5 Things to Look for When Buying a Used Car: A Mechanic’s Guide

If you’re in the market for a used car, it’s important to be aware of the things that could go wrong. A used car can be a great way to save money, but only if you’re careful about what you buy. In this blog post, we will discuss five things that you should look for when buying a used car. Let’s get into it…

First… Check the Car’s Title

The first thing you should do when buying a used car is to make sure that the car has a clean title. This means that the car doesn’t have any outstanding loans or leases on it. You can usually find this information by doing a quick search online.

Next, Look for any obvious damage

If the car does have a clean title, the next thing you should do is inspect the car for any major damage. This includes things like dents, scratches, and rust. If you’re not sure how to do this, you can always take the car to a mechanic and have them give it a once-over.

Now, Run a history report

Once you’ve made sure that the car is in good condition, you should then take a look at the car’s history. This includes things like service records and accident reports. You can usually find this information online, or you can ask the seller for it.

Then, take a test drive

If everything looks good so far, the next thing you should do is test drive the car. This will give you a good idea of how the car handles and how it feels to drive.

Finally… Have a mechanic give it a look

If possible, you should also have the car inspected by a mechanic before you buy it. Your mechanic will be able to lift the car up and take a quick look at the engine for any obvious issues.

And that’s it! These are the five things you should look for when buying a used car. Just remember to be careful and do your research, and you’ll be sure to find a great deal on  a used car. Thanks for reading!

If you’re in Levittown and looking for a local mechanic to check out your new used car… we’re here to help!

 

5 Ways to Get Better Gas Mileage in Your Car

If you’re like us, you probably puked then needed to be resuscitated after a recent trip to the gas pump. Even worse, it seems like there is no slowing down in the rising of gas prices.

If you’re looking to save on gas, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post, we will discuss five ways that you can improve your gas mileage and reduce the amount of money you spend on fuel each month. Keep reading for tips that are easy to follow and will make a big difference in your car’s fuel efficiency!

Tune-ups

One of the best ways to improve your gas mileage is to keep your car tuned-up. This means that you should regularly change your oil, spark plugs, and air filter. A well-maintained engine will run more efficiently and use less gas. You can also save money on repairs in the long run by keeping your car in good condition.

Proper tire inflation

Another simple way to improve your gas mileage is to make sure that your tires are properly inflated. This can increase your fuel efficiency by up to three percent! Not to mention, it will also extend the life of your tires. Check your owner’s manual for the recommended tire pressure for your car.

Reduce idling

If you’re waiting in line at the drive-thru or sitting in traffic, turn off your engine. Idling uses a lot of gas and it emits harmful pollutants into the air. When you do have to idle, try to keep it under one minute.

Drive smoothly 

Sudden starts and stops use more gas than smooth acceleration. Not to mention, it’s also better for your car. Try to anticipate traffic lights and slow down gradually as you approach them. You should also avoid tailgating and weaving in and out of lanes. These aggressive driving habits can lower your gas mileage by up to 30 percent!

Use cruise control

When you’re driving on the highway, use cruise control to maintain a steady speed. This can help you save gas and avoid speeding tickets. Just be sure to disengage it when you’re driving in stop-and-go traffic.

We hope that these tips will help you improve your gas mileage and save money at the pump. Do you have any other suggestions? Let us know in the comments below!

Happy (and cheap) motoring!

This blog post was brought to you by your friends at Fletcher’s Garage. We’re here to help when you need us! Give us a call or come see us for all of your automotive needs.

 

How to Keep Your Car Running in the Summer: A Local Mechanic’s Guide

The weather is heating up and that means one thing: your car needs some TLC. Here at our shop, we’ve seen a lot of cars come in for maintenance this summer. From A/C repair to engine tune-ups, we’ve got you covered. In this blog post, we’re going to give you a few tips on how to keep your car running smoothly all summer long. So read on and learn how to prevent those pesky car problems from ruining your summer!

One of the most important things you can do for your car in the summer is to keep it cool. When the mercury rises, so does the temperature under your hood. Make sure you check your coolant levels often and top off as needed. You should also get your radiator flushed and replaced every few years to prevent rust and corrosion.

Another summer car care tip is to change your oil more frequently. The heat can break down your oil and make it less effective at lubricating your engine. So be sure to get an oil change every 3,000 miles or so.

Finally, don’t forget about your tires. The hot pavement can cause your tires to wear down faster than usual. Be sure to check your tire pressure often and get a rotation every few months.

