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By: John M.
Ultra Automotive Repair
My car (1995 Volvo 850) died on the highway and I had to have it towed to ULTRA. I was unsure if it was the alternator or the battery, though I was quite sure it was one of them. It turned out that it was neither but it was the wire connecting the two. The connection to the alternator had extensive corrosion and with a little work all was well. He could have pushed a new alternator on me and racked up the hours but he didn't. Instead he tested the alternator's strength and told me that it was operating at roughly 80% capacity. He said that with that particular alternator I could expect at least a few more years out of it, if not 10 or more.A one man show but he seems to an honest guy and he'll tell you what the problem is in a straight forward manner. To me, this is an extremely desirable trait in a mechanic. And even though is hourly rate is just under 100 dollars per hour, I will be returning.
Tips & Advices
Among the common scams pulled are needless repairs, where a garage charges you for work that isn't necessary. Another popular one is attracting customers through a cheap oil change or tire pressure check. Then, when you your car is being repaired, they give you a long list of other corrections they'd like to make, therefore boosting the total cost of your bill. The best way to combat these types of problems is getting a written estimate before work is done so you can see how much repairs are expected to cost. If the final bill is higher than the estimate projected, ask to specifically see the work. Make sure information is put in writing as well. If a problem remains, you can have proof that work was not done to your satisfaction.
For winter driving, features such as the defroster, heater and exhaust system are paramount. Look in your owner's manual for specific directions on how features should be checked and repaired. Many newer cars have a cabin air filter that can be replaced when needed, allowing warm air to continue to flow in. Also, check tires before winter driving, as they need to be at the proper pressure to perform well on snow and ice.
In the spring and summer, you want to be sure your air conditioner and cooling systems work correctly. Given the high temperatures, overheating is a common problem. Look over the system by ensuring there is enough coolant available. If it needs to be refilled, it is best to open the hood and add more to the car before it gets too warm out. Also, clean out fan ducts and other ventilation sources necessary for summertime driving.
Some fixes to your car can be done without paying a specialist. Issues like replacing oil and air filters are relatively simple, with instructions provided in the owner's manual on how to make these changes. The same goes for replacing broken windshield wipers or burnt-out headlights. Such issues should be repaired quickly to guarantee safety, but don't require a visit to a garage.
Yes. Not every type of auto repair work needs to be done by a certified mechanic. You can fix some of a vehicle's issues just by paying attention to how the automobile is running and having a basic understanding of auto repair. Look over the ways weather may impact your car and what preventative measures you can take to avoid having to take it into the shop.

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