The following checklist is a way to determine whether a repair shop is indeed a quality shop and whether it is the right fit for you and your vehicle. Never be afraid to ask your shop these questions:
Are your technicians ASE-certified and are their certificates current?
Is there an ongoing training program in place for all technicians and service advisors?
Does the shop have experienced diagnosticians using the latest diagnostic equipment?
Do they provide at least 12,000-mile/12-month warranty on parts and labor?
Does the shop have a clean garage and a clean comfortable waiting room?
Does the shop offer secure "early drop-off" or "late pick-up" for your vehicle?
Does the shop provide free shuttle service within a reasonable distance from the shop?
Does the shop provide assistance with rental car service if needed?
Does the shop keep you informed regarding your vehicle's future maintenance needs?
Top 10 Reasons to Maintain your Vehicle
Everyone at Dean's Automotive, Inc. takes great measures to ensure that you're never inconvenienced with car problems. As you know, every vehicle - whether new or old - must receive regular maintenance to keep the vehicle running at peak performance. Your vehicle may, in fact, be due for a 4,500-mile, 7,500-mile, 15,000-mile, 30,000-mile, 60,000-mile or 90,000-mile service. Not sure? Just ask your service advisor at Dean's Automotive, Inc. Here are the top 10 reasons why maintaining your vehicle is important:
Protects your investment (the average person plans to keep their vehicle at least 10 years).
Saves you money on possible expensive repairs.
Provides you better fuel economy.
Provides a safer vehicle for you and your family.
Maintains your manufacturer's warranty.
Results in a more dependable vehicle.
Helps eliminate costly and inconvenient breakdowns.
Holds more value for your vehicle for resale.
Helps protect the environment by reducing emissions.
Last, but not least, helps you feel more secure.
12 Tips to Take Care of Your Car
Source: Car Care Council
The best way to keep your car out of the repair facility with major repair problems is to follow a basic vehicle care maintenance schedule. It is recommended that you make general visual inspections and stay on top of vehicle maintenance items. A skilled automotive technician can assist with basic vehicle maintenance and more complex repairs.
Start your vehicle properly and drive it frequently. Believe it or not, an idle car can become a sick car. If you have a spare car, drive it on the weekends to keep fluids circulating, tires properly inflated and batteries stable.
Don't let the fuel tank run down to empty. A good rule of thumb for safety and to keep dirt out of your fuel system is to fill up when the fuel gauge reads half-full.
Steer the vehicle properly. Don't turn the wheel excessively where it can go no further. That causes significantly more wear and tear on the steering pump than necessary.
Pay attention to the dashboard. Warning lights are telling you that something is going on under the hood. Sometimes waiting even a few days can be the difference between a routine fix and a major, costly repair. In some cases, warning lights indicate you must stop the vehicle immediately. Red lights typically mean "stop now".
Check the engine's oil level each time a tank of fuel is purchased, or once a month. Regular oil changes can reduce engine wear and make the vehicle run cooler and last longer.
Look at the transmission fluid to be sure that it is at the proper level and doesn't look dirty or smell burnt.
Inspect the antifreeze/coolant level and condition, making sure the proper mixture of water and coolant is used according to specifications in the owner's manual. Also make sure the coolant has been drained and/or flushed as recommended by the maintenance schedule in the owner's manual.
Frequently inspect cooling system hoses, including the radiator, heater and bypass hoses at least every 5 years. Replace sooner if there are cracks, splits, swelling or softness.
Inspect all other hoses under the hood. Look for visual signs of leaking or damaged hoses in the power steering, air conditioning, transmission, cooling and brake lines.
Frequently inspect and replace all belts that are worn, cracked, frayed or damaged. Replace all belts more than 5 years old.
Check the air filter at least with every oil change, and more often in dusty conditions.
Inflate tires to recommended pressure. Under-inflated tires are a safety hazard and can cut fuel economy. Inspect for damage and excessive tread wear. Rotate tires approximately every 7,500 miles.
The Car Care Council is the source of information for the "Be Car Care Aware" campaign, educating consumers about the benefits of regular vehicle maintenance and repair. For more information, visit