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Repairing Your Blown or Leaking Head Gasket

You know that you don’t want to blow a head gasket and that it’s going to cost a lot to fix, but how do you know it happened in the first place? There are a few things you need to be on the lookout for that could indicate a blown head gasket. 

  • White smoke coming from your exhaust may indicate you’re burning coolant and is a potential sign of a blown head gasket. Blue smoke caused by burning oil could also indicate the same thing.
  • If the temperature of your engine is consistently high every time you drive, that’s a good sign that you may have a blown head gasket and should have a mechanic take a look.
  • Look for any external coolant leak below the exhaust manifold.
  • If your oil becomes milky or frothy it may be a sign that it has become contaminated thanks to a blown gasket.
  • Consistent cylinder misfires are often the result of a blown head gasket. The lack of proper compression throws off the firing.
  • Check your coolant for contamination. If oil has gotten into it there it will look like cottage cheese.

 If you notice any one of these signs, or especially several of them, you may have an issue with a blown head gasket. Each of these issues is clearly something worth getting properly diagnosed so you should definitely be heading to see our mechanics at German Imports Car Care as soon as you can.

 Is it Worth Repairing a Blown Head Gasket?

Easiest answer? Yes! You cannot disregard a blown head gasket and expect to keep your car running, not just in good condition but in any condition. If a blown head gasket is not repaired in a timely fashion you risk a domino effect of damage. Which results in massive damage to your ignition system, the fuel injection system, the exhaust system, and potentially even an entire engine repair or replacement. At that point, depending on the age and condition of the rest of your vehicle, this may make your car a total loss that’s no longer worth fixing. So for the potential $1,000 to $2,000 to fix the gasket, you could be saving the entire cost of a new vehicle that you may end up paying if you don’t address this issue as soon as you can.

Keeping this in mind, you will want to consider the value of your car as a whole. If you have an older vehicle, is it worth it to invest $2,000 or more into fixing it? If not, you may want to consider cutting your losses, selling the car as a junker and upgrading to something a little more reliable.

If you have any more questions about your head gasket in your engine give us a call today at German Imports Car Care, we are here to help answer all your questions.

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Why Does My Car AC Smell?

Your vehicle’s air conditioning system does not actually create cold air; it takes heat and moisture out of the air that is outside of your car, which in turn, makes it feel much cooler than the air around you.

The coils in the AC unit work to condense the heat and moisture in the air, taking out the humidity before pushing the cooled air into your car.

As these coils are colder than the air around them, hot air flowing into the unit can create moisture pockets that surround the condensing unit in your AC system; which create small pools of water that are drained outside of the car via the drain line.

However, if moisture becomes stuck or for whatever reason cannot find its way out of the AC unit, by drainage or evaporation, the water will pool inside the unit and around the coils creating moisture inside of the AC unit.

Mold is the Cause

If your drain line is damaged or you frequently use your AC system, the unit is likely to stay damp all the time, which creates a breeding ground for mold and bacteria.

The air that passes through the evaporator and the units’ mold build-up will carry the foul smell inside of your car through your dash vents.

Mold is the most common culprit for causing raunchy smells to come out of your cars’ AC.

As a vehicle gets older, bacteria, mold, and other unwanted micro-organisms can start to grow. If the AC unit is not often used, or used much too often, this can also increase the growth of these microbes inside your car’s AC system and ventilation system as a whole. Odor-causing mold loves to reside in your cars’ AC unit because it is always moist and dark – ingredients for a happy home for mold.

If you checked on your drain tube and tried to clear out mold yourself with no prevail – all is not lost. You don’t have to replace your car, but you MIGHT have to replace the AC unit in it. Bring your car into a trusted dealership or repair shop to have your AC unit assessed as soon as possible.

If your AC stinks and you’d like to have your car smelling fresh and clean, give us a call today at German Imports Car Care. We can clean everything out and getting you back on the road smelling fresh!

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Do I Really Need More Expensive Gas?

This is a good one, and your wallet will thank you in the end! Did you know that most cars take regular and only a few others require premium? The difference between these two grades of gasoline isn’t completely obvious, which has led to some misguided spending at the pump. If you’re not sure what you should be filling up with, let us help clarify for you  

What’s the difference between premium and regular gas?

Regular gas is rated at 87 octane in most states, while premium gas is often rated higher at 91 or 93. Fuel with a higher octane rating can stand up to higher compression before it detonates. In Essence, the higher the octane rating, the lower the likelihood that detonation happens at the wrong time. On occasion, this occurrence will likely not harm your vehicle. However, if it happens frequently it may quicken the decline of your engine’s performance. 

