Reasons to Take Your Vehicle to an Auto Shop

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When you purchase a vehicle, you know it comes with a lot of responsibilities. Not only do you have to pay for the car upfront, but you have to maintain it, insure it, and take care of any repairs that pop up along the way. When it comes to taking your vehicle into an auto shop, of course, you’d rather not. But there are many instances in which it is the right decision. Here are just a few.

-You need an oil change or other regular maintenance

It is important to maintain your vehicle based on the maintenance schedule outlined by the manufacturer. This schedule is put into place for a reason…because it is what’s best for the vehicle. While you may like to go longer between oil changes and other recommended maintenance, if you want your vehicle to run well for as long as possible, you’ll start taking it in when necessary.

-You need a state inspection

You are required by law to have a Philadelphia , MD state inspection, if your car is due to have one, you need to get to an auto shop. If you fail to make it in for an inspection, you are no longer legally driving. It is very important to follow the laws in order to protect your driving privileges.

-Something is broken on the vehicle

Of course, anytime something goes wrong with your vehicle, you need to take it in so you can get things working as quickly as possible. You use your car a lot and you need it to be reliable. If you’re hearing sounds or your car isn’t acting the way it should or normally does, take it in sooner rather than later. The sooner you get the car in, the easier the issues are to fix. If you let it go, things can get worse and you can end up stranded.

-You want to save money

That’s right, visiting an auto shop on a regular basis for tune-ups and maintenance can actually save you money. The technicians know the signs of trouble ahead and they can recognize and fix little issues that can become big problems later. If you want your vehicle in working order and you don’t want to pay any more than you have to, visiting an auto shop often is really best.

If you are ready for any of the above visits, contact Schafer’s Auto Center to make an appointment at 215-755-1270. We’re located at 1924 S Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19148. We’re a family owned and operated business that has been serving the area since 1964. We treat our customers like friends and neighbors because that’s exactly what you are. Our employees live and work among you and we want you to understand that you can trust us as honest, hard working, local people who care about your car needs. We can fix everything on cars or light trucks and we’re ready whenever you are!

FAQ About Philadelphia Vehicle Inspection Processes

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When you live in Philadelphia, you are required by law to do a number of things. You have to pay certain taxes, follow state regulations, and have a Philadelphia vehicle inspection. Whether you’ve had the inspection before or not, you might have questions about the process. What are they looking for? Where can you get a Philadelphia vehicle inspection? And so on. Here are a few of the frequently asked questions to help you navigate the process.

What is an Onboard diagnostic system?

OBD is part of the emissions inspection that is comprised of a computer that has diagnostic software and a variety of sensors. This monitor looks at the ignition performance and fuel metering of the emissions system. IT will include sensors and make sure the vehicle is working as designed. It can even identify problems before the driver recognizes any symptoms. To perform the OBD, a certified technician will connect the computer to a data link connector and download information to a computer so see how well the emission system is working on the vehicle.

What is a tailpipe test?

This test uses a tailpipe probe to collect exhaust samples and analyze the pollutants from the tailpipe while the engine is idling. The technician will look at the exhaust information to see if the vehicle is emitting more pollutants that necessary for its model year.

What is a gas cap test?

This functional check tests whether or not harmful fumes are coming out of the gas tank and getting into the atmosphere. The technician will remove the gas cap and insert a device that applies pressure to the gas cap. The test shows whether or not the cap can hold pressure without emitting fumes.

Where can I get the necessary tests?

In order to get tests that will be recognized by the state, you need to go to an auto center that is certified by the state to run the tests. Otherwise, you are wasting time and money on something the state won’t accept. Visit Schafer’s Auto Center and take advantage of our certified technicians for your Philadelphia vehicle inspection.

In addition to required inspections, we run an 80-point inspection free anytime you visit our shop. We like to ensure that every vehicle we see is running as efficiently and effectively as possible. We take pride in maintaining your vehicle so you have less unexpected repairs. In fact, we can often predict when something will go wrong and fix the issue in advance so it doesn’t become a larger problem later.

