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Paul’s Specializes in Hybrids Too!

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If you drive a hybrid, you likely relish how your vehicle rarely needs gas, needs relatively little maintenance, and reduces the pollution in your neighborhood. These are indeed all things to be proud of! Paul’s Automotive recognizes how hybrids are a special kind of vehicle, so we provide your hybrid with a special kind of service!

First, it is true that compared to a conventional vehicle, your hybrid does not need as much maintenance. For example, due to a hybrid’s regenerative braking system, brakes and brake pads last longer. This does NOT mean hybrids require NO maintenance. Your beloved hybrid needs some TLC in return in order to give you that high mileage performance and long life that you love about your hybrid. Here are some items that need special attention:

  • Antifreeze/Coolant: Changing out your hybrid’s coolant/antifreeze is especially important because antifreeze can break down. With all the electronics on the vehicle, the antifreeze can become an electrical current and cause corrosion and hydrolysis on engine components.
  • Transmission fluid check: Hybrids do not allow you to flush out the transmission fluid, and there is no filter. We can only do a drain and fill, meaning there is still about 60% of old transmission fluid still running through the system. To keep your transmission working well, your transmission fluid should be drained and filled with clean fluid every 30,000 miles.
  • Modules and hybrid battery: Hybrids have a lot of advanced computer technology going on. It is important to scan the system when you service your car to make sure everything is running as it should and there are no trouble codes or red flags in the electronic or battery system.
  • Tires: Keep an eye on your tire pressure. Because the hybrid battery is so heavy, tires often deflate more quickly than a gasoline vehicle. It can also mean uneven wear and tear on your tires, so it is a good idea to rotate your tires when you have an oil change.
  • Fuel system cleaning: Poor fuel efficiency, loss of power, and slow response time may mean it’s time for a fuel system cleaning. At Paul’s, we stock BG Product’s Hybrid Performance Kit as part of this fuel system cleaning. The process keeps variable valve timing composites free from debris, removes deposits from valves and combustion chambers, and improves spark plug life. All of which ensure's a high MPG, keeps your hybrid running better, longer, and reduces emissions even more.
  • Catalytic Converters: First the bad news—thefts are on the rise. This car part contains a precious metal called palladium and is sold as scrap for around $450. Buying and installing a new catalytic converter could cost around $2,500. The good news is there is something you can do.Protection cages surround the catalytic converter with a wire cable that is very difficult to cut, even with power tools. Large, round metal bars can also be welded to the catalytic converter to prevent thefts. If you are interested in learning more, please talk to us.

And of course, whether you have gas, hybrid, electric, or anything in between, you will eventually need
new wiper blades, headlights, struts, shocks, cabin air filters, and other basic mechanic components that
make for a smooth, safe, and comfortable ride.

When you come to Paul’s we will do a Hybrid Vehicle Performance Check on your vehicle to make sure everything is running as it should be. We also offer a Hybrid Performance Service, which includes inspecting and addressing many of the critical components listed above and will help you get even better gas mileage! Let Paul’s be your shop for all your hybrid’s needs!

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Winter is coming!

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Winter Primer for your Vehicle

It is chilly out there! Rain is falling in the Valley; snow up in the Sierras. At Paul’s, we see a spike in certain jobs when the temperature drops, namely dead batteries and concerns about vehicle safety on the wet roads. Here are some items I recommend checking out or finally getting replaced during the winter:

1.) Batteries: Cold weather is hard on your car battery. A car battery can lose 30 to 50 percent of its power when the temperature drops below the freezing point and more than half its power when the temperature drops below zero.

When it is cold, engines are harder to turn over because the oil inside them has thickened, which demands more current from a battery. Also, the chemical reactions that generate electricity are slower at lower temperatures.

There are two easy things you can do to check if your battery may be on its way out:

  • Visually inspect your battery for corrosion, cracks, or other damage. These batteries need to be more thoroughly checked and/or replaced immediately.
  • Test your battery if it is three years old or older. Our techs can measure the amps and voltage, giving you the peace of mind knowing that your battery is still good, should be replaced soon, or if you need a new one.

