Avoiding Auto Repair: Strange Sounds and What They Mean

Auto repair and strange sounds your car makes.

What’s That Sound? Listen Carefully and Avoid Auto Repair

Have you noticed an unusual sound when you’re driving? Is there a clunking, rattling or hissing that wasn’t there before? Rather than ignore it and risk paying for extensive auto repair, you should listen out for unusual noises that your car might be making.

They could signal a change for the worse in a vital part of your vehicle, and getting auto repair sooner, rather than later, could save you a lot of money. Our professional auto mechanics at The Auto Shoppe can give you a quick rundown of common, if strange, sounds that might mean your car needs servicing.

Squeaky, Whiny Brakes

Do you notice a high-pitched squeaking or whining whenever you apply pressure to your brakes? There’s a good chance your brake pads are worn down to the point that you’re scraping metal on metal each time you slow down or stop.

The noise itself is annoying enough, but having ineffective brakes – even if they still technically work – is a risk that’s not worth taking. If you’re hearing this, it’s time to get the brake pads repaired.

A Whirring Engine

If your engine is making a persistent whirring sound whenever it runs, it could mean that your fuel pump is about to fail. Other, more urgent signs of a failing fuel pump would be starting issues, power issues or the car stuttering while driving. Putting off auto repairs with a faulty fuel pump is a bad idea, and you need to get it fixed.

Groaning, Rattling Steering Wheel

A rattling or vibrating steering wheel even when you’re driving on a smooth, flat surface might mean that your wheels are out of alignment. If your car has power steering and you notice that turning the wheel is causing a groaning sound, the power steering system might be leaking or in need of replacement.

We shouldn’t need to tell you how important it is to be able to steer your car properly, so if you notice any of these then it’s time to bring it in for auto repairs.

Stuttering Wipers

While it’s perhaps not as major as the other items in this blog, your wipers are important. If you’re caught in adverse weather with poorly functioning or broken wipers, you’ll be in trouble – so look out for the signs that they need to be replaced.

If they’re leaving long streaks and don’t seem to be doing their job, and if they screech or stutter as they drag across the glass, then they’ve probably reach the end of their usefulness and need to be replaced.

Professional Auto Repair

These are just a few strange sounds your car might make to let you know something is up – we’ll come back to the topic again soon with more. Whether it’s because of odd sounds your car is making, or any other issue that’s making driving it difficult or dangerous, stop in at The Auto Shoppe for professional auto repair.
Our experienced auto mechanics are ready to help. If you’re looking for used cars, stop by our lot, or contact our used car dealership in Springfield, MO today.

Your Auto Mechanic Explains Your Dashboard Lights

Auto mechanic explanation of dashboard lights.

What Do Your Dashboard Lights Mean? Your Auto Mechanic Can Explain

Are you mystified by the meaning of some of those little lights on your dashboard? Do you just drive as normal and ignore the glowing hieroglyphs in the hope that they’ll eventually go away? Firstly, the auto mechanics at The Auto Shoppe strongly advise you to not just ignore them.

Secondly, our auto mechanics can also explain what some of the more cryptic ones actually mean. While some of those lights are familiar or self-explanatory, we’ve often encountered drivers – especially younger or newer drivers – who have no idea what they mean. Read on for a more in-depth explanation from our auto mechanics.

Simple Symbols

Although there are a lot of them on your dashboard, many of the lights are fairly self-explanatory – even if you’re a new driver. For example, the symbol for that indicates a low battery charge or an issue with the battery is a rectangle with a plus and minus symbol either side.

Anyone who is familiar with how batteries work can guess that this means an issue with the car battery. In most vehicles, the symbol used to indicate it’s time for an oil change literally spells it out for you with the phrase “CHANGE ENGINE OIL” compressed into a small space.

If one of the doors in your car is ajar, then your indicator for that makes things pretty clear too, showing you a bird’s eye view of the car with two or more doors open.