Call Schafer’s Auto Center today to schedule an inspection at 215-755-1270. We know auto maintenance and repair can be a hassle so we’ve made it as convenient as possible for you. Our shop is located at 1924 S Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19148, on one of the busiest, easiest to find streets in the city. We can also conduct any maintenance or repair needs your vehicle or light truck has including oil changes, tire rotations, brake repair and plenty of other services.

What Happens if You Ignore Your Brakes?

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Brakes aren’t something you think about on a daily basis, even though you use them every time you want to slow your vehicle. You take your brakes for granted. When you press down on the brake pedal, your vehicle should slow and then come to a stop. It’s as simple as that! But if you ignore your brakes and never have Philadelphia brake repair, a number of things can go wrong. Here are some of the things that could happen if your brakes don’t get the service they need.

-Brakes can fail

If you let your brakes go and never tend to them, the pads could wear out, the rotors could go bad, and a number of other things can break down. These things operate together as a team in order to slow your vehicle. When one or more item is no longer working, your brakes can fail. There aren’t many things that can go wrong in a vehicle that is scarier than failed brakes. What if you’re driving 60 down the highway? What if you see someone crossing the road in town and you can’t slow down? Having your brakes fail is one of the last things you want to happen when you’re driving.

-Brakes can cause damage

If you start to hear your brakes squeal and act up and you ignore the issue, they can still work for a while, at least somewhat, even if they don’t stop your car as fast. But the longer you wait, the more damage they can do. If you take your vehicle in right away, you might just need new brake pads. If you wait, the damage can continue on into bigger, more expensive parts of your brakes. When you finally do go in, the problem is deep and much more costly.

In summary, nothing good comes from ignoring your brakes. You could harm yourself, someone else, or other parts of your vehicle, which causes you higher expenses. Which option do you prefer? None of the above? In that case, make sure you get Philadelphia brake repair at the first sign of anything wrong within your brake system.

If you’ve never dealt with brake issues on a vehicle before, you may wonder where you need to go to get them fixed. Sure, there are shops that specialize in just brakes, but it’s more convenient to visit an auto center that can also do your oil change, rotate your tires, and take care of other maintenance needs at the same time.

Call Schafer’s Auto Center at 215-755-1270 and make an appointment for Philadelphia brake repair. We run a free 80-point inspection every time you bring your vehicle in for anything at all to ensure it is running as efficiently as possible in every way. We can also do your oil change, tire rotation, filter changes and anything else that needs to be done. There’s no need to go anywhere else for anything at all! Visit our convenient location at 1924 S Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19148.

Everyone with a Vehicle Needs Philadelphia Auto Maintenance and Service

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Do you need Philadelphia auto maintenance and service? Let’s back up for a moment…do you own or lease a vehicle? If the answer is yes then you can also answer yes when asked whether or not you need Philadelphia auto maintenance and service. Cars take maintenance and attention! Leave them alone for long enough and see how well they work…they don’t! And they’ll cost you more too!  Here are a few maintenance and other services to keep in your car running to its full potential.

-Oil Changes

Oil changes are the most common, most frequent maintenance need on any vehicle. Every car or truck needs an oil change, but the time between oil changes can vary based on the vehicle. If you visit Schafer’s Auto Center, we can help you determine how many miles or how much time you can drive your vehicle before you need an oil change. At that time, we will drain your old oil, replace the filter, and install new oil based on the manufacturer’s recommendations. We’ll also run an 80-point inspection to make sure everything else is going well for your vehicle.

-Brake Services

You won’t need to service your brakes every oil change or even every year, but you need to keep an eye on them because they are one of the most important aspects of any vehicle. Schafer’s Auto Center has 57 years of experience servicing and repairing brakes. We can do everything from pad and rotor replacement to custom brake lines. When your brakes are in our hands, you’ll be able to stop on a dime.

-Tire Services

The more you drive, the faster your tires wear out. No matter how well you treat them, you’ll need new tires eventually. And we have a full range of tires from 13 to 30 inches. We can also service your tires between replacements by balancing them, monitoring the pressure, and aligning the vehicle to make the tires last longer.


Whenever you visit Schafer’s Auto Center, it’s nice to drive away knowing your vehicle is in top form. We do a free 80 point inspection every time you visit and we can also cover the PA state emission yearly inspection so you don’t have to worry about getting halfway down the street and breaking down.

