An Auto Mechanic and Your Emergency Kit

Auto mechanic advice on emergency kits

Your Auto Mechanic on What You Need in an Emergency Kit

Are you ready for anything? Do you think of yourself as always being prepared? The auto mechanics at The Auto Shoppe see plenty of broken down or damaged cars, both used and new, passing through our auto repair shop.

We know just how unexpected some auto issues can be and how important it is to have an emergency kit ready to go in your car should you break down in the middle of nowhere. In order to help you out if you ever find yourself stuck on the side of the road, our auto mechanics suggest a few essentials for your roadside emergency kit.

A First Aid Kit

Having a first aid kid is important in all sorts of places – including an auto mechanic shop. Your roadside emergency kit should have a first aid kit that includes band-aids, antiseptic, sanitizer, painkillers, and all of the standard items. If you’re injured, either in an accident or by something else after breaking down, it might be a while until someone reaches you to help.

Jumper Cables

If your car has broken down on the side of the road, jumper cables might be the key to getting it going again – at least temporarily. Getting a jump from another battery can give yours enough juice to at least get you home until you can get your car to an auto repair shop.

Rain Ponchos and Tarp

You never know when you might end up stranded on the side of the road – or for how long. If you’re caught in the middle of winter or during some torrential rainfall, then ponchos and a tarp to keep you dry will be essential. This is especially important if it’s the winter because being wet is going to mean being cold. You should also pack some spare clothes and blankets in your car just in case.

Water and Snacks

Not only should you be packing clothes and blankets, you should also keep bottled water and non-perishable snacks for possible breakdowns. You don’t want to be stuck for hours and starving, especially if you’ve got kids stuck with you. An auto emergency isn’t just about your car – it’s about keeping you and your passengers safe, too.

A Flashlight and Batteries

You might also end up stranded at night. The auto mechanics at The Auto Shoppe strongly suggest you always have a flashlight and extra batteries at the ready in your car. You might also want to pack some reflective emergency signs and jackets.

A Pay As You Go Phone

Smartphones are great, but their batteries don’t tend to last too long. Having a second cheap phone that just works on topped up credit is a good idea for when your smartphone’s battery goes flat in an emergency. Cheaper, non-smartphone cell phones tend to have much longer battery life – just make sure you keep the minutes up.

Professional Auto Mechanic Service from The Auto Shoppe

This is by no means a definitive list of things you need in an emergency, so the most important thing to really think about what you and your family might need in an emergency and make sure you have it ready.

If you want to avoid getting stuck at the side of the road in the first place, you should get in touch with the auto mechanics at our car dealership in Springfield, MO. Whether it’s for auto repair or a service, we can help make sure your car or truck is road worthy. We can also help you if you’re shopping for used cars – just stop by the lot today!

Financing Options for Used Cars

Used cars and financing

Used Cars and Your Financing Options

In a previous blog about used cars, The Auto Shoppe covered the possible benefits of taking out an extended warranty. While the warranty is an important factor after the purchase, what about paying for the car itself? Are there different financing options when it comes to shopping for used cars, rather than new? Your local used car dealership in Springfield, MO looks at some of the financing options available for used cars to help you decide if it’s the right decision for you.

Think About Your Budget First

First and foremost, just like with any major purchase, you need to make sure you can afford it. Take a look at your current spending and think about how much you want to spend and how much you can spend. You need to make sure that all your financial bases are covered before you commit.

Check Your Credit

If you’re going to be taking out a loan to pay for your car, which most of us do nowadays, you’ll need to check your credit. A good credit score means you’re far more likely to be approved than if you have a bad one.

Look Long Term

Remember that you’re going to be regularly making payments on the car for a while, and you should factor this new additional spending into your future plans.

Getting a Loan Yourself

One way to go about securing a loan for your used car is to do it yourself. This can be a little complicated, but a lot of people successfully go about it this way. The key to doing things this way is to shop around for the right loan for you.

Compare loans from a few different banks and lenders, rather than jumping on the first one that sounds good because it’s either cheap or simple. You’ll need to go into this with your credit score in hand so that you’re ready to properly discuss options with different lenders, and be ready for a lot of back-and-forth communication before you make your financial decision.