Incoherent Indicators

As professional auto mechanics, the Auto Shoppe knows that not all dashboard indicators are created equal. There are a few indicators on your dashboard that seem designed to confuse you. For example, an exclamation point in parentheses underscored with a jagged line. It’s not obvious to most people, but this light indicates an issue with tire pressure. Either you need to air up your tires or the actual gauge itself needs to be reset.

How about another exclamation point? This time in a circle, which is also inside parentheses. This is actually telling you there’s a problem with the brake system. If your car has an electronic stability system, you might see another exclamation mark – this time in a triangle with circle topped with an hour pointing anti-clockwise.

If you’re already grasping for something clearer, the coolant temperature warning indicator might help, although it might take a closer look. This light is actually showing a thermometer in wavy lines to indicate liquid.

However, there is another thermometer-based indicator, this one encircled with what looks like a gear. This is the transmission temperature, although anyone without prior knowledge might struggle to interpret it.

Professional Auto Mechanic Service

Hopefully, these explanations from our auto mechanics have helped clarify the meaning behind some of your dashboard lights. Just remember that some cars will use different symbols for certain things, and the best place to find really specific explanations is your owner’s manual.
With plenty of others to cover, we’ll be back with more explanations soon. In the meantime, if you’re in need of expert auto repair, or you’re looking to buy a used car for a fair price and in great condition, stop by The Auto Shoppe today.

What Does a Full Inspection Involve? The Auto Shoppe Explains

The Auto Shoppe explains auto inspection

The Auto Shoppe Explains What Gets Inspected on Your Vehicle

At The Auto Shoppe, we have a team of professional mechanics ready to handle your auto repairs. If you need to get a vehicle inspection, you can rely on The Auto Shoppe team to get it done. But, have you ever wondered what’s involved in an inspection? If you’re not all that knowledgeable about your car beyond where the key goes, you can find out what actually gets inspected – and why – in our blog. Read on to find out more.

Tire Condition

One of the standard and most important steps in a real inspection is checking the condition of the tires. This includes the pressure and the depth of the treads, along with the overall condition – looking for any tears or cracks, or other signs of excessive wear. Checking for significant wear can also help identify whether your car is out of alignment, since excessive wear on one side, but not the other, typically means the alignment is off.

Damage to the Windshield

A professional inspection at a location like The Auto Shoppe will also involve checking the windshield for damage. Even minor chips or cracks in the windshield can lead to much bigger and more dangerous issues down the line. Windshield repairs can also be pricey the longer you ignore any problems.

Headlights, High Beams, Emergency Lights

It’s pretty obvious that any inspection will involve making sure your standard headlights are working, but a real inspection will include all the lights on your vehicle. This means a mechanic will check the headlights, the high-beams, your hazard lights, brake lights, turn signals and tag lights. A good inspection will also check for condensation inside the lights.

Brake Sensitivity

Just like headlights, you can guess why it’s important to check the brakes as part of a full inspection. This isn’t just testing whether or not they work but also testing their sensitivity. It’s important not only that the brakes work, they also need to give you a decent amount of control as to have fast or slowly you can bring your car to a complete stop, depending on the situation.

Seatbelts

Sadly, there are still plenty of people out there who shrug off the importance of wearing a seatbelt. While The Auto Shoppe recommends you always wear your seatbelt, no matter how short the distance, and that a thorough inspection will involve testing the accessibility and effectiveness of each set.

Fluid Leakage

Fluid leakage can be an indicator of bigger problems, as well as a problem in and of itself. A full inspection will involve checking for leakage of any fluids, including brake fluid, coolant, water, battery fluid and more.

Contact The Auto Shoppe

These are just a few of the key things checked for in a full inspection – a full and thorough inspection will take much more into account. If you need a professional and thorough inspection of your car or truck, bring it down to The Auto Shoppe. Our auto mechanics are here to help, and we also have a wide selection of used cars if you’re looking for something else. Contact your local used car dealership in Springfield, MO for more.