Engines with high compression ratios or turbochargers often require high octane fuel found in premium gas for optimal performance and fuel efficiency. However, most cars on the road today are adjusted to run on regular gas.

If your car doesn’t require premium, fill up with regular.

Why pay good money for something you don’t need? Premium gasoline costs on average about fifty cents more a gallon than regular and has no positive or negative effect on vehicles that can’t take advantage of it. In a consumer notice, the Federal Trade Commission, notes: “In most cases, using a higher-octane gasoline than your owner’s manual recommends offers absolutely no benefit. It won’t make your car perform better, go faster, get better mileage or run cleaner.”

The detergent additives in your gasoline are far more important than the octane level, as they help clean your engine and optimize performance. Each retailer offers a different blend of additives, used across all grades. For example, you can find Chevron’s Techron in both their regular and premium gas.

If your car requires premium, fill up with premium.

Engines with a high compression ratio typically require higher octane fuel to achieve its intended level of performance, fuel efficiency and emissions. If your car requires premium gas, don’t skimp out. While you might save money on gas, your car will be less powerful and fuel-efficient. This can make a huge difference in vehicles with available turbocharged engines.

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What’s the Difference Between a General Auto and European Auto Shop?

If you own or are thinking about purchasing a new or previously owned automobile, it’s a good idea to compare and contrast between American and European auto manufacturers. Though there are many differences and similarities between the two, pay close attention to differences in auto repair, including costs, repair of various systems, quality of parts, and training of mechanics who perform auto repair on Volkswagens, BMWs, Audis and Mercedes Benz models.

With every make and model of vehicles in both the United States and Europe comes with a different set of parts, calibration and even tools to work on each specific model of cars. With American cars and the shops who work on them, there is a little more cross diversity available because most of the specs are very similar to one another. With European cars, is where a lot more technical parts change between the different makes and models.

As such, you can expect to pay more for Audi or BMW auto repair and maintenance as well as for their authentic OEM parts. Now this isn’t to say that American or Japanese cars are made of low-quality parts and materials, but they tend not to be made of the highest quality available, which is why these vehicles usually cost a little less.

This also means that European vehicles and the technicians who work on these vehicles require to attend special schools and receive special certificates to be able to work on European engines. Another reason why taking your vehicle to a European is more expensive for the maintenance.

This doesn’t make one type of vehicle lesser than the other but this does explain why you might not want to take your vehicle to an auto shop that doesn’t fit your vehicle.

So if you’ve made the investment in a European car or are planning to, consider opting to bring your vehicle to German Imports Car Care. Our trained technicians are well trained and capable to take care of your vehicle.

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Get Your Digital Vehicle Inspection

First, we can answer the question – what is a digital vehicle inspection? Digital inspections are vehicle inspections performed by technicians using a tablet device to record the results. On some platforms, the inspection results are printed out and added to a shop management system (SMS) manually.

Digital inspections change everything. Using mobile technology, you can use customized inspections to do a simple tire report or a full bumper to bumper, multipoint inspection. The more you document, the more likely you are to make a sale.

At German Imports Car Care, our technicians go through the 50-point inspection process, marking any necessary repairs or maintenance and making notes in the designated section. He pays his technicians 0.3 hours for the inspection, which is usually all it takes to complete one.

First, our technician enters a note about the part being inspected, then they put in a corresponding recommendation if it is needed. To speed up the process – and increase uniformity – some software will offer canned notes and recommendations. The next step is to choose a color to grade the part: Green = Good, Yellow = OK, & Red = Bad.

The last step is to take pictures of the part. With the photos, it allows the customer to see what the issues are without the technician having to explain every piece – this saves everyone time. You know what they say, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words.’ It’s actually a silent service advisor. Our customers see the picture and it sells itself.

Customers who can see for themselves what repairs are needed have been proven to overwhelmingly authorize recommended repairs. We have seen customers text message an approval within 1 minute, in some instances. Putting the power in the customers’ hands also lessens the need for the service advisor to push a sale. Making everyone more comfortable with “going to the shop” experience.

For auto repair shops, photos create a greater level of transparency, which helps to improve customer confidence. Also, since vehicle condition photos are texted or emailed instantly, customers can see vehicle-related issues from their home, office, or wherever they may be. It’s like visiting the shop remotely.

It is a new world we live in today! And we are taking advantage of the tools that technology can bring to cracking wrenches! If you are interested in learning more about this new digital system, give us a call at German Imports Car Care!

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Why Is My Volkswagen Getting Such Bad Gas Mileage?