The benefit of this is that if you have a good head for your finances, you’ll feel directly in control. The drawback, however, is that it can quickly become overwhelming.

Getting a Loan from the Car Dealer

Another common way of securing loans for brand new and used cars is to go through the dealer. This cuts out a lot of the work you need to do, although some people do feel concerned that they’re not necessarily getting the best deal because of it being out of their hands.

This really depends on how much you trust your car dealership – just make sure that you communicate with them. If you have a good relationship with the dealer you’re buying from, you can even do some of the research yourself and work together to find the best loan for you.

Used Cars at The Auto Shoppe

Whatever your financial situation might be, if you’re shopping for used cars, The Auto Shoppe is the place you need to go. We have a wide selection of used trucks and other vehicles, as well as a professional auto repair team who can take care of any problems you have with what you’re driving right now.

Extended Warranties on Used Cars

Used cars and warranties

Are Warranties on Used Cars Worth It?

If you’re shopping for used cars, you’ve likely seen a lot of mentions relating to “extended warranties”. For the less experienced buyer, whether or not an extended warranty is something they need when it comes to used cars can quickly get confusing.

Searching around for advice will bring a lot of mixed results. Some warn you to stay away while others recommend them. The Auto Shoppe wants to offer some general advice on extended warranties for used cars – but you should remember that this blog is just for educational purposes. If you want to really know whether it’s the right choice for you, talk to your professional used car dealer.

What Is An Extended Warranty?

An extended warranty, also known as a service contract, is offered by a car dealership to help offset the potential cost when you buy a new or used car. When you buy a new car, it comes with a manufacturer’s warranty that is valid for a specific amount of time, while the extended warranty is offered to cover the period after the manufacturer’s warranty has expired.

Why Is It Beneficial?

Why sign up for an extended warranty when you buy a new or used car? When it comes to buying a new car, it can be a little easier to think about not adding an extended warranty, since you have a good idea of how long you have until the manufacturer’s warranty is up.

Although it does mean that should it need repairs just outside of the original warranty, it’ll still be covered. With used cars, however, it’s a little bit more complicated. A lot of your considerations for whether to get an extended warranty will come down to what kind of used car you’re buying.

To help you make an informed decision, you should take a look at the repair history of that particular car, as well as research whether the make and model is known to be reliable. If the car is a newer model, or the make is pretty well regarded in terms of how often their cars need auto repair, you might feel comfortable not taking out an extended warranty. But remember that while research can give you an idea of how long your car can go without service, you can predict exactly what’s around the corner.

Your Peace of Mind

This brings us to probably the biggest benefit of an extended warranty, especially when it comes to buying a used car. How confident do you feel without being covered for unexpected expenses? An extended warranty can give you additional peace of mind when it comes to committing to a purchase, but it’s ultimately up to you.

Used Cars From The Auto Shoppe

If you’re looking for trustworthy sales service and guidance when it comes to shopping for used cars, you should give The Auto Shoppe a call. We’re dedicated to finding the right used car for you, and our auto mechanics and auto repair pros are here to help with any problems with your current vehicle, too. Call or visit our used car dealership in Springfield, MO today.

Avoiding Auto Repair: Summer Car Care

Avoiding auto repair in the summer

Summer Car Care and Avoiding Auto Repairs

Most people associate the kind of weather that damages your vehicle with the harsh cold, rain, and snow of winter. But the hot summer days can do just as much damage to your car or truck. Failing to take care of your vehicle when the sun is shining could also end up costing you in auto repairs. At The Auto Shoppe, our professional auto mechanics have seen plenty of cars in need of auto repairs thanks to summertime neglect, so we’re offering some advice on how to take care of your car in the summer.

Make Sure Your Coolant Is Topped Up

The levels of coolant in your vehicle are important year-round, but the risk of overheating is bigger in the summer, especially if you live somewhere prone to intense heat. Not only should you make sure the coolant is at the right level, you should also check the consistency of the pipes and tubes that feed it into the parts of the car where it’s needed. If these tubes are soft rather than firm, you might be in need of some auto repairs and maintenance.

