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Monthly Archives: November 2012

Auto Repair Mint Hill – Knowing Your Rights as a Customer.

Many folks feel uncomfortable about taking their car to get repaired.  They would almost rather have a root canal (well, maybe not, but still, it’s no fun).  The important thing to remember is your customer rights, they are as follows:

  • A written estimate for repairs and services. Keep in mind most problems will require an inspection or diagnosis before an estimate can be given, and those almost always cost money. They are usually a set price and somewhere between $50-$100, depending on the type of diagnostic.

 

  • Return or Inspection of all replaced parts, if requested. It can be really fun to look at your old, worn out part and say “wow, I can’t believe that was on my car!” Generally speaking, if an auto shop is hesitatant or refuses to show you parts they replaced, there is something fishy going on. Don’t be afraid to ask to see parts!

 

  • The opportunity to authorize – either orally or in writing – any diagnosis, services or repairs which exceed the estimated total pre-tax cost by more than 10%. Just due to things like ever-changing tax laws and honest mistakes, an actual repair may be slightley more or less expensive than the quote by a few dollars – but if it’s ever more than 10%, your approval is required. If you get a bill with more than a 10% swing and you didn’t approve it, say something.

 

  • Authorize any diagnosis, services or repairs orally or in writing if your vehicle is left with the repair facility personnel. A shop cannot fix problems without your approval and certainly cannot bill you for work you did not approve. Always have your phone on you so your shop of choice can call for approvals.

 

If you have authorized a repair in accordance with the above information, you are required by law to pay for the cost of the repair prior to taking the vehicle from the facility. If something from the above list was not provided, be cautious, but don’t be rude. Auto shops are run by human beings just like you and me, and sometimes those human beings make mistakes like forgetting to show you your replaced part. Just mention the mistake, and reputable shops like the ones here in Mint Hill should go out of their way to make that mistake right. You don’t have to jump the gun and assume you’re being scammed, but always “trust your gut” and say something if you feel like you as a customer are being mistreated.

 

Fortunatley, shops here in Mint Hill are very good about following these codes of ethics – but if the repair facility you visit does not follow these basic rules, report them and find another shop.

 

If you are looking for top quality auto repair in Mint Hill or South Charlotte area, please stop by Manchester Auto and Tire of Mint Hill or give us a call at 704-545-4597.

Auto Repair Mint Hill – What Do Catalytic Converters Do?

Catalytic converters were designed and introduced on vehicles to clean up the exhaust emissions.  They became standard issue starting in about the 70’s and now they are on every vehicle on the road.  A well running vehicle will have a longer lasting catalytic converter.

How do catalytic converters fail?  There are two primary reasons – they may become plugged, or they may be contaminated by a poorly maintained engine. When a “cat” fails, your check engine light should come on.

When it comes to catalytic converters, you get what you paid for. they contain Platinum and Palladium which are precious metals.  For this reason you may hear about thefts in the news regarding stolen catalytic converters.  Thieves are able to take the metal and sell it in the metals market. However, on another note, “economical” converters use less of the rare metals and wear out faster or don’t work well in the first place.  So when replacing catalyic concerters, it’s best not to cheap out. This doesnt mean you need the most expensive one on the market, but a happy medium.

Performing routine car maintenance the key to a long lasting engine, and in turn a long lasting catalytic coverter. Setting up a schedule with a reputable auto repair facility can take the headache out of remembering when to do what and keep you on track.  If you have concerns about your catalytic converter, don’t hesitate to stop by and have your shop of choice take a peek.

If you are looking for top quality auto repair in Mint Hill or Sou.th Charlotte area, please stop by Manchester Auto and Tire of Mint Hill or give us a call at 704-545-4597.

 

Auto Repair Mint Hill; Is it Time to Change your Timing Belt?

Auto Repair Mint Hill; Is it Time to Change your Timing Belt?

Timing belts are something many of us never think about.  Now a days vehicle manufacturers recommend that you change a timing belt every 75,000 or 120,000 miles.  Which one applies to your vehicle?  It is listed in your owners manual under services however, if you do not have your owner’s manual you can usually go on-line and look up your vehicle’s make and model or stop by and have Ken look it up for you.  Why do you need to change your timing belt.  Well it can cause significant damage to your engine if you allow it to break then repair, which is why all manufacturers have gone ahead and put it on a maintenance schedule.

In some makes and models the water pump is driven by the timing belt, have it changed at the same time.  No this is not unnecessary work, it will save you from having to do the job twice and pay for the shop to tear down your engine to get to the part a second time when then pump goes bad.  Do all cars need to change the water pump at the same time?  No, if you are not sure stop by and have us take a look.

