Service FAQs Miami FL
We've provided the answers to our most frequently asked service questions below. If your question isn't answered below please feel free to give us a call or stop in and see us! We're happy to help in any way that we can.Schedule Service
We've all been there before. You're driving along when you notice a yellow light out of the corner of your eye. A quick glance at the dash confirms your fear. It's the check engine light. If you're like most car owners, you're not sure if you should continue to panic or not, and you have little idea what that light is trying to tell you or how you should react. The often misunderstood check engine light or "service engine soon" message can mean many different things. It could be a misfiring engine, a broken oxygen sensor or simply a loose gas cap.
When you see the check engine light it doesn't necessarily mean you need to pull the car over to the side of the road and call a tow truck. It does mean you should get the car checked out as soon as possible. If you ignore the warning, you could end up causing further damage. It could also be a sign that you’re getting poor gas mileage and emitting high levels of pollutants. In any case, if the check engine light is on in your car, it’s time to schedule a service appointment. At our service center, we have factory-trained technicians who can easily check and diagnose what’s behind your check engine light message, at a cost that is nearly always lower than a private garage.
Checking your car's oil level is one of the most vital things that you can do to extend the life of your engine. Not only is it important, but it is a very fast and simple task to complete as well. Follow the steps below to check your oil level.
- First, make sure that you are parked on level ground, for the most accurate reading.
- Next, safely prop your hood open and find the dipstick (which generally has a brightly colored handle, usually orange, and have the word OIL labeled on them).
- Pull the dipstick out and wipe it down with a towel or rag, and then replace it into the engine, making sure that it goes all the way in.
- Now, pull the dipstick back out- and be sure NOT to turn the stick upside down to read as the oil will run and you will not have an accurate reading. The dipstick will have two marks on the bottom (usually lines or holes in the stick), and you can read the oil level by looking to see where the oily section and dry section meet. If you find this mark between the two then you are all set!
Changing your vehicle's oil at the recommended intervals is the best thing you can do to ensure it has a long life. As simple as this task may sound, many people are confused about exactly how often their car's oil needs to be changed. While you can always change your oil on your own, at our dealership we offer fast oil change service at a fair price, allowing you to go about your day without breaking your wallet.
- In the past, it was standard for oil changes to occur every 3,000 miles, or three months, whichever came first. Now, that standard does not always apply. Oil quality has improved over the years, and the automotive industry has begun to take driver's travel and driving habits into account when making recommendations. As such, how often you change your oil should depend on you personal driving habits.
- If you use the car only for short trips on city streets, particularly in cold weather, you probably should have the oil changed every three months. Why? On short trip, the engine doesn't reach its proper operating temperature, which can cause condensation of water inside the crankcase and oil can be diluted by gasoline. If you mostly use your car for occasional longer trips, it is acceptable to wait six months or more to change the oil.
- One thing you should absolutely consider when deciding when your oil needs to be changed is your car warranty. Many manufacturers specifically require warranty holder to change the oil based on time. If this is the case for you, it is worth it to change the oil according to the guidelines until the warranty expires. If your engine needs a warranty-covered repair in the future, your manufacturer might decline to cover it if you didn't follow their recommended timeline for oil changes. To avoid a headache, follow their recommendations.
- Another reason why the manufacturer's recommendations are worth considering is that the automaker has done extensive testing on your vehicle's engine to define the recommendation. Their recommendations are based on lab and real-world driving to determine how it performs under many conditions. Through that testing, they have developed a set of guidelines for maintenance and the frequency of oil changes.
Sooner or later, it happens to the best of us, we get a flat tire. Most of us have a roadside assistance membership of some kind but it is always good to know how to do this.
Follow these simple steps to fix the problem and be on your way in no time!
- Find a safe spot to pull over. If you're on the highway, getting off is the safest bet, even if you have to drive on a blown tire. Otherwise, pull as far onto the shoulder as possible.
- Don't park in the middle of a curve, where approaching cars can't see you.
- Choose a flat spot, jacking up your car on a hill can be a disaster.
- If you have a manual transmission, leave your car in gear.
- Be sure to set your parking brake!
- Turn on your hazard lights.
- Get the jack, wrench, and spare tire from the trunk of the car and bring them over to the tire that is flat. Use other tools or supplies if needed.
Loosen the Lug Nuts:
- Use the wrench to loosen the lug nuts.
- You may need to remove the hubcap. Don't remove the lug nuts at this point; simply loosen them by turning the wrench to the left (counter-clockwise).
