Seven Ways to Get Your Family Into Back-to-School Mode »
Get ready for back to school while you have the time to do it. From shopping and haircuts to dentists and auto repairs.
Get ready for back to school while you have the time to do it. From shopping and haircuts to dentists and auto repairs.
If you see your airbag light on, there could be an issue that prevents the bags from deploying. Find out what's wrong with your ve…
Oil change prices vary among professionals, but it's easy to do this task yourself. Find out all the information you need to properly maintain your vehicle.
Sewer repairs are crappy. Fact is, they require a lot of work, can cost a lot, and mean you don't get to shower or use the facilities in your house until they are fixed. My wife and I were married at the beginning of this month and all the family and friends who attended strained the system at our mid-century house in Ballard and gave us our first challenge as newlyweds - a sewage back-up in our basement (thankfully, the house-guests had left). We rented a rooter and managed to snake out some roots we knew were a problem about 30' down our lateral line (right under a neighbors tree) but during the process we collapsed about 6' worth of pipe right where the sewer line bends out of our house and heads towards the main. Total block. My new father-in-law had worked with Jim Dandy before and recommended them (I was a little nervous after reading the so-so reviews here and elsewhere). I called them and they had a plumber, Shawn, come out within the hour. He identified the block, tried a rooter head, confirmed the line was broken, and then used a radio-locator to pinpoint the location, which was luckily not under our concrete slab. He worked really fast, let me pepper him with questions, and was super nice. He was there for an hour and a half but only charged me an hour. He also set up an appointment with an estimator (Chris) early the next morning. Chris came in and took a look at the location, and gave me a pretty good bid price. He was willing to be flexible on aspects of the job, and after consulting with him, we agreed on a division on labor that saved us quite a lot more. I and some willing friends dug a portion of the excavation that afternoon (4' down x 8' x 4' - we were sore!) and he had a crew come out the next day and dig down another 3' (digging more than 4' down can be dangerous without bracing, which the crew did when they arrived) as well as pull out the broken lateral line, replace it with PVC, completely rebuild a nearby downspout tie-in with PVC, and add a 4" clean-out line to the surface. We did the backfilling. As soon as the crew was done our second plumber, Jon, came out to scope the new pipes and clean out the remaining roots. He was able to get a 4' rooter tip to the main-line (120' away) and we took a look at the remaining concrete pipes on both sides of the house. They looked pretty good for being 65 years old. He even cleaned out the sand in our downspout p-traps. Despite the late hour, he did not charge us for overtime (which he technically should have). Like Shawn, he worked hard and fast and then billed slightly less time to us than he could have. I really liked everybody associated with the sewer mess. They were nice, sympathetic, flexible with the estimate, and fast. The project cost me way, way, way less than I thought it would have. It wasn't cheap - but it didn't break the bank. We were pretty lucky with the location of the break and didn't have to worry about city streets or sidewalks, big rocks, or under slab. What could have been a financial nightmare was resolved with only minimal pain and a lot of good learning experience. I would recommend Jim Dandy to anybody, and would also recommend tackling a sewer break with a willingness to ask questions, a willingness to do some of the grunt-work, and a friendly attitude. I think plumbers are like anyone else - if you get all mad at them for telling you the painful truth about your problem, you might not get the best service. If you can laugh about it a little, get engaged with the problem-solving, and see them as on your side, they really will be.
I have a 96 Toyota Camry and someone hit me from the back and needed repair. Called Seattle Toyota and they e-mailed me a list of recommended body shop - they use original Toyota parts, not after market parts. After reading some reviews, I went to 2 of them, one being Seattle Automotive. Tony and his staff were so great. The best were: 1. They handled everything with the insurance company, I didn't have to do a thing. I told them I want original parts from Toyota, and they did it. 2. They have their own rental cars. No mileage limits (well, you have to be reasonable). I don't have to call another car rental company to make another arrangement. 3. Nothing out of my pocket. Basically I went in unannounced in the morning and got of of there in 30-40 mins with rental car and headed to work. Got my car back in 5 days. What even more surprising, they detailed my car inside and out and made the 96 Camry look new! I also asked Tony about some repairs I want to do and he gave me great options that make sense and save me money. Thanks Tony! I am very impressed. I don't usually write reviews but I have to give Seattle Automotive this one. I will be back.
I have a 94 Saturn that was wrecked by another vehicle. The insurance company (State Farm) gave me several options to choose from to fix the problem. Since my car had 159k mileage on it, my wife and I worried we would have to have the car totaled and be forced to purchase a new or used vehicle. In this tough economy, this was an option that was not attractive. After getting a quote from a competitor, (Aki's in Ballard) for nearly $2100 to fix the car, we were told that the car would likely be totaled and that we would receive a check for signifcantly less than that. We decided to try Arne's and were quoted $1,000 less and they were able to fix the car. We received the car today and it looks great. The job only took a couple of days, the service was excellent, the employees and owner fair and nice. The owner mentioned he wants to keep older cars on the road instead of totaling them out if he can. The work looks spectacular. I recommend this business and would recommend them to anyone.
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.