What is the cost to diagnose a problem with my vehicle?
Most of the time there is a $65.00 Diagnosis Fee to have one of our certified technicians properly diagnose your vehicle so that we can give you an accurate quote on the cost to fix the problem. Sometimes if the problem is more complicated and requires more of the technicians’ time to diagnose, then the charge would be more. However, we would first consult with the customer before proceeding with further diagnosis to get the customers approval for the larger diagnosis fee. Of course if the problem is a simple diagnosis and the technician can diagnose your vehicle with-out having to disassemble your vehicle then there would be no charge to diagnose. The Diagnosis Fee is a "Fee" for the technicians’ time to diagnose and cannot be applied or credited to your repair.
I am about to buy a used car. How can I make sure it is not a “lemon”?
One of the services we offer here at Automotive Specialist is a simple Buyer’s Condition Check. For $98.00 we will look at every nook and cranny of the vehicle searching for potential problems ranging from frame damage, previous bodywork, oil leaks, coolant leaks, window motors, door locks, tires, suspension, belts, hoses, and the list goes on and on. We will make a list of all the problems it currently has along with a list of what expenses you will incur in the near future due to maintenance schedules. Once we have compiled a list of maintenance and/or repair items, we will bring you out to see the car and have you put your own eyes on these issues.
What does my Check Engine light mean?
The most common misperception we hear about regarding Check Engine Lights (or Service Engine Soon lights) is that you must pull the car over right away and stop driving. This is not entirely true. The check engine light is an emissions-related light that indicates a potential problem with your car.
The ECU (vehicle's computer system) stores over 200 different codes that could set off that light. The proper way of diagnosing the light is to hook the vehicle up to a diagnostic scanner such as what we use here, a Snap-On Modis. This scanner communicates with your vehicle's ECU and retrieves that particular code(s). That code is just the beginning of a diagnostic flowchart which we must follow to test certain parameters of a part or sensor. You can still drive the car, but get it checked out soon! Texas Law now automatically fails your annual inspection if this light is on!
What about the other lights on my dash?
Every manufacturer has different lights on their particular make/model of vehicle, but the most important lights to pay attention to are your Temperature gauge and your Oil pressure gauge. Coolant and oil are the lifebloods of your car.
Temperature: If your vehicle begins to overheat and the temperature rises, you are risking warping your cylinder head which could be very costly. It only takes a matter of minutes to run hot enough to warp a head!
Oil pressure: Your engine relies on the flow of oil to keep things lubricated and cool. Low oil pressure could mean damage to your block where bearings must be lubricated in order to run properly!
If either of these two lights comes on, PLEASE pull over and call AAA if you have their service, or call our shop for potential help. Avoid expensive damage by constantly monitoring your temperature gauge and changing your oil frequently!
Can you really have a proper brake job done for $99?
The key word to this question is "proper." It is impossible to tell what a car will need when it comes to brakes without looking at the car's brake system. A proper brake job, in our eyes, is a brake job that a customer is happy with.
What makes a customer happy?
The top two concerns for brake work is noise and brake dust. Both of these concerns heavily rely on the type of brake pad put on your car. Automotive Specialist does not use cheap pads. Our brake jobs are not the cheapest in the industry because we use quality brake pads and rotors made from manufacturers such as Bendix, Raybestos, Brembo and Wagner. We also use pads and/or rotors directly from the manufacturer if we feel the particular car needs them. The quality of pad will dictate the life of your brake job and when you can expect to come back for another job! We will be up front and honest in saying that we have never sold a "brake job" for $99.95.
Do you honor warranty contracts?
As long as your vehicle is out of the manufacturer's warranty (usually 3yr/50k miles) and you also purchased an Extended Warranty Contract we can honor that extended warranty. Once that has been established, the race is on! There are hundreds of Extended Warranty Contracts out there and while we haven't dealt directly with all of them, we can get a basic idea of how good a company is based on their contract language. While we have no affiliation with them, we recommend GE Capital for their thorough contracts and ease to work with directly. A good extended warranty contract will require new parts (you'd be surprised at the small print in some contracts that say they reserve the right to supply used parts!), will pay for diagnostics and will pay the average industry hourly rate. Do your research before buying a contract and by all means do NOT be pressured to buy one at the same time you're buying your car! SHOP AROUND!
My vehicle failed inspection, what do I do now?
If the inspection station did their job, they should supply you with a form which shows exactly where your car failed. Bring that sheet to us and we can specifically address that portion that failed so that you can go back and have it pass the inspection. Of course you can always let us do your inspection - we are an authorized inspection station.
If your vehicle fails inspection it MUST go to a Recognized Emissions Repair Facility for repairs (We are one!) if you qualify for waivers or vouchers before going back to the inspection station for re-testing. You will be given a Vehicle Repair Form (VRF) to be given to us before repairs. Upon completion we fill out the form for you to give to the inspection station before re-testing. Unauthorized repair facilities will not be eligible for waivers or vouchers before they repair your vehicle without a Recognized Facility ID#.
Do you have a towing company you prefer?
We don't own a tow truck ourselves, but we contract out with many different tow companies in the area. If you have AAA, by all means take advantage of their annual free tows. Otherwise, our favorites include:
For Towing in the Round Rock/Austin Area call Triton Towing - (512) 252-2727 (24 Hour Availability) or Finger Towing - (512) 832-0877
For Towing in the Georgetown Area call Tip Tow -(512)863-7300
Call any of these wreckers and tell them to take your car to Automotive Specialist and they'll know exactly what to do and where to go. Your tow bill will be added to the repair bill.
What am I getting for my money?
We understand that fixing and maintaining your vehicle can be expensive at times. We do our best to try and explain in terms you can understand the diagnostic procedure and any parts that we replace and more importantly why we are replacing parts that have been worn out, fatigued or broken. It is often difficult for us to gauge the automotive knowledge of our customer, so please don't be intimidated to ask us why your flux capacitor won't kick in at 88mph, we ask the same questions when we call Dell for service on our network computers.
Our technicians are ASE certified and have been in the industry for decades. Our labor rates reflect their expertise and experience so that you can be confident that only trained technicians are working on your vehicle.