By following these simple tips, you can keep your car running like a well-oiled machine all summer long. So don’t wait until your car breaks down to bring it in for maintenance. Head on down to our shop today and we’ll help you get your car summer-ready. Thanks for reading!

If you have any other questions about car care, or if you need to schedule a service appointment, give us a call. We’re always happy to help!

Have a great summer!

Three sounds your car is making that mean it’s time to get it looked at

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t know much about car engines. You know how to put gasoline in it and turn the key, but that’s about it. One of the things that can be a bit confusing is when your car starts making strange noises. If you’re not sure what the problem is, it’s best to take it to a mechanic and have them take a look. In this blog post, we will discuss three sounds that your car might be making and what they mean.

THUMP

If you’re driving down the road and you hear a thumping noise, it could be that your tire is low on air. This is an easy fix and something that you can do yourself if you have an air compressor. If you don’t have an air compressor, most gas stations will have one that you can use for free. Simply add air to your tire until it is at the correct pressure.

RATTLE

If you hear a rattling noise, it could be that something is loose in your engine. This is not something that you want to ignore as it could eventually lead to bigger problems. It’s best to take your car to a mechanic and have them take a look. They will be able to tighten any loose bolts and get your car running smoothly again.

SQUEAL

If you hear a squealing noise, it could be that your brake pads need to be replaced. This is a relatively easy and inexpensive fix, but it’s something that you should take care of as soon as possible. If you wait too long, it could damage your brakes and cause them to fail. Again, it’s best to take your car to a mechanic and have them take a look.

If you hear any of these three sounds coming from your car, it’s best to take it to a mechanic and have them take a look. Ignoring the problem could lead to bigger and more expensive problems down the road. At our shop, we would be happy to take a look and diagnose the problem. We hope this blog post has been helpful in understanding what some of these common car sounds mean. Thank you for reading!

How to change a flat tire

How to change a flat tire

You’re stranded on the side of the highway and you need to get your tire fixed ASAP. What do you do? Well, if there’s a mechanic nearby, call them up! But what if there isn’t one around? Don’t worry – in this blog post we’ll show you how to change a flat tire on your own.

Here are the steps:

First, locate your spare tire. It should be in a compartment under or behind one of your car’s seats or in your trunk. You’ll need to consult your car manual for directions on how to open it up.

Once you’ve found it, look inside the trunk and grab some tools that might come in handy. These include a lug wrench, jack and tire iron.

The lug wrench will help you take off the wheel nuts while the jack helps lift up your car so that you can change out its flat tire for the spare one.

If there are any rocks or other objects in your way, get them out of the way with a rake or broom to give yourself more room to work with.

Once you’ve got your spare tire out and all the tools ready, place the wheel wrench over one of your car’s lug nuts and use it to twist them off until they’re loose enough that you can take them completely off.

Next, fit the jack under your vehicle so that its arms are supporting the car’s weight and use it to raise your vehicle so that you can fit the spare tire on.

Unscrew your lug nuts in a “star shape” pattern, and set them aside in a safe place. Now, you should be able to remove your tire without much effort!

Simply remove your flat tire and replace with your spare.

After you’ve got the spare tire on, tighten up your lug nuts slightly, lower your car back down and remove the jack. Then use your tire iron to tighten up all of your lug nuts by twisting them with until they’re tight enough that they won’t come off again when you go driving around town.

It’s important to get your tire fixed or replaced as soon as possible. Spare tires are not meant to go too fast (generally under 40 miles per hour).

If you’ve gotten a flat tire, the team at Fletcher’s Garage is ready to help with a new tire or tire repair. Contact us at our Fairless Hills Garage for an estimate!

Buying a used car

What to know before buying a used car

Buying a used car can be difficult. There are so many things to watch out for and the market is always changing. It’s important that you’re educated before making one of the largest purchases of your life, and that’s why we’ve put together this list of tips for buying a used car!

  1. Research the model and make of car you’re buying

This will help you know what to expect in terms of repair costs and how it handles.

For example, a Toyota Camry is known for its reliability, while a Honda Accord may require more maintenance due to the complicated transmission.

  1. Check for recalls – some cars have been recalled due to faulty airbags or other problems.

You’ll want to be aware of this and know if the car you’re considering has been recalled.

Checking with a mechanic can help, as well as researching online (though some recalls are not listed yet).

If there is a recall on your model or make, it’s worth looking into whether your used car was affected.

  1. Don’t buy a car that has been in an accident, unless you know what repairs were made.

Many cars have been repaired after an accident, but if you’re not aware of what was done or who did it, it can be hard to know how the car’s going to hold up.

It may seem like a good bargain at first glance, but after looking into it further and finding out there were frame damages that weren’t fixed.