Keep Checking Your Tires

Just like your coolant levels, you should be regularly checking the condition of your tires no matter what time of year it is. However, just like in the deep cold of winter, the intense heat of summer can make tires more susceptible to wear and damage.

Changing air pressure and temperature between day and night is causing your tires to expand and contract, not to mention their contact with the hot surfaces as you drive. Check for cracks or splits, and pay attention to how your car is handling as the summer wears on.

Keep Your Car Clean – Inside and Out

The hot sun beating down on the outside of your car can affect the color of your paint, not to mention quickly dry on stains if it happens to rain, making it much harder to clean over time. Keep your car as clean as possible to avoid the sun taking a real roll on how it looks.

You should also think about the inside of your car. We’re all guilty of leaving some trash or even old food in the car, but in the summer, leaving it sitting in there is going to get a little smelly. While it’s not likely to result in the need for auto repairs, the smell of old food, especially after it’s been left to cook for a few days, is really hard to get rid of.

Make Sure Your A/C Is Working

It should go without saying that you’re A/C is essential in the midst of a heat wave, but all the same – keep your A/C in check! If you feel like you’re not getting cold enough air from it, or it’s not blowing as much as it should be, it might be time to visit The Auto Shoppe to get it looked at. The comfort and safety of you and your passengers is paramount, and a working A/C in the summer is a big part of it.

Professional Auto Repair from The Auto Shoppe

If you’re already too late to avoid some of the downsides of the summer when it comes to your car, The Auto Shoppe is here to take care of your auto repair needs. We offer friendly and fast service from a team of experienced auto mechanics with a passion for cars and trucks of all kinds. If you’re looking for used cars, why not stop in at The Auto Shoppe and take a look at what’s available?

Examples of Difficult Auto Repair

The most difficult examples of auto repair

The Most Difficult Examples of Auto Repair

Plenty of people can undertake a lot of auto repair themselves, especially if they’re already an enthusiast about automobiles. But there are a few auto repairs that are especially complicated and even pretty dangerous if you get them wrong. These are the repairs you should really leave to the professional auto mechanics at The Auto Shoppe. We take a look at a few of them, why they’re challenging, and why you should leave them to the experts – even if you consider yourself one.

The Transmission

The transmission of your vehicle is like the spine that holds things together and keeps them working. If you’re feeling your car shudder while you drive, have problems changing gears in a stick shift, or your car or truck is leaking fluid from underneath, then you probably have a problem with your transmission.

Fixing the transmission is complicated because of where it’s situated in your car and just how much it’s connected to. Replacing it altogether is even more challenging because if it’s not installed properly, your car can become a deathtrap. This is definitely an overwhelming auto repair that should be left to the pros unless you really know what you’re doing.

The Windshield

Sure, if you have a crack or a chip in your windshield you could temporarily fix it with some kind of sealant, but that isn’t a long-term solution. A crack or break in your windshield, no matter how small, carries a huge risk of getting bigger, especially as your vehicle goes through a lot of temperature changes that cause the glass to expand and contract.

Unlike filling in chips and cracks, removing a replacing a windshield is a whole different ballgame. You need specific, appropriate tools and the knowledge of how to handle specialized materials to make sure it’s installed securely.

The A/C

Not having a working air conditioner or heater in your car is an absolute nightmare, especially in the middle of summer or the thick of winter. Replacing a broken A/C quickly becomes a priority, but fixing it yourself is typically not the best idea. While it might not be as risky as attempting to replace the transmission or the brakes yourself, not doing it right is just going to make the problem last much longer and possibly do more damage to your car.

There are a lot of things that need to be connected to the A/C, not to mention some of the more complicated electronics involved in more modern vehicles. Unless you’re a professional, you probably want to avoid handling Freon – the substance that controls the temperature in your A/C – as it can be toxic if it’s not handled correctly.

The Engine

It probably goes without saying that replacing the entire engine of a car is complicated, but it’s exactly what this blog is about. Often one of the most laborious and complex, not to mention just plain physically difficult auto repairs is replacing an engine.

