Category Archives: Repair & Service Questions

Five reasons to have your car repaired where it was diagnosed

Five reasons to have your car repaired where it was diagnosed

We don’t guess. We diagnose. This New Concept Auto Service motto grew out of the increasing number of customers who come to us because they can’t get an accurate diagnosis of their vehicles’ problems elsewhere. We are proud to be the “go-to” source for diagnosis. It wouldn’t even dawn on most of them to take their car to a place which can quote a cheaper price for repair. After all, they trust us for accurate mechanical or electrical troubleshooting, why not fixing the problems we find? From time to time we do have to deal with this issue. Here are some things we tell those who want to take their car to another shop: Price should only be one factor of your decision.We do not aim to be the cheapest shop in town, we aim to be the best. It’s important to us that we use only the highest-quality parts for your vehicle, because we want you and your family to be as safe as possible. At New Concept Auto Service, we invest heavily in our technicians’ training and test equipm ... read more

Good car habits formed early

Good car habits formed early

Last weekend we had nine young men from Boy Scout Webelo Pack 3267 visit New Concept Auto Service in Overland Park with a goal of getting their handyman merit badge. The morning included teaching the boys some basic car maintenance tasks. Led by den mother Liz Sears, the program started by showing the boys how to unlock and lift the hood, and included teaching them how to check the oil, replace a turn signal bulb, check the tire pressure, and safely replace a flat tire with the spare. I first stepped through how I would do each task and then let the boys collectively perform each task as a team. To check the engine oil level, you have to first get the hood opened. This turned out to be a learning experience I did not expect (it’s second nature for me of course). After you pop the hood latch from inside the car, you have to release the safety latch with one hand, just under the front of the hood while lifting it up with the other hand, and then you have to position the ho ... read more

Are your tires safe? (Part II)

So you know it’s time to replace those tires, but just where do you start? First off, match the code with the car as stated in the previous blog. I have seen thousands of tires on all kinds of cars in all kinds of conditions and here is what I have to say: Buy tires as a set, or in pairs, but stay away from buying one at a time (unless it is an obvious circumstance). BUY HIGH QUALITY TIRES from someone you trust! You also get what you pay for. Generally the quality of the tire increases with the price. I don’t promote poor quality, inexpensive tires. They are unsafe and, frankly, a poor value. If there is a rating system for myself of good, better and best, I only promote better or best. Brand new cars come with better or best level of quality tires from the factory as they were designed. However, you will find many tires of lesser quality and price available. Why? Because there is a market for them. Tire stores sell tires, I sell service. Here is a good example ... read more

Are your tires safe? (Part I)

Tires are round and black and smell funny. Everybody needs them because they all wear out. That’s what I heard from Bob, the first tire supplier I every bought from. He went on to tell me my good customers will come to rely on me to select what tire is best for them, so I better learn about them. I want to talk a little about my experience with tires, specifically, how to know what tire you have, how to maintain them, when to replace them, and how to pick what you need. Since the Rubber Manufacturers Association has declared June “National Tire Safety Month,” I thought I’d do my part to increase consciousness among drivers about tire safety. I’ll start with defining a tire by its standard designation system, or tire code. Let’s use one of my loaner cars as the example. The car is a 2000 Toyota Avalon. All car manufacturers have engineers who design what tire is best for a particular car. This info, along with designed tire pressure, is found on a placard attached to the ... read more

To fix or not to fix, that is the question

In my last installment we began discussing what to tell a customer who wants to know if his or her vehicle is worth fixing. This was prompted by an excellent email exchange that went on between me and some of my independent car repair shop owner friends. Here’s a summary of that lively exchange: “How should I respond when a customer asks whether the vehicle is worth investing the money for repairs?” We began by agreeing that no technician can answer that question for a customer. It’s our job just to provide them with a thorough inspection, all the facts, and let them decide. The vehicle inspection sheet should include what looks great and what may be needed in a year or two, or in the next 20,000 miles. It’s especially important not to insult a customer who is driving something we would consider nearly worn out, as it may seem like a part of their family! Start by researching the current value of the vehicle on a website like kbb.com or edmunds.com. Would the needed r ... read more

Cadillac romance and other shop tales

Cadillac romance and other shop tales

In my last installment we began discussing what to tell a customer who wants to know if his or her vehicle is worth fixing. This was prompted by an excellent email exchange that went on between me and some of my independent car repair shop owner friends. Here’s a summary of that lively exchange: “How should I respond when a customer asks whether the vehicle is worth investing the money for repairs?” We began by agreeing that no technician can answer that question for a customer. It’s our job just to provide them with a thorough inspection, all the facts, and let them decide. The vehicle inspection sheet should include what looks great and what may be needed in a year or two, or in the next 20,000 miles. It’s especially important not to insult a customer who is driving something we would consider nearly worn out, as it may seem like a part of their family! Start by researching the current value of the vehicle on a website like kbb.com or edmunds.com. Would the needed re ... read more

A shameless plug (Part I)

Our AAA regional representative recently engaged New Concept Auto Service and some other local shops in a conversation about policies regarding cross-threaded oil pan drain plugs. A cross-threaded drain plug is when the threads on the plug and pan are not aligned, causing a bad fit. It just gets worse as it is tightened. It seems like such a minuscule part to create such a firestorm of policy, but keep in mind one tiny leaking plug can drain a whole pan of oil and create need for a multi-thousand-dollar engine repair or replacement. There are several scenarios for assessing a damaged oil pan or drain plug threads, including the rare instance of a drain plug cross-thread. Other times the drain plug is over-tightened and has pulled or damaged the threads on the plug and requires a new plug. In this instance, if the pan threads are only slightly damaged they may only need to be chased or rethreaded. Sometimes the pan has to be replaced or over-drilled if possible. And sometimes the head ... read more

Terrific transmission tips (Part I)

Terrific transmission tips (Part I)

I have been reading up on automatic transmission fluid (ATF) lately and changes are on the horizon. Twenty years ago, there used to be just three types of ATF-one each for Ford, Chevy and Chrysler-and transmissions only had three speeds. Today, transmissions have up to six speeds, and run at higher temperatures for better efficiency. Most automatic transmissions have replaced mechanical parts with electronic solenoids, all with tighter clearances. There are many more types of ATF to keep track of from manufacturer to manufacturer. It can get confusing, so a shop needs accurate information. Incorrect fluid can cause shifting problems and premature wear. We are careful to use only OEM-supplied information to select the correct type of fluid for each particular vehicle. We also use either synthetic blends or full synthetic ATF, which are better than mineral-based fluids. The main difference between types of transmission fluids is in the viscosity and additives. ATF ... read more

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