Avoiding Auto Repair: Winter Car Care

Avoiding auto repair with winter car care

Take Care of Your Car this Winter and Avoid Auto Repair

At The Auto Shoppe, we offer professional auto repair and service as well as a great selection of used cars. But, we also want to help you avoid having to pay for auto repair if it can be helped. The better you take care of your car, the longer it’ll last.

One of the ways you can do this to prepare your car for more extreme weather – like the humidity of summer, or biting cold of winter. You might remember a similar auto repair blog we did about summer car care, and we’re staying ahead of the game by prepping you for winter car care.

Emergency Kit

We’ve already gone over what to include in an emergency kit in a previous blog, but let us remind you here about how important it is to keep one in your car at all times, along with some emergency supplies.

The likelihood of ending up stranded somewhere increases as the weather gets worse, and being stuck in the middle of nowhere in a blizzard is not a time to be caught unprepared. A first aid kit, jumper cables, waterproof poncho, non-perishable food and drinking water, a flashlight with spare batteries and a cheap, pay-as-you-go phone all count as essentials in your kit.

Antifreeze

Ideally, you should have an emergency kit like that in your car year-round, but there are a few things you can do before winter sets in. Make sure your car isn’t low on antifreeze, or else you risk your engine and other parts of your car seizing up in the cold. While you’re checking your vehicle is topped up, check for any leaks, too.

Battery

Cold temperatures present a unique threat to batteries, and there’s a slightly bigger chance of a battery that’s weaker or closer to the end of its life failing completely in the winter than summer. Volt test your car battery before the weather gets cold, and invest in a new battery if it’s weaker. It might be expensive at the time, but it’ll save you a huge headache should your current battery run out of juice.

Tires

Your tires being in good condition is essential all year round, but neglecting them in the winter is even riskier. Rain, ice, and snow all affect the way your hand handles, and your tires need to be in top condition to deal with the changing road surfaces. Make sure your tires are aired up and have the appropriate pressure.

You should also be aware that temperature changes will always affect the pressure, so you should keep checking them throughout the year. Keep a close eye on the general condition of your tires, too. Look for cracks or wear, and make sure the tread is still deep enough.

Windshield Wipers

You’ll probably be using your wipers a lot more in the water, and not just for rain. Wiping away snow or chunks of ice after you’ve defrosted your windshield will take a toll on your wipers, so if they’re older and you’ve been thinking of replacing them, now would be the time to do it. Make sure that your wiper fluid is topped up, too.

Headlights, Turn Signals, and Interior Lights

With darker evenings and more dangerous conditions, you also want to make sure that all the lights on and inside your vehicle are working properly. Being caught out with a broken headlight, or being stuck somewhere with no interior light just adds more stress.

The Auto Shoppe on Factors That Affect Car Insurance Prices

The Auto Shoppe Insurance

The Auto Shoppe Breaks Down Car Insurance Pricing

We don’t sell insurance at The Auto Shoppe, but we certainly know a good deal about it. You may have noticed that nobody usually pays quite the same rate for insurance. That’s because there are a variety of factors in play that determine the rate an insurance company will give you. Today in the Auto Shoppe blog, we’ll explain these factors to help you better understand your insurance policy.

Your Driving Record

This is one of the more obvious factors, but it also one of the most important. A shoddy driving record will make insurance companies less likely to trust you. Accidents play the biggest part in this. The more accidents you’ve had, the more likely it is to happen again, according to the insurance companies. Also, the frequency of accidents counts. For instance, someone who got into one accident 5 years ago will get a lower rate than someone who got into an accident 1 month ago.

Where You Live

Where you live actually plays a bigger role in determining your insurance rate than you might think. Logically, it makes sense. Densely populated urban areas have a higher chance of accidents, vandalism, and theft. Therefore, if you live in a city you can expect to pay more than if you lived in a smaller town.

What Type of Vehicle You Drive

Insurance companies will also consider the make and model of your vehicle. If the parts are expensive to repair or replace, your insurance rate will most likely be higher. Also, if your car has a high safety and crash test rating, you’re more likely to have a lower rate.

