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Tire Sale

Posted on January 31, 2020 at 2:11 PM Comments comments (34)
Need tires for your car before the bad weather hits? Give us a call today for a quote on the new Starfire Solarus AS all season tire. The Solarus AS offers great all season performance at a very affordable price. 
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Know your tires age, your safety depends on it.

Posted on May 14, 2019 at 12:12 PM Comments comments (39)


All tires sold in the US must have a DOT (Department of Transportation) number stamped on the sidewall. Most people pay no attention to this and are just happy to have tires with descent safe tread on their cars, but there is very important information contained in this number. The plant that made them, size, manufacture and brand are coded in the first grouping of numbers. Most important to the consumer is the last four digits of the number that identify the date of manufacture. Take note the the complete DOT number normally 10-12 digits is only engraved on one side of the tire, the other side will be lacking date coding.  Why is it so important to know the date? Because tires age out and must be replaced based not only on wear but their age as well. Depending on the source you look at recommended age required replacement ranges 6-10 years. Dry rotted and cracked tread and sidewalls are one sign a tire is starting to age out. There is no federal law requiring tire replacement at a specified age, but most shops will refuse to mount a tire that is 10 or more years old and will start to recommend your tires be replaced if there are signs of dry rotting or they are 6 plus years old.  The environment and care tires are subjected to also will influence their useful life span, I have replaced tires less than three years old due to sever dry rotting. Remember to check the date code on new tires you are purchasing  because they may have been on the rack at the tire store for years before they are ever sold. Always purchase tires with the latest date code possible. Have your tires checked regularly at oil change time for condition issues of any kind and replace them before they leave you stranded or cause a more serious problem.      
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Electric Cars

Posted on May 13, 2019 at 12:08 PM Comments comments (47)
Is it time to buy an electric car?

 Many people think electric cars are the future of the automotive industry. There is no doubt  they have come a long way in the last ten years. The first modern era electrics were not much of advancement over the ones sold 100 years ago, low range, low performance and very expensive to purchase. Tesla changed all that and proved electrics can out perform their ice (internal combustion engine) counterparts in almost every way and be very desirable at the same time. Other new full electric car companies are about to release their vehicles and are taking orders now such as Rivian.  Ford and GM have made new resent electric car production announcements with Ford making a 500 million dollar investment in Rivian.  Volvo has started an all electric car division called Polestar. GM , Ford, Nissan, BMW, VW, Audi, Hyundai, Fiat all have EV's available now and many more are planed in the near future. 

So, what are the pros and cons of electric car ownership and are they the right fit for you. Lets start with the most common fears most people have when they consider an electric car purchase.  The biggest fear is range anxiety, can an electric car fit my daily use without leaving me stranded? Where do I charge? How long does it take to charge? Can I take long trips?  Even some of the lowest range EVs will work for most people. The 2019 Nissan Leaf 40 KWH battery has a range of up to 150 miles, most people travel far less than that in their daily commute. Plug your car in at night and wake up to a full charge and go about your day, just think how nice it would be to never have to stop in to a gas station. There are now models of EVs with ranges of near 400 mile (Tesla Model X long range) with new ones coming with 500 mile ranges. Fast charging is available with most EVs that have liquid cooled battery packs. Tesla states under 30 minute charge to 80% battery capacity making long trips possible.  Tesla has it's own supercharge network that is expanding everyday. Many other charging options are out there as well. Websites like A better route planner (https://abetterrouteplanner.com/) will make your trips more stress free.  

What are the advantages to going electric? How about greatly reduced maintenance. No more oil changes, timing belt services, tune ups. No more Check Engine Lights, no exhaust system or catalytic converts to fail. Brakes last many times longer due to regenerative braking, the list does on. Of course many will argue that the batteries will eventually need to be replaced and they will, but with what you save over the years in maintenance costs over an ice car will outweigh that. The motors in a Tesla a rated at one million miles of service, even a well cared for Toyota can't beat that. Then there is the performance of EVs. With full toque available from a dead start Evs are extremely quick, quicker than any muscle car you can think of. Over the air updates will keep a Tesla up to date with any new software advancements always improving performance and safety.  There is also the safety factor, Tesla claims very high NHTSA ratings. Judge for yourself see https://www.digitaltrends.com/cars/nhtsa-rejects-tesla-safety-claims/

So when it comes time for your next new car purchase consider going electric. They aren't just golf carts anymore. 
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New New Jersey Inspection rules