Performing routine car maintenance is meant to prolong the life of your vehicle and hopefully avoid major problems that can leave you stuck on the side of the road.  Setting up a schedule with a reputable auto repair facility can take the headache out of remembering when to do what and keep you on track.

If you are looking for top quality auto repair in Mint Hill or South Charlotte area, please stop by Manchester Auto and Tire of Mint Hill or give us a call at 704-545-4597.

Auto Repair Mint Hill; Tires

Auto Repair Mint Hill; Tires

At different times of the year you need to focus on different issues with Tires.  This time of the year we deal with snow, ice and freezing rain among other things so it is important to make sure you tires are in optimal condition.    Some things to think about regarding your tires are:

  • Worm tires put drivers at risk for hydroplaning because there is not enough tread to accommodate the water and the tire does not remain in contact with the road.
  • Air pressure will change with the change of seasons, cool damp air of the fall and winter is more dense than the warm dry air of the spring and summer.  Have your tires check at a minimum with each oil change.
  • A convenient way to check your tread depth is to stick a penny in the tread, if you can see Lincoln’s head then the tire is worn out and needs replacing.
Performing routine car maintenance is meant to prolong the life of your vehicle and hopefully avoid major problems that can leave you stuck on the side of the road.  Setting up a schedule with a reputable auto repair facility can take the headache out of remembering when to do what and keep you on track.  If you are concerned that your tires need attention, don’t hesitate to stop by and have Ken take a look at them.

If you are looking for top quality auto repair in Mint Hill or South Charlotte area, please stop by Manchester Auto and Tire of Mint Hill or give us a call at 704-545-4597.

Auto Repair Mint Hill; Cooling System Maintenance

Auto Repair Mint Hill; Cooling System Maintenance.  I bet this time of year you are not thinking of your  Car’s Cooling System.  The truth is, this is a critical time of year for a car’s cooling system because we experience a change in temperatures that may uncover an issue that went unnoticed when the temps were warmer.  Cooling system failure is the number 1 cause of roadside auto failure.  Your cooling system consists of not just your radiator but the hoses and belts that operate them along with the coolant or antifreeze in your system.

If your car’s antifreeze is low the fluid in your engine can freeze and crack your engine block and cause a whole host of issues. But it does not stop there, look for cracks on the surface of drive belts.  These belts can be connected to your water pump, fan etc.  they need to be in good working order.  Belts  that are worn can make a lot of noise, especially in the morning.  If you hear noise coming from your engine in the morning, this may be something that needs further investigation.  Hoses are connected to your radiator and circulate antifreeze to vital components of your car.  Make sure these are not cracked or spongy, many times hoses fail from the inside out so it can be difficult to detect if you do not know what to look for.

Additionally, a bad thermostat can result in low heater output, overheating, poor fuel economy, knocking and pinging during acceleration, high idle speed or an electric cooling fan that runs continuously.  All of these things can impact your car’s performance when the mercury falls.

Performing routine car maintenance is meant to prolong the life of your vehicle and hopefully avoid major problems that can leave you stuck on the side of the road.  Setting up a schedule with a reputable auto repair facility can take the headache out of remembering when to do what and keep you on track.
If you are looking for top quality auto repair in Mint Hill or South Charlotte area, please stop by Manchester Auto and Tire of Mint Hill or give us a call at 704-545-4597.

 

 

 

Auto Repair Mint Hill; Steering and Suspension

Auto Repair Mint Hill; Steering and Suspension

Your steering and suspension systems play a major role in your vehicles braking and handling, not to mention safety.  How your vehicle feels on the road and how you are able to avoid an emergency situation are directly related to the condition of the steering and suspension systems.

This time of year as the weather changes we experiences, ice and snow along with freezing rain.  It is imperative that your steering and suspension systems are checked regularly and in optimal condition.  Add to the list a poorly maintained steering and suspension system and you may be headed for trouble during inclement weather.  Worn or damaged suspension system components can cause wandering, pulling, erratic steering, excessive wear and tear, leaning, bottoming out, longer braking distance or poor ride and handling and this is the short list.

Under normal conditions, struts and shocks wear out gradually and you may not notice incremental losses in the ride quality, braking handling and control.  Some sighs that your vehicle may have worn shocks include excessive bouncing, rocking back and forth, drifting, nose-diving while braking, swaying or cupping wear on the tires.

