Car Maintenance for Professionals Only

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There are a number of things that handy people can do to their vehicles on their own. While it’s something that some use as a pastime, it’s not something that just anyone can do. And there are some things that should only be left up to a professional auto repair shop. Here’s a short list of car maintenance items that only professionals should do for you.

Diagnose Engine Issues
When the check engine light comes on, it can be any number of things. However many people think they can diagnose the issues because there are smartphone apps and other devices that allow you to talk to the computer in your car. But some of the codes are vague and really require more sophisticated equipment. Plus, they can leave a lot out as well. You don’t want to figure out how to turn the light off on your own only to leave the problem uncured. Let the pros figure out what’s going on using their education to decipher the codes they get. This will help you get to the root cause of the issue that needs to be addressed.

Internal Engine Repair
Sure, there are plenty of people who understand internal combustion within an engine, but newer engines have tight tolerances and specific torque on their nuts and bolts. Add on to that a bunch of other new technology and electronics and what you have is something beyond many people’s understanding. Modern cars are different than those you may have played around with as a kid with your dad.

Tire Rotations
It sounds simple enough to jack up a vehicle and swap the wheels into different positions, but when professionals do it, they also re-balance the tires and look for tread damage, uneven wear and other items. These things require a trained eye and equipment that is too expensive for most people to have on hand. If you rotate your own tires, you might be driving on tires that are unbalanced and unsafe. This maintenance item is inexpensive when you take your vehicle to an auto repair shop so leave it to the experts.

Air Conditioning Fills
If your air conditioner isn’t working on your vehicle, you might think you can get a can of Freon and solve the issue. But the system is sealed so if it’s leaking, there’s a problem somewhere. Filling it with Freon is like putting a small bandage on a big problem. Plus, adding Freon can burn the compressor up in no time flat. Leave it to the auto repair shop to figure out what’s up.

If you know quite a bit about cars, that’s great! You can help Schafer’s Auto Center by giving detailed descriptions about what’s going on with your vehicle. But you’re still in better hands when you bring your vehicle to a Lexus auto repair shop in Philadelphia for the major items. SAR is located at 1924 S Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19148 and we’d be happy to help you. Give us a call at 215-755-1270 to make an appointment.

Keep an Eye on the Spare

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Every vehicle should have a spare tire on it or in it somewhere. Do you have one? If you aren’t sure, chances are you don’t and that’s dangerous. Even if you do have one, do you know if it’s in good condition? Your spare tire is one of the most important safety accessories on the vehicle, but it’s something not a lot of people think about very often. If you never check your spare tire, it might not be something you can count on when you need it the most. Here are a few steps you might want to take to make sure your spare tire is ready if you need it.

Step 1: Check the Tires
Whenever you check your tires for pressure and other items, check the spare as well. The spare tire should have a regular amount of air in it too, depending on your type of vehicle. Some spare tires are compact and known as donut tires. Those are higher in air pressure than others. Check the owner’s manual to know how much your spare tire should carry and then commit to checking on it every time you check your tires.

Step 2: Replace it
Not every car comes with a spare tire and many of them won’t have a new tire as a spare. If your car is one you bought used, or if you’ve had it for many years, you’ll need to watch for certain things in your spare. First, check the manufacturer’s date on the sidewall. Tires do have expiration dates! If the tire is older than 6 years, it’s more likely to fail. Spares can last as long as 10 years, but it’s safer to replace it if it’s older than 6 years of age.

Step 3: Examine Condition
Spare tires can sometimes be old, patched tires that were previously used and repaired. Examine your spare and look for cracks, scars, worn tread, plugs, and other issues. If you see things that can make the tire blow if you were to ever use it, it’s best to get a new one.

Step 4: Understand Spare Safety
Once you have a spare tire in place and you know it’s a good one, you still need to know how to use it. Spare tires are usually only meant for emergencies. You shouldn’t use them as everyday tires and you should only drive 50 mph on them. Avoid the highways if you can and get a new tire on the vehicle as soon as you can. Spare tires can come in handy to get you to safety if you get a flat.

If you want a professional to look over your spare, or if you need a new one, contact the experts at Schafer’s Auto Center, one of the top auto repair shops in Philadelphia is located at 1924 S Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19148 and we’d be happy to help you with all of your tire needs. Give us a call at 215-755-1270 with your questions or to make an appointment.

