Van Nuys Auto Repair & Service Center

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How Do You Find a Reliable Mechanic When You’re New to the Area?

By Jack Bulko, AutoAid Finding a new automotive repair shop isn’t one of the top ten things on people’s to-do lists when they move to a new area due to college, a corporate transfer or a new job. However, it should be. Your car will need an oil change or other maintenance, new tires or a smog check at some point along the way. And when any of these instances occur, finding a shop that does maintenance, repair, tires and smog checks, all in one place, is useful. So how do you find a reliable mechanic when you’re new to the area? Finding a Reliable Repair Shop My friend, Charlie, was just telling me about his son who moved to Colorado for a new job opportunity. “He loves everything about Colorado,” he told me, “except he can’t find a decent ... read more

New Hours Update

New Hours Update

New Hours of Operation Starting Monday, March 23, 2020 As of Monday, March 23, 2020, our new (temporary) shop hours will be Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 5 PM. Our offer to Pick up and deliver vehicles for essential services still stands. If you wish to take advantage of this offer, please call ahead to discuss your needs. According to the recent LA City decree to stay home, the excerpt from that order below classifies AutoAid as an essential business. We are here for you as long as possible with yours and our staff's health and safety in mind. Public Order Under City of Los Angeles Emergency Authority Issue Date: March 19, 2020 (vii) Essential Activities Exempt. Certain business operations and activities are exempt from the provisions of this Order, on the grounds that they provide services that are recognized to be critical to the health and well-being of the City. These include: (f) Gas service stations, auto supply, mobile auto repa ... read more

COVID-19

COVID-19

Car Service Can Wait but Emergencies Can’t.To our Valued Customers, employees and friends in the community,Current events relating to the Coronavirus have forced us all to alter our daily routines to a practical standstill. Without our health we cannot function as individuals serving our families, employees and communities. With that in mind, we encourage you to follow health professionals protocols and limit your exposure to avoidable gatherings and encounters.We fully understand your dependence on your automobile, however, if you’re due for scheduled maintenance, or any non-essential services, please postpone it to a later date. If on the other hand you’ve experienced a mechanical breakdown, unsafe driving condition, check engine light or safety related items like brakes, tires or any other area you feel unsafe with, please call us at 818-901-1113 to discuss and evaluate your concern. We are here for y ... read more

My Car is Smoking Under the Hood. What Should I Do Now?

By Jack Bulko, AutoAid A customer called our shop the other morning. “I can’t believe it! I just drove to the corner of my street, and I noticed smoke coming out from under the hood. What should I do now? It’s difficult to assess what is going on under the hood unless I can see, hear and smell it. I told him that if he hadn’t already pulled off the side of the road, to do so now. I wanted to make sure he was safe. I then asked him if any lights on the dashboard indicated a problem? For example, did the temperature light or gauge indicate the engine was hot? Or was the oil icon indicating a leak? I also wanted him to note what it smelled like—different smells are associated with various issues. In addition, I asked him to tell me how dense the smoke is, how far away he was from the car at the time, and if he had an auto club membership. It turned out that he did have a membership with a road service company that included ... read more

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When Was the Last Time You Went to a Car Mechanic Who Heard a Word You Said?

By Jack Bulko, AutoAid When people think of getting their car fixed, they focus on the mechanic, and true enough that person is responsible for repairing their car. What they don’t factor in is their own experience with the car: the noises it makes, odd smells, weird sounds or the feel of the ride, and a technician who listens to their concerns. We approach your vehicle much like a doctor does an ill patient. When was the last time you went to a car mechanic who heard a word you said? Months? Years? EVER? We understand the importance of listening to our customers and of our customers being heard. We’ve been your neighborhood repair shop since 1979. We Save You Time, Money & Aggravation We begin by asking questions, running tests and making observations, and only then do we prescribe solutions. By asking, testing and listening to your answers, we get the best possible understanding of the mechanical failure. To make sure there is no miscommuni ... read more

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Services

Why is an Oil Change So Expensive?

Why is an Oil Change So Expensive? Regular maintenance such as changing the oil and air filters, rotating the tires , checking coolant levels, transmission fluid, etc. is essential to keeping your car in good health. However, not all pricing for these services is the same particularly when it comes to oil and filter changes in luxury vehicles. Why is an oil change so expensive? Oil changes can range anywhere from $37 to $187. That’s a pretty big span but there are valid reasons for it. The choice of oil is a big factor. Conventional oil from fossil fuel is the least expensive option. The next step up is a synthetic blend which uses conventional and synthetic bases. The most expensive oil is fully synthetic and if you have a luxury car then this may be the only choice. Why is synthetic oil so costly? Its high-quality base makes it more stable a ... read more

My Car Started Roaring Like a Lion This Morning. Could it Be My Muffler?

My Car Started Roaring Like a Lion This Morning. Could it Be My Muffler?By Jack Bulko, AutoAid The other morning a young man drove his 2006 Toyota Prius into the shop complaining of a very loud sound that he didn't hear when he parked it last evening. He recently moved to the area and found our repair shop on Yelp. His first question to me was, why is my Prius roaring like a lion? Could it be my muffler? I wasn't sure if it was his muffler or not, but I knew we needed to look at it before diagnosing the problem. It could have been something as simple as a damaged muffler or something much more complicated such as a leak or crack in the exhaust system's manifold. But first we had to take a look at it. We began by isolating the problem. That didn't take long as it was evident that someone had removed the catalytic converter ... read more

Loyalty Never Dies. 🎃 Happy Halloween 2019

Loyalty Never Dies. 🎃 Happy Halloween 2019

Loyalty Never Dies. Happy Halloween!

They Did What?! Maintenance Should be Simple.

By Jack Bulko, AutoAid “They did what?!” I couldn’t believe my ears. A new client came in the other day. She was a referral from a steady customer. The young woman had just purchased a used 2014 Hyundai Elantra from a local dealer and needed her 15-month service. The dealership quoted her an astronomical price, explaining that they had a checklist of items that had to be inspected. She had just graduated college and needed the vehicle to commute to and from her new job. She thought she would pay a couple of hundred dollars tops, but was quoted hundreds of dollars at the dealership, and was told it could take hours. She didn’t have the money or the time. “I didn’t think it was going to be so complicated or expensive,” she told her friend who referred her to us. It shouldn’t be. Maintenance should be simple. Beware of Those Long, Expensive Words I’ve been in the automotive industry a long ti ... read more

Are You Over Paying for Car Maintenance?

By Jack Bulko, AutoAid Often, consumers fall into a trap designed by car dealers and some automotive repair shops that overcharge for regularly scheduled maintenance to increase their bottom line. What is the standard rate for car maintenance, and how can you tell if you’re overpaying for it? That’s a great question. I just had a call from a customer with a late model (2017) Audi S5 asking what a 24-month service would cost. He said the dealer quoted him over $800. My mouth dropped open. Then, I asked him what the mileage was on the vehicle; he said about 9000. Just in case you’re wondering, $800 is way out of the ballpark. It’s a tip that something is off. My client proceeded to ask me what AutoAid would charge for the same 24-month service, and I told him about $150. He laughed; I laughed, but in reality, it was far from funny. No one likes to be taken advantage of. You can bet he didn’t get his maint ... read more

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