Blog

Untitled design (3).jpg

Your car is dependable and reliable, but only when it is well maintained. When owning a car, one of the most important elements is receiving a quality return on your investment. If your car is in need of repair, you'll want to find the best possible service available. Fort Collins Foreign Car Service has been providing quality car repairs for 50 years, and we're proud to be the top choice for car owners in our area. Our technicians are highly skilled and have the experience necessary to get the job done right, whether your car needs a simple tune-up or a more extensive repair. We offer competitive rates and a wide range of services, so you can rest assured that your car is in good hands with us. Schedule an appointment today and see why we're the top choice for car repair in town!

more
Mercedes steering wheel

When you’re fortunate enough to have gotten your hands on a luxury vehicle, it’s worth putting in the time and effort to care for it, especially considering the sizeable financial investment you’ve made. By their nature, luxury and high-end automobiles require a little more TLC to stay in tip-top condition. Thankfully, with these simple tips and a professional team like Fort Collins Foriegn Car Service on your side, taking care of expensive, high-end, and foreign vehicles is a breeze.

more
carbg2-1047x628.jpg

Most car enthusiasts dream about owning a luxury foreign vehicle, but they may not be certain if it’s the right choice for them. Whether it’s a concern about budget, maintenance and upkeep, or feasibility of transportation, there are many factors to consider before pursuing foreign car ownership. Unfortunately, a number of misconceptions about this subject can lead to further confusion or uncertainty regarding non-domestic autos.

Established in 1971, Fort Collins Foreign Car Service is Northern Colorado’s leading provider of both foreign and domestic vehicle maintenance and repair, so we have considerable experience and knowledge in these matters. In this article, we address some of the most common myths about owning a foreign vehicle and provide a more accurate presentation of what’s really going on underneath those imported hoods — or should we say “bonnets”?

Myth #1: Part Replacement Is A Hassle

A common myth about foreign cars asserts that it’s extremely difficult to locate parts and pieces when they need replacing. It’s an inconvenient truth that all cars,...

more
tim-mossholder-V37iTrYZz2E-unsplash-5e2b5f1a98699-942x628.jpg

Most car owners would love to save money on maintenance and repairs. But unless you’ve worked as a mechanic or have an affinity for fixing up cars, chances are you don’t know how.

The good news is that anyone can dramatically cut back on car maintenance expenses and avoid costly repairs by monitoring the fluids in their vehicle. Ideally, most or all of these should be checked every several thousand miles. By staying on top of your car fluid levels and getting them topped off when needed, you can ensure you’ll get the longest and highest quality lifespan out of your ride.

In this article, we’ll highlight the 5 most important fluids that not only keep you driving safely but, more importantly, that keep money in your pocket.

First thing’s first — read the list below to see if you’re familiar with all of these car fluids. If even one looks new to you, it may be time for a refresher course in auto maintenance.

Overview of Essential Car Fluids:

  1. Oil
  2. Windshield Washer Fluid
  3. Power Steering Fluid
  4. Transmission Fluid
  5. Brake...
more
dreamstime-xxl-88169084-1-5cca0d319e129.jpg

One of the biggest, long-standing debates in the auto industry is whether or not foreign cars are better than American-made cars. For the most part, foreign cars have been long-time leaders in categories involving quality, such as reliability and longevity.

While it’s no secret that many import vehicles models offer superior quality, style, and efficiency, just like any vehicle, they can experience issues down the road and require the proper repairs and maintenance to remain in good working condition.

Whether you have an Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Volvo, Acura, Lexus, Jaguar, Lamborghini, Toyota, Nissan, Volkswagen, or another import vehicle that is in need of repair, it is important that you choose an experienced foreign car mechanic that you can trust.

Choose FCFCS For Foreign Auto Repair

Foreign cars are very uniquely made and require specialized attention and skills in order to service them properly. Many European and Asian cars have more complex and finer details in their systems. Plus, many types of these vehicles require special equipment and tools to...

more
Signs-You-Need-Air-Conditioning-Maintenance-for-Your-Vehicle-5cb09263450bf.jpg

Now that spring is in full swing, we can expect warmer days ahead of us. Before the temperatures begin to rise too much, though, you want to make sure that your vehicle’s air conditioning is in good working condition to handle the summer heat — one of the last things you want is to be trapped in a hot car while commuting to and from work or running errands.

Your vehicle’s A/C can fail for several different reasons, and the type of symptoms you are noticing can help identify the problem at hand.

At Fort Collins Foreign Car Service, our auto mechanics are trained and experienced in vehicle cooling system evaluations and repairs. In this blog, we are going to help guide you through the process of determining if you have an issue with your vehicle’s air conditioning, and what kind of issue you may be having.

Signs You Need An Air Conditioning Tune-Up For Your Vehicle

There are several warning signs that indicate that your air conditioning is having issues, or is about to fail. Some of the most common signs include:

  • Blows Hot Air. The most obvious...
more
Get-Your-Car-Ready-For-Spring-5c8feb93c8bb6.jpg

Spring is right around the corner! Your vehicle has been working hard all winter long and now it’s time to give it the attention it needs to get in shape for the upcoming season. As we wait for spring to arrive, one important task on your list should be spring auto maintenance.

With springtime auto maintenance from Fort Collins Foreign Car Service, your car can run smoothly all season long and stay ready for all of your upcoming driving adventures. To get your vehicle in tip-top shape for the spring, our car mechanics recommend the following maintenance services.

Inspect The Brakes

Being able to stop during the snowy and icy season is very important, but all that extra braking during the winter takes a toll on your vehicle’s brakes. If you hear a grinding noise while you’re braking, you’ll want to schedule vehicle maintenance at our auto shop!

Check The Transmission

Classic signs of transmission issues can include popping out of gear and the leaking of transmission fluid. Because transmission issues can progress quickly, if you suspect your vehicle...

more
Tips-for-Detailing-Your-Engine-Part-1-5b9938ba8f082.jpg

Have you ever detailed your engine? People generally land on two sides when it comes to cleaning what’s under the hood: they either think it’s a worthwhile standard or they cannot understand why you would ever consider it.

We all know that anyone can wash their car and smear a little wax onto the paint. However, it takes a special car lover to maintain an engine clean enough to eat off of. At Fort Collins Foreign Car Service, we live in engines, and you can bet that we notice when they’re pristine. Keeping an engine clean isn’t just about maintaining a stunning view when you open the hood. Combating dirt, grease, and grime can improve the lifespan of the motor and prevent rot and rust.

Tips For Detailing Your Engine

Whether you have an old, faithful car or a shiny, exotic one, a clean engine compartment can give it an extra bit of dignity and glamor. However, it isn’t just about opening the hood and diving in. You’ll probably get a faster and more effective clean if you consider our expert tips. We say “consider” because different car owners have different...

more
5-Car-Detailing-Hacks-5ba11ac12d148.jpg

If you want your vehicle to look pristine at all times, you aren’t alone. Many owners of beautiful, foreign imports take great pride in the appearance and upkeep of their vehicles. And even if you’re fine with your vehicle getting a little dirty, keeping it clean prevents scratches, nicks, and other damage that can impact the vehicle’s resale value. Here at Fort Collins Foreign Car Service, we spend most of our time under the hood, but we know what it takes to keep a vehicle looking its best on the outside, too. We’re also aware that it’s car show season, and we want to take a minute to share some of our favorite hacks for keeping your car show-ready.

Five Car Detailing HacksKeep Wipes In Your Car.

  • Whether it’s stray bird droppings or a coffee spill, being able to act quickly and clean up a mess immediately makes all the difference. Keep a pack of wipes under a seat or in the glove compartment, and you’ll be able to respond to spills as soon as they happen. That way, you won’t have to worry about messes becoming permanent features.

Use Rubbing Alcohol...

more
3-Most-Important-Summer-Safety-Tips-5b439602d94b2.jpg

If you catch the road trip bug in the summer, you aren’t alone. Summer is a great time to get out on the open road and visit friends, relatives, or to discover new vistas. At Fort Collins Foreign Car Service, we are very familiar with the issues that trouble vehicles when the weather gets hot, and we know what it takes to ensure your car runs issue-free. Here are three things you can focus on to avoid getting stuck in a parking lot or on the side of the road.

3 Important Safety Tips

Incorrect tire pressure, low battery levels, and locking the keys in the car are the main issues travelers experience. Hopefully, these tips help you steer clear!

Check Your Tire Pressure.

Under-inflated tires become safety hazards in both dry and wet conditions. You never know what you’ll be dealing with when it’s summer, so keep your tires inflated to manufacturer specifications. Check them before you head out on a road trip, and if you’re traveling a long way, check them every evening or morning to make sure you haven’t developed a slow leak that may cripple you...

more
SignsTimingBelt-5ae24242ae819.jpg

Timing belt replacement can be on the costly side, which makes people want to avoid getting it done. We can’t blame them; it’s normal not to be a fan of expensive repairs. However, the concept of “expensive repair” is relative. When you consider the damage a bad timing belt can do to the rest of your vehicle, suddenly, replacing just the belt doesn’t seem so expensive. In fact, it’s a smart way to avoid massive car projects and the high fees that come with them. We want to take today’s blog to discuss signs of a timing belt in trouble so you don’t get taken by surprise.

First, what does a timing belt do? The timing belt is an essential part of your engine’s function. It ensures that the crankshaft and camshaft rotate at just the right rhythm to synchronize the engine’s valves with the intake and exhaust strokes. When the timing belt isn’t happy, your engine cannot function right, and nobody is happy!

Signs Your Ride Needs A New Timing Belt

Because the timing belt plays such an important function, its distress signals are hard to miss. Here are some warning signs...

more
Guardian-Ignition-Interlock-Installation-5a988a8bef351.jpg

Here at Fort Collins Foreign Car service, we are an auto shop located in Fort Collins. We specialize in foreign car work and repairs, but our services are comprehensive enough to include most auto work. One service that you can get at our shop, but not everywhere else, is Guardian Ignition Interlock System installation. A Guardian Ignition Interlock System is a device that does not allow a car to start unless a person has blown a clean test into an alcohol monitor. If you are new to this device, we answer some frequently asked questions about it here.

Can I Install Guardian Interlock Myself?

No, this device is only meant to be installed by an authorized professional. Its primary use is to prevent previous DUI and DWI offenders from being able to start their car after having a drink, and is thus registered to that person. An authorized third party installer is necessary to ensure the device is installed properly. Once installed, the device captures data that we can download manually.

How Long Is Installation?

Installation times can vary, but the system is...

more
Fun-Car-Facts-Part-3-5a708a27d25cf.jpg

Here at Fort Collins Foreign Car Service, we provide foreign car repair in Fort Collins. We love what we do, and think it shows in our work. Want to see for yourself? Drop on down by our shop or give us a call for more information. In the meantime, here are some fun car facts that may interest you.

People’s Car

We shouldn’t hold it against the car, but the Volkswagen was ordered to be commissioned by none other than Adolf Hitler. He ordered Ferdinand Porsche to manufacture the car, whose name literally means the “people’s car” in German. In fact, a first sketch of the car allegedly written by Hitler in the 1930s looks very similar to the first Beetle ever to be produced.

Cornering The Market

Few auto manufacturing companies have seen success like Ford has. In fact, Ford is the main reason why we adopted the 40 hour work week (thanks Ford!). During its heyday, the Model T Ford made up a full 55 percent of all of the cars in the world. This was back in 1916, but that record is still unbroken.

Rough Turns

Did you know that the first cars on the...

more
Fun-Car-Facts-Part-2-5a679c16e3b22.jpg

If you are looking for a foreign vehicle repair shop in Fort Collins, then come on by Fort Collins Foreign Car Service today! We encourage you to come see first hand the quality of our auto repair work. Or, feel free to ask around the community! We let our work speak for itself! So, instead of going over our list of high quality car services, we thought we’d present another list of fun car facts instead! Enjoy!

Fun Car Stats

  • Ever wonder which make/model car is the most stolen in the continental United States? That dubious title goes to the Honda Accord!
  • Think electric cars are new? Think again! They’ve been around longer than gas powered vehicles. In fact, they were manufactured as early as 1905 by companies like Rauch & Lang. However, subsidies and innovation went to gas power after its invention in 1920, and it would take almost a century for the population to start to come full circle.
  • The American auto accident fatality rate has dropped to lower than it has ever been in half a century. Unrelated statistic? Nowadays 84 percent of people...
more
Fun-Car-Facts-5a13534eb36a9.jpg

Here at Fort Collins Foreign Car Service, we provide auto repair in Fort Collins. Nowadays, cars are much more than a luxury; they are a necessity for all kinds of things, including getting to work, feeding the family, and meeting friends. Because they are so important and integrated into our daily lives, we tend to take them for granted. But a lot goes into the cars that we drive. For your entertainment, here are some fun car facts and statistics that you may not have known.

Click here to see the full infographic!

Car Statistics

Cars have been around for almost 150 years. In that time, a lot of changes have been made. Here are some interesting car statistics.

  • Right at this very moment, there are over one billion cars currently in use around the world. That is a lot of fast moving metal!
  • Every single day around the world, about 165,000 different cars are manufactured. What are we doing...
more
Alternators-An-Overview-59e90617babb6.jpg

Your vehicle is likely one of the biggest investments you’ll make. If that isn’t motivation to take care of it, we don’t know what is. If you have ever tried to learn more about your vehicle, you may have felt overwhelmed at how much sheer information there is. Since we do auto repair in Fort Collins, and knowing your vehicle can help you take care of it better, we thought we would go over one of your car’s more important parts here: the alternator. Here is a quick overview of how it works.

The Principle

While you might think your battery is what charges your car’s electronics, that is actually not the case. Your battery barely has enough juice to start your car, much less run its electrical systems for any amount of time. That is where your alternator comes in. You see, once you turn on your car, the engine and alternator start running. Once your alternator begins running, it creates an alternator current to not only power your vehicle, but recharge your battery as well.

Alternators function on principles of electromagnetism. In an alternator, a magnetic field...

more
Top-Rated-Foreign-Cars-59e7ab95ead08.jpg

Here at Fort Collins Foreign Car Service, we offer foreign car auto repair in Fort Collins (shocker, right?). Our job is to make dealing with car maintenance and repairs easier for you, and that is exactly what we strive for with our commitment to quality service. We want you to be able to enjoy your car like it was meant to be. For those of you who are shopping for new cars, here are some of the top rated foreign cars of this year.

Honda Civic

Named Kelley Blue Book’s “Overall Best Buy” this year, the 2017 Honda Civic is a great all around small car. Earning extremely high grades in objective standards like resale value and price point, it may very well be one of the best cars around for the price. Notable features include a powerful and well performing Turbo engine (especially the Type R), tight handling, storage space, and gas quality. A couple marks against it include a hard to understand Display Audio system and an engine drone when accelerating. It comes as a sedan, hatchback, or coupe.

Honda Accord

A great family car, the Accord is known for...

more
Off-Roading-Tips-featured-image-59677a439b22e.jpg

When it comes to off roading, Colorado is one of the premiere states to test you and your vehicle’s mettle against the great outdoors. Many of our Fort Collins auto repair clients come to us with their 4x4s before and after a big off roading trip. If you are a veteran off road enthusiast, or you’re just getting into the activity, here are some off roading tips to make things a little easier.

T.R.E.A.D. Lightly

We mentioned T.R.E.A.D. Lightly in our previous blog. Travel responsibly. Respect the rights of others. Educate yourself. Avoid sensitive areas. Do your part. Not only do these precepts keep everyone civil to each other, save the environment, and promote off-roading around the world, but the organization also offers all kinds of advice, tips, and information on its website. Make sure to check out Tread Lightly periodically to stay updated on the latest news.

Travel In Groups

You don’t need to be an off-roading expert to...

more
tread-lightly-5943fd3ef00bc.jpg

Here at Fort Collins Foreign Car Service, many of the vehicles that our Fort Collins mechanics work on are 4x4s that see a lot of off road use. There is a lot of fun to be had with the freedom of a trail rated off road vehicle. To help promote this exciting activity in a way that preserves the environment and ensures the safety of drivers, we would like to go over some off roading principles from the esteemed T.R.E.A.D. Lightly organization. Here is a quick overview of their tenets.

Travel Responsibly

Freedom and responsibility go hand in hand, and that is exactly the kind of value that T.R.E.A.D. Lightly is trying to espouse. Most states have lots of designated trails and off road areas with a wealth of space for you to explore, it’s important to stay in them. Off road vehicles can be extremely damaging to the environment, and as responsible citizens it’s our job to ensure we prevent that damage. If your state, city, or locale doesn’t set aside or designate land for off road use,...

more
Car-Maintenance-Checklist2-592dbce52ae37.jpg

If you are like most Americans, your car is more than just a luxury for you. It’s how you get to work, pick up groceries to feed your children, pick those kids up from school. In short, it is a necessity to have in the modern world. Unfortunately, getting a new car or making big repairs is more costly than what the average person can handle. Because of this, it’s important to take very good care of your vehicle. Here, we would like to give you some maintenance tips to help you avoid those costs. If you are handy, some of these tasks can be done yourself, however if you’re unsure how a maintenance task should be done, we recommend taking your car in to a professional. We’ve listed the tasks by the frequency in which they should be performed.

3000-5000 Miles

The following are tasks that should be done every three to five thousand miles, or every three to four months.

  • Oil Change — An oil change may seem like a minor thing, but it’s extremely important for your engine. Oil keeps friction from burning up your engine’s parts, and as it gets contaminated over time...
more
FC-auto-4x4-58d0b54f1c49a.jpg

Have you been overtaken by the allure of off-roading culture? There’s a wide world to explore, but to do it right, you’ll have to ensure that your vehicle stays in optimal condition — “good” doesn’t cut it for this type of extreme vehicular recreation.

This is because many of the physical stresses and route demands of off-road driving require a bit more car care than those of dry-pavement-only vehicles. To stay out on the trails, it’s imperative that you keep on top of your truck maintenance or SUV upkeep.

To give you an idea of what that entails, as well as some professional insight into how to take the best care of your off-roading vehicle, we have listed some tips for 4×4 service and 4-wheel drive maintenance below. Many of these tips apply to car maintenance in general, but they’re especially important, if not critical, when it comes to 4×4 vehicles.

Oil Changes

Any type of car ownership requires regular oil changes, but this recurring auto service is even more important if you off-road with a 4×4 vehicle. Many off-road applications put a lot of stress...

more
PrepareYourCarForWinter-001-161207-58488b35742c4.jpg

The Importance Of Winterizing Your Vehicle

The cold months of winter are quickly approaching, and as you begin to think about the coming weather conditions, you should also be thinking about how those conditions can affect your car. Because of the harsh conditions winter brings, it’s important to make sure your car is safe and runs properly. Preparing your car for winter is the best way to keep your vehicle safe and efficient. Here are some of the most important tips from our mechanic in Fort Collins.

Tips For Preparing Your Vehicle For Winter

A couple of elements you’ll face during winter are snow and ice. It can be scary to drive in icy conditions, but there are things you can do to make your vehicle safer for driving in snow.

Install New Wiper Blades

Getting new wiper blades for your windshield is a great way to ensure visibility even in the snowiest of conditions. Make sure to get wiper blades that prevent ice build up, talk to your mechanic about which brand is the best choice.

Install All Weather Or Snow Tires

One of the worst...

more
DefaultFeature-001b-170120-58822c8157bf3.jpg

Oftentimes, people easily forget about getting their tires rotated. While it can be difficult to remember minor details, it’s important to think about tire rotations as a major issue that deserves attention. It’s also important to understand the timing, the reasons for needing tire rotations.

For experience car owners, they understand that getting a tire rotation is a matter of providing your car with frequent maintenance. While taking care of your car is important for the longevity of the vehicle, what’s more important is your safety, and when it comes to you tires, that should be priority number one.

Of course, getting a tire rotation will also extend the longevity of your tires, and not getting them rotated could mean that your tires are at risk, as well as your safety. Why is this?

Every time your car hits the road your tires wear down with every mile traveled. It’s normal for this to happen, but over time, the wear and tear becomes unsafe.

With getting a tire rotation you not only keep your car safer, but you also keep the tires even in their wear and...

more
DefaultFeature-001b-170120-58822c8157bf3.jpg

As a car owner, it’s important that you are diligent about your car maintenance. From checking the oil to checking the air in your tires, these things that need attention, if they aren’t well taken care of not only will those parts suffer, but other larger issues will arise. So when it comes to changing your oil how important is it? What is the risk a car owner runs if they don’t change their oil frequently enough?

To understand what risk you run by not providing your car with frequent oil changes, or simply checking the oil in your vehicle, one must understand what it is that oil does for an engine.

Oil is an essential to your engine for many reasons, but what’s most important is that the oil in your engine allows the metal parts to rub and press against each other without damage. Think of it as a lubricant for the moving parts of your engine.

What Happens If My Car Runs Out Of Oil?

Now that you know what purpose oil serves, it’s easy to understand what can happen when you don’t have enough. Without enough lubrication, you run the risk of having your...

more
Rocky Mountains

Living in Colorado affords us the opportunity to escape into the mountains at a moment’s notice, even if it’s just for the day. Our mechanics here at Fort Collins Foreign Car Service will make sure that your car has had the tune-up it needs to be ready for your next adventure into the mountains.

The Best Day Trips Into The Colorado Rockies

If you’re looking for the perfect day trips you can take into the mountains, you’re in luck. We have the top three mountain destinations for a day of driving and adventure!

  1. Estes Park, Colorado. A short one hour and four minute drive from Fort Collins will get you to Estes Park where you can enjoy a drive into Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park, a tour of the historic Stanley Hotel, or a stroll down main street to get ice cream.
  2. Grand Lake, Colorado. Driving just an hour west of Estes Park will take you into Grand Lake. Grand Lake is a picturesque Colorado town with a beautiful lake to enjoy a picnic by and a quaint main street with fun shops to peruse.
  3. Georgetown, Colorado. A one hour and forty-five...
more
DefaultFeature-001b-170120-58822c8157bf3.jpg

Most people try, but as much as you’d like to avoid it, some things just can’t be fixed without taking your car to an auto mechanic. There are some misconceptions surrounding auto repair, but the professionals here at Fort Collins Foreign Car Service want to help clear up some common misconceptions when it comes to trusting your local mechanic.

Why You Can Trust Your Mechanic

  • Mechanics are only out to get your money: Mechanics genuinely want to help their customers. With auto repair, we are required to deal with people face-to-face, and we are dealing with one of the most expensive objects people own. It is our goal to make sure we are only doing the auto services your car needs to ensure that it will run smoothly and safely.
  • Mechanics aren’t skilled on all of the cars they work on: While it’s true that no one can be an expert on every type of car they work on, it’s not true that mechanics don’t know what they’re doing when it comes to your car. To become a mechanic generally requires vocational training, certification, hours of training and...
more
DefaultFeature-001b-170120-58822c8157bf3.jpg

Don’t let our name fool you. Here at Fort Collins Foreign Car Service (FCFCS), we don’t just service foreign cars. We are a full-service, expertly staffed auto shop with professionally trained mechanics.

At FCFCS, you can expect that your car will be in good hands, regardless of whether your car is foreign or domestically made. We service every type of car and truck ranging from Jeeps to BMWs. If you need a trusted mechanic, come to Fort Collins Foreign Car Service.

Our mechanics will impress you with their knowledge of cars and their 40+ years of experience in the auto mechanics industry.

If you have a Ford Escape that needs a new transmission, or if you have a Jaguar that needs an oil change, our mechanics will take the best care of your vehicle. The services we offer for cars and trucks are as wide-ranging and varied as the vast array of car types we service. We also keep a detailed history of the work we do on each customer’s car, so you’ll never have to wonder about the last time you had your...

more
DefaultFeature-001b-170120-58822c8157bf3.jpg

Part of your car’s tune-up process is making sure that your tires are in good condition. If your tires are worn, it is always better to replace them than to hope that they will last one more winter. When it comes time to buy tires, it can be hard to determine what kind of tires would be best to purchase. Tires can be a large financial investment, and you want to get the most out of your money.

A part of buying new tires for your vehicle is deciding whether or not you want to purchase snow tires, or all-season tires. There can be benefits to buying snow tires if you live in an environment prone to snow and ice, such as Colorado. However, there are some things to consider when you’re trying to decide between snow tires and all-season tires.

So, what are the determining factors when it comes to deciding between snow tires and all-season tires? Here at Fort Collins Foreign Car Services, we have some tips to help you determine if snow tires are the best purchase for you.

  • If you purchase snow tires, you will also need to purchase all-season tires for non-winter...
more
DefaultFeature-001b-170120-58822c8157bf3.jpg

Fort Collins Foreign Car Service has been specializing in the Guardian Ignition Interlock System since 2001. Our mechanics are professionals in installing the Guardian Interlock technology into our customer’s cars.

The Guardian Ignition Interlock System is a mechanism that is electrically wired into your vehicle. Before starting your car, you will blow into the breathalyzer. If your blood alcohol content is above the legal driving limit, your car will not start.

The goal of the Guardian Interlock is to keep previous DUI offenders safe. The other goal of the Guardian Interlock is to ensure that if you’ve had a DUI once, you will not get one again.

Installing the Guardian Ignition Interlock System into your car is the best alternative to using your own judgement after you’ve had a few drinks. It can be hard to determine your own level of intoxication, and sometimes it’s best to leave the deciding factor to an objective party.

If you have ever found yourself in a situation where you weren’t sure if you should drive or not after an evening of drinks, you’re...

more
dirk.jpg

Your Trusted Auto Service Experts

Here at Fort Collins Foreign Car Service (FCFCS), we want you to know what you can expect when you work with us. We are a trusted name when it comes to car repair and maintenance, and we strive to meet every customer’s needs with quality and efficiency.

Foreign And Domestic Cars

At FCFCS, we don’t just work on foreign cars. Our mechanics are skilled in servicing both foreign and domestic cars. We are determined to provide every customer who walks through our doors with the best care for their cars. We only suggests the repairs your car really needs, and we will advise you on the best maintenance schedule for the type of car you own and how often you drive your vehicle.

