Auto service pro shares tips to find the right shop
Following in her father’s footsteps by joining the family business, Kerri Foulks runs Beany’s Auto Service Center, which earned a Super Service Award in 2009, based on what Foulks says are old-fashioned values with the added perks of technology. ”We encourage an actual dialogue about what is going on with our customers’ cars,” Foulks
says. “This empowers them and allows us to follow up accordingly.”
What should I know about basic auto service and maintenance?
Find a mechanic or shop that gives good service and that you feel comfortable with. Make sure the technicians are Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certified and that the shop keeps good records. As a consumer, I understand that this can be a difficult relationship to find, but keep looking till you find it! You should never ever feel like your opinion or questions are foolish or unimportant.
Cars are expensive investments, and you need to find someone that can partner with you in keeping it going. This relationship will not only help your car run smoothly, but also give you peace of mind and keep you and your family safe on the road. The quality of workmanship will be the same between a small shop and the dealer. The difference is price. I believe that finding a general shop is the best bet. If a shop knows your car, they'll know when things don't look right.
Also, if while doing one service they find another issue that needs attention, your car will be at the right place already, saving you time or risk of doing more damage. A basic tune-up done preventively, when your car reaches about 100,000 miles, is to change the spark plugs and possibly spark-plug wires. In addition, your car's oil should be changed every 3,000 miles, or about every three months. During every oil change, the car's belts, excluding the timing belt, filters and hoses should be checked. Tires should be rotated every other oil change, to make sure they wear evenly.
This also gives your mechanic an opportunity to inspect the tires for other defects. Timing belts should be changed when recommended by the manufacturer. The suspension and exhaust systems should also be checked regularly. If your check engine light comes on, it's often because of emissions issues or if the gas-air ratio at the sensors is not quite right. This happens if there are problems with the catalytic converter, but also if your gas cap becomes loose and too much air has entered the fuel system.
Today's brakes are manufactured with 'squeal tabs,' which start to squeal when the pads are worn down. When you start to hear a squeal, take the car in to the shop. If you press on the brakes at high speeds and feel a vibration, you may need new rotors. Many consumers believe that some or all of the manufacturer's recommended services are simply a way to get more money out of the consumer.
While some of the services are not necessary, 99 percent of them are absolutely imperative because preventive maintenance is key. Your car is a machine and its parts need to be kept moving freely and smoothly.