- If the lug nuts are really tight, try placing the wrench on the nut and standing on the wrench arm to use your full weight on it.
- You can also try hitting the wrench arm with a rock.
Attach the Spare Tire:
- Place the spare on the car.
- Line up the lug nut posts with the holes in the spare, and push the spare all the way onto the wheelbase until it can't go any farther.
- Put on the lug nuts.
- Don't put them on tightly, just make sure they're on enough for the spare to stay on the car for a moment.
- Lower the car back to the ground.
- Use the jack to bring the car back down to ground level.
- Remove the jack from underneath the car.
On the Ground:
- Make sure the lug nuts are tightened.
- With the car back on the ground, you can now tighten the lug nuts.
- Rather than tightening them one by one in order, start with one lug nut, tighten it about 50%, move to the opposite nut (across the circle) and tighten that one about the same amount.
- Keep tightening opposite lug nuts gradually in turn until each lug nut is as tight as it can be.
- Put your flat tire and tools back in your trunk.
- Make sure you don't leave anything on the side of the road.
The process of syncing your car's Bluetooth with your iPhone varies depending on the vehicle you drive. However, on the phone it is generally the same.
How To Sync Bluetooth With iPhone:
- Go to the home screen
- Choose settings
If your phone is currently synced to a different system, tap on the system it is connected to in order to disconnect from it, and then choose the system that you want it to be synced to. In order to find out what you need to do specifically to your vehicle you may want to visit the manufacturer's website, or there are many forums that you can find online.
If you find you require some assistance with syncing your bluetooth with your iPhone, you could always drop by our dealership and one of our helpful sales representatives or service technicians will be glad to help.
Replacing your windshield wipers is a quick, relatively easy task. You can find wipers at most automotive retail stores. If you are unsure of what kind to use, see your owner's manual or ask a representative at AutoTrust USA.
How to Remove Old Wiper Blades
- To start, the old wipers must be removed. To do this, pull the entire wiper away from the windshield and it should hold itself up. (The arm is made of metal. Be sure not to scratch the glass of the windshield!)
- Use one hand to hold the arm, and the other to depress the small tab located on the underside of the wiper where it meets the metal arm.
- Slide it off by pulling from the center toward the bottom of the arm.
- Once removed, gently place the arm against the windshield. In order to prevent any damage, make sure that it does not snap itself back.
How to Put on New Wiper Blades
- First, line the two pieces up to ensure that it simply clicks on.
- Look at the side of the wiper that attaches to the arm. You will see that it is flat and has a curve across the top. Rotate this clip until the curve is pointing towards the wiper blade.
- Hold the wiper upside down next to the arm where they match up and put the arm in between the sides of the wiper.
- Make sure that the open end of the curve is facing the clip, and pull the wiper upward so that the rounded edge slides into the hook. Pull it on tightly to click it into place.
Repeat the process on the other side and you're done!
No car batteries last forever. Things to take note of: are your headlights dimming, how old is your battery, has your car needed a jump-start; then maybe it's time for a new battery. You should bring your car to an experienced and trusted mechanic but if you have to do it yourself here are some rules. Changing a battery is a quick and easy job in most cars and vans and can be done with minimal tools. The most important thing before you begin is to make sure the battery needs to be replaced.
- Look for build-up in the form of a whitish or blue residue around the terminal - removing this can sometimes solve issues. Note: do not touch this powder it can often contain dried sulfuric acid, which will corrode your skin.
- Verify that the battery has been given the chance to recharge by driving constantly for 30 minutes (with minimal electrical usage, including not running the air conditioner).
- Check the alternator. Some cars also have a battery meter, with the engine running, the alternator usually maintains a charge close to 13.8-14.2 volts in a properly functioning charging system. The battery should have 12.4-12.8 volts with the engine off, and with no accessory load.
After all of this, should you actually need a new battery, be sure to buy the correct replacement battery. When you purchase a battery from any authorized retailer, you will have to pay a "core" charge. In most instances, when you bring in your old battery at the time of purchase, you will not get charged this fee. Although, some retailers will refund you the core charge if you bring in your receipt within a specified amount of time.
Before Removing the Battery:
- Set up a secure working environment. Park on a flat, level surface at a safe distance from traffic sparks or open flames. Put on the parking brake. Put on gloves and safety goggles.
- Remove the cigarette lighter and plug the memory keeper into socket. If you don't have a memory keeper make sure you have all the PINs for your electronic equipment before you start. You may wish to check your car manual to see what devices may be affected.