Your Mechanics

We are a locally owned and operated automotive repair shop in Fort Collins, and when you trust us with your car, it will be like trusting family. The team at FCFCS is made up of auto technicians, mechanics, staff, and our owner, Bill. Our team members are loyal and...

more
DefaultFeature-001b-170120-58822c8157bf3.jpg

Most people think that the make of their car is the determining factor when it comes to how many miles their car will get per gallon. While the style of your car does play a factor in how your car performs when it comes to gas mileage, there are a few things you can do to improve your car’s fuel economy.

At Fort Collins Foreign Car Service, we have a few recommendations for you on how you can improve your car’s fuel economy.

How Your Mechanic Can Help You

One of the most important factors in improving your car’s fuel economy is getting regular oil changes. Not only do we recommend regularly scheduled oil changes, but we also recommend always using the grade of motor oil that your car’s manufacturer suggests. By using a lower grade of oil on your car than suggested, you are likely hurting the quality of your gas mileage.

Parts To Have Checked

Have your spark plugs inspected and changed if necessary: If your spark plugs are in poor condition this can slow your engine down and decrease your gas mileage.

Have your air filter changed...

more
DefaultFeature-001b-170120-58822c8157bf3.jpg

Your car is probably one of the biggest investments you’ve made. It makes sense that you would want to see your investment last, even though the average driver only keeps their car for an average of six years. If your car is properly cared for and has the required tune-ups, you could get many more years out of your vehicle.

Here at Fort Collins Foreign Car Service, we have a few recommendations for you to make sure that your car will run smoother for longer.

Pay attention to your vehicle’s maintenance schedule: Each car comes with a manufacturer’s guide that has a suggested timeline for when your car should have routine maintenance. While you may think this is just the manufacturer’s suggestions and that the suggestions don’t really need to be followed, think again. Following your car’s maintenance schedule will keep your car in proper working order.

Check your car’s tire pressure on a regular basis: This is a simple task that can be done with with a small tire pressure gauge that you can keep in your glove box.

Take it easy during acceleration: You want...

more
DefaultFeature-001b-170120-58822c8157bf3.jpg

It’s that time of year again! Every year Consumer Reports comes out with the ten best cars of the year. Here at Fort Collins Foreign Car Service, our expert mechanics have everything you need to know about this year’s report, and the best car picks for you.

Whether you’re looking for a compact car, a midsize sedan, or a luxury SUV, Consumer Reports has the highest ranked vehicles in their class. Here’s this year’s list of the ten best cars in their class.

  • Subcompact Car: Honda Fit
  • Compact Car: Subaru Impreza
  • Midsized Car: Toyota Camry
  • Small SUV: Subaru Forester
  • Luxury SUV: Lexus RX
  • Sports Car Under $40K: Mazda MX-5 Miata
  • Large Car: Chevrolet Impala
  • Midsized SUV: Kia Sorento
  • Pickup Truck: Ford F-150
  • Minivan: Toyota Sienna

We’re not surprised to see that Honda, Toyota, and Subaru have made the list for the ten best cars in 2016. Here in Colorado, we have proven that Honda,...

more

In our last blog, we discussed tips to determine if your car needs to be taken to the auto mechanic.

Today, we will continue with our list of things you need to be on the look-out for to better understand when your car is in need of a tune-up.

  • If you aren’t already keeping track of how many miles you get per tank of gas, you should start now. The amount of miles you get on any given tank of gas is important. A sudden change in your gas mileage could indicate that your car needs to be serviced, especially if the change in gas mileage is drastic.
  • If your car has lost its get up and go, you need to get up and go to the auto mechanic. It’s not only important that your car has the ability to accelerate for the fun of it. Acceleration is important for merging and getting up steep inclines. If you car’s acceleration has declined in power, have it checked out.
  • If your car suffers from chronic vibration, it can not only be annoying, but it can also mean that...
more

When it comes to car maintenance, it can be hard to determine if you should pay attention to every little noise that you hear and every single light that comes on. When you think something is wrong with your car, your safety is your first concern. Your second concern should be whether or not the problem is worth a trip to the mechanic.

Fort Collins Foreign Car Service has some tips for you to consider when you’re thinking about calling a mechanic for an appointment.

  • If a warning light comes on, don’t ignore it. Warning lights are actually there to benefit you. The warning light will often indicate what the problem is. Warning lights are one of the easiest ways to tell that something is in fact wrong with your car, and a professional mechanic should be called when yours comes on.
  • If you notice that your brakes are squealing or your car is starting to shake as you press your foot on the brake, your brakes should be checked. Sometimes, noise from your brakes can just indicate normal wear-and-tear. If you recall the last time your brakes were changed, your...
more
sliderfull2rev.jpg

When you’re driving in any city in Colorado, you have to press a lot on both your gas and your brakes—the stop and go routine is simply part of suburban life. But how much do you really pay attention to what those two little pedals do and how important they are? After all, they perform the major functions that all vehicles need- the power to go and the power to stop. And when it comes to being able to stop, I’m sure we can all agree that we are grateful for our brakes!

It is agreed in the car mechanic and manufacturing world that the brakes are, by far, the most important safety feature of any vehicle. Being able to slow down or stop at a moment’s notice is what keeps you safe on the road, allowing you to avoid accidents, and keep with the pace of traffic. But what happens when your brakes are old or damaged, perhaps because you haven’t kept up with your routine maintenance? It seriously compromises your safety and ability to control your car, putting you, other drivers, and pedestrians at risk.

When you think of regular car maintenance, chances are good that oil...

more

The holiday season is a popular time for vehicle shopping in Fort Collins, and if you’re in the market for a new set of wheels, perhaps you’ve been debating on the kind of vehicle you want. There are cars, SUVs, crossovers, trucks, and more to choose from, with thousands of makes and models. Many people in Colorado own trucks, for both business and pleasure, and swear by their utility, power, and reliability. But if you are considering buying a truck, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

All types of vehicles have their own pros and cons, meaning that you need to find the right fit for you and your lifestyle. Trucks come with their own unique features, axles and drivelines, horsepower, storage solutions, and off road capabilities. Here are some benefits and drawbacks to truck ownership, and you should add your own ideas to the list as well!

Pros:Storage Bed

  • This is what really sets trucks apart. The ability to store and transport goods in the bed is a lifesaver for many people, so think about how much you would use it

Engine...

more

When it comes to snowy Colorado weather, the kind of car you drive can make a big difference with your safety and comfort on the roads. Many people opt for 4×4 or all-terrain vehicles, while others prefer to stick it out with their 2-wheel drive cars, but no matter how big your car is or what kind of drivetrain you have, it takes skill to navigate icy roads. While 4-wheel, automatic-trans SUVs provide more confidence, they come with much higher auto repair costs, but that’s not preventing people from buying them.

Less than 7% of new cars sold have manual transmissions, a sharp drop from past decades. However, they are making a comeback because of their fuel efficiency and higher handling control…especially in inclement weather. If you are in the minority group of stick shift owners, this post is for you. Manuals handle differently in the snow, so they should come with their own set of tips!

Before you head out on any potentially dangerous road, please make sure you get your vehicle in for a thorough check up and auto repair assessment. Mechanics should check clutches,...

more

Many drivers on the road today are savvy about taking good care of their vehicles and checking off their routine maintenance when the time comes. They understand that these regular trips to the mechanic are like going to the doctor for regular checkups- they keep our cars running smoothly and diagnose any issues early on. However, there are some people that tend to ignore these recommendations, simply driving their car until a major problem arises, and end up paying for it later- in time, money, and frustration. This is the same principle that guides some people’s actions regarding their own physical health, never going to the doctor until it’s an emergency, and never seeing the inside of a clinic until they learn they have cancer.

The truth is, your car can get sick too, and you run the risk of serious illness and injury to your vehicle if you don’t have it checked out and tuned up on a regular basis. Routine maintenance for cars and trucks is an important kind of preventative medicine. Your mechanic can top off fluids, rotate tires, and inspect all the systems and parts...

more

A lot of people shy away from foreign cars based on the assumption that these cars are more expensive to maintain. This is not the case in most instances, and, in fact, some foreign cars are less expensive to maintain that their domestic counterparts. How can this be the truth? Here’s a closer look at why buying a foreign car may actually cost less in the long run.

Free Maintenance Options

A lot of luxury car brands (BMW, Mercedes, etc) offer free maintenance for a number of months after the purchase of a car. For a lot of these manufacturers, taking care of cars that people buy by offering things like free oil changes, small auto body repairs, and other maintenance items means that people buying these cars will enjoy the experience longer. In fact, this practice has become so popular with luxury brand drivers that some domestic car manufacturers have started to offer the same types of deals.

If you purchase a Camry or Corolla, you can opt for the scheduled maintenance after two years or 25,000 miles (whichever comes first). This maintenance plan is free, and it...

more

Routine car maintenance is important no matter what kind of car you drive, but it might be even more important for a car that drives itself. Google has already announced a self driving car in the past, but now the company has come out with a newer version that’s smaller and relies on humans even less than before.

The Newer And Smaller Car

If you happen to be around Google’s headquarters, you’ll likely see a smaller version of the automated Google driverless car. This version only requires one human driver (in case of an emergency situation), and comes with a detachable steering wheel, brake pedal, and gas pedal. The Department of Transportation in California has allowed Google to put the car on the road with other cars, but not until the company thoroughly tested the new automobile.

Google claims that the car has been fully tested and is safe, so you may start to see the tiny car on roads in some states where self-driving cars are now allowed. Those states include California, Nevada, Michigan, and Florida. Before any DOT will allow any self-driving car on the...

more

Golf owners tend to be proud of their cars, and rightly so – Golfs are fun to drive. But VW just came out with a new Golf that we’re betting you’re going to love even more than the one you have now. The new 330-HP VW Golf race car concept looks like a Golf, but has a lot more packed under the hood.

Under The Hood

VW calls this car a “heavily modified” Golf. So it has all the styling of a Golf that you’ve grown to love, but it comes with some fun adjustments. First of all, this car is front-wheel drive to give you that real race car feel. You’ll also get a turbocharged 2.0-liter 330 horsepower engine, a chassis that is 40 cm wider (more than 15-inches), and a six-speed DSG dual-clutch that’s automatic. Tire-wise, you’re looking at massively wide 18-inches (hence the larger chassis).

On The Inside

What would you want a race car to look like? Like a race car, right? Well, that’s exactly what VW has dropped into the newest Golf. The minute you look inside the car, you will realize that you are driving a race car, even if you didn’t get that from the modest...

more

When it comes to auto repair, it’s not easy to find a mechanic that you can trust. Since you have probably spent a lot of money on your car (and use it to get from point A to point B), it’s important to find a mechanic that’s trustworthy but also reliable.

There’s nothing worse than being stuck with a car repair emergency only to be told that you have to wait a month or two to see your mechanic. So how do you find a car mechanic that will be there when you need them? Here are some of our top tips.

  • Look for a mechanic that specializes in the type of car that you own. If you drive a Ferrari, you probably don’t want to work with a mechanic that has no foreign car repair skills. Foreign cars can be tricky to repair and do require expertise. Don’t bring your car to a mechanic that doesn’t know how to fix it.
  • Take a look at the Better Business Bureau ratings. If the mechanic you’re thinking about seeing has poor reviews, it’s probably not a good idea to visit that garage. You can do the same thing on the Internet by looking for reviews on sites like Yelp. See...
more

BMW has always tried to put as much tech as possible into the company’s cars, but the new Series 7 really outdoes them all. This series is equipped with a ton of tech that you may love, but you might also find confusing. If you have the coin for a new Series 7, here’s what you can expect to find inside BMW’s latest creation.

Hand Gesture Tech

Gone are the days when stereo volume was raised and lowered by buttons. Now, all you have to do is swipe your hand in the air to raise and lower the volume, and to to things like accept and reject phone calls. Swipe your hand to the left in the air, and you’ll accept an incoming call or raise the volume. Swipe your hand to the right, and you’ll reject a call and lower the volume. No buttons required, and you don’t even need to activate voice to do these basic things.

Traffic Driving Help

BMW isn’t as ready to jump onto the self-driving bandwagon as Mercedes is, but the car company is embracing some of the newer technology that surrounds things like traffic jams. The new Series 7 will help you stay in a lane if you are...

more

Hybrid cars certainly have an appeal to anyone that’s trying to cut back on fuel costs. But recent sales of hybrid cars have been steadily dropping. Is this because people no longer care about fuel costs, or is it more likely that it’s difficult to justify the price of a hybrid car? Here’s a closer look at why some people aren’t finding hybrid cars appealing, and whether or not a hybrid car is a good choice for you (and your wallet).

Justifying A Hybrid Car

The idea of driving a fuel-saving Tesla or full hybrid model down the street can seem like a very appealing one. Not only are some of the newest hybrid models sleek looking and fast, but they also have a sort of cool appeal to them. All of this is fine if you can really justify the cost savings you’ll get from buying a hybrid vehicle – but a lot of people can’t. At the start, a hybrid vehicle of almost any kind will cost more than a traditional gas powered car. That upfront cost is the one reason why many people won’t go the hybrid route.

Following that upfront cost, you have to consider how much you pay in...

more

A large part of taking care of a car has to do with preventative maintenance. The more that you maintain your car (before there’s a big problem), the longer your car will stay running smoothly and in good shape. One of the easiest things that you can do to ensure that your car runs without a problem is to check the fluids inside of your car. When it comes to most cars (aside from some foreign models), you can check the fluids by yourself.

Here’s How To Do It.

Coolant: the name of this fluid pretty much gives away what the job of the fluid is. Coolant exists in order to cool down your car, and without coolant your car will overheat. Checking your coolant is as simple as removing the radiator cap (located under the hood of your car near your engine), and checking that the coolant reaches the indicator line (you will see this line inside of the coolant container). If you need more coolant, simply fill it up. Typically, it’s a good idea to check the coolant at the start of every season.

Your Engine Oil: this is one of the fluids that most people know how to check,...

more

We talk a lot about routine maintenance on this blog, but what does that actually mean? Are there some things that you should do for routine maintenance regularly? If so, how often? Does it depend on the kind of car that you have? All of these questions are important, and we’re setting out to address them today in this blog post.

Here’s What You Need To Know About Routine Maintenance.

  • Oil changes: an oil change is one of the most important things that you can do. During a routine maintenance check, the garage that you bring your car to should completely change the oil in your car. How often should this be done? It is recommended that the oil and oil filter are replaced every 3,000 to 7,000 miles. If your car tells you when to replace oil automatically, this is a good indication. It’s also not a good idea to ignore the oil light if it turns on.
  • Fluid check: a thorough check of the transmission fluids, coolant, windshield washer, and steering fluids is also important. Fluid checks should also be done every 3,000 to 7,000 miles. Fluid replacement and checks...
more

Here in Colorado, we get some tough winters. That means that most of our roads are covered in salt from late November to late March. While salt can prevent accidents by making ice less slippery, there’s a bad side to salt too. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has found that random brake failures on more than two million vehicles weren’t so random after all.

The Salt Problem

The NHTSA has concluded that road salt is to blame for brake failure. This problem is so prevalent that the NHTSA has told Americans to make sure to wash their cars thoroughly throughout the winter months, and during the springtime. It’s not enough to wash the top of your car either. You have to make sure that the water and soap reach the underside of your car in order to get rid of all that winter salt build-up.

The NHTSA did put a date on cars impacted by salt build-up (those that were manufactured in 2008 or earlier), but also warned that an excess of salt can happen to any car. What exactly happens when salt builds up underneath a car? Brake lines begin to...

more

How do you know when your brakes need to be replaced? Are there any signs that you can look for without heading to the garage right away? Driving a car that doesn’t have reliable brakes is a bad thing (it can mean a collision or other accident), but thankfully you can easily tell when your brakes need to be replaced.

Take a look at these telltale signs, and don’t ignore warnings that your brakes might be giving you!

  • Listen carefully. Have you ever heard your brakes give off a high pitched squeaking sound? That sound isn’t coincidental. That sound is caused by a metal piece called an indicator, and it does exactly what it’s meant to do – warn you when it’s time to change your brakes.
  • Typically, that metal indicator means that you need to replace your brakes if you can hear it regularly whenever you drive. Sometimes, an indicator can sound off an alarm if your car has been sitting in water, it has been raining outside, or you just washed your car. The key is to listen for a consistent noise.
  • If your car pulls to one side while you brake, this could...
more

Getting your car detailed will set you back a few hundred dollars, and not everyone has the budget at the start of each season to put down that much money on cleaning up a car. But, leaving those salt stains and other debris from the winter season isn’t good for your car either. The best solution to this problem is to clean the inside of your car yourself. You can even do this without buying a ton of products too (since car cleaning products tend to be more expensive than other products!).

If you have a nice weekend to spend at home, here are some simple and cost-effective ways to clean the inside of your car without spending a ton of money. Take a look!

  • You can clean your dash safely with a mixture of vinegar and water. If you want to add a pleasant smell to that mix, simply add in some soap to the mix. Using a clean rag, wash the inside of your car with the mixture, and you’ll quickly see the inside of your dash shine.
  • Getting rid of stains. Throughout the winter months, your car probably soaked up a lot of different types of stains from salt to coffee...
more

Whether you’re headed a few hours away to spend a week in the mountains, or on a week-long road trip along the West coast, there’s a lot to think about. Did you remember the bug spray? How about car activities for the little ones? Do you need to book campsites along the way, or are you getting a hotel room? Did you bring enough snacks along to avoid the fast food drive-thru lines as much as possible?

But how much thought did you put into ensuring your car is ready for the journey? Did you just check the oil and call it good, or did you really think it through and check everything just in case? There are definitely some things you should make sure you’ve checked and certain things you need to do in order to keep your journey a smooth and uneventful one. You wouldn’t want to end up stranded in a strange place, would you? Whether you check it all yourself, or choose your favorite Fort Collins auto repair shop to do it for you is up to you. Just don’t forget to do it!

Required Maintenance

  • Air filter. Did you know it’s recommended you replace the air filter...
more

Suzuki is recalling two million vehicles throughout the world due to ignition problems. The Chevrolet Cruze is part of this recall too, since Suzuki builds the Cruze cars for GM. The issue at hand is that the ignition in any of these cars could start to smoke, so that’s a very good reason to pay attention to this recall!

What To Do

This particular recall is focused on European, Japanese, and Australian markets for now, but the recall could span into the US if the problem is found elsewhere. 67 incidents involving an ignition that started to smoke have been reported, though no major injuries were reported in addition to the incidents. What should you do if your car is part of this recall or any other? Here are the steps to take.

  • First, do not panic. Your car will not spontaneously combust right away. But, you should bring the car into a reputable garage right away.
  • Call your Fort Collins auto repair shop to book an appointment. Hopefully, you can bring your car in right away, or leave it at the shop overnight or a few days ahead of time. If this is...
more

Each year, Consumer Reports puts out a list of the best and worst cars. The company tests each car numerous times, and grades according to a few different criteria. Some people rely heavily on this report when it comes to buying a new car, and others take what Consumer Reports notes with a grain of salt. What you decide to do with this list is up to you, but it’s interesting to note what the company believes are the best and worst options anyway!

The Cars that Ranked the Worst

Let’s begin with the worst cars on this list because it’s always interesting to find out if your car is one of those worse options, right? The two cars that made the top of this list are Fiat and Jeep. Want to hear something odd about those two listings? Consumers noted that Fiat is one of the most popular cars, and most consumers that own a Fiat would buy one again! Considering that Consumer Reports lists Fiat as unreliable, it’s pretty remarkable that consumers love the Fiat no matter what kind of reliability score it gets!

The cars that consumers wouldn’t buy again (or aren’t happy...

more

It may seem like an odd move for the electric car company, but Tesla is aiming for a different market with the all-new Model S. The company has recently added some upgrades to the Model S, and it’s clear that Tesla is now directing its efforts towards the luxury car market.

The new upgrades include all-wheel drive in addition to more power. The changes will be made to the Model S base model only, but this also means a higher price.

Some Changes

Tesla has officially stopped selling the older Model S (the 60) that included running from 0-60 mph in 5.9 seconds, and a 380-horsepower motor that could go up to 208 miles on one charge. In its place is the 70-D that can go 240 miles per charge, can go from 0-60 in 5.2 seconds, and has 514 horsepower. In addition, those that purchase the new 70-D can gain access to all of the Tesla charging stations.

But in order to get the new 70-D, you’ll have to pay $75,000 instead of $70,000, which is a 7% increase. Tesla owner and founder Elon Musk justifies this price change by stating that buyers can get a $7,500 federal tax...

more
12593950693_c97357f881_n.jpg

Every year, Consumer Reports releases its top picks for that year. The list is based on a number of criteria including reliability, safety, and performance data in addition to being tested by a team of engineers that puts each car considered through more than 50 different tests. This year, the cars that top the list may surprise you, since some of them are not at all what you’d expect.

Topping the List

The cars that topped the list this year were Japanese brands like Subaru, but some American made cars also won top marks too. The top sports sedan was the Buick Regal, which might surprise many, but testers found this car to handle like a high-end European luxury car, and that’s never a bad thing.

The large car pick was the Chevrolet Impala. A long time favorite of anyone seeking a fast car with a rugged engine, testers found the Impala to be big and roomy like a luxury car, but it also comes with excellent handling, which is something that you don’t see that often when it comes to massive cars like the Impala. If you have a road trip coming up or you travel a...

more

Here in the US, there are many laws regulating emissions from your vehicles in order to protect the environment. Most states require your car undergo some form of emissions test every time it goes in to your Fort Collins automotive shop for an inspection. Here in Colorado, it is indeed a requirement, and a trip to the DMV website shows you exactly what test you will need based on the county you live in and the model year of your vehicle.

The tests are very important. It’s not just to be sure your vehicle is up to par operationally, but more a protection in place for the air we breathe and the ecosystem of our beautiful state. I think we can all agree the less pollution we contribute to, the better. But what about other countries?

Problems In Paris

Paris, France, which has emissions levels which are two times higher than London, has been hard at work trying to change this. Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, wants to clear up the smog and has passed legislation banning diesel vehicles (any large trucks and...

more

Porsche consumers have been asking the company, in roundabout ways, for more sportier options, and Porsche may have finally delivered. The company announced this morning that a new model line would be joining the Porsche family, making it the seventh model line to be part of the company. Porsche hasn’t said much about the new line of cars, though it is known that the seventh line of Porsche offerings will go head-to-head with what Ferrari currently offers.

Good Year For Luxury Cars

Porsche, in addition to BMW, Audi, Daimler Mercedes-Benz, and Bentley (Bentley and Audi being part of the same VW group that Porsche belongs to, though the brands did well individually), all reported an increase in sales last year. Porsche expects to sell a surplus of 200,000 vehicles this year, and the new addition to the Porsche lineup is likely to be counted among those increasing sales.

The new sports car would fit somewhere between the 911 ($151,000) and the 918 ($845,000). There was some previous speculation that Porsche may simply expand the Panamera line, but it looks more...

more

Technology is moving faster and faster, almost seemingly overnight. You buy one phone, thinking it’s the best of the best, and a week later, you see a commercial for something bigger and better. You purchase a car at your favorite Fort Collins automotive shop based on the features available to make your drive easier, and then find out a month later that advances in technology have made it even better. Now, they’re talking about autonomous cars everywhere you go.

The car that can drive itself–seems scary, but you know that down the road, it very well may be commonplace. You won’t have to worry about texting and driving–so they say–the car is going to know just where to go, so you can text away without worrying you’ll crash or get pulled over. Google is leading the charge towards a self-driving car, and in the process, mapping the world like crazy, literally leaving no stone unmapped. But do they need to be?

Whether Or Not To Map

Despite the fact it is extremely costly and time consuming to map every street, tree, rock, and building, Google says it’s the only way....

more

To know the real worth of a car, you have to look at the overall residual value of that car. This can be tricky to do because those values fluctuate over time. So the key is to look at the residual value of a car that hasn’t fluctuated much. This will help you determine which cars are really a good investment (of some kind), and which won’t leave you with much money invested at the end of those payments.

According to a recent Forbes article, here are some of the cars that you may want to look at if you are thinking of buying a car this year.

  • Mid-size: Honda Accord
  • Full-size: Toyota Avalon
  • Sports car: Chevrolet Camaro
  • Minivan: Honda Odyssey
  • Offroad: Toyota SJ Cruiser
  • Full-size Pickup: Toyota Tundra
  • Premium Full-size: Audi A6
  • Premium Mid-size: Audi A5

How Residual Value Is Determined

Residual values are determined based on a few factors including brand desirability, quality, durability, and other factors that are carefully...

more

Aston Martin has been wanting to break into the supercar market for some time. Now, the company has created a new supercar that will be track-only, and they’re calling it the ‘Vulcan.’ The car is priced at $2.3 million, base, and it comes with more than 800 hp. Aston Martin is only going to make 24 of these cars too, so they will be as exclusive as they come.

Flame Throwing

The Vulcan doesn’t exactly throw flames, but flames do shoot out of the sides of this car’s side exhausts. So who is going to drive a car with more than 800 hp that’s built on 7.0 liter V-12 engine? If you’re thinking that this car isn’t for everyday drivers, you’re right. The Vulcan is strictly track-only, so you won’t be taking your Vulcan to the grocery store anytime soon. Or anywhere.

Aston Martin is also providing a program for buyers called “intensive track driver training.” If you’re going to purchase one of these cars, you need that free program (unless your profession involves driving cars around tracks!). The teachers that you’ll find with the free program are actually Aston Martin...

more

In the U.S., all major car manufacturers saw an increase in car and truck sales — up 13.7% from 2014. What are Americans buying, and why are car sales so high? Here’s a closer look.

What’s Popular

According to manufacturer reports, Americans purchased 20% more pickups and SUVs over any other kind of vehicle. Which trucks were at the top of that list? The Chevrolet Silverado and the Ford F-150 topped the sales charts. The company with the most sales was General Motors with with almost 203,000 sales, which translates into a nearly 19% increase over the company’s sales last year. Ford, Toyota, Nissan, and Fiat-Chrysler also saw significant increases in sales.