At Paul’s, we proudly use AC Delco batteries, which are known for their excellent performance, long life, and a 30-month free replacement warranty.

2.) Struts: Symptoms of worn struts include bottoming out, excessive bouncing, rocking back and forth, drifting or nose-diving while braking, swaying, and cupping wear on the tires.

This may be an inconvenience or make for an uncomfortable ride during the dry months, but with the wet, slick roads of winter, these issues become a safety concern. They can cause your car to spin out, not come to a hard brake as quickly, and reduce the traction of your tires.

3.) Tires: Even if you do not plan on visiting the snow, wet and flooded roads can be a safety concern if your tires’ tread is worn. A worn tire has very little traction, meaning it does not grip the road as well when you brake. This can be especially dangerous on a wet road. As mentioned above, bad struts cause tires to be worn unevenly, causing your tires to become worn out more quickly, costing you more.

Tire inflation is another important consideration. Air contracts when it gets colder, which may make your tires look flatter. Tire inflation levels are measured in pounds per square inch (psi). Air pressure can potentially drop 1 psi for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit temperature drop. Improper tire inflation can hurt gas mileage and cause incorrect wear and tear on your tires, thus shortening the life of your tires. In addition, if your car has a tire pressure monitoring system, it can affect the anti-lock braking system on your vehicle.

At Paul’s we check and adjust your tire pressure for free!

I hope this blog taught you something new about your car. We are here for you to make you feel safer and more comfortable in your vehicle over the winter! And Happy Holidays!

Is an Oil Change REALLY “Just” an Oil Change?

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We have it engrained in our brains and entrenched in our habits that regular oil changes are the one piece of automotive maintenance that is important and that it should be really, really cheap. A whole industry has even sprouted over providing The All-Important Oil Change; think Jiffy Lube®, Speedee Oil Change™, etc. We see signs everywhere offering “$30 oil change!” “Oil Changes: Only $19.99!”

That’s great, I am a proponent of maintenance! However, an oil change is not just an oil change. It is not just a matter of screw off filter, drain oil, install new filter, add new oil, and wam bam, 20 minutes you’re out the door. Well, it might be like that at some other shops…

At Paul’s we know that an oil change is as important as getting your brakes fixed or your coolant flushed, and we give it the same level of expertise and attention to detail.

We use the regular oil change as the perfect opportunity to check the safety of your vehicle. So, when you come to Paul’s for your oil change, or as we like to call it our “5,000 Mile Service,” know that you are not just getting an oil change. You are getting a complete mileage service by a skilled and trained technician with years of experience, high quality Castrol oil, a tire rotation, brake inspection, and a complete safety inspection.

And why does this make a difference?

I have seen many, many times customers go somewhere for a $19.99 oil change and end up in our shop a few days to a month later. Over the years we have found that, bargain oil change shops are not always looking out for the best interest of the vehicle or the customer. This is what may happen with a cheap oil change performed by an inexperienced technician:

  • Adding wrong oil and/or the wrong sized filter. This can create oil leaks, burning oil, reduced vehicle mileage, and engine damage. The oil filter is what keeps the oil clean and needs to be swapped out with every oil change. Installing the wrong size filter is also a common mistake. Just because it threads on, doesn’t mean it’s the right size. If it isn’t the right size, it might leak oil or not be able to filter oil properly as it cycles through; both of which put your engine at risk.
  • Adding not enough oil or too much oil. Too little oil messes with the hydraulic pressure and lubrication of the parts inside the vehicle. This can cause the internal components of the engine to experience too much friction, and potentially damage itself. Overfilling your oil can cause the engine oil to foam up inside and reduce the hydraulic pressure. It can even put extra pressure on the pressure-crank case system which causes the engine seals and gaskets to leak.
  • Adding low quality oil. This is one way bargain stores can charge so little for oil changes. Moving parts wear down over time at varying rates; low quality oil tends to increase the rate of degradation. High quality oil enables the lowest amount of degradation to the parts and thus extend their lives. This can make a big difference on critical components in a car, such as the engine and transmission, which will save money on repairs in the long run. High quality oil also leads to greater fuel efficiency, thus increasing the mileage of your car.
  • Overtightening the filter or drain nut. Overtightening the filter or drain nut can can tear the threads out of the oil pan which usually means replacing the oil pan at the cost of about $600.
  • Not tightening the filter enough. This leads to the oil filter leaking and the engine losing oil.
  • Not Changing Out the Oil Filter O-Ring. The O-ring needs to be changed along with the oil filter. When you buy an oil filter, it also comes with a new O-ring that goes on top of the filter to provide a seal. This O-ring wears-out and breaks relatively quickly, which is why it needs to be changed out with the filter cartridge regularly. If not replaced at the time of the oil change, the original O-ring will blow-out and break the seal upon starting the engine, then cause a leak/the engine to stall. 