Removing the Old Battery and Installing the New One:
- Locate the battery - The battery should be located in an accessible part on either side of the car's frame. The battery is a rectangular box with two cables attached to it. In some European cars the battery is under the matting in the trunk, or inside the fender of the wheel well.
- Identify battery terminals - Locate the positive and the negative terminals. The positive terminal will have a plus sign and the negative terminal will have a minus sign.
- Disconnect the negative terminal - Loosen the negative clamp with a wrench and slide it off of the terminal. It is important that you disconnect the negative terminal socket before the positive terminal socket. Otherwise, you may short circuit the positive terminal to a grounded part of the car.
- Disconnect the positive terminal.
- Remove the car battery and put in the new battery.
- Reconnect the positive and negative terminal.
- Tighten the clamps using a wrench.
- Close the hood - Shut the hood of your car firmly and start your car.
- Check that all the electronic devices are working properly.
Remember to properly dispose of the old battery. If you are uncomfortable replacing the battery yourself or you are experiencing any other issue with your vehicle,please contact our service department for a fast and cost efficient solution.
Octane gas is available in several different grades, with each number representing the resistance to burn the fuel has; the higher the rating, the slower the burn. The most common form of octane gas is 87octane. Generally speaking, octane gas increases the cost of fuel, and the higher the grade you purchase the more money you will spend. You can determine what type is needed for your vehicle by... Looking at the owners manual. Checking the manufacturer's website. Most find higher-level octane gas to be desirable because they feel that it keeps their car engines running smoother and because they feel it is a cleaner fuel. The truth though is that although it may be cleaner, most engines will notice minimal difference with the higher gas grade.
If you have questions or concerns about your vehicle, please contact our service department to get answers and fast, cost efficient solutions.
Gasoline prices continue to rise and fall. There are many ways that new or used car owners can improve overall fuel economy by as much as 20%. The first thing that effects fuel economy is how you drive the car.
- Plan your trips - Try to accomplish multiple things in 1 trip. You can also try to car pool or walk to your destination. This won't decrease fuel consumption but will help you drive less, which means less gas.
- Do Not Speed - If you are on the highway driving 60mph instead of 70mph will save you 2-4 miles per gallon over the duration of your trip. Try using your cruise control it reduces fuel consumption by maintaining a constant speed.
- Throttle Less - Accelerate and brake with ease. You will save on fuel as well as wear and tear on your brakes.
- Don't warm up - Thanks to new technology most modern cars only really need 30 seconds to get warm.
- Windows up - Having the windows down on the highway can decrease fuel economy by up to 10 percent.
The other major thing that effects fuel economy is the maintenance of your car.
- Oil - Use only manufacturer's specified motor oil, and change it per factory recommendations, can improve fuel economy as well.
- Weight - The less weight in your vehicle the better fuel economy. An extra 100 pounds increases fuel consumption by 1 to 2 percent.
- Tires - Make sure your tires are set to recommended pressure at all times this can increases fuel economy by as much as 3.3 percent.
- Filters - A clean air filter and fuel filter will allow the air and fuel to flow unencumbered and can help you save up to 10 percent on fuel costs.
- Sensors - The oxygen sensors, engine emissions system and evaporative emissions control systems if damaged can all decrease fuel mileage by 20 percent or more.
- Gas - The owner's manual will list the correct octane gasoline you should use for your car. Purchase recommended grade of fuel, premium-grade fuel won't improve economy in cars designed for regular.
Checking the coolant level in your car is a fairly simple process. The first thing to remember is to check the coolant level when the car is cold. In most cars today, there is an opaque coolant overflow tank located next to the radiator. The opaque tank is made of white plastic, which allows you to see the inside and be sure that the coolant is at a safe level. You will also find that there are markings on the side to tell you how high or low the level is.
- You should be checking your coolant level a few times per year to make sure that there are no leaks in your system.
- If you find that you are low on coolant you will need to top it off. Engines take a 50/50 mixture of coolant and water, which allows your radiator the optimum boiling or freeze protection that your engine needs. You can generally purchase this pre-mixed.
- To add the coolant, just unscrew the cap of the opaque overflow reservoir and add the mixture until it reaches the full mark.
- Filters - A clean air filter and fuel filter will allow the air and fuel to flow unencumbered and can help you save up to 10 percent on fuel costs.
- After that, all you need to do is replace the cap, make sure that it is on tight, and you're ready to roll!
- Be sure to change your coolant every couple of years (following the manufacturer's recommendations).
Please keep in mind that most coolants are toxic, and can be fatal to those who come in contact with it.
- If you spill any on the ground you should make sure that you wipe it up.