What You Need to Know Before You Buy New Tires

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There are probably plenty of things you would like to buy. You might even have a nice long list. But most people don’t place “tires” on that list of wants. While you may not want to buy tires, sometimes you simply have to. And when that time comes around for you, there are a number of things you should consider before you make the investment. The professional auto experts at Schafer’s Auto Center want to help you put everything into place so you can drive away knowing you got the best option for your vehicle, whether you wanted new tires or not!

Do you need new tires?
The first thing you need to determine is whether or not you actually need new tires. There are some auto repair shops in Philadelphia that are going to tell you that you need new tires when that is not the case yet. You should know how to tell on your own so you can be the judge. Look at the treads to tell the full story. Measure the depth of those treads with a penny. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head because it isn’t covered by tread, you need new tires.

Where do you buy new tires?
There are plenty of options when it comes to a place to buy tires. One option is the car dealer where you purchased your car, but they will be the most costly. You might want to try a local tire retailer or local auto shops in Philadelphia, PA. Check for special promotions going on in the area. You might catch a special on balancing, tire rotations, and mountings when you get a new set of tires. And you can always count on SAC to give you the best possible deal.

What size do you need?
Just because you know what size shoes you wear doesn’t mean you know what size tire your vehicle needs. Tires are branded with the number that tells you about their type, width, diameter, and so on. There’s a lot of information on the small space of a tire and it can be confusing. However, any tire shop will let you select your make, model, and vehicle year to help you find tires that fit.

What lifestyle elements do you need?
Beyond size, you also need to know what your preferences and driving habits are like. If you have to drive a lot in the Philadelphia winds, you might want all-season tires. If you want a comfortable ride, durability in hot temperatures, or the ability to carry heavy loads, you need to know that as well.

Whether you know everything you need to know about tires or not, the professionals at Schafer’s Auto Center can help you find the tires you need. Give us a call at 215-755-1270 to make an appointment and we’ll take a look at your current tires and find a good deal on new ones. You can also stop by and look at the variety of tires we carry at 1924 S Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19148.

The Inconvenience of Brake Repair

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Was there ever a time when you woke up in Philadelphia, PA, jumped out of your bed, and clapped your hands because you got to take your car in for repairs that day? No! Of course not! Car repairs aren’t something anyone wants, and you would be just fine if nothing ever went wrong with your vehicle. In fact, it always seems to happen at the worst possible time, right? Of course! That’s how life operates. But when you need something like brake repair, it’s something you have to take care of immediately. Sure, brake repair can be inconvenient, but it’s a lot more inconvenient if you don’t get it in time. Here are a few inconveniences that lack of brake repair can cause.

You don’t want to have to get brake repair, but even worse than that, you really don’t want to be in an accident. Brakes that aren’t working properly can cause accidents. If your brakes were working at their best, perhaps you could have stopped in time when the guy in front of you slammed on his brakes. Or maybe you could have slowed down and gotten out of the way when that guy ran a red light. You never know what could have happened, but if you don’t get brake repair when you need it, you’re in a lot more danger.

More Damage
Brakes are an important part on your vehicle, but they are connected to a lot of other parts. When you ignore their issues, they can damage themselves beyond repair and have an effect on the efficiency and effectiveness of other parts of your vehicle as well. When one thing is thrown off, who knows what else will go bad. Get brake repairs fast and you only have a little to repair. Ignore them and who knows what else will go wrong and how much more it will cost.

Complete Failure
How scary would it be to be in a vehicle with brakes that completely failed? What if you’re going down the highway at a good speed? What if you’re approaching a walkway with kids and you can’t stop? There’s no need to play the “what if” game. It’s really too scary to think about. Brakes that get ignored when they need brake repair will most likely completely fail at some point, and you don’t want to put yourself in any scary situations at all.

When you need Philadelphia brake repair, the best option is to contact the professionals at Auto Clinic Care. Call us at 215-755-1270 with your questions or to make an appointment. We’re happy to take a look at your brakes, change your oil, or work on any other repairs or maintenance your vehicle needs. It’s our goal to honestly get your car working in its best possible manner. Stop by and see our shop at 1924 S Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19148 and let us know how we can help your vehicle today!

What do You Need to Know about Wheel Alignment?

