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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

Trust + Experience + Checks + Balances + Respect = High Quality Car Repairs

by Brian England on Thu, Jun 22, 2017

A few weeks ago I was approached with three different questions.

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Topics: trust, auto repair shop you can trust, code readers, experienced auto mechanics, checks and balances

Understanding the Ten Step Auto Diagnostic Procedure

by Brian England on Tue, Jun 13, 2017


How do we diagnose complex "issues" when they go wrong?

Often, when an appliance stops working, we don't even think about repair; we simply purchase a new one -- there is limited or no diagnosis involved. We may check to make sure everything is plugged in, that a circuit breaker hasn't tripped, or even check the internet to see what we find, but that's typically the extent of it.  Think about it. For example, many microwave ovens can be replaced for less than $100, while the average cost of a repair (according to Angie's List) is about $133.  That's because repairing one typically takes a technician up to an hour to diagnose and repair the problem. Plus on top of the cost for the technician's time, there is the cost of the replacement parts. Combine this with the sheer inconvenience of the repair process like schedule coordination or shipping, and it becomes clear why this type of repair process only works for more expensive items.

When our gas fireplace stopped working, we called a company that specializes in fireplace service and repair. The process was interesting because it brought to light an interesting concept of what they consider "diagnosis." For this particular company, "diagnosis" was simply "calling the manufacturer hotline and having them identify what should be replaced."

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Topics: auto repair diagnostic forms, proper auto diagnosis, car diagnostics, auto diagnostic hot lines

My Brake Pedal Sunk to the Floor. Are My Brakes Failing?

by Brian England on Tue, May 30, 2017

One of the scariest moments that can happen while driving is when you try to stop and your break pedal sinks to the floor. When customers are experiencing this issue their descriptions of the problem resemble the following.

  1. While I was stopped at a traffic light my brake pedal’s hardness seemed to fade away, but the next time I stopped the brakes seemed fine. 
  2. I heard a humming noise in my vehicle for most of the day. Finally, after turning a sharp corner, my brakes sunk to the floor.
  3. The road outside of my daughter's dance class is very steep. While waiting to pick her up one day, I was holding the car with my foot brake. Suddenly, the pedal started to sink. I quickly put on the emergency brake, and that held fine. Today, my brakes are working normally again. What is going on?
  4. A few weeks ago I had a "complete brake job" done, but now, at times, my brakes are very low. Did they do a bad job?

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the type of things we hear from customers who have had the unfortunate experience of having their brake pedal sink to the floor.

Among the four examples listed above, three of them are most likely caused by the same culprit: the brake master cylinder.

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Topics: brakes, brake failure, master cylinder, wheel bearing replacement, brakes sinking, brake pedal

Why is My Car Air Conditioner Blowing Hot Air?

by Brian England on Mon, May 15, 2017

It’s that time of year again. The days are getting hotter. In fact, here in Columbia, MD we are expecting the temperature to hit the 90's this week.  If your car's air conditioning system is blowing hot air, don’t sweat it out. Take care of it now

WHAT CAN GO WRONG WITH A CAR'S A/C SYSTEM?
Car air conditioning systems are complex, and many things can cause the system to fail.  In the illustration below, you can see the some of the parts that make up an automobile's air conditioning system.

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Topics: auto air conditioning, condenser, AC leaks, air conditioner, refrigerant, AC, car air conditioner, compressor

New Hybrid Battery Service Offerings Save Owners Money

by Brian England on Mon, May 01, 2017

Chances are, if you are driving a hybrid vehicle, you care about what happens to the environment. It used to be that after several years of driving a hybrid, the battery would need to be replaced with a new one. That's because, just like any battery, hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) batteries eventually wear out.  The problem is that HEV battery replacement is not only an expensive proposition, costing as much as $5000 or more, but also, that old battery becomes just one more addition to our waste stream.

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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

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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