- Do not leave the container lying around!
- Follow the recommendations on the container to dispose of it properly.
- If you find that you are consistently filling your coolant and levels continue to be low, this may mean that you have a leak. This may be a minor fix (such as replacing the radiator hose) or it could be more serious.
If you think there may be a leak in your cooling system or if you feel it is time to change your coolant, please feel free to schedule an appointment. Our service professionals will check to see if a little preventative maintenance can save you from having any major issues down the road.
Checking the transmission fluid in your car is a relatively simple procedure and should be done about once per month. To get the most accurate reading you should check the transmission with the engine running and properly warmed up, on a level service.
- First, remove the dipstick from under the hood (if you are unsure as to where it is located, check your owner's manual).
- The handle is usually a bright color (generally yellow or red).
- Remove the stick, wipe it clean, replace, and then remove it again.
- There are labels for "Warm" and "Cold"- check the warm readings.
- If it is not full, slowly fill the fluid up a little at a time, and continue to measure with the dipstick.
- To fill the fluid you should use a funnel and pour it into the hole where you pulled the dipstick. After filling, replace the dipstick, and after a few moments remove to confirm that it has been done correctly.
When checking your transmission fluid be sure to check it's color. Transmission fluid is a pinkish/red color. If your fluid is brown that is a sign that there may be something wrong with the car. If this is the case, schedule an appointment, where our experienced technicians are more than happy to help!
There are several reasons that may explain why your air conditioning system is blowing warm instead of cool air.
- The first possibility is that there is a refrigerant leak. The leak may be found in the evaporator, condenser or hose in which case you should bring your car to a mechanic to be repaired.
- Another reason that your air conditioner may not be blowing cool air is because the compressor has gone bad. The compressor pressurizes the refrigerant and pumps it throughout the AC's necessary components. Because everything revolves around the compressor, if it is faulty then the air conditioning will not work correctly. Usually there will be a loud noise when you attempt to turn on your air conditioner if the compressor is broken.
- Finally, another problem that may be occurring with your air conditioning system is that there is a clogged orifice tube. This is located between the condenser in the front of the radiator, and the evaporator in the passenger compartment. If there is an obstruction in the tube then it will stop the refrigerant from reaching the evaporator, causing your system to blow warm air.
Whatever the reason that your air conditioner is not working we are more than happy to assist you! Bring your car to our service center today and our experienced technicians will assist you in diagnosing and fixing any problem.
One thing to keep in mind is that rough idling is not the problem - it is a symptom to an engine issue that has yet to be diagnosed. Your engine could be idling roughly due to a number of different reasons. One reason for a rough idle is it could be time to clean out the fuel injectors or it could be time to change out the spark plugs. Other reasons for the rough idling include:
- Exhaust problems.
- Holes in the air intake valve.
- A general loss of power in the car.
- It may also occur in the winter months when cars have a more difficult time starting and may shake when the engine is turned over.
In order to prevent this problem from happening, you want to regularly schedule tune-ups for your vehicle. During a tune-up the mechanic reviews a number of areas within the engine to make sure that everything is working properly. If your vehicle has already begun to experience this issue it is recommended that you run a diagnostic check to pin point the exact cause of the rough idle. It is recommended that you bring your car to a trusted mechanic to review and diagnosis the problem. You can also go to an auto parts store and use a code reading device that they have available and proceed from there with repairs. A rough idle should be addressed right away; as the longer this symptom occurs the more damage could be done to your vehicle, which will ultimately be more expensive to repair.
The brakes are one of the most important parts of your vehicle and they go a long way to keep you safe behind the wheel. However, it's often hard to determine whether the noises we hear our brakes making are the result of something simple, like air in the brake line, or if they are a warning sign of imminent brake failure. Remember, when your service technician recommends any brake repair, it should be completed as soon as possible to avoid danger. Whether you need a simple brake inspection, brake replacement, brake pad replacement or work on the brake discs, brake pads or rotors, we can help. Our technicians are trained to work on specific makes and models, and our prices are often lower than you can find at an independent garage. For a better idea of what could be causing your brake trouble, read on for answers to common brake questions.
Why are my brakes pulsing?
- If you experience a pulsing or jerking from the brake, it is far more likely that it was caused by a defect in the brake rotor or drum than from the anti-lock system. A warped rotor or out-of-round drum can cause pronounced pulsating in the brake pedal.
