Archive for the ‘Inspection’ Category
Eric was recently interviewed on WZZM 13 here in Grand Rapids about making sure a vehicle is ready for fall and the winter months.
Main points of the interview:
Get your vehicle a safety inspection ASAP. The reason Eric urges you to do this right away is in case there is a list of safety items that needs to be addressed. We can help you prioritize the repairs needed and by the time snow starts falling you can be ready to go!
- Tires. They are the number one item to keep your car or truck on the road. Reliable tires are necessary to make sure you can safely stop, especially in inclement weather.
- Check the coolant (along with other fluids). Certainly we don’t want any engine to ever freeze. It is going to get really cold. Most engines will go through the summer months with no problem, even with inadequate anti-freeze protection but, as soon as the winter and cold weather gets here, that is when you are going to see an issue if that has been neglected.
- Check the battery to make sure it is in good shape. Batteries have a lot more stress on them when the temperature drops.
- Replace windshield wipers to make sure visibility isn’t compromised.
- Check heating system, to make it is performing well enough to keep drivers comfortable and defrost windows.
- Check brakes, to make sure they are in safe working order.
- Check and replace, if needed, exterior and brake lights to make sure other drivers can see you and you can see where you are going
If you have questions about the safety of your vehicle, give us a call! We’re happy to make sure you and your family safe on the road this fall and winter. At Ervine’s and Grand Rapids Hybrid we have free loaner cars help ease the inconvenience of being without your vehicle while repairs are made. 616-532-6600
Part of the engineering that goes into designing a vehicle is testing the components to ensure that they meet durability and safety standards. Because of this, manufacturers have a good idea as to how long the parts in your vehicle will last under normal driving conditions. For this reason, they give us guidelines to follow regarding how often to inspect the various parts and systems on our sedans.
Vehicular components are required to meet certain standards. The government mandates some of these standards. Others are set by the auto industry. Recommended car maintenance schedules are designed to help Grand Rapids auto owners maintain these standards. Disregarding routine maintenance or procrastinating preventive maintenance will result in lowered performance and reduced safety for a vehicle.
Maintenance schedules are designed to ensure three areas of important automotive performance for Grand Rapids car owners: protection of the vehicle itself, fuel efficiency, and safety.
Your vehicle’s components need protection from dirt, road damage, rust, corrosion and fuel and combustion by products. Protective components include filters and fluids.
Most of the fluids in your sedan are there to keep the vehicle running smoothly and to protect the vehicle from corrosion, damage or harmful contaminants. These fluids need to be changed regularly in order to continue protecting your sedan.
For example, motor oil lubricates your engine, when keeps it running well, but it also contains detergents and other additives that clean your engine and protect it from corrosion. Your vehicle’s engine was engineered for best performance with a specific weight and type of motor oil. Grand Rapids motorists should always be careful to use the right motor oil for their engine.
Over time, the vital additives in motor oil are depleted, and the oil becomes contaminated by dirt, water and waste gases from combustion. So in order to keep your engine clean and to continue to protect it from corrosion, the oil has to be changed periodically.
Over time, your vehicle’s systems will get dirty and parts will wear down. Cleaning dirty systems and replacing worn parts will improve the efficiency of your vehicle, which is usually measured in terms of fuel economy and power output.
For example, your fuel system components gradually get clogged up with gum and varnish from gasoline. This restricts fuel flow, which lowers your engine’s efficiency. Gas mileage drops as a result. Cleaning your fuel system will restore fuel economy and improve gas mileage.
Some of your sedan’s systems must be maintained for safety reasons. Your brakes are a prime example of this. Brake pads and brake fluid need to be replaced in order to ensure good braking power. Poorly maintained brakes lead to accidents for Grand Rapids car owners.
Your owner’s manual is your first resource when it comes to knowing when and how to maintain your sedan. Of course, you can consult with a your Ervine’s Auto Repair service advisor. He can give you good auto advice on how to adjust your service schedule to account for climate, local road conditions and your driving distances.
Beyond routine maintenance, your vehicle also requires regular inspections. These inspections are usually recommended at specific mileage intervals, like fifteen or twenty thousand miles. The interval is based on the known life expectancy for particular components in your sedan. Regular inspections will identify vehicular components that need to be repaired or replaced before damage is done to the vehicle or safety is compromised. They are also designed to safeguard the efficiency and performance of your vehicle.
The multi-point inspection that comes with a full-service oil change does not cover all of the regular inspections your vehicle needs for peak performance and safety. Check with the automotive professionals at Ervine’s Auto Repair in Grand Rapids to find out what additional inspections your vehicle needs and how often. Good car care requires regular and consistent maintenance. But good maintenance pays for itself in better MPG and fewer pricey repairs. It may even save your life.
I recently worked on a 2009 Toyota Prius. The complaint was the air bag light was on. Our customer had the Toyota Prius at a local Grand Rapids, MI dealer prior and was told it needed a wiring harness. This information was not helpful in the least. There are numerous harnesses involved and these can be very costly, depending on which one. As it turns out, the Toyota Prius had been totaled by the insurance company and had a salvage title. The car had been improperly repaired before being sold to our customer, and this was causing the air bag light issue. The entire roof had been replaced using another Toyota Prius roof. They had cut the support pillars, wiring and anything else in the way to swap the tops. The wiring reconstruction was poor and potentially dangerous. The air bags will not deploy in the event of an accident if there is an issue with this system.
