Van Nuys Auto Repair & Service Center

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Angie's List
Female Friendly Dealer

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

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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

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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!

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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