The Official Blog of Ali's Woodinville Auto Repair
- Valve Gasket - This is the most common issue that causes oil leaks. Older and higher mileage vehicles are especially likely to have issues with this seal joining large sections of your engine. Over time this seal may fail due to sludge buildup and increased pressure.
- The Oil Filler Cap Missing or Loose - Now you should already be able to check if the cap is missing altogether by taking a simple look under the hood, but it may not be so easy to tell if it's not doing the job and leaking when the car runs. Luckily this is a small and very inexpensive problem.
- The Oil Drain Plug - The drain plug is at the bottom of the oil pan. It can become worn and the result is pretty easy to spot if this is the culprit.
- Damage to the Oil Pan - It's a little rarer, but it's possible that the oil pan on the underside of your vehicle could be damaged and result in a leak. It could occur if you ran over something that dented the pan from underneath.
1) Problems with your gears. If your car will not shift into gear, or if it starts slipping out of gear your transmission may be having troubles. As you change gears your car should respond promptly, and when your car shifts it should not be jerky. As soon as you notice gear problems then you will need to get your transmission inspected right away.2) Strange smells or sounds. If your transmission fluid starts to smell rank or burnt you may have an issue with overheating in the transmission. Also the transmission may be having issues when it starts to make unusual sounds like grinding or buzzing.3) Fluid leaks or discolored fluid. If you notice excessive leaking or the transmission fluid is cloudy then there may be a problem with your transmission or a leak in your system.4) The Warning Light is illuminated. When a dashboard is activated in your car it is your vehicle’s way of telling you that something is wrong. Don't get in the habit of ignoring these lights. If you have a transmission or check engine light you will want to pay attention to any other signs that your transmission is having issues.
Many people try to avoid brake repair because of the cost involved. But, when you consider the consequences of what could happen to you or your loved ones if your brakes fail---it is well worth the expense. You should try to understand your car's maintenance schedule, but also note how long it tends to take your car to wear down it's brakes. If you're unsure, or if you hear the warning signs (we'll list them below), be quick to schedule your car for a brake check.
In fact, when you come to Ali's for any of your other servicing, oil changes, or repairs, we will go ahead and report back to you on the current wear and tear. We always give you an honest report---our customers trust that we actually want them to get as much out of their brake pads as possible. Over time, though, other brake repairs may become necessary. Rest assured that matter what your brake system needs, we are ready to handle it completely.
If you suspect it's time for your brakes to be inspected, our trained mechanics can give you peace of mind by performing a thorough inspection. If repairs are necessary, at least you'll know that you will be getting your car into it's safest condition possible.
What are some of the warning signs that might suggest that your brakes are worn?
Well, one of the easiest signs to note is a high-pitched screeching sound when you apply your brakes. That's a small metal shim, called an indicator, which is giving you an audible warning that you need to replace your brake pads. If you hear it regularly, quickly make an appointment with your mechanic.
Reduced responsiveness or fading. If your brakes are not as responsive as they should be or if the pedal "sinks" toward the floor, this could be an indication of a leak in the braking system. It could be an air leak (in the brake hose) or a brake fluid leak.
Pulling. If your vehicle "pulls" to one side while braking, it may be a sign that the brake linings are wearing unevenly or that there is foreign matter in the brake fluid. Your vehicle may need a brake adjustment or to have the fluid drained and replaced.
Grinding or growling. This loud metallic sound means that you have worn down the pads completely, most likely beyond replacement. The grinding or growling noise is caused by the two pieces of metal (the disc and the caliper) rubbing together. This can "score," or scratch your rotors, creating an uneven surface. If this happens, do not be surprised if your mechanic tells you that the rotors need to be "turned" (a process that evens out the rotor surface), or even replaced.
Vibration. A vibration or pulsating brake pedal is often a symptom of warped rotors (but can also indicate that your vehicle is out of alignment). The vibration can feel similar to the feedback in the brake pedal during a panic stop in a vehicle equipped with anti-lock brakes
We have been doing Brake Repair in the Woodinville area (Bothell, Kenmore, Snohomish, etc.) for years, and our expertise will show! If drums, discs, or rotors are worn or even damaged, we can take care of it for you. We'll inspect and check on your brake fluid and your hydraulic system.
You don't have to take it to the national service chains or tire stores. Any service offered by the national chains can be taken car of right here at Ali's Woodinville Auto Repair. And, you'll have the added benefit of keeping a service history with us, so we can help you find the best schedule for getting brakes and everything else handled in due time.
