the ABS Light is in fact on and that the brakes are pulsating (causing the car to shake when the brakes are pressed).
Honda ABS Light Repair
From there we use a factory scan tool to access the ABS module. This tool will pull a sequence of numbers (code) that leads us to a troubled area in the system. Then we diagnose accordingly. In this case the right front ABS Sensor was broken off and hanging down. The purpose of this sensor is to measure wheel speed at each individual wheel. There are 4 ABS Sensors in total.
The next issue to address was finding out where the brake pulsation was coming from. In this case it was obvious to the Technician that the pulsation was coming from the front brakes. What happens here is the brake rotor (metal disc that the brake pads press against) should be a nice flat surface. Unfortunately over time the rotor has become a little bit “wavy”, the technical term is “excessive run out”. It’s a very common issue caused by the heating and cooling of the brakes during normal operation and sometimes by a driver that’s a little bit hard on their brakes.
After we were able to identify the cause of each customer concern the Technician performed a 55 point inspection on the vehicle. The point of this inspection is to make sure we have a firm grasp on the overall condition of the vehicle. If we call a customer and tell them they need “$xx.xx amount in repairs”, their next question is always “Is there anything else wrong with the vehicle?” So the inspection will check all safety items, maintenance items, and other systems that allow the vehicle to function like new every single day. We perform a 55 point inspection on most vehicles (unless the customer tells us otherwise) and this is always complimentary.
Honda Brake Repair
We ended up replacing the front brake pads, front brake rotors, changed the engine oil, and replaced some filters. For the ABS concern we had to drill out the broken portion of the ABS Sensor so a new one could be installed. After all repairs were completed we took the vehicle for a road test to ensure that we addressed all of the customer’s concerns. It came out perfect!
From start to finish the job took about half a day and the customer had the vehicle back later in the afternoon. It wasn’t a particularly difficult repair but it was definitely necessary. When the ABS light is on there is always a possibility that the brakes will malfunction. The ABS light will also cause the car to fail State Inspection. So if this or any other warning light is lit up on your dash, it’s always a good idea to have it checked and properly diagnosed by trained Technicians sooner rather than later.
If your vehicle is in need of service or repair feel free to schedule here or give us a call at 413.363.0306.
In Part 1 of this post about Oil Change intervals and/or Scheduled maintenance we covered how to properly check your engine oil as well as detailing what is classified as Factory Scheduled Maintenance and/ or “K Services”. In Part 2 we will cover K Services based on driving habits, how “K Services” are the new “Tune Up”, and how performing these services not only adds value to your vehicle but it will help save you money and time by keeping the car running like new while maintaining the factory warranty.
Normal Service vs. Severe Service
The easiest way to explain this is to point out that clearly some people are harder on their vehicles than others. To piggyback on this, there are also areas of the country that are harder on vehicles than others. Below is what Acura describes as “Severe Service”. This is a pretty industry standard description and applies to most vehicles;
If your driving habits and geographical location don’t apply to that description, then you fall under “Normal Service”. The difference between the 2 is basically that Severe Service schedules are a little shorter. They do this because if the vehicle is exposed to harsher conditions it’s only natural that your vehicle will need a little bit more attention to stay running like new.
As you can see from the side by side comparison. Vehicles that are driven in Severe conditions will see almost twice as much maintenance than “Normal condition” vehicles. Just a small hint, everyone of us living in New England fall under Severe Service based on temperature change alone from day to day.
Every single day we get a few calls from people that are asking for a price for a “Tune Up”. The problem here is that years ago a Tune Up would fix about 90% of the issues a vehicle could have, but that’s no longer the case. When these people are calling it’s typically because they have fallen behind with their K Services and have developed an issue that needs to be addressed and most people are under the impression that a “Tune Up” will fix whatever is broken. The K Service Schedule will lay out an exact plan as to when to change all fluids, filters, spark plugs, timing belt, and any other serviceable components. In addition it allows our Factory Trained Technicians a chance to properly inspect a list of other areas detailed on the Schedule. If your Service has lapsed the process is still simple, we figure out what’s been missed and bring it up to date. How does this benefit you?
“What’s in it for me?”
This is a question we all ask ourselves when making any decision. By performing these K Services and following the schedule laid out by the manufacturer of your vehicle it does a few things for you.
First, it keeps your factory warranty current. that’s correct, You do not need to go to the dealer to keep your factory warranty current. plus our average customer saves about 20% under what the dealer charges for the exact same service.
Next, you get a safe running vehicle. With all of these mileage based services there are various points of inspection on the vehicle that we check. We can quickly assess the immediate condition as well as being able to spot any other issues on the horizon before they become a problem. This way it allows you to plan.
Last, is that when your vehicle is running it’s best not only are you going to have many miles of worry free driving but you’ll also have better fuel economy. In addition when you decide to sell or trade your vehicle, having all of the up to date maintenance records will really help the resale value.
