Van Nuys Auto Repair & Service Center

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Angie's List
Female Friendly Dealer

Is My Hybrid Battery Kaput?

Is My Hybrid Battery Kaput?

I arrived at the shop the other morning just in time to answer a call from Sally, a long-time AutoAid customer. “Is my hybrid battery kaput?,” she asked. “I don’t know. Tell me what is happening, Sally.”   My hybrid battery isn’t working. I’m spending much more in gas.  I know the car is 12 years old, and that hybrid batteries last about a decade. It’s just that it’s been so reliable I’ve become accustomed to nothing going wrong.”   “Why don’t you bring your car in so our team can take a look at it. We can do some diagnostics on it and replace it if necessary.”     Time for a Change Sally was right on target. The battery ... read more

Who Wants My Catalytic Converter Anyway?

Who Wants My Catalytic Converter Anyway?

In 2021, we published an article on the theft of catalytic converters, especially those found in hybrid and higher-end vehicles. Since then, these thefts have continued to increase, so we thought it was worth updating.    Last week a second-generation customer called me. I’ve known Jennifer since she was a tyke, and now she has her own family. Time flies. Her conversation started like this: “Hi Jack, do you have a minute? I just bought a new Toyota Prius. The dealer told me to make sure I get a cage clamp, or my Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) etched on it. Is that necessary? It sounds like a lot of drama for nothing. Who wants my catalytic converter anyway?”   “First of all, congratulations on the new car, Jennifer. As for what your dealer suggested, I think it’s an excellent idea and would also like to give you the same advice. Did you know that To ... read more

To Save Gas of Course!

To Save Gas of Course!

I saw an AutoAid customer at a local restaurant the other day. We were chatting, and Jeannie mentioned that she might have to stop using my services as she was buying a new car. I have to admit I was blind-sighted. She always seemed more than satisfied with how we took care of her current vehicle. I asked her why, she replied, “To save gas, of course.” Now, I was baffled. “No, I didn’t ask you why you would purchase a new car. I wondered why you believe you can no longer use my repair services? Did we do anything that upset you?” “Oh no, Jack,” she laughed. “I’m going to miss you guys. I always enjoy bringing my car in. Your techs are great, and I feel well taken care of. Besides, you guys don’t service hybrids, do you?  Then, I had to laugh. If it has a motor, we can fix it. “Yes, Jeannie,  ... read more

Gas is How Much?!

Gas is How Much?!

I came into the shop last week and saw my long-time client Sheila waiting for her car in our customer service area. It looked like they were changing one of the tires. I wished her good morning and then she went to town. “Have you  seen how much gas is now, Jack. I went to the pump a week ago it was $5.00/gallon. While I slept it jumped another 50 cents. And I passed a gas station today and I lost my breath, $6.15 a gallon. I’m telling you Jack it’s crazy. I was speaking to my sister in Georgia, and you know things are always cheaper down there anyway, but when I told her the price I had just paid for gas, she asked, ‘gas is how much?!’ Our most expensive gas prices are about $3.75 and I thought that was expensive. What’s going on in California? I told her that’s exactly what I’d like to know.” Not only was she frustrated about the tire because she had to get to work, but s ... read more

Categories:

General

Tags:

gas , oil

Why Do Many Auto Repair Shops Treat Women So Poorly?

Why Do Many Auto Repair Shops Treat Women So Poorly?

Image Credit: Mr. Music - stock.adobe.com “Why do many auto repair shops treat women so poorly?” This was the question Julie, a newer customer, asked me during our first phone call. She found out about my shop from her colleague Suzzie, a long-time customer, after going through some fairly rough experiences with other automobile repair garages.   Suzzie also mentioned to her that we were a woman- and LBGT-friendly shop. What this boils down to is that EVERYONE is treated respectfully and equally at AutoAid.   I invited Julie to visit the shop and see for herself what we offer. I told her she would never see a repair place cleaner than ours, or one with better trained techs.   A few days later, she arrived at our doorstep. The first thing Julie said when she came into my shop was, "It's so clean." But what she was most impressed with is that we LISTEN to our customers. AutoAid is a one-stop sho ... read more

Categories:

General

Part II: What to Do When Your Car’s AC is Blowing Hot Air…Among Other Things

[Jack’s air conditioning blog, part II] Here is Part two of a two-part series on automobile air conditioning systems. Part I focused on what to look out for if you have an air conditioning problem. Part II covers solutions to these challenges.  In Part I of this blog, our client, Caryn heard a loud noise after turning on her car’s air conditioning and became so alarmed that she asked for a tow to our shop as she was afraid to drive herself.  I asked Caryn if this was the first time that she noticed a problem with the AC.  “Well, it hasn’t been consistent over the past year—it would blow cold air and then some warm air. It was hit or miss. I didn’t think it was urgent enough to bring in the car.” I explained to her that those malfunctions are why I ask customers to come in for regularly scheduled ... read more

Part I: Is Your Car’s AC Making a Racket?

Part I: Is Your Car’s AC Making a Racket?

Part I: Is Your Car’s AC Making a Racket? This blog is part one of a two-part series on automobile air conditioning systems. Part I will focus on what to look out for if your air conditioning problem. Part II will offer solutions to those challenges. By Jack Bulko, AutoAid As restrictions for COVID loosen up throughout California, temperatures are rising, and we could be in for one sweltering, uncomfortable summer. The heat could become an even more significant factor if your vehicle’s air conditioning is not working well. Is your car’s AC making a racket? Caryn, who has been a client of our auto repair shop for several years, called me the other morning. I could tell she was irritated. “I was in my car, and I turned on the air conditioning, and I heard a loud noise. I’m not sure if the sound is connected with turning on my AC or not, but I&rsqu ... read more

Categories:

Services

On the Road Again...But Check Under the Hood First

On the Road Again...But Check Under the Hood First

By Jack Bulko, AutoAid It’s spring, and as the Willie Nelson song goes, “it’s time to get on the road again.” That’s what many of AutoAid’s customers are hoping to do after a year of stay-at-home orders. Before you rev your engine and drive off to “places you’ve never seen before,” you may want to check beneath the hood, under the car and in the trunk for any unexpected creatures. Cats, rats and other small animals look for warm places to rest and nest in the colder weather. And if you left food in the car, well, they get hungry too. Rats, in particular, can cause havoc to your vehicle’s wiring, hoses, fuses, upholstery, and more. That’s what happened to Ted, a longtime customer, who for most of last year didn’t move or start his car. It just stood idle in his driveway for months. He was terrifi ... read more

Categories:

General

Someone Stole My Catalytic Converter!

Someone Stole My Catalytic Converter!

My customer Joe called the other day, and he wasn’t in a good mood. Nothing I did, but unfortunately he had become one of the latest victims in Los Angeles to have his catalytic converter ripped off. “I can’t believe it, Jack. I got in my Prius this morning and turned it on. There was a weird sound like a motorcycle engine. I knew something was wrong because my car always purrs; it doesn’t roar. I got out to look around the car and noticed that the exhaust was gray and there was a huge gap in my exhaust pipe system. “That’s when I realized, someone took my #?$*& catalytic converter!” I felt for Joe, but I wasn’t surprised. Between 2019 and 2020 the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department reported 3,180 of these thefts, an increase of 164 percent in that one year. Catalytic converters cut down the emissions of your automobile and are required for all automobiles in the state of California. If it’s missing it will delay the rene ... read more

Got The CarOwner Virus Blues? CheerUP!

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