Auto Repair Specialist- A Lucrative Career Path

We have discussed many factors and important maintenance issues when it comes to maintaining your automobile and keeping it running at its optimal performance levels. There are small repairs and preventative maintenance procedures that are easily DIY jobs, but we also know the importance of utilizing the services of an experienced, knowledgeable and certified auto repair specialist. That being said, the automotive repair industry is forever growing, the Department of Labor predicts a 10% job growth, and in need of professional mechanics and repair specialists. 

Top Reasons Of Becoming An Automotive Repair Specialist

Self- Employment- Many certified mechanics choose to work for an auto repair service but you also have the option to work for yourself! By building and establishing your own portfolio of clients you are able to work for yourself, choosing your own schedule, being in charge of your own business.

Save $$$- Think about it, if you have the skillset, knowledge, and tools in place to repair other peoples vehicles, why can’t you repair your own? In fact, by doing your own automotive repairs and those of family members you can potentially save a lot of money for yourself and others. Or by charging a discounted rate to your family and freinds you are helping them to save money while earning a little extra for yourself. It’s a win-win situation. 

Choose Your Area of Interest- Have a particular area of interest when it comes to automotive repair? Taylor and refine your skills and knowledge by specializing in one area. Think brake specialist, engine performance, AC & Heating System technician, transmission specialist, or diagnostic technology/computer systems.

Rewarding- Believe it or not being an auto mechanic is rewarding. If you are fair, offer competitive and honest pricing and like the idea of helping people being an auto mechanic is a rewarding line of work. Any issue with your vehicle is usually a big headache, inconvenience, and hassle. Not to mention costly and can make life difficult for a while. If you are able to provide quality auto repair and maintenance services in a reasonable time frame with fair pricing you are helping to lessen the burden of needing auto repair or having a broken vehicle for that matter.

There are many reasons why becoming an auto mechanic is a rewarding and profitable career choice. Having auto repair knowledge and skills along with the tools needed to perform certain repair jobs is an asset that will never lose its importance. Automobiles are considered a necessity in this day and age and are not going anywhere anytime soon. Possessing the skills to diagnose and repair a vehicle will only become more profitable for decades to come. 

Checking Your Car’s Fluids

Your car does more than just get you from A to B, carries you and your family and friends to the destinations of your choice. It allows you to brave the weather in your plush heated and cooled leather seats. And it allows you to get just five more minutes of sleep before you have to start getting ready in the morning because you have your own means of transportation. But, just like any piece of machinery, it needs quality care and maintenance so that it can perform at it’s best and safest. Therefore, it can help tremendously to monitor and change all of your car’s fluids when necessary. 

Important Fluids To Monitor

Your car uses many fluids to help lubricate, cool, and run the many gears and systems that are in modern cars today

  • Gasoline. Obviously used to power your engine and drive your wheels. The most replaced fluid in any car. You need to refuel about every 300 miles depending on each car. 
  • Transmission Fluid. Used to lubricate your transmission when it changes between all of its gears. Need to replace around every 100,000 miles although check your owner’s manual for an exact number. 
  • Brake Fluid. Used to help assist you in pushing your calipers onto the brake rotors to help you stop sooner. Need to replace around every 50,000 miles or when the fluid is rusty or muddy looking as this is a sign that moisture has leaked into the system. Make sure to follow your manufactures recommendations. 
  • Differential Fluid. You may not have known that this fluid exists as it is all the way tucked into this metal ball-like structure that is located at your drive wheels. If you have an AWD or 4WD vehicle you can have up to 3 differentials. Needs to be replaced every 50,000 miles 
  • Coolant. This fluid runs throughout your engine block to help cool the engine and make sure you don’t overheat on the side of the road. Need to replace around every 100,000 miles but as always, check your owner’s manual for exact specifications. 
  • Engine Oil. This is one of the most common maintenance procedures and can easily be done at home. This fluid is used to lubricate all the moving parts in your engine so that no metal shavings are sent through the exhaust. Change around every 5000 miles but many owners manuals have you change it less or more often.
  • Power Steering Fluid. You only need to worry about this if your car is using hydraulic power steering. Some new cars use electric power steering and don’t need fluid. Power steering fluid helps assist you in turning the wheel of the car to make it easier to turn, especially at slow speeds. But if you have hydraulic power steering then check it periodically and change it around every 100,000 miles. But first, check your owner’s manual to see what they say.
  • Windshield Washer Fluid. Lastly, the least worrisome of your fluids is your windshield washer fluid. This helps clean off your windshield when it gets dusty or muddy. You just need to add more fluid when it gets low.