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When you visit Schafer’s Auto Repair (SAR) for new tires, we also offer a wheel alignment as a big part of our service. Of course you might have questions about what that does for your vehicle. One thing you’ll always get from us is the answers you need about your vehicle! Don’t hesitate to ask if you want to know! In the meantime, perhaps we can help answer some of your questions about wheel alignment and what that has to do with your tires.

First, what is wheel alignment?
When your car rolls off the line at the factory, the wheels are set at angles in relation to one another and the frame of the vehicle. Engineers have set these angles to give you a high ride quality and a good steering response. With enough wear and tear to your vehicle over time, these components can drift and your car will start to show wear on its tires and handling issues.

If the front end is vibrating, does it mean that wheel alignment is necessary?
Vibrations are hard to diagnose, but they aren’t usually due to alignment issues. There might be a wheel balancing issue. When tires wear and their weight distribution changes, vibrations could occur. You might not need alignment, but tire balancing could be in order.

If the car is pulling to one side when the steering wheel is in the center, does it need wheel alignment?
When your vehicle pulls to one side, you might have an underinflated tire on that side. Check the tire pressure in every tire to make sure they are even. If that is not the case, it could very well be an alignment issue.

What are other alignment signs?
If you look at the front tires and see they are wearing unevenly on the inside or outside edge, that’s a sure sign that you have an alignment issue. If your steering wheel doesn’t go back to the center on its own fairly quickly after you take on a corner, you may have an issue as well. If steering feels rather heavy or the tires squeal even when you turn on smooth pavement, alignment could be the cause.

What causes alignment issues to arise?
Plenty of things can cause alignment issues and there’s not always anything you can do about it. Simple wear and tear over time can do it. Of course, getting into an accident or driving rough can knock the vehicle out of place as well.

If you suspect that your vehicle is out of alignment, you really should let the professionals at SAR Philadelphia vehicle inspection take a look and get things fixed for you as soon as possible. Call Schafer’s Auto Repair at 215-755-1270 and bring your vehicle in for a look. Your tires will last longer and your car will drive smoother when alignment is correct. We’re located at 1924 S Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19148 and we’re here to help with any tire issues you might have!

What To Do When the Technician Says You Need Auto Service

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If you aren’t a car buff, it can be hard for you to keep up with what your vehicle needs, what you need to do and when. If you’re not one to know everything there is to know about auto service in Philadelphia, PA, you don’t know what to do when you take your vehicle in and the technician says it needs this, that or the other done to it. Are they telling you the truth? How do you know? Here are some tips to help you out.

Tip 1: Consult the Owners’ Manual
If your technician says you need a certain thing done, you could check the owners’ manual to see if it is really recommended for your vehicle at this time in its mileage. If you’ve just gone over 100,000 miles, for example, it might be time to flush out some fluids and the manual will recommend that. You’ll feel better about having the work done if what your technician says it matches up with your owners’ manual’s advice.

Tip 2: Get a Second Opinion
There’s nothing wrong with hearing what a technician has to say and then taking your vehicle elsewhere for auto service to see if they tell you the same thing. If two technicians agree, you probably really do need the repair done. If the second technician doesn’t mention it, ask. They might be the more honest one of the two.

Tip 3: Go to a Reputable Repair Shop to Begin with
If you need maintenance on your vehicle or another type of auto service, the best way to believe your technician is to choose the right technician in the first place. There are a number of ways you can go about doing that. Perhaps ask your family members and friends in the area where they take their vehicles and what their experiences are like. If you can fund an honest, reputable auto service shop, then you know the technician is telling you what you need and not something that isn’t true.

Tip 4: Know Your Vehicle
You don’t have to know all of the parts and how they operate, but you know what your vehicle feels like when you drive it. When there are changes in a negative way, chances are you need something and you are more likely to believe those reports when they come back from the auto service technician.

Whether you need an Philadelphia oil change, brake repair, or something more serious, the professionals at Schafer’s Auto Repair are here to help. We take pride in our honesty. We understand that not everyone deals with cars on a daily basis like we do. We’re willing to show you what’s wrong with your vehicle and explain things until you have a good handle on it. We won’t pull anything over on you…ever! Give us a call at 215-755-1270 or visit our shop at 1924 S Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19148.