As far as car brands go, Mitsubishi saw sales increase upwards of 40%, Lexus, GMS, Porsche, and Mini also saw increases. Brands that didn’t fare so well include Buick, Jaguar, Volkswagen, Scion, Bentley, and Volvo. Maserati also saw a massive drop, which doesn’t bode well for the company considering earlier projections. Then again, it’s not everyone that can afford a Maserati, and it’s hard to put those cars...

more

If you think that you’re buying a foreign car, you may be surprised to learn that many “foreign” cars are actually made here in the US. These cars are some of the best, but it’s interesting to learn that what you think you’re buying, you’re actually not buying, right? Take a look at these popular foreign cars that aren’t so foreign at all!

Acura ILX: Like most many of their parent company, Honda, many models of Acuras are made in Greensburg, Indiana.

BMW X3: The BMW X3 models are made in Spartanburg, South Carolina. These BMWs were once made in Austria, but have been relocated to the USA.

Hyundai Sonata: Sonatas are made in Montgomery, Alabama.

Infiniti JX: They are built in Tennessee alongside Infiniti’s US headquarters.

Mercedes GL Class: The GL Class Mercedes is made in Vance, Alabama. Mercedes makes other models in the US as well.

Volkswagen Passat: The Passat and many other Volkswagen models are made in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Best Foreign Car To Buy

Now that you know some of your favorite foreign cars aren’t actually made...

more

A new report in Time Magazine suggests that the best time to finance a car is right now. In the US, financing a car has never been so affordable, but that might change if you wait too long. According to the article, the cost of borrowing will skyrocket by the same time next year.

The Cost Of Owning An Older Car

Based on the same article, the age of the average car on the road currently is 11 years old. While many cars can last that long and remain in good shape, there is a high cost associated with keeping an older car. How can you figure out if you should keep your older car or buy a new one? The general rule of thumb is to figure out how much that car would cost new, tally up the monthly payments for the newer model, and then compare those payments to how much you are spending currently on car repairs.

If your car repairs are costing more than the price of a monthly payment, it might be time to buy a new car. While all cars (old, new, and used) will require some kind of repair occasionally, older cars tend to be in the shop more often. If you avoid repairs on...

more

Gone are the days of cars with simple engines and motors. While they still exist and can be purchased used, today’s new cars come complete with computers, delicate sensors, and a level of connectivity to various networks and even Wi-Fi that rivals your home. You might have learned of the complexity of your vehicle after a trip to Fort Collins auto repair, discovering that just one sensor can effect how your vehicle functions and set off that pesky “check engine” light, whether the sensor needs to be replaced or just cleaned up a bit.

A recent article in the Washington Post highlights a concern you may not have considered, especially if your car features all of the fancy bells and whistles like built-in Wi-Fi and OnStar service. The issue was raised by Senator Ed Markey from Massachusetts – what risks does driving around with all of this technology built right into your car pose to your security when it comes to your privacy?

No Safeguards

Many new cars coming to the market with all of this connectivity haven’t really undergone testing to show how easy it is for...

more

It’s a bit too early (a bit!) to start guessing which Super Bowl commercial will take the nation by storm, but BMW has released one commercial pre-game. The new BMW i3 commercial features Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel both in the past and in the present — here’s a better explanation.

A Famous News Clip

Back in 1994, Couric and Gumbel had a discussion on the Today Show about the Internet. The news clip features Couric and Gumbel trying to figure out whether or not you “talk to the Internet,” and Couric eventually asking an assistant (Alison), “What is the Internet anyway?” It might be funny to think that this news clip was once a real conversation between two news casters, but it was very real at the time when most people had no idea what the Internet was or did!

In the new BMW Super Bowl commercial, you’ll see the famous Couric and Gumbel conversation, and watch as the commercial fast forwards to today featuring Couric and Gumbel sitting inside of a new i3. After a discussion of how the car might actually work (like a wind turbine?), Couric presses a button on...

more

You may think that this title belongs to Mazda, since there are so many of those cars on the road lately, but, no, once again, Toyota has claimed the prize for the most popular car company in the world. In fact, Toyota has been the most popular car company in the world for the past three years. What gives?

Why We Love Toyotas

Most consumers are creatures of habit, and it’s said that once you buy a Toyota, you won’t want to buy anything else. Essentially, those people that purchase Toyotas (mostly Camrys and Scions) tend to buy the same make of car the next year, or when that lease runs out. Just how many cars do you need to sell to be crowned the world’s most popular car company? In 2014, Toyota sold 10.23 million cars — Lexus and Scion models were the most popular, but Camry came in a close third.

After Toyota, the companies that sold the most cars were Volkswagen (10.14 million sold), and General Motors (with 9.92 million sold). It’s interesting to note that most car magazines do not prize the Camry over other sedans, and this car is usually noted as being...

more

If there’s one thing an auto show brings, it’s interesting concept cars. It’s always exciting to see what manufacturers plan to showcase, some cars seeming too futuristic to ever sit in Fort Collins automotive lots! But, hey, there’s an audience for every product, right? Well, that’s what some manufacturers would like to think anyway!

This year was no different, with each manufacturer claiming cars like those being showcased would be ready for the road in the next few years (really? We can’t wait!). Whether that is true or not remains to be seen, but one thing is certain – there are some amazing ideas in the works! Here are some highlights from the show that you might see cruising the roadways sooner than you think.

Mercedes F015

This is the luxury vehicle that stole the show with its aerodynamic design that looks like it came straight from the Jetsons. This car will drive itself, and as such, features wood floors and seats that swivel to face the rear seats. It’s like the ultimate hangout that is driving you and coworkers to work! It hasn’t been decided whether...

more

At this year’s Detroit Auto Show, Porsche introduced the all-new Cayenne Turbo S. This is the fastest SUV that Porsche has ever created. How fast is fast? Get ready to go from 0-60 in 3.8 seconds. This Cayenne can also reach a top speed of 176mph — yeah, that’s fast! Speed isn’t the only thing that Porsche sunk into the redesigned Cayenne Turbo S. Porsche has completely redesigned the Turbo S from the inside out.

Under The Hood

The new Cayenne’s turbochargers are now placed in the exhaust pipe area. This new placement is meant to boost the 4.8-litre twin-turbo V8, which it does nicely based on the presentations at the Detroit Auto Show. So, what you’re looking at now is 562bhp and 589lb ft of torque inside of the new Cayenne.

You’ll also get 420mm carbon ceramic brakes equipped with 10-piston calipers, and 370mm 4-piston ceramic discs working on the back end. Porsche has also included something called ‘Dynamic Chassis Control,’ which aims to make rolling when turning corners minimal. All of this adds up to a seriously powerful and fast machine that’s far more...

more

Have you ever noticed how many “Baby On Board!” stickers there are on cars these days? That’s largely because parents often worry about road safety when transporting a child of any age. It’s one thing to drive yourself around, but it’s another thing to make sure that any child you are driving with is safe too. Following traffic laws and speed limits helps, but it’s also important that you pay attention to various laws regarding the transportation of children.

Actually, those “Baby On Board!” stickers were originally designed to warn other drivers. If you drive with a baby, you drive a little bit slower and a little more cautious. If you following that person, you would then know they were driving with a baby and not just trying to get on your nerves.

If you aren’t sure what the basic child safety tips are when it comes to driving, here’s some help.

0-2 Year of Age: Children that are younger than the age of two do not have strong neck support. This is why it is highly recommended that children younger than the age of two are placed in rear-facing child seats when...

more

New years Eve is a world wide party night. Its a night of celebration, of dropping balls and fireworks. Many pubs and clubs do some of their best businesses on New Years Eve. Meeting friends to ring in the new year, and bid farewell to 2014 is a celebratory tradition.

Unfortunately, it is also a night whose celebrations too often result in deadly car accidents and other alcohol related tragedies. New years Eve, interestingly though, is not the deadliest holiday for drunk driving fatalities. Way ahead in front is Thanksgiving. Perhaps this is because most of us prepare for New Years Eve, and not so much for Thanksgiving. We know the wine glasses will be full, the beers making their rounds, and even a special midnight shot might be in order. When it comes to Thanksgiving, perhaps most people don’t anticipate the inebriation they may find themselves in, or the drunkenness of other drivers on the roads.

Drunk driving not only ruins lives, but a drunk driving survivor will be severely penalized by our legal system. Not only will the drunk driver have to live with the...

more

Your auto technician in Fort Collins will take very good care of your maintenance and repair needs when it comes to your vehicle. This includes any mechanical issues, body damage, and quality routine care like an oil change or battery check.

One item you, as the car owner, can easily address yourself, is exterior car care. A clean car will experience less corrosion, as salts, toxins, and dirt will eat away not only at paint finishes, but exposed metal as well.

This is especially true during our fall and winter months. Every time we drive, your undercarriage is getting attacked with grit, rocks, ice, and other debris. Your car’s lovely dark teal paint job can look more like murky brown mud after just one excursion through town after a heavy snow, or when snow is melting and mud is jumping onto everything. If, like most of us, you drive on the major highways, and take trips to resort towns or Denver for various winter adventures, your car will be coated with everything one can think of. Sometimes, just sitting in a parking space will get a car filthy. Why? Snowplows....

more

Your Fort Collins auto shop is always watching for new tech and upcoming trends. They stay on top of changing technology in order to keep current with auto repair and maintenance, as well as keep auto technicians up to date and ready to fix anything that comes in to the shop.

Since the first mechanized transit was developed, inventors, writers and techies have been imagining more ways to move us around with greater innovation, precision and speed. Leonardo daVinci was great at this, coming up with ideas for numerous inventions which would allow humankind to travel mechanically.

According to Stuff Of Genius:

Da Vinci’s designs were spectacularly ahead of his time. If they had been built, they might have revolutionized the history of technology, though many of them may have been impossible to build with the tools available in the 15th and 16th centuries. In recent years, however, engineers have begun to construct models of da Vinci’s amazing machines and most of them actually work.

Leonardo da Vinci came up with the first known concept for several...

more

Mountain driving is a completely different experience than cruising through Kansas or traveling down to Texas. Because of curves, changing altitudes, and driving through areas rich with wildlife, mountain driving in Colorado requires lower speeds, greater caution, and some knowledge regarding putting your car under greater strain while driving in the mountains.

Winter mountain driving is even more perilous, with snow, ice, and other weather conditions having serious impact on not only the ability to drive, but on visibility. Be sure and check for road closures before heading up to Steamboat Springs for a ski trip, or even prior to traveling across I-70.

Rules of driving in the mountains, especially during the winter require special attention:

  • When vehicles meet on a narrow road which is not wide enough for two vehicles, the vehicle heading downhill must yield the right-of-way for the car heading uphill. Typically this is done by backing up or finding a spot that is wide enough for a car to pass.
  • Use a lower gear to control speeds while going up or...
more

Mechanics in Fort Collins don’t do tune ups anymore because modern cars are so computerized, that the many adjustments and tweaks that comprised the majority of an auto tune up are simply not necessary. Valves don’t need adjusting, ignition timing on modern cars is regulated and controlled by your cars computer, and, there are no more carburetors to tweak.

Your modern car is actually very good at self regulating and correcting many of the problems that may occur. If a problem should arise, your auto technician will be using computer diagnostics to correctly identify and adjust the problem.

The majority of mechanical components in a your car will need maintenance, especially parts that tend to wear out with overuse or improper lubrication. But for modern cars, when a part goes bad, it needs to be replaced, not “tuned up.”

Fort Collins automotive services and repair focus on maintenance, and this is for a very good reason. Keeping the various elements that comprise your car well lubricated, clean and optimally tweaked for top performance will prevent engine damage...

more

Driving is never guaranteed to be completely safe and accident free. Your local auto shop would go out of business if none of us ever had accidents! Year round, we all need to remember that we are putting ourselves in a large piece of metal that is traveling at high velocity. Should we hit another driver, or should another driver hit us, if we skid and roll due to black ice, or even if we are in a minor fender bender because a tree suddenly appeared in the middle of the road, our cars will definitely be damaged, and so will the driver and occupants of the vehicle.

Your car service in Fort Collins does not want to see anyone get hurt. They can easily repair or patch up damage to your car, but would prefer you simply don’t experience any kind of car accident at all. In the event of an accident, hopefully the injuries and vehicle damage are minor.

Here are some pretty simple tips designed to make driving at any time more safe. these are all very practical, and will aid in cutting down potential car accidents. The objective of these safe driving tips is to keep the driver...

more

Your Fort Collins Auto Repair shop will service quite a few vehicles that need brake repair. Most cars use disc brakes, and they are not a terribly complex system. They are composed of a brake fluid filled hydraulic system, a set of padded clamps known as calipers, and a disc known as the rotor. Additionally, your rotors will have brake pads attached to them.

With time or overuse, any of these components can get worn or damaged, and you will need to get them taken care of at your Fort Collins auto repair shop.

Here are the indications that you have a brake problem. If you experience any of these, get them fixed as soon as possible to avoid further damage to your braking system. Operating your car without effective brakes is a serious safety hazard.

Your Car Makes A High Pitched Squeal Or Grinding Noise

A small built in indicator in your braking system will make a high pitched squeal when your brake pads need replacing. If you hear this strange noise, thats what it is. If you do hear a grinding noise, it means your brake pads are completely worn...

more

Treat your car with car, and it can last a very long time, up to 200,000 miles. Also, a well and properly maintained car will perform better, experience less mechanical breakdown and failure, and cost the owner much less in upkeep.

If you want to keep your car running efficiently and well, there are several pitfalls in car maintenance you need to avoid. These car maintenance errors generally up with a trip to your Fort Collins auto repair shop, or even a tow to the junkyard.

Mistake 1: Not Getting Regular Maintenance

First get quality regular maintenance. Our cars won’t replenish low fluids or change their own oil when it gets to used and dirty. Your Fort Collins Automotive center is not just for repair, it is also for servicing and maintaining your car to keep it in optimal mechanical condition. Don’t wait until something breaks down to see an auto technician. This is one of the biggest mistakes car owners make. Thinking that your car only needs to go to the shop when it is broken will end up costing you more in repairs and the cars longevity than if you just...

more

Gas prices have really been dropping, and that is something we can all benefit from. However, with cold weather we can expect to experience a decrease in fuel economy.

According to the US Department of Energy:

Fuel economy tests show that, in short-trip city driving, a conventional gasoline car’s gas mileage is about 12% lower at 20°F than it would be at 77°F. It can drop as much as 22% for very short trips (3 to 4 miles). The effect on hybrids is worse. Their fuel economy can drop about 31% to 34% under these conditions.

As with every automotive function, the best thing any of us can do to increase our cars performance is simple maintenance. Your Fort Collins Auto Repair Shop is equipped and ready to prep and fine tune your car for colder driving conditions. When it comes to Fort Collins automotive efficiency, we need to be sensitive to the fact that not only do our cars need regular maintenance to remain in optimal condition, but due to our dramatic changes in temperature, moisture, and humidity, our cars can struggle. What was the most efficient when...

more

It can seem like our cars give us more trouble in the winter than other times of the year. They’re not falling apart, trust us, they’re just cold! We need extra clothing, home heating and several pairs of warm socks and a good coat to get ourselves through cold temperatures. Our bodies haven’t changed since summer, the temperatures have, and we have to adjust.

Unfortunately, we can’t just throw a warm down coat on our car to offset the “chill,” and help them operate efficiently. Our cars need some extra attention and care to remain in optimal operation condition when its cold outside.

With winter coming, we at Fort Collins Foreign Car Service want to make our readers aware of changes created by cold and freezing temperatures to your cars. This also applies to our winter sport vehicles.

Tires

If you own snowmobiles or other recreational winter vehicles, you know that they need a little love in between the seasons. They are mechanical machines, just like our cars, and have many of the same needs.

An obvious seasonal maintenance items you and your auto...

more

It was inevitable. Once the first motorized carriages rolled out onto the streets, people were going to use them to not only get across town, but to go pick up a bottle or drive over to the pub and have a few pints. Almost as soon as people started drinking, everyone in their path was facing the hazard of a potentially drunk driver.

The first Drunk driving arrest occurred in London in 1897.

Twenty-five year old London taxi driver George Smith is our first DUI of record, although it wasn’t called a DUI, and their were no breathalyzer tests at the time. The guy was just snickered, and drove his cab into a building. He was arrested and fined 25 shillings. These days, any kind of conviction for DUI or DWI regardless if its drugs or alcohol will cost a lot more than 25 shillings.

Not only will the damage cause by a drunk driving accident require a visit with your Fort Collins Auto Repair shop, as the offender, you will also be spending some quality time in your local jail, your courthouse, and in alcohol classes. Most first time drunk driving offenses cost...

more

Enjoy watching our bountiful Colorado wildlife this fall without even having to leave your car if you don’t want to. This is a great time, before snows get deep and weather gets too frigid to watch our elk, bighorn sheep, antelope, moose and other animals.

Our smaller creatures, like chipmunks, beavers, and even birds are also quite busy this time of year. The have a lot of fattening up to do for winter, and are currently gorging themselves, while some animals are creating winter stores for the cold hungry times they know by instinct are coming.

One of the advantages to living in Colorado is that many natural animal habitats are located in our mountain and rural communities. Estes Park really belongs to the elk, not the people. The valley town was theirs long before anyone put in a candied apple store or pewter plant. The immigration of humans to their home hasn’t deterred them from carrying on business as usual, which means finding a mate in the fall. Drive on up to Estes Park, and you will see elk bugling and sparring in the roads, on peoples lawns, as well as...

more

Cars do age and wear down. It is as inevitable as the aging on our faces and the lifespan of a computer. Nothing mechanical will endure forever, even with vigilant maintenance. Ok, maybe some things will. The average car has a set lifespan, just as most things do.

Individual components in a car may wear out at different rates, and often, it is not indicative that the entire car needs to be replaced. For example tires, windshield wipers, brakes, axles and even headlights tend to need to be replaced every so often. Whereas something more crucial to the mechanical soundness of a car, the engine or transmission, will probably have a longer lifespan.

Your car service in Fort Collins, as well as any car owner, needs to expect this when you purchase a car: things will get broken or damaged, and items within the car will need replacing. One way to stay on top of these kind of inevitable system degradation is with regular maintenance.

It is amazing how long you can extend the life of any vehicle just by following your users guide, manufacturer recommendations, and auto...

more

Your Fort Collins auto repair has seen plenty of banged up and damaged vehicles come into the shop as a result of accidents that occurred at night. What is it about night time that alters safety for driving? It’s not the cars. There are numerous factors which require us to be more alert when driving at night during the day. You can probably think of several right off the top of your head.

One obvious safety hazard when it comes to night driving is vision. Because it is dark, we rely on our headlamps and street lights to see the road ahead, what’s around us, and what is behind us. Our range of vision is limited. Because we can’t see as much or as far, we are not as prepared in advance of hazards on the road. These could be anything from a stalled car to black ice. Almost all of our reaction time when a hazard is present relies on our ability to see it. At night, we lose significant amounts of our depth perception, peripheral vision and color perception. Ideal night driving is that which provides the most visibility. This could be driving in a well lit city, or even in...

more

Most classic cars are generally always worth repairing. They are rare, and they retain their value. Then there is the whole selection of collector cars, something I’m sure most of us don’t have an abundance of. But if you do collect cars for pleasure, investing or rehab, this article is probably not for you. Your Fort Collins auto repair shop can certainly help any proud classic car owner or collector maintain that one incredible 1967 T-Bird, or even that up and coming Tesla you purchased. If you have a vehicle that you want to keep because it is important to you, you love it, and it is worth the upkeep, by all means, continue with regular maintenance. Let your car service in Fort Collins and your favorite auto technicians keep it purring, shining, and cruising.

Most of us, however, buy our cars not as investments or as parts of a collection, but for other reasons. They are quite simply necessary conveniences in the age of the automobile. What factors should be looked at when determining if continued maintenance and repair is the best way to proceed with a vehicle we own...

more

Earlier, we talked about working with both your Fort Collins Auto repair shop as well as online sources to make good choices when purchasing a new or used vehicle. Another thing you need to look for, aside from general upkeep and maintenance, is safety. A good place to start your investigation is with your Fort Collins Auto Repair shop. They will have seen virtually every car manufactured rolling into their repair bays, and have a some solid ideas of which cars tend to have higher safety ratings than others.

Here are several very worthwhile resources for you to use in investigating the safety issues (both good and bad) associated with any particular car you are considering purchasing.

Insurance Industry Crash-Test Ratings

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a safety-research group. It conducts its own series of crash tests. For a frontal-offset crash, the IIHS runs a vehicle at 40 mph into a deformable barrier. Instead of engaging the whole width of the car’s front end, the barrier covers 40 percent of the car in front of the driver. This method...

more

When it is time to purchase a new or used vehicle, how do we, as lay persons, know if a particular car has been well maintained, if it is safe to drive, and how much repair it may need in the years to come based on its age and condition?

A brand new car may even have some quirks, just because it was just rolled into the dealership does not guarantee it is a solid and worthwhile car purchase.

A good place to start your investigation is with your Fort Collins Auto Repair shop. They will have seen virtually every car manufactured rolling into their repair bays (or sometimes being towed in), and have a pretty solid idea of which cars tend to be more reliable than others. They will also know the quirks associated with specific manufacturers, as well as particular types of models. For example, some cars, due to body design, weight, or transmission may experience more problems with transmissions and axis. Other cars may be more prone to rollovers. And some vehicles are just all around solid and tend not to have any major issues as long as they are well maintained...

more

When it comes to adapting what we have on hand to deal with a mechanical issue or inconvenience, there are a few household items we can employ for quick auto fixes besides duct tape. Your Fort Collins auto repair shop probably does not use hand sanitizer to de-ice a frozen car lock, but who knows.

Clean Your Engine

When having your engine serviced, it is much easier, and saves a lot of time, if it is clean. Your auto technician will do this, but if you want to shine up the engine in your vehicle before servicing, or just because you like keeping it clean, it’s an easy job with plain old soap and water. That is correct: no special cleaners, chemicals or solvents will do a much better job than a bucket of warm suds.

Cover all the sensitive areas (electrical parts, battery, air intake, and distributor) with plastic bags, then fill a bucket with warm water and dishwasher soap. Scrub and rinse the engine with a soft cloth or rag. Have at it, and shine away. When finished, you can use all those bags to collect your dirty cleaning rags, and dispose of...

more

With the fall comes a whole new crop of young drivers. Some are just getting their learners permit, others have managed to acquire their first drivers license. Many will be taking drivers ed at school to help them learn all the legal and safety aspects of responsible driving. Some of our young drivers will be getting their first cars, even if they are older models of a Honda or Toyota. Whatever the case, it is a very exciting time for our young drivers when they can finally put car keys and fobs in their backpacks, and cruise around town with their friends, and drive to school and work. Just about the last thing on their minds is that the car they are so joyfully in control of needs maintenance to avoid repair issues and other problems.

Many young drivers don’t know — or even care — how a car works, or that it needs regular maintenance to continue working. Things like tire pressure and fluid levels simply don’t enter their thoughts, what with so many other vital ideas running around in their minds.

Some young people will know that a car needs maintenance, but have no...

more

When it comes to Fort Collins auto repair, the best advice your auto technician can give you is to stay on top of maintenance. Regular scheduled maintenance service may only come once or twice a year, thanks to better mechanical technology and cars that tend to purr along without needing a lot of adjustment and tweaking. However, in between your scheduled maintenance check ups, there are several things any car owner can do themselves, or at least be aware of, to keep the machine running well. Additionally, if you find something amiss while checking out your vehicle, you can get it to your Fort Collins auto repair shop before it gets out of control.

Car CC Photo Courtesy of Nimish Gogri

Even the newest most technologically advanced cars require maintenance. First, check out your owners manual for recommendations on when to do certain things like change the oil, check the recommended tire pressure, and other care schedules. If you don’t have an owners manual, you can always ask for one from a dealer, or order one online.

If you want to...

more

There is a lot of road construction over the entire state of Colorado. You will find huge lines of irate drivers honking their horns (like that will do any good), and folks frantically on their cell phones calling their children’s schools because they are going to be late. So, although, not a standard driving tool most of us can buy and put in our trunks, you will need extra time and patience. Any trip you undertake, be it to DIA, up to the mountains, or somewhere along I-70 will be slow, full of detours, and nerve wreaking.

Just after entering the little hamlet of Walden, signs will direct all drivers wanting to take the standard roads to either Silverthorn or Steamboat Springs to forget about taking highway 14 and drive the detour. You will not have a choice. That’s because the patch of highway from Walden to the intersection of Highway 14 and Highway 40 is under construction. If you want to connect up with I-25 that is also out. And, it will be all winter. This will be especially interesting if you are driving at night or early in the morning. The detour consists of...

more

The National Hurricane Service (NOAA) defines a high wind as the following:

A high wind warning is defined as 1-minute average surface winds of 35 kt (40 mph or 64 km/hr) or greater lasting for 1 hour or longer, or winds gusting to 50 kt (58 mph or 93 km/hr) or greater regardless of duration that are either expected or observed over land.

We don’t live in hurricane country, but along the front range here in Colorado, we get some really wicked high speed winds. The highest non-tornado wind speed recorded in Colorado was 201 mph. Remember, I said non-tornado wind speed. And Kansas thinks they have it rough! This wind speed was recorded on Long’s peak in the Winter of 1981. Recording data only started in the nineteen eighties, so previous high winds of this caliber are most likely to have occurred. For a real time wind link, go here:

//www.usairnet.com/weather/maps/current/colorado/wind-speed/

Why is it so common for those of us in Colorado, especially on the Front...

more

If anything is predictable, it is that weather conditions will be unpredictable in the Fall. Here on the Front Range, we face a variety of seasonal driving challenges, and the Fall provides us with a few unique to the changing of the season from Summer to Winter.

Days are getting shorter, the temperatures are dropping, and there’s a lot more traffic. With many of us putting our bikes away and turning back to our cars to get to work, as well as kids going back to school, we will be sharing our roads and highways with a lot more drivers than we do in the summer.