When you need auto maintenance Philadelphia and service of any kind, call Schafer’s Auto Center at 215-755-1270 and set up an appointment for your vehicle. We’re locally owned and operated so by working with us, you’re working with members of your own community. We have a convenient location at 1924 S Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19148, which is on one of the busiest streets in the city. We’re easy to find, friendly to speak with, and good at fixing anything on a vehicle or light truck. Trust your vehicle to us and your drives will be safe and efficient every time.

What Do You Need from Philadelphia Auto Repair Centers?

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You want your car to operate well forever, but we all know that is not possible! Things are going to come up with your vehicle as the years go by. It will need maintenance in order to remain in top form and occasionally, it might need repairs as well. You are going to need auto repair help! When you need auto repair in the Philadelphia are, what do you want from the auto center you visit? Here are a few suggestions of things to watch for:

-Family Owned and Operated

It’s always nice to support locally owned businesses. It’s helpful in supporting your community. But beyond getting a fuzzy feeling, it’s good for you too! When you visit a local Philadelphia auto repair shop, you are working with people who live and work in your community. They aren’t answering to a corporate office that forces them to up-sell customers to meet quotas. They have your best interest at heart because they are your neighbors.

-Long Service Lists

You don’t want to have to go to one Philadelphia auto repair center for brake repair and another for an oil change. It’s not convenient! You don’t need to put any more time and effort into car repair than you already do. Choose a place that can do it all so you can make one stop and get everything covered at once.

-Convenient Location

If you choose a spot somewhere that is way out of the way, you’re a lot less likely to keep up with regular maintenance. Choose a shop with a convenient location so you don’t have to go very far out of your way in order to get things in order on your vehicle.


You’ve heard (or even had!) car repair horror stories. You want to avoid that at all times. Choose a shop that has honest, hard working people around every corner. The auto center should care about you and your vehicle, not the bottom line on the bill. You can get a feel for the way an auto center operates by calling or stopping in to ask questions.

When you need virtually anything done on your car or light truck, contact Schafer’s Auto Center at 215-755-1270. We are ASE certified so you can trust we know what we’re doing. We’ve been trained by the best and we take pride in our knowledge. We also promise to treat you with respect on every level. We understand that not everyone knows as much about cars as we do and we can explain anything you want in terms you’ll understand. We also won’t try to pull anything over on you, whether you know about cars or not! Visit our shop today and ask any questions you have about our services. We’re located at 1924 S Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19148, on one of the business streets in the city. It’s convenient and you can even get free quotes to cover your vehicle’s needs.

Vehicle Inspection Check List

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During an inspection the technician is checking to make sure that a vehicle is safe on the road. However most drivers in Philadelphia don’t really know what the inspectors are looking for. In fact, it used to be that any auto technician could perform a vehicle inspection. Now though, because of complicated and advanced technology, it requires more training. The parts and systems of your vehicle are not so easy to read and there is even more to look for.

Vehicle inspections can be stressful on the car owner. What will the technician find? What is wrong? How much will the repairs cost? In some cases it can even feel like the shady car repair Philadelphia shop is out to get you! We don’t want this to happen. That is why we suggest you prepare for a vehicle inspection instead of just showing up for one. You don’t have to walk in blind. Instead, here is a checklist you can use to prepare for your vehicle inspection.

Vehicle Inspection Checklist

This is what the technician looks for to keep you and your car safe out on the road:

  • Compare registration documents to the VIN
  • Perform a visual anti-tampering check to see if emissions parts are missing, tampered with, or have been removed
  • Test wipers and washer fluid for proper operation
  • Test horn for adequate signal
  • Test warning lights, signal lights, direction indicators, and reverse lights
  • Test fog lights if applicable
  • Test suspension and steering components for proper operation
  • Test defroster
  • Check onboard computer and warning systems
  • Check brake pads and rotors for enough material to keep you safe while stopping
  • Check the parking and service break where applicable
  • Check windshield for cracks that obstruct the line of sight
  • Check fuel system for proper operation
  • Check exhaust for black or blue smoke
  • Check tire thickness and wheel alignment
  • Check for mirrors and correct operation
  • Check speedometer and odometer for correct readings
  • Check all seat belts, fasteners, and safety equipment
  • Inspect the body and chassis for rust
  • Inspect for fluid leaks
  • Inspect for noxious fumes in the car interior
  • Inspect windows and make sure they operate and are free of obstruction
  • Inspect window tint to make sure it meets state standards

As you can see, some check points require a simple yes or no. Others need a bit more. The technician must take measurements, check gauges, test exhaust, and make sure all systems are testing in an acceptable range. Anything that puts the driver or vehicle at risk will send up a red flag.