Auto Repair Shop Must-Haves

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There are plenty of auto repair shops around Philadelphia, PA, but when you need repairs or even regular maintenance, which one should you use? There are plenty of shops that would “take you to the cleaners” if they could. You’ve heard horror stories about shops telling customers they need work done when they really don’t. Or worse yet, shops that do repairs only to have the same thing break down and strand their customer on the road. The last thing you want is to be one of those customers. To avoid a faulty business, make sure any auto repair shop you use has the following items.

1. A Nice Waiting Room
This might sound strange because auto repair shops are going to be dirty, but the waiting room doesn’t have to be! If the auto repair shop has a nice waiting room, you know they care about their customers. Perhaps they have clean chairs, free Wi-Fi, and a beverage station or other items to help you get comfortable. You don’t want to wait there all day, but when you have an hour to kill, it’s nice to know you will be comfortable; they care enough about their customers to give them a nice place to wait.

2. Certification
You also need to know that the auto repair shop is certified. See how things are set up in their shop when you stop by and ask to see certification and paperwork on the mechanics that work there. If they won’t show you or can’t show you, you should move on. You only want to work with a shop that has the proper certification.

3. Good Reviews
Once you’ve seen the shop in person, you can look up what others have to say about it online. You want to find good reviews about the auto repair shop (and not just on their website). Look at sites like the Better Business Bureau and simply search the shop’s name and reviews to find information outside of what they provide. This will be a true test to what their past customers think about their services.

4. A Nice Website
Every business has a website these days. When you need information on an auto repair shop, you should be able to find it online. How much do they charge for oil changes? Do they do brake repair? You should be able to find a list of services, their contact information, and anything else you need on a nice-looking website.

If you find an Philadelphia auto repair shop that passes all of these tests, give them a try! You can start with something small like an oil change and go from there. That way, when you need larger repairs, you’ll have somewhere you can trust. Schafer’s Auto Repair is here to help you with all of your car repair and maintenance needs. Call us at 215-755-1270 to speak with our friendly representatives or stop by and see us at 1924 S Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19148.

Race to the Finish, but Know When to Stop

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It feels like life is filled with races, right? You race to get to work and then you race to get home. You race to the store and back so you can get all your errands in before the kids get home from school. And then you help them race through their homework so you can race them to their activities that night. When does it end? It’s a good idea to slow down from time to time to really take stock of your life. That’s especially true when it comes to your vehicle. When you live in Philadelphia, PA, everything can feel like a race at times. But you don’t want to be in a race of any kind without good brakes on your vehicle. Here are some signs to watch for so you know when you need to stop what you’re doing and where you’re going to get brake repair.

The Brake Repair Light Comes On
There’s nothing worse than seeing a warning light on your vehicle at an inconvenient time. But really in your life, is any time going to be convenient? Probably not! And those lights are on the dashboard for a reason. If you take care of the brake repair right away, it could be something minor like worn brake pads that can easily be replaced. If you ignore it, things could get much worse and more expensive.

The Brakes Squeal When You Use Them
Your brakes aren’t something that should make noise. You have driven your vehicle long enough to know what noises it does and doesn’t make on a regular basis. Sometimes brakes might squeal a little when they’re wet, but if your brakes consistently make noise when you step on them and you notice it’s taking you longer to stop than normal, you need brake repair right away. There’s no use rushing around and putting you and your family in danger with bad brakes.

You Haven’t Had Brake Service In As Long As You Can Remember
Perhaps you’re faithful about your oil changes and that’s great. When you work with the right auto repair shop, if you need brake repair, they’ll tell you! But if you haven’t had any brake repairs in a really long time, you really should have them inspected. It’s a lot easier to race around with peace of mind that your brakes are going to help get you there safely.

Whether you need Philadelphia brake repair or have another issue with your vehicle, the professionals at Schafer’s Auto Repair here to help. Give us a call at 215-755-1270 to make an appointment. We’ll check over your brakes, change your oil, and make sure your vehicle is running as efficiently as possible. Sure checkups and repairs cost money, but they actually end up saving you money in the long run. Plus who doesn’t want to drive a safe vehicle! Stop by and see us at 1924 S Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19148!

Tire Buying Tips from Schafer’s Auto Repair (SAR)

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Tires are an important safety feature on any vehicle. Without them, no vehicle would go anywhere ever! They’re highly important all the way around. Even cars with the biggest engines and strongest brakes are at the mercy of the tire gripping the road. Every move you make behind the wheel affects the tires. When your tires are worn out, it’s time to make a purchase. But you don’t want to slap just any old tires on your vehicle. You want tires that work well on your car and are within a fair price range. Here are some tips to help you get what you need.