  • School Traffic:Drivers need to watch out for both stopping school buses as well as more pedestrian traffic as kids walk to school, or wait for a bus. Be alert to the needs of the kids early in the morning, and in the afternoon. Be patient, be courteous, and help keep our kids safe as they go back and forth from school.
  • Daylight Savings Time: Not only our our allotted hours of sunlight decreasing to the changing rotation of our planet around the sun, daylight savings time means we set our clocks back...
more

As we ease on out of summer, and into the fall, not only do we send our kids back to school, we just might be sending them on road trips to attend college or other events. Also, Holiday travel is coming up, with Thanksgiving and Christmas, and these festivities usually require spending some time in the car. And, if you’re wanting to go up the Poudre Canyon or other mountain area to watch the Aspens change color, or take in other high country events, again, you will probably be driving. Fall road trips and outdoor activities are abundant here in Colorado, and we all enjoy the opportunities to take in same recreational activities before the snow flies or enjoy a family road trip.

As we spend more time in our cars, and are taking longer trips, we need a car emergency kit to prepare for a mechanical failure, or even a natural one. In Colorado, we are prone to all kinds of weather events that can leave us stranded, including flash floods, mudslides, electrical storms, and even damage to our cars from wildlife.

Think about what you would need for 24 hours if you were...

more

So many different things can cause a car to stall, but before calling your auto technician, ask yourself a question: Is the vehicle in question a GM? On February 7, 2014 GM recalled around a million of its vehicles due to a faulty ignition switch. This faulty switches can cause the engine to turn off. If you do have a GM, and, want to investigate if your particular is one of the models under recall, visit the GM Recall Center and enter your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). According to General Motors:

If you are driving an affected vehicle, until the ignition recall repairs have been performed, it is very important that you remove all items from your key ring, leaving only the vehicle key. The key fob (if applicable) should also be removed from your key ring. Before exiting the vehicle, it is very important for you to make sure the vehicle is in “Park”. For a manual transmission, put the transmission into reverse gear. In both automatic and manual transmission cars, set the parking brake.

If this is not the problem (the fact that GM sold you a defective car) ,...

more

We get stuck in our habits, and this applies to how we drive our cars as well as what we prefer for lunch and what TV shows we find most engaging. When it comes to driving, unlike which sub shop has the best tuna on rye, or what program will entertain us the most when we sit down and relax to watch TV, driving habits can impact not only our lives, but result in car repair that can be expensive and inconvenient. Your Fort Collins car repair shop will see plenty of crunched and munched up vehicles pass through the repair bay, that are there because the driver wasn’t paying enough attention to the road ahead, the traffic on the sides, or elements in nature. A few adjustments in the way one drives can prevent a lot of these accidents.

A good general driving habit to increase awareness of what’s going on is to look straight ahead in the direction the car is traveling and adjust your line of site slightly upwards. If you train yourself to look not at the vehicles in front of your car, but ahead of them, you will be more aware of potential hazards far before it is...

more

Your teenager is about to graduate from a learning permit to a drivers license; or even as an older person, you are getting your first car. It doesn’t matter how new or expensive any particular vehicle is, they all need the same things; regular maintenance and a driver who practices good car care habits. We all know of someone who, with utter joy, got their first car, and happily drove it for a few months, only to have it towed in after overheating, or experiencing engine seize up. How frustrating to discover that the damaged engine was cause by not getting an oil change, and letting the oil reservoir get too low, or by not filling up the coolant in the radiator. A first time driver, or car owner, needs to know a few things to keep their vehicle out of their local auto shop and they also need to know when to take their car in to the repair shop for servicing.

Chevy Volt CC Photo Courtesy of Steve Jurvetson

Get to know your car before you drive it. Just like a new iPhone, or Playstation, it has it’s own unique systems. Read the owners manual to find out where...

more

We can avoid some costly damages to our cars mechanical components just by maintaining the vehicle. Start by knowing the maintenance requirements of your vehicle. Use your owners manual to access this information, or look online for a car care guide from the manufacturer of your car. You just might be in for a few surprises once you do this. Your recommended tire pressure might be different than you thought it was, and you could discover a whole new little knob under the drivers seat that does something you did not know about. You can also talk to the dealership where your vehicle was purchased, if you acquired it that way, and your Fort Collins auto repair shop will also be a strong resource for any questions you might have about car maintenance. If you have any unresolved maintenance questions, you can always talk to your auto technician.

In between recommended service calls, there are several simple things car owners can do to keep their vehicles mechanically viable that don’t require any special training or equipment.

Starting with the cosmetic...

more

For optimum engine health, the ideal marker for getting your oil changed is every 3,000 miles. The health of your oil is affected by many things, including heat, cold, and the hardship of driving conditions. In Fort Collins, our vehicles undergo quite the routine of temperature changes, harsh environmental and driving conditions, and mechanical stress. Motor oil is designed to have a lifespan of over 3,000 miles, but environmental and mechanical factors can accelerate that lifespan. For an oil change in Fort Collins, it is advisable to go with the 3,000 mile change, and not push beyond it to maintain engine health.

Engine CC Photo Courtesy of princessjack

Cars use motor oil to prevent metal to metal contact within our engines. Engines contain multiple moving metal components that should not connect with one another. If these metal parts do come in contact, friction and wear can damage and destroy them. With enough friction and wear to your engine’s parts, they will warp, distort, and eventually stop working together. What motor oil does is keep all of these metal...

more

Summer is a typical time when a car will decide to break down. After “manning up” through an icy cold winter, the hose just might give way on the radiator, or that axle will give a final sigh and snap. Remember, even if your vehicle is not experiencing any urgent repair needs, get it checked for summer conditions, such as fluid levels, and see if its time for an radiator flush. An annual Fort Collins oil change is highly recommended, and will go a long way in keeping your motor running efficiently and securing ongoing engine health.

Your Fort Collins Automotive service is your ally in keeping your car running well, and addressing routine maintenance as well as any potential problems. Now for the good stuff. Your car is tip top, and it’s time to hit the slopes. Skiing and snowboarding in Summer? Well, not quite, but our many winter resorts offer all kinds of both cultural and physical activities for the summer. not only does heading up in elevation make a person feel better, and escape some of the heat. It is an excellent time to revisit winter resorts...

more

Your Fort Collins Automotive shop will do a good portion of its auto repair replacing brakes and giving vehicles tune-ups, but your auto technician will also have clients coming in because of an embarrassing driver error, such as putting a car into reverse instead of drive, and accidentally backing into a tree, damaging the car. Any of us who have driven for any period of time make our share of mistakes, and sometimes damage our cars in the process.

Lets start with a driver mistake that must happen at least 10 times a day in any major mall parking lot. The driver puts their bags on top of their vehicle, unlocks the car, gets in, fiddles with the air conditioning, and the radio. Our driver then might open her water bottle, or make sure a child is secured in his car seat. She is now good to go, and carefully backs out of her parking space, steers towards the exit, and heads off to her next errand. All it takes is a little bit of distraction, like perhaps sending a text on a cell phone, or playing with the stereo, to distract a driver to the point where she...

more

No matter what time of year it is, drivers in Fort Collins and throughout Colorado are subjected to quite a few severe and extreme weather situations. Fort Collins automotive shops can repair your car, and help you with your vehicle needs in the aftermath of weather damage, but how do you react when caught in a flash flood? Chances are you have experienced some kind of severe weather, be it high winds or a sudden intense thunderstorm, perhaps even one of our notorious flash floods. These events are no respecters of persons, locations, or a particular time of day. Bad weather can and does occur everywhere, at anytime, and to anyone.

Your Fort Collins auto repair shop will advise you to keep a basic emergency kit in your car just for these situations, as well as have a familiarity with bad weather, and how to react when caught in an extreme weather condition. Fort Collins automotive services include keeping you as informed and safe as possible to prevent not only auto damage, but injury to yourself.

Flood Safety

Not only does flooding occur from intense rainstorms...

more

For Fort Collins auto repair, what do you do if you have a mechanical issue while on the road? Some mechanical issues can be addressed easily, others will require an automotive intervention.

In Part 1, we looked at common but not catastrophic road problems, like a flat tire or the check engine light coming on. We will now look at some mechanical emergencies that are a bit more serious, and require a different kind of approach than repairing the problem yourself, or waiting to get some needed maintenance without interrupting your trip.

CC Image courtesy of hyper7pro via flickr

Remember, safety first. Whatever the emergency, stopping abruptly in traffic, slamming on your brakes or turning off your car in the middle of the road will only create more of a hazard for yourself as well as other motorists. Get a good grip on the steering wheel, and ease your car out of traffic. Turn on your flashers if there are other cars around you on the road. Get your car to the shoulder, or off the road. If a shoulder is not available, move your car as far right as...

more

Whatever the particular mechanical problem is, don’t panic. The first priority is to carefully get your car off the road, and out of the way of traffic. Firmly and carefully steer your car to the shoulder, or off of the road completely. Think of safety first for yourself, as well as other motorists. Once your car is out of the way of traffic, then address the issue. Some things, like a flat tire or a car top carrier coming open while driving can be corrected without consulting your mechanic or a tow service. If the problem is mechanical, such as an overheated engine or a funny smell, turn off your car before popping the hood. In Fort Collins, most other drivers will be courteous and allow you to pull off the road, and might even offer aid. Fort Collins auto repair shops will often be able to send out a tow truck or mechanic, should you need those services. So remember, don’t panic, pull off the road, turn off your car, then assess the problem.

Check Engine Light

What should you do if your check engine light comes on? You probably don’t need to stop whatever...

more

When the seasons change, we swap out our down coats and winter boots for shorts and sandals. Our bags will be supplemented with sunscreen and we might switch from drinking hot liquids to iced tea and fruit juices. Summer is so much fun for everyone, from our pets to our parents, it is time to get outside and relish in activities that are quickly banishing any lingering winter blues. Just like our human bodies, the changing temperatures and increased sunshine impact our automotive vehicles. With Summer here in all of its hot and sunshiny glory, our Honda’s and Fords will perform better with their own seasonal adjustments and maintenance checks, just as our wardrobes and coolers will.

Classic Ford

CC Image courtesy of katsrcool via Flickr

For Summer car service in Fort Collins, there are some simple things we can do ourselves in addition to getting a Summer tune up and maintenance check at our favorite Fort Collins Automotive shop. First, help your car keep its cool by using a sun shade. Not only will it keep your seats from reaching boiling hot temperatures, a...

more

Thinking of putting the pedal to the metal as you cruise along the Front Range? If you’re pulled over and ticketed for speeding, your location, more than other factors, will determine your fine. Rates are not static. A speeding ticket in Colorado is generally $232 for going 20 miles per hour over the speed limit, but the actual cost of the traffic violation can be much more, depending on municipality. As your Fort Collins automotive service advisor, we want you to avoid the expensive and aggravating experience of getting a speeding citation.

So how do we avoid getting a speeding ticket? One thing to keep in mind is that penalties increase with how many miles one actually goes over the posted speed limit. If you do go over the, keep it minimal, absolutely avoid pushing the amount you might want to speed to 20 or more miles per hour over the legal limit. Be aware that posted speed limits are impacted by driving conditions. The blanket law for Colorado is “reasonable and prudent.” Don’t go faster than is safe for conditions. If you’re driving on I-25 in a hail storm, slow down...

more

You probably have helped change the oil, switched out an old car battery for a new one, and changed a flat tire or three. But, when your brakes go bad, or the car heater wont work, or you hear a clunk, and the car refuses to go anymore, you not sure what to do. You may approach some of your more mechanically inclined friends, and ask them if they could address what is wrong with your car. You can buy parts and a 6 pack of beer for your mechanically minded friends, and let them have at it. The problem is, after a day of drinking and pulling apart your car, then another day of more drinking and putting your car back together, it still may have a problem. Often, good intentions are not a substitute for an auto technician. Some weekend mechanics will be able to pull it off. They may even get close to effectively completing an auto repair, but something they did not anticipate or have a grasp on will manifest, and send you to the auto technician before everything is said is done.

For those who are mechanically astute, and really can enact a quality auto repair, good for you....

more

When it comes to your Fort Collins automotive needs, how much do you think about car insurance? Your auto technician at Fort Collins Foreign car service wants you to be as satisfied with your auto policy as you are with your other automotive needs.

Thinking of changing your car insurance? Flo over at Progressive would love your business, but the laughs GEICO gives you with their commercials just might sway you to purchase from the Gecko. Flo’s commercials resulted in the most new enrollees resulting from seeing a TV commercial (18%,) while GEICO gained 16% of new enrollees from their TV commercials. Those commercials might encourage you to buy a policy, but will they keep you with that company for the long run? Does a TV commercial equate to customer satisfaction?

Insure.com released their customer satisfaction survey for insurance companies in March of 2014. The survey included several categories, asking people to rate their experiences with customer service and how satisfied they were with the resolution of any claims they had submitted to their insurance provider....

more

Spring is finally here! Apart from taking your car to the auto technician for Spring maintenance and perhaps an oil change to increase engine performance over the coming warmer season, how about preparing your motorcycle for some fine riding weather? Sometimes, when the winter drags on, we forget about our motorcycles, ATVs and dirt bikes. Well, almost. Bring your bike in to your auto technician as well as your car! Once your motorcycle is ready to roam, check your helmet.

Safety has become more of a concern, and kids today (as well as adults) have a better grasp on dressing properly for any kind of motorized vehicle riding, as well as the horrible injuries that can be prevented by simply wearing a helmet. Your auto technician will tell you that a good helmet is as vital to good biking as is maintaining your motorcycle.

In Colorado, helmet laws state that:

Helmets: Riders age 18 and over are not required to wear helmets in Colorado. However, if the motorcycle operator or passengers are under age 18, they must wear DOT-approved helmets.

Eye Protection: In...

more

So, you don’t have an RV, a fifth wheel, or a motorhome. That’s fine, neither do many of us. our That’s when a car camping trip comes in. Nature will call you to go out and get to know her a little better no matter what kind of vehicle you have, even if it’s a little old Honda or A sleek Jaguar. Whatever your camping vehicle, make sure to get a Fort Collins car service on your vehicle before you load up the tent and sleeping bag.

There is something so primal and relaxing about leaving behind our amenities and comfortable beds and well equipped kitchens for a night or 5 on a mountain. And, Colorado is a prime place for sleeping outdoors, might as well go camping and enjoy what other folks will travel from other countries to be a part of.

First, it helps to have a solid vehicle. Get a handle on overall car health before packing the cooler. You do not want to break down 20 miles up a forest access road where there are no amenities and no call phone service. If you are not confident about your car’s health, run it by your Fort Collins mechanic, or if your taking the...

more

Ever see the sign off the side of the road of a pale blue Columbine with the words, “Scenic Byway?” You have entered one of Colorado’s many spectacular roads designated as a scenic or historic road by CDOT. Colorado boasts 25 of these, with 11 of them designated nationally by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, more than any other state.

After completed your Spring car maintenance service with your favorite auto technician at Fort Collins Foreign Car Service, why not enjoy the purr of your finely tuned vehicle and take a driving tour of some of our scenic highways? You can even bring your bike, as many of these routes offer excellent cycling.

Starting from Fort Collins, we have the Cache la Poudre (North Park) byway:

Cache La Poudre – North Park

By Wusel007 (Own work) [GFDL (//www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)

This byway links Fort Collins with North Park, a bowl-shaped valley just west of the Continental Divide. The road runs through the Cache la Poudre River canyon, once a useful transit corridor for Native Americans. In the winter, it is popular...

more

Part of any car maintenance service is a child car seat, or safety restraint, for any little ones in your care. Your auto technician can advise you on the installation and use of car seats, however, there are numerous people in the community available to help. If you’re a grandparent like me, or a new parent, knowing child restraint laws and how to properly install and use car seats is pretty important. In anticipation of my grandson coming to visit, not only am I joyfully buying toy cars and computer games, I am getting a car seat appropriate for his age and size. Don’t feel silly asking your auto technician about installing car seats, especially if you haven’t done it before. Getting those seats in the car properly and safely is a part of good car maintenance safety! If you haven’t used car seats in a while, and need current law, or if you’re a newbie to the process, this information is for you!

Interestingly, Volvo is developing an inflatable car seat that folds into a bag when not in use.This 11 pound seat inflates and deflates in 40 seconds. It can even be remotely...

more

Kelley Blue Book has released their 2014 Best Resale Value Awards list. If you’re in the market for a new car, here is a list of the top ten overall which will hold their value the best for resale among 2014 models.

Subaru_Forester

By Michael Gil from Toronto, ON, Canada [CC-BY-2.0 (//creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

2014 Toyota FJ Cruiser

2014 Toyota Tacoma

2014 Jeep Wrangler

2014 Toyota 4Runner

2014 Chevrolet Corvette

2014 Honda CR-V

2014 Chevrolet Camaro

2014 Honda CR-V

2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

2014 Dodge Challenger

Well built affordable cars simple resale better. The top awards go to vehicles with a reputation for strong car health, evidenced by imported cars dominating the best resale value awards list. Older models of these same cars resale very well, too. Specialized and collectible cars have their own high end resale market as well. Here are a few of the specific 2014 car models that, according to Kelley Blue Book, stand out for top resale value:

For Best...

more

Military adaptations to changing needs in theaters of war have led to numerous items that were so well made and useful (or just cool) that those items, which often began their life in the civilian world, crossed back to civilian again. For example, in 1942, folks in the US military invented duct tape for sealing ammunition cases. I have at least 2 rolls of it in my tool drawer, and I have don’t have ammo cases to seal up. Today we use it for everything from making novelty dresses in sewing to sealing packing boxes to emergency auto repair. We can also think of our sisters and brothers in arms when we get our children some silly putty. It was conceived as a substitute for rubber, which failed, so it crossed over to civilian use as a toy.

Here Is A By No Means Comprehensive List Of Military Inventions:

  1. Microwave ovens: Microwaves originated as magnetron, which was the result of research conducted on radio transmission and radar detection. The magnetron produced much smaller radio waves, known as microwaves, and was small and powerful enough to be used in...
more

Need an app to remind you when it’s time for a car maintenance service? How about one for repair advice? If you want your phone to be part of your car care arsenal, there are numerous apps for your phone that can be utilized. In checking out different apps that aid with car repair, I found quite a few that augment safety, as well as those that help you keep track of car maintenance and service calls. Interestingly, the apps that give severe weather alerts and those that help our teenage motorists be safe drivers were the ones that caught my attention the most.

Before we get to those, however, lets talk about car repair and maintenance phone apps. First, there are several phone apps to organize and simplify car maintenance. These apps help diagnose mechanical problems and give repair advice. Also, there are applications for scheduling and keeping track of car maintenance service, including expense and mileage logs. I found apps with car recall data and alerts, car insurance and auto loan calculators. I even found an app that connects a car’s computer to the Internet via your...

more

Numerous modes of transportation do not require an internal combustion oil running on fossil fuels. If you are thinking of making the switch to a vehicle using alternative forms of energy, there are numerous choices. Essentially, any vehicle can operate on just about any energy source one can utilize, the trick is in what automakers are manufacturing, and the availability of fueling support for those vehicles. If you want to use an electric vehicle, you will need charging stations. If you want to operate your car using vegetable oil (biodiesel), you generally need to start with an engine that runs on diesel fuel, then enact some engine modifications either from a kit or at your local auto shop. Your auto technician can give you more information regarding retrofitting existing conventional engines to run on alternative fuels.

Here Is A Quick List Of The More Common Variations Of Alternative Fuel Vehicles:

  • Battery electric
  • Plug-in hybrid electric
  • Hybrid electric
  • Compressed air
  • Clean diesel
  • Neat ethanol
  • Natural...
more

Want to win a really really cool set of wheels? Take a break from perusing the internet for auto repair or advice on foreign car service, and enter some sweepstakes and contests to win a brand new Corvette or Camaro. How about an ATV or an airplane? Some sweepstakes are better than others, for example, the Dodge Chance to Be Bad Sweepstakes has a great added perk on it’s giveaway, $6000 for taxes! Others are just very cool, or unique. Personally, I’m going for the electric bike and that Dodge with money for taxes included! Take a look at these sweepstakes compiled by about.com, and start entering!

Dodge – Chance To Be Bad Sweepstakes

Get the chance to win $40,000 toward your ideal Dodge vehicle, plus $6,000 to put toward taxes, from Dodge’s Chance to Be Bad Sweepstakes.

Entry Frequency: One time per person/email

End Date: July 01, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. PT

Eligibility: US residents with a valid driver’s license, 18+

Enter Sweepstakes

Valero – Rumble With Bumblebee Camaro Sweepstakes

For those of you who love the Transformers, here’s a...

more

Marijuana is now legal for both medical and recreational use in Colorado for those 21 years old and older, but driving high is not. As of January 1 in Colorado, you can use pot, but you better not drive under the influence of ganja, unless you are looking to get a DUI. The legal blood limit for active THC in your blood is 5 nanograms. Police will base arrests on observed impairment, however, not the level of THC. Even if you are subscribed medical marijuana, it remains illegal to drive under the influence of it. It is also illegal to have marijuana in the passenger area of a vehicle if it is in an open container, container with a broken seal, or if there is evidence marijuana has been consumed. Additionally, it’s illegal to consume marijuana on any public roadway. Essentially, a roach in your car ashtray, or the odor of cannabis can result in a DUI.

CC Image courtesy of ?oop on Flickr

According to CDOT,

Colorado law enforcement officers are trained in the detection of impairment of alcohol and drugs, and many are specially trained Drug Recognition Experts (DRE)....

more

GAH! The car went tink, tink, tink, creak, tink and stopped. Probably the UV joint that I had been postponing getting replaced, now I have run out of grace time. Fortunately, I broke down on a highway, and my insurance will tow the car when that happens. I already know I’m taking it to Fort Collins Foreign Car Service for repair, so I send the guy towing my car to their shop. I have learned to appreciate not only good mechanical skills, but a timely turn around.

If you don’t have a set car repair shop when you need a fast fix, here are some things to consider. Some shops have a long wait time, because they are slow to get needed parts, or are low on staff. If your vehicle is an import, it’s helpful to take it to an import car service repair shop, as the needed parts and tools will already be in house, or the mechanics will have access to the needed part distributors. Sometimes delays are simply a matter of finding more that needs fixing in your car than you anticipated. Overall, as a consumer you need to expect a reasonable turn around time when having your car...

more

We love Spring, when the snow melts, trees bud with the promise of aromatic and resplendent foliage, and we can say goodbye to tough Winter driving. Yes, the snow pack and ice, the blizzards and freezing cold are on their way out, and fresher, warmer days are on their way in. The problem is, those lovely days of sun and flower gardens are not gently blown to us, they violently arrive with intense Spring weather.

Weather events that leave damage to our cars happen year round. We are spared hurricanes and major earthquakes, but we get just about everything else. Spring and Fall are notorious in Colorado for intense, severe weather. Bad weather usually doesn’t last long, but does cause quite a bit of damage when it passes through. We have floods, hail storms, tornadoes and high wind storms, lightning strikes (albeit these are quite rare for damaging cars,) rock and mudslides to contend with. As I write this, a wicked wind storm is blowing outside. Trees devoid of any Spring buds are groaning and swaying, trash is blowing across the cow pasture, and I am confident the pilot...

more

When something goes wrong with your car, it is problematic, irritating and a little frightening. We tend to wait when a problem appears, hoping it will resolve itself or go away. If the car still runs, and we don’t have to tow it to our local car repair shop, we tend to want to try it fix the problem ourselves, if we can. Kind of like when we have a pain in our side that won’t go away, we will google the problem and see if it is a simple problem with an easy solution we can conduct ourselves. Perhaps, since a car is after all, a machine, the fix will be easier than something like a physical problem, anyway.

Can we really get good repair advice on the computer? Sometimes, but it takes a lot of searching as well as sifting through pointless postings by folks who really don’t know what they are talking about, but really really want recognition and attention as legitimate car health experts. It is easy to be led down the garden path by amateurs who know just enough to make us feel secure that they can guide us through repairing our vehicle. There is seldom any way to vet an...

more

Tired of wearing out your shoes walking along the highway in search of candy bars and a good book? All those vehicles are pretty much there for the taking. Instead of scrounging through them in search of goodies, why not just get behind the wheel of that Honda Accord and give your tired toes a rest? You could even sleep in the thing if you’re looking for a respite from climbing a tree at night and tying yourself to the largest branch. Daryl and Beth were able to climb into the trunk of a ruined vehicle to avoid a zombie attack in The Walking Dead. Something to keep in mind. While you look over the available selection of vehicles, consider a few things: practical use, protection, and all terrain capability.

That limousine hits the mark for a car that doubles as a house. It has ample sleeping compartments, a mini bar, and tinted windows for hiding. With its size, it is similar to driving a tank. Good for ramming through fences and plate glass windows without a lot of danger to the driver. If you don’t have friends with you, the ample seating space will accommodate all kinds...

more
6a00d83451b3c669e201a3fcb3996d970b-800wi.gif

Way back in the day, a friend of mine developed a fetish for Alfa-Romeo cars. Very cool masculine machines, he acquired 2 or 3 of them, with the intent to repair and maintain a collection of these Italian beauties. For the next year, I waited. When I went by from time to time to see if I could take a ride with him in one of his Alfa-Romeos, He would say, “Still working on it.” Getting the parts was proving expensive and challenging. His mechanical skills always seemed to fall just short. He would figure out that this particular whatyamacallit was bad in the Spider, find the part, order it (after scrounging scrap yards,) cuss about the cost, then install it. Sort of. Once he got the part in, the car still was not functional. After 2 years, he called a tow truck and had his cool sporty foreign cars taken away.

Another friend had a red convertible Porsche. It was his very own fun treat, something He could drive to and from work, and take to local business affairs. His car was far too small for his family to ride in it, but that was ok, it was his man car. It did end up in...

more

General Motors(GM) announced in March 2014 a recall for several models equipped with automatic transmission in order to replace faulty transmission shift cable adjusters. This recall includes 355 vehicles. Affected 2014 models are the the Buick Regal, LaCrosse, Verano, and Enclave, the Chevrolet Impala, Malibu, Cruze, and Traverse, and the GMC Acadia.

According to Autoevolution:

“The transmission shift cable adjuster may disengage from the transmission shift lever. If that happens, the driver may be unable to shift gears and the indicated shift position may not show the gear the vehicle is in.

