The October To-Do List »
It’s time to bring long sleeves and long pants out of storage, prep your home and car, and contact the cool weather home/yard contractors.
It’s time to bring long sleeves and long pants out of storage, prep your home and car, and contact the cool weather home/yard contractors.
All it takes is a little preparation to get your car winter-ready and to keep from getting into an icy situation.
Great apps and resources that can help make you the master of headache-free pickups and dropoffs.
I recently purchased a used car from John Eagle Acura, Houston TX and my sales rep was TJ Morin. I rate the dealership & especially Mr. Morin 6 out of 5 STARS, yes I know, but my experience really was that exceptional. Over my lifetime I have purchased at least 25 vehicles, new & used, for myself and family, but not only was this my first over the internet (I live in Pensacola Florida which is over 500 miles from Houston Texas), but also the first time that a full week later, I am 100% completely satisfied with the car, deal, dealership and especially the salesperson, no second thoughts at all – “WOW”. The first thing I asked when I called the dealership, about the car I had found on AutoTrader.com, and was transferred to Mr. Morin was; “The car looks good, but what are you not showing by the camera angles? Mr. Morin informed me that the car I was interested in was listed very recently and he had not yet had an opportunity to test drive the car & he would give me a call back. Within 60 minutes, Mr. Morin called me back and said that he had just driven the car himself and informed me of his impressions, both positive and negative (99% of which were clearly visible in the photos) and offered, I did not need to ask, to remedy all but one small item. This one item which was not highlighted in the online photos but was disclosed to me by Mr. Morin was that the “SRS” light was on and only a Mercedes-Benz shop could accurately determine the exact reason, which my local Mercedes shop confirmed. Just in case you are interested, the “BabySmart Airbag Deactivation System” which automatically deactivates the passenger side front air bag when a “BabySmart” Child Seat is installed is malfunctioning. Since I am in my sixties, I do not find this to be a major problem! I communicated with Mr. Morin multiple times viva email & phone and always received a prompt response and completely accurate information (Mr. Morin always answered his cell phone and if I called the dealership for him I was transferred to his cell phone). I received a call from Mr. Morin almost exactly half way home just to make sure I had not experienced any problems and once home, found an email from him asking that I please reply so he would know that I was home safe! My only regret is that due to the 500 miles, separating Pensacola, FL from Houston, TX, I cannot personally send many of my friends to TJ Morin and John Eagle Acura, but if you are considering purchasing a vehicle online and find one on their website, I believe you will find them as honest & above-board as I have. I can honestly say this has been my best vehicle purchasing experience ever!
About three weeks ago I was involved in a collision that left my car unable to be driven. I was in Houston for the weekend, but I live in Austin. Luckily my car was covered under the manufacturer's warranty which included free towing. Upon arrival the tow truck driver recommended Expro Auto Collision and stated that I would be able to get a rental immediately. Since I had other business in Houston that required a vehicle, I decided to go with the recommendation. Upon arrival I was introduced to Sal, one of the managers, who assured me that I could in fact drive off in a rental later that day. Sal was very helpful and understanding of the situation as I was a bit panicked and scatterbrained at the moment. My last car accident was over 6 years ago and it was a horrifying accident that resulted in three cars being totaled out. Consequently I was definitely shell-shocked. Sal was extremely helpful in walking me through the claim process with my insurance company and I did in fact drive off in a rental. I had to return t Austin because I am a graduate student there, and throughout the entire process, Sal kept me updated on the status of my car. I was able to pick it up yesterday and it looks brand new. I drive a manual Mustang that has unique over the top stripes that are a dealer exclusive. My car had been previously dinged in a hit and run incident in a parking lot so there was surface damage on my rear bumper. They were able to fix this as well as an extremely reasonable cost compared to the estimates I had received from other shops. The also maintained the integrity of my stripes which extend to the lower rear bumper. In addition Mustangs have custom cores for their tires and my car had distinctive rims as well. Everything was replaced to look completely new and my car is as gorgeous as it was when I bought it. Overall I couldn't be happier with the service I received. I appreciated how the shop handled everything with the insurance company. I was even picked up from the bus stop by someone from the shop which is definitely above and beyond regular service. Throughout the entire process Sal kept me updated and even dealt with spam calling from my mom. I would definitely recommend this shop to anyone. My car was freshly washed when I picked it up which is something NONE of the Ford Dealerships in the Houston area have done for me regardless of how long they've kept my car. Definitely the best experience I could have hoped for given the circumstances!
Dung Le made my car buying experience absolutely fantastic. From the transparency that he provided at the beginning of my search process to the way he comfortably juggled no less than five customers on the night that I arrived to complete my purchase, Dung exceeded my expectations in every aspect. To provide context, I had been warned via phone and email by other dealerships of the shenanigans that I would encounter when making a purchase from Russell & Smith. For example, the following are direct copies of statements that I received via email: Gillman Honda of West Sam Houston Pkwy S: "I just spoke with my General Manager. We want to earn your business sir but we do not know how Russel & Smith are getting to that price since there is no more Honda Flex cash left in Houston at any of the dealers. I hope they are not trying to play games with you to lure you in." Honda of Clear Lake: "I understand that you are trying to get the best price out there. Unfortunately some dealerships send out quotes that don't include all of the costs associated with the vehicle. The price I sent is actual dealer net on the vehicle. I have a lot of customers that end up going to the other dealerships only to see the price go up when they get there. If you end up going to Russel and Smith and the price goes up, I would really appreciate you coming and dealing with me." What is really funny is that while I did tell other dealerships the price that I had been offered from Russell & Smith, I never mentioned the actual dealership making the offer. The other dealerships apparently knew of Russell Smith's "devious tactics". Needless to say, my guard was up when I arrived to Russell & Smith, and I was ready to walk out if I encountered any questionable behavior. Fortunately, I had a great experience. I kept waiting for Dung to apply pressure or attempt to change the terms that we had previously discussed. Yet, he was very straight-forward and professional, and if anything, I probably seemed a bit paranoid as I waited for him to mislead me. Sorry, Dung :-). In short, Dung Le made my purchase process incredibly smooth, and I can only hope that I will be able to deal with him again the next time I need to make a purchase. Thank you, Russell & Smith Honda.
