Car Care FAQs

Will my car’s warranty still be valid if I come to Village AutoCare for repairs?

Of course! You can have your vehicle serviced at any registered independent shop or garage and keep your manufacturer’s warranty fully intact—it’s a federal law.

When should I get my oil changed?

Despite what you might have heard, it’s not always necessary to change your oil at exactly 3,000 miles. But you should change it regularly. Our general recommendations are 5,000 miles for full-synthetic oil and 3,000 miles for semi-synthetic oil, but your specific vehicle and driving habits might warrant changes at longer or shorter intervals.

If your vehicle has a computer that tells you when a service is due, that’s great—it can extend your mileage intervals significantly. However, keep in mind that very few vehicles have sensors to indicate if your engine is leaking or burning oil. Running an engine with insufficient oil can cause serious damage, so you still need to check your oil level regularly. If you find that you’re losing oil, we can identify the cause and fix it.

Should I consider using synthetic motor oil?

Full-synthetic oil is superior to a synthetic blend or mineral-based oil; it also can improve fuel economy and lengthen the time between oil changes. Most high-output engines, whether turbo-charged or not, should run synthetic oil. Vehicles that typically are used in stressful conditions (stop-and-go traffic, extreme heat or cold, higher RPMs, racing, etc.) also will benefit from this higher-quality oil.

What does it mean if my “check engine” or “service engine soon” light comes on?

Many different sensors and components manage your vehicle’s engine performance and emissions, and when one of these fails, you’ll see that dreaded “check engine” light. Anyone with the right tool can check the code and see what caused the light, but that isn’t enough—you need a diagnosis in order to determine what’s truly wrong and how to fix it. Otherwise, you could waste money on repairs that don’t actually address the underlying issue.

Whatever you do, when you see the “check engine” light, don’t ignore it! Continuing to drive like nothing is wrong could put unnecessary stress on other parts of your car.

Here’s a quick tip: If the light comes on just after you’ve gotten gas, check your gas cap. A cap that’s not correctly secured could be the cause. (Here’s hoping that’s the case!)

When should I replace my car’s fuel filter?

To help ensure dependable, trouble-free performance, replace your car’s fuel filter approximately every 30,000 miles or as recommended in your owner’s manual.

When should I change my spark plugs?

For maximum fuel economy and peak engine performance, your spark plugs should be replaced every 30 months or 30,000 miles (unless your vehicle is equipped with 100,000-mile platinum-tipped spark plugs). We’re happy to look up requirements for your specific make and model.

My car just failed emissions. How much is it going to cost?

Failed emissions diagnostics require a minimum of one hour of testing at our standard labor rate. Most often, a failed emissions test is caused by component failure due to normal wear and tear or a lack of preventive maintenance. We will explain what’s wrong and provide you with a complete estimate before we do any work to fix the issue.

I feel a shimmy or pulsation from the brake pedal. Do I need new brakes?

A shimmy or pulsation when hitting the brakes (usually felt at freeway speeds) can indicate warped brake rotors. Call us immediately at 206-526-2345 to set up a free inspection. It’s important for you to have any concerns about your brakes addressed as soon as possible. Everyone else on the road will appreciate it, too!

My car is running rough. Do I need a tune-up?

The conventional tune-up—changing spark plugs, wires, cap and rotor—is no longer applicable to today’s electronics-laden vehicles. If you have an older car, we’re happy to provide this service, but for newer cars, it’s better to simply diagnose the specific concern.

How often should I rotate my tires?

Generally, your tires should be rotated every other oil change, or about every 6,000 miles, depending on manufacturer recommendations. We make this important maintenance step convenient when you bring your car in for scheduled oil changes. Otherwise, it can be easy to forget—and neglecting regular rotation is a major cause of premature tire wear.

Is it really necessary to replace my timing belt at the recommended interval?

YES. (If you want to avoid a major repair that could cost a lot more, that is.) We know that replacing a timing belt isn’t cheap. But if you wait too long, and your timing belt fails, the engine damage can be catastrophic—and very expensive to fix. We’ve had to replace entire engines in cars after their timing belts failed. That’s not normal, but it’s an example of just how important this maintenance is. Whether you’re at the recommended interval for mileage or time, don’t skip this repair. It’s absolutely critical.

What should I do if my car starts to overheat?

First, pull over safely and stop your engine. Then, wait at least 15 minutes before attempting to loosen any radiator or reservoir caps—do NOT try this when the engine is hot, because steam and hot coolant can cause severe burns. Overheating can seriously damage or even destroy your engine and related components. If you are in our neighborhood, call us at 206-526-2345. Otherwise, have your car towed to the nearest reputable repair facility.