Your Commute and Mileage

Insurance companies will often ask how often your drive the car, and what your annual mileage is. This one is simple, the more you drive your car, the more at risk you are to get into an accident. Someone who drives their car for leisure, for work, and drives over 100,000 miles a year will inevitably have a more expensive policy than someone who just drives to and from work, only putting 20,000 miles on their car.

Other Factors

The above factors are some of the most common factors considered nationwide. Many insurance companies will also consider your age, gender, marital status, credit score, and insurance history. While some insurance companies may differ on how heavily they weigh all of the factors we discussed today, you can almost guarantee that every angle is considered when determining your rate.

Contact The Auto Shoppe Today

You don’t need a car insurance policy if you don’t have a car! Luckily, The Auto Shoppe has an incredible selection of used cars to choose from. Here at The Auto Shoppe, we specialize in customer satisfaction and service. So come into The Auto Shoppe today to check out what we have available!

The Auto Shoppe on How Credit Score Levels Affect Financing

The Auto Shoppe Credit

The Auto Shoppe on How Credit Score Levels Affect Financing

Your credit score has an impact on most of your financial endeavors. Whether you’re buying a car, a home, or taking out a business loan, your credit score can affect the outcome. Today in The Auto Shoppe blog we’ll be talking about how your credit score works, how it can potentially affect financing your car, and how we view credit scores at The Auto Shoppe.

How is Your Credit Score Determined?

Your credit score is a comprehensive picture of your financial history. It allows creditors to make a decision as to how much of a risk it is to lend money to someone. There are a lot of factors that go into deciding your credit score. The primary factors are payment history, length of credit, credit mix, credit utilization, and derogatory marks. Let’s look at these briefly.

Payment History

Your history of making payments on time. Payments that are 90 days late or later can have a big negative impact on your score.

Length of Credit

How long you’ve had your lines of credit open. The longer you’ve had accounts open in good standing, the better.

Credit Mix

Lenders like to see that you have a variety of accounts in good standing. It shows your ability to handle a multitude of accounts responsibly. For example, you have student loans, a car loan, and two credit cards.

Credit Utilization

This shows how much of your available credit you’re using. For instance, if you have a credit card with $1000 limit, you wouldn’t want to be using 80% of that. Keeping your utilization low means a higher credit score.

Derogatory Marks

These are accounts that have been defaulted on or sent to collections.

How it Affects Your Ability to Take Out a Loan

Your credit score will help lenders determine what kind of loan to give you – if they give you a loan at all. Sometimes a request for a loan gets denied if the credit score is bad enough. Otherwise, if you have poor credit, you’ll probably be stuck with high interest rates and not be able to borrow as much.

How The Auto Shoppe Views Credit

The Auto Shoppe doesn’t consider credit scores as much as some other dealership or banks might. At The Auto Shoppe, we put more value on our relationship with our customers than we do on credit reporting agencies. When you come to The Auto Shoppe, we’ll work with you when it comes to financing. For more information on our used cars, contact us today, or continue browsing our website.

Maintenance for Used Cars: Taking Care of it After You Buy

Used Cars and Care

Taking Care of Used Cars After Buying

Buying quality used cars can be a great decision. It saves you a ton of money and protects you from the instant depreciation of buying a new car. That being said, used cars are still used! This doesn’t mean they’re bad cars by any means, but depending on how used the car is, you might want to take some extra measures when caring for them. Today in The Auto Shoppe blog, we’ll talk about how best to care for used cars.

Keep up With Oil Changes

One of the most important things you can do for your car, whether it’s new or used, is making sure you get your oil changed on a regular basis. This is especially the case with used cars since they already have a little bit of wear and tear. If you bought your car with a high amount of miles on the odometer, you may want to opt for the high-mileage oil option. It can help to extend the life of your car further.

Keep Your Cooling System Running Well

Your cooling system does a lot of work for your vehicle, so it also experiences a lot of wear and tear. It’s important to make sure the hoses, the fluids, and every part of your cooling system are in top shape. Your engine overheating is a good way to shorten the life of your car. If you keep your cooling system running at optimum condition in used cars, you’ll get the most life possible out of them.

