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On the Topic of Asian Car Quality... what about Honda Repairs???


A while back, I wrote a blog that talked about some of the Toyota service issues that were common in the 80's.... but what about Honda car problems?  

rust on a hondaWell, Honda's biggest car problem was rust. The Honda's of the middle 1970's would rust very badly. Lots of front fenders were replaced. But the important thing is that the repairs were performed under warranty. I believe this is the key to the Japanese success story.  They stood by their products and put things right at no cost to their customers.

The Hondas we service and repair today typically last a long time,  but there is a secret to the long life -- preventive maintenance.  When people don't perform recommended scheduled maintenance on their Hondas, it makes a big difference. I have seen a late model Honda Accord that has not been looked after with only 100,000 miles on it; it was fit only for the junk yard!  However, when a Honda is looked after it will last 200,000 to 300,000 miles. In general, Honda recommends servicing their cars every 7,500 miles. At the 15,000 mile service or yearly check-up, they call for more comprehensive checks that cover most of the vehicle's systems.

We have been an Asian car repair shop since 1978, and most of our Asian car owner customers have embraced preventive maintenance.  As is our policy for all of our customers, we tailor the preventive maintenance schedule based on each customer's particular usage patterns. This is very important in ensuring that each vehicle, including the Toyotas we service, realizes the longest 'car lifespan' possible! 

Cloudy Auto Headlights? They Can be Restored!


Many Asian, European, and American cars have plastic auto headlamps (often referred to as headlights).  After a number of years' these headlamps can cloud over. This cuts the amount of light and makes driving at night a lot harder.

restoring auto headlights

One way to correct this is to replace the headlights, but this can cost $500 to $1000. The automotive after market makes cheaper replacement headlamps, but they can have issues related to installing and adjusting.

There is another way to solve the problem of cloudy auto headlights, and that is to actually restore the headlamps. To do this we use a special kit that comes with all the abrasive supplies needed to restore the headlamp surface. It can take about an hour to an hour and a half to perform the process but the results can be amazing. This process costs around $150. It not only allows you to see better at night, but it makes your car look newer.

To keep your headlamps sparkling, wax them so that they reflect the sun and help stop it from breaking down the plastic.  That way you'll not only end up with not only better looking car, but a lot safer one as well!

Avoid up to a $600 Repair - Replace the Tire Pressure Valve Cap!


Quality automotive service and repairs should include checking your cars tires carefully. Chevy, Toyota, VW -- no mater what automotible you drive you should make sure you auto repair shop does this automotive service.

Sometimes it is hard to convince someone that looking after a car is important, but when some cars with defective tires started to crash and this hit the headlines then attitudes changed overnight. Suddenly people cared about their tires.  Suddenly recommending new tires became easy instead of an up hill battle.

It seems that we are slipping back a bit.  New cars have tire monitoring systems so it is one less thing to worry about. But a punctured tire is still very dangerous and very inconvenient. You should worry about your tires --  well at least the place where you take your car to be serviced should worry about your tires.

Tires should have plenty of tread, be wearing evenly and have NOTHING in them. When your car is service each tire should be carefully checked.

monitor the tire pressure

The tires pressure should be accurately adjusted to the pressure recommended. Check the handbook to find out where the recommended tire pressure label is located; the recommended pressure is NOT on the tire.

replace the car tire valve capAnd finally, the little dust cap should always be screwed back on, or if it is missing, a new one should be installed. Now before you tell me I am being picky read on! At our weekly shop meeting I was told a fairly new Cadillac had come in for tires. When we went to let the pressure out of the tires so we could install new tires we found that the tire pressure valve cores would not come out!! The caps had been left off. Moisture had gotten inside the cores, and they had corroded in place. This meant that we had to replace all four tire pressure valves.  Normally this wouldn't be a big deal except that this car had a tire monitoring system, and the tire valve was part of a $150 electronic sensor!! So... this turned into a very expensive tire replacement. It cost over $600 just because someone did not refit the tire valve cap after checking the pressures!

If you are still not convinced that your tires should be checked at each service drop by our shop; ask to look at the box of items taken out of tires by one technician over a six month period. You will be shocked.

So when you take your car to be serviced make sure they:

Check to see that the tires are wearing evenly.

Check that the wheels are not bent.

Check the tire pressures, and replace the dust caps.

Check that there is nothing in the tires.

This inspection should be performed at least every six months by the company looking after your car. Doing anything less than this is neglect and dangerous.

Automobile Repair Shop Tips: "When to Balance Automobile Wheels"


getting wheels balancedThe most common time to balance your automobile wheels is after they have been rotated. Automobile manufacturers recommend a method/schedule of rotation in the vehicle handbook, however, a good "rule of thumb" is to rotate and balance tires every 7,500 miles.  This is a good "rule of thumb" because it is the time when most manufacturers recommend a service that checks out the car and also includes changing the oil and filter. 

It's important to balance at least the tires on the front end of the vehicle is because the tires at the front and rear tend to wear unevenly.  In fact, the tires at the rear tend to wear more flatly than those at the front at the front end.  Also, the tires in the front are typically more sensitive to slight wear and out of balance tires.

You should consider having your front wheels balanced if you have a vibration through the steering wheel that starts about 50 mph, gets worse around 55 mph, and starts to fade at 60-70 mph.

auto mechanic balancing a wheelAnother time you should have you wheels balanced is after installing new tires. This is normally included in the total price of installing new tires.  [This brings to mind something you should consider when buying tires... Good quality tires do not need much balancing. That means they do not take many ounces of weight to bring the wheel and tire assembly into balance, so they do not cause any "out of balance" issues.]

Wheel balancing prices vary depending on the type of wheels you have on the car. Most cars now have aluminum wheels that can require the technician to use wheel weights that have to be stuck to the rim.  This can cost more than the tradition wheel weights that clip to the rim and can be installed in seconds rather than minutes. 

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