“Should a disengagement occur while the vehicle is being driven, when the driver goes to stop and park the vehicle, the driver may be able to shift the lever to the “Park” position, but the vehicle transmission may not be in the “Park” gear position,” the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said in a statement.

A vehicle that’s not in the “Park” position will roll away and increase the risk of injury to existing occupants and bystanders, the agency...

more

Finally, Spring! What a great time to drive up to Cameron Pass, or trek down to the sand dunes. For those of us who live year round at the higher elevations, it is with a smile that we head down to the front range to visit friends and take in some shopping. No matter if you’re planning to drive up or down, be aware the Spring conditions can be just as dangerous as Winter driving. Snow melt inevitably leads to mud and rock slides. Both can and do occur at any time throughout the year, but the added “lube” of melting snow makes Spring the time of year when they are most likely to happen. Slush, or melting snow on paved roads acts as a lubricant, leading to some surprise slipping and skidding if your not prepared for it. Traction is reduced in a way different from driving on snow and ice. Also, how many times have you gotten stuck in the mud going off road this time of year? I wont tell you how many times this has happened to me. Be careful that your Spring adventure does not end up with your car in the auto shop!

Mountain RoadA snow storm can still manifest at anytime during...

more

When I was 4 years old, I found a spare key to my mother’s old Rambler. I thought, ”Wow, I think I will go drive the car!” I crept outside in the bright summer sun and got behind the wheel. I put the key in the ignition, nothing happened. I patted the dash, and tried to push the key into its slot further. Nada. I did not understand. I saw my mother put the key in that slot thing, and the engine would start up and the car would start moving. I was sure I had just broken her car. I quickly got out, and put the spare key back where I had found it. A few days later a tow truck came and took the Rambler away. I knew it was all my fault. I broke my mother’s car.

Since then, I have learned that cars don’t automatically drive themselves, and it takes more than inserting the ignition key car to damage a vehicle. But just like my other machines, beyond basic maintenance, I don’t know how to repair a car when some something is amiss. And, that’s fine, car engines, components and on board computers that monitor the systems in our vehicle’s are pretty complicated. Some of us have a...

more

Auto theft is often a crime of opportunity, as opposed to being an act carried out by a professional crime ring. Think of young people who walk by a vehicle and see that the window is down, and the keys are in the ignition. They have no intention of keeping the car for long, they simply impulsively jump in and cruise around looking for some friends to join them until they tire of the game, and usually simply abandon the stolen car. To avoid car theft by opportunity, make your vehicle unaccesible. Lock it up, don’t leave the ignition key in, and don’t leave your car running while you run in to the post office.

Car KeysI have had 2 of my cars stolen here in Colorado. I had an old Bel-Air, the ignition turned over without a key. I seriously thought no one who happened to be wandering by would be aware of the security problem, I was wrong. I woke up one morning and went out my car, it was gone. The second time happened many years later. My husband is a professional musician. he plays gigs late at night, and when finished, has a lot of music equipment to load up before he can...

more

When you get a fever, start coughing, and have no energy, you know you have a cold. But when your car starts smelling funny, making odd noises, and leaving puddles behind, you can’t just give it aspirin and let it lay around on the couch watching Star Trek until it feels better. How do you gauge your car health?

Smoking CarA change in your car’s behavior usually signals that the machine needs a car maintenance service of some kind. It is after all, not a self sustaining ecosystem like your body. It does not have an immune system to repair itself, nor tools to attach a hose that might be loose. You and your auto center have to stay on top of your car. Addressing “symptoms” can prevent further damage to your vehicle, and stop a much lengthier and intricate repair down the road. Not taking care of a small problem inevitably leads to a bigger one. A problem with your car will not go away, it needs some TLC to get back to optimal health.

Stinky Car

Hopefully, the smell is not so bad that you’re gagging, or bolting away from your car to get some fresh air. Many times...

more

The Academy Awards were just on. I missed them because, frankly, they are rather boring, and I did not have a spare 3 hours to watch the current years crop of movie talent receiving their well deserved accolades, goody bags, and golden statuettes. But, I got to thinking. Sometimes the inanimate players in a movie need recognition. After all, what is a car scene without a car, a train crash without a train, and an alien invasion without a ship? I decided that vehicles really need to have their own awards. The awards presentation could be hosted at a local auto shop, and the prizes could be an oil change or new wiper blades. I came up with some memorable performances, and winners in a few categories. They are as follows:

Hot WheelsBest animated car movie: Cars 1 and 2, plus the additional cartoon cars as voiced by Larry the Cable Guy and other talent. I love Mater the tow truck, as do the children for whom the cartoons are designed (or are they designed for adults?)

Best car going over a Cliff:

The 1966 convertible Thunderbird in Thelma and Louise...

more

Do police really pull over red cars more often than blue vehicles? Do middle aged men prefer black sports cars over beige mini-vans? Automakers do turn to color psychology when choosing color options for their cars. Certain hues denote certain attitudes and lifestyles. Auto makers know this, yet, somehow white and black endure as the most common car color choices for consumers. Your auto technician will see a lot more silver tones on vehicles coming in for car repair than that vibrant red. Following are the stats for car color, by manufacture:

FerarriMost Popular Car Color’s By Manufacturer, 2012

(by percentage of vehicles manufactured)

Color

% manufactured

1. White/white pearl

23%

3. Black/black effect

21

4. Silver

18

5. Red

8

6. Blue

6

7. Brown/beige

6

8. Green

1

9. Yellow/Gold

1

10. Others

2

If we go back 6 years, we see that silver (now at number 3,) followed by white were the most prevalent color choice by manufacturer. Gray and Black tied...

more

Spring is here. You just completed your car maintenance service at your local auto shop, and are ready for an interesting road trip. No more slogging through treacherous ice crusted blizzards on Mountain passes. No more sliding on black ice on your way to work. You can now drive without clutching the wheel so tightly, and even roll down the windows and enjoy that sweet fresh air.

How about a day road trip this weekend. Colorado has so many interesting things to do, so many natural wonders to enjoy, and great shopping, sports and culture in the bigger cities (often in the small towns as well.) Those are all good, but how about checking out a few of the more intriguing ghost towns in our state? Did you know we have over 1,500 ghost towns? I remember when Lake Loveland was drained for maintenance when I was a child. I was pleasantly intrigued to see an old brick grain mill popping up, some building foundations, and abandoned ancient farm implements once the lake was drained. My first ghost town! I could not stop thinking about the farms that had stood where the lake now was...

more

Not only does drunk driving exact a very heavy toll on traffic injury and cause a large portion of driving fatalities, it is very, very expensive. From the point of arrest, to a court hearing, a trial or a plea deal, fines, jail time, probation, mandatory counseling, and many other costs, the person convicted of driving while drunk will easily spend $5000.

According to the Colorado Department of Transportation,

Each year in Colorado, more than 26,000 people are arrested for DUI and over 150 people are killed in alcohol-related traffic crashes – representing more than one-third of Colorado’s total motor vehicle fatalities. Drug-impaired driving is also a serious problem, with 16% of fatalities (2006-2010) involving drivers who tested positive for drugs.

Here are some at a glance stats at just how deeply drunk driving affects all of us:

  • In the United States, 30 people die every day from drunk driving. That is one death every 48 minutes

  • In 2010, over 10,000 people were killed from impaired driving.

  • Drunk driving accounts...

more

The air begins to carry an aroma of green things budding to life. You think about what to put in your garden this year, and transplanting overgrown house plants to larger pots with some fresh soil. You are going to clean out the garage and pack up winter quilts and snow boots. While the warmer temperatures make you hum and put a little dance in your step, your car needs some help to catch Spring Fever and start its own dance. Add a car check up to your spring cleanup.

Every winter cold temperatures, snow, ice, and road salt strain tires, brakes and suspensions. Several areas of your vehicle can suffer from wear and strain. Rocks on the road fly up and chip your windshield. Wipers are strained from removing snow and condensation so we can see the road when we are driving. Suspension and wheel alignment might be off. Several items can be addressed yourself, but a skilled repair technician can help uncover winter damage, pinpoint specific problems, and enact the needed maintenance and repair, sending you and your car happily off to Spring activities. It is a good idea to...

more

You love your car. It is sleek, fine and powerful. Driving to work feels good. Taking a run up to the mountains is pure joy. You are having so much fun commuting and cruising, you wonder what could possibly make it better. Enter gadgets. Not the kind you rely on for driving for functionality, like good snow tires and heavy duty floor mats. Im talking about long glorious eyelashes for your VW bug or an in car microwave. Admittedly, some gadgets are silly, (although that can make them fun,) others are very practical, and others essentially enhance your experience of getting the most out of your vehicle.

Car GadgetsFor the racing aficionado who is weary of using a stopwatch, (or a friend posted at the end of the track,) there are chronometers you can add to your vehicle. Both analog and digital displays are viewable, and you can then download the results onto your laptop. Much better than trying to handle the steering wheel and punch “start” and “end” on a timer at the same time. Of course, you could affix a laptop to your car with a nice mount, or an iphone, to maximize cool...

more

Sometimes things happen to cars that we can’t necessarily prevent. It’s a rather unfortunate circumstance that takes place because we spend so much time on the road. Whether it comes in the form of a small dent in the side of your car from someone else’s door, to a rather large dent caused by someone bumping into you, things happen. These aren’t necessarily good things, but they can give you a little bit more knowledge, and really do test your patience.

Most car enthusiasts put extraordinary amounts of effort into their vehicles. Whether it’s an imported car or a domestic one, it doesn’t really matter. So long as the vehicle has a bunch of sentimental meaning to that individual, they are going to pour their heart and soul into it. I’ve been to many a car show in my day considering that my father is very much into such things. I have seen some beautiful cars that were reminiscent of when they just came off the assembly line. Cars from the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and so on which were just absolutely beautiful to behold. But it wasn’t necessarily just the superficial beauty that I...

more

Depending on what type of car you own getting repair advice from a specific notable source could be the best decision that you make when it comes to repairing your vehicle. Nobody likes it when something happens to their vehicle, especially when it involves an accident. Whether it’s just a little bump a rather large bump from another vehicle, it’s never a pleasant experience to have to think about how much money it’s going to cost to repair your vehicle. Let’s say that you don’t get in an accident though, and your only goal is to keep your car healthy, then getting advice on ways to improve your efficiency are going to be even more valuable considering that you don’t have to spend exorbitant amounts of money repairing something just so it looks brand-new again.

So what would you consider a notable source to go to in order to gain information about keeping your car in good condition? Well if you have a foreign vehicle or domestic vehicle is going to make a very large difference. You will want to consult someone who specializes in one or the other, but generally both because...

more

This is a very large weekend for the majority of the United States considering that the Super Bowl is going to be occurring. It’s a time of celebration when everybody comes together and competes to see which team is going to win. Regardless of teams that are playing, a lot of the population actually watches this game because it usually means that it is the two best teams in the league competing for bragging rights and the ultimate goal of football. However, a lot of people do spend this weekend drinking rather heavily in celebration of such an event. Our recommendation is that you avoid getting a DUI by ensuring that you have a couple of things ready for the big game.

The first thing you need for the big game is a place to stay. If you’re going to be watching it from your house then you don’t really have to even bother with this first one. However if you are going to be celebrating the Super Bowl at a different location, like the majority of people, then ensure that it is a place where you can stay until you are in a better condition to be able to drive. The cops are going...

more

One of the difficulties of owning a foreign car is the repairing of damage to the body and engine. It is very true that many different countries have very different standards for building vehicles, and that the United States is not the best at following the guidelines that a lot of the rest of the world follows. So if you are someone who has been unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of a car accident but are not sure who to go to when getting your car fixed, might we make the suggestion of looking at places that specialize in fixing foreign cars, like ourselves.

Let’s say that you make the decision to go to a standard auto center that deals in all sorts of cars. Sure you might get lucky and get a tech who knows a thing or two about the foreign standards, but the likelihood of that happening is rather rare. Many techs in this industry, unfortunately, see all cars as the same and do not differentiate between foreign and domestic cars, with the exception that they have to use a metric wrench set instead of the American system. In reality there are a lot of differences...

more

As someone who has been associated with car maintenance services for essentially all his life, I feel as though there are some things that should be introduced to the public that they don’t necessarily know about as far as common knowledge goes when it comes to giving repair advice. After all, the majority of people have the basic knowledge to be able to change their oil and air up and change tires, but beyond that you really lie within an area where there is a lack of knowledge. So, let’s discuss a few topics which could help you stay out of trouble and keep your vehicle running smoothly while staying as far away from the shops that would take advantage of you as possible.

Basic maintenance is definitely going to be your best friend. This means checking your oil every 3000 miles or so, making sure that your tires are close to the appropriate pressure so you don’t lose mileage, and ensuring that all of your fluids are as high as they need to be. These may seem very basic and that everybody knows about them, but you would be surprised at the amount of people who don’t put a...

more

Finding yourself in a car accident is never an enjoyable experience. No matter how minor it may be, it’s fairly rattling to be involved with such a thing, let alone to be on the receiving end of the costs of such an endeavor. However, it’s not necessarily true that you need to feel like you’re being bent over backwards to have your car fixed. Some auto technicians truly want to help individuals get back on the road, and feel the rewarding sense of accomplishment whenever they complete a vehicle. So how do you go about finding these places that are willing to offer you the services you desire for your car, and help you get on your way?

Checking OilThe first, and probably most obvious method of finding the perfect shop is to use the Internet and the resources available to you. Right now, you are reading this blog on the Internet so in reality searching for a place to take your vehicle shouldn’t be all that far away. A couple of clicks and you found yourself in a search engine that can help you find the closest repair shop that is known more for its reputation of helping...

more

Foreign cars are becoming much more popular these days since standards are becoming pretty much universal. Both foreign and domestic companies are beginning to follow all of the same rules when it comes to safety and the legislature that is involved therein. There are some ups and downs to this, but for the most part they are all positive.

Honda The first reason that you’ll find that it is good to see competition coming from a foreign market is competition breeds innovation. I’m going to split this up into two paragraphs because it’s large enough to deserve boat. Competition breeds innovation has several parts, including the first which is the initial competition. Competing companies means that there are several companies, all owned by different people, who have approximately the same monetary value split among them. They are all capable of competing with one another and push each other forward because they want to be the best there is. This is amazing because it forces people to want to be better than they currently are. Though this only focuses on the people who owned the...

more

It seems like local auto shops are becoming more and more difficult to find. Just like you find in every other industry, large conglomerates seem to be taking over. It’s becoming even more difficult to find a little mom-and-pop shop that can service everything you need while still providing you with a very competitive rate. It’s almost unfortunate that these large conglomerates get such discounts on balk purchases because smaller businesses really can’t keep up with that kind of stuff. Personally though, I believe there are a couple of ways that small shops like local auto shops can keep themselves relevant.

One such way is specialization. Large conglomerates generally do not focus on anyone topic because they wish to encompasses much money generating area as possible. When money stops meaning quite as much to you however, you can focus down on particular topics and provide better service than those who generalize. Let’s take the automotive industry for example. Large conglomerates focus on absolutely nothing but making money. This is why they are relatively expensive and...

more

Keeping your vehicle healthy is nowhere near as easy as people make it out to be. Cars are very finicky about what types of oil they take and the different types of repair mechanisms that are needed in order to repair them should something go wrong. It could even be said that keeping your car in good condition before something goes wrong is even more difficult simply because it’s harder to predict when something is going to go out. Granted on a new vehicle this shouldn’t be much of a problem but you’d be surprised at how many times the small things can cause large problems.

Predicting when your car is going to have a problem is a more difficult task than you would believe, but it is actually possible to do in some situations. For example, simple little noises that are different from what you’ve normally heard behind the wheel of your vehicle can be a hint that something has gone wrong or is about to. Let’s take my own car’s health for example. Not but a year ago my car was experiencing some strange noise that I had never heard before but had progressively been getting...

more

Foreign-currency become a lot more popular these days, especially considering that the major car companies that are located out of the United States have for the most part been located in the East. As of late however Europe has really made a comeback with its addition of the new Fiat cars. Granted, some vehicles of always been popular from that particular part of the world like BMW, and Audi which are both European-based companies. However, it has not necessarily been easy to acquire car maintenance and service for these types of vehicles. As of late however that has all changed.

InfinitiI think the first thing that could be said about foreign cars from Europe is that they all have a much smaller aesthetic to what you would traditionally consider a car in the United States. What I mean by this is that they are generally smaller vehicles because in Europe they don’t drive large vehicles. A lot of these cars are imported over as more of a service to the Americans, for which we are very grateful. However, service on these vehicles is generally a lot more expensive just because...

more

New Year’s is just around the corner, which means that it’s that time a year again where everybody gets together with their friends and celebrates the birth of the new year according to our calendar. However, all of that partying should not be taken out to the street because this is one of the times with the police will end up being more prevalent than the people who are partying. This is one of the largest times of the year for police to give out DUIs. Don’t let yourself become a statistic and end up paying them a crap ton of money and possibly in jail depending upon the situation. They are not going to give the people they catch a break.

New Year’s is such a wonderful time of year. For the most part it’s nothing but happiness and people actually getting together to simply enjoy each other’s company. However, DUIs are an unfortunate side effect of people partying and not understanding that they need to find a place to stay the night instead of wandering around in their vehicle putting other people’s lives at risk. It’s more of a common sense thing that it is an epidemic...

more

It’s almost that time of year again: winter break. Your teen is home for a week or two from school, with nothing better to do than visit friends and stay out later at night. Though they say they’re just going to the movies, how do you know that’s the case? You might trust your teen completely, but know that there’s a high risk of your teen drinking this holiday season. In fact, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) reports that one in three 8th grade children have consumed alcohol, and about 5,000 deaths each year are attributed to teen alcohol use.

The holiday season, the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, features the most traffic deaths, with many of those deaths impacting teens between 15 and 20-years old.

Maybe you’ve already caught your teen driving under the influence. If you’re trying to figure out a way to trust them with the keys to your car ever again, you should know that there’s a solution. A simple ignition interlock system could be the answer, saving your car from requiring costly repairs, keeping your son or daughter from getting arrested...

more

You’re planning on leaving Colorado this Christmas, heading to your great-aunt Sally’s house in Washington state. You’ve wrapped the presents, packed your bags, set your GPS, and spoke to the post office about holding your mail until you return. But what about your car? You need it to get you an estimated 1,420 miles and back again, so you would be unwise to ignore servicing your vehicle prior to leaving.

But what should a service of this kind entail? Should you entrust your local auto shop with the details, or would you feel better supplying an exact list of what you would like done to the car? You can really go either way, but if you rely on your auto technician, how do you know they addressed everything that should have been addressed? Simply check the work they’ve performed with this list, of course! (Or just provide them a list of what you’d like done to make it easier.)

Here’s what your technician should look at prior to setting out. Be sure you get your appointment in a few weeks ahead of your departure in case a problem is found. This way, there is enough time...

more

It’s one of the most stressful times of year for most people. Of course, I’m talking about holiday season. Holiday parties, shopping trips, parades, special school events, and other holiday-related activities lead to more time spent traveling.

You are probably already aware that visiting your local auto shop is the first thing you should do to prepare for the extra mileage your car is sure to rack up this holiday season. You know to stay safe and prevent a DUI by limiting your alcohol consumption or abstaining altogether when you know you will be driving. But what about road rage?

Watch Out For Road Rage!

It stands to reason that if you are spending more time on the road, the rest of America is, too. Increased traffic can lead to congestion in certain...

more

When we think of the primary culprits for auto accidents, there are usually two things that come to mind: alcohol and distractions from cell phones and other mobile devices. There already exist very strict laws against driving under the influence of alcohol, but driving while texting or talking on the phone are not similarly restricted in many areas. However, there are trends towards this direction. And now former Secretary of the Department of Transportation, Ray LaHood, says that it’s time to ban mobile devices in cars altogether.

Although the dangers of driving while intoxicated are well established and accepted by the public, mobile device distractions are more controversial. But, research shows that they can be nearly as dangerous. There are an increasing number of accidents attributed to this problem. These often require subsequent auto repair jobs and sometimes result in injuries or deaths. LaHood, for his part, has started to call for a Federal ban to stop this trend.

CC Image courtesy of OregonDOT on FlickrThe Data Doesn’t Lie

It’s not just small fender...

more

There has long been a raging debate in the automobile community as to whether radar detectors are a positive or a negative force when it comes to safe driving. Opponents of the devices often say that they encourage aggressive driving and speeding since the driver can be fairly confident that they will be alerted when police are around. Proponents on the other hand, say that radar detectors actually cause drivers to check their speed and driving habits more frequently, because they make the police deterrent much more visible.

The argument has been going on for decades; ever since the devices were first invented. It continues to this day and neither side is really any closer to winning. At Fort Collins Foreign Car Service, we realize that safe driving is absolutely crucial because we see the results of aggressive or distracted driving everyday. That’s why these devices hold a special interest for us. We don’t want our customers to end up at their local auto shop because of an avoidable accident.

Radar Detectors & Road Safety, By The Numbers

The debate over the...

more

When you come to an auto shop to get your car fixed, you can typically expect for the auto technicians there to do a free evaluation and diagnostic on your vehicle in order to determine the problem and then give you an estimate for what it will cost to fix the issue.

Typically, you then have the option to sign off on the work and agree to pay whenever it has been completed to your satisfaction. However, there is another model which is gaining traction in some areas and with some businesses. That is the pay upfront model. But, this kind of model can cause issues and can sometimes leave consumers in the lurch.

Take a recent story from the CBS affiliate in Sacramento for example (CBS13). The story describes the experience of a woman who came in to a body shop in order to get her Ford Mustang repaired. The shop gave her an estimate of $8,500 to fix the damage and asked June to pay for this work upfront, which she did.

Unfortunately, the auto repair shop then went out of business. June was left without her car and without the $8,500 that she had paid for the repairs...

more

Consumer Reports, which has been providing useful information to consumers for several decades now, has just released their most recent reliability survey for automobile brands. The popular consumer info magazine polled over a million different car owners about the reliability of their vehicle, including how often they require a car repair, in order to put together a list of the most reliable vehicles. No surprise here, but the lost was topped by imported cars, including Lexus, Toyota and Acura.

That’s right, it looks like for reliability and durability you still can’t beat imported cars. In fact, the Japanese still have everyone chasing them as they took the top 3 spots with Lexus, Toyota and Acura; all makes that are revered for their reliability.

But, there was some good news for American domestic brands. Carmakers like GMC and other American brands have moved up in the rankings compared to Consumer Reports’ last survey. Although, Ford and Lincoln were lower because of issues that they have had with their proprietary computer interface, My Touch. That’s a shame...

more

Anyone who has driven for any length of time knows that there are a lot of bad drivers out there. But, even if you are the best driver in the world (nice to meet you Mr. Andretti, can I get an autograph?), it’s still a good idea to learn some defensive driving techniques in order to avoid the expense and hassle of a collision. Because, nothing can ruin your day quite like getting in an auto accident, except maybe getting that auto repair bill from the auto shop.

With that in mind, Fort Collins Foreign Car Service presents 5 defensive driving tips to keep you out of the auto shop and happily motoring along.

  1. Stay Sober And Pay Attention – You didn’t think we’d be starting this list out with a doozy of a revelation like this, but guess what? Not driving drunk and keeping that phone in your bag or pocket can do wonders to prevent auto accidents that may result in an expensive auto repair. Also, keep an eye on other distractions. We love mom’s ability to multi-task, but driving the kids to school while drinking coffee, applying makeup and quizzing little Jimmy on...

more

When it comes to accurately performing an auto repair, there is perhaps no more important question than the color of the vehicle’s paint job. Actually, that’s incorrect. Color has (almost) nothing to do with performing foreign car service on your car. But, it is still an interesting topic to discuss. And today we have some big news. White is the new silver.

That’s right, silver–long America’s most popular color for cars–has been upended by white. Silver reigned in America for over a decade, but it seems that Americans have now decided that it was far too flashy and have begun to opt for white instead. That’s despite the fact that white paint makes the car appear dirtier much quicker and more easily shows every dent and scratch.

At your local auto shop, Fort Collins Foreign Car Service, we don’t pretend to understand why people pick a certain of color for their vehicle. We just chalk it up to personal preference, random coincidence and a dash of divine intervention.

It actually appears that the dominance of white cars is apparent all over Europe, North America...

more

It very well be true that electric vehicles (EVs) are the future of automobiles, but they still have a ways to go before they can really replace most traditional internal combustion engines. Most significantly, perhaps, is the fact that the battery technology still hasn’t reached the point where EVs can have the range and versatility of current gas-powered cars. But, a new technology that was just announced by Volvo, could change that.

The new tech, which has been nearly 4 years in development and was being researched by Imperial College London with funding assistance from the EU, essentially has come up with a new type of battery system which integrates battery components into the frame of the vehicle.

That’s right. The new technology essentially puts the batteries inside the paneling of the car, like the doors and hood, which Volvo says allows them to achieve a significant reduction in the weight of battery components, while also providing a quicker charge rate than current battery technologies which can often take 6 hours or more to fully charge from...

more

Generations Y and Z (sometimes referred to as millennials) are the most tech-savvy generations in many ways. And now new research shows that many of these younger Americans are very interested in getting more advanced technology into cars.

Modern cars already have quite a bit of technology in them, but until very recently, only the high-end and luxury vehicles have really had the bells and whistles that really turn heads. That is slowly changing, however. And car companies are integrating computers, entertainment centers and more into even inexpensive models.

What does this mean for us as your local auto shop? In many ways, it can mean that there are more things to break. The more complicated a car is, the more that can go wrong with it. But, it also means that an independent auto shop has to work very hard to stay up with all of the new technology. And many of the cars that have the cutting edge tech often lead owners to prefer dealerships over independent auto shops, because they feel that the dealership can better handle their proprietary...

more

These days most people say that fuel economy or gas mileage is one of the most important factors in determining which vehicle to buy. And many people are aware that you can drastically affect your gas mileage in the way that you drive, with your tire inflation and other factors. However, not a lot of people are aware that the type of oil that you put into your vehicle can also significantly impact the fuel economy of your vehicle.

At Fort Collins Foreign Car Service, our auto technicians and experts are all about helping to educate our customers and provide car help and advice to help our customers better take care of their cars. Since fuel economy is one of the most important factors in owning a car these days we are aware that it is something that everyone is looking for tips on.