There are more than 700,000 auto service technicians and mechanics in the U.S. Finding the right one to repair a dent in your car door or fix an engine that won't start can be overwhelming, especially when it's an emergency. Review a few important facts about auto repair professionals and what you can do to get the best possible mechanic working on your vehicle's issues for a fair price.
Looking For Reliability
Unlike home repair services that evaluate a property, meet with homeowners and have time to prepare before their physical work begins, auto repair businesses are often asked to make fixes on the spot. If you come into a garage with a tire issue, the expectation is the mechanic will know how to correct that problem quickly.
That is why reliability is so vital when searching for a trusted auto repair shop. It may take going to several different mechanics before you find one you are truly comfortable with. Pose questions to this professional to find out what approach they will take to repair your car or what alternatives are available. Shopping around also gives you the best opportunity to find the cheapest rate or the fastest service, as some garages may be backed up with other vehicles that need repair first.
A recommended way to locate a trustworthy auto repair professional is to seek out customer reviews. Online sites offer honest opinions from real customers who have used a business. Read through this feedback to learn how a business operates and what you can expect if you were to take your vehicle there. Look for reviews about how quick maintenance was completed and if prices were fair. By learning what other people have said about a garage, you can gain a better idea if it's the right place to go when you have a car problem in need of fixing.
It can be difficult to know which automotive problems are serious enough to require expert assistance. A ripped seat cushion or broken radio don't involve safety and will not warrant enough of a problem that going into a garage is required. However, setbacks with brakes, lights and other parts that are vital to the safety of your car's driver and passengers, as well as others on the road, necessitate quick fixes. Many modern automobiles will notify drivers of an issue, in the form of a signal on the dashboard or a noise within the vehicle.
In the event of an accident, even if your vehicle does not appear to have any damage on the outside, it is generally recommended that you see a trusted auto repair professional. Internal damage may have occurred, or an important part may have been knocked out of place. Fixing these issues before driving much further can prevent further vehicle breakdowns in the future. In the case of a serious accident, a body shop can assess the problems and determine the best course of action for repairs, as well as evaluate how much they will cost.
Beyond that, regular checkups are recommended. Tires must be rotated, fluids needs to be replaced and the engine must be evaluated. After driving 25,000 miles, most auto dealers suggest having the vehicle checked out to ensure everything is running smoothly. Taking the car into the auto repair professional you trust will protect you from further problems down the road.
Not every type of auto repair work needs to be done by a certified mechanic. You can fix some of a vehicle's issues just by paying attention to how the automobile is running and having a basic understanding of auto repair. Look over the ways weather may impact your car and what preventative measures you can take to avoid having to take it into the shop. At the same time, be aware of mechanic scams that can impact your experience.
Preventing Trips To The Professional
Some fixes to your car can be done without paying a specialist. Issues like replacing oil and air filters are relatively simple, with instructions provided in the owner's manual on how to make these changes. The same goes for replacing broken windshield wipers or burnt-out headlights. Such issues should be repaired quickly to guarantee safety, but don't require a visit to a garage. By handling these types of tasks on your own, you'll gain a better understanding for how your car operates and save time and money.
Along with understanding how to fix manageable vehicle issues that may arise, taking preventative measures to avoid future problems is a valuable time saver. Many problem-solving best practices are related to the seasons. Your vehicle will be in different conditions in the winter than in the summer, meaning it requires a different type of preparation.
In the spring and summer, you want to be sure your air conditioner and cooling systems work correctly. Given the high temperatures the vehicle will be exposed to, overheating is a common problem. Look over the system by ensuring there is enough coolant available. If it needs to be refilled, it is best to open the hood and add more to the car before it gets too warm out. Also, clean out fan ducts and other ventilation sources necessary for summertime driving.
For winter driving, features such as the defroster, heater and exhaust system are paramount. Look in your owner's manual for specific directions on how features should be checked and repaired. Many newer cars have a cabin air filter that can be replaced when needed, allowing warm air to continue to flow in. Also, check your tires before winter driving, as they need to be at the proper pressure to perform well on snow and ice.
There is a common worry among many people that auto repair professionals take advantage of the general public. Because so many people are unaware of how to fix the problems in their vehicle, they are nervous of being overcharged by mechanics or worried that the improper work is being done.
While the great majority of professionals in the industry are honest, hard-working people, a few bad apples can ruin everything. You should be extra careful when first visiting a mechanic to guarantee that the price you're charged and maintenance the vehicle receives are fair.
Among the common scams pulled are needless repairs, where a garage charges you for work that isn't necessary. Another popular one is attracting customers through a cheap oil change or tire pressure check. Then, when you are in the shop and your car is being repaired, they give you a long list of other corrections they'd like to make, therefore boosting the total cost of your bill.
The best way to combat these types of problems is getting a written estimate before work is done. That way, you can see how much repairs are expected to cost. If the final bill is higher than the estimate projected, ask to specifically see the work. Make sure information is put in writing as well. If a problem remains, you can have proof that work was not done to your satisfaction.
By working closely with an auto repair professional and doing some of the tune-up work on your own, you will be less likely to fall for these scams. At the same time, you'll be able to drive out with a clean and healthy vehicle, thanks to the repairs made by a trained professional.