Rick's Auto Service

Mishawaka Auto Repair

Mon - Fri: 7:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Call us: (574) 255-4724

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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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Concerned about gas prices?

We're all concerned about gasoline prices right now and how to save money on gas. There are a few things that everybody can do right away to help save some gas money... During every change of the season, the mix of gasoline and ethanol at the pump changes. This always causes problems, especially with your fuel filter. Check and replace your fuel filter and air filter. Service your Fuel and Induction systems. They work and get clogged like a spray paint can...a perfectly working system produces a fine spray, and a clogged system dribbles or globs. To clean these systems, I recommend going a preventative maintenance service called Motorvac, which cleans out fuel and air intake systems. At the very least I recommend using a good fuel injection cleaning. Get a maintenance tune-up. If it's been a long time since you've had your spark plugs replaced, make sure your technician evaluates their status, too

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My car battery is dead!

We have ALL experienced a dead battery, whether in the cold weather or not. Cold weather is the time most car batteries fail, but battery failure is not exclusive to the cold! A battery service and test is the best insurance you can buy to keep you form being stranded next winter! THE PROBLEM Extreme temperatures stress your car -- especially the starting system. In the winter, when you have a cold engine, cold oil and a cold battery...well, it's a bad combination. Weak batteries are caused by Corroded battery cables Lose alternator belt Leaving the lights on Age (average battery life is 4-5 years) THE SOLUTION Test and inspect the battery every fall Clean battery terminals and cable ends Clean the battery case Watch the acid though - it can burn your hands, and ruin your car paint If you get stuck with a dead battery... To jump start, connect ... read more

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3 Main Ways of Being Ripped-Off

They sell you something you don't need. This is the worst kind of rip-off. This occurs regularly in certain shops. Protect yourself: Have them show you each needed item before and after repair; get written estimate; get second opinion before; verify repairs after; get old parts. They don't know what they are doing. Many unskilled techs are in the field due to a general shortage of technicians nationwide. You are paying for their incompetence: wasted diagnosis time, mistakes, and parts not needed. Protect yourself: Select a shop, which is accredited by AAA, ASE and ASA. Also make sure your tech is ASE certified in the specialty he's working in. Just because a tech is certified in one specialty, doesn't mean in all areas. Test their recommendations with a second opinion. They promote a price which isn't realistic. Cheap 4 wheel brake jobs: $99, but really averages $200-$300. Scheduled maintenance, tune-ups, and many othe ... read more

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