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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

Using Auto Diagnostic Check Sheets to Speed Your Auto Repair

by Brian England on Thu, Apr 06, 2017

When you hear a noise coming from your car, what do you do?  Do you try to determine where the sound is coming from? Do you pay attention to when it happens (e.g. do you hear it when you first start the car, only after you exceed 50 mph, when you brake, during acceleration...)? Do you notice how often it happens?  

A diagnostic check sheet highlights important things to look for, things that will help in determining the nature and source of a car problem. It is one of the most important tools we utilize for delivering high-quality auto repairs. Proper diagnostics are vital in achieving speedy and less costly repair service.

Partnering in diagnosing car problems is one of the most important relationships we have with our customers. When good quality, relevant information is gathered by the customer, it allows the technician to do quick searches of the industry internet data bases. Checking special internet data bases is an important step in the diagnostics process because auto service providers do not want to spend a lot of time identifying a problem that someone else has already diagnosed.

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Topics: auto repair diagnostic forms, diagnostic forms, auto cooling & overheating, electrical system problems, drive-ability assessment, noise and vibration problems, automatic transmission problems, heating and cooling system problemsblems

Is Your Car a Victim of the MINI Cooper Low Oil Level Epidemic?

by Brian England on Wed, Mar 29, 2017

ep·i·dem·ic
epəˈdemik/
noun
1.  a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a community at a particular time.
2. an outbreak or product of sudden rapid spread, growth, or development

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Based on the above definition, #2 to be exact, there is no doubt that we are experiencing an epidemic. Over the past year, we have seen dozens of Mini Coopers coming into our facility with a very low oil level. This is serious because it can dramatically reduce the life of a Mini Cooper engine!

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Topics: Mini Cooper, low oil level, carbon build up, fuel pump failure, oil consumption test, oil level check

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

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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