Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q: Do you have rental cars?
  • Q: Do you have towing?
  • Q: My car just failed Emissions. How much is it going to cost?
  • Q: I feel a “shimmy” or “pulsation” from the brake pedal, do I need new brakes?
  • Q: What does it mean if my “check engine” or “service engine soon” light comes on?
  • Q: My car is running rough, do I need a tune up?
  • Q: I heard I must take my car to the dealer for repairs or it may void my warranty. Is this true?
  • Q: How often should I rotate my tires?
  • Q: Is it really necessary to replace my timing belt at the recommended interval?
  • Q: What should I do if my car starts to overheat?
  • Q: When should I get my oil changed?
  • Q: Why is my engine oil milky brown??
  • Q: Why is my new car battery having problems?
  • Q: Should I consider using synthetic motor oil in my vehicle?
  • Q: When should I replace my car’s fuel filter?
  • Q: When should I change my spark plugs?
  • Q: I need to replace a burned out fuse, what should I do?

    Question: Do you have rental cars?
    Answer: Yes, we work with Enterprise Rent-A-Car to provide you with transportation if you will need a car while we have yours in the shop. Alternatively, we can usually pick you up or drop you off if it’s not in Timbuktu.

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    Question: Do you have towing
    Answer:
    Yes, we work with City Wide Towing to provide 24 hours emergency towing and roadside service.
    Their number is (206) 364-7070 (www.citywidetowingseattle.com).

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    Question: My car just failed Emissions. How much is it going to cost?
    Answer:
    Failed Emissions diagnostics start at $105.00 which is for a full hour of diagnostic testing. We will often be able to identify the problem within that time frame. Most often, a failed Emissions test is because a component has failed either because of normal wear and tear, or due to a lack of preventive maintenance. We will explain exactly what is going on, and provide you with a complete estimate before any corrective work is performed.

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    Question: I feel a “shimmy” or “pulsation” from the brake pedal, do I need new brakes?
    Answer: A “shimmy” or “pulsation” felt when the brake pedal is applied (most notably at freeway speeds) can be caused by warped brake rotors. Call us at 206 526 2345 to set up your Free Brake Inspection. It’s a great safety practice for you and other road users, to have any abnormal brake feeling or concern inspected ASAP.

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    Question: What does it mean if my “check engine” or “service engine soon” light comes on?
    Answer: There are many sensors and computerized components that manage your vehicle’s engine performance and emissions. When one of these fails, the “check engine” light is illuminated. Although your car may seem to run fine, it is in your interest to have the issue addressed to prevent long-term problems, escalated costs and unnecessary damage to your car and the environment. We will let you know exactly why the Check Engine light is on and what repairs are necessary.
    Tip: Did your CEL come on shortly after filling up? Check to make sure the gas cap is on tight.

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    Question: My car is running rough, do I need a tune up?
    Answer: The conventional Tune Up of changing ‘spark plugs, wires, cap and rotor’ is no longer applicable to today’s electronic-laden vehicles. If your car is running rough, it is better to diagnose the specific drivability concern than to give it a conventional tune up. It will save you money. Call us at 206 526 2345 for an appointment time convenient for you. Of course, for the old timers amongst us, we would be delighted to provide the conventional tune up.

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    Question: I heard I must take my car to the dealer for repairs or it may void my warranty. Is this true?
    Answer: No, this is not true. The federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act stipulates that consumers can have their vehicle serviced at any registered independent service station, shop or garage and fully maintain their car’s Manufacturer’s Warranty.

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    Question: How often should I rotate my tires?
    Answer: Your tires should be rotated every other oil change, or every 6000 miles. Neglecting to rotate tires is a major cause of premature tire wear.

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    Question: Is it really necessary to replace my timing belt at the recommended interval?
    Answer: YES. The failure of a timing belt in many cars can result in major engine damage. The cost of repairing an engine with a broken timing belt is much greater than the cost of a timing belt replacement. Recently we had to replace an engine for one of our Customers because the timing belt failed prior to the recommended interval, while this was an anomaly, it is good practice to change the belt at the recommended interval. Remember, you might be under the mileage interval, but well over on the time interval, as was the case with our Customer.

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    Question: What should I do if my car starts to overheat?
    Answer: Pull over (safely) and STOP your engine! PLEASE do NOT attempt to loosen any radiator or reservoir caps when the engine is hot. Steam and hot coolant can cause severe burns. Wait at least 15 minutes. Overheating can cause immediate damage to engines and related components. And even if the engine survived the event, the longevity of the engine will likely be compromised. If you are in our neighborhood call us at 206-526-2345. If you are on a road trip, have your car towed to the nearest reputable auto repair facility.

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    Question: When should I get my oil changed?
    Answer: Our ‘oil change reminder stickers’ stipulate 5000 miles for full-synthetic and 3000 miles for semi-synthetic. Whilst it is not imperative that you change oil at exactly 3000 miles, you should change it regularly and check it regularly. We can let you know what mileage interval is appropriate for your type of vehicle, driving style, commute, and type of oil your engine requires. Many vehicles have computers that automatically stipulate when an oil service is due, which can extend mileage intervals significantly. Be aware though, that few vehicles have sensors that notify you whether your engine is leaking or burning oil. Running an engine with insufficient oil can cause short and long term damage. Our legendary inspection process will help identify oil-disappearing phenomenons.

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    Question: Why is my engine oil milky brown?
    Answer: Milky brown engine oil is an indication of coolant in the oil. Possible causes are a ‘blown’ gasket, usually a head gasket, a failed transmission cooler, or a cracked casing. This condition is not desirable and will require extensive repairs. Consult with us to determine the most appropriate action for your circumstances. Caution: Coolant fluid is corrosive and will damage internal engine components like crank and camshaft bearings.

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    Question: Why is my new car battery having problems?
    Answer: You replaced an old battery and now your new battery is having trouble. A new battery will only charge and operate correctly with clean and properly connected battery cables and terminals. Check those first. Then check the connections on the alternator and starter end. If connections and terminals are good, further electrical diagnostics will be necessary.

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    Question: Should I consider using synthetic motor oil in my vehicle?
    Answer: Synthetic motor oil is always superior to a synthetic-blend or mineral-based oil. Most high output engines, whether turbo charged or not, should run synthetic oil. Vehicles that are used in stressful conditions (heavy stop and go traffic, towing, extreme heat or cold, higher RPMs, racing or extensive idling) should use synthetic motor oil. Synthetic motor oil can also improve fuel economy and allow for longer intervals between changes.

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    Question: When should I replace my car’s fuel filter?
    Answer: To help ensure dependable, trouble-free performance, replace your car’s fuel filter approximately every 30,000 miles or as recommended in your vehicle’s owner’s manual.

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    Question: When should I change my spark plugs?
    Answer: 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. There are specific requirements per make and model vehicle, which we can look up for you.

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    Question: I need to replace a burned out fuse, what should I do?
    Answer: Always replace burned-out fuses with ones of the same amperage (printed on the fuse) and note that if a fuse continues to “blow,” you should have the circuit checked by one of our technicians for defects. Remember that replacing it with a higher amp fuse can cause a vehicle fire.

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