  1. Get a mechanic to inspect the car before purchase if possible.

A certified mechanic will be able to see any potential problems and give you their opinion on the car’s safety.

Checking for an inspection sticker is a good idea, as well as checking records online if possible.

  1. Test drive your prospective vehicle; don’t just take it off the lot without driving it first!

A lot can happen to a car on the way off of the dealership, so you’ll want to be sure that it’s running well before committing.

Plus, some dealerships will make promises about their vehicles that they won’t stand by when you come back with problems later on – get an idea of how the vehicle drives and sounds now!

It’s important to be educated about your purchase and start with researching specific models as well as any recalls before buying; don’t just buy without knowing what you’re getting into! If there are no issues, then make sure you test-drive the vehicle before purchase.

If you’re considering a used vehicle, the team at Fletcher’s Garage is happy to help you with a pre-purchase inspection!

Safety Checklist: Keep These 5 Things in Your Trunk

Your car is usually a safe, familiar place to be, but it occasionally transports you to locations that are far from safe and secure. As such, you should realize how critical it is to be prepared for any possibility. Fortunately, your trunk is most likely large enough to assist you.

Jumper Cables

You’d be surprised how frequently your vehicle’s battery empties. After that, you just need two items to get it up and running. You’ll need a nice passerby first. You’ll also require a set of jumper wires. Sure, there’s a chance that the person you’re stopping has their own jumper wires, but why take the chance?.

First Aid Kit

A sealed first aid kit is the next item you should have in your vehicle. This is one thing you hope you’ll never need, but it’s also something you don’t want to get moving without. No matter how soon you call for an EMT and how quickly they arrive, you may need to do a little more.

Flashlight

A flashlight is the next essential item to have in your trunk. It’s worth noting that some on-road collisions occur at night. It goes without saying that your technical expertise means nothing if you can’t see what you’re doing. Because a flashlight doesn’t take up much room, some people choose to store it in the glove box up front.

Air Pump

While some may disagree, having an air pump with you is really vital. Sure, having a spare tire is usually a better option, but what if two of your tires go flat? At least one of them may be deflated, so why not have a gadget in your trunk that may assist you in doing so?.

Blanket

Finally, though this item may appear surprising, it’s still very important. After all, a blanket is a multi-tool that can be used for a variety of purposes. On a road trip, it may be used as a surface for setting up a tent. You may use it to wrap yourself in and get a bit warmer, more comfortable sleep if you’re forced to stop abruptly in the middle of the night.

The message here is safety. Fletcher’s Garage’s top priority is making sure that your car is as safe as it can be on the road. If you have any questions about your car or to schedule maintenance, get in touch!

The Hidden Dangers of Potholes

You’ve probably seen one if you’ve been driving around Bucks County for a while — a pit in the center of the road that seems like it may swallow your car whole; potholes are more than a simple annoyance. They are potentially dangerous and can cause considerable damage to your vehicle if you’re unaware of their impact. 

Origins

The way potholes are made is really straightforward:

  • First, the road’s surface develops cracks as a result of normal wear and tear.
  • Rain, ice, and snow all get into the cracks.
  • The water in the cracks freezes in the winter. Water expands when it freezes, forcing the fractures apart and widening them.
  • The ice melts and thaws, allowing additional water to enter the crevices.

A pothole that started as a little crack might grow into a big hole in the road after several cycles of freezing and thawing. Potholes occur more quickly as a result of cars and trucks. They can press the cracks apart and cause the pothole to grow faster due to the wear they create as they drive over the same section of the road.

They’ll ultimately appear if the road begins to break. Filling cracks so water cannot get inside is the only method to prevent a pothole from developing or to repair one that has already formed.

Dangers

Of course, a pothole in the road isn’t very hazardous in and of itself, but the problem is that most drivers are unprepared for them. It’s generally a surprise when you strike one, and surprises while driving are usually not a great mix. When they encounter a pothole, many drivers panic and slam on the brakes or turn abruptly. If you’re not careful, this can lead to some serious accidents to not only you, but anyone else on the vehicle.

Potholes, as expected, can cause harm to your automobile on their own. If you strike a pothole while driving, you may have a variety of problems, including:

  • Tires that are flat or damaged
  • Wheels that are cracked or twisted
  • Wheel misalignment
  • Damage to the suspension system
  • Damage to the body panels
  • Problems with the engine and exhaust

If you recently hit a nasty pothole, you’re not alone! The team at Fletcher’s Garage is here to perform a free exam on your car so you can safely get back on the road.