Looking for a fair assessment? At Schafer’s Auto Center we take out the guesswork by employing only ASE certified mechanics. You can expect honest and efficient service from a team you can trust. We care about our customers’ issues and have been serving the drivers of Philadelphia since 1964. Call us today at 215-755-1270 or visit 1924 S. Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19148. We will do all we can to perform an efficient vehicle inspection and keep you safe out on the road.

Signs it is Time for a Tune-Up Service

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Routine car maintenance is the best way to prolong the life of your vehicle and protect your investment. Also routine checks will help keep you safe out on the road. Tune-ups are especially important if you want to improve the performance of your vehicle.

What is Involved in a Tune-Up Service?

Generally a tune-up includes small adjustments to your vehicle to keep it in top working order and efficiency. Before on-board computers, the mechanics needed to adjust fuel mixture, timing, and idling speeds. That is why older vehicles still need tune-ups, especially if they are not operating as well as they should. But what about newer vehicles, with on-board computers that manage all those things? Even these cars still need routine inspections and minor repairs.

When Should I Get a Tune-Up?

The timing and terms of a tune-up service will vary from vehicle to vehicle. It can also change based on age, mileage, and driving style. Because of new technologies most vehicles can go anywhere from 30,000 to 60,000 miles before needing attention. Your owner’s manual will give you a schedule for routine car care. However, there are also a few things to watch for that will indicate when you need to get your car back into the shop.

5 Signs You Need to Get Tune-Up Service

Here is what you need to watch for:

  1. Lights

This is obvious, and usually your first indicator that something is about to go wrong. The lights on your dash will illuminate for any number of reasons. Maybe your tire pressure is low, or you need new engine oil. Fortunately, with the help of the on-board computer, technicians can efficiently diagnose the problem and get you the right repair to get you back on the road. Pay attention to your warning lights. If it comes on consistently, you should get your car to an auto shop to have it checked out.

  1. Poor Gas Mileage

Is your car not performing as efficiently as it once was? If you find yourself at the gas pumps more often, then your car is not burning fuel as it should. This could mean a problem with fuel injectors or faulty, dirty spark plugs. Get your car in for a tune-up service and your gas mileage should get back on track.

  1. Difficult or Rough Starts

Another big indicator is a rough start when you try and turn your engine over. Your car should start easily. But if you have to hold on the ignition, or it takes several tries before the engine catches—you probably have an issue with the batter, starter, or fuel system.

  1. Rough Idling or Acceleration

Have you ever noticed a vibration when your car idles? Or what about a knocking sound when you climb a hill? This usually means one or more of the sparkplugs is failing to ignite.

  1. Frequent Stalling

Nothing is as inconvenient as a car that stalls in the middle of your morning commute. Not only is this frustrating, but also dangerous. Usually this type of issue means the spark plugs are faulty or worn out. Does the car stall while it is hot or cold? Or does it only cut out when you turn on the air conditioner? The technician might ask you these questions to better diagnose the issue.

When was the last time you took your car tune up Philadelphia, PAservice. If it has been a while you should give Schafer’s Auto Center a call at 215-755-1270. We have been servicing vehciles for the drivers of Philadephia since 1964. All of our technicians are ASE certified and are ready to diagnose, explain, and repair any car problem you might have. If you want to stop by, we are located at 1924 S. Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19148.

Philadelphia State Inspection

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Pennsylvania requires state vehicle safety inspections and emissions tests. These ensure that cars on the road get the necessary maintenance for safe operation. These state inspections can help prevent vehicle failure and crashes that often result in serious injury, or death. You must get a safety inspection from an official PennDOT Inspection Station in Philadelphia, PA like Schafer’s Auto Center.