Drive Safe, Drive Smart

Another quick way to shorten the life of used cars, or any car for that matter, is getting into an accident. An accident can cause unpredictable damage to your car, some of which may be easily fixed, some could total your car. You can also extend the life of your car by driving smart, or not driving it too hard. Making your car work too hard can cause damage in the long run. For instance, speeding down the highway at 100 mph is not only illegal, it’s hard on your vehicle too.

Leave Major Repairs to the Professional

Even if you’re handy with cars and are confident with minor repairs, sometimes a professional auto mechanic is the only way to go. If a repair is major or tricky in any way, it’s best to put it in the hands of someone who fixes cars for a living. This way you make sure the repair is done correctly. You also have the benefit of being able to get a warranty for most repairs.

Browse Used Cars at The Auto Shoppe

Of course, the best way to get longevity out of used cars is buying from a reliable dealer who only sells quality vehicles. The Auto Shoppe has a wide selection of great used cars for you to choose from. Contact us today for more information, or come by our lot to check out our selection in person.  

Auto Mechanic Advice: Important Fluids in Your Car

Auto Mechanic Fluids

Auto Mechanic Advice: Important Fluids in Your Car

There are many moving parts that keep your vehicle running smoothly. Some of these parts need certain fluids to work properly. It’s important to check these fluids on a regular basis to ensure your vehicle runs at optimum levels, and to ensure you aren’t hurting anything. Today our auto mechanic breaks down some of the most essential fluids in your car.

Engine Oil

You probably already know all about oil, as it’s probably the most important fluid in your car. Your oil keeps all the parts of your car lubricated, and not changing it on a regular basis can be detrimental to the longevity of your vehicle. To check your oil, pop the hood, find the dipstick, and pull it out. Wipe the oil off with a cloth, then dip it back in. Check the level at the end of the dipstick. There should be an indicator of where the oil level should be marked on the stick. If the oil is below this line, then you need more. The easiest thing to do is take your vehicle to your auto mechanic for an oil change. Ask them when they recommend getting another change. It depends on your car and what type of oil you get, but generally, the range is 3000 miles for regular oil and 5000 miles for synthetic.

Transmission Fluid

Your transmission fluid ensures that your transmission stays lubricated. To check your transmission fluid, locate the dipstick in the front of your car, and do the same thing you did for the oil check. Wipe the dipstick, put it back in, and check the level. You should also make sure the color is pink. Also, if it smells burnt, it needs to be changed. Your auto mechanic can easily perform this service for you as well.

Brake Fluid

Your brake fluid helps to keep your brakes working properly. You can check your brake fluid by looking at the reservoir and making sure the color is correct. The reservoir should be located near the back of the engine compartment. If the color is golden, your fluid is good. If it’s brown in color, take it to your auto mechanic for replacement.

Coolant

Coolant, also known as antifreeze, keeps your car from overheating. Near your radiator is where the coolant reservoir should be. It’s easy to find since it’s a clear container with bright blue liquid. If you remove the cap, you should see a line that indicates where it should be filled to. If it’s low, simply find out what type of coolant your car uses in the manual, and then fill it to the line with that coolant.

Power Steering Fluid

Power steering does just what it says; keep your power steering working smoothly. If your steering feels odd, it’s worth checking the fluid. Pop your hood and look for the reservoir. The reservoir should have something on it to indicate that it’s the power steering fluid. If it looks low, you should take it to your auto mechanic to check for leaks.

Bring Your Car to an Auto Mechanic at The Auto Shoppe

If you’re in need of an oil change or want any of your other fluids checked, come to The Auto Shoppe. Our auto mechanic team will make sure your car is topped off and ready to go. Contact us today for more information.

Auto Mechanic Advice: Taking Care of Your Car Battery

Auto Mechanic Battery

Auto Mechanic Tips About Car Battery Care

Ideally, the fewer trips you have to take to the auto mechanic the better. Unfortunately, making a trip to the repair shop isn’t always avoidable. But, by being proactive and taking good care of your vehicle, you can certainly lengthen the amount of time between trips. One underlooked part of at-home maintenance is making sure your battery is in good condition. By taking care of your battery you can make sure it lasts as long as possible. Today in The Auto Shoppe blog, we’ll go over some battery maintenance tips recommended by our auto mechanic.