So, know that a great deal is involved in an oil change and we have the expertise and quality oil to make sure you get the most out of this routine maintenance. Oil changes are like anything else: you get what you pay for; and at Paul’s Automotive, you get the best!

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April is for Cabin Air Filter Awareness!

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Dirty Cabin FilterClean Cabin filter

It is not an official designation, but we are proclaiming April as Cabin Air Filter Awareness Month! Spring has sprung and after a long, wet winter, temperatures are warming up and we are getting out and planning weekend trips. This means there are large doses of pollen in the air and you are probably starting to run your car’s A/C system. How does your car prevent all that pollen from circulating throughout the cabin? The cabin air filter! Not to mention, think of everything in the air that your car has experienced over the past few months: large amount ash and soot from the wildfires last year, dust, mold spores, and other pollutants and fine particles. The cabin air filter’s job is to keep the air inside of your car’s cabin clean so you can breathe clean air as you drive. This can be especially important if you suffer from allergies, asthma, or lung, heart, or respiratory ailments. The filters can also catch rodent droppings, leaves, and other unwanted debris.

Besides improving air quality, replacing the cabin air filter may prevent an expensive repair. When the air filter is dirty, the A/C will work harder, causing strain on the A/C system and the motor. It is good to replace the air filter every 6,000 to 10,000 miles. You will probably be on the lower end if you park outside and under trees that drop a large amount of pollen.

You may have heard the criticism that auto shops like to push cabin air filters to customers. Well, we can’t speak for other shops, but at Paul’s Automotive, if we recommend a new cabin air filter, we take a picture of the dirty one and send the photo to you, as part of our complimentary Safety Courtesy Check.

You wouldn’t go years without changing the air filter in your house. Why do that to your car? To find out the condition of your cabin air filter and to schedule an appointment, go to: https://paulsautomotiverepair.com/appointments or call us at 916-444-7216. Happy clean air breathing!

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A Review Of Our 2018 Accomplishments; and 2019 Goals!

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Happy 2019!

As we look at our goals for the upcoming year, I like to reflect on 2018; our accomplishments and improvements we made to provide our wonderful customers with the best automotive and customer service experience possible. 

2018 Accomplishments:

  • Brought two notable new staff on board in January: my twin baby boys! Benjamin, Director of Outreach and Community Relations, and Jacob, Quality Control Specialist. They started to walk by the end of 2018, so watch out, they are really on the move now!
  • We had some staff changes and some other staff who left us and came back, but overall ended the year with a staff of technicians and service writers who are extremely qualified and consider your car their number one priority.
  • Utilized new workflow software, so our service writers and technicians can work more efficiently and get the job done more quickly. It also allows us to reach out to customers more effectively through text message, increasing customer service and improve accessibility to staff and the shop.
  • Purchased new equipment and tools to expand the services we provide:
    • New scan tools for diagnostics to help identify and repair the hardest diagnostic issues cars can have.
    • Portable rack, so if all racks are taken, we always have a rack open in case someone needs a quick fix; and
    • More specialty tools for European, Japanese, and domestic vehicles so we can continue to work on all makes and models.
  • We did several things to increase our knowledge and community engagement including the following:
    • Attended two automotive shop owner conferences;
    • Brought on an intern from the local Met High School for the summer;
    • Met with representatives at the Automobile Museum to find ways to work together; and
    • Continued the annual tradition of providing candy to trick or treaters from the local preschool!