How Often Do I Need to Get State Inspections Done?

Emissions inspections for subject vehicles are required once a year, in conjunction with your annual safety inspection. You must get a state inspection and a smog test done:

  • By the last day of the month in which your inspection is due (usually a sticker on the lower, driver’s side on the windshield)
  • When you purchase a used car
  • When you move to the state from a different location and need to register your vehicle

Can I Get State Inspections Done Early?

Yes. In fact you can get your state inspection and smog test done up to 90 days before the final deadline. So if your inspection is due in May, you can get it done as early as March. You would probably want to get your inspection done early if you think your car might require extensive repairs. That way you have more time to get your car ready to pass inspection before the deadline. This also gives you some breathing room to cover more costly repairs. And getting your inspection done early does not mean it bumps up your due date for the following year. If your inspection is due in May, but your get it done in March, you will still get new stickers for May.

What is the Difference Between an Emissions Test and a State Inspection?

Usually the state inspection and the emissions test are performed at the same time, which is why most vehicle owners do not differentiate the two. Technically they are two separate tests with two separate criteria.

State Emissions Test

The emissions test checks to make sure all vehicle’s emissions are within the federal standards for the area. In newer vehicles technicians use the onboard computer to make sure the car is compliant. Technicians will also perform a gas cap check and an anti-tampering check. In older cars the technicians will use a tail pipe along with the gas cap check and anti-tampering check to manually test emissions.

State Safety Inspection

For the state safety inspection the technician will check the suspension, steering, and Philadelphia brake repair systems. He will also inspect the tires and wheels, the lighting and electrical, the windshield, glazing, and washer fluid. The mechanic will check the defroster, wipers, speedometer, and odometer. For safety, he will also inspect the body and chassis for rust or leaks, and test all horns and warning devices. All your seat belts, buckles, and windows will also be checked.

What Do I Need to Bring for my Vehicle Inspection?

For your annual emissions and safety inspection you should bring your car, your current registration, and your insurance card.

What Happens if I Fail the Emissions Test or Inspection?

You will receive a printed report with your inspection results. If your car fails the emissions or state inspection you will need to make the related repairs and have the car re-inspected within 30 days. If you take longer than 30 days the shop may charge you to perform the related tests again.

How Much Does an Inspection Cost?

The actual price for an emissions test and a state inspection are market driven. As such they will vary from shop to shop. Some will charge upwards of $100, but in the Greater Philadelphia Area the average price for inspections costs between $60 and $70. We care about our customers and will charge you a fair price for your annual smog test and state inspection.

Do you have more questions about the Philadelphia, PA State Inspection or Emissions Tests? Do not hesitate to call Schafer’s Auto Center. We will happily answer any questions you may have or set up an appointment for you. Call us today at 215-755-1270 or stop by 1924 S. Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19148.

Annual Smog Check

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For annual registration renewals in Philadelphia, PA an emissions test is usually required. Technicians perform it along with the safety inspection. It may seem like a hassle, but these emissions checks are a way to reduce air pollution and keep drivers safe out on the road. Here is what you need to know about smog checks


How Often Do I Need a Smog Check?

Most vehicles require annual emissions inspections so drivers can complete their registration. Newer cars may not require emissions testing every year, but rather every other year. How do you know if your car needs an emissions test? A notice will come in the mail along with the registration renewal. This will tell you if your car needs a smog check and a safety inspection.


Exemptions and Exclusions

You can be exempt from emissions testing when:

  • It is a new vehicle driven less than 5,000 miles
  • Vehicle has been owned for only one year and driven less than 5,000 miles the previous year

You can be excluded from emissions testing when:

  • Vehicle is registered as a street rod
  • Vehicle is registered as classic, antique, or collectible
  • Vehicle is a motorcycle

For cars and trucks that are exempt from the smog test, you still must take your car to an inspection state and receive an exemption sticker. For excluded vehicles you will not need an exemption sticker, because no emissions message appears on the registration card.


Where Should I Go for a Smog Check?

Not every car repair Philadelphia shop can perform emissions inspections for the state. You need to look for a special sign outside the repair shop indicating that they are certified by the state to perform a safety inspection and a smog check in Philadelphia, PA.


