Posted on 31, January, 2015

     I often have friends ask me where a good place would be to take their vehicles. After years of owning an independent repair shop and consulting, I can definitely say that there are indicators that you've found a good place. Honesty is key of course but it's not nearly as much of an issue as some would think. There are many honest auto shops out there that still don't do their customers any favors. Here are 5 steps to help you choose a place to have your vehicle serviced should you have the need.

    1. REPUTATION: The information revolution has made this task easier. Google and Yelp are currently the top online sites for reviewing automotive service shops. The number of reviews is important as any business can get 5-10 friends to review them. The more reviews there are, the more likely that rating is true. Everyone can have a bad review but how bad reviews are responded to is an excellent indicator of how a shop handles it's business. Recommendations from people you know that drive the same type of car are also great if you can find them.

    2. EXPERIENCE: It's hard to be good at everything, right? Doctors specialize in certain areas because there's a lot to know! It's the same with cars. Although it can be harder, finding a shop that knows YOUR type of car well can make the difference between your car lasting 100,000 miles or 200,000 miles before being retired. In a situation without an independent shop available, a dealership can sometimes provide that level of experience although many people have reported other issues with dealership service. Like independents, it's a case by case basis.

    3. TRAINING: The automotive service field is rapidly changing. Some shops are staying on top and others are not. At Dubwerx, our entire staff is attending the Vision 2015 Expo and Training to stay up to date on recent advancements and just to hone our skills. If a shop's staff does not take the time to stay up to date on ASE and manufacturer certifications and training, they may be lacking in the skills needed to diagnose and repair your vehicle effectively. This will cost you more money! Ask what training and certifications they have, especially the technician who will be working on your vehicle.

    4. INSPECTIONS: This is a BIG one and probably the area most shops seem to lack in. Although we cannot always predict every repair a car will need, shops must be diligent in informing their customers of the need to have their car inspected fully once, preferably twice a year. We recommend a 5,000 mile service that includes oil service, tire rotation, and full inspection. A full inspection saves you money by catching problems before they get more expensive and also lets the customer plan better by knowing more of the complete picture of what the car needs. A common complaint we hear is that a customer has spent money only to find out later that they had to spend a lot more. So many shops are just not recommending or properly inspecting the cars in their shops. Also make sure to ask if the shop will estimate the manufacturers recommended maintenance. I have a friend who has owned her car since new. Her transmission fluid should have been changed every 30,000 miles but the dealership she took it to never did it! Now at 100,000 miles, it's too late to do it and the life of her transmission is significantly shortened. Preventative maintenance and inspections cannot be stressed enough to reduce costs!

    5. COMMUNICATION: This should not be a surprise but I still hear stories of "They put a part on that didn't fix the problem," or "It cost more than I was told." One difficult reality of auto repair is that there can "grey" areas. A real test of a shop is how well they handle these situations and how they inform the customer of risk. You will likely have to try a new shop out for a repair in order to fully vet whether their communication is up to snuff. The service advisor should sound confident, be able to answer all of your questions, be friendly, properly prepare you for all outcomes, and let you know cost and timeframe before any work is begun. When you pick up your car, the work should again be reviewed, and great shops will follow up with you after your service just to make sure all of your needs were met.

    Ultimately, your vehicle and all of it's service is your responsibility. Most people will not want to spend the time scouring the internet to determine the best services for their vehicle. Whether you drive an Audi, Volkswagen, or other make of vehicle, choosing the right shop can make a huge difference in getting the correct recommendations. This can take some of this responsibility off of your shoulders and save you lots of money when you end up owning one car over a 10+ year period instead of two or three cars. Best of luck choosing a great auto shop!


    Ryan Clo

    Owner, Dubwerx

  • Three Ways To Winterize Your Car

    Posted on 30, October, 2014

    Three Ways To Winterize Your Car

    Three Ways To Winterize Your Car

    There are approximately 87,032 auto maintenance services and auto mechanics in the U.S., and they all generally agree on one thing: winterizing cars is absolutely critical, whether you own an Audi, Volkswagen, or any other vehicle. And winter is just around the corner, even if some (or most) of us don’t want to admit it. Make sure to watch out for these things and make adjustments as necessary in the next few weeks, before winter truly arrives.

    Check Your Anti-Freeze And Coolant VW repair shops suggest that owners bring in their cars for new anti-freeze at least once a year; this is a good rule of thumb for all cars and trucks. Similarly, car owners should carefully check on — or ask car repair shops — to check on their coolant levels before snow and ice become major problems. “Coolant with ethylene glycol protects your engine from corrosion. Your car’s owner’s manual or your mechanic will tell you the correct coolant-to-water ratio for your car,” The Herald News explains.

    If You Expect Snow, You Need Winter Tires There are a few options here. If you live in an area with particularly nasty winters, consider purchasing all-season tires. Just like the name suggests, these tires should last year-round, even though it is — as always — wise to get them checked for pressure and traction prior to the first major snowfall. Keep in mind that all auto services and auto maintenance services are not necessarily created equal. Audi and/or Volkswagen vehicles generally require authentic OEM parts to keep cars running at their best.

    Create A Winter Emergency Kit During winter, it is more important than ever to have the essentials. Stow an emergency kit in your truck or backseat. Make sure it’s filled with flashers, LED lights, a flashlight, hand warmers, a blanket, an extra phone charger, a few bottles of water, and even some snacks that could tide you over in a bind, like beef jerky.

    Winter is almost here — and it’s time to make certain that your car is ready for it. Check your coolant and antifreeze, swap out tires for winter tires, and gather all necessary materials for a winter emergency kit.

