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Which Car Repairs May Not Be Worth the Trouble

By Jack Bulko, AutoAid One of the most frequently asked questions I get from AutoAid customers who have older vehicles is, “Is my care worth fixing?” And every time I’m asked, I have a different answer for my customer. It’s not because I don’t know what to say. Each and every car, or truck is different due to age, condition or the part that has to be replaced. Typically, most older cars need $1000 a year in repairs and maintenance. I always suggest that people consider the following before making a decision on fixing an older car. You can start by assessing the current condition of your car’s: Еngine Тransmission Cylinder head gaskets Timing belt These are all parts which are either expensive to replace in and of themselves or, as in the case of a timing belt, can damage other systems in the car. The mileage, the vehicles utility value to the owner, and the customer’s age all p ... read more

5 Car Fluids You Need to Check to Stay Safe on the Road

By Jack Bulko, AutoAid Just as we maintain our health by eating right, exercising and making sure we drink lots of water, there are certain things that we must do to keep our cars and trucks in good health, and keeping a close watch on the fluid levels is one of them. If you’re driving a newer automobile you need not worry too much about this as your dashboard panel will alert you to any fluids that may be low or when regularly scheduled maintenance is required. There are five primary fluids you need to check to stay safe on the road. They include engine oil, power steering, brake, transmission, and radiator fluids. I was just talking about this with a long-time customer the other day. Her grandson had recently gotten his driver’s license, and she had surprised him with a slightly used car. “One of the first things I said to my grandson was ‘Please go t ... read more

You Just Bought a Car and Have No Idea How It Works

By Jack Bulko, AutoAid I had to laugh last month when an older gentleman stopped in and asked if I could help him figure out the “bells and whistles” on his new Cadillac CT6. He had heard from a friend that Jack, David and the team at AutoAid can figure anything out when it comes to automobiles, whether it is maintenance or repair, and that we even have repair financing if needed. I told him it was true that we can review the functions on his car with him, and asked if he consulted the car manual before coming in. It’s something I ask our customers. His answer was “no, I know how to drive a car. I’ve had Cadillacs all my adult life,” he explained. “I figured what could be so different about this one? The salesperson gave me a brief tutorial but once I pulled ... read more

Common Reasons for Car Break Downs

By Jack Bulko, AutoAid Sometimes I get the wackiest calls. A woman called me several months ago and told me about a scary incident she had after her car battery died on a deserted road. She was able to get help but felt vulnerable and didn’t like that feeling. I felt for her, but then she asked me to promise her something no one in their right mind would agree to do. She inquired if AutoAid could fix her car so that it would never break down on the road again. I knew she didn’t mean NEVER, but I understood her fears. I told her that AutoAid has some of the most qualified automotive mechanics in the industry and by doing regular maintenance can catch a great deal of the issues that might sneak up on car owners. But nobody in their right mind is going to guarantee to fix your car so that it never breaks down, because life happens. I explained this all to her and said “Look, cars are machines ... read more

Your Car’s Health Check In the Palm of Your Hand

Your Car’s Health Check In the Palm of Your Hand

By Jack Bulko, AutoAid If you’re like most of us, every few months you receive a report from your healthcare provider giving you an update on your test results, or suggestions on how to improve your overall health. AutoAid prepares a similar report that we text or email following our Car & Truck Courtesy Check, which looks at 38 vehicle points including the wipers and washer system, exterior lights, air conditioning, and battery, filters, oils and fluids, belts, hoses, tires, brakes, steering, and suspension. Our dedicated team of technicians then prioritize the maintenance or replacement of parts based on their diagnoses of your vehicle. Your car’s health report is one of the many value-added perks that we give our customers throughout the greater San Fernando Valley area. How We Evaluate Your Car’s Health We’re not th ... read more