Posted on May 16, 2017 at 1:46 PM Comments comments (47)
New NJ inspection rules
 
Are you a vehicle owner in the state of NJ?  New Jersey no longer checks basic safety items during the biennial inspection of passenger vehicles. Vehicles that are from MY 1995 and older with a gross vehicle weight of less than 8500 lbs. now are no long required to be inspected at all.   It is now up to you as the vehicle owner to properly maintain all of your safety and emission components on your car.  This is a quote directly from the NJ MVC website. “Vehicle owners are still required to maintain all safety and emissions equipment and may be at any time be cited for malfunctioning or missing required equipment”.     
 Here are a few tips to help you maintain a safe car and help reduce the chance of getting a citation from your local friendly law enforcement officer.
 
Frequently check all exterior lighting. Head and tail lights, turn signals, marker lights and don’t forget the often overlooked rear license plate light.
 
Tire pressures should be check at least twice a month. Don’t rely on the Tire Pressure Monitoring light only (For cars equipped with TPMS warning lights). Use an accurate gauge, not the one on the air pump.
 
Tire wear. Tires may be considered for replacement between 4 and 5 /32”  and require replacement at 2/32”. Also look for signs of dry rotting of the rubber. Tires do go bad over time just from age. Consider replacing tires that are more than six years old even if remaining tread is good. If you are unsure of the tires age have your locale tire expert check the date code to see when they were produced.  
 
Check all fluids at least once a month. Oil, coolant, brake fluid, power steering and washer fluids are all important for your safety and your cars long life. See your owner’s manual if you are unsure of how to check any level and what type of fluids are needed for your car.
Low brake fluid may indicate that it’s time to have your brakes inspected. As the brake pads wear on a disc brake system the fluid in the brake reservoir will drop down as the caliper pistons move out to take up the place of the worn pads, this will happen gradually with normal wear. If you are adding fluid frequently you may have a hydraulic leak and will require immediate attention. If you notice any unusual noises, vibrations or pulling to one side or the other during braking it is also time to have your brakes looked at.  
 
Keep an eye on dash warning lights and gauges. If your car is equipped with gauges get to know were the normal range is so you will be well informed when something does go wrong. Don’t ignore the Check Engine Light, it can be trying to tell you anything from a minor emissions system malfunction like a loose gas cap to something more severe that can cause farther engine damage. 

Don't forget those wiper blades. Replace them at least once a year. This will prevent poor visibility and keep your windshield from getting damaged.   
 
Remember as a New Jersey motorist it is up to you to be sure your car is safe for public roads. Don’t take this responsibility lightly, your safety and the safety of fellow driver’s is in your hands.         

  
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When is it time for a new car?

Posted on December 26, 2015 at 9:18 AM Comments comments (26)
One question that comes up repeatedly in the car repair business is “ Do you think it’s time for a new car?”  This question usually comes up just after someone has spent a good chunk of money on a large repair and now is faced with another looming expensive repair.  The thought of continuously dumping money into an older car month after month gets people thinking a new car payment may be less in the long run and I would have a new car with no issues and a warrantee.  With proper maintenance and repairs when needed almost any car can be kept on the road for many many years.  So what would be the killer failure that would render your car up for replacement?  One thought comes to mind and that is rust.  Any rust that compromises the overall structure of the vehicle will make it unsafe to drive and much less safe in a crash as the structure will not protect the passengers as the engineers intended.  Rust repair when done correctly is very expensive and can quickly overtake the value of the car itself.  Replacement or rebuilds of large components like the engine and transmission can also be very expensive.  The bottom line here is what works best for you financially.  Remember to always do all of the service at the intervals mapped out in your owner’s manual to get the longest life possible out of you vehicle in the first place.  Never put off servicing main safety items like tires, brakes and suspension.  It doesn’t make much sense to compromise your safety on the road to save a few bucks.  One of the main advantages to going with a new or newer model vehicles is advanced design.  Newer cars are cleaner, safer and more efficient with every passing model year, interior comfort and convenience has also improved vastly over the past few years.  On the other hand there is always a certain amount of pride in ownership of an older car that you maintained and cared for decades, some even consider an old car part of the family.  So what’s it going to be? New or stick with the old car? , it’s up to you.            
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Cooper Tire Sale

Posted on June 11, 2015 at 2:28 PM Comments comments (113)
Now through July 15th get up to a $70 prepaid Visa Card with the purchase of 4 qualifying Cooper tires. Give us a call today for a quote on a set of Cooper tires for your car. 
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Tomorrow's collector cars

