Archive for Auto Repair

Should I buy a warranty for my used car?

At Ron’s Garage, we are not big fans of used car warranties. Speaking from experience, and mostly bad experiences at that, with many used car warranty companies, we can honestly say no one is ever happy in the end. The warranty companies do not cover diagnoses charges, tear down charges, fluids, hoses, or most gaskets. Most policies say they cover internally lubricated parts only. Period. You have to authorize and pay for the tear down, so an inspector can come and inspect it. You also have to pay for the inspections. The warranty company will only pay a set labor rate, which they set, and you have to cover the difference. On major engine and transmission issues, they will often only patch it, rather than replace it. These warranties usually cost between $1500 and $4000.00 dollars, which are usually rolled into the purchase price of the car and financed, so you will be paying interest on it as well. Putting $20.00 dollars a week in your savings account will net you a little over $1000.00 dollars and that will cover your repairs and maintenance for the year. We don’t recommend “used car warranties”. However, we do recommend a “used car inspection” or a “pre-purchase inspection” by a reputable repair shop. It’s also important to purchase from a reputable dealer. All in all, keep your money and go on vacation, as chances are you will not need the warranty.

Bottom line: used car warranties SUCK. If you’re still unsure, Google it or YouTube “used car warranty complaints” and see for yourself. If you have any other questions, call us and I’ll tell you our horror stories. A little research on the make and model of your car of choice and a “pre-purchase inspection” will go a long way and most likely reveal any issues with the vehicle.

Posted in: Auto Repair, Used Cars, Warranty

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Head Gasket

If your looking for head gasket repair in Ann Arbor, I’m sorry. Head gasket repair is usually a pretty expensive repair. But on a good note (if that’s possible) it can be repaired. What does a head gasket do? Your engine has 2 major pieces, the cylinder block and the cylinder head. Between the cylinder head and the cylinder block is the “head gasket”. The head gasket’s job is to seal / isolate, the combustion gasses, Anti freeze and engine oil. Sounds simple doesn’t it? It’s not. It has to do this in some pretty extreme environments. When you start your engine cold in Ann Arbor MI. it can be any where from -35 to 100 degrees. At operating temperature the engine is between 195 to 220 degrees. Everything expands when it gets hot and contracts when it cools. To make matters worse the cylinder block is made out of cast iron and the cylinder head is aluminum, these 2 different metals expand and contract at different rates, so the head gasket also has to allow the block and head to slip a minute amount while still retaining a seal. Your anti freeze can and will cause your head gasket to fail if it’s not maintained properly. Your anti freeze/engine coolant not only keeps your engine cool it also protects the metals inside of your engine from corrosion. As the Ph level drops in your anti freeze it becomes acidic, anti freeze with a low Ph can literately “eat” away at the head gasket and metals inside of your engine. Once the corrosion process starts it’s really hard and sometimes impossible to stop. Follow the manufactures recommendations and have your coolant inspected annually. The biggest failure of head gaskets is from overheating your engine. The engine block is a very large heavy piece of iron which can handle excessive heat better than the much smaller aluminum cylinder head. The heads can get so hot if overheated that they will “warp”and when they cool back down they will not return to there normal shape. After this happens the gasket will not hold as tightly in spots as it needs to be and will fail allowing coolant, combustion gasses and oil to leak.

There is an easy way to prevent all this from happening. Let Ron’s Garage in Ann Arbor Repair and Maintain your vehicle. Ron’s Garage’s courtesy inspection is performed on your car virtually every time we service your vehicle. Our courtesy inspection is a 30 plus point electronic inspection that will detect worn out hoses, belts, radiators, brakes etc. Keeping your car in tip top shape and preventing any major catastrophes.

Posted in: Auto Repair, Auto Repair Columbus, Head Gasket

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Batteries / Battery

How do you know when your battery needs to be replaced?. Good question. If you live in Michigan, the average life of a battery is about 5 years. Some batteries last a little longer and some are no so lucky. Here are a few tips from Ron’s Garage to maximize the life of your battery. First, these are a few things that will shorten the life of a battery, one of the big killers of battery life is to drain your battery completely dead. If you drain your battery to that point you can expect to take up to a year off the life of your battery. The more jump starts you need the shorter your battery will live. So make sure your lights are off and no warning chimes are ringing when you exit your vehicle. Another big killer of battery life if vibration, we see a lot of batteries with missing hardware that holds the battery down and in place. Not only is this dangerous it shortens the life of your battery, make sure your battery is fastened down properly and not moving and bouncing around. Battery capacity (how many amp-hours it can hold) is what actually determines if you have the power to start your can at any given time. The capacity is reduced as the temperature goes down. and increases as the temp. goes up. This is why your car would not start on that 1st cold winter morning, but seemed to work fine the day before the temperature dropped. A battery in perfect condition will loose approx. 50% of it’s capacity at -22 degrees F, at 32 degrees F capacity is reduced by 20 percent. So if your battery capacity is only at 50% or so you need a new one. (or a good set of jumper cables). If it were 70 degrees here everyday and your battery was properly installed and you never left your headlights, on your battery could last 10 years or more. Ron’s Garage in Ann Arbor sells and installs the Napa Legend Batteries as well as batteries from Exide Technologies. Ron’s Garage will also check your charging system to assure your new battery will last.

