Rick's Auto Service

Mishawaka Auto Repair

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Category Archives: Articles

Should an oil change be just changing oil?

As I've mentioned before on this website, car repair is a lot like medicine. When you're sick and have to visit the doctor's office, you can choose to have an orderly check your illness, or you can have a qualified doctor review the problems with your health. An oil change at a discount oil and lube joint is like going to a doctor's office that doesn't have a doctor on duty. At reputable shops, ASE certified technicians are on staff in case potential problems are spotted by the lube department. It's just like a physical exam or health check-up. You should also understand the difference between ASE Certification and what most discount oil change places say they have. They may claim to have certified people working there, but more often than not, they're in-house certified! ASE Certified technicians are the cream of the crop in auto repair...they're the ones who have spent the time studying and testing to become the absolute best. It's not easy, a ... read more

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What Do You Do When Your Car Overheats?

How do you know if your car is overheating? Needle is toward or in HOT zone on gauge Red Temperature Light is on Steam coming out of engine What should you do? STOP NOW! DON'T OPEN RADIATOR CAP Get professional help...have a tow truck bring you to the most reputable tech in area What should I do if my engine has overheated? Have a complete Cooling System Evaluation done by an ASE Certified Technician Have all components of the cooling system -- including head gaskets -- checked for damage ALWAYS REPLACE the thermostat Make sure coolant is 50-50 mix What if needle on Temp. Gauge is just a little over the normal range? Turn off A/C Turn on heater Get out of stop-and-go traffic If in traffic jam, turn engine off

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What Should I Look For When Choosing A Repair Shop?

An easy way to tell how much a repair shop cares about its customers is the time its employees spend getting various certifications. Some of these certifications are more important to me than others. The 'certs' and affiliations that I believe are most important are: AAA Approved Repair Shop Automotive Service Association Gold medallion shops Member of the Automotive Management Institute (AMi) and ALWAYS make sure that the shop has ASE Certified Master Technicians A good shop will have these certifications on display when you enter the shop. REALLY good shops will also do their best to TEACH you why your car needs certain repairs. They'll take you into their bays and show you what needs fixing and teach you WHY. I can't stress this enough: You should NEVER feel like you don't know what your money is going towards...you should be able to ask questions and get REAL answers! If you're not getting this from your current shop, it's ti ... read more

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My Car Is On Fire -- What Should I Do?

Don't panic. Determine if it's smoke or steam. Pull off the road immediately. Unlock power door locks -- in case electricity quits. Turn the ignition OFF -- to shut off fuel pump and spark plugs. Pull the hood release -- so firefighters can put out fire. Get everyone out of the car. Call the fire department. Leave the sunroof, windows and doors closed. Don't open the hood -- starve the fire of oxygen. Don't fight the fire yourself. Water won't put out gasoline or electrical fires. Only TYPE B and TYPE C fire extinguisher. Dry chemical is most effective, but leaves corrosive residue. If the fire is under the car: Get out and stay away. The gas tank could explode

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Do you really get what you pay for in auto repair?

Here's my question to you: should price be the only consideration? Would you pay a good doctor for diagnosis and then find a cheap, back alley butcher to do your surgery? There is a huge difference in quality of labor and quality of parts in auto repair

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Car Insurance

When someone mentions car insurance, we all think about the liability insurance the state requires us to have on our vehicles. And we all know we can add comprehensive coverage that will help pay for damage in an accident. Usually this is applied to newer cars. But there are several other types of insurance for your car that you may want to consider purchasing for your car: Extended Warranties: These are like health insurance for your car...but they're not all the same. A few are good, but many are bad. Gap Insurance: You should only consider this if you're financing 85% or more of the purchase of a new car. This is because new cars depreciate faster than the loan is paid down. Credit Insurance: This pays off the car loan in case of death, and is usually included in some very expensive life insurance plans. Umbrella policies: These include liability coverage above other policies, and are usually very g ... read more

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Does my car just need a Tune-Up?

If your car has driveability problems (stalling, bad mileage, roughness, etc.), a diagnosis is ALWAYS in order. Did you know that today's cars can have as many as 3 computers each controlling separate systems? If it's not already obvious, this is NOT a job for discount tire and brake shops! Specialized equipment and training is required, and you would be wise to seek out a shop with ASE Master Technicians

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How To Avoid Getting Ripped-off

Did you know that there's a law out here to protect you as an auto repair consumer? If you don't know about it, it could cost you hundreds! It's called the R-D-I- law, and it stands for: remove, disassemble and inspect. When you are quoted a price for disassembly, in order to inspect, and determine what is wrong, the quote must include the cost of putting the vehicle back together, unrepaired. This is not unlike exploratory surgery when they don't remove the tumor. Once a technician is inside and finds a problem, that is your car's problem, and it is YOUR responsibility to pay to have it fixed. Also, if a part breaks on disassembly, it is not the shop's fault that your car is rusty, or has brittle, aged parts. BUT, once they find out what the internal problem is, if you decide NOT to fix the car, and ask them to put it back together, this should be done at NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE

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Recalls: What Are They? What Do They Mean?

How do recalls happen? They start with customer complaints to NHTSA -- the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The more complaints there are, the faster that they take action. The NHTSA opens their investigation, and if they find reason to do so, they place pressure on car makers, which usually results in a voluntary recall. If the reason is serious enough, the NHTSA can also mandate a recall. If you have a problem with your car, you can visit the NHTSA website by clicking here. There, you can check for recalls, check for 'Secret Recalls,' and make a formal complaint to the NHTSA

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Hydroplaning and Tire Care

What is Hydroplaning? Hydroplaning is the loss of contact between your tires and the road because of water buildup. When your car hydroplanes, it essentially turns into an unsteerable sled, which is especially dangerous if there are people or vehicles in front of you on the road. Rain means high danger for hydroplaning. Older highways with ruts and non-porous surfaces have a higher occurrence of Water puddles ... and thus an increased danger of hydroplaning. How do I avoid Hydroplaning? Worn tires are at a higher risk of hydroplaning, and need to be replaced before they are down to the wear bar. Narrow or Aqua-tread type tires are better Low tire pressure makes the problem worse Slowing down helps! Drive defensively -- watch for puddling and danger areas

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