Van Nuys Auto Repair & Service Center

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Angie's List
Female Friendly Dealer

Hot Weather Can Damage Your Car’s Battery

Hot Weather Can Damage Your Car’s Battery

I frequently remind customers, especially those with teenagers or young adults, to make sure the kids make regularly scheduled checkups for their vehicles, especially during the hotter months. Hot weather can damage your car’s battery. Younger drivers are less likely to pay attention to how the car is functioning and more likely to drive a car into the ground. And, because they generally don’t take their parents’ advice, no one is checking the fluids, hoses, oil levels, gaskets, etc. A few weeks ago, my assistant told me I had a call from Cynthia. I wasn’t familiar with the name but when she mentioned she asked for Uncle Jack, I had a better idea of what this was about. You see, I tell my customers that if the ... read more

Brakes Take a Beating in the Heat

Brakes Take a Beating in the Heat

For many, summer vacation is over, but the intense heat will continue to plague us and our cars. More people on the road means more traffic and more time that your vehicle is idle. Brakes take a beating in the heat.   Just ask Diana. She walked into the shop last week and was visibly frustrated. She had just returned from a trip out to Bakersfield. On her return route, she pressed down on the brakes and realized something was off, so she brought “Bessie” (her nickname for her 2009 Camry) into the shop.  I met her as she pulled up in the driveway.  Waving me down, I heard Diana say, “Jack, there’s something wrong with Bessie.” It took me a moment to remember that Bessie was her car and not a family member. After offering her some cold water, it was hot out that day, I asked her to tell me what had happened. “Well, I was driving home from a client in Bakersfield. It was a quick two-day visit. I was about ten minutes away from m ... read more

Overheated Engine Could Mean a Kink in the Cooling System

Overheated Engine Could Mean a Kink in the Cooling System

I walked into work a few weeks ago and heard my ASE Certified Mechanic on the phone. "Is it smoking? We'll send the tow truck to pick you up. An overheated engine could mean a kink in the cooling system. Did you have us check that the last time you came in? Oh, I see. You had to rush out that day. I only mentioned that because we could have probably saved you this inconvenience." Oh, brother. Every year I ask my customers to bring their cars in for scheduled maintenance before it becomes an issue. Most do, but there are always a few who can't find the time to come in until their vehicle breaks down. During the warmer months, the cooling system can become a huge problem. I watched the tow truck pull in. I was surprised to see it was a newer model car. Carrie, the granddaughter of a customer, was in the truck. She seemed upset. My guys got the car keys from her, and I asked if she needed a ride anywhere. " ... read more

Heat Can Wreak Havoc on Your Car

Heat Can Wreak Havoc on Your Car

We’re entering the triple-digit heat season in Southern California, and this is the time of year I begin to hear more from customers. It’s not so much that they want to stay in touch, although they like us, but that their automobile, truck, or van is experiencing problems. Part of the issue is that many people don’t shield their car from the intense damage heat pounding down on it can cause. I sometimes feel like a broken record, but I’m always telling customers, “heat can wreak havoc on your car.” They usually don’t pay much attention until their AC doesn’t work, their tires aren’t holding up, or the engine oil isn’t up to snuff.   Along these lines, Lila, referred to me by my long-time customer, Cherry, stopped by the shop. That morning, before getting into her car, she noticed that her driver’s side tire looked odd; it was bulging. In her words, “it looked as if it were pregnant.”   “Ha ... read more

It’s Too Hot to Handle

It’s Too Hot to Handle

Over the years, I’ve learned that my customers with poor or no air conditioning in their cars are the most unhappy. This has been especially true if they had to drive their car into my shop on a hot day--by the time they get here, they are irritated. Take my customer, Velma. She’s been coming to my shop almost since I opened my doors in the late 1970s. Her car issues have been  minor (she’s been great at bringing it in for maintenance) until her car’s air conditioner stopped working. It was over 90 degrees F. that day. I had just walked out of my office, and I saw Thelma looking a bit harried. “Jack, my air conditioner isn’t working. It’s too hot to handle.” I couldn’t agree more. We depend so much on our car’s air conditioning systems during the hot weather, which seems to be year ... read more

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

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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

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General
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