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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

Self Driving Cars a.k.a. the Totally Cool Future of Autonomous Cars

by Brian England on Wed, Aug 19, 2015

It seems that articles about self-driving cars (autonomous cars) have been all over the press lately.  What you may not realize is that you don't have to wait another five to ten years to experience what it's like to sit behind the steering wheel and have the car drive itself.  In fact, my wife Jen, who is not extravagant when it comes to cars, recently decided upon a 2016 Acura RDX.  

She upgraded from a 2000 Acura TL, one of only two cars she's had in the last 32 years -- the 2000 Acura and a 1983 Chevy Caprice Wagon.  Both of those cars had over 100,000 miles on them, and they were in good condition when she upgraded to a new vehicle.  (Of course, as you would expect, they were very well cared for, safe and reliable, helped along by regular preventive maintenance from the staff at British American Auto Care!) So, this year, it was my wife Jen's turn to purchase a new car.  We change our cars like clockwork, every 15 years. Waiting 15 years between car purchases means we see giant leaps forward in technology with each new car. My turn to switch cars comes in 2019, and who knows what kind of great technological advances will be available by then.  Already a lot more 2016 cars have an advanced electronic package that includes adaptive cruise control, lane deviation warning, and lane deviation assist. 

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Topics: preventive maintenance, high mileage vehicle, collision driver assist systems, self drive cars, collision avoidance systems, Volvo

Columbia MD Auto Shop Goes Solar Again

by Brian England on Wed, Jul 29, 2015

When it comes to conserving the environment, we not only talk the talk, we walk the walk.

Back in 2010 we implemented a solar light tube and automated lighting controls project which has already paid for itself.  A brief description of this prior project, is noted in the video below.

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Topics: auto shop, going green, living green, energy efficiency improvements, solar panels, daylighting, solar tubes

Getting a Car Repair Estimate in Columbia MD

by Brian England on Wed, Jul 08, 2015

Like so many other things in life, preparation, attention to detail, and good communication go a long way toward getting the best service for your car. How an auto shop handles the car repair estimate and authorization process is a key part of delivering good auto service, and you can help to make this process work even better.Here in Columbia, MD, like in other places, getting the best car repair estimate begins before you even get to the auto shop. If you are having a problem with your car, download a diagnostic form and complete it before your service, or if you are having a factory scheduled maintenance service, check your manual before you drop your car off. Once that's done develop a list of items you want to address as part of the service or repair.
When you take your car in for servicing, be sure to review each item with the auto service adviser or the auto technician who will be coordinating service on or working on your car. You will want to understand whether a service you want to have performed is included as part of a auto service or repair "package deal". For example, auto shops may advertise fixed price "Brake Specials", "Oil Change Specials" or "5K Service" packages -- be sure you understand exactly what's included. Also, you will also want to ask about any charges associated with diagnosing a problem you may be experiencing. Many shops may offer a free initial scan, but often more diagnosis is needed to get at the root cause of the problem. You can be charged for this diagnosis even if you don't decide to have the car services performed at that shop.

Once the auto shop has had a chance to diagnose the problem, they will give you a call back with your service estimate. Pull out your list to make sure that everything you've asked for is being addressed in the estimate. Additionally, be sure they provide you with the total price for the auto service including labor and parts. At times, your auto repair shop may call you back to indicate that they will need more time to diagnose a repair problem. If this happens, wait until you have a complete picture of the needed auto services before authorizing any work.

When the shop is reviewing the recommended service or repair plan with you, be sure to ask that they prioritize the work based on the following:
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Topics: car repair estimate, service authorization

7 Great Spots to Grab a Bite to Eat Near our Columbia MD Auto Shop

by Brian England on Mon, Jun 29, 2015

Some of the things we love about Columbia, MD -- the georgeous parkways and fabulous greenery -- can also make it a bit hard to spot a particular businesses you're looking for. If you’re ever leaving our auto shop around lunch time or are waiting here, and feel like walking out to take a quick bite...here are seven great spots that can satisfy your grumbling tummy. 

Our first three picks are hidden treasures. Each is tucked away in a business park or shopping strip that you can’t quite spot from the street. 

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Topics: Columbia, MD, lunch spots

Your Car Battery Just May Be The Cause of Your Problems

by Brian England on Tue, Jun 09, 2015

Have you ever said,  "Don't worry about the car battery; I can handle that," to your auto technician?

Recently, in just one week, I came across two cases where customers suggested that we "toss aside" their car battery as the cause of an issue because they perceived that it could not be causing the problem.

Well it seems that these two customers are in very good company.  In a study performed in the southwestern part of the U.S., it was found that car mechanics over looked a possible battery issue 50% of the time! 

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Topics: car battery, battery, auto battery maintenance, auto battery testing

12 Step Plan - Uncover What's Causing Your Car to Shake

by Brian England on Wed, May 06, 2015

Our all-time most popular blog post is all about shaking.  It is titled:  "Is Your Car Shaking? 3 Common Problems that Cause Cars to Vibrate", and it's had almost a quarter of a million page views.  Or, to put it in the words of Jerry Lee Lewis, there is "...a whole lot of shakin' going on."

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Topics: diagnose car problems, diagnostic forms, noise and vibration problems, car vibrations, shaking car

Does Your Car Smell Musty or Feel Damp? Is Water Pouring on Your Foot?

by Brian England on Wed, Apr 01, 2015

As April showers head our way, here are a few things to consider.

Is your car a convertible? Does it have a sunroof? Is water pouring on your foot when you turn? Do you park under a lot of trees? Does your car smell musty or feel damp?  If so, check out this important tip!  It could save you a lot of money.

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Topics: water damage, moldy smells in cars, car smells, musty car

Hit a Pothole? Check Tires, Wheel Alignment, Suspension & Steering

by Brian England on Wed, Mar 18, 2015

Know what season it is?   Pothole season.

All the melting snow has left behind a wonderful gift.  POTHOLES! 

In some places around the city, it's more like driving around an obstacle course.  The important thing to remember is that sometimes potholes can do a lot of damage, so it's important to be cautious and avoid them.  It may mean driving a bit slower, but it is worth it in the long run.

If you hit a pothole and notice that your car seems to be veering off to the left or right, it's a sign that there is a problem.  Cars just don't go out of alignment by themselves.  Something has to happen to cause it, and if you hit a pothole, it's the likely culprit.

Here are some things to check should a pothole catch you by surprise.

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Topics: misalignment, potholes, wheel alignment, steering, suspension problems

5 Q&A's: Intake Valve Carbon Build-up, Direct Injection & Mini Coopers

by Brian England on Thu, Mar 05, 2015

We see quite a few Mini Coopers with direct injection engines that have carbon build-up on the intake valves. While direct injection engines do offer enhanced fuel performance and cleaner emissions, these engines are more likely to have an issue with carbon build up on the intake valves.

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Topics: mini auto repair, intake valves, direct fuel injection, Mini Cooper, clogged intake manifold, carbon build up

Car Batteries. When to Change Them?

by Brian England on Tue, Feb 24, 2015

With the cold temperatures we have been having lately,  a lot of people worry that they will wake up in the morning, and their car won't start. The good news is that automotive technology has come a long way, and cars are a lot more reliable. We used to have cars lined up for battery service on cold days when the temperatures dropped to the single digits, but that's just not the case anymore. People are hopping into their cars, turning the key, and the cars are starting... even if they are a little hesitant at first.

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Topics: car battery, car battery problems, auto battery maintenance, auto battery testing

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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