Frequently Asked Questions

We communicate as much as possible with our valued clients, so please feel free to ask us any questions that you may have. The information below will better inform you on issues that may arise with your fine luxury or performance vehicle.

Please select on one of the questions below to view the answer.

What does the Check Engine Light mean?

The emissions malfunction indicator on pre OBD II vehicles (most models prior to 1996) is known on some models as the "Check Engine", "Power Loss", "Service Engine Now", or "Service Engine Soon" light. This light is intended to alert the operator when there is a failure in the system that may cause an increase of harmful emissions.

The light illuminates when the ignition key is in the ON position and the engine is OFF; this is to functionally test the system and check the bulb. When the light turns ON during engine operation, even momentarily, a system diagnosis is necessary to determine the fault.

When the light is ON steady it means there is a fault currently detected. If the light illuminates and then turns off it can mean that the fault is intermittent or that the fault is only being detected intermittently. In either case, if the light is intermittent it usually means the technician will have to try to recreate the operating conditions under which the light illuminates in order to diagnose the problem.

Diagnosis of an intermittent problem is more difficult, sometimes a hit or miss situation, and sometimes requires bringing the vehicle in several times before the fault is located. Although this warning lights purpose is to warn of increased emissions, in most cases if the system is not promptly repaired, damage to other components can occur.

Why do cars need preventative maintenance?

Manufacturers know that a properly maintained car will be more dependable, safer, last longer, and increase your satisfaction with their product. Car makers and owners also have a responsibility to make sure emission controls receive regular service and are functioning properly. Regular maintenance helps accomplish these goals by keeping your engine running efficiently and eliminating potential problems that may leave you stranded.

The manufacturer creates detailed maintenance schedules outlining specific operations to be performed on various components and systems. This is done at different mileage intervals to ensure proper operation and prevent premature wear. The manufacturer also indicates what services must be done to maintain the factory warranty and extended warranty.

Why does my high mileage vehicle need inspection and maintenance?

The safety aspect of properly maintaining your vehicle, especially when it has high mileage, should not be overlooked. Failing brakes, exhaust leaks and other problems can be prevented by following sound car care practices.

Unfortunately, most manufacturers only provide maintenance guidelines for the first 100,000 miles or so. Clear procedures for maintenance beyond this mileage do not exist. At best, manufacturers provide interval service schedules, such as every 15,000 miles. These schedules should be followed whenever possible. By doing so, you can reasonably expect thousands more satisfactory miles from your vehicle.

How often should oil and filters be changed?

Change oil and filter often enough to protect the engine from premature wear and viscosity breakdown. For most cars and light trucks, the standard recommendation is to change oil and filter every six months or 3,000 miles, whichever comes first.

Most late model owner’s manuals say that except for "Severe Service" applications, oil change interval can be safely stretched to once a year or every 7,500 miles, with filter changes at every other oil change.

When auto makers make such recommendations, one assumes they are based on extensive durability testing. After all, auto makers themselves would have to bear the warranty costs should their maintenance recommendations prove inadequate.

Except for Chrysler’s 7/70 powertrain warranty, and a few others that go up to 5/50 or 6/60, most new car powertrain warranties don't go beyond 3/36. So where's the risk? There isn't any.

With proper maintenance, there is no reason an engine shouldn't go 100,000 miles or more without developing a thirst for oil. That is why most oil companies, as well as aftermarket service professionals, recommend changing oil and filter every six months or 3,000 miles.

How often should belts and hoses be replaced

Most hose manufacturers recommend replacing hoses every four years. V-belts should be replaced every three years or 36,000 miles. The incidence of failure rises sharply after the fourth year of service for hoses and third year for belts.

The lifespan of a typical serpentine belt is about five years or 50,000 miles. Serpentine belts are thinner and more flexible than V-belts. They run cooler and last longer, but cost about twice as much to replace.

The hard part is convincing customers to change belts and hoses as preventative maintenance BEFORE they fail. Few people do, yet they could save themselves a lot of unnecessary grief and expense if they would.

Rubber hoses deteriorate with age. Tiny cracks develop in the rubber, which eventually cause hoses to split, blister or leak. Oil contamination and atmospheric ozone can accelerate the process.

Engine vibration and motion can cause hoses to wear if they are too short or rub against other parts. This applies to fuel, vacuum and emission hoses as well as coolant hoses.

A visual inspection will often uncover bad hoses. Pinching hoses to check for age cracks, brittleness or mushiness can also help locate hoses that need to be changed.