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Maximize the life of your Asian, European or American Car. We're just off Snowden River Pkwy in Columbia.  Call us at 1-410-381-2700

Why Can't I Have a Maryland Vehicle Safety Inspection Performed on a Rainy Day?

by Brian England on Wed, Mar 22, 2017

You schedule a safety inspection, wake up to find it's pouring down raining, and the auto shop says it can't perform your inspection! At first, this seems unreasonable -- bureaucracy gone wild and unfair. Let's take a closer look at the reason why. 

The Maryland Safety Inspection is very complex. The standards are documented in a thick volume for the auto mechanic. Facilities performing safety inspections are also required to have the key items being inspected on a large poster for the customer. The goal is to deliver a high-quality vehicle inspection that people can rely on. That way, when someone purchases a car in Maryland, they will know they are buying a safe vehicle.

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Topics: MD Vehicle Safety Inspection, mva inspection, wet days, safety inspection

Brakes and the Warning Systems That Help Us Monitor Them

by Brian England on Mon, Mar 06, 2017

How do you know what condition your brakes are in?  Do you wait until you hear them squealing a bit as you stop? Do you wait for a warning light to come on?  Do you wait until the brake pedal feels low? Do you take your car in for preventive maintenance inspections every six months or every 5,000 miles?  Well, if you didn't answer yes to that last question, you may be placing yourself and other riders in you car at risk.

Our cars can provide us with a lot of information about the condition of the brakes. There are systems in place to warn us about:

  • The parking brake being left on.
  • The brake pads wearing out.
  • A hydraulics failure or brake fluid leak.
  • A computer controlled anti-lock brake system failure.
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Topics: ABS, brakes, brake service, brake inspection, anti-lock brake system, brake light

Auto Repair Dilema - When to Blame the Mechanic vs. When to Blame the Car

by Brian England on Tue, Feb 28, 2017

So you are all set. You booked an appointment in advance and arrived on time. Everything seems like it's going to go smoothly, and then you get 'the call'. It's the service adviser saying, "We need your car for another day!"

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Topics: rusted parts, repairing older cars, auto repair delays,, quality repairs

6 Things You Need to Know Before You Get Your Punctured Car Tire Repaired

by Brian England on Tue, Feb 21, 2017

Need an automobile tire repaired?  Know what’s acceptable when it comes to repairing your tires.  Not all tire punctures are created equal; some can be repaired, and some can’t.  Car tires that are improperly repaired can fail and result in an accident.  For example, this photo shows an example of a repair that should never have been done.


What is an acceptable tire repair?  Here are some guidelines.

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Topics: tire treads, car tires, car tire punctures, car tire repairs, auto tire punctures, auto tire damage, auto tire repairs, tire plugs, tire patches

Mercedes Owner's $1000 Cup of Coffee

by Brian England on Mon, Feb 13, 2017

When our cars are new, many of us limit consumption of food and drinks in the car.  We want to keep them clean for as long as possible.  Then, as time passes, those of us who aren't sticklers lighten up and allow a cup of coffee, maybe a little candy or trail mix.  Well, we know of one Mercedes owner who is likely regretting his decision to allow that cup of coffee. Here's the scoop.

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Topics: preventive car care, Mercedes, prevention, diagnostics, contigo, travel mug

Why Do I Even Need An Oil Change?

by Brian England on Mon, Feb 06, 2017

It's interesting; so many things that we use today just don't require much maintenance.  When we purchase something like a television or a toaster oven, we don't ever expect to have to take them to a repair shop. They may require a bit of cleaning now and then, but that's just about all the maintenance we expect to do.  If things stop working, we just replace them.  It hasn't always been that way, but with advances in technology and automation, repair costs can easily surpass purchase costs on many common household items. 

Maybe there will come a day when even cars don't need maintenance, but we aren't there yet -- even though automotive technology has changed a lot in the past several years. There are a lot more electric vehicles on the road that don't require oil changes. But, if you are like most people and are driving a traditional gasoline or hybrid vehicle you need an oil change to protect your engine from damage. 

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Topics: oil change, auto maintenance, engine oil

Maximize Winter Driving Visibility With These 10 Tips

by Brian England on Wed, Dec 21, 2016

 

Here we are at the winter solstice, December 21, 2016.  It's the shortest day of the year.  We are commuting in the dark or driving when the sun is low -- at dawn in the morning or dusk in the evening -- making visibility difficult.  Couple this with fog, mist, ice and snow and driving becomes a real challenge. Here are ten tips or reminders that will help you see better and stay safe.

  1. Check your head lights. Are they both working? Are they aimed correctly? 
  2. Check the condition of the headlamps. They should be sparkling clear. When a car gets older, the plastic can turn yellow and dramatically cut down on the power of the headlights. The plastic actually can be restored. Check out this video.
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Topics: cloudy headlights, winter auto safety tips, windshield wipers smearing, winter driving

Why Did My Brake Caliper Fail After Only 18 Months?

by Brian England on Tue, Dec 13, 2016

One fall weekend, my wife and I were driving north on Interstate 270, going from Urbana to Frederick, Maryland, when we spotted a sign saying "Scenic Overlook." We had some time to kill so we took the exit. It was a nice place to stop because there's a great view of the city of Frederick, tucked into this valley that's bordered by the Catoctin Mountain, the eastern most ridge of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

As we were walking back to the parking lot, I noticed a group of people gathered around a small truck. My curiosity got the best of me, and I wandered over and found an elderly couple explaining a problem they were having with their vehicle. They had pulled off of the road, not for the view, but because the left front brake was staying on all the time making the wheel very hot (and very dangerous to touch). They clearly had honed in on the problem because each time the wind shifted and blew in our direction, the distinct smell of burning brake pads flooded our nostrils. 

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Topics: brakes, burning smell, rebuilt brake calipers, brakes sticking

Pamper Your Car with A Little Pre-Holiday Vehicle Servicing

by Sandi Weaver on Thu, Dec 01, 2016

With the holiday season underway, squeezing shopping to an already crowded schedule can be a challenge, not to mention adding other "must do" errands such as getting your car serviced before a holiday road trip.  

As a reminder, we offer 3 levels of oil change services and the smallest two can be done while you wait, within 60-90 minutes. For our most comprehensive oil change service, we ask that your vehicle be in by 8:30 a.m. and left with us for the day, through 4:30/5 p.m. This way we have the time to give it the necessary attention to report on any upcoming preventive maintenance items or potential issues to address.

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Topics: oil change, vehicle servicing, holiday car trips, preventive maintainence, while-you-wait

Is this Car Haunted or Is it Just an Intermittent Car Problem?

by Brian England on Mon, Oct 31, 2016

Recently, I stood in as the courtesy van driver. It's always a fun job; I hear so many stories and my first trip out was not an exception. One of the customers described the problem he was having with his car. He said it felt like it was haunted! It had symptoms that came and went in no particular pattern. He asked me how we diagnose something like that, and I explained how we approach this type of "intermittent" problem.

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Topics: car radio problems, intermittent car problems, diagnostics

About this blog

When it comes to auto service we believe that excellent customer service is all about information and relationships. The more you know about automotive services, the easier it is to have a good relationship with your auto shop because you understand exactly what's happening with your car. We hope this blog will help to facilitate a good relationship with your auto shop, whether it's British American Auto Care or any other shop. We're happy to provide you with great information about auto service, repairs, and a few other topics we love.

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