  • Auto Mechanic Saves Choking Baby, Thanks To Mobile Application

    Posted on 30, October, 2014

    Auto Mechanic Saves Choking Baby, Thanks To Mobile Application

    Three Ways To Winterize Your Car

    Auto mechanics can literally save lives — and in more ways than you might think. According to a September 3 Fox News report, an auto mechanic came to the rescue after a baby stopped breathing in Spokane, Washington. A mobile application, used to alert people in the local area about emergencies, notified Jeff Olson about the choking baby. Olson, also a volunteer EMT, performed CPR on the baby and saved her life, all before emergency services arrived

    Whether you own an Audi or a Volkswagen, auto technicians often save lives in a much more blatant way — fixing problems that may otherwise threaten your safety and the safety of your passengers. What are some of the most dangerous car problems that your mechanic can fix?

    The Word “Overheating” Is Never Good You never want to hear the word “overheating” coming out of any of the 701,100 American auto mechanics’ mouths — and you especially don’t want to hear it in connection with your engine. Hopefully it’s fairly obvious, but it’s dangerous to drive with an overheated engine, and, if you continue to let the problem go, it can lead to even bigger problems. There is at least some good news. Auto maintenance services or technicians will be able to fix the problem for you, and — if you catch it early on enough — it won’t set you back that much. Volkswagen repair services and other auto repair services recommend looking for tell-tale signs, like blistering paint, to keep car repair costs as low as possible.

    The Car Maintenance Mistake That Can Land You In Big Trouble Routine maintenance can save you a lot of trouble down the road. Not only will it help lower pollution and save you money on gas, it will also prevent one of the very worst car troubles: a dead engine. That oil change may not necessarily be on your list of top priorities, but putting it off again and again (and again) can actually leave you with an engine that no longer works. How does it happen? “The expensive moving parts of your engine scrape [against] each other into a heated glob of useless scrap metal,” explains. There are approximately 87,032 car repair shops in the U.S. Don’t let car repair costs get out of hand — or wind up with a dead engine — because you aren’t paying attention, or you neglected maintenance for weeks or months on end.

  • Snakes, Goo, and Mysterious Barns: The Strangest Reasons For Car Repairs

    Posted on 30, October, 2014

    Snakes, Goo, and Mysterious Barns: The Strangest Reasons For Car Repairs

    Three Ways To Winterize Your Car

    There are approximately 701,100 American auto mechanics and car repair shops, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics. Mechanics have seen it all, and some of the reasons that U.S. men and women end up needing car repair services are pretty weird. What are some of the strangest reasons Americans go to the mechanic?

    You Won’t Believe What This Woman Found Under The Hood Of Her Truck Iowa man Jackson Ault pulled over to help a woman find the source of her car trouble. “Ault and the driver both ended up with a surprise July 10 when Ault popped the hood and found a brown and yellow python slithering across the engine block,” The Des Moines Register reports. While slithering around her engine, the snake disengaged an electrical wire, ultimately causing the woman’s car troubles.

    What’s Inside This Mysterious, Locked Barn? A retired man bought property that included a disused barn. What did he find inside? “Inside were scores of vintage cars, including Aston Martins, Mercedes and various Lotus models. They are dusty but many remain road-worthy,” The U.K. Mirror writes. “The total value of the lot runs to several million pounds.” (One million pounds roughly works out to $1.7 million dollars!) Whether the man will seek foreign car repair or Volkswagen services still remains to be seen.

    Why Would This Man Slather His Car In Goo? “A Lithuanian man refurbishes scrap cars with expandable foam and cardboard stencils,” Distractify writes. Why would he do this? The man is able to completely transform the cars and make even the most modest models ultimately look like something straight out of an action film.

    Making semi-regular visits to car repair shops will help you decrease pollution and increase your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. That is far from the only reason the U.S. auto repair industry brings in $58 billion per year, however. Sometimes, drivers make rare finds, like hundreds of vintage cars in an old barn or even a large snake under the hood.

  • How to Repair Your Foreign Car

    Posted on 30, October, 2014

    How to Repair Your Foreign Car

    How to Repair

    There are a number of benefits to owning a foreign-made car, such as a Volkswagen vehicle or an Audi automobile: in the early 1980’s, for example, Audi A8 automobiles were the first car model to come out with dual clutch transmissions. But regardless of the benefits your foreign car may offer, maintaining or repairing your Audi automobile or Volkswagen vehicle is often not a service offered by your local car repair shop. But before you begin perusing car repair manuals and attempt your Audi automobile repair alone, read these foreign auto maintenance tips to keep your import automobile in the best possible condition. The first thing to remember when it comes to performing import auto maintenance is that cars such as Audi vehicles and Volkswagen automobiles have custom parts and maintenance requirements due to the way they were designed and manufactured. For instance, the anti-freeze in your Audi automobile or Volkswagen vehicle should be changed every year, at minimum, to avoid performance issues. Likewise, the oil in a Volkswagen vehicle should be changed at least every 3,000 miles to avoid damaging the engine and causing other problems. Finally, if you need to install replacement parts, it is important to remember that Audi automobiles and Volkswagen vehicles can only use EOM parts; generic or white box parts should not be used to fix an import automobile. The second thing to remember if you need foreign car repair or maintenance services is that most car repair shops are not prepared or experienced enough to fix an import automobile. While the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are 701,100 automobile mechanics in the United States working at a combined 87,032 auto repair businesses, only a few are equipped to perform Volkswagen vehicle or Audi automobile maintenance and repairs. Fortunately, several auto repair technicians specialize in repairing Audi automobiles and Volkswagen vehicles due to the custom parts both automobiles use. So don’t waste your time reading through foreign car repair manuals; instead, work with foreign auto maintenance services to keep your import automobile in the best possible condition.