Car Battery Replacement

Car battery’s used to require you to replace the acid in the battery, but now modern batteries are maintenance-free. That, however, doesn’t mean that they last forever as you may have found out when you have gone to start your car and your battery was dead. You likely had a friend or nice stranger come to your aid and give you a jumpstart, but that is only a temporary fix. You will likely need to head to your local auto parts store as soon as possible for a new battery. 

Average Cost Of A New Car Battery

Despite each vehicle requiring a different battery, most batteries are priced between $100 and $300. Just keep in mind that the more expensive battery usually lasts longer, as they are of higher quality. 

Replacing A Car battery

Now you have your new battery and you think to replace it will be a piece of cake. Well actually, you need to know the important steps to make sure you don’t get shocked. 

  1. Locate your battery. Many new cars decide to place their batteries in the trunk or elsewhere to conserve space in the engine bay. But, you’ll know you’ve found it when you see a plastic box with a black and red wire attached to it or by looking in your vehicles auto manual.
  2. Disconnect the wires. This step is very important, as messing this up could send electricity throughout your body. You may need a wrench to loosen the nuts securing the terminals in place. Disconnect the RED wire, aka the positive terminal, first! This will prevent you from getting shocked when removing the battery as any touch between metal objects can create a circuit through your body. Not only painful but potentially deadly. Then disconnect the BLACK wire, aka the negative terminal and you should be able to pull the battery out.
  3. Take out the battery and put in the new battery. This step is self-explanatory, but just make sure to take the old battery to your local auto parts store where they will dispose of your battery for free. 
  4. Reconnect the wires. This step is just as important as disconnecting the wires. Except you want to do the opposite. Connect the BLACK wire first to establish a ground connection so the electricity doesn’t go through you. Then connect the red wire next and you are all done. 

As always if you do not feel confident in your abilities to replace your own battery, seek the help of the automotive store specialists or the services of a mechanic.

Tire Replacement

Tires are the only thing contacting the ground as you drive. They provide the grip necessary to accelerate, stop, and turn. And when you ignore your tires or even use the wrong tire in the wrong weather, you are setting yourself up for a potentially dangerous ride.  Therefore, checking your tires is one of the most important maintenance items to check along with engine oil and brakes

How Often Should I Replace My Tires

There is honestly no general mileage estimate for when you should replace your tires. You should, however, be constantly monitoring your tires to make sure your car has good traction. Constantly check the tread pattern depth and check for any deformities such as flat spots, bulges on the sidewall, or one side wearing more than the other. There are some tires meant to go 50,000 miles, and there are some tires meant to go 1,000 miles such as racing tires. If you’re looking at bringing your grandfather’s car back to life, you better replace the tires as even if tires aren’t used the rubber can wear and crack. Another thing to keep in mind id that tires need to be replaced around every 5 years regardless of mileage.

You can easily check the depth of your tire with a penny if you don’t have a ruler. If you stick the penny with Lincoln’s head down into the tread, and you see his whole head, then you need to get new tires very soon as its only a matter of time before the chords of your tires start showing. To keep tires in their best shape, also make sure to keep up with tire rotations around every 5000 miles and keeping your tire pressures at the manufactured recommended specifications. Most cars are front-engine and front-wheel drive, meaning the front tires are carrying most of the weight and all of the power, so they will usually wear out faster than the rear tires. So don’t just check one tire and assume all the other tires are in the same condition. 