2019 Goals:

  • ​Overall building upgrades, including energy efficient LED lighting, a proper service counter, office, and customer waiting room;
  • Educational car clinics for our customers;
  • Increase our involvement in the community through participating in neighborhood associations and contributing to local causes.

Is there anything else that you’d like to see us doing? We always welcome feedback! We are looking forward to 2019! We hope it will be a great New Year for you, too!

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October Is Fall Car Care Month & (Finally) Welcoming Cooler Weather To Sacramento

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While we still may be reeling from those long stretches of 100 degree days, it’s time to think about the toll winter can take on your car and the last time your car had a maintenance service. With that in mind: Happy Fall Car Care Month!

With drought one year, and heavy rainfall the next, it’s hard to predict the fall and winter weather in Sacramento. A few things are certain though: there will be less daylight, it will be cold, and it will rain, all which mean you may be driving more and you’ll want your car safe and ready for winter weather.

Like the reasons described in our April 2017 blog, maintenance services are important in the winter as well. Performing regular maintenance services on your vehicle will:

  • Give you peace of mind and let you know what is still in good working order. We text you photos of what is good, what may need work down the road, and what should be fixed. Even if you don’t want to do major repairs with us, we want you to have the peace of mind knowing what is in good shape and what needs work. Your safety is our priority.
  • Prevent costly and lengthy repair work. Time, weather, how much you drive, and how you drive cause wear and tear on parts. It’s unavoidable. However, oftentimes, if caught early, you can avoid a big repair. For example, transmission fluid doesn’t get low like oil (unless there is a leak), but it gets cycled over and over through the transmission, picking up gunk and loose metal fragments along the way, which can wreak havoc on your transmission. Flushing old transmission fluid out and replacing it with fresh fluid prevents you from needing a costly transmission rebuild down the road.

In colder weather, there are few things that need special attention:

  • Check the coolant - even when it’s cold! The term “coolant” can be misleading. If you look at the bottle, you’ll notice it is actually: coolant/antifreeze. Coolant doesn’t simply control your engine from running hot, it regulates engine temperature during colder weather as well. Depending how long the same coolant has been circulating in your car, or if you have a small leak, old coolant needs to be flushed out and replaced. A coolant flush should be done every three years/30,000 miles to prevent rust building up inside engine components. It also helps the components of your cooling system last longer.
  • Check tire inflation. Air contracts when it gets colder, which may make your tires look flatter. Tire inflation levels are measured in pounds per square inch (psi). Air pressure can decrease up to 10 psi a month just through every day driving and may potentially drop 1 psi for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit temperature drop. Improper tire inflation can hurt gas mileage and cause incorrect wear and tear on your tires, thus shortening the life of your tires. At Paul’s we check and adjust your tire pressure for free!
  • Windshield wipers, of course. A big tell-tale sign of winter weather in Sacramento is dusting off those windshield wipers after they have gotten little to no use over the summer. The life of windshield wipers is six months to one year. This seemingly simple item is also one of the most important safety items when it is raining, so make sure they are working properly and not coming apart. Another handy item we can apply to your windshield is Aquapel. This product is a long-lasting rain repellant that causes rain to bead up and roll right off your windshield.

The specific maintenance items needed to get your car ready for winter is based on several factors. We will be happy to go over with you the history of your vehicle and what you would need. The Car Care Guide is a useful resource to learn more.

I hope this helped you think about the importance of maintaining your car and your wintertime car care needs. Happy Car Care Month!

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Dealership Alternative

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Have A NEW Car Warranty? You Can Still Count On Paul's!

Picture this: After extensive research, you finally pick out and buy that car you've had your eye on. Whether it's brand new, or simply new to you, your hope is that the vehicle is reliable for years to come.