The engine is the heart of your vehicle, and if it’s installed wrong it simply won’t work. Not only that, but if a minor detail in the installation is missed, things can get extremely dangerous. Unless you have a lot of experience, you should absolutely leave this one to your auto mechanic.

Professional Auto Repair

If any of these sound familiar, it’s probably time to invest in some professional auto repair. Whether you bought your car used or new, the auto mechanics at The Auto Shoppe can help you get your vehicle road-worthy again. If you’re looking for used cars in Springfield, MO, contact The Auto Shoppe today – or better yet, pay us a visit in person!

Inspecting the Interior when Shopping for Used Cars

car interior advice for used cars

Things to Look for on the Inside When Buying Used Cars

When searching for used cars to purchase, there are many things you should keep in mind in terms of aspects that can make or break the deal you may be pursuing. Oftentimes, many people overlook the interior portion of their car examination and only focus on how the car looks from the outside. In reality, analyzing different parts of the inside of the vehicle is among one of the most important things you should do before making a purchase. At The Auto Shoppe, we compiled some important features to inspect on the interior of any pre-owned vehicle you may be looking at before making the decision to sign the papers.

Upholstery

One of the first things you should look at when scanning the interior of a used car is the condition of the upholstery and the various pieces of furniture and fabrics inside the vehicle. Are the linings on the seats dirty, worn and/or ripped? Are the panels on the doors loose or falling off? Is the odor of smoke cemented into the linings? These are all questions you should ask yourself and subsequently rank in terms of value depreciation. If any of these issues are deal breakers for you, then you need to assess the additional costs it would take to solve the problems or just move on to a new vehicle.

Air Conditioning

Many people forget to test the functionality of the air conditioning unit inside of a used car. You should always turn the vehicle on and evaluate the capabilities of the air unit to see that it is performing to a proper extent. If cool air is not blowing out, you definitely have a problem on your hands. Even if cool air is blowing out, is it doing so at a suitable intensity? If not, an issue may be lying in the filter of the car. These are all things to keep in mind before deciding to purchase a pre-owned vehicle.

Dashboard

Analyzing the dashboard can reveal any underlying problems with the vehicle through the service light indicators. If you notice that an icon is lit up on the dashboard of a used car, you should undoubtedly research the issue and seek the necessary measures for getting it fixed. Lights can designate problems anywhere from low windshield-wiper fluid to engine complications.

Stereo

This one may not seem as pressing as some of the other aspects mentioned but is, nonetheless, important in assessing the value of the used car. Do the speakers work? If so, are they clear and able to withstand levels of high volume for jamming (safely) on the highway? Is the radio picking up a signal? Does the stereo have auxiliary/Bluetooth capabilities so you don’t have to listen to the same six songs on the radio all day? These characteristics can make or break your desire for a certain vehicle.

Contact The Auto Shoppe For More Tips on Buying Used Cars

Next time you are searching for used cars, do not stop looking at the outside. Make sure you give the interior of the vehicle a thorough run-through and check out the various components mentioned above. For more information, contact The Auto Shoppe at 417-889-6555 or visit us at 3310 S. Campbell Ave. in Springfield, Missouri.

Auto Mechanic Advice: Steps for Changing a Headlight

proper headlight care advice from auto mechanic

Auto Mechanics on What to do When Your Headlights Go Out

When one or both of your headlights go out, it’s a good idea to replace them as soon as possible. For one, they’re pretty beneficial for driving at night, so if you don’t have a working bulb, you’re putting yourself in a difficult situation and the surrounding motorists who may not be able to see you. In addition to safety, you can also get a ticket for not having working headlights. Have no fear though, when it is time to change your bulbs, you can do so pretty easily on your own. Our auto mechanics outlined some basic steps to follow when your headlights go out so that you’ll be back on the road in no time.

Select the Correct Bulb

When replacing a headlight, it is essential that you replace it with a matching model or one that will fit your vehicle. You can likely find this information in the owner’s manual for your vehicle or through some quick research on the web. If you still need additional assistance locating the correct wattage and bulb, the auto mechanics at The Auto Shoppe can help you find what you need.