Posted in: Auto Repair, Batteries, Battery, Columbus Green Business

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Why do brakes cost so much? Are some brakes better that others?

First there is really no such thing as a $79.99 “brake job.” Ron’s Garage has been repairing brakes in Ann Arbor for over 35 years and we have repaired the damage caused from a lot of $79.95 brake jobs. A lot of repair shops think a “brake job” is what we call at Ron’s Garage a “pad slap.” They remove the wheels, slap some pads on and sometimes replace the brake rotors and 15 minutes later they are done. And 20,000 miles later you need new brakes again. Unfortunately in Michigan and other rust belt states “pad slaps” do not last. Why ? Because of the rust this climate creates. Your brake pads and calipers must be free of rust so all the parts can “float” after the brake pedal is released. Rust holds the brake pads against the rotors after releasing the brake pedal, causing premature failure, squeaks, vibration, and other noises.

Second… let’s address the quality of parts. I know for a fact that a lot of shops charge you for the best parts and install the “cheapo” parts. Robbing you blind. 20,000 miles later after they fail you are “S.O.L.”… Ron’s Garage only installs Premium brake parts to protect you from this type of scenario. These parts are as good or better than what came on your car when it was new.

Third… we then disassemble the brakes, measure the rotors, clean and lube the calipers slides, check the caliper boots and seals, Remove and sandblast the rust off the brake pad cradles, paint the cradles with a rust resistant paint. After the paint dries everything is reassembled. The car is the test driven to seat the new brake pads and rotors together. This is done to prevent any squeaks and noises and is a very important step. this step alone take on average 20 minutes. 4th Our Free courtesy shuttle picks you up, we relieve you of some of your hard earned money, give you a 3 year 36,000 mile parts and labor warranty. And thank you like you have never been thanked before!

Posted in: Auto Repair, Brake Repair, Brakes, Tires

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It’s not worth fixing, or is it worth fixing

Ron’s Garage in Ann Arbor hears this question often and we do see a lot of cars that are not worth fixing. If the value of your car doubles every time you fill it up with gas it’s probably time to get rid of it. Eventually all good things come to an end even our cars that we love, but a lot of times it is worth fixing. Let’s say you can only afford a $2-5000.00 car. Chances are very good that the “new” car is going to need extensive work as well, unless you have really good luck. Ron’s Garage feels you are better off fixing the “junk” you already have instead of buying someone else’s junk and fixing it up. If you add the cost of the new car plus the cost of repairs the “new car” will need, it is usually always cheaper to fix the one you have. Plus you know the history of your current car and really the main reason you don’t think it is worth fixing is because you’re mad at it. Come to Ron’s Garage can make it like new again.

Posted in: Auto Repair

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Why do I need shocks and struts and what do they do?

The best and easiest answer is to look at them like this; a shock and a strut do basically the same thing, they along with the spring hold the tire onto the road. If the car had no springs the tires would constantly lose contact with the road because roads are not perfectly smooth. If it had no shocks or struts it would bounce continuously. The struts and shocks are just hydraulic dampers that keep your tires from bouncing off the surface of the road just like the damper on your screen door at home keeps the door from slamming shut. Shocks and struts usually wear out gradually so you can’t really feel any difference in the ride quality and notice vehicle control issues. A lot of national chain stores lead you to believe you need to replace your shocks and struts every 30.000 miles.

Ron’s Garage very rarely sees shocks and struts worn out this early. Usually it’s around the 100,000 mile mark where we can see and feel them not working properly. If you feel your suspension bottom out after going over a speed bump, or your car seems to lean a lot while going around a long turn, you can see that your tires have a cupping look to them or feel it just go haywire after hitting a large hole it’s probably time to have your shocks and struts inspected by a professional.

Ron’s Garage has been servicing cars in Ann Arbor and it’s surrounding communities since 1984 offers a 3 year 36,000 mile warranty and only uses the best parts available.

Posted in: Auto Repair, Shocks and Struts

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