If you hear squealing or screeching of any kind, if it has been more than a year, or over 20,000 miles since your last brake check, get your car to Ali's for Brake Repair Woodinville WA trusts and depends on!
If you've been looking for a place to get your factory recommended servicing taken care of, then you need to know that you do not have to go to the dealership. Even if your car or truck has a warranty to uphold, you can take your vehicle to Ali's Woodinville Auto Repair. We're prepared to help maintain the warranty on ANY MAKE OR MODEL of car or truck. You DO NOT have to go to the dealership to make sure your 30K, 60K, 90K (etc.) factory recommended service is accomplished.
This regular auto service should be continued even for cars no longer under warranty. Sometimes people refer to this as a "Car Tune-up". Another HUGE benefit of getting all of your servicing and repairs done at one place (preferably our shop) is that we can keep an accurate history for you. Not only can we keep your car under warranty, but we will have a better idea of what things to watch out for with your particular make and model. The ultimate goal is to help you avoid breakdowns and more expensive repair jobs.
Getting your regular maintenance accomplished ON TIME is also very important for all cars and their drivers, whether your car is under warranty or not. When you get into the upper mileages, it generally needs to be done every 30K miles. Ali's Woodinville Auto Repair will be your consultant on all things auto service. As we always say, you need to find a shop you can trust, because it is a great way to allow a good shop like ours to keep your car running very healthfully!
When it comes to your particular vehicle, we will follow YOUR car's recommended servicing schedule and perform all of the checks, adjustments, and replacements that are listed and necessary. If you cannot find your manual---no worries, we can check your schedule and recommended services for you. They may include checks and replacements to a number of items. We would commonly change your Air filter, run check on the Exhaust System, Brake System, Belts, Hoses, Suspension, and also provide an oil change.
We're happy to be the answer for all Auto Repair Woodinville WA folks need. And we try to be a great ally to the commuters of our area. That's right! We perform great Auto Repair Kenmore WA drivers rave about, and Auto Repair Bothell commuters will hop on over to Woodinville for.
Find a good shop you can trust for your Factory Recommended Auto Service. We think you may have already found that in Ali's Woodinville Auto Repair. Call to schedule your appointment today! 425-420-1630
Fall, or autumn if you prefer, is here.....and it brings about changes for the drivers of the Northwest. We looked and found a few lists of tips for Fall driving preparedness, and although they were very complete (see them here: http://www.davesultimateautomotive.com/blog/autumn-auto-maintenance-checklist/ and here: http://safety.lovetoknow.com/Fall_Driving_Safety_Tips ), there is a general trend to be seen. Specifically, all of the tips can be categorized into TWO MAIN categories.
Diving safely in Fall conditions (weather, leaves, darkness, school starting again, etc.) has to do with BOTH an ability of the driver to be more aware and take extra measures to be careful on the road, and also preparedness for your vehicle, so that it can handle the rigors of Autumn road travel.
1) Preparing YOURSELF for Fall Driving.
The Dangers of Fallen Leaves on Roads can be more of a hazard than you realize. Lovetoknow safety writes, "When leaves accumulate on the roadway and become wet, they can get extremely slippery, making the driving conditions similar to driving on ice. If the temperature drops below freezing, the wet leaves will freeze and turn into dangerous icy leaves on the roadway. Besides reducing the car's traction, causing skidding and the possibility of losing control of the vehicle, leaves often cover the painted road markings, making it difficult to know the locations of the lanes."
You also have to adjust for weather conditions, and not just the rain and wet roadways, but also the fog. Icy roads can creep in at night on overpasses and bridges if the temperature sneaks low enough.
Also, you must adjust for the fewer hours of daylight, and the fact that people may still be out and about when it's dark. Here's a list of tips that takes all of these into account (and it's a bit more simplified than the lists we referenced).
- Slow down on turns, and make sure you have plenty of "following distance" between you and other cars.
- Piles of leaves can conceal children walking or playing around them-- be aware of children.
- Keep your windshield leaf-free.
- Set headlights to low-beam in fog.
- Watch your speed on overpasses and bridges in case of ice
- Watch out for children at bus stops and road crossings--it's already getting dark when small children are leaving school.
- Take special care and drive much more slowly/carefully on Halloween....the costumes make it even more difficult to see children.