Cleaning the Bulb

Before you replace the broken headlight, make sure your new bulb is clean and in proper shape to be lighting a roadway. Our auto mechanics suggest doing a quick wipe-down with an alcoholic cloth to remove any dirt off the glass.

Replacing the Bulb

For most vehicles, only a screwdriver will be needed to complete this replacement. Seek assistance from an auto mechanic at The Auto Shoppe if you are not sure how to do any of the following steps:

  • Open the hood of your vehicle and make sure it is securely propped up. You do not want it to fall on you while replacing the headlight.
  • Reach down and remove the power connector from the bulb, gently twisting it free.
  • Remove the cover from the back.
  • Cautiously release the bulb from any sort of clasp that may be holding it in place and remove it from its socket.
  • Insert your new bulb into the socket, making sure to twist it until it is secured in place.
  • Replace the cover and power connector back to their original locations.
  • Turn on your vehicle to check to make sure the replacement is functioning properly.

If you are successful in changing your bulb, then you should be good to hit the streets again. Happy driving!

Contact The Auto Shoppe for More Auto Mechanic Advice

Replacing a headlight is among the more simpler tasks in terms of auto repair. Nevertheless, if you are facing difficulties or have a much larger problem that needs solving, never hesitate to have one of our auto mechanics take a look at your vehicle. Contact The Auto Shoppe at 417-889-6555 for more information.

Advice From The Auto Shoppe: Signs You Need New Brakes

Brake maintenance advice from The Auto Shoppe

The Auto Shoppe On Recognizing Worn Brakes

Brakes are arguably one of the most important elements of your vehicle. Without them, you essentially have no way of stopping, which is incredibly detrimental to your safety. Because of this, it’s probably a good idea to make sure your brakes are functioning properly and to bring them to an auto mechanic when it is time for them to be serviced. At The Auto Shoppe, we put together a list of common indicators that your brakes are worn and should be brought in for maintenance.

Audible Signs

One of the most noticeable signs that your brakes are probably worn is hearing a sharp hissing sound when you try to stop. This is a result of your brake pads being worn, which triggers a metal tab to scrape against the rotor, acting as a built-in indicator for you to recognize that it is time to bring your car to an auto mechanic. If your brakes are extremely worn, then you may notice a grinding sound, designating that your calipers are rubbing against your rotors, which can cause further damage to your vehicle. If you notice any sort of unusual sound while attempting to stop, The Auto Shoppe strongly advises bringing your car in for maintenance.

Pulling

Pulling is the action of your vehicle uncontrollably drifting to one side when you attempt to use your brakes. This occurs when a brake caliper is stuck on a particular side, causing your car to move to that direction against your will when trying to stop. The Auto Shoppe suggests getting your brakes checked immediately, as this can be a serious safety hazard for yourself and other motorists.

Vibrating Brake Pedals

Another notable sign that your brakes are probably worn out is feeling a vibration whenever you put your foot down on the pedal. This is caused by a sticky resin being smeared across your rotor as a result of your brake pad wearing down, causing an uneven, bumpy surface that prompts the vibrating of your pedal. If you notice this happening when trying to stop, The Auto Shoppe suggests bringing your vehicle in for an auto repair.

Slower Response Time

Perhaps one of the most obvious signs that your brakes are worn is literally observing that they are not stopping your vehicle as swiftly as normal. If it takes a while for your brakes to react, then there is a strong chance that you need to get your brakes changed. Bring your car to The Auto Shoppe as soon as possible if this symptom persists while operating your vehicle.

Contact The Auto Shoppe For More Info About Brakes

Getting your brakes serviced is not something you want to put off. Your vehicle and other motorists will be thankful you took care of the issue before something bad happened. If you experience any of these symptoms while driving your car, contact The Auto Shoppe at 417-889-6555 to speak to an auto mechanic expert.

