Lake Charles Auto Repair

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Yearly Archives: 2016

To keep or to trade in? That is the question!

To keep or to trade in? That is the question!

    Do I fix it or do I get rid of it?  Which is better for the bank account and\or peace of mind?  This can be a very complicated issue indeed.  On one hand you have a car that is paid for and the thought of a car note makes you sick.  On the other hand the uncertainty of having a reliable vehicle worries you to death.  Will your old clunker leave you stranded somewhere?       There is a fine line in where it is more painful to keep an old pile of junk that you are constantly fixing.  The truth is it actually is cheaper to keep'em.  Vehicles from the late nineties onward are built much better than the vehicles were in the days of yore.  There was a time when a vehicle with 100,000 miles on it was completely worn out.  Modern vehicles are at their half-life at 100,000 - 150,000 miles.  With proper maintenance it is easy to drive a modern vehicle to the 300,000 mile mark.  In our experience the lifespa ... read more

Categories:

Helpful tips

Why is there a diagnostic fee? You charge me just to look at it?

Why is there a diagnostic fee? You charge me just to look at it?

We hear these questions all the time. Mechanics are just ripping you off right?  The short answer: Testing saves you money and from receiving a headache.  The long answer: We take immense pride in the work we do. The only way to properly fix a vehicle is to properly determine what is causing the malfunction, no guesswork. Bringing it back 3-4 times paying for separate repairs that may or may not fix the concern you brought it in for is unacceptable. We spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on equipment, software, and training to make sure that when you leave, you leave in a better condition than when you came.  The photo shows a truck with a misfire that was brought to us after somebody else replaced hundreds on parts without fixing the issue. We scoped the injector and found it had no mechanical movement inside within 1 hour. Fixed the first time with a happy customer!  

Why do I need to flush antifreeze\coolant?

Why do I need to flush antifreeze\coolant?

Antifreeze (also known as engine coolant) has three major functions.  The first of course is to cool the engine down.  Without antifreeze your engine will very quickly suffer catastrophic damage.  The second function of antifreeze is to keep the coolant in the engine from freezing (It's like the function is right in the name!  Weird right?).  If the coolant were to freeze inside the engine it would expand and crack the engine on the inside.  The third function and one of the more important ones in our tropical climate is corrosion protection.    Degraded coolant will negatively affect all three major functions of the coolant.  Whenever antifreeze gets old it will break down and form solids in the engine.  This looks like either murky coolant or gunk buildup inside the radiator.  These solids will do massive amounts of damage to the engine seals and moving parts like the water pump.   A coolant power flush will remove m ... read more

Categories:

Maintenance

Why do I need to flush my transmission?

Why do I need to flush my transmission?

Transmission fluid has many functions.  The fluid is used to put pressure on certain clutches and plates inside the transmission which causes the motion of your vehicle.  It is also circulated through the radiator to cool the transmission.   Over the life of a vehicle the transmission fluid is put through large amounts of abuse.  Whenever transmission fluid breaks down it loses its ability to cool the transmission properly.  It will also pick up debris which will be circulated through the transmission causing damage to the moving parts inside the transmission.   A transmission flush will remove the debris and gunk build up inside your transmission and radiator.  It will also replace the old fluid with new fluid that will protect the moving parts inside.  Just changing the transmission filter and refilling the pan will only remove about 25% of the old transmission fluid leaving a large amount of fluid inside the torque converter and radiator ... read more

Categories:

Maintenance

My vehicle vibrates when braking! Help!

My vehicle vibrates when braking! Help!

Ever wondered what is happening when your car vibrates when you hit the brakes?  When you operate your brakes it creates an immense amount of heat in the brake rotor.  This heat can cause the metal to warp especially after hitting a puddle with some cold water in it after the brakes are already hot.  When the metal warps it can cause uneven contact between the brake pad and the brake rotor.  This is felt  in the steering wheel if it is your front brakes and the body of the vehicle if it is your rear brakes only when the brakes are applied

Categories:

Brakes

Why are my brakes squealing?

Why are my brakes squealing?