Importance Of Weather Specific Tires

Believe it or not, tires have different rubber compounds that have different operating temperatures. Summer tires have an operating temperature of around 60-110 degrees and winter tires have an operating temperature of -10-50 degrees. Still, All-Season tires try to be an all in one having an operating temperature between 30-80 degrees. If you live in a place with more than 1 season, consider investing in a good pair of all seasons or even consider season-specific tires for better traction and performance.

Power Steering Fluid Leak

When you turn the wheel of your car nowadays, you may notice that it’s not as easy to turn or that it’s just a bit more clunky than usual. Maybe you hear a loud whine whenever you turn the wheel, this most likely means that your power steering system has a problem somewhere. But thankfully, you can easily check and diagnose the problem, and even fix it yourself

How To Check Power Steering Fluid

  • First, check to make sure your car has hydraulic power steering fluid as some new cars use electronic power steering fluid and some older cars don’t use power steering at all.
  • Now to check the fluid make sure your car is parked on a flat surface to ensure an accurate reading. Then what you need to do is open the hood of your car and locate the power steering reservoir. Open the reservoir and wipe off the dipstick. Then stick the dipstick back into the reservoir and pull it back up again. Look at the dipstick to see where your fluid lines up with where your level should be.
  • If your power steering is leaking as evidence of the fluid drops on your driveway then your power steering should be, low. If your power steering isn’t low and your still hearing weird sounds, head to your local mechanic as this may be a problem with the power steering pump or even the suspension. If your power steering is low then add more fluid for now and see if the noises start to go away. This is only a temporary fix as the leak will only get worse and potentially cause a more expensive fix later down the road if the problem is ignored for long enough.

Cost To Repair Power Steering Fluid Leak

Depending on the severity of the leak, you may be able to just add power steering leak fix and watch as within the next hundred miles your leak stops. These power steering leak repairers are cheap, but they only work on minor leaks. So if you are having to add power steering fluid every week or every couple of days, then you should look at locating the source of the leak and replacing the appropriate hoses or gaskets. Although that job can be done by yourself, it requires some mechanical know-how and it is usually under $1000 to replace the whole pump let alone repairing a small leak which is around only $200. 

Either way, it is always best to get any leaks checked out by a certified mechanic sooner rather than later. By staying ahead of the problem you are saving yourself from not only money spent but other repairs that could have been avoided had you taken care of your power steering fluid leak before it got too bad. Should your power steering fluid be leaking and because the power steering line runs all throughout the bottom of your vehicle it can cause quite a mess to have to clean off of other engine components if left unattended.

Use Your Vehicle To Market Your Business?

Vinyl Wrapping has quickly taken the precedence over traditional paint jobs not only due to the fact it is ½ of the price, but also because of its customization ability.  With this customization ability comes marketing opportunities for businesses. Enter in the newest and most EFFECTIVE way to market your business.

How does vinyl wrapping guarantee a fool proof marketing strategy? We called upon our friends at MidCoast Customs for some professional insight on this latest marketing trend. They provided us with crucial points that vinyl wrapping encompasses in the marketing world.

Marketing Benefits Of Vinyl Wraps

Endless Audience- Think about it..your audience is literally endless.  Anywhere you travel, from the grocery store down the street to San Diego to enjoy the beach, your vehicle is a rolling advertisement.

Placement- Probably the least aggressive way to advertise your business services.  Instead of forcing information on people you are placing your business in their view simply because you are out doing errands.

Mobile Advertisement- One thing we know for certain is that the mobile world is where it’s at.  It is proven that most web searches are done on mobile devices, because everyone is always on the go.  Well your vehicle with your business logo is right alongside all of these mobile people!

Cost Effective- Rather than paying advertisement fees every month, whether it be a billboard, other signage, radio spots etc. you own this advertisement completely and only pay for it once!

Local Market- No better way to target your local market than to be directly in front of them frequently! This will help to gain exposure within your community as well as establish your business and what you offer. Many times word of mouth is a great way to gain customers and what better way to do so then by immersing your business name and services within your local market!

These are just a few of the many benefits vinyl wraps have to offer in terms of marketing your business, services and products. Vinyl wrap advertsisment has also been proven to be the best return on investment for your marketing dollar! And to sweeten the deal a bit more vinyl wraps provide a protective barrier on your vehicle or company fleet of vehicles which helps to insure they are better equipped to stand up against environmental factors such as weather elements, road debris, dents and scratches!

