- Does your current repair shop have ASE certified technicians actually working on customer’s cars?
- What is diagnostics and why is it not waived if I approve the necessary repair?
- What is the difference between diagnostics and inspections?
- What is the difference between OEM and After Market parts?
- What is the difference between rebuilt and remanufactured?
- What is an O2 Sensor and what does it do?
- How do I know if I need a wheel alignment?
- How often should my car have a wheel alignment?
- How long does an alignment last?
- When should the timing belt in my car be replaced?
- How often should the hoses and belts be replaced in my car?
- How often should the engine antifreeze/coolant be flushed?
- If a 50/50 mix of water and coolant is good, then 100% coolant must be better?
- I just had my car serviced because the “check engine light” came on and shortly after the repair the light is on again. Did my repair shop make a mistake?
- My vehicle has noticeable or excessive smoke coming out the tail pipe, what does that mean?
- Why should I replace the spark plug wires, distributor cap and rotor?
1) Does your current repair shop have ASE certified technicians actually working on customer’s cars?
Moraga Motors is open 5 days a week. Our ASE certified technicians are available to offer you FULL SERVICE repairs on your vehicle during all hours of operation 5 days a week. Repair shops that advertise longer hours or open on Sundays may have limited services available since they do not have their technicians working.
2) What is diagnostics and why is it not waived if I approve the necessary repair?
A diagnostic service is a process that a technician must perform to determine the root cause of the problem a customer is experiencing with their vehicle. This requires the use of various expensive and sophisticated testing equipment, which also requires specialized training. The labor time a technician uses during the diagnostic process is mutually exclusive of the labor time required to actually fix the problem.
Diagnostics are also specific to the problem a customer is experiencing with their vehicle. Example, if a customer was experiencing a problem with the vehicle hesitating at a specific speed, the diagnostic service would not uncover a problem with the air conditioning not working.
3) What is the difference between diagnostics and inspections?
A diagnostic service requires the use of various expensive and sophisticated testing equipment, which also requires specialized training. An inspection is a physical/visual check that does not require the use of sophisticated testing equipment. An example of a typical inspection is a Brake Inspection. This inspection requires a technician to remove the wheels from the car and visually check the brake parts.
4) What is the difference between OEM and After Market parts?
OEM stands for “Original Equipment Manufacturers”. It represents the exact same parts that were supplied to the manufacturer during fabrication of the car. After market parts are made by companies other than OEM. Some after market parts are actually better than the OEM part. These parts meet or exceed the OEM design and usually carry a longer warranty period.Some offer a lifetime warranty. There are also after market parts that are lower in quality which have a reduced warranty period and are sold at a lower price.
Moraga Motors only uses either OEM or after market parts that meet or exceed the manufacturers specifications.
5) What is the difference between rebuilt and remanufactured?
Rebuilt is the process of restoring a part to it previous state before failure. It only replaces the faulty components of the part. Remanufactured is the process of replacing all the components of the part to a like new condition.
6) What is an O2 Sensor and what does it do?
O2 Sensor is an Oxygen sensor. They were originally introduced in 1976, and provide on board analysis of the air/fuel mixture by measuring the amount of unburned oxygen in the exhaust. Faulty O2 sensors can cause drivability problems and cause the check engine light to come on. This provides feedback to the vehicle’s on board computer to assist in fuel control management. Faulty O2 sensors can also reduce fuel economy by 10 – 15%. Several things can affect an oxygen sensor’s performance. Mechanical damage in the form of a broken wire or the most common problem is contaminations. Lead, carbon or silicone can coat the sensor and make it sluggish or inoperable. A contaminated sensor must be replaced.
7) How do I know if I need a wheel alignment?
You should have the alignment checked if you are experiencing any of the following:
- Excessive or uneven tire wear (provided the tires have been inflated at the proper air pressure)
- Steering wheel pulls to the left or right. (again, first check air pressure in each tire)
- Steering feels loose or the car wanders on the road
- If the steering wheel is not centered
- If you feel any shaking, vibration or shimmy when driving
8) How often should my car have a wheel alignment?
9) How long does an alignment last?
Unfortunately, there is no specific answer to this question. The process of aligning the wheels on a vehicle is making mechanical adjustments to the steering and suspension of the vehicle. By simply hitting a pothole while driving can cause the vehicle to become “out of alignment”.
10) When should the timing belt in my car be replaced?
Most vehicle manufacturers recommend that the timing belt be replaced at 60K or 90K depending on the manufacturer. If there is no mileage specified by the manufacturer, the industry standard is to change the timing belt at 60K. On some vehicles if the timing belt breaks when the engine is running there is a good possibility of engine damage.
11) How often should the hoses and belts be replaced in my car?
12) How often should the engine antifreeze/coolant be flushed?
13) If a 50/50 mix of water and coolant is good, then 100% coolant must be better?
This is a big misconception among many people. Antifreeze/Coolant requires water to be able to pick up the heat of an engine and carry it to the radiator so it can be dissipated. You should never use a mixture of more than 60% coolant or antifreeze. The protection your engine receives from boiling over or freezing actually goes down after 60% coolant, 40% water is reached.
14) I just had my car serviced because the “check engine light” came on and shortly after the repair the light is on again. Did my repair shop make a mistake?
Maybe – maybe not. Because the check engine light / service engine soon light illuminates for many different reasons, i.e. loose gas cap (computer sees a pressure loss in the fuel tank), or a bad sensor or a bad computer, or a vacuum leak, or a bad fuel pump, or a bad spark plug, or a plugged fuel filter or a broken, pinched or disconnected wire, etc. the vehicle must be rechecked by the technician to determine the actual cause. Make sure your service advisor clearly documents on your repair ticket the actual codes and reasons found for the check engine light to come on. This way you will know if the cause for the light to come on again should be covered under the warranty of the original repair, or is it a completely new problem with the vehicle.
15) My vehicle has noticeable or excessive smoke coming out the tail pipe, what does that mean?
If the smoke is gray or black in color typically means the vehicle is running rich (to much gasoline and not enough air). If you only experience this when the car is started it is typically an issue with the settings of the fuel injection system. If you get black smoke all the time, there are additional problems with the fuel injections system that needs to be checked. For example, oxygen sensors, map sensors, fuel injectors, fuel pressure regulators, air filter, etc. If this condition is allowed to continue, it could cause damage to the catalytic converter as well.
If the smoke is blue in color it means the vehicle is burning oil. This can be caused by bad pistons and rings, damaged cylinder walls, or other internal engine damage. If the smoke is white in color it is a sign of a coolant leak or coolant being forced into the cylinders and being burned. Typical causes of white smoke are faulty head gaskets, a cracked head or broken cylinder wall.
16) Why should I replace the spark plug wires, distributor cap and rotor?
Spark plugs, wires, distributor caps and rotors break down and fail over time due to exposure to moisture, oil, grease and under hood temperatures that can reach as much as 550 to 700 degrees.
Worn spark plugs cause higher voltage requirements, forcing the ignition module and coil to produce higher and higher voltages to overcome the resistance. The higher voltage breaks down the spark plug wires’ insulation, creating an easier path to ground. This causes the ignition module and coil to produce even more voltage, creating even higher current temperatures within them. The higher than normal resistance weakens transistors and electrical insulation within modules, coils and computers, resulting in intermittent and premature failure.
If your vehicle has over 60,000 miles and you haven’t replaced your spark plug wires, distributor cap and rotor, you many experience a variety of drivability problems that are often difficult and very costly to diagnose and repair.