If your Volkswagen isn’t performing quite as good as it used to in Centennial, and you are getting fewer and fewer miles to the gallon, don’t fret. Instead, bring your ride by German Imports Care Care to have it checked out. The team has the necessary training and experience to diagnose and repair the underlying problem or problems. In turn, you will feel the benefits in your pocketbook by not having to fill up your VW Jetta, Beetle, or whatever model you own as often. 

Some Potential Causes Of Decreased Gas Mileage

Defective oxygen sensors are the most common causes of poor fuel performance. These pieces send information to the car’s onboard computer. When one of them is broken or faulty, the air to fuel ratio becomes disrupted. In other words, a busted unit can lead to an excessive amount of gasoline being added to the mixture to make up for the inaccurate readings. A rapid drop in gas mileage is commonly associated with defective O2 sensors. Mechanics can replace these pieces and get your Volkswagen running right again.

Spark plugs can affect gas mileage as well. The primary function of the plugs is to ignite the combination of air and fuel inside the designated combustion chamber. This creates the spark that is necessary to crank the engine and keep it running. Damaged or worn-out spark plugs regularly cause misfires to occur. When a Volkswagen’s motor is performing poorly, the vehicle’s owner will likely notice a gas mileage change. 

Don’t Forget About The Air Filter

When a car’s air filter becomes dirty and clogged, it prevents the engine from receiving adequate airflow. These parts are usually affordable, and they aren’t too challenging to install, either. As such, many people may be able to take care of the replacement themselves. Sometimes, folks don’t want to get their hands dirty, or they simply do not want to tackle the chore. If you fall into such a category, our shop has you covered. Whatever the problem may be, we will get it fixed up in a jiffy and get you on your way.

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How Can A Mechanic Stop A BMW From Running Hot?

A BMW’s temperature gauge serves as a diagnostic tool. When heightened engine temperatures enter the picture, the indicator slowly begins creeping upward toward that capital “H,” which nobody wants to see. A motor with such an issue has an elevated risk of overheating. That is typically the last thing any driver wants to happen, as it can leave them and their passengers stranded on the side of the road. Still, though, the events do occur from time to time, and they often leave vehicle owners in need of a mechanic. 

After all, not everybody knows about engines, nor do all motorists want to. Then again, some folks just don’t want to get their hands dirty. It really doesn’t matter why individuals choose to take their vehicles to shops. Rather, Centennial citizens simply need to know that they can get friendly, professional, and honest service for their BMWs close to home with German Imports Car Care. Now, this article is going to switch gears a little bit, pun intended, and talk about some of the reasons why your car could be running hot.   

What Can Cause A Vehicle To Overheat?  

If a car starts to become overheated and the fans never kicked on, the electric fan motor could be bad, or a fuse could be blown. With any luck, the issue will be the easier of the two to fix, but either way, our team is here to help. The mechanic can perform a diagnostics test on the BMW to get to the bottom of the problem fast. Then, he or she can provide the client with a quote for how much the repair is going to cost. As long as everything checks out between both parties, afterward, the professional will get to work replacing the fan, fuse, or something else, to ensure that the vehicle’s temperature gauge remains in the position where it is supposed to be. 

On other occasions, the problem may lie within the radiator. Over time, a car’s radiator can become clogged with rust, build up, and debris. In turn, the coolant fails to circulate through the coils as well as the rest of the cooling system. Thus, the engine overheats. A mechanic may be able to flush the radiator to get everything flowing again. Meanwhile, in other instances, the professional will have to replace the entire unit. 

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Can My BMW Mechanic Shop Perform A Pre-Purchase Used Car Inspection?

Buying a used car is kind of like pot luck, especially if a person goes through an individual seller. The model could be a lemon or the car of someone’s dreams. Therefore, it is a good idea to let a mechanic perform a used car inspection before the final transaction takes place. The professionals have the training and equipment to diagnose problems if there are any. If he or she gives the auto a clean bill of health, their client will gain peace of mind and be able to purchase the vehicle with no worries. 

The same can not be said when the report is negative. The potential buyer likely won’t spend the cash on something that could break down in a couple of weeks or months. After all, money doesn’t grow on trees, and people never seem to have enough of it in their pockets or bank accounts. So, if Centennial residents are in the market for a used BMW, they should not hesitate to give German Imports Car Care a call to schedule an inspection when they believe that they have found the perfect one. We will be more than happy to assist them in giving the auto a thorough examination. 

What Do I Get With A Pre-Purchase Used Car Inspection?

