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Articles:

Private Repair Shop Vs. The Dealer - Where should you take your car?

It's an inconvenience, but you really do have to maintain your car if you want it to work well, burn fuel efficiently and stay clear of costly repairs. But what kind of facility should service your car? There's always the service department at the dealership, but you know it'll probably cost you an arm and a leg. There's also Joe's Garage — right down the street, but can you trust them to do the job right? Although most people assume that new and used car sales are the big moneymakers, the service industry is no small potatoes: Service repairs for 2004 are forecasted at almost $137 billion in the U.S. alone, according to the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association. Of this, $61.6 billion is labor, and $75.2 billion is for parts and chemicals. So where to go? Below we've outlined some of the pros and cons of the dealers versus the corner garage. Bear in mind that "corner garage" means small, independent repair shops, not the chains like Midas, Jiffy Lube, Meineke or Pep Boys ... read more

What it means to be ASE Certified

Until the early 1970s, consumers had no way to distinguish between incompetent and competent mechanics. In response to this need, the independent, non-profit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) was established in 1972. ASE's mission is to improve the quality of vehicle repair and service through the testing and certification of repair and service professionals. At present, about 420,000 professionals hold current certifications. They work in every segment of the automotive service industry: car and truck dealerships, independent garages, fleets, service stations, franchises, and more. Here's how ASE certification works: Prospective candidates register for and take one or more of ASE's 40-plus exams. The tests are grouped into specialties for automobile, medium/heavy truck, truck equipment, school bus, and collision repair technicians as well as engine machinists, alternate fuels technicians, parts specialists, auto service consultants, and collision damage est ... read more

Categories:

Auto Repair

Oil Change Intervals

By TOM TORBJORNSEN I have been in the auto repair industry since 1972 ... hummmm, a simple calculation of the math illustrates that I have been in car repair for, uh, well, let's not go there. It makes me depressed. You do the math and keep it to yourself. At any rate, enough about my mid life crisis. Let's talk about oil change intervals. For years the accepted oil change interval (as per the carmakers) has been every 3 months or 3 thousand miles, whichever comes first. Why? Because the oils of yesterday degraded and broke down when left in the crankcase environment for longer than the prescribed interval. The combination of heat, friction, and the oil oxidizing over time resulted in an unholy clothing of the engine's internal parts called sludge. As an automotive machinist for a good part of my career, I can tell you that sludge is an engine killer. Sludge takes a greasy, cake-like oily form and plugs oil return passages and acts like a sponge and soaks up good oil to grow its gr ... read more

Categories:

Auto Repair
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