Independent shops vs. Dealerships?

It’s the age old debate: Why should I use an Independent Repair Shop instead of the Dealership. There are ALOT of arguments for both sides, but I will give you insight on my 30 plus years of experiences and you can decide for yourself. Here are some of the misconceptions and truths all listed in one article. Get comfy, grab a coffee or drink of choice and let me inform you!

#1 Dealership Technicians are better trained: Half Truth. While the dealership technicians have greater access to information and parts their RESPECTIVE makes, that does not make them better Techs. Dealers usually employ ONE experienced Lead Tech while most of the team is “new to the industry” lower level/ lower paid techs. Dealerships follow a strict “Bottom Line” Policy. Which may sound confusing since their Hourly Labor Rate is predominately higher than Indys. They can say all they want about “Service over Profit” in their ads, but it really is profit driven. I’ve hired former dealer techs and managers who have told me once a Tech gets trained and gets some seniority, seeks required commensurate pay, they are forced out for sake of bottom line. It may sound like sour grapes, but I’ve heard this too many times to not feel there’s some validity to this.

#2 Dealership OEM parts are better: Also half truth. While some parts are strictly proprietary to makes and models, I can’t tell you how many times that I’ve been at Dealers Parts Counters picking up parts and the SAME local parts jobbers are delivering the SAME parts that we would get! You can look at this in different ways. a) It may have been an availability issue in which they needed to get the vehicle done or: b) I’ve heard it before from former dealer managers; the aftermarket parts are considerably cheaper therefore increasing the profit margin. That is OK in the respect that many aftermarket parts nowadays are comparable in quality and we are here to make a living. The problem for me is that if you’re expecting (and paying for) apples and you’re getting oranges, you could have received the same (if not better) service without paying the higher price! It’s all about VALUE, folks! Remember, Dealership Technicians and Managers work on parts and labor quotas because the overhead is so high. THEY need X number of dollars per day, whether you do or not. We need money, too, but Indy shops mostly utilize the “volume of vehicles we service” through Customer Service and Loyalty practices to meet our overhead needs.

#3 FREE Oil changes and inspections! Not gonna happen. What’s going to happen is that you waltz in for your FREE oil change service and you limp out feeling like you just got a colonoscopy without anesthesia. It’s a FACT that we all do this for a living and giving away free stuff is not sustainable in any industry. There is a give/take in this business practice that I feel is very misleading and sometimes unscrupulous. I won’t subscribe to that. If I want to do something for nothing for the sake of customer service , that’s on me, not you. There is NOOO way that anybody can consistently give you Free service and stay in business. They HAVE to sell you something.That’s just how it is. For instance; BMW offered FREE oil changes for life in models years ago and the recommended service interval was 6000 miles. They were giving away so many oil changes, they changed the service interval to 14,000 miles! Does that make sense? The engine didn’t change, so why extend the mileage service to more than double? It was all because they lost a ton of money at the 6000 and cut the losses at 14,000, plus increasing the likelihood of finding more repairs at 14,000. All fine. Makes business sense, but not very customer-friendly. But if you’re not familiar with the backstory, doesn’t it sound deceptive? It’s because it is. It’s all about TRUST AND VALUE!  TRUST AND VALUE!

#4 TRUST AND VALUE IS WHAT YOU GET AT FLETCHER’S GARAGE! Always!!!!

 

Trust

Trust. It’s earned. I never expect or even want a new customer to blindly trust me. I want that opportunity to prove to you that we will always do the right thing. I will never sell you something that you don’t need. If there is a question about a part or service, I welcome the conversation about the severity of the damage/fault and why you need it now. I will also advise if we see a potential problem or a known Service Bulletin and how and when it should be addressed. NEVER will I sell or advise outside of YOUR best interest over profit, NEVER! When I establish a relationship with a customer to the level of friendship and trust, that is more rewarding to me than being any kind of money-rich. I do this for living, but I will not sell my soul for overt financial gain. My father gave me some advice that stuck with me when I took over the business from him all those years ago “If you always do the right thing at a fair price, you won’t get rich, but you can do this at a liveable level for a long time” It’s true, I’ve been doing this for over 30 years and I’m not rich financially, but what I have and how I live makes me feel like I am truly blessed and rich with friends and family. I’ve lasted a lot longer than most shops that have come and gone. Sometimes it’s tough and I don’t how I make it, but I promise to you and myself that I will always do right by you before I resort to deceptive practices. I will close my business before I ever consider that. There is a way to do this business honorably. I thank my Dad for that advice and for showing me how to be a true neighborhood businessman with integrity.