The point of this is: buying a vehicle with a salvage title is very risky. There is a very good reason the vehicle is totaled by the insurance company, and that is that it couldn’t be made safe for the road at an affordable price. In this particular case with the Toyota Prius, at any price. The sectioning off of a roof by cutting the support pillars greatly weakens the entire structure. Our customer Grand Rapids Hybrid customer has been properly educated and informed, but I suspect will continue to drive the vehicle simply out of necessity. We were able to locate wiring issue and properly repair that issue at a reasonable cost, but nothing can be done for the substandard body repairs. Please use extreme caution or avoid purchasing vehicles with a salvage title. It remains, true, buyer beware. Keep your wheels on the road, Eric.
We have all had sales people try to sell us extended warranties, typically on electronics or appliances. Some of our Grand Rapids customers bought used vehicles and received the same sales pitch. The automotive ‘extended warranty’ is nothing more than an insurance policy. An average on how much the auto insurance industry pays back on every dollar they collect, is roughly $.98, or 98% payback. The used car extended warranty policies that people have purchased have, by my own experience of dealing with them for almost 40 years, much lower. Used car extended warranties are some of the worst ways to spend your money, in my opinion. With an insurance company, there is some recourse if a consumer feels that he or she has not been fairly compensated in the event of a loss. With the used car extended warranty, the consumer has nothing but a 1-800 number to call and state the loss. If the company agrees the consumer has a claim, THEY decide how much is covered, what kind of parts, how much they will pay in labor, etc. This isn’t different than a traditional insurance company EXCEPT they will deny virtually everything. The fine print is where the devil lives. Almost anything that realistically can break, wear out, or fail before its normal time is not covered, and if you don’t agree with what they have decided, tough luck. There is no regulatory agency like a traditional insurance company has; consumers are just left out in the cold. We currently have a 2007 Malibu, recently purchased in Grand Rapids, worth according to Kelly Blue Book, $7,600. The used car extended warranty contract we have from the customer states he paid $1,995 for the warranty. That’s 38% of the value of the car. Good grief! We all know the warranty can financed with the purchase price of the car, so realistically the warranty was substantially more at the end of the loan. Our customer will be lucky if the warranty company pays out $500 on the vehicle which has transmission problems-which are soon to be denied by the company. In closing, NEVER buy a used car extended warranty. Get a used vehicle inspection professionally done prior to purchase and save your money in an auto repair fund for the inevitable.
Keep your wheels on the road. Eric.
To find out more about Ervine’s vehicle inspections, click here
WZZM 13 visited Ervine’s to get help investigating the growing number of used vehicles showing up in Grand Rapids with potential flood damage. Eric and Jamie have owned Ervine’s Auto Repair for the last 20 years and until recently it was rare to see a vehicle with flood damage. Just before this interview, one of Ervine’s customer’s brought in two different vehicles from two different car lots for a used car inspection. Both had flood damage.
During the interview, Eric points out potential warning signs of a flood damaged car:
- Dried on dirt to a majority of the vehicle’s under carriage
- Extremely rusty exhaust system
- Water line or dirt in the cars firewall (The firewall should be virtually spotless)
Most insurance companies total cars after they have had flood damage because it’s virtually impossible to repair them properly. The vehicle in this video had debris or damage to the exhaust and suspension system, transmission, fuel and brake lines and the electrical components.
Be confident in your next used car purchase by bringing your vehicle by Ervine’s Auto Repair for a used car inspection.
To read the full new article visit WZZM13.com
Chelsea Vives: Awesome service!! They were extremely helpful and friendly! I loved how they were accommodating to the customers and being very organized with after hours drop-offs and pick-ups. They were also very quick with fixing my car which was great.
Andy Krafft: Ervine's has provided great service for me throughout my college years! They do their best to make time for customers and understand the importance and value in quality service. Would definitely recommend!
Erin O'Brien-Jenison: The staff is very friendly. The technicians take the time to explain repairs in detail. The loaner car service is very convenient for my family. Each of my experiences with Ervine's has been very positive.
Jamie Riehle: My car needed a lot of work and being relatively new to the area, I had to rely on online reviews. Ervine's got great feedback, so I made an appointment through their website. I was contacted almost immediately and scheduled very quickly. The repairs took a few days, but with the free loaner it was no big deal. They explained everything to me, helped me prioritize which repairs to do first, and Jamie even entertained my 5-year-old while I spent 10 minutes on the phone with my bank to get my payment to go through. I may have been able to find someplace a little cheaper, but you can't pay for the excellent customer service at Ervine's. The lobby is clean, has fresh coffee, and is very professional. As a woman I've been intimidated going into car shops but I never felt that way at Ervine's. I'll definitely be returning.
Kaitlin McDowell: I had a great experience at Ervine's. I know very little about my car beyond turning it on, so I was relieved when the staff were willing to spend extra time explaining to me exactly what is going on and helping me to be an informed consumer. I also appreciated that they are not trying to sell something-- I did not actually need the repair that the dealership had told me to IMMEDIATELY deal with, and the folks at Ervine's were willing to tell me that when they could have made a buck doing the repair. The visit was so painless I even got to run errands while I was waiting using one of their fabulous loaner cars. Thank you so much!