Congratulations! The dealer offers you a sweet deal, a warranty of 3 years/30,000 miles, or something similar, for only a few thousand dollars. You say, “What a deal!” You drive around, basking in the glory of your new ride. After so many months, you realize it is time for a mileage service, oil change, tire rotation, or you hear an odd noise.

“Ugh,” you say. You bought that warranty package, and the idea of leaving work early, arranging rides for the kids, and schlepping all the way out to the dealer sounds like such a hassle.

“Oh, I miss the days of going to Paul’s Automotive, just down the street from my home and work! So convenient!” Not to mention, you liked supporting a local, family business and you knew and trusted the staff working on your car. You also remember how Paul’s uses the same, high-quality OEM parts, oils, and fluids that you would find at the dealership, for much less cost.

BUT WAIT! Did you know that having any kind of work done by us WILL NOT void your warranty??

According to the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, (United States Code [U.S.C.], Chapter 15, Sections 2301-2312) a vehicle manufacturer cannot void the warranty of your vehicle due to an aftermarket part unless they can prove that the aftermarket part was the cause of or contributed to the failure of the vehicle (15 U.S.C. Sec. 2302 (C)). This means that a vehicle's warranty cannot be "voided." The dealer can only deny a claim if the stock part failed due to damage or unreasonable use.

This site has a helpful summary of how the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act could affect you: https://www.autoanything.com/popups/MossWarranty.aspx.

Another option is to visit us first, before the dealer. We could do an inspection and possibly discover things that the dealership may not find, and then we will refer you to the dealer if it is something a warranty would cover.

So, don’t wait until your warranty expires.

SKIP THE DEALERSHIP. Let Paul’s Automotive be YOUR DEALERSHIP ALTERNATIVE!

The Urban Life

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Owning A Car In Midtown Sacramento - What You Need To Know

We love being in Midtown and have been here since the early 1980s. In fact, we feel that Paul’s Automotive is synonymous with Midtown, Sacramento. As a result, many of our customers live and/or work locally and drive very little. In fact, I used to be one of those people (before the babies and the necessity of car seats has required me to drive more). I lived, worked, shopped, went out, did everything within a two-mile radius. I barely drove my car; perhaps to Petco, since biking with a 45lb bag of cat litter was not feasible.

I thought, “I hardly ever drive! I don’t need to get anything done until I reach 5,000-miles for an oil change.” It would take me about three years to drive 5,000 miles! Since I started working with Mike at Paul’s Automotive, I’ve discovered that I was woefully misinformed. For you urban dwellers like me out there, who rarely drive, there are still critical things you need done to ensure your car is safe and will last for years. After all, you barely drive, you don’t want to have to buy a new car!!

There are various things that can happen to your car over time, especially if not driven often:

  • Oil and other fluids break down due condensation build up;
  • Tires lose air and pressure;
  • Tires develop flat spots, separate, and crack;
  • Windshield wipers crack;
  • Hoses and belts crack; and
  • Battery’s charge is affected (especially in winter)

If you’re a Midtowner, we don’t expect to see you in the shop several times a year for mileage services or for big repairs, simply because you are not putting thousands of miles on your car. However, we do hope to see you twice a year: at the beginning of the winter and at the beginning of summer. During these visits, we can make sure your car is ready for the season ahead.

After all, two visits a year to ensure the safety and longevity of your car and prevent even more costly repairs down the road is worth it!

Call us for more information on our new Midtowner Service!

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The Urban Life

ENJOY A COOL RIDE: A/C CHECK UP

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It’s not even officially summer and we’re already hitting 100 degree temperatures. It’s around this time the kids run in the sprinklers, we stock up on popsicles, and we start running our car’s air conditioning systems non-stop…and it’s also the same time we wonder: is my A/C system even working at its full potential? Will it keep me cool throughout the summer?

If it isn’t running as cold as you wish it was, your first thought may be to call us and say, “My A/C isn’t running so cold, it needs more Freon.”

“Not so fast!” we’d reply. There are several parts that work together to keep your A/C system running. There are hoses, fans, the compressor, and the condenser that are all parts of the system as well. In fact, we often find that a leaky hose or a malfunctioning fan is the culprit.

