Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to some of the most common car maintenance and car repair questions.
This really depends on the car, how you drive it, and its age. But no matter what, if you want your car to last and to run safely and efficiently, you need to give it regular maintenance—and that means at least twice a year.
For a used or older car, as long as it is running well, I recommend you bring it in seasonally—once each spring, then again late fall or early winter.
If you’ve just bought a new car, the dealer probably gave you a maintenance schedule. The manufacturer essentially requires you to do some maintenance in order to honor your warranty. But did you know you don’t have to have the work done at the dealership? You can have it done here, just as well.
No. You don’t have to go to a dealership.
Getting your required maintenance done here fulfills the requirements of your warranty the same as getting it done at the dealership.
We just don’t spend our time and money on glossy reminders, but we’re here, fully equipped and able to do that work, and more conveniently, too.
No, sorry! Because we’re a small shop, we just cannot step away from the garage to do that.
And honestly, we think it’s best to initiate repairs in the garage, where we’re equipped to handle the unexpected.
It’s a good idea to have AAA because it is getting more difficult to find towing services!
When you bring your car in because it’s acting up, we talk with you about the problem. Sometimes it’s easy - I can quote you a flat fee on certain services.
For more complicated jobs, well, I’m not a chatty guy, but I do believe good communication is important, and I will let you know what needs doing before we order parts and set in on the repair.
Sometimes, problems that are hard to diagnose require us to spend time working with your car just to determine how to proceed. In those cases, we do need to charge you for the diagnostic work
Don’t speed and don’t accelerate too quickly. At speeds over 60 mph, your engine has to work harder than you think, and gas mileage drops off big time.
Driving too slow isn’t great either, though on our winding roads you just have to put up with some inefficiency.
More gas-saving tips:
- Don’t top up your tank - excess gas will simply evaporate.
- Keep your tires properly inflated - check them every month (you’ll find the appropriate pressures for your tires in your manual).
- Don’t sit around idling - cars don’t need to “warm up” the way they used to - just drive slowly for the first few miles.
Check your A/C and make sure it’s working. Repairs on A/C systems can be simple but some are complex and you don’t want to face a time-consuming or costly repair while you’re on vacation.
Make sure you have wiper fluid and good blades - sometimes these get wrecked by the end of winter.
Look at your battery and brush off any corrosion with baking soda and a scrub brush. If the corrosion keeps up, come see us.
Check and change, if need be, your oil, coolant, and brake fluid.
Swap out your winter tires, if you still use them - I prefer good all-season tires for most situations.
Check the condition of your spare tire. And, um: do you know how to change a flat? It’s a good thing to learn.
Finally, sign up for AAA because it’s otherwise really hard to find roadside services.
Make sure you have good tires. I like good all-season tires for most cars. If you prefer winter tires, I recommend you invest in wheels as well, which saves trouble on alignment and balancing.
Deal with any performance issues you’re having: engine problems tend to worsen in winter.
Have your battery and brakes checked out.
And make sure your heating and defrosting systems and interior and exterior lights are all working.
One more thing: if you’re thinking about “garaging” a car for the winter, I’d say think again. Cars need to be driven regularly. And keeping the mice out is a real science project.