Monthly Archives

March 2017

Annual Smog Check

By | Auto Service | No Comments

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

By | Auto Repair | No Comments

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.

What Services and Maintenance Items Does Schafer’s Auto Offer?

By | Auto Maintenance | No Comments

When you visit Schafer’s Auto Center in Philadelphia, you are getting a wide range of expert knowledge to stand behind any service or maintenance need for your vehicle. Schafer’s has been in business since 1954 and has a number of ASE certified mechanics standing by to help you with anything and everything your vehicle needs. Here are some of the things you can have done at Schafer’s Auto.

-Tires

We have a full range of tires and we offer all tire-related services such as balancing, pressure monitoring, diagnostics and rebuilding or replacements. We can also align our vehicle to ensure that the tires are running properly and the steering is calibrated.

-Brakes

With 57 years of experience in braking system repairs, you get the expertise you want for your brakes. We can replace pads, rotors, brake lines and everything in between. We can even install custom brake lines and we can run a full line of diagnostics to make sure we repair everything that is wrong.

-Oil Changes

Oil changes might seem like a simple maintenance item, but we take them as seriously as any other service. We will drain the old oil, replace the filter, and install new oil at the manufacturer’s recommended levels. We will also check and top off all other fluids, check your tire pressure, and run an 80 point inspection for free to ensure your vehicle is as safe as possible.

-Suspension

We are able to repair suspension in a complete manner including shocks, struts, control arms and more. We can even do custom installing in this area.

-Exhaust

We have nearly 6 decades of experience in installing and creating custom exhaust systems. Our shop was founded on multiple options for exhausts for a variety of vehicles.

-Inspections

We are able to give vehicles their yearly inspections for emissions as required by the state of Pennsylvania.

-Diagnostics

If you aren’t sure what’s wrong with your vehicle, we have three different information systems that can help our technicians diagnose the vehicle’s issues. The systems pinpoint areas to start the search and can inform you quickly and easily what needs to be done.

Schafer’s Auto Center is a family owned and operated business that has been serving the Philadelphia region for decades. Our customers come back to us again and again because they trust our services and what we have to say. We promise never to try and ‘pull anything over’ on any of our customers. If we tell you something needs attention, it’s because there is actually an issue with your vehicle. We are honest, hard-working, local people who will treat your vehicle like it was our own. We care about customer safety, not about the bottom line on the bill.

Give Schafer’s Auto Center a call today at 215-755-1270. You can ask about any of the above services or the other items we cover and set up an appointment for auto maintenance service in Philadelphia. Then, stop by and see us at 1924 S Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19148.

The Importance of Finding Trusted Auto Services BEFORE You Need it

By | Auto Service | No Comments

When there’s something wrong with your vehicle and you need it to go back to being in working order immediately, you rush your decisions. You might stop into the nearest auto shop and believe anything they tell you. There are a number of reasons to find a trusted auto service in Philadelphia, PA before you actually need help. Here are just a few to consider.

Reason#1: You have time to check them out

If you need service NOW, you don’t have any time to waste. So put a little effort into finding an auto service shop you can trust before you really actually need them. You aren’t desperate to get your car fixed so you can look into the auto shops and see details on their experience, customer relationships, reviews, and certifications. That way, when you need services, you will feel comfortable going to them.

Reason#2: You can get regular maintenance

Not everyone is good at keeping track of what maintenance items they need and when. If you find an auto shop you can trust, you can visit them for oil changes and other odds and ends. During those visits, they will tell you what else needs to be done and when. Since you work with them on a regular basis and know them well, you can trust that they are telling you what actually needs to be done to keep your vehicle in tip top shape.

Reason#3: Build a relationship

You are a regular at a number of places in Philadelphia. You probably have a regular dentist and doctor that you see every year. You might go to the same bakery and you might have a regular order at the diner down the street. When you are a regular at these places, you build a relationship with the people who work there. The same can be said about an auto shop. When you visit the shop for your maintenance needs, you get to know the people who run the shop. Then, when an emergency arises, they are more likely going to go out of their way to help you out.

Reason#4: You have the opportunity to compare prices

If your car is reaching the age where certain things are going to go wrong, or you anticipate needing new brake pads or another routine service that just happens as cars age, you should always compare prices. If you need the service NOW, you don’t have time for that. Instead, try to look ahead and investigate prices before you take the leap into a shop at the last minute. That way, when you actually do need the help, you can make a cost effective decision.

Schafer’s Auto Center can make finding a trusted auto service easy. Just give us a call at 215-755-1270 and your job is done! We’ve been serving the Philadelphia area since 1954 with our team of ASE certified technicians. We’re certified to handle it all and we take pride in our professionalism and honesty. Visit us today at 1924 S Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19148.