At Paul’s we offer an A/C Performance and Systems Service where we do several activities to check your vehicle’s A/C system and get it running in tip top shape. This service includes:

  • Removing any existing Freon, cleaning it, placing it back in your car, and topping it off;
  • Checking the hoses and other components for leaks. If we do suspect a leak, we add a dye that helps us pinpoint exactly where it is coming from. The dye also allows us to identify if there are multiple leaks;
  • Checking fan operation. We check both the blower fan and the cooling fan to make sure they are operating properly;
  • Checking cabin air filter condition;
  • Measuring overall system pressures and temperatures; and
  • Replacing any lubricants that may have been lost due to servicing your A/C system.

We want you, your children, friends, and your pets to have a cool, comfortable ride to and from all your fun summer events! Happy summer!

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PREPPING YOUR CAR FOR SUMMER AND NATIONAL CAR CARE MONTH

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Ahh, springtime in Sacramento: birds are chirping and flowers are blooming. Makes us all want to get outside or get away for the weekend…until you think: “It will be a hot, Sacramento summer soon and will my belts, hoses, and fluids withstand the heat?? (Hmm, have those parts ever been checked or replaced??)”

That’s where vehicle maintenance services come in, and that’s why there is National Car Care Month in April!!! You may be thinking, “What’s the point? Maintenance services are an extra expense. It’s how shops sell me things I don’t need.” Well, I don’t know what shop you go to, but at Paul’s Automotive, that is not true! Maintenance services serve multiple purposes:

  • Give you peace of mind and let you know what is still in good working order.We text you photos of what is good, what may need work down the road, and what should be fixed. Even if you don’t want to do major repairs with us, we want you to have the peace of mind knowing what is in good shape and what needs work. Your safety is our priority.
  • Prevent costly and lengthy repair work. Time, weather, how much you drive, and how you drive cause wear and tear on parts. It’s unavoidable. However, oftentimes, if caught early, you can avoid a big repair. For example, transmission fluid doesn’t get low like oil (unless there is a leak), but it gets cycled over and over through the transmission, picking up gunk and loose metal fragments along the way, which can wreak havoc on your transmission. Flushing old transmission fluid out and replacing it with fresh fluid prevents you from needing a costly transmission rebuild.
  • Reduce the harmful effects of summer weather. We all know how Sacramento gets HOT. This makes rubber hoses and belts prone to damage. Making sure these parts aren’t cracked or leaking can prevent your car from overheating, breaking down, or other major damage, such as cracked radiators or blown head gaskets.

To highlight some of the more common and most pressing summertime issues we see:

  • Proper tire inflation. If you recently inflated your tires and temperatures spike, that air expands. This can cause incorrect wear and tear and imbalances, which overall shorten the life of your tires. We check for proper tire inflation on every job we do, free of cost. (And don’t forget about that spare tire! When was the last time you’ve had that checked? Hmm.)
  • Keeping it cool.Engine coolant is essential to ensure your engine doesn’t overheat. If coolant isn’t replaced regularly, it can cause rust build up inside the engine and conduct electrical currents, which corrodes nuts and bolts, contaminating your engine cooling system. Low coolant harms your engine. Coolant is just one piece of the puzzle to keep your car cool. The hoses connected to the radiator help pump coolant to and from the engine. Belts run the water pump. If hoses crack or belts snap, the radiator will quickly overheat, leaving you stranded.
  • Road trip ready. A fuel system cleaning works wonders for improving gas mileage, reducing emissions, and increasing performance. This process includes cleaning out fuel injectors, upper intake, and valves. It also breaks up carbon deposits. It can help down the road to prevent damage to your catalytic converter and help you pass that Smog Check as well.

What we specifically would do for your car to get it summer-ready is based on several factors and is too detailed to go over here. The Car Care Guide is a great resource to learn more,

We hoped this helped you think about maintenance and your summertime car needs. Give us a call and we can discuss with you what your car needs. Happy spring and Car Care Month!

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