Types of Emissions Inspections

The most common for new vehicles is on-board diagnostics. For this test the mechanic attaches a cable to the on-board computer and downloads the information. Several sensors feed information into the computer which monitors the ignition, fuel metering, and other emission systems. The computer makes sure each aspect is working as it should. If the computer detects a problem it will store a specific code and illuminate a light on the dashboard. The codes will tell the technician diagnose the problem, and if necessary, repair it.


The other smog check is a tailpipe test for cars without an on-board computer, usually built before 1996. First the technician turns the engine over and makes sure the vehicle is running at the correct operating temperature. Then the mechanic inserts a probe into the tailpipe. This captures a sample of the car’s exhaust and an analyzer will indicate whether or not the vehicle is emitting exhaust with excess pollutants.


The mechanic will also perform a gas cap test and a visual, anti-tampering check. The gas cap keeps harmful evaporative emissions from entering the atmosphere, and needs to function properly. As for the anti-tampering check, the technician will look at several emission control devices to make sure they have not be illegally altered. Things like the catalytic converter, fuel inlet restrictor, air pump, and exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) valve all get checked for proper components and connections.


There are more cars than ever before, and higher levels of pollution. To help improve air quality in the area you want to get your smog check done every year. For this service call Schafer’s Auto Center today at 215-755-1270 or visit us at 1924 S. Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19148.


7 Signs You Need Immediate Brake Repair

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Brakes are not something you think about every day, despite being a vital safety feature in your vehicle. Your brakes are something that should always be in top working condition. Unfortunately, because the system works through friction, it will eventually wear out. When something does break down or go wrong, you need to be on top of it. The following symptoms will let you know when it is time for brake repair:

  1. Screeching Sound

The most common sign of break wear is noise. And the most common noise is screeching. Brake pads accumulate dirt and dust. If the substance builds up too much it may cause squealing. This sound also occurs when brake pads wear down all the way to the backing plate. When the plate scrapes against the rotor it produces a screeching because of metal-on-metal contact. This acts as an indicator, and should alert you that brakes need repair or replacement.

  1. Clicking or Grinding Noise

Another common sound is grinding or clicking. These are both bad news, and usually mean more than just the brake pads need to be replaced. A growling or grinding sound most often comes from the brake caliper and the brake disc rubbing together. The brake pad has worn down completely and is damaging the rotor. The technician will need not only replace the brake pads, but maybe turn the rotors or replace those as well.

  1. Pads Appear Thin

You can also look at your brakes for visual cues. Look through the spokes on your wheel to see if you need new brake pads. The outside pad should be visible, as should the material that presses against the rotor. If the pad is less than ¼ inch thick, then it is too thin. You need to replace the brake pads as soon as possible.

  1. See Grooves in the Rotor

While looking at the pads you can also check the rotors. It will take a more trained eye, but if the pads wear down too far they will leave deep grooves. These score marks look similar to those on a vinyl record.

  1. Pulsating

Ever pressed down on the brake and felt a vibrating, pulsating sensation in the pedal? This is often a sign that you need new brake pads. The brake pads press on the rotors to cause friction and slow your car down. Vibrations are caused by wear on the pads, or warping due to excessive heat. In some cases the technician can “re-machine” the pads. This smooths the surface. However, you will more than likely need new brake pads.

  1. Vehicle Pulls to One Side

Does your car pull to one side or the other while you brake? This is a sign that the pads or linings are wearing unevenly. You could need an adjustment, or you might have to have to drain and replace the brake fluid.

  1. Fading

The other thing you might notice is a soft brake pedal, or reduced responsiveness. The entire brake system is built to respond instantly, with the same amount of force as what you apply to the pedal. If the pedal feels spongey, you might have a leak in the brake fluid. You might also notice a puddle forming under your vehicle like oil, but not as slimy. Get your car in for a brake repair right away.

Any of these signs, or a combination of them, mean bad news for your brakes. The good news is you can bring your car in to Schafer’s Auto Center in Philadelphia, PA for honest andbest auto repair shop in Philadelphia. We will check your brakes, perform the necessary repairs, and get you back on the road in no time. Call today at 215-755-1270 or bring your car to 1924 S. Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19148.