The Importance Of Brake Maintenance

Brakes are essentially the MOST IMPORTANT part of your vehicle.  Making sure that your entire brake system is well maintained should be a top priority in your car care routine. Brakes that are not performing at 100% of their ability are considered hazardous and should be looked at immediately. Often there are different signs that will present themselves when your brakes or part of your brake system is not functioning to full capacity.  It is important that you are aware of the different signs and what they could possibly mean.

Signs Of Brake System Issues

  • Squeaking- often caused by friction from the brake line.  If left unchecked it can lead to damage in the pads, lining, rotors, and brake drums
  • Grinding- this usually indicates that the brake pads are worn. The grinding noise is caused by metal scraping against metal.  If left unattended to it can cause further damage in your brakes drums and rotors.
  • Pulls To One Side- if you notice your car pulling to one side it may not be the alignment.  It may mean that your brake lining has worn unevenly.
  • Having To Pump Your Brakes- this could mean that there is a leak somewhere in the brake system.
  • Pedal Sinks To The Floor- this usually indicates that there is air in your brake line
  • Shaking With Normal Pressure- this indicates worn brake rotors and should be looked at and fixed immediately.

Another aspect of the braking system that often goes overlooked is the brake fluid.  Brake fluid is an essential part of the entire braking system. It acts as the lubricant to all of the intricate parts of your braking system and is required to maintain a perfectly balanced functioning braking system.  Brake fluid levels should be checked regularly as with your cars other fluids such as oil.

Maintaining your braking system is crucial in creating a safe ride for not only you and your passengers, but also for the other drivers you are sharing the road with.  Should you experience any of the above warning signs it is recommended that you seek a professional auto mechanic as soon as possible. Not only for your safety as well as others, but also as to not create further damage to other  parts of the braking system that will ensure expensive repairs.

Preventative Car Maintenance

Let’s talk about  maintenance that needs to be done regularly to help maintain your car’s performance and help to combat the need for costly repairs.  In fact the tasks associated with preventative maintenance are relatively easy and can be done by you at home. We have compiled a list of the MOST important maintenance measures to take when it comes to keeping your car on the road.

Preventative Maintenance

  • Do a monthly inspection- That’s right every month or two do a complete once over on your car.  Listen to the engine, check your tire pressure & tread, check your oil, fluids, that all of your lights and signals are working properly.
  • Fluids, Fluids, Fluids- We cannot stress this enough!  Checking and maintaining ALL of your car’s fluid and fluid levels is extremely important.  Why? The fluids in your car are there for a reason.  Keeping them full and clean allows for the different parts of the engine that need these fluids to stay running efficiently and without stress on themselves or surrounding parts.
  • Oil Changes- Ok, ok we know that this is considered a fluid but it may be the most important fluid, even though they are all important. Oil is what lubricates our engine parts and allows are car to run. No oil in your car? Your engine will seize and there is no turning back after that. Dirty oil is up there as well.  Clean engine oil free of debris will help engine to run more efficiently.
  • Filters- We are talking engine filters, air filters, anywhere you have a filter in your car, change them in a regimated time frame.
  • Wiper Blades- When  your wiper blades start to leave streaks on your windshield it’s time to change them.  Visibility is key when you are driving down the road at any speed.
  • Tires Rotated & Balanced- Not only will this help with fuel efficiency, it also will create a longer life for your tires.  Unbalanced tires can lead to uneven wear and tear and create alignment issues.
  • Alignment…… – Perhaps one of the biggest safety hazards, an unaligned car can make for a dangerous driving situation, as well as uneven wear on your tires.  Alignments are not exactly cheap, but they usually come with a year warranty, meaning you can go back anytime within the year to have your car realigned for free.  Having an alignment done consistently can definitely save you the cost of other more expensive repairs or having to buy 4 new tires which isn’t exactly cheap either.