So, that’s why we have a new installment in our long-running Car Help 101 series and it’s on the importance of oil in your car and how it impacts your fuel economy. If you haven’t noticed, oil is basically the lifeblood of your vehicle’s engine. It lubricates and ensures the smooth...

more

Let’s face it. Our country has come a long way from the days when women basically had two options: be a stay-at-home wife or stay-at-home mother. Today, women’s opportunities are much greater, although disparities certainly still do exist. But, what’s even more interesting is that even with these strides, we still have quite traditional gender roles around the household in many cases.

Don’t think so? Who mows the lawn in your household? Chances are it is a male. Who cooks the dinner most often? Chances are it’s a woman. The same gendered responsibilities typically apply to car care which is typically the domain of men. Even if all they know how to do is a simple oil change, most men see car care as their responsibility, as opposed to housekeeping or cooking.

But, there are a number of free classes now across the US which are aiming to challenge the assumption that car care is really a male thing. These car help classes are aimed specifically at women and focus on teaching them more about how to do an oil change and other simple car care tasks.

It’s certainly...

more

It looks like the future is almost here. The reports about testing of self-driving or autonomous cars have been flooding in for the past several years and now it is looking like we really may not be that far away from a system in which your car would let you hang out and play a game of cards with your buddies while it takes the wheel and drives you down the interstate.

But, there are questions still to be answered? Most significantly, perhaps, what would be the overall impact on the current automobile infrastructure and culture? How are our road and traffic systems equipped to work with autonomous vehicles? What will the effect be on your local auto shop? Will you be buying your next self-driving car from Chevrolet, or Google?

All of these questions are important. But, at the top of the list is the impact on the safety of American drivers across the country. Some experts have come forward saying that these vehicles could significantly reduce impacts, accidents and collisions on the road, thus limiting the need for car repair and hopefully also reducing injuries and...

more

There are a number of important factors which contribute to your overall safety when on the road. Your tires, your brakes, how clean your windshield is; all of these things play a key role in ensuring that you can maintain control of your vehicle in an extreme circumstance, or making sure that you can avoid one of those situations in the first place.

But, one of those factors which is often overlooked are your headlights. True, they only factor into safe driving part of the time (obviously only during the nighttime and perhaps when it is foggy and other low visibility situations), but they can be tremendously important in those instances. That’s why Fort Collins Foreign Car Service is here to make sure that the importance of your headlights is not neglected!

As your go-to Fort Collins auto shop, we know firsthand how important headlights can be in ensuring safety during night and low visibility driving. That’s because we’ve seen the accidents which result from people ignoring their headlights and driving with misaligned, or even burned out...

more

At Fort Collins Foreign Car Service, we’re all about giving you the information and education that you need to take better care of your car. And, as you may be aware, Fall is now upon us. That means that there are a few things that you should do in order to keep your car running at its best.

First of all, you need to always make sure to get the year-round regular maintenance like an oil change and air filter replacement done when your car needs it. If you wait too long on items like this, you’ll end up putting more stress on the components in your car, especially your engine. You could also end up spending more money on gas, because a dirty air filter and poorly running engine will burn through gasoline more quickly.

After you’ve taken care of the normal regular maintenance items, Fort Collins Foreign Car Service wants to remind you to take care of a few extra things for Fall. In particular, it’s a good idea to give your battery a check. The cooler weather means that your battery will get more of a workout, so it’s good to check to make sure that your battery...

more

The electric car maker Tesla Motors has seen significant recent financial success with its stock prices rising over 400% in the last year since a highly-publicized IPO. However, a recent incident with one of the carmakers most popular models, the Tesla Model S, has proven to be sobering to investors and potential customers alike. The incident also demonstrates the difficulties that could be encountered by emergency responders and auto repair professionals alike when attempting to work with cars with entirely new technology.

The incident involved a Tesla Motors vehicle that was being driven by its owner just a few miles outside of Seattle, Washington. The driver reported that he felt that he had hit a foreign object and so stopped the car. Minutes later, however, he reported that he began to smell smoke and soon after the car erupted in flames.

When firefighters arrived on the scene the vehicle had erupted into flames and the fire seemed to be coming from the car’s battery pack which is housed underneath the floor of the vehicle. Firefighters initially experienced...

more

At Fort Collins Foreign Car Service, we provide a number of car repair and maintenance services, but we are also a certified installer of alcohol monitor devices called ignition interlocks. These devices have been catching on like wildfire ever since it was demonstrated that they can be used to reliably prevent convicted drunken drivers from continuing to operate a motor vehicle under the influence.

That’s why we at your favorite local auto shop see it as a wholly positive development that ignition interlock devices continue to catch on across the country. In some places there have been legislative changes that have significantly encouraged the adoption of these devices. In fact, they are mandatory for many convicted drunken drivers.

Take the state of Connecticut. It has seen use of ignition interlock devices triple over the last year! That’s a heck of an increase for a device that has been proven to reduce drunken driving related accidents and fatalities. More...

more

Around here we often sound like a record telling all of you to make sure that you get that regular maintenance done on your car. But, hey there’s a reason why we are so insistent. It’s consistently proven that cars which have a car maintenance service that takes care of all these things (or someone who does it themselves) last longer and require less expensive repairs.

But, what if you didn’t know what kind of regular maintenance you should be doing and when? Well, the best place to consult is probably the owner’s manual of your vehicle or perhaps a knowledgeable auto technician at your friendly local auto shop (Fort Collins Foreign Car Service).

We can, however, offer a little bit of a cheat sheet that’s a rough guide for when to check certain things and how often to get particular components of your car serviced by your auto technician. We’re serious about the car maintenance service, your car will thank you by running better for longer.

There are a few different service intervals for different components on your car. There are things you should check every...

more

This October is Fall Car Care Month as the non-profit organization, Car Care Council reminds us. As your auto repair experts at your local auto shop, we’d like to remind you that we are here to provide you information and educational tips that can help you better understand your car and save you money through preventative maintenance and education.

The Car Care Council in honor of this upcoming Fall Car Care Month will be putting on a number of seminars and workshops in order to better educate car owners about how to care for that huge hunk of metal, that massive machine which is one of the most indispensable parts of their lives. In the spirit of this educational drive, those of us at Fort Collins Foreign Car Service, your local auto shop, want to bring you some car care tips stolen repurposed from the Car Car Council website.

One of the coolest things that we found on the organization’s web page is the ABC acronym of car care. This easy-to-remember mantra shows that keeping your car running smoothly and warding off a potentially expensive auto repair, really is as...

more

It looks like General Motors has taken notice of the recent success of electric car maker Tesla Motors and is planning a new series of electric automobiles in order to better compete with the growing upstart. In fact, there is a new series of automobiles that the mammoth automaker is ready to roll out perhaps as early as the next few months.

In what is sure to be an interesting competition between David and Goliath, GM plans to go for a larger chunk of the electric vehicle market than it already has with its Chevy Volt (which has been selling at a very modest pace). At Fort Collins Foreign Car Service we are always keeping an eye on the automobile market and it is definitely looking like electric vehicles are slowly growing as a segment of the auto industry.

The keyword, however, is slowly. It will probably be some time before your local auto shop will need to invest any significant amount of time and energy into electric vehicles, because they still represent only a tiny sliver of the overall percentage of vehicles that are on the roads today in the US. But, that...

more

At Fort Collins Foreign Car Service we do all kinds of repairs, including fixing cracked windows. In fact, we provide the service of replacing or repairing cracked windshields in addition to offering our normal full service auto repair suite. If your window has been cracked and is in need of repair or replacement, there is no reason to contact some fly-by-night service, just bring it in to your local auto shop and we’ll get you fixed right up. In the rare case that we can’t fix it, we’ll refer you to someone who can.

Unfortunately, windshield cracks and chips are part and parcel of driving these days. There’s usually not much you can do to avoid them. Cracks and chips can come from riding behind trucks carrying beds full of debris or having a branch fall on your car among other things. They usually are not the fault of the driver and just more a consequence of some bad luck and being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

So, getting your windshield fixed essentially requires just injecting a liquified plastic or glass substance into the crack or chip in order to...

more

It’s just a no-brainer that you shouldn’t drink and drive. Everybody knows that after a few drinks they are mentally and physically impaired and shouldn’t be doing anything like operating a motor vehicle (or even a bicycle to be honest). The impairment that comes from texting while driving may be a little less obvious, but it is every bit as dangerous. The distraction is highly likely to cause you to take your eyes off the road long enough to cause an accident that could result in an expensive auto repair, or worse an injury or death.

(photo by epSos.de via Flickr)

Since, we’re pretty sure nobody wants that to happen to themselves or anyone else on the road the smartest move is just to put the phone down. If the situation doesn’t even merit a call it certainly isn’t urgent enough to have to be taken care of right-just-now while you are driving your vehicle 75 MPH down I-25.

At Fort Collins Foreign Car Service road safety is very important to us. You could say it’s because we see the mangled aftermath of terrible auto accidents on a semi-daily basis. And every...

more

We’ve all been there. You grab your coffee and head out the door on your way to work, or perhaps on your way to pick up the kids from school, but when you turn the key in the ignition nothing happens. Perhaps just a click or a few lights, perhaps nothing at all. That’s not good, the thought goes through your head. What could it be?

Well, the long answer is that it could be a few things but it is likely your battery if there’s no life at all. If you want to check it yourself, you should take a look to see if the connections on your battery are corroded in any way. If so, you could have found the culprit. If not, you will want to bring your car into Fort Collins Foreign Car Service for a more comprehensive auto repair diagnostic and some repair advice.

If corrosion is in fact the culprit, then you may be able to utilize a quick fix in order to get your battery back into working order. All you need to do is remove the corrosion from your battery terminals in order to make...

more

You may have seen those commercials for the rain repellant products like Rain-X or perhaps the new windshield wipers which are coated with a similar type of substance and thought to yourself ‘Well, that seems like a gimmick’. You’re probably in good company if so. However, a few of us at the local auto shop are here to tell you that, somewhat surprisingly, these products actually can work very well. In fact, they can really improve visibility (and thus safety) in some of the worst thunderstorm conditions.

Are you surprised? Well, it turns out that not every product these days is a ridiculous marketing scam or gimmick. Only about 81% are. Just kidding, in all seriousness it’s closer to 60%. But, the use of these rain repellent chemicals is undeniable for one simple reason. They work. They actually work quite well by themselves (in many cases you don’t even need to use windshield wipers) and paired with a good pair of wipers they can make a ‘no visibility’ situation just good enough to allow you to actually drive.

We’re sure that a lot of you have been in such a...

more

These days it’s not uncommon for a well-maintained vehicle to eclipse the 100,000 mile mark and even go beyond. But, the key to that longevity remains the same: diligent attention to the needs of your vehicle and keeping your car maintained with a regular car maintenance service.

Since the best way to keep your car in tip-top shape is to follow the regular car maintenance service prescribed by your car’s manufacturer in your owner’s manual, it is helpful to brush up on exactly what kind of maintenance your vehicle will need, and when. This can differ from car to car. One manufacturer might recommend that you get your oil changed every 3,000 miles while another might say that 10,000 is perfectly fine. Again, the only way to know for sure is to familiarize yourself with that little book in your car’s glove box.

If you ever end up with questions about car maintenance, don’t hesitate to call or come in to see us at Fort Collins Foreign Car Service. As your local auto shop we strive to provide the very best service to our customers in Fort Collins and all of northern...

more

As questions about the environmental condition of our planet continue to echo and reverberate around the world, automakers are finally realizing that these concerns are going to revolutionize their industry and have (belatedly) begun making vehicles that recognize this. Although, electric vehicles and hybrid gas-electric cars are by far the dominant response to these concerns today, hydrogen fuel-cell powered vehicles offer advantages over these.

The first hydrogen fuel-cell production vehicle, the Honda FCX Clarity, is now on sale (or rather lease) in areas of southern California. These vehicles run on hydrogen-powered fuel-cells that allow them to have a longer range than electric vehicles and also to fuel up much quicker (a charge for an electric vehicle usually takes over an hour if not much longer).

The question is how will this impact the auto repair industry. These cars, like the electric cars that are only now starting to filter into your local auto shop have significantly different components and engines. Up to this point, they are primarily serviced by the...

more

It’s an unfortunate fact that most of us are born procrastinators. We put off the things that we know we should be doing because they may not be the most enjoyable or because they may be painful, either physically in the sense of exercise or financially in the case of paying bills or avoiding that auto repair you know you need.

Meanwhile, we never quite seem to put off getting that ice cream or watching our favorite television show. It’s not often that you will hear the kinds of excuses that are associated with avoiding regular auto maintenance (“I’ll do it later”, “It’s probably not that important”) applied to playing that new video game. But, unfortunately this is how we are wired as human beings. We tend to avoid the things which cause us distress or anxiety and seek out those which cause us pleasure. Even if avoiding the necessities just makes them cause us more pain in the long run.

Although this lesson can be applied in just about every corner of our waking lives, Fort Collins Foreign Car Service wants to let it be known that you are only hurting yourself by...

more

Here’s some car technology news that might make you perk your ears up. Nissan says that it will be providing cost-competitive autonomous cars for sale by 2020. That’s right, self-driving cars are going to be available for you to buy and drive (or be driven in) in less than 7 years according to Nissan Motor Company.

Does that blow your mind? Because it certainly caught us by surprise. Now we’re a little worried that they start developing an autonomous robot auto technician as well. Though, thankfully those seem to be quite a ways off still and even these new self-driving cars will still need car repair services. In fact, they will likely have such complicated computer systems that you might need to take your car to a computer place (or likely a Nissan dealership).

But, if you’re a bit skeptical of Nissan’s ability to deliver on this promise of a self-driving car in less than 7 years, then you’re in good company. There are many people who think that this might not be possible for reasons other than the fact that Nissan will have to really move quickly to get the...

more

The engine in your car is designed to keep you moving longer and with a minimum of hassle, but the parts within it do need regular maintenance in order to do their jobs as efficiently as possible. If any one of these parts is neglected, it could fall down on its job which it turn puts extra stress on the other components of the engine–it’s a system, after all, and only as strong as its weakest part.

Your radiator is one of the components of your engine that requires regular maintenance in order to run at its best. And if you don’t have your radiator functioning well, you could be looking at an engine that overheats and causes much bigger problems that require an auto repair.

So, since we at Fort Collins Foreign Car Service care about keeping your engine running smoother longer, we’re going to discuss the importance of getting a radiator flush done. The radiator flush is a relatively simple process where the coolant inside of a radiator is drained and replaced with a special coolant mixture that also contains a detergent designed to help clean and flush out the...

more

There’s not much more exciting than striking out on the open road, but the open road can be a dangerous and unpredictable place at times, so it pays to be prepared for the worst. That’s why it’s always a good idea to travel with a few essentials that you can help you in case of an emergency. In this installment of Car Help 101, we’re going to talk about the importance of having a roadside emergency kit and what you should put into it.

At Fort Collins Foreign Car Service, we do a lot of car repair work and we can tell you that there are a lot of different things that could possibly go wrong with your car while you are on the road simply from a mechanical standpoint. That doesn’t even take into account the other issues that could befall you on a road trip, or even on the way home from work. Most people like to think that they can’t get lost or are unlikely to get into an auto accident, but the old adage still rings true: It’s better to be safe than sorry.

So, in the spirit of providing some car help advice that can hopefully help out customers travel more safely and...

more

There isn’t much that is more tragic than when a drunken driver takes his or her own life behind the wheel, or worse, kills another innocent driver on the road. Unfortunately, DUI offenses are on the rise across America and that has led law enforcement and politicians to ramp up punishments for one of the most common violations in the country.

Law enforcement across the country are ramping up efforts to crackdown on drunken drivers, including utilizing more drunk driving checkpoints (despite their controversial nature) and stopping drivers if they have even an inkling that the person behind the wheel could perhaps be intoxicated. Law enforcement and political leaders are also pushing for stricter penalties for those who do get caught driving under the influence and earn their first (or even second or third) DUI.

Although an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, there are still ways to deal with violators after they have already been convicted of a DUI. Perhaps one of the most effective and popular methods of preventing those with a record of drunken driving...

more

Just about everyone knows that your tires need a good amount of tread on them in order to remain functional and useful on your car, but did you also know that tires can become bad and unsafe simply by virtue of their age, and even if you haven’t used them much at all. In this installment of Car Help 101, we’re sounding the alarm on old tires.

It’s true. The rubber on your tires can get old, hard, cracked and even rotted after a few years. That’s why it is important to check the age of tires before driving as well as before purchasing new ones. If you have a vehicle which hasn’t been driven in several years, you should inspect the tires to see if the rubber has dried or cracked. If so, they should be replaced immediately so head on over to the auto shop and get some new ones.

But, even when you are purchasing new tires you should check to see their age. After about 4-5 years, tires can start to harden which means they will be much less effective at stopping your vehicle and we all know that this is not a good thing. In fact, it can present a serious safety...

more

So, you go to turn on your car in the morning and as you turn the key and the engine roars to life you detect a foreign sound amongst the generally normal hum of the engine. Is it a slight knocking? Perhaps a high-pitched squeal or whine? Wait, is that Jay-Z? Oops. It’s just the radio on low.

(photo by JSmith Photo via Flickr)

But, all jokes aside, it can be a bit alarming to turn on your car and hear an unidentified noise. If you aren’t an expert in car repair (which is probably a safe bet if you’re reading this blog), this can be even more nerve-wracking because you need to decide whether that sound is just a simple vacuum leak that won’t make your car blow up, or whether it is a really urgent matter that needs to be looked at by an auto technician at your local auto shop right away.

Well, here’s the short answer. Yes, it needs to be looked at. Bring it in to the shop as soon as you can. If you can’t idenfity the noise, you need someone who is qualified to figure...

more

It seems that ignition interlock devices can be useful for more than just preventing drunken driving. They also might be able to stop shoplifters? Well, actually that is exactly what happened when a Connecticut man tried to escape from his pursuers after running off with some clothing and other merchandise from a TJ Maxx store (nice choice for a mark, right?)

The man, Levar Fulgham, attempted to escape from the authorities with nearly $5,000 in designer merchandise when he made a crucial mistake in picking a getaway vehicle to appropriate for his escape. That’s right, the car that he chose to use as his escape vehicle was equipped with an ignition interlock device.

Although, Fulgham wasn’t intoxicated, the alcohol monitor device confounded him for just long enough to allow the police to apprehend him as he frantically revved the engine and attempted to put the vehicle in gear to no avail.

Apparently Fulgham had never seen or used an ignition interlock device and couldn’t figure out how it worked or how to get the car to start so he could speed off into the...

more

These days, maximizing your gas mileage is very important. Gas is steadily getting more expensive and most drivers are increasingly cost-conscious, especially with regard to unnecessary expenses like the increased cost-of-ownership that comes with owning a ‘gas guzzler’. There’s a reason you don’t see too many Hummers on the roads anymore. Even if people like the style of these vehicles, it’s tough to justify a single-digit MPG rating.

But, you don’t necessarily need to buy a new vehicle in order to save money on gas and get yourself a few more of those heavily sought after MPGs. In fact, one of the best ways to maximize your gas mileage doesn’t even require you to set foot in a dealership or an auto shop at all. It’s simply paying attention to where the rubber meets the road. Literally. We’re talking about your tires, which are one of the most important aspects of the gas mileage performance of any car or vehicle.

At the Fort Collins Foreign Car Service auto shop, we’re all about bringing you tips that help you drive better, keep your car healthy and save money. And...

more

Car Help 101 is back! In this installment of your favorite car health tips: how to keep the summer heat from killing your car battery. Now, most of you are probably aware of the havoc that very cold weather can wreak on your car battery. A good number of you have probably experienced a failure to get your car started on a cold winter morning due to the battery not providing a charge, but you may not have been aware of the fact that the summer heat can do just as much damage to your car’s battery as the winter cold.

So, what happens to your battery in the heat? Well, the heat can cause the fluid inside of your battery to evaporate which then causes the charging component of the battery to fail and actually can cause the battery to charge at too high a rate and thus destroy itself.

In order to avoid this situation which may very well lead to a trip to your local auto shop or auto center, you should always make sure to keep the terminals on your battery clean as corrosion can insulate the battery further which can cause damage by inhibiting current flow (to clean battery...

more

When you think about the tools that you might use in order to give that paint job on your favorite ride a little extra shine, waxes, sealers and polishes probably come to mind, but what about sand paper? Yes, that’s right sandpaper. While the thought of taking sandpaper to the beautiful paint job on your vehicle may send chills down your side, sanding a paint job in order to further bring out the shine and luster of the paint is actually something that many body shops do quite regularly. So, next time your auto technician recommends it at the auto shop, just remember that he may not be crazy after all.

But, before you go and grab that power sander and run out to your new car, we should probably tell you that there is a little bit of technique and knowledge required before you can actually get the desired results out of this technique without ruining the paint and finish on your car. At Fort Collins Foreign Car Service, we want to make sure that you have all the information you need to help make your car the best it can be.

Sanding to bring out the luster of a paint...

more

If you have a car that was made in the last 60 years you probably have an air conditioning system built into your car. That means that you can stay cool and comfortable even when the mercury reaches up near (and beyond) the triple-digits. That also means that it’s pretty much guaranteed that if your car could talk it would tell you that it hates your air conditioner.

That’s right, at your local auto shop, we are plainly aware of the fact that while they may help you keep cool in the summer, your car probably sees your air conditioner as an uncomfortable parasite, constantly sapping the power and vitality of its engine. In fact, if you can stomach it you can likely prolong the life of your engine by reducing (or eliminating) the use of your A/C.

As auto technicians, we get to see all kinds of cars come through our shop. And we know that the A/C unit not only needs quite a bit of maintenance, but it is known to shorten the life of an engine, reduce its power and also its fuel economy. But, if you aren’t ready to give up your cool, breezeless drives just yet we can help...

more

It is important to make sure that every passenger that rides in your vehicle is riding safely and comfortably. That includes the furry and four-legged passengers just as much as any others. So, in order to make sure that you keep your pets safe and sound on their next trip with you, here’s a few tips about transporting your animals safely. Because at Fort Collins Foreign Car Service, we want to provide as much car help and advice as we can to help out our customers.

  1. Keep all hands, legs and heads inside the vehicle – It’s crucially important to make sure that you make sure that all animals keep are completely inside the car at all times. Although, it’s common to see dogs sticking their heads out of the car (and they often seem to enjoy this), it can be quite dangerous if you get in an accident.

  2. Don’t let Fido get on your lap while driving – Not only is this more dangerous for your pooch, it is also distracting for you which means that you could be more likely to get into an accident which might require foreign car service.

  3. Keep pets in...

more

If you’ve been reading (or watching) the news lately, you’ve probably heard about these self-driving cars which are on the horizon. Although they are probably a decade or more away from commercial viability (and regulatory approval of any kind), the tech is currently quite advanced. Google has logged hundreds of miles with its self-driving car and recently released a video which showed the vehicle helping a blind man run errands.

That video got us thinking. The implications of these self-driving cars in terms of auto repair probably won’t be too significant (cars will still need service and you’ll still need to stop into your local auto shop). We aren’t worried about these cars putting us out of business (if anything they will add more components that could break into the mix).

But, the implications for American car culture could be significant. What if all of the sudden you could travel anywhere without even paying attention to the road? And, like Google’s video demonstrates just imagine the impact that this could have on those who are currently unable to drive....

more

Summer is the time for road trips and long vacations. It’s time to kick back and enjoy the open road and the beauty of this country with some select family and friends. But, before you head out it’s probably smart to make sure that you have all of your bases covered with regard to making sure that your car is ready for the trip. You wouldn’t leave before you’re ready, so don’t go before your car has been adequately prepared for the open road either.

One of the most important things to take care of before you leave for your trip is getting an oil change. Since the motor oil in your car is probably the most essential part of keeping your engine running smoothly, you’ll want to make sure that it is clean and topped off before you add tens or hundreds of miles on the open road. It’s a good idea to get your fluids checked and replaced if necessary when you do this as well. Any good local auto shop will see to it that they do this when they perform an oil change.

Another essential item to consider before you leave on that road trip is what you would do if you were caught...

more

Do you drive a Ford? A Chevrolet? A Chrysler or GM vehicle? Well, rejoice because you too can enjoy the high-quality service at Fort Collins Foreign Car Service. That’s because, despite our name, we don’t only work on foreign cars. We provide our world-class auto repair and maintenance services to domestic vehicles as well.

Not only do we service domestic vehicles in addition to foreign cars, we also have auto technicians with decades of experience and understanding of how to work on domestic models such as Ford and Chevy. Our technicians are ASE certified which means that they have passed the rigorous curriculum and have been able to successfully demonstrate their expertise to the well-known National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.

At Fort Collins Foreign Car Service, we strive to use our expertise to provide the best service that you can get in northern Colorado. We base our work on the idea that the mechanics you work with should be not only skilled and knowledgeable, but also honest and dedicated to customer service. This is how we have been able to...

more

If you haven’t already heard, Google (and a few lesser known companies) are developing technology to allow cars to drive themselves with cameras and a variety of other sensors mounted on the vehicles. In fact, this technology is almost ready for prime time. Google has already demonstrated the technology in a proof-of-concept situation which allowed a blind man to run errands in the driver’s seat, while being chauffeured by the automated vehicle.

As an auto shop, we are always interested in all things cars and driverless car technology certainly sounds cool and would open up access to cars to all kinds of people, including the blind. It would also allow people to travel long distances on freeways and the like without needing to pay attention to the road. Imagine playing cards with your friends or watching a movie in the back seat while the car drives itself down I-70.

But the auto technician in us is also a bit wary about safety concerns. And it turns out that we are not alone. Although the technology for these driverless cars is almost complete and they are expected...

more

A lot of the discussion on this blog centers around car repairs and maintenance. Which makes sense, right? I mean, we are a car repair shop after all. But, there is a lot more to your car than just repairs and maintenance. It’s your car that you rely on day in and day out to get you where you need to go. If you’re anything like millions of other Americans, it’s how you get to work in the morning and home at night. It’s how you drop the kids off at soccer practice and it’s how you take many of your family trips.