The Auto Shoppe On Why Regular Auto Repair is Important

regular auto repair keeps car running longer

How Regular Auto Repair Is Beneficial In The Long Run

Maintaining regular maintenance on your vehicle can be tough to keep up with but, nonetheless, provides a range of benefits that will service you down the road (obligatory driving pun). There’s an array of items to monitor on your vehicle, but devoting even a minuscule amount of attention to these areas can make your life much easier and save you a significant amount of money in the long run. At The Auto Shoppe, our auto mechanics created a list of some of the most compelling reasons why performing regular auto repair is important.

Preserving The Longevity Of Your Vehicle

Checking your car regularly for areas of concern and subsequently addressing those issues when it is time will ultimately prevent your vehicle from experiencing an abrupt breakdown that could result in significant damage to your automobile. For example, neglecting to inspect your tires and changing them when needed could result in a sudden blowout, which could seriously damage the axle of your car and require a sizeable auto repair to even try to begin to resuscitate your vehicle. Conducting a mere inspection of your tires and servicing them if necessary will do great wonders for your car and most likely allow you to be able to drive it for much longer.

Saving You Money

Despite having to spend money on your regular auto repairs, you will actually be saving funds by avoiding costly repairs down the road. Bringing your car in for an oil change every 3,000 miles will save you an immense amount of money as you avoid the risk of your engine eventually giving up. Filtering your oil out when needed is a much more affordable repair than purchasing an entirely new engine, so it is best to bring your car in for maintenance at the right time than to wait for when disaster strikes.

Keeping You Safe

Perhaps the most important reason to perform regular auto repair is to keep you safe while you are partaking in the inevitably risky action of driving. Monitoring the performance of your brakes and bringing them to an auto mechanic if needed can severely reduce your risk of experiencing an accident as a result of not being able to properly stop. Having a car wreck can obviously be detrimental to your health depending on the severity of the collision, so it is probably a good idea to just get your brakes fixed when it is time.

Contact The Auto Shoppe For More Auto Repair Advice

In the grand scheme of things, taking care of your vehicle and carrying out regular auto repairs will save you a lot of worries. You’re likely to have your car longer, conserve money in the long run, and stay safer while driving. Contact The Auto Shoppe in Springfield, Missouri, at 417-889-6555 for more information or to speak with an expert auto mechanic.

Signs You’re Being Scammed by Your Auto Mechanic

Blue jumpsuit auto mechanic may scam

Auto Mechanic Scam Signs

Finding a reputable auto mechanic can seem like a long and arduous process. With so many stories of people being scammed by less-than-reputable mechanic shops, you want to make sure you pick the right shop. Here are some signs that you are being scammed by your auto shop.

They Try to Scare You

Scare tactics are a common method many untrustworthy auto mechanics use to make you feel like you need to spend more money than you do to fix “issues” with your vehicle. They’ll use phrases that make you think your car is about to fall apart right then and there to make you feel like you have to have that auto mechanic fix everything right then and there. When you show hesitation or skepticism, a bad mechanic will try to badger you into making a quick decision without all of the information.

While there may be instances where a huge issue does need to be resolved as soon as possible, a reputable auto mechanic won’t scare you into using their services. They will provide you with the necessary information to make your decision and can understand if you want a second opinion on the situation.

Their Accreditations Aren’t Displayed

As with many other professions, you want to hire someone who has the necessary training and experience to complete their job properly. Just like how you’d feel reassured by seeing your doctor’s medical degree on the wall in their office, you’d want to see accreditations for your auto mechanic, as well.

Look for certifications from the ASE, ASA, AAA, or other reputable places. If you don’t see any certifications, don’t hesitate to ask. A trustworthy auto mechanic will be ready to answer your questions. Dodging and avoiding the question can often be a sign that you may be getting scammed.

They Don’t Give You a Written Estimate

A huge sign that the mechanic shop you are at may be scamming you is if they don’t give you a written estimate of what work needs to be done on your vehicle. Never sign a blank estimate form, and never agree to have an auto mechanic do work without documentation of what that work will be. A mechanic shop that refuses to provide a written estimate is one that you should probably not do business with.

An Experienced Springfield Auto Mechanic

If you are looking for a reputable auto mechanic in Springfield, Missouri, come check out The Auto Shoppe. Contact us at 417-889-6555.