- The failure of the pad to retract is not uncommon. In older drum systems, the brake shoes are pulled back from the drum by strong springs. But in a disk brake system, the pads are pulled back from the rotor (or disc) by the resiliency of rubber seals. As these seals age or are damaged by contaminated brake fluid, they can fail to do their job. The result is that the pad will ride against the rotor and wear out prematurely.
- If your rotor is warped, it can cause the pad to wear out even without a failure of the rubber seal. A warped rotor will wobble as it rotates, thereby scraping the pad as it turns. Eventually the pad wears out and the metal backing plate will damage the metal rotor.
Why is the brake pedal sinking to the floor?
- This loud metallic sound means that you have worn down the pads completely. 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 brakes and rotors need to be "turned" (a process that evens out the rotor surface), or even replaced.
Why are my brakes vibrating?
- 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.
- It is a sign of warped rotors if the vibration occurs during braking situations when the anti-lock brakes are not engaged. Warped rotors are caused by severe braking for long periods, such as when driving down a steep mountain or when towing. Tremendous amounts of friction are created under these conditions, heating up the rotors and causing them to warp. The vibration is felt because the brake pads are not able to grab the surface evenly. If you drive in these conditions, make sure to stop periodically to allow your brakes to cool off.
How much does a brake job cost?
- The cost of repairing your brakes depends largely on what is wrong with your brakes, and which garage you choose to have them repaired at. There are often costs associated with the initial inspection of your brakes, repairing the damaged brake system, and replacing brake parts. If your entire brake system needs to be replaced, this is commonly a more expensive procedure. It is a common myth that a dealership service department is more expensive than a private garage. However, at our service center we offer affordable and professional service performed by factory trained technicians. Contact us today to get started on your brake repair. For many owners, brake repair and a brake change is something that is often overlooked. But keeping your brakes properly calibrated and in good working order can prevent costly repairs down the line, and, more importantly, help you avoid a collision.
A warranty is a statement made by either the seller or the manufacturer of a product or service promising that it will perform in a specified manner for a specific period of time. When shopping for a vehicle you often hear the term "powertrain warranty". A powertrain warranty is generally a promise to repair or fix an issue with the parts of the powertrain should a malfunction arise based on the agreement signed by the buyer. The powertrain of a car consists of multiple components, such as:
- Any of the internal workings of the engine
Simply put, the powertrain provides power to the car:
- Power is created by the engine and then transmitted to the driveshaft through the transmission.
- The sensors that are generally included in a powertrain warranty provide input and output to and from the powertrain control module (PCM).
- Some sensors send the computer information, which transcribes the information and sends it to output sensors.
They all work together to make the car run cleanly, smoothly and efficiently. The powertrain warranty is often used as a marketing tool. If a mechanical problem arises within the powertrain and it is covered under the terms of the warranty, either the manufacturer or dealership will have to pay for the repairs to the powertrain. What is covered under the warranty, however, varies greatly between vehicles, manufactures and dealerships. When looking to purchase a vehicle you should review this carefully and be sure to understand all of the terms and conditions within the warranty.
An extended warranty is like an insurance policy on your car, it is a safeguard against unforeseen repairs. An extended warranty may be purchased at the time you buy your vehicle; it's also possible to purchase one later. If you're the type who likes to be prepared for all possibilities, an extended auto warranty may be just what you're looking for. With the ever-increasing cost of vehicle repairs, these can make a lot of sense.
In deciding whether an extended warranty is right for you, and in selecting the best plan, you'll need to consider some things:
- To what extent is the car already under warranty and do you plan to keep the car past this period.
- How reliable is the vehicle make and model? Do your research.
- Is the extended warranty from the factory, the dealer or a third party provider? While these aftermarket warranties are cheaper they can be known for shady or dishonest practices.
- There are differences in deductible - you can pay per visit or per repair. Be sure you understand the difference before you buy.
- Some extended warranties are transferable should you decide to sell the car before the end of the warranty. Find out the details.
- What exactly is covered? Does it cover breakdown as well as wear and tear? Under a "breakdown" warranty, coverage is extended only to parts that break. Additionally, some "entry level" contracts don't cover ABS brakes, so if your vehicle has this feature, you should consider upgrading to this level. And overheating - regardless of its cause - isn't covered in many warranties. Thus, if overheating occurred due to problems with an expensive part such as your radiator, you'd be stuck with a hefty repair bill. Before committing to a warranty, take the time to fully explore the ins and outs of its coverage implications. The distinctions between the various plans might seem slight, but they can prove quite important.
We may be able to provide you with an extended warranty that meets all of your needs. Please contact us and one of our friendly sales representatives will be happy to answer all of your questions.