Why Women Prefer Going to the Dentist Over Visiting an Auto Repair Shop

By Jack Bulko, AutoAid To keep up on the current automobile industry trends, I read a lot of trade magazines. Recently, I came across an article that caught my eye, and I don’t know how I missed it earlier. It referenced a 2014 survey that asked consumers about their experience with car repair shops. Many of the responses sounded familiar, people believed they were overcharged or not treated well by the mechanic, but what really surprised me was that most women prefer going to the dentist over visiting an auto repair shop. Purchasing a car at a dealership (another often painful experience) ranked just below the dental office visit. Ouch! I knew that many of the women I had come across over the years told me that their visits to other auto repair shops were disappointing. Their typical experience started with ogling as they walked into a shop, followed by a mechanic who talked down to them and then proceeded to tell them some mumbo jumb ... read more

Getting a Second Opinion on Your Car Repair is the Smart Thing to Do

By Jack Bulko, AutoAid Auto repair prices vary depending on the shop, the knowledge of the mechanics, the type of car and other factors, and that’s why getting a second opinion on your car repair is the smart thing to do. Sometimes we are hesitant to ask for another mechanic to look at the car because we believe we are wasting their time, or that the price will be the same or more; however that is far from the truth. By asking someone else to inspect your vehicle or review the pricing you received from a dealership or another shop, you are just gathering information that will allow you to make a more informed decision, just as you would before you undergo surgery, repair your home or purchase an item such as an insurance policy. Second opinions take on even more importance when you don’t have a regular mechanic with whom to consult, or are traveling for business or attending college far from home. It’s just another way to help you make a safe and financially sound ... read more

How Do I Check My Engine Oil without a Dipstick?

By Jack Bulko, AutoAid Where is the dipstick in my new car? That’s what my client, Jane, wanted to know. She had purchased an Audi and brought it in for service. She said when her dashboard light alerted her to an issue with low oil level, she stopped and opened her hood to check the engine oil fluid level. She couldn’t find it. After looking for it for 20 minutes she consulted her car’s owner’s manual (yes, it came with a physical booklet), she realized that the manufacturer had intentionally left it out of the car. Changes in design, amenities and functionality have been standard in the automobile industry at least as long as I’ve been a part of it. Manufacturers look for innovative ways to bring the customer back for service, making it more difficult to perform tasks such as checking one’s oil or for that matter doing any traditional repairs. It also puts a kink in fixing your car in the driveway or teaching your kid to do simp ... read more

Where is My Spare Tire? By Jack Bulko, AutoAid

Where is My Spare Tire? By Jack Bulko, AutoAid

Where is My Spare Tire? By Jack Bulko, AutoAid “Where is my spare tire?” a customer recently asked me. “And what am I supposed to do with this spray can?” I knew she was asking out of total disbelief that her new car came without a full-size spare or run-flat (donut) at all, and instead included a can of tire quick fix. That’s why I always recommend that when you purchase or lease a new car or are driving an unfamiliar vehicle such as a rental car, always check the trunk area to see what is in it. This helps eliminate any surprises on the road. Newer cars are missing what many consider an essential component—a spare tire. Cars used to come with a full-size tire in the trunk. While a few still do, including Mercedes Benz, most spares can be found in various truck models. One of the reasons for the change was the government’s insistence on improved fuel economy. To address this, car manufacturers created run-flat tires or donuts, which also ha ... read more

What Does It Mean to Be a AAA-Approved Auto Repair Shop?

By Jack Bulko You’ve heard of AAA (the American Automobile Association) and may even be a member of the club, enjoying the perks and benefits that come along with membership in that organization. But are you familiar with AAA-Approved Repair Shops, or how going to one can positively impact the maintenance and repair of your vehicle? AAA sets rigorous standards for automobile repair shops that must be met before a car repair facility can receive that designation. To make sure these benchmarks are upheld, they send representatives to visit and vet shops throughout the country. AutoAid has been a AAA-Approved Repair Shop for over 30 years, and we are proud to be a member of the AAA family. But before we earned that title, we had to meet certain criteria. ASE-Certified Technicians. AAA demands that shops with their certification employ highly-trained automotive technicians that h ... read more

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