Tip 1: Get the Right Size
Not everyone knows much about tire size. It’s not like going to a store and trying on the right size pants. However, tires are marked on their sidewalls so you know what size you have. The code will tell you their size and what they are capable of. When you first look at the code, it may seem like gibberish. It will look something like this: P195/60R16 63H M+S. But each of those letters and numbers mean something. Let’s break it down so you understand better.

P-tire type
195-tire width across the tread
60-ratio of sidewall compared to the width
R-construction of the radial
16-rim’s diameter
63-loading rate of the tire
H-speed rating on the tire
M+S-this tire is suitable for driving in all seasons.

While you may not know what all of the letters and numbers mean and you may not even care, you need to get something that will fit your Philadelphia state inspection. Knowing what you have now can help you find something comparable.

Tip 2: Know Where to Get Tires
There are plenty of options when it comes to buying new tires. The most expensive option is usually going to the dealership where you got the vehicle. They will give you original equipment tires, which cost quite a bit more. Local shops, like SAR, are the best places for getting good tires at a good deal. You get reasonable prices and you can get help selecting the right type of tire for your vehicle.

Tip 3: Consider Driving Habits
It is a good idea to determine what you need based on the type of driving you do. If you never drive in Philadelphia’s winter weather, then you don’t need tires that do well in the snow. If you have a job that forces you to get out and about in all weather elements, you need something reliable that will get you where you need to go. Think through the driving habits you will have on the tires before you buy more than you need.

When you are ready to find the best tires for your particular vehicle (and your needs!) contact Schafer’s Auto Repair at 215-755-1270. We’re here to help you every step of the way. We understand that you don’t buy new tires every day, but we work with them all the time! We’ll guide you in the right direction to make sure your car drives like a dream. Visit SAR at 1924 S Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19148.

Why is Transmission Repair So Expensive?

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When it comes to what pushes your vehicle down the road, there’s nothing more complicated than the transmission. Whether you have a manual or automatic, it will help shift gears and change your speed. You get power to your wheels based on your speed and acceleration. Shifting between gears is necessary and it’s what your transmission takes care of for you. When you live in Philadelphia or other places around the country, keep an eye on that transmission.

Avoid Having to Replace or Rebuild
You should change your transmission fluid every 30,000 to 50,000 miles to help avoid damage. You should also completely stop the vehicle from moving before you shift from drive to reverse or vice versa. If you hear a grinding when you shift or if there’s a delay when you change gears, it might be too late and you may need transmission repair. If you smell burning fluids or have high RPMs, you should take the vehicle in for attention right away.

Transmission Repair: Rebuilding
Rebuilding a transmission is labor intensive, but can save you money over buying and installing a new one. If you need transmission repair, you could get a simple fix like changing the fluid, adjusting some links, correcting a computer system that’s misreading the RPM, or replacing a sensor. When you have a transmission issue, don’t assume that you need a rebuilt transmission as part of transmission repair.

Transmission Repair: Replacement
Replacing a transmission is one of the most expensive repair jobs you can go through with your vehicle. You need to take your car somewhere you trust with experienced, honest technicians. It is a good idea to find a shop that specializes in transmissions so you can trust that they have worked with your type of vehicle before. Automatic transmissions will cost anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 to repair and can even range up to $3,500 for a full replacement. Manual transmissions are less, but they’re still costly.

Finding the right auto repair shop is highly important if you want to save time, money, and headaches in the long run with Philadelphia, PA transmission repair. Ask your family and friends if they have any experience with transmission repair with local shops around Philadelphia. If you can’t find anyone you know who has experience, look online for reviews.

Whether you know what your transmission needs, or you just suspect repairs are inevitable, you can trust the friendly representatives at Schafer’s Auto Repair. We see transmission issues of every kind on a regular basis and we know just what to do about them. We won’t fix a thing until we explain everything to you and make sure you understand what we recommend. We’ll also give you price quotes up front so there are no hidden costs later. Give SAR a call at 215-755-1270 if you need your transmission fluid changed or you need transmission repair. We’re here to help! We’re located at 1924 S Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19148 and we hope to see you soon!