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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

How to Find an Honest Repair Shop & Become a Savvier Consumer

By Jack Bulko, AutoAidWhen it comes to professions that rank low in trustworthiness, used car lots and automotive repair shops are likely near the top. Let’s face it, the automotive repair industry does not have a stellar reputation when it comes to customer service, or honesty, for that matter. No wonder so many people are skeptical about going to a shop and being treated fairly. Below are some tips on how to find an honest repair shop and become a savvier consumer. For years now, some mechanics and shop owners have counted on the average person not understanding how their vehicle operates, or even questioning what they say. How can you find a reliable, honest, credible and award-winning automotive repair shop that won’t try to swindle you? Do they exist? Yes, they do, and AutoAid is one of them. How to Tell If the Shop isn’t Being Honest with You You know the automotive shop is not bei ... read more

Having Car Problems at College? Call the Mensch with the Wrench.

By Jack Bulko, AutoAid One of the most common situations clients call me about is not knowing what to do when their college-age son or daughter has car problems at their out-of-state school. Why do my clients call me with these issues? Because I’m willing to get on the phone with a mechanic or car dealer and ask them the questions that your son or daughter may not know to ask. I can make the entire experience much more pleasant. That’s why so many of my clients tell their kids, “no matter what, if you’re having car problems at college, call the Mensch with the Wrench.” Take Alice, for example. I’ve been working on her family’s cars since she and her husband were married 30 years ago. Before her son, Keith, went to college in Arizona, she came to me and asked, “Jack, what is he going to do without you? Since he started driving two years ago, you and ... read more

What’s the Difference Between a Regular Smog Center and a Star Smog Center?

What’s the Difference Between a Regular Smog Center and a Star Smog Center?By Jack Bulko, AutoAid   You’re about to pay your car registration, and then you see it. That line indicating that you need a smog check. Ugh. Finding a place shouldn’t be difficult; there is one on almost every corner. Testing can be completed at any DMV-approved location within your county. So, what’s holding you back from getting it done? It’s deciding which type of service to use. Some are smog test stations, others smog test and repair stations and still others Star Certified Smog Check Test centers or Star Test & Repair Centers. What’s the difference between a regular smog center and a Star Smog Center? It’s about how they have been certified by the California state Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) to perform smog checks, but ba ... read more

Smog Testing: What to Do If Your Vehicle Doesn’t Pass the Test?

If you you are a California resident and you own an older model car or truck, then you likely receive a notification for a smog check every other year. Your vehicle must pass the test before you can receive your new registration. What do you do? First, look for a smog station near you. Be sure that you get your car inspected at a Star Certified, California Licensed, smog check inspection and repair center. Some smog stations only perform testing, which means you still have to go to a mechanic to have any repairs made. Others, like Star stations, including AutoAid, can help you from testing through inspection and repair. While you wait for your automobile, you wonder what will you do if your vehicle does not pass the test? Will you be fined? Is there a way to avoid it altogether? Smog Test Before we answer your questions, let us go through what California's smog test encompasses. The test is made up of three parts: Emissions, Visual and Functional, each looking at ... read more

Positive Auto Repair Reviews are Few and Far Between

By Jack Bulko, AutoAid The other day I was speaking with another repair shop owner. He was complaining about Yelp! and similar online review sites, saying that positive auto repair reviews are few and far between. I told him that it depends a great deal on the shop’s capabilities, the mechanic’s knowledge and the level of customer care. Then I asked him: What is your customer service like? What, if any, perks do you offer your customers? Do you offer discounts/coupons? Do you make yourself available to answer existing or potential clients’ questions? When he asked why I was inquiring, I said: “All these things add value to the customer’s experience.” Our Customers Love AutoAid! Our crew at AutoAid gets excited every time there is a notice of a new review. We rarely receive a negative pos ... read more

Is It Better to Buy a New Car or a Certified Pre-Owned Car? Ask Your Repair Guy

By Jack Bulko, AutoAid Has your car seen better days? Or do you just want to upgrade sooner rather than later? Either way, it’s time for a change. Is it better to buy a new car or a Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) vehicle? There are pros and cons to both. Our advice at AutoAid is always to ask your repair guy or gal first. We keep up with our industry news and can explain about electronic, computer-based or model changes, and what they will mean to you both on the road and in the repair shop. Below are some advantages and disadvantages to buying new or certified pre-owned. New Cars: What to Know There is nothing better than purchasing a new car or truck and trying out all the latest technology installed in it. And nothing beats that new car smell! Other benefits include: You get what you want. When you purchase a new car, yo ... read more

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