I hope this has been helpful. If you have any other questions just feel free to reach out to us at anytime. We’re here to help. Or to schedule an appointment you can do so here.
I started going to James back when they first opened about 10 years ago. I was definitely skeptical when he told me what needed to be done and when basically because I had never heard anyone else tell me this. How could he predict the future? My Audi had 5,000 miles on it and he was telling me how to get to 200,000 miles. I literally left the first visit with a schedule and prices for services broken down all the way up to 200,000 miles. I had to admire his passion but I also have to admit that I never thought I would get this far or own the car this long. 10 years and 240,000 miles later I can honestly say that the only issue I had that James didn’t tell me about was when my starter went bad. It worked one day and didn’t the next, oh well. This is also the first car I’ve ever owned that didn’t give me a heap of trouble around 80,000 miles. I’m happy to see how much Precision has grown over the years and based on my first and many interactions with James I can definitely see why. They are fair, honest, caring, and transparent. If you want your investment to last you’re going to want to take it to Precision. These guys know their stuff!
It’s no secret that we all want to drive our cars as long as possible, staying as safe as possible, while spending as little as possible, and ultimately have no breakdowns. The truth is that with very little planning this is a very realistic goal for every one of you. But if you are one of the many that think by just getting an Oil Change a few times every year that is going to help you reach this goal, I’m sorry to say that you won’t. Our experience shows that the customer that only gets an Oil Change once or twice every year and doesn’t perform any other maintenance will pay up to 5x more (based on ownership up to 150,000 miles) to keep their car running safely than someone that follows the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule.
In this 2 part post I’m going to explain what Factory Scheduled Maintenance is, how to properly check your engine oil, how performing these services actually cover what some call a Tune Up, the difference in services based on driving habits, and why you need to use this schedule if you don’t want to pay for expensive and unexpected repairs and keep your factory warranty current.
Checking your oil level
Cars are definitely built a lot better than they were years ago. They’re much more efficient and are built to much stricter specifications which typically means that they won’t burn through fluids, last longer, and can go longer between services. With that said, the life blood of your engine is the oil. I typically check my oil every other time I fill my gas tank. This helps me monitor the condition and level of the oil regularly so I can spot an issue before it becomes a major problem. Here’s how;
Factory Scheduled Maintenance
The manufacturer that built your vehicle came up with a plan for your vehicle. This plan was laid out to ensure that all essential systems in the vehicle get checked or serviced at specified times. The plan was also made to ensure that you will have worry free driving so that you will stay loyal to the brand you drive and ultimately buy another one in the future. The example below is actually the plan for an Acura RL (your plan will vary based on the vehicle you drive, this is just an example. If you need information for a specific vehicle, feel free to call us and we can get that for you);
As you can see the plan is broken down into specific mileage based sections that point out exactly what needs to be checked and/or replaced as well as when. These services are commonly referred to as “K Services”.
In Part 2 of this post we will cover K Services based on driving habits, how “K Services” are the new Tune Up, and how performing these services not only adds value to your vehicle but it will help save you money and time by keeping the car running like new while maintaining the factory warranty.
Brake pad replacement is something we see overlooked regularly. When we survey customers that come in with major brake system failures we ask them all the same question. “What made you wait so long?” The resounding answer is that they typically didn’t know they needed a Brake Job because the Brakes simply weren’t making noise.
Today I want to give you a few examples of what happens when you wait too long for to perform a Brake Job, the Cost To Replace Brakes sooner vs. later, and a fool proof way to know exactly when you will need Brake Pad Replacement.
Brake Job West Springfield, MA
This was a case where the customer performed their own Oil Change about every 10,000 miles (which is far too long on conventional oil). They thought that by changing the oil and filter every 10,000 miles that the rest of the vehicle would be “Ok”. The problem here aside from excessive time between oil changes was that the vehicle sat quite a bit and it took the customer about 2 years to hit the 10,000 mile intervals. What ended up happening was that the Brake Pads froze up in the Brake Pad Slides which wouldn’t let the brakes fully release when releasing the Brake Pedal. It was like driving with the brakes engaged at all times. This caused the outer Brake Pad to wear not only through the pad, but completely through the backing plate so that the caliper was rubbing on the outside of the rotor. This vehicle was very unsafe.
For this Subaru Repair we had to replace 1 Brake Caliper, the Brake Pads, and Brake Rotors. It cost the customer roughly $775. If this issue was spotted in advance it would have cost him about $300. Not to mention some other issues that we found with the vehicle when initially checking it over for the Brake Job.