Posted on April 27, 2015 at 1:27 PM Comments comments (17)
Overlooked affordable collector cars
 
Do you want to get into the collector car hobby and have limited funds? There are plenty of currently undesirable or overlooked future collector cars out there that can be had for a bargain basement price now. Think about today's most sought after collector cars like big block muscle cars and exotic sports cars, there was a time when these were just used cars that sold in the classifieds of your local paper barley notice. There is really no sure fire way of determining what cars will shoot up in value in the future, but a few basic rules seem to apply historically.  
If it was desirable new then chances are in the future there will be plenty of fans out there want one. Think of the Mazda Miata first generation. These cars sold in large numbers for a two seat sports car so they are still easy to find cheap. The little Miata is very reliable, easy to fix and get parts for.
For the most part Japanese cars have been overlooked in the collector car world, but this is now turning around. The first generation Datsun Z cars have been strong for years, but others are starting to go up in value.  The first Hondas to come to the US the Z 600 coupe and N 600 sedan are rare sights on the road today and would make a great collector car. Toyota Celica, Datsun 510, Datsun B 210, Mazda RX 7, the list can go on for pages, cars like these were fun to drive, economical and reliable, all good traits in a collector car today.
There are certain cars that always bring up the “I had one of those back in the day story” when you see one on the road today. These tend to be the basic transportation cars that sold in huge numbers then just got tossed like yesterdays trash when they became worn out. These cars may never bring top dollar in the sales department, but will bring many smiles to the people the remember them and wish they had one now. The seventies had a bumper crop of these cars. Ford Pinto, Maverick. Chevy Vega, AMC Pacer, Gremlin, Dodge Dart, Ford Mustang II, VW Beetle, Plymouth Valiant. Any of these cars can be found for great prices today and make for a fun head turning car to drive.  
The eighties and nineties had a fair share of potential overlooked collector cars too. Some that come to mind are the Dodge Omni GLH,  Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe, Dodge Stealth, Mustang SVO. The seventies were a tough times with a lot of new governmental regulations and the fuel embargo affecting overall performance and design. In the eighties and nineties manufacturers were starting to build a little more performance and excitement back into their cars. 
In general convertibles, manual transmissions and sporty cars always seem to be high on the list of collector car features, but that doesn't mean a station wagon or other basic family car should be past by.  People have a soft spot in their hearts for the cars they grew up with and have fond memories of. For most of us they tended to be basic every day cars. Save one of these overlooked cars today and you could wind up with tomorrows treasure. A 1984 Dodge Caravan selling at Mecum for 200K? in 2025, One never knows!          

    
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Product review

Posted on January 30, 2015 at 1:14 PM Comments comments (26)
I don’t normally do product reviews here, but when I find something that works well form me in the shop environment I feel I should pass along that information.  In the shop keeping my hands, tools, customers cars and just about anything I touch clean is very important. Lately I have been using Monk Mechanics Hand Cleaner 3-D Textured Towels. They come in one of those plastic containers that you can pull up and rip off a single towel when needed.  The towel itself has sort of honeycomb texture to it and is very durable, its also moist with a pleasant scented cleaner. These towels are great at removing greasy fingerprints from just about anything. I find them especially useful for quick hand cleanup after doing something particularly messy like an oil change or handling greasy parts such as wheel bearings. I was never one of those guys that glove up every time I do something. I find latex gloves hard to work in, rip easily and just become a sweaty mess. The Monk Towels are a great alternative to the gloves for keeping hands clean and fast cleanup. Just grab a Monk wipe and clean off your hands and ready to back the customer’s car out without fear of leaving fingerprints all over the place, something a dry shop towel just can’t do. Product information says it will “remove grease, oil, ink, paint and grime from skin, metals and many more surfaces”.    See more info @ www.monkwipes.com  or contact Bill Brail 856-786-7300 for purchase information.          
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Common repair complaints