2) Preparing YOUR CAR for Fall/Autumn driving.
The normal tips are listed below, but along with these you need to make sure that you actually bring your car in to a professional. First, you car may already be due for it's regular servicing. If you're not sure when to do it, it's usually every 30,000 miles (30K, 60K, 90K, etc.), but if you don't know, it's better just to get it done and worry about the schedule after that. OR, you could at least come get your next oil change with us. We will make sure all of the tips and checks below are accomplished FOR YOU!
Your car has to deal with more temperature change in the coming months, and you don't want a lingering issue to be exacerbated by the cold and wet. Even if it's your tires that need to be changed, our Woodinville auto repair shop will be able to direct you where to go and what to do.
Tips for your car's fall weather maintenance:
- Get caught up on servicing (30K, 60K, 90K)
- Oil changed earlier rather than later
- Brake Repairs and pad changes earlier rather than later
- Check that your antifreeze is full
- Visually inspect your tires, and check pressure.
- Replace worn windshield wipers.
- Check your windshield washer fluid and top off
- Bring your vehicle to Ali's Woodinville Auto Repair to get all of these accomplished at once, and let us handle it for you!
It's the middle of a beautiful summer, and although it's cooled off for just a few days here in the Puget Sound, we've got at lease a month of warm-hot weather left. We want to keep our customers of Woodinville, Bothell, and Kenmore WA "in the know" about what they can do to protect against an overheating vehicle.
We always like to use an outside source, so that you don't have to take our word for it. There is an article at autos.aol.com that does a great job of laying out all of the ways you can be safe and avoid car overheat problems. We added some of our own comments in parantheses.
It is such a terrible thing to see a good car need a whole new engine due to the heat, and it's worse knowing that it could have been avoided. Here are tips that could save you thousands of dollars:
1. If your battery is three years old, consider replacing it as a matter of preventive maintenance. Batteries get stressed in extreme temperatures, and the older they get, the more stressed they get.
2. Have your cooling service checked by a mechanic (have it checked by Ali's Woodinville Auto Repair of course!) or the dealer if it has not been looked at in two years. This system is critical to keeping the engine cool and the air conditioning system working right. Let it break for lack of simple maintenance, and it is not cheap to fix or replace.
3. If you are driving, stuck in traffic, the temperature light goes on and you are in the danger zone, turn off the air conditioner immediately and open the windows. If the light stays on, turn the temperature selector to the hottest setting. This will redirect some of the heat that is trapped in the cooling system. If the light stays on, pull over and call road-side assistance. Stop driving. If the light goes off, you should be okay to drive the car to a mechanic. (In fact, any time that you are driving in hot weather and traffic starts to slow, it's a good idea to lay off the air conditioning altogether. At least make sure to keep a sharp eye on the temperature guage. It's harder for your car to stay cool at slow speed or at idle.)
4. Make sure you have fresh coolant in your radiator to start the summer, not just water. Have the radiator checked specifically for corrosion. (I don't know why THIS isn't tip number one! If you notice leaks in the system, or are having trouble keeping enough coolant in there, get your car in to us to have the system examined. It's well worth the precautionary visit.)
5. Look at your tires. If you have worn or cracked tires, you are asking for big trouble in very hot weather. Not only could you blow the tires, but a blow-out at high speeds could cause you to crash, rollover and possibly hit another vehicle. (Not really an overheating engine tip, but an important HOT WEATHER tip.)
6. If you drive long stretches of road on a summer trip, keep a gallon jug of water somewhere in the car. It could come in handy if you have a radiator leak, or you get stuck waiting for help and need water yourself to feel cool and comfortable. (We could also cover this in a list of emergency items you should always have in your car.....maybe we'll do that in the next blog post!)
Two years ago this month, KOMO news ran an article about Stephanie Valencia, the daughter of Alirio Valencia, owner of Ali's Bellevue Auto Repair, as well as Ali's Woodinville Auto Repair. Here is the link to the article you can read for yourself:
At the time, Stephanie was working within the Bellevue Shop, but soon after, she was sent to head up the new shop in Woodinville. Stephanie is never one to "toot her own horn", but all of us who work with her know that she has a unique and special story. The article outlines the rarity of a female working in a male-dominated profession and even how outnumbered women are in the attendance make up of Wyo Tech -- a well-respected year-long course for auto technicians. Only 20 women out of 3,000 in attendance!