Additional cost/ $475
Brake Job Longmeadow, MA
This Nissan Brake Job was one of the worst we’ve ever seen. The customer had their Oil Changes done at a local quick lube place regularly. One day they said that the brakes just felt “Soft”. One of our Master Technicians drove the vehicle to verify the concern and never even made it out of the parking lot. He pulled the vehicle into the shop for inspection and found that the brakes were grinding for so long that the customer wore through the pads completely and ground through the entire surface of the rotor. There was literally no rotor at all….. nothing….
For this Nissan Repair we had to replace the Brake Pads, Brake Rotors, and both rear Brake Calipers. In addition one of the emergency brake cables was frozen and rotted so that was replaced as well. The total job cost the customer $1450. If the brakes were replaced on time he would have spent $315.
Additional cost/ $1,135
How to know when you need a Brake Job
The guaranteed way to know when you will need brakes BEFORE you need them is…… Having your vehicle serviced regularly by us. When you bring your vehicle in for Scheduled Maintenance we check various areas on your vehicle. You’ll leave knowing what needs to be done now, what needs to be done later, and the overall condition of the vehicle. It’s much more than just performing an Oil Change and the additional 55 Point Inspection is Complimentary. That’s right, having one of our Certified Master Technicians perform this 55 Point Inspection is Complimentary when performing Scheduled Maintenance with us.
About 2-3 months ago we received a call from a man that was having trouble with his car. In certain situations he would lose all power and the vehicle would just shut off. He wanted a price for a Tune up but based on what he was telling us, a Tune Up wasn’t going to help him. It was actually going to just waste time and money. We told him that it sounded like an issue with his Subaru Fuel Pump and that we would need to check a few things to be sure.
He said he would call us back and a few hours later called to tell us that his buddy is a mechanic that used to own his own shop (here we go again….) and can fix it for him cheaply (and again…). Then thanked us for the help. Now fast forward 2-3 months to this week.
Subaru Fuel Pump Replacement
It turns out that in this case the mechanic friend almost killed him….. literally! Those are pictures of the Subaru Fuel Pump. The friend verified what we said and that there was an issue with the Fuel Pump. What was actually happening was the pump was just worn out internally and it needed to be replaced. This “friend” just ran more power to the pump by running a wire from the battery right down to the pump. The only way to explain how much more power that is would be to say, it’s like lighting a birthday candle in a bonfire. It’s WAY too much power. So what happened?
The power wire to the pump got so hot it melted itself, the connector to the pump melted from heat, and the pump got so hot internally it began to melt the cap of the pump. Remember, not only is this pump hot and melting but it’s submerged in gasoline….
If you don’t know what happens when fire and gasoline mix check this out.
(In his defense there was a Spider)
The customer only realized that there was a problem because the “Friend’s Fix” didn’t work and actually made the problem worse. He had no idea that he was driving around in a rolling bomb. We took care of all of the issues and had the customer back on the road safely within a few hours and backed our repair with our 2 year 24,000 mile Nationwide warranty and 12 month roadside assistance.
It’s tough to find a good mechanic and one that you can trust. I thought my friend knew what he was talking about because I’ve known him for years. I was almost in disbelief to see what Precision found but I’m thankful that they found it. They kept me informed the whole time my car was there and even sent me pictures and e mails showing me everything that was going on with my car. It’s tough to find transparency like that in this day and age. For anyone looking to get their car fixed I want you to take it from me. I’m cheap! I’m as cheap as it gets. I tried to take the cheap way out this time and it almost killed me. That’s not cool. Leave the car stuff to the professionals at Precision auto. They know what they’re doing and they’re really not all that expensive when compared to the dealer. A+++++ guys.
It’s safe to say that noises drive me crazy. Any sort of repetitive ticking, squeaking, or clicking is literally torture for me. This week we saw a customer that shared the same affliction as me and in this case his noise came in the form of an Exhaust Leak on his Ford truck.
We see a lot of Ford Exhaust Leak Repairs throughout the year. The most common leak we see on these trucks is actually caused by faulty Exhaust Manifolds. They actually rot out and eventually crack which gives the exhaust a place to leak out. This ultimately causes a very annoying noise, power loss, lowered fuel economy, Failed Mass State Inspection, and can cause the Check Engine Light to come on. In most cases it’s a simple fix, but on some of them the parts and bolts become rotted and break when coming out.
Ford Exhaust Manifold Replacement
First we need to remove them. It’s a pretty tight space so the Technician(s) just needs to make sure that everything in the way is properly removed and secured out of the way.
Ford Exhaust Manifold Leak
Once the manifolds were removed the Technician was able to inspect them a little easier. As you can see there is a small crack in the manifold that was the source of the exhaust leak and noise.
As you can see the Ford Exhaust Manifolds are really in a tight spot. With just a little buttoning up and reattaching the remainder of the exhaust this customer will be back on the road in no time.
I had the best experience today with precision auto repair. They worked with my warrantee contractor and achieved the best results for me. Thank you much. You now have another loyal customer. Highly recommend.