Posted on December 10, 2014 at 1:38 PM Comments comments (397)
Common automotive repair complaints.
Today we will touch upon some common complaints that will have the customer bring the car in for repairs and their most likely causes. These are the types of complaints that many times have the customer trying to imitate the noise when explaining what they want check, this can be quit entertaining at times.  Remember a complete inspection of your car will be needed to verify the exact cause of your complaint. This list is just intended to give some insight on the common causes of these problems.  
1. Noises from suspension.  Suspension noises are mostly noticeable when going over bumps. One of the most common is a broken or worn anti- sway bar link pin. Sometimes the sway bar frame mount bushings also fail. Both will produce a rattle of clunk noise. Broken springs, worn out control arm bushings, worn shocks and struts are also high on the list of probable suspects when looking for suspension noises.  
2. Rumble noise that changes with your speed.  An easy check here that you can do yourself is check tire ware. You are looking for a cupped rough ware pattern on the tread of the tires. Tire cupping can be caused by worn struts and shocks, but most likely it’s from poor tire design. Have your suspension checked as well as the alignment. If all is well suspect poor tire design.   
Bad wheel bearings can sound very much like cupped tires, this is why you should eliminate the tires first as a potential cause of this kind of noise. Does the rumble noise change pitch or get a lot quieter when turning left or right? If so, a closer look at the bearings are in order. Weight transfer of the car during turning or pitching the car side to side will make the loaded side (the one on the outside of the turn) noisier if it’s the culprit.  
3. Rattling or buzzing noise from under the car. This one will change or go away as you rev the engine in neutral. Take a look at your exhaust heat shields. Most of the time you will find one that the mounts or clamps have rusted out on and the tin shield is now just hanging on the pipe or converter just waiting to drive you nuts. Most techs will just cut them off to eliminate this annoyance. These shields should be kept in place if at all possible as they do serve a purpose. They don’t just shield the surrounding areas from the exhaust’s heat, they also are intended to keep the heat in allowing the converter to reach light off (operating temp) faster lowering cold start emissions.
4. Grinding or rubbing noise. If you hear a grinding noise when you apply the brakes you have worn the pads down to the metal backing of the pads and require brake service immediately. You would think this is a no brainer, but I see brakes worn through to the middle vented part of the brake rotor more than enough times to wonder how such a noise can be ignored. If you have grinding brakes don’t put off a brake inspection any longer! A squeak on the other hand may be an indication you have worn brake hardware of just glazed pads, squeaks are almost normal on some cars and are very difficult if not impossible to completely eliminate. Some brake pads have a ware indicator built into them that will cause a squeak when the brakes are applied to warn you that you are in need of service very soon. Remember, when in doubt have your brake system inspected.  

5. Fluid leaks. Leaks when small can be very hard to locate.  If you think your engine is leaking something, but unsure of what it can be, start by identifying what fluid it is. Place some white or light colored paper or cardboard under the car overnight. Once the car makes it’s deposits on the paper look at the color of the fluid. Green, yellow or orange can be coolant. Brown or black is oil and red is transmission fluid.  Also take note of the location of the deposits so you can get a general idea of the location of the leak.                
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Some overlooked general maintenance tips

Posted on October 7, 2014 at 10:18 AM Comments comments (27)
Some overlooked general maintenance
 
1. Brake flush. Your brake system is one of the most important safety features of your car, but also has one of the most overlook maintenance items on the car. The brake fluid itself. Everyone knows to periodically have the brakes check for wear, but did you know the brake fluid must be changed too. All non silicone brake fluids like DOT 3 & 4 are hydroscopic and absorbed moisture. Over time this will lower the boiling point and effectiveness of the fluid. Most manufacturers recommend changing the fluid every two years.
2. Gear oil. If you own a rear wheel drive car or truck or a four wheel drive vehicle your differential level should be check at major service intervals to ensure it’s not low. Always top up with the recommended fluid for your car. Look for leaking axle seals if the fluid is low. Check your owner’s manual to see if the manufacturer recommends changing the fluid at a certain mileage.
3. Manual transmission fluid. Most people know they must service their automatic transmission fluid, but many forget about the fluid in their manual transmission. Once again it’s very important to check the manufacture’s maintenance schedule to see if there is a change interval on the trans fluid as well as the type of fluid to be put in.                      

4. Lighting. On todays cars with composite headlights it’s not good enough to just check that the bulbs work, you also have to make sure the plastic lenses are not cloudy to the point hardly any light is getting out. Cloudy headlight lenses will greatly reduce the distance you will see at night. There are many commercially available headlight restore kits on the market and most do a good job of returning the lights back to working condition. If your on a budget and don’t want to spring for a restoring kit you can try some very light polishing compound on a clean soft cloth. Try a small area first to make sure what your using works safely before doing the entire light. This will clean the lenses nicely, but does nothing to seal them as the restoring kits do, but it will get you by for a while.        
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