 

 

Establishing a preventative maintenance routine that you can responsibly keep up with is based on the individual.  While there is still more you can do to help maintain your automobile, we suggest starting with at least these 7, being that they are probably of the most importance.  We also suggest establishing a relationship with a trusted garage service or mechanic that you will feel confident with to work on your car as well as give you fair market prices.  We rely on our automobiles to help us navigate day to day in all of our errands, work needs, family transporting and for recreational activities.  Giving your car a little extra care on a regular basis will help to keep your car performing at its best and save you on money spent on repairs that may have been prevented.

New Garage & Single Garage Conversions

For the avid automobile lover, and those vehicle owners that just want to help protect their car from theft, break ins, and the weather elements (especially those in snowy winter climates) parking your car in your garage is the best bet.  In fact keeping your car in the garage will also help to keep it cooler or warmer depending on the weather outside.  But what happens if you don’t have a garage?  Or you have multiple cars and only a single car garage?   When people think of converting a single car garage into a space that can hold at least two cars they think of the expense.  Afterall, it sounds like somewhat of a big project!  Or what about building a garage to even just store a single car within?  That sounds like a big and expensive project as well!!  Is it worth it in the end?  And what about the rumor that while you think your garage is the safest place for your vehicle, it’s actually the space where your car is more likely to get dents and dings from excessive clutter, sports equipment, and other stored items that always seems to take over your garage space?  Well we decided to get some advice from a garage door/conversion specialist and have the low down on pricing of a conversion, pros and cons etc!  In fact Rusty from Parkerdoorsaz.com was able to give us some great insight and information on just what it takes to convert your carport or single car garage into a safe space to park and protect your car.

 

Continue reading “New Garage & Single Garage Conversions”

Electric/Hybrid Vs. Gas Powered

We are all aware of the hype surrounding electric and hybrid vehicles.  We see the plug in around our towns and cities at multiple locations which is all part of the going green concept. Although we know that going green and choosing eco friendly alternatives is better for our environment how do we know if hybrid/electric cars are safer and a better choice for ourselves and our families?  We decided that a little research was needed on the debate of hybrid/electric VS gas powered automobiles.  Well here’s the dish on the matter!

First things first electric and hybrid cars are no doubt an eco friendly attractive alternative to traditional gas powered vehicles.  They leave remarkably less of a carbon footprint on our environment and can be somewhat of an financially smarter alternative.  Why do we say “somewhat”?  Because although hybrid/electric cars are definitely more fuel efficient and can save the driver up to $10,000 in a 5 year span compared to those of gas powered vehicles, hybrid cars are definitely a lot more costly initially than gas powered vehicles.  In Fact they cost significantly more than gas powered vehicles of the same size.  And even though these eco friendly cars do not often have mechanical issues, when they do they are a lot more expensive than fixing mechanical issues of their gas powered counterparts.  Because of this fact it is often advised to purchase the extended warranty when buying a hybrid or electric car. On another note however there are some pretty substantial money saving features these cars offer as well.

  • All electric/hybrid cars excluding the Toyota Prius receive a $7500 tax credit upon purchase.  The tax credit is not available when buying a used vehicle or the leasing of one. (If you don’t meet or exceed the tax liability of $7500 the credit you miss out on the credit)
  • Numerous state incentives including cash rebates, state income tax credits, sales tax waivers, utility tax reductions,able to drive in carpool lane even solo, free parking for electric car in metered spots…that’s pretty convenient!
  • Immediate insurance discounts

Another amazing benefit to consider in the debate between gas, electric and hybrid cars is the fact that the eco friendly alternatives automatically stop the engine from running when driving slowly or coming to a complete stop.  This eliminates over use and wear and tear of the engine.  What does this mean for the driver?  Less trips to the mechanic to fix repairs caused by over engine use.   Lastly after a study done on the safety of electric/hybrid cars VS gas powered it was found that the passengers of hybrid cars are indeed a lot safer than those driving in gas powered vehicles!

With many pros and cons to consider in the purchase of either vehicle it all comes down to what is more convenient and efficient as well as safe for you and your passengers.  We all like eco friendly and the use of less gas so the decision can be tough.  We hope we have helped to narrow the scope on extacy what the differences are between these types of automobiles!