So, what’s the most important thing to be on the lookout for when driving? No, it’s not the check engine light (although that is pretty important). It’s the basic safety measures that will make sure that your family is safe while driving (or riding) in the car. At your local auto shop, we know that some of the best advice we can pass along is to make sure to watch out for your safety on the road. Auto accidents can be ugly things and some of the best car help we can pass along is to make sure that you avoid them at all costs, and if you do get into one (god forbid)...

more

It is something that many of us tend to neglect, yet it is quite possibly the most important part of keeping our car’s running well. Of course, we are talking about the oil change. The oil in your car is like the blood coursing through your veins. It is absolutely essential for every part of your engine to function and that means that when you are driving around with low oil, or with worn out and dirty oil, you are putting a lot of added stress on all of the components of your engine and may increase the likelihood of needing an auto repair for various components down the road.

The beauty of the oil change, however, is the fact that it is a relatively simple operation. With just a few hours of your time you can do it yourself and you’ll get the satisfaction of knowing that you just learned a new skill, plus the added glow that comes from maintaining your own vehicle. But, the oil change does have a few tricks that could mess you up in the process (full disclosure: you will probably get pretty messy regardless).

When you are changing your oil, keep in mind that you...

more

We all dread to have to shell out a few hundred dollars for an auto repair, but the fact is that it’s either that or take the bus, right? Well, it’s certainly true that any car or vehicle that you own is likely to require an auto repair at some point in its life, there are a few things that you can do to limit the likelihood of a costly repair and to make sure that you save the most money when you do end up having to bring your vehicle into the auto shop.

So, what are these magical tips? Well, they’re not exactly magical and many of them are common sense, but that doesn’t mean that most people follow them. It all starts with what kind of car you drive, of course. When you are shopping for cars, make sure that you take into account the full cost of ownership for any vehicle. Sites like Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds now provide these metrics which will allow you to actually judge how much a car will cost you to own, including fuel, maintenance and any expected auto repair.

Putting off that auto repair could cost you more down the road.

Purchasing a vehicle with a...

more

Around here we seem to be saying one thing quite often. In fact, we say it so often that we are starting to sound like a broken record. Of course, that one mantra that we repeat so incessantly is: don’t neglect your car maintenance. There’s a reason why we keep harping on this point, however. That is that it is important! Cars, like other machines, run under significant pressures and need to be taken care of (maintained) in order to last. So, one more time with feeling. Don’t neglect your car maintenance! If you do, you could very well end up at your local auto shop looking at the bill for an auto repair that would have been unnecessary if you just would have kept up with your regular maintenance.

(photo by comedy_nose via Flickr)

But, there are some of you out there that aren’t intentionally neglecting your vehicles. You just don’t know what you should be doing to maintain your car (or how to get it done). Well, if you want some help (or want to make sure that it is done right), you can always come visit us at your local auto shop. We do all manner of maintenance,...

more

You may have noticed that the temperatures this summer are reaching into the upper 90’s and beyond. What does that kind of heat do to your car health? Well, it can put considerable strain on most of the body and engine parts in your vehicle. That’s why it is especially important to keep up on your import car service through the summer months. There are a few things that you can keep an eye on and make sure to do in order to help you vehicle better weather the heat. Read on for some summer car care tips.

The single most important part of keeping your car health up in the summertime is to make sure that you keep up on all of your regular car maintenance. The summer heat already will put an extra burden on your vehicle, so it is important to make sure that you don’t make that stress even more acute by failing to adequately maintain your vehicle. If you need any maintenance done, call us at Fort Collins Foreign Car Service. We’re your best option for reliable and affordable import car service and we make sure to get everything done right the first time.

After you have...

more
4848088053_d85d9a9953.jpg

his summer, we know that many of our friends and favorite customers will all be jumping in the family car or SUV for that quintessential of all American traditions: the summer roadtrip. But, whether you’re heading for the beach, or just to see the grandparents in West Virginia, you’ll want to make sure that your vehicle has been adequately vetted and maintained before you consider putting hundreds or thousands of miles on it in the sweltering summer heat. To that end, Fort Collins Foreign Car Service is here to help. As your local auto shop, we see dozens of vehicles every summer for check-ups.

It’s important to bring your vehicle in to get checked out by a certified auto technician before your big trip, because the amount of mileage that you will be putting on the vehicle with the added stress of the summer heat can really put a lot of pressure on the engine and other crucial components of the car. In other words, it’s that same old broken record saying (that is nonetheless true). If you neglect your regular maintenance, you could end up shelling out way more for a more...

more

We all know that our cars are eventually going to suffer some kind of breakdown or issue that will require an auto repair. That’s just an inevitable part of owning an automobile. However, when your vehicle does require a repair of some kind make sure that you don’t ignore the warning signs and put off that car repair. If you do, you could be looking at a more expensive repair or you could even end up totaling your vehicle in the process.

When your car requires some type of minor repair, you would be best served coming in immediately to have it diagnosed and fixed. But, things aren’t always that black and white. Sometimes, it’s quite obvious that your car needs a repair. For example, it may refuse to start. Other times, there may just be a small noise that happens at a certain time. Or, you may see your check engine light come on intermittently. In all of these situations it pays to have someone take a look at what the issue may be. Don’t forget that all car repair shops, including Fort Collins Foreign Car Service, offer free estimates. So, it won’t cost you a dime to get...

more

Tennessee has just adopted legislation which would make it the first state in the country to mandate ignition interlock devices be installed in the vehicles of all DUI offenders, even first-time offenders. The alcohol monitor devices are able to detect when a driver is intoxicated and prevent the car from starting, thus making the streets safer for all the drivers on the road by keeping drunk drivers off the streets.

Many states currently encourage or mandate the alcohol monitoring devices for those who are convicted of a DUI violation. Some states, including Colorado, require the devices be installed on the vehicles of offenders who are repeat violators or who had a BAC that was more than double the legal limit. However, Tennessee is taking things a step further and requiring that any DUI convict be forced to get an ignition interlock alcohol monitor installed on their vehicle as a precondition of receiving a restricted license to drive.

The ignition interlock devices are typically installed at the offender’s own expense and can be put in at any nearby auto shop, as...

more

It’s always a difficult decision. When your current car has reached that point where it is begining to show its age and is requiring a significant amount of repair work, should you spend the money on the consistent car repair jobs or should you suck it up and purchase a new vehicle which (hopefully) won’t be as expensive to own when it comes to auto repair?

This is a decision that can seem difficult but it should be fairly straightforward from a financial standpoint. You simply need to add up the numbers and determine whether it would be better to get a new car that is going to cost you less at your local auto shop (but quite a bit at your dealership) or whether it is worth it to put in the money to get your current car repair done.

In most cases, unless you are facing a lot of repairs or a very expensive auto repair, you will be better off staying with your current car if you view the situation purely through a financial lens. On the other hand, you might be getting to that point where a new car sounds like it would be a more enjoyable experience for you. And, if you...

more

A Connecticut man has been charged with avoidance of an interlock device, after he was caught trying to enlist passersby at a local marina to help him start his vehicle by blowing into his ignition interlock device. Obviously, the man had been drinking and was not able to blow into the device himself in order to get his vehicle started and pull his boat from the water. This kind of situation illustrates all too clearly how easy it is to bypass an interlock device, if you just have a sober and willing participant to help you.

Ignition interlock devices, which can be installed at your local auto shop by a qualified auto technician are designed to prevent drivers from drinking and driving. The device must be blown into (like a breathalyzer) before the vehicle can be started, and periodically the driver must stop and pull over to blow into it while driving (a practice called rolling tests).

Ignition interlock systems may be required after a DUI conviction.

These devices have kept a lot of drunken drivers off of the road, and undoubtedly saved countless lives as...

more

America is perhaps the most car-crazed culture in the history of the planet. The car was invented here, so we have reason to be proud of our automobile motoring tradition. But, since the time of Robert Henry Ford there have been a lot of challenges to American automobile manufacturing supremacy. Foreign cars have now garnered enough market share to really give domestic models a run for their money. In fact, they are preferred by Americans in many areas.

Even though foreign cars have now taken over in popularity (4 of the top 5 best selling cars in America are manufactured abroad), there is still a special place in many people’s hearts for American cars, especially the classic sports cars and muscle cars like the Chevy Corvette and the Ford Mustang. However, the golden age of muscle and power has passed to be replaced with a demand for reliable cars that provide good gas mileage. These days, power is often sacrificed for value and quality.

Either way, America’s car companies are far from down and out. After a massive public bailout, GM is doing quite well, even if it...

more

Browse around the web and you will find a million different articles on just about every topic and subject that has ever been thought up by man with the title of: X tips for Y. Well, getting the best prices on auto repair doesn’t even require 7 tips, 5 tips, or even really 3 tips. There’s two simple steps to making sure that you get the best service and prices for your repairs.

So, what is step one? Step one is simple: shop around. This is important, because comparing prices, reviews and services is the only real way to make sure that you are getting the best deal. Everybody auto technician or repair place in town is going to say that they have the lowest prices and the best service. Can you imagine if they didn’t? Bob’s Auto Repair: Moderate prices, Mediocre service. Doesn’t really have quite the allure that low prices, best service would, does it?

So, the first step to saving money is getting multiple estimates and price quotes for the work you want done. Not only will you likely save money if you can get each auto technician to compete with the other one, but you...

more

Browse around the web and you will find a million different articles on just about every topic and subject that has ever been thought up by man with the title of: X tips for Y. Well, getting the best prices on auto repair doesn’t even require 7 tips, 5 tips, or even really 3 tips. There’s two simple steps to making sure that you get the best service and prices for your repairs.

So, what is step one? Step one is simple: shop around. This is important, because comparing prices, reviews and services is the only real way to make sure that you are getting the best deal. Everybody auto technician or repair place in town is going to say that they have the lowest prices and the best service. Can you imagine if they didn’t? Bob’s Auto Repair: Moderate prices, Mediocre service. Doesn’t really have quite the allure that low prices, best service would, does it?

So, the first step to saving money is getting multiple estimates and price quotes for the work you want done. Not only will you likely save money if you can get each auto technician to compete with the other one, but you...

more

What is it that goes through the mind of a procrastinator when they are deciding to put off something that needs to be done? Why is it that so many of us procrastinate at one time or another, even when the consequences can become severe in many instances? For those of us, who have fallen victim to this psychology, what can we do to snap out of it?

Those are some big questions and they can’t be answered in a single blog post (psychologists have been trying to answer them for decades). But, we can look at one of the effects of procrastination as it relates to car repair and import car service. That is, of course, putting off regular maintenance or taking your car into the auto shop. Many of us have done it, so the question is: why? Usually, it’s as simple as the desire to avoid consequences or undesirable actions as long as possible. In the case of the auto repair, it is being afraid of what could be wrong or how much it could cost us.

But, the biggest catch-22 of this procrastination is that, in putting off these things, we make it more likely that the consequences...

more

Let’s face it. Car repair can be expensive. Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is that cars, like basically any other machine have a predilection to breaking in some way or another eventually. They’re simply too complex as machines to work perfectly all the time, especially with all of the wear and tear that we tend to put on them by using them as our primary means of transportation.

There are a number of ways to save money on auto repairs. The first, and most important, is to shop around and go to a local auto shop with employees and management that you can trust to provide you with honest information about whatever car repair you may need, and to do the job correctly and without unnecessary expense the first time. After that, there are two primary ways that you protect yourself against high repair costs (besides simply taking good care of your vehicle and not putting off routine maintenance). The first is to drive a car that is under warranty (or purchase an extended warranty) and the other, lesser known option, is to purchase car repair insurance.

Yes, car...

more

Ignition interlock devices are already mandated in many DUI situations by most states, including Colorado, but it looks like they may actually start to be expanded in functionality in order to be able to detect not only alcohol impairment, but also impairment due to prescription medications as well.

The ignition interlock is a device which is often ordered to be installed on the vehicles of a DUI offender in order to allow them to drive while their license is suspended as long as they have the device which monitors their blood alcohol installed in their vehicle. These devices can be installed at the auto shop. Fort Collins Foreign Car Service provides installation services for ignition interlock devices.

But, some states are making moves to include more types of drugs in the detection abilities of the ignition interlock devices. Tennessee is one of the states that is including new legislation that would create a zero tolerance for prescription drug impairment in drivers. The state also made waves recently when it passed legislation that requires that interlock devices...

more

There are few more pieces of car help that are more useful than tips on saving money on gas. Especially during the summer, the cost of gas can become quite expensive (although it rarely approaches the levels of European nations–can you imagine paying $6/gallon for fuel?) Well, AAA, the famous roadside assistance and insurance company has a few tips for saving money on gas that we want to bring you today so that you can save some cash when running your summer errands or on your summer road trip.

One of the most important things that you can do to ensure that you save money on gas (as AAA notes) is to make sure that your tires are properly inflated. Tires that are underinflated or overinflated will impact your fuel economy and cost you more money at the pump. This goes for imported cars just as well as it does for domestic cars. It’s important to keep your tires at the proper pressure for your vehicle.

Another important tip that AAA spotlights is the need to drive the speed limit and avoid excessive acceleration. This is a piece of car help that won’t just keep you from...

more

One of the more neglected aspects of regular car maintenance is making sure that your cars tires are inflated to the proper pressure. Although this would seem to be a relatively simple operation and an easy part of your regular maintenance routine, a recent survey by the AAA affiliate in Arizona found that only 1 in 6 drivers knew how to properly check the pressure of their tires. This is a staggering number, especially considering that checking tire pressure is actually one of the simplest car maintenance tasks that a car owner can do.

Now, using a tire gauge is not the only part of checking the tire pressure. You also need to know when to check the tire pressure and what the proper pressure is in the first place. If you have any questions about this, you can usually consult your owner’s manual or stop by your local auto center or local auto shop for some help. Most car models have the proper tire inflation pressure printed on a sticker that is typically on the inside of the driver’s side door (though it is occasionally on the passenger side instead).

So why is it...

more

You may have heard the term ‘ignition interlock’ but not have been entirely clear on what an interlock system is or what it does. Today, we’re going to look at what an ignition interlock system’s purpose is and how it can actually help to save lives by protecting people on the road from one of the most dangerous threats that drivers face: drunk driving.

An ignition interlock system is an alcohol monitor which is installed into the ignition of a car and, once installed by a qualified auto technician, will prevent operation of the vehicle unless the driver blows into a breathalyzer-like device, verifying that he/she is not impaired and is safe to operate the vehicle. These devices can be installed at most any auto shop that has qualified auto technicians, including Fort Collins Foreign Car Service.

The devices are primarily installed because they are ordered (or recommended) by a judge or a court after a DUI violation. Typically after an individual is busted for drunk driving, they will lose their driver’s license for a year (for the first offense). This is primarily...

more

There are many popular myths about cars out there, from what increases power and performance to how to get the best gas mileage and a lot more. Today, we’re going to examine some popular car maintenance myths. What is the truth about auto repair vs the myths? Let’s take a look.

  1. The 3,000 mile oil change – There are a lot of folks out there that still think that they need to get that oil changed every 3,000 miles. In fact, most only require oil changes from 5-10,000 miles. This can save a lot of money in the long run if you can end up cutting your oil changes in half. Make sure to check your owner’s guide to find the recommended mileage.

  2. Overmaintenance is just as bad as undermaintenance – Car maintenance is essential. There is nothing worse than ignoring those little lights on your dashboard. You need to make sure that you head into your local auto shop right away and get the right repair advice. There can be such a thing as worrying too much about maintenance, but there is no truth to the fact that maintaining your vehicle according to your...

more
Police man at night

We have all heard the reasons why it’s really not a smart idea to drive while drunk from a public safety standpoint. I don’t care who you are, or what the excuse is, if you end up taking someone else’s life because you were intoxicated behind the wheel, it will haunt you for the rest of your life–and you’ll probably be looking at substantial jail time. Even if you don’t end up in an accident that results in an injury, or a costly auto repair. You will have to contend with the financial impact of getting a DUI, when (not if) you get caught. And drunk driving comes with a pretty high cost.

Depending on the firm or organization doing the estimating, getting a DUI can cost you between $10-$20,000. That is a lot of dough for one night of, “Oh well, it’s no big deal and I gotta get home, right?” The costs really add up because you will be looking at a number of expensive items, from bail to the cost of auto repair to court mandated DUI classes, attorney fees and the suspension of your license. Trust us, at Fort Collins Foreign Car Service, we deal with the aftermath of DUIs...

more

It looks like the word is finally getting out about how ignition interlock devices can improve road safety. A number of politicians and journalists have been singing their praises in the past few months and increasing numbers of states are adopting legislation that mandates that the alcohol monitoring devices be installed on vehicles when their drivers are found guilty of a DUI violation.

An ignition interlock device, which can be installed by a qualified auto technician at an auto shop just about anywhere in the US, is designed to monitor alcohol intake before a driver is allowed to start a motor vehicle. Many states, including Colorado, have laws that require ignition interlocks to be installed if a DUI offender is to be allowed to drive a vehicle during the period of mandated license suspension following a conviction for driving under the influence.

The devices have the advantage of allowing DUI offenders to stay mobile while keeping other drivers on the road safe. That is why they continue to be adopted by many states. They also don’t cost taxpayers anything...

more

One of the most requested tips for drivers is how they can improve their fuel economy and gas mileage. So, we’re going to dedicate this Car Help 101 entry to answering that particular question. From keeping your tires inflated to getting maintenance done at your local auto shop, here are 5 easy ways to improve fuel economy and boost your gas mileage just in time for summer. So, without further ado, here are 5 tips to improve your gas mileage.

  1. One of the most important things to do in order to keep your car running as smoothly as possible and maximize your fuel economy is to make sure that you are getting regular maintenance done on your vehicle. Skipping an oil change or driving with a clogged air filter could significantly reduce your gas mileage. Also, make sure that you keep track of when to replace your spark plugs or you could also see a dip in your MPGs. Stop in to your local auto shop to find out if they need replaced.

  2. Check your tires to make sure that they are properly inflated. Tires that are low could take as much as a 20% bite out of your...

more

There are a number of hazards out there that you should be aware of in order to make sure that you don’t end up running headlong into a potentially expensive (and avoidable) auto repair. At Fort Collins Foreign Car Service, we unfortunately see many people come in for car repair that occurred because of a preventable situation. The road can be a dangerous and tough place. It is important that you are armed with knowledge about how to avoid the most common hazards on the highway in order to make sure that you stay safe and your car stays in one piece. In this edition of Car Help 101, we’re going to go over avoiding these common hazards.

There are a number of common hazards that you may encounter on the road, which is why we want to dedicate this edition of Car Help 101 to educating you about them and how you can avoid an expensive auto repair that is usually part and parcel with a close encounter with any number of these hazards.

First up on the list is black ice. Things are warming up in northern Colorado for spring so you likely won’t have to deal with this one for a...

more

One of the most important things that you can do to ensure your own safety and that of your passengers when driving is to make sure that your car is outfitted with a basic emergency kit that contains a few essential items that can help you be prepared to tackle any situation that may arise in an emergency. There are a number of situations that could arise which could require that you take action in order to protect your own life and that of anyone else who is travelling in your vehicle. An automobile accident is one of the most common, but some others may be breaking down and being rendered stranded on an deserted highway, getting lost without a phone or GPS to find your way or just simply having a mechanical malfunction which may require an import car service at your local auto shop.

In order to make sure that you are prepared for these events it is important to pack an emergency kit in your vehicle in a place where it is easy to reach in order to help you deal with whatever fate throws your way. This is basic car help advice that could even save your life. There are a...

more

f you haven’t heard, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That applies to car repair as well. You might be able to save hundreds in medical bills, just by eating healthier and exercising regularly. In the same way, you can likely save hundreds in potential auto repair bills down the road by spending a few bucks each month on car maintenance service. At Fort Collins Foreign Car Service, we all too often see repairs that were likely caused by a failure to keep up with regular maintenance and just provide a little TLC to a vehicle.

Something as simple as an oil change may just cost you a few bucks, but neglecting to change your oil when it is needed and running your vehicle with old oil, or with too little oil can seriously put a lot of stress on your engine. The results, as you may have guessed, are that you could be looking at a three figure (or more) auto repair bill in the near future. And just because you forgot to get that oil change done when your vehicle needed it. Trust us, those little stickers that we put up in your windshield are not just to get you...

more

Well, it looks like the weather here in northern Colorado is just going to skip spring altogether and push us right into the summer time. This week is supposed to be high 80’s and low 90’s and next week might not be much cooler, either. So, in the spirit of summer which seems to come earlier and earlier each year, we’re going to discuss the importance of making sure that your car is ready for that summer road trip.

If you are planning a vacation this summer and you live in America, you probably only have two options: fly or drive. If you opt to fly you will probably be spending more money, though you will also get there faster. Of course, since the trip is not about the destination (it’s about the journey) we always prefer the road trip, complete with random tangents to look at strange ‘points of interest’ such as the inevitable world’s largest [whatever] that crop up in rural towns across America.

Make sure you get your vehicle checked out, before that summer road trip. (photo by nikoretro via Flickr)

If you do decide to go for the road trip, you will want to...

more

If you are like the millions of other Americans who rely on their cars to get them to work/school, to run errands and to generally transport them where they need to go, you realize just how much gas can cost you when you use your car for pretty much everything. Whether you have a domestic vehicle or an import, you likely are going to be looking for a way to save money on gas. Although many foreign cars can be more fuel-efficient than American cars (sometimes simply because gas is much more expensive in places like Europe and Japan), everyone can use some general tips to learn how to use less gas and save more money.

One way to save money on gas is simple to buy a new fuel-efficient car. Of course, this can be a significant investment in itself, so you would need to do the math to see how long it would take you to recoup the additional cost with the increased gas savings. For many people, this probably isn’t going to be the best option (unless you have a very low MPG vehicle currently and were planning on upgrading soon anyway).

You can expect that gas prices will be...

more

First off, happy mother’s day to all of you mommas out there. For this mother’s day, we have an interesting study for you. It looks like RepairPal, an online repair website that we posted about previously, has commissioned a study and found something quite alarming. The study, which was done by Harris Interactive, found that 77% of car owners and leasers think that they are being sold unnecessary car repairs from most auto shops.

This is a huge number of drivers who are convinced that they are being taken for a ride by their local auto shop. While we highly doubt that auto technicians are that dishonest, there certainly are some auto repair places which will recommend repairs or even maintenance tasks which may not strictly-speaking be required. Of course, this is done to make money. But, at Fort Collins Foreign Car Service, we adamantly believe that this kind of behavior will backfire in the long-run. Why? Because these kinds of actions are those that can lose your business the trust of your customers. And trust in the business world is worth more than its weight in gold....

more

Ignition interlock devices have become quite popular for cars. Well, they may not exactly be popular with those who are convicted of drinking and driving and have to shell out the money to get one installed. But, they have been proven to prevent users from driving drunk which improves the safety of our roads and in the end saves lives.

Now, there are some who are pushing for these devices to be installed on school busses as well in order to make sure that bus drivers are not driving drunk when transporting children to and from their school. It certainly is important that we secure the safety of our children, but one has to ask if it is really necessary to outfit all of our school busses with ignition interlock devices in order to do that.

Ignition interlock devices can save lives.

Some say yes. There have been a few recent incidences of drunken bus drivers who have in some cases crashed their busses (thankfully without any serious injuries or deaths to the kids on board) and been fired for the action. While installing an alcohol monitoring device on a bus would...

more
6937142471_bd3f69aa92_z-306x205-306x188.jpg

If you own a car (and we’re assuming you do if you’re reading this blog), it’s likely that you’ll want to keep your car running smoothly throughout the entire time of your ownership. This is a no-brainer. The better that you treat your car, the longer it will last and the less it will cost you to own overall. Of course, there is quite a bit of maintenance that can go into keeping your vehicle in tip-top shape. And the best way to know just how to care for your car best is to familiarize yourself with your vehicle’s owner manual.

Your owner’s manual has all the information about your car that you could ever want. It will tell you the recommended time periods for performing regular routine maintenance tasks and give you tips that can help you avoid a potential auto repair. Combined with getting good advice from a trusted auto technician at your local auto shop, your owner’s manual should be able to provide you just about all the information on your vehicle that you need. You find how often to perform oil changes and exactly how to go about the process. Owner’s manuals...

more
An abstract weld

This summer, make sure that your vehicle is ready to take on the heat and all of the extra stress that comes with it by taking a few simple steps to ensure that your engine and the rest of the components on your vehicle are all up to snuff. There are a few components that you should always check when performing your normal car maintenance service prior to the heat waves to come in the upcoming summer. They are the tires, the battery, the belts and fluids inside your engine and, of course, your A/C . The last thing you want is to get in your car on a hot day and find out that your air conditioner is on the fritz.

When the weather gets warm, there is a little extra stress put on your vehicle’s engine. That’s why it is important to make sure that you test a few key parts of your vehicle or take advantage of a professional car maintenance service in order to let the expert technicians at your nearest auto shop do the work for you. Either way make sure that you have all your bases covered and that you inspect all of the key components prior to the arrival of the hot...

more

When you need an expert, do you call someone who has a well-rounded understanding of an entire field or someone who is focused only on the one specific area that you need help? Of course, the answer to this question should be both. That’s the biggest issue in auto repair. It is one of the major distinctions between auto technicians at a major dealership and those who run their own repair shops, like us at Fort Collins Foreign Car Service.

We want to provide you the best service. That’s why we focus on your car needs.

There are some who argue that getting the work done by someone who does nothing more than a particular make will result in better quality work. This logic seems sound, but the most obvious downside to choosing a specialist like this is that they tend to work for the larger dealerships, they are highly-trained in one particular area and they are more expensive to employ.

That’s how a lot of people break down the distinction between the dealership and the local auto shop. It’s either more expensive specialized experts at the dealership or the more...

more

A new bill that just passed the Tennessee legislature would increase the number of individuals who are required to get an ignition interlock device installed into their vehicles. Like many states, Tennessee requires drivers who are convicted of a DUI violation with a certain BAC to get the alcohol monitoring devices installed on their cars at their local auto shop. The new bill lowers the minimum BAC threshold which triggers the mandatory ignition interlock device requirement.