If you think your car may be experiencing any of these conditions, please stop by and Ken can have one of the guys perform an inspection on your vehicle.

If you are looking for top quality auto repair in Mint Hill or South Charlotte area, please stop by Manchester Auto and Tire of Mint Hill or give us a call at 704-545-4597.

Auto Repair Mint Hill, How do I Jump Start a Battery?

Auto Repair Mint Hill, How do I Jump Start a Battery?  As the temperatures get cooler or even downright freezing, battery failure is quite common this time of year.  If you know how to jump start your battery properly it is perfectly safe for you to do on your own.  Below are the steps to safely jump start a battery:

  • Turn off the engine and all electrical accessories
  • Connect one of the positive (+) cable clamps to the positive terminal of the discharged battery
  • Connect the positive clamp from the other end of the jumper cable to the positive (+) terminal of the good battery
  • Connect the clamp from the negative jumper cable to the negative (-) terminal of the good battery
  • Connect the negative cable clamp on the other end of the jumper cable to the engine block or bracket
  • Make sure that the jumper cables are clear of all moving parts and start the engine of the vehicle with the discharged battery.  To remove the cables, reverse the connection order.
If you are not comfortable with doing this on your own, tow your car to a safe place or to our shop to have the battery charged and inspected.

If you are looking for top quality auto repair in Mint Hill or South Charlotte area, please stop by Manchester Auto and Tire of Mint Hill or give us a call at 704-545-4597.

Auto Repair Mint Hill; The tire store tried to sell me Nitrogen Fill for my tires, is that necessary?

Auto Repair Mint Hill; The tire store tried to sell me Nitrogen Fill for my tires, is that necessary?  Nitrogen is dry air with the oxygen removed.  About 5-6 years ago it became all the rage and the new thing at the chain tire and repair shops to sell nitrogen fill whenever you bought a set of tires or had them rotated and balanced.  Is it necessary?  Well for most of us nitrogen fill is not necessary.  While it does have some benefits in certain applications like NASCAR and other commercial settings, for the average car owner  the added cost usually is more than the benefit received from using nitrogen fill.

Why did nitrogen fill become so popular at the chain tire and repairs shops?  It was a revenue generator, simple as that.  One more thing they could sell.  Now if they are offering it for free or including it with the purchase of a set of tires that is fine, but also keep in mind that when you go in for routine maintenance or safety checks, there may be a fee if your pressure is low and they need to top it off.  It is my opinion that your money is better spent elsewhere and if you are prudent about checking your tire pressure and keeping your tires filled to the proper pressure; your gas mileage and tire wear will be the same as if you used nitrogen fill and you will have a few more dollars in your pocket to boot.  If you currently have nitrogen fill in your tires and have any questions, don’t hesitate to call Ken or stop by and have us take a look.

 

If you are looking for top quality auto repair in Mint Hill or South Charlotte area, please stop by Manchester Auto and Tire of Mint Hill or give us a call at 704-545-4597.

Auto Repair Mint Hill; Fall Back Means Change your Clocks and Check your Car Battery!

Auto Repair Mint Hill; Fall Back Means Change your Clocks and Check your Car Battery!  Many of us know when the time changes to check the batteries in our smoke alarms but do you check your car battery as well?  When the time change comes, so do falling temperatures which can uncover or stress different components and parts in your car that ran fine when the temperature was moderate.  This week alone a customer came in with a car that was not starting all the time.  Naturally he thought it could be the car battery since the car was only 2 years old.  After one of our technicians tested the battery, the car worked fine.  When the customer drove home it stopped working again.  This time we made a service call to the customer’s  location to test it again and  the battery exploded!

 

Auto Repair Mint Hill: Fall Back Means Change your Clocks and Check your Car Battery

2 year old car battery that exploded while being tested.

Even newer cars with factory parts can fail.  It never hurts to have safety checks performed on your vehicle on a regular basis no matter how old or new it is.  A faulty battery is the leading cause of starting trouble.  A faulty car battery can be the result of many things like age, leaving the lights on, poor connections or even a faulty battery!  If you want to check your car battery yourself look under the hood to make sure the cables have a tight connection and are free from corrosion.  Corroded or loose connections can cause slow cranking, arcing at the cable connections as well as a variety of other electrical problems.  If you do not care to check it yourself, please feel free to stop by and see Ken for a complementary battery inspection.

If you are looking for top quality auto repair in Mint Hill or South Charlotte area, please stop by Manchester Auto and Tire of Mint Hill or give us a call at 704-545-4597.