Of course, our technician will look at the usual things associated with a car inspection like the battery, fluid levels, belts, the radiator, and hoses. However, many other aspects are given the once over too. For instance, aside from just the engine compartment, the professional will check the car’s body, suspension, and tires/rims as well. We put forth the extra effort to prevent consumers from wasting their money or putting themselves and their fellow vehicle occupants in harm’s way. 

Hold Your Horses; There Is Still More

The mechanic will check out the vehicle’s interior also. In other words, they will look for problems with the sound system, upholstery, flooring, lights/electric controls, and more. Not to mention, the professional will take the car for a test drive too. Don’t fret, though, as the team takes proper precautions to ensure that no grease or oil gets on anything. 

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Is A Valve Cover Gasket Leak Serious?

The short answer, absolutely!

The unsung hero of your engine is the valve cover gasket. This little gasket endures abuse from your engine with every stop, bump, speed, weather, and anything else you can imagine and that is all just from the outside of the engine. The pressure and heat that this little valve cover gasket holds at bay while collecting “gunk” from your engine – it is amazing that one little piece of rubber can do the job.

But make no mistake that this gasket is one of the most important gaskets in your entire engine. And if you notice that there is a leak coming from it, there could be a serious problem in your future.

Even though this gasket seems to be well protected by the engine, just like with anything in a mechanical item, after a while parts start to wear out and need to be replaced. As with most parts in your car there are warning signs prior to failure that if caught can save you a massive headache and save you money too!

When this gasket has lost its integrity and leak begins to leak, which can potentially cause cosmetic issues like leaking oil. Or, on a more serious note, it can cause drivability problems and reduced engine performance. If not properly replaced by an ASE certified mechanic before it is too late, a bad valve cover gasket can lead to complete and utter engine failure.

The warning signs we mentioned earlier are fairly simple. If you heed these signs, you should contact us at German Imports Car Care, as soon as possible so we can replace the valve cover gasket if needed.

Burning Oil Smell

 If you notice that while your engine is running or right after you shut it off you notice that you can smell burning oil, this can be a sign that you have a cracked or worn out gasket. This happens because when the engine is running the extra oil will drip from the engine to the cylinder head or even the fuel intake, which are all very hot when the car is running. When it leaks the oil hits these very hot engine parts and fumes the burnt smell.

Low on Oil

We always try to encourage our customers to check their oil dip stick periodically to ensure that their engine isn’t running low on oil between changes. If you check your oil dip stick and see that you are running low on oil, or that your engine seems to be “going through” oil a lot faster than normal – this is a great indication that you have a leak in your system that could relate back to your gasket failing.

Extra Dirty Engine

As we all know, engines are dirty. It seems like you can’t even refill the windshield fluid without getting some grease or dirt on your hands. But if you open your hood and your engine, especially around where the valve cover is, this is a good sign that you have a leak and it is pushing oil out from the inside of the engine to the outside…not good.

We can help you narrow down and identify the possible serious issues that can arise if your valve cover gasket is leaking or worn out. Call us today to schedule an appointment with us to have your engine and gasket inspected by us at German Imports Car Care.

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How Do You Know When Your Thermostat Is Going Out?

Do you know what your thermostat does for your engine? This is a tiny piece in your engine, though small, is vital to how your engine is going work. If your engine is running too hot or even too cold – this can cause serious damages to your engine’s overall health and performance. So, your thermostat is vital to your engine!

One of the more common issues that many Mercedes owners face is that the thermostat in their engine needs to be replaced or the housing unit (where the thermostat sits in the engine) breaks and needs to be fixed.

What could cause my thermostat to fail?

There are a few reasons why your thermostat is on the fritz, so we are going to give you a few indicators that the issue is with the thermostat and not another component of the car.

Spikes in Temperature Changes:

When your Mercedes’ temperature cannot adjust itself, you’ll noticelowered performance and your engine overheating. This is when you’ll want to check the thermostat first. If your engine’s temperature can’t be regulated, then the primary cause is going to be your thermostat. Thankfully, as far as car engine maintenance is concerned, this fix is often easy to replace and generally inexpensive, depending upon any other damages the engine may have sustained.

Leaking Coolant:

If you have coolant leaking out of your engine anywhere then this can cause your thermostat to be giving an inaccurate reading. Because your thermostat is reading that the engine is either too hot or too cold the coolant being pushed through the system causing the engine to overheat and could “bust a leak”. This isn’t the most accurate way to tell if you have a thermostat issue – there are a number of reasons why your coolant is leaking but the thermostat and the housing case is a good place to start if you see you have a leak of your coolant.

If you have any more questions or concerns about the thermostat or the housing case in your engine, give us a call at German Import Car Care, we are happy to answer any questions that you may have about your thermostat.