There are many causes for brakes to squeal.  We will cover the three most common in this article.   The number one cause of brake squealing is worn brakes.  The brake pads of today come with a small piece of metal that hangs off the side of the pad which is designed to squeal whenever your brakes are thin enough to need replacement.  It is a nice design feature that allows you to change your pads before any damage occurs to the brake rotor.   The second most common cause of brake squealing is poorly designed cheap brake pads.  These "economy priced" pads are made of cheaper material that creates more heat and vibrates across the rotor causing a loud squealing noise.   The third most common cause of brake squealing is glazed brake rotors.  When braking, the brake system will build up immense amounts of heat that cause the surface of the brake rotor to become very slick.  This slick surface will cause even the best of brake pad ... read more

Categories:

Brakes

My Check engine light is blinking! What does that mean?

My Check engine light is blinking! What does that mean?

The check engine light is designed to turn on when there is a fault in your vehicle systems.  When it blinks the fault has become detrimental enough to cause damage to the catalytic convertors.  Most often the light will blink due to a misfire significant enough to cause excess amounts of fuel to dump into the exhaust system.  This excess amount of fuel is then burned in the catalytic convertors causing them to superheat.  This can cause the substrate in the convertors to melt which will completely ruin the convertors.  Due to the expensive metals that are used in the catalytic convertor this can be a very costly repair.  The sooner the misfire is corrected, the more money you can save in other repairs that can be avoided by not procrastinating.  

Why is my AC not blowing cold?

Why is my AC not blowing cold?

The air conditioning system in a vehicle is subjected to much more abuse than your typical household AC system.  Between the constant hot and cold cycles of the engine, the harsh vibrations over pot hole infested roads, and the constant dirt and debris there are a number of things that can go wrong.  These are just a few of the most common causes for AC failure.   Number 1 on the list is loss of freon.  Rubber hoses, seals, and valves are all common areas where freon will escape.  Occasionally the condenser on the front of the vehicle will pick up a rock. The seams on the evaporator inside the dash will bust from constant expansion and contraction.  There can be dozens of different o-rings and seals that may fail.   The biggest problem we see with freon leaks typically happen when freon is added to the system without a charge of oil.  When freon leaks out of the system, so will the oil that lubricates the AC compressor.  Once the oil in ... read more

Why it’s important to tell your mechanic/technician about work recently done to your vehicle

When you stick with one mechanic it will save you time and money due to the fact that they are familiar with your vehicle and past work performed.  If you decide to switch mechanics it could you save you tons of money if you communicate everything that any previous technician has done. The main reasons to disclose all previous repair work are: To aid in diagnosis Possibility for cause of current problem Improper installation Generalize area of concern To prevent redundant repairs Possibility of misdiagnosis Saves time and money   When an automotive technician is attempting to diagnose a customer’s concern, they methodically sort through the system that pertains to the concern. For example, if an A/C isn’t blowing cold air, the technician will check the components of the A/C system: compressor, A/C lines, sensors, freon level and pressures, electrical connections and components, etc.  The difficulty, in some cases, is when an unrelated system ... read more

Categories:

Helpful tips

Why do so many mechanics recommend work on my car? It seems to be running just fine.

Why do so many mechanics recommend work on my car? It seems to be running just fine.

Numerous studies have been performed on this subject.  One such study claims when a vehicle has regular maintenance performed it will save you $0.10 per mile driven.  That adds up to $300 dollars in savings between oil changes when you change your oil every 3000 miles.  Why is this you ask?  $300 for a transmission flush for a vehicle with these new super expensive fully synthetic transmission fluids seems like a ton of money.  When you compare that $300 for a transmission flush to keep the transmission like new to $3000 for a new transmission it doesn’t look so bad though.  The same goes for oil changes.  If you calculate $40 for an oil change you can get about 130 oil changes for the price of 1 engine.     Another reason for the lower cost is the increase in gas mileage on a properly maintained vehicle.  We performed an experiment in house recently where we changed the oil in an 06 Prius every 10,000 miles for a ... read more

Categories:

Maintenance
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