Rick's Auto Service

Mishawaka Auto Repair

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

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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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Basic Training for New Drivers

Basic Training - In addition to driver's education, teach them how things work and what to expect: Check tire pressure Check the gas gauge Under hood checks Oil level Washer fluid Coolant bottle level Change a flat tire You should also get a complete safety inspection on your new driver's car and go over it with them. They will gain more: Respect Appreciation Responsibility for taking care of the car Finally, talk about the What if's...what to do when the car stops running, when they become stranded on the side of the road: Jumper cables Flashlight Cell phone with all of the emergency and contact numbers

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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

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New Car Maintenance - Do you have to take your car back to the dealer for scheduled maintenance?

Any car dealer in the world would love for you to believe that you have to take your car back to them for maintenance. On the contrary, many independent repair shops can take care of the same repair needs that your dealer can. More often than not, you'll actually find more talented technicians at independent shops. For most new cars, scheduled maintenance should be done at 15k, 30k, 45k, 60k, and 90k miles. Be sure to check the owners manual for your car's specific requirements. Will this void your new car warranty? NO! The Magnuson/Moss Warranty Act prevents car manufacturers from forcing customers to get their scheduled maintenance from the dealers. Still worried about going for repairs and maintenance outside of your dealer? New car dealers can only service 57% of the cars they sell, so manufacturers were forced to give independent shops the technical info on their cars. Besides...do you really want the people who beat you up w ... read more

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The dreaded check engine light! What does it mean?

Many people don't understand the importance of reacting quickly to cars messages. Cars give messages to us by way of warning lights and gauges. How quickly you react to a check engine light can often determine the cost of repair! As a result of not reacting quickly to this warning light, a $150 valve cover gasket repair can turn into a $2500 head job. Think of your 'Check Engine' light as a stoplight. No light at all is like a green light...no problems, keep driving. A yellow/steady 'Check Engine' light is like a yellow light...take caution, as something needs attention. A red/blinking 'Check Engine' light is like a red light...stop driving as soon as possible and consult your owner's manual! For some vehicles, these lights can be related to maintenance and systems controls, but they are most often very serious signals from the vehicle, and are related to lubrication and temperature control systems. If these lights are, in fact, related to temperature o ... read more

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