Two other great conclusions are to be drawn from Stephanie's story though. ONE of them is the concept of "family-owned and operated". Clearly, Ali and his family have a real passion for auto repair AND great auto service. Ali and Stephanie are not the only relatives within the business, so it's safe to say that there is a commitment to quality auto repair in Woodinville, Bellevue, and surrounding areas like the kind of quality Auto Repair Kenmore and Bothell will come to trust.
The other great point to be made is this: When you bring your car in to Ali's Woodinville Auto Repair, you are often greeted by Stephanie at the front desk. But, you now know that it would be foolish to believe that she is a mere receptionist or service-writer. Stephanie Valencia will know as much about how to diagnose and fix your vehicle as any of her (or any shop's) technicians----she may even have had to help with her hands that "can get into small spaces" on your vehicle.
Ali's Woodinville Auto Repair---Family owned, family operated, HIGHLY EDUCATED, and very dedicated to serving you and your vehicles!
Summer is almost here, and yeah, we've sure been flirting with warm, sunny weather all Spring--which is great! When the nice days really start to string together, you'll want to make sure your car won't slow you down. That's why May and early June are a great time to get your car looked at. You stand to save a bit of money on fuel if your car is properly functioning, not to mention you can prevent being stuck on a long road trip, by the side of the road in the hot sun.
Most drivers simply don't have an auto repair shop that they trust. This makes it easier to procrastinate on factory recommended servicing, every 30,000 miles, and also on oil changes, brake checks, etc. Shops like ours at Ali's Woodinville Auto Repair hope to show folks out there that, with proper maintenance, we can save you money. We might have to see each other and get your car looked at a little more often, but it can save you a ton of money over the big repairs.
As the summer approaches, we'd urge you to get your car into us and see why we've been showing folks that we offer Auto Repair to Woodinville drivers that makes sense. We will look your car over and make sure that it is caught up on all servicing, and giving you the best fuel efficiency, right down to the air in your tires.
To back us up, we have an article you can link to and read at: http://www.excelautoandtire.com/tips-blog/car-tune-up-with-summer-road-trips-on-the-horizon-its-tune-up-time The main idea is that we want to keep your car efficient, and with the long-trip summer driving ahead, now's as important a time as ever to get caught up. If we may, we'll simply quote them, so you know we're not making this stuff up....
"The power necessary to start your car starts with clean gas and air in the cylinders. This is where the combustion takes place which is initiated by the spark plugs. If any part of the combustion system, such as the fuel injectors, air filter, or fuel filter becomes clogged, or if the spark plugs become corroded, engine performance and gas mileage will decrease. Typically, a trained mechanic will check the air and oil filters when you take your vehicle in for a service. To keep your vehicle operating at maximum efficiency, it important that you follow the manufacturers' recommended replacement schedule for fuel filters, PCV valves, and spark plugs.
To sum it up simply; a car tune up along with regular maintenance will help maximize your vehicle's reliability, engine performance, and gas mileage capabilities. It will also give you the peace of mind to know that your car is ready when you are to head out on that long awaited family vacation."
It's true! We want to get our Kenmore WA Auto Repair customers in tip-top shape for the road ahead. We want our Bothell Auto service folks to know they can trust us. And, we need the folks looking for a good Woodinville mechanic to know that we will do everything right down to the air in your tires, and noting the condition of your windshield wipers to make sure you know we are looking out for you and your car!
Happy Summer driving.....come see us soon! (...call for an appointment before our schedule fills up!)
There are some new and big things going on here for our Woodinville Auto Repair Shop! We just launched this brand new site last week, and along with it we've started this new blog, and we have a new twitter account to boot (give us a follow if you can).
We're gonna use this blog to provide a few good things. I think you can consider this one of the places that we'll update you on the latest news from our shop, but you can expect some good informative posts about car care. Altogether, it's worth checking back or at least following us on Facebook or Twitter to make sure you get a look at what we're posting here. New blog posts will show up on both of those social media accounts.
Our other shop, Ali's BELLEVUE Auto Repair will be changing their site soon as well. You can find the same great service at both sites, and they will have a blog, facebook page, and twitter account soon as well. Stay tuned and all of us at Ali's Woodinville Auto Repair thank you for reading, and hope you'll never hesitate to bring your vehicles to us!
Lastly, we've updated our Auto Repair COUPONS PAGE, so head over there and see if there is anything that suits your needs. Just print these coupons and give us a call to schedule an appointment. See you soon!