Check Your Battery

The first step to good battery maintenance is checking it for issues and making sure the level of charge is sufficient. Do a visual inspection to make sure there aren’t any obvious issues. If your battery is cracked, bulging, or leaking, it needs to be replaced. A battery with these issues is broken and does more harm than good. Ask your auto mechanic to test the voltage when you go in for your oil change. Most auto shops will do this for you regardless of if you ask.

Clean Your Battery

Cleaning your battery every once and awhile can help prevent rust and corrosion. It also helps to maximize performance. The terminals, the little connectors on top where you put jumper cables, benefit the most from a good cleaning. First, remove the connectors from the terminal. Next, use a wire brush, and gently cleanse the terminal with a mix of distilled water and baking soda. Finally, if you’re in an area that frequently experiences high-temperatures, your battery could benefit from a coating of temperature resistant grease.

Seasonal Care

People often worry about their batteries failing them during the hottest and coldest months of the year. According to our auto mechanic team, as long as you follow the above steps for good battery care, you don’t have to worry. As long as you get a battery test every now and then, you shouldn’t have any unexpected issues. That being said, if you have a well-insulated garage, it certainly doesn’t hurt to keep your car there whenever possible!

Contact The Auto Shoppe to Speak with an Auto Mechanic

The Auto Shoppe has more than just used cars for sale, we also have an incredible auto repair shop! Our amazing auto mechanic team will always provide you with efficient, friendly, and reliable service. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Questions About Used Cars: Should I Buy a Car with a Replaced Engine?

Used Cars Replaced Engine

Are Used Cars with New Engines a Good Value?

Shopping for used cars can be a long and frustrating process. So when you find a car at a low price with low mileage, you might get really excited. Even though there’s the caveat that the engine has been replaced, the deal just seems too good to be true. While a replaced engine shouldn’t necessarily be a deal breaker, you should still understand the circumstances surrounding the replacement. Today in the Auto Shoppe blog, we’ll discuss whether used cars with replaced engines are worth buying.

Ask the Right Questions

Used cars with replaced engines could be perfectly good purchases, as long as the reason behind the replacement is sound. Make sure you do your homework and ask the right questions before making a decision.

Why Was the Engine Replaced?

First, the most obvious question to ask. Why was the engine replaced in the first place? A valid reason for replacing an engine is the engine failed after a certain amount of miles. Another good reason is it was replaced before failure because the owner was being proactive and preventing the additional repair costs that come with engine failure. That being said, keep in mind that the rest of the car will still have the wear and tear from driving all those miles.

If the engine was replaced for other reasons, such as a fire or a severe accident, you’ll want to be much more wary of buying. Damage could have been done to other parts of the car, and you probably don’t want to risk something going wrong down the line. It’s probably best to avoid purchasing used cars with issues like these.

What is the New Engine?

You’ll also want to make sure that the new engine is actually new. If an engine replacement is performed, the new engine should be right for the car, and brand new. It’s possible that the engine was replaced with a previously used engine, in which case you may want to avoid making the purchase.

How was the Engine Installed

You should also check to see who put the new engine in. A professional, certified mechanic should be the one doing an engine replacement. Replacing an engine is a complicated auto repair job, and if the work is shoddy, you could face big problems further down the line. Ask for the service record and see who replaced the engine before making your purchase. If it was replaced by a professional mechanic or, even better, a mechanic certified by the manufacturer, you’re probably safe buying the car.

The Auto Shoppe has an Excellent Selection of Used Cars

If you’re searching for used cars, come to The Auto Shoppe and browse our selection. We’re proud to carry some of the best used cars around, and we’ll be happy to help you find the perfect one for your needs. Contact The Auto Shoppe today, or continue browsing our website for more information.