The new law, which was passed unanimously in both the house and the senate, lowers the BAC threshold for a mandatory ignition interlock device to .08% from .15% This effectively means that nearly all DUI offenders will be required to get an ignition interlock device installed on their car since the minimum alcohol content to receive a DUI conviction for those 21 and up is also .08%.

The Tennessee state capitol, where lawmakers have just passed a stricter ignition interlock requirement for DUI's.

Ignition interlock devices, which can be installed by your qualified local auto shop (Fort...

more

If you didn’t know, April is National Car Care Month. That means that you should take a little extra time to recognize and appreciate that large piece of machinery that transports you anywhere you need to go with a minimum of hassle or effort. April is when we say thank you to our cars and make sure that we are taking care of them in the best fashion possible. As your local auto shop, Fort Collins Foreign Car Service, we want to make sure that your car stays in the best shape possible and a good cleaning is a part of that as well.

A great way to do this is to give your car a deep clean that will have it looking nice and shiny, and make you swell with pride. So, we encourage you to wait for a nice day and do a complete deep cleaning of your car, including exterior and interior, in order to get all the winter grime and dirt out of their and keep your car looking its best.

April is National Car Care Month.

When you are doing a deep clean of your vehicle there are several areas you will want to focus on. For the interior, these are the hard surfaces that make up...

more
Rusty Ford sign

Bet you didn’t know that April is National Car Care Month. That’s right, this is the one month out of the year that you have to actually take care of your car. Oh wait, no you should definitely be doing that every single month (and every day too). But, in April we do urge you to take a particular look at your car and make sure that you are all caught up on scheduled maintenance. Also, make sure that you take your vehicle into your local auto shop and get any repairs done that you’ve been putting off.

Spring is here. Even though it doesn’t really seem that way in northern Colorado with two feet of snow on the ground, the warmer weather is just around the corner (and we’ve already gotten a few nice peeks at it). This means it is a great time to get some repair work done for your car. If you’re feeling like getting your hands dirty, why not try your hand at an oil change on a nice spring day. Or, if you’re not really the DIY type of person, go ahead and bring your car into Fort Collins Foreign Car Service and we’ll get that oil change done for you in no time and for a...

more

Many of us have done it. You see that ‘check engine’ light come on and you think to yourself, “Wow, wonder how much this is going to cost me?” Sometimes this fear of getting a car repair done can actually cause us to put off getting repair advice when we really might need it. Sure, it could be just a minor issue (even maybe a sensor malfunction), but that little orange light could just as easily signify a major issue with your car that could jeopardize your safety and affect your car’s performance.

Putting off something we know that we should do, because we don’t want to face the possible effects of doing it is about as normal as it comes. We are all guilty of doing it at one point or another. Unfortunately, that fact doesn’t take away the reality that it still hurts us quite often. And when you are talking about a major piece of equipment that you use everyday (your car), it is important to make sure that your vehicle is safe and taken care of. That’s why you should make sure to head in to Fort Collins Foreign Car Service for some free repair advice as soon as your check...

more

If you, or someone you know, has recently received a DUI conviction you may have heard a little something about an ignition interlock device. When you are convicted of a DUI in Colorado, the conviction typically comes with a minimum period of license suspension. What this means is that you will not be able to legally operate a motor vehicle for a year or more after you receive your conviction. While Fort Collins is a very bicycle-friendly town, this can be quite inconvenient for many Coloradans who need to commute to work on a daily basis, especially if your trip is longer. During those winter months it can really be rough riding your bike or walking to work.

But, thankfully, there is another option that is provided. If you elect to, you can pay to have an ignition interlock device installed on your primary vehicle. This device hooks into the car’s ignition and requires that the driver blow into a breathalyzer-like mouthpiece to verify that he or she is not intoxicated before driving. The interlock device also requires periodic tests while driving. These will ask the driver...

more

You’ve probably heard television commercials about ‘high-performance’ synthetic motor oil, or perhaps your auto technician asked you if you would like a synthetic oil when you came in to your local auto shop for your last oil change. You might have been a bit confused about what exactly the difference is between conventional and synthetic motor oil. Well, we’re going to let you know right now so you can more easily make the decision as to whether you should be getting a synthetic oil, or not.

Regular motor oil is oil that comes directly from crude oil. It is further refined in order to provide excellent lubrication and withstand all of the high temperatures and the rigorous environment of the inside of a modern combustion engine. While this regular motor oil is typically sufficient for most normal consumer vehicles. The synthetic version is modified petroleum oil that is tweaked to provide a number of advantages over the conventional forms of motor oil. For this reason, you might seriously consider getting synthetic oil the next time you go in for your regular oil change at...

more

Most of us will end up requiring the services of a professional auto technician at least a few times a year. But, when you end up at the auto shop for your next car repair, what should you expect? What are the standards of honesty, performance and customer service that every repair shop should live up to? Certainly, some places will live up to higher standards than others, but all car repair shops should meet a minimum of these standards. What should you expect (or demand) from your repair shop?

One thing that is certainly required by any honest and professional repair shop is a written estimate for the services to be performed. If you go to an auto shop and they do not provide you with a written estimate, you should be worried (and maybe consider getting your vehicle repaired somewhere else). Repair advice is great, but if it does not come ultimately in the form of a written estimate for your car repair, you can’t be sure that you won’t be charged additionally for add-on services and repairs that were ‘discovered’ during the course of the normal work.

Make sure that...

more

When that little light comes on in our cars, we all tend to panic a little bit. After all, the lights are typically not the most descriptive. They usually just say, ‘Check Engine’ or ‘Check Brakes” which is both vague and ominous. Am I okay to keep driving the car? What exactly is the problem? How much is this going to cost me? All of these questions are likely to pop into your head when you notice a new light blinking on the dashboard of your car. Well, we want to give you a few tips on how to deal with those mini-panic moments, as well as some more information on exactly what that little light may mean.

The first thing to note is that the warning lights that are on the dashboard will vary from vehicle make and model, so the best way to know for sure what is going on is to consult the manufacturer’s owner’s manual. But, it is likely that the manual will give you a pretty brief description and then refer you to speak to an auto technician at your local auto shop. This is definitely good advice. Depending on the situation, the same check engine light could mean an issue that...

more

Ignition interlock devices which detect blood-alcohol levels in order to ensure that a driver is not intoxicated before getting behind the wheel are getting more and more popular as more states pass laws that encourage, or mandate the use of these devices in cases of drunken driving. At this point, nearly every state in the US has a law on the books which requires ignition interlock devices to be installed when a driver is convicted of a DUI violation with a high BAC-level. The interlock devices, which are commonly installed at a local auto repair shop, have greatly decreased the instances of drunken driving while allowing DUI convicted drivers to retain access to a motor vehicle.

Now, it looks like some companies are trying to further the success that has been seen with interlock devices that monitor alcohol intoxication. One company, OrigoSafe, is announcing a device which would work much the same way that the alcohol-monitoring ignition interlock devices do–except this one is designed to discourage cell phone use while driving. The device includes a cell phone dock that...

more

So your ‘check engine’ or ‘service engine soon’ light is on in your car. When you spotted it your heart sank because you knew that something is wrong and that something might end up costing you a chunk of change at the auto shop. But, what exactly is the problem? Is it an issue with your engine’s compression? Perhaps a faulty part? Unfortunately, these lights aren’t advanced enough to diagnose the entire issue for you and give you a more specific message. And, unless you are a budding auto technician yourself, you probably won’t get a whole lot out of actually checking the engine as this bossy little light suggests.

So, what do you do? You bring your car into the auto shop for some honest repair advice, of course. The alert systems that are built-in to cars these days are not very specific, but they are fairly advanced in detection. There are a whole slew of items that your car’s computer is constantly monitoring in your engine to make sure that if there is a potential issue that you know about it and get it taken in to a professional at the repair shop who can use more...

more

If you really want to keep your car healthy and running well, it is important to have a bit of knowledge about basic repair and maintenance for your vehicle. The car help that we provide on this blog is designed to give you an idea of how your vehicle is running and how you can help it to run better and more efficiently. If you ever have a major breakdown and need some repair advice from the experts, we’ll be here to help you at Fort Collins Foreign Car Service.

The first tip that we want to provide today, is to make sure that your vehicle’s brakes are functioning correctly and able to stop your car effectively. We don’t need to tell you how bad it would be if your brakes gave out, so its best to keep them at the top of their game. In order to do this, you will need to know when to seek repair advice or get your brakes replaced. The most telling sign of worn, or bad brakes is any kind of grabbing or vibration that you can feel through the pedal when you are trying to brake.

It's smart to have your brakes checked regularly.

Even if you don’t feel a particular...

more

Your car needs some more TLC. Just think of all of the abuse that your car has endured and all of the work that it has put in for you, without even a simple recognition. That’s why you should consider pampering your vehicle with that deluxe wash next time you’re at the car wash. Or, better yet, just give it the personal wash at home. Nothing is better for car health than some one-on-one time with its owner. Okay, cars don’t really have feelings, but there are a few things you can do to really keep your car looking nice and running smoothly. In this edition of Car Help 101, we’re going to focus on how you can give your car a bit more TLC.

The most basic part of taking better care of your car is of course making sure that you get all routine maintenance done in a timely manner. Don’t neglect the oil change that your car needs. And make sure that you look at the owner’s manuals for your imported cars, in order to determine the proper schedule for getting all of that regular maintenance done. If you have lost your paper owner’s manual, all the manufacturers post the information...

more

Spring is almost here, which means that it is finally warm enough to spend time outside without freezing to death or being bundled up like a grizzly bear. Yeah, we know, the winter was actually pretty mild, but still. So, now that it’s warming up it is a good time to make sure that your car is caught up on all of the routine maintenance that needs to be done. If you’ve been neglecting that oil change or another piece of routine maintenance, you should come clean and either get your hands dirty, or come in to your local auto shop to take advantage of the professional car maintenance service.

What should you check this spring? Well, first up is that one piece of routine maintenance that everyone is familiar with: the oil change. If you neglect your oil changes, your vehicle’s engine will not be running as easily as it could be and it will suffer more wear and tear because of it. So, make sure that you get your regular oil change done. If you do it yourself, make sure you consult the owner’s manual of your vehicle so that you use the correct type of engine oil, and so that you...

more

America is undoubtedly a car culture. But, even with cars an everyday part of our lives, many of us are blissfully ignorant about how they work. This is okay most of the time, because we can entrust experts to help us fix our cars when we need an auto repair at our local auto shop, but it is always interesting to learn a bit more about a part of your life that you don’t understand, so we decided to come up with a few factoids about cars that you probably weren’t aware of. There are a number of interesting things about how your car works, and what it does that we are pretty sure you may not know. So, without further ado here are 5 interesting car facts that (we’re pretty sure) you don’t know.

Cars are everywhere, but many people know shockingly little about them.

  1. Your 200 horsepower car doesn’t actually have the power of 200 horses, it’s more like the power of 285 horses, since the average horse only actually can pull about as much as 70% of the measure of one horsepower unit. But, don’t go around telling people that your little sedan has 250 (real) horsepower...
more

Some people just like to do things for themselves. If the old adage that if you want to get it done right, you have to do it yourself is your motto, we certainly admire your enterprising spirit and confidence, but we want to remind our readers that undertaking your own car repair can result in disaster for your vehicle if you lack the knowledge of how to properly perform a car repair, and more importantly it can even be dangerous. So, for this installment of Car Help 101, in the spirit of empowering all of you go-getter DIY-ers, we’re going to provide a few tips to keep yourselves safe and injury-free while doing your own car repair. And don’t forget, if you get stuck you can always come to the repair shop and speak to your friendly local auto technician for a little car help or repair advice.

  1. Wear eye protection and the right gear for safety – This is very important when working on your car. Though those snazzy plastic safety glasses, probably won’t be worn by any supermodels strutting their stuff on the runway anytime soon, suck it up and put them on so you don’t end...
more

While taking care of your car is unquestionably important to make sure that it lasts for a long time, there are a number of pitfalls that people fall into when taking care of their cars. It may be neglecting one area over another, or perhaps even performing regular car maintenance service incorrectly, causing additional problems that could lead to expensive auto repair costs down the road. We certainly applaud the drive and the DIY spirit of those who decide to manage their own car maintenance service, instead of entrusting it to their local auto shop, but there are a few common mistakes that are made in this situation which sometimes can cause big (and expensive problems). So, we made a list of the top 5 car maintenance mistakes and how you can avoid them.

Oil changes are important, but a real car maintenance service is more than that.

  1. Car Maintenance is More Than Regular Oil Changes
  • There are many people, who think of one thing and one thing only when they hear the words car maintenance service: the oil change. While changing...
more
WP_20150529_006-300x169.jpg

Today’s edition of our Car Help 101 series is focused on that most basic of car repair tasks: changing a tire. Now, some may laugh at the fact that we are doing a lesson on how to change a car tire, but we are pretty sure that there are more of you out there who really aren’t too sure how to do this, even though many of you would be unlikely to admit it. It’s okay, your friends at Fort Collins Foreign Car Service aren’t here to judge, we’re just here to help (that’s why we call it Car Help 101). So, here is your crash course on changing that tire, so you don’t end up looking like a fool in front of your date the next time you spring a flat on the highway. It’s really as easy as 1-2-3. Don’t worry, if you get really confused you can stop in and ask for help at your local auto center.

Step 1: Find a Spot To Stop and Get Set Up

  • You’ll want to choose a spot that is flat and has hard ground if at all possible. You don’t want the car rolling on you, and you want a hard flat surface to put the jack on.
  • Get as far away from traffic as possible...
more
Lucy-300x200.jpg

We’ve gotten to the point now where the number of folks in America who do not own a smartphone is shrinking to a small minority. These phones are more than just devices that can place and receive calls or messages. They are full-blown computers with mobile internet, GPS, gyrometers (the little thing that detects movement), compasses and more. And as most people are now aware, to get the extra functionality out of your smarthpone, you need to download some apps (short for applications, or small programs that are designed for a specific purpose). What about us car-obsessed folks who have to always be able to get the most out of our cars? Well, of course, as Apple’s advertisements have drilled into our heads for some time: There is an app for that.

In fact, there are several apps for that. So, today we’re going to take a look at some of the more popular apps which help car-o-philes (yes, we just coined that term) get the most out of their automobile.

iPhone users and Android users alike can benefit from these car-related apps. (photo by ? Lee J Haywood via...

more

Spring is right around the corner and you know what that means. Nope not pretty flowers (although those are coming as well). We’re talking about spring maintenance for your vehicle. As the weather warms up it is important to get a tune-up and have the various components of your vehicle inspected to make sure that everything is ready for the warmer weather. This is a good time to get an oil change as well. Taking advantage of a good car maintenance service will make sure that you don’t end up spending extra money for unnecessary auto repair down the road. Remember that an ounce of prevention is always worth a pound of cure.

It’s no wonder the winter season can be tough on your car (just as it’s sometimes tough on your body). The extreme temperatures and less than ideal driving conditions can put a lot of extra stress on your vehicle’s engine and body. This is why it is important to make sure that you take advantage of a regular car maintenance service like the one that is offered at Fort Collins Foreign Car Service. Your auto technician will make sure that everything is in...

more

If you have a car (and chances are you do if you are reading this), then you should be making sure to perform regular maintenance on your vehicle to make sure that it is running well and to limit the likelihood of a breakdown or accident that could result in an expensive auto repair bill. So, now that we have convinced those of you who were not previously as diligent about regular maintenance as you should have been, the question arises: What exactly will it cost me to get regular car maintenance service for my car? And how do I budget for it?

That’s a very good question. So, we’re going to explore ways that you can budget for the regular car maintenance service that you should be getting for your vehicle. Vehicle maintenance can be one of those things that is difficult to budget for because it is an expenditure that will only happen every few months rather than every month. So, to determine how much you will need to budget on a per month basis, you should add up the estimated cost for all car maintenance service needs for the entire year and divide it by 12 to get your...

more
caricon1.jpg

About a month ago we covered a new service called Repair Jungle which was just launched in the DC area to provide a service where car owners can post repair requests online and receive competitive bids for the car repair work from participating auto repair shops. Well, it looks like there is now some competition in town in the form of a new website called AutoMD which has the same exact business model.

The fact that two startups have been launched with this model in the past year means that there may be something to it. Although, in reality, there really won’t be any direct competition between these two companies because they are locally-based and operate on opposite coasts (AutoMD is out of Bakersfield, California). It seems that there really isn’t much that the internet won’t touch these days, and although it seems that the auto center would be one of the last places to go online, those days are now here.

AutoMD and Repair Jungle may change the way car repair shops get business.

AutoMD suffers from some of the same problems that Repair Jungle did as well....

more
caricon5.jpg

It’s well established that the vast majority of the repair jobs that your local auto shop gets, are paid by insurance claims (at least in part). This means that, unfortunately, sometimes the insurance claims adjusters have been known to buddy up to auto repair shops in order to get them to perform inferior repairs or use cheaper parts for a car repair, so that they can save money. Even if adjusters and insurance companies aren’t this transparent they can sometimes argue with auto repair companies over the cost of a repair, when the repair itself was priced legitimately, perhaps being a bit more expensive due to additional damage that wasn’t visible initially.

Unfortunately, these situations do happen and even more unfortunately, when they do a lot of car repair shops don’t tell the owners of the vehicle, instead opting to cut corners or cave to insurance company complaints and use an inferior part to make sure they still come out in the green. If an insurance company places very onerous restrictions on the time that it takes to do a repair and the cost that they will pay it...

more

Ignition interlock devices have started to catch on across the country. Following a joint recommendation from the National Transportation Safety Board and AAA, most states and municipalities either have laws in place to encourage the use of the potentially life-saving devices, or are in the process of passing such laws. However, the technology is starting to appear to have reached a saturation point. In many areas, about half of those eligible for the devices are taking advantage of them and getting an interlock installed by a certified auto technician at the auto shop. Unfortunately, this means about half of those eligible are not opting to get the ignition interlock installed.

Of course, most of the laws (including the ones in Colorado that govern ignition interlocks) don’t mandate that the devices be installed. However, if a driver convicted of a DUI violation opts to forego the interlock system, they are not allowed to drive legally for the entire period in which their license is suspended (typically 6-12 months). The concern is that while some of these individuals...

more
caricon14.jpg

When you are shopping for cars, you realize that you have to take affordability into account. That is, you want to buy the car that will make sense for your financially (as well as taking into account safety, reliability and the like). If you just go by what a car costs at the dealership, however, you won’t be getting the full picture. Instead, you need to consider the cost-of-ownership for the vehicle that you are considering purchasing.

The cost-of-ownership is a more inclusive measurement of how affordable a car really is. After calculating items like depreciation, insurance, financing, fuel costs, regular maintenance costs (like an oil change) and potential car repair costs at the auto shop, you may get a different (and more accurate) picture of what that new car will really cost you later on. After calculating the real cost-of-ownership, you may even find out that the car with the lower sticker price actually turns out to be more expensive when you factor everything in. It would be nice, but it’s just not realistic to think that you don’t pay any more for a car once...

more

If you are serious about making sure that you keep on your regular car maintenance, and you have an Android smartphone you might check out the aCar app. The app allows you to track all of your scheduled maintenance, trips, expenses and more. It can be an essential friend to make sure that you are taking care of your vehicle and to remind you of any regular maintenance that you may need to get done. The features provided by aCar give you more control over your car maintenance and a better view of exactly what your cost of ownership is.

The interface for the app is very slick and easy to use. There are options for tracking expenses like repairs at the auto shop or new tires. The also allows you to record when you receive regular maintenance at the auto shop, including exactly what services were performed and what the cost was so you can visualize exactly how much it costs you to maintain your vehicle. In addition, aCar allows you to easily track your trips, mileage and gas consumption to give you a better idea of how efficiently your vehicle uses gas and what road trips...

more

Have you looked at your tires lately and they seem to be a bit worn down? Is the tread on your tires looking mighty low? Are you finding that your car doesn’t seem to have very good traction in many situations? Well, if any of these are the case then you may need to head to your local auto shop for a new tire replacement. But, before you do this you can probably diagnose the problem yourself by taking a few steps and looking at your tires in detail.

Your tires will naturally wear down and eventually need to be replaced simply from the stress and friction with the road, but if you have irregular tire wear on your tires, or on a particular tire or part of the tire, then this may indicate issues with alignment, improper tire inflation or bad driving habits. And, if any of these are the case you will want to make sure that you rectify the situation to avoid having new tires wear out in the same way and costing you more money at the local auto shop.

So, here are a few tips to identify the problem. It’s all about where the wear is (so to speak). So, you’re going to need to...

more
Screen-Shot-2016-02-25-at-11.22.04-PM.png

Cars are expensive. And even worse, you’re not done paying for your car when you drive off of the lot, or even when you make your last payment on that auto loan. Nope, your car will continue costing you money long after that. Of course, hopefully it will also make sure that you are able to comfortably and easily get around town. But, you’re still going to end up paying for regular maintenance, the inevitable auto repair or two (or five if you’re unlucky), gas, car washes etc.

Of all of those items, the most expensive are probably going to be gas and maintenance/car repair. Since, our phone calls to OPEC asking them to lower the price of gas went un-returned (how rude, and we spent so long brushing up on our Arabic!) we’re going to give you some tips on how you can save money on auto repair instead. With this information you should be able to get the best deal on that car repair that your vehicle will inevitably need down the road.

Next time you need a car repair, why not save...

more
Volvo.png

Well, the next time you roll into your local auto shop for a simple repair or an oil change and wince a little bit at the cost, you might want to keep in mind that you’re paying a lot less money for that repair than Mr. Bean. That’s right, the British actor Rowan Atkinson, most famous for portraying the quirky Mr. Bean, just set the world record for the most expensive car repair ever completed.

You see, Mr. Atkinson got a little too excited a while back, while driving his McLaren F1 (a supercar of which only 64 models were made) and he wrecked it. It just got back from the local auto shop and the bill was a staggering £910,000 or the equivalent of $1.4 million! That is a mighty high repair bill if we do say so ourselves. In fact, we’re fairly certain that’s more business than a lot of local auto shops do in a year!

Really makes your $30 oil change seem not-so-expensive by comparison, doesn’t it? The crazy thing is Atkinson’s insurance picked up the bill. Probably because his McLaren F1, which is one of the rarest cars in the world, is valued at around $3.6 million. We...

more
Pontiac.png

The transmission is the part of your car that houses the gearbox, clutch and the rest of the components which allow your vehicle to shift and translate the rotational movement of your engine into efficient movement for the wheels of your vehicle. Manual and automatic transmissions are quite different beasts, with the former being much simpler than the latter. Shaking, an inability to shift into certain gears or the smell of burning transmission fluid indicate that their could be an issue with your car’s transmission and that you may need to take it into a local auto shop for repair advice.

Before you do, however. Here are a couple of things to know about your car’s transmission and how to diagnose if it is having problems. First, if your car has an automatic transmission then the transmission is one of the most complicated components in the vehicle (and also one of the most expensive to replace). So, the next time something seems a bit off with your car you had better hope that it isn’t a transmission problems, because you could be looking at shelling out the big bucks at...

more

his is a strange one. It appears that a toilet from one of Hitler’s most luxurious yachts now has a new home: a New Jersey auto shop. Yes, customers who stop in to Greg’s Auto Repair for a car repair can also view a (disgusting) piece of history in an old toilet that the owner acquired from a friend.

So, what’s the full story behind how the commode of one of history’s most reviled men ended up in this Florence, New Jersey auto shop? Well, it appears that the owner, Greg Kofeldt, inherited it from the previous owner, Sam Carlani. Carlani, in turn, got the toilet from his friend Harry Doan, a shipyard owner who somehow ended up with the yacht after the war ended and it was transported to the US. Doan briefly charged .25 cents (illegally) for visitors to view the yacht before his friend Sam told him that he was in need of a toilet and Doan said he had one he could sell. The rest is history. But, what about the real history around the yacht?

Come to Greg’s auto shop and he might tell you the story while you get your oil change done. But, thanks to an investigative...

more

A new startup called Repair Jungle wants to make it easy for car owners to compare car repair shops and get competing quotes for how much a particular repair will cost. The company is initially offering these services only in the Washington D.C. area, but hopes to expand if the business model proves successful.

When you visit the website you can click to get quotes and after filling in your personal information and describing your car repair needs you will get quotes from member an auto technician at each member shop telling you what you can expect to pay. One of the questions that remains to be seen is how they will deal with issues that are not easily diagnosed by the layperson. In that case you may still be better off taking your car to a shop initially to see what the problem is and then looking for quotes for the repair advice that the auto technician provides you.

When submitting a request online you first answer what kind of work it is (mechanical or body work), what the part is that needs attention and how soon you need the repair advice so you can get the...

more
3065904613_fe92e22428.jpg

Lawrence Crouch, the man suspected of murdering a Broomfield, Colorado auto repair shop employee named Mary McGrath in October, pleaded not guilty to charges of murder in the first degree. Despite his plea, the arrest affidavit says that he previously admitted to law enforcement that he had, in fact, killed the 56-year-old employee of East of Sweden Saab car repair shop.

In fact, investigators say that not only did Crouch admit to murdering McGrath, but he was a deeply troubled individual who had also planned to murder a woman at the extended-stay hotel where he was living. He had also apparently planned to detonate an improvised explosive device in the lobby and burn the hotel to the ground. It’s not clear what predicated these plans. Media reports of the incident did not include any fight or incident between Mr. Crouch and the woman at the hotel.

Crouch faces charges of murder, attempted murder, attempted arson and possession of explosives. The not guilty plea that Crouch entered at his arraignment surprised even his friends who had earlier heard testimony presented...

more

This is probably one of the strangest stories that I have read in quite a while, but CBS4 Denver is reporting that travellers who are parking at the Denver International Airport are returning from their trips to find that their cars have been…eaten? Yes, it appears that is exactly what is happening. Local rabbits have apparently taken a liking to some of the rubber hosing, wiring and other vulnerable components in the cars (or perhaps they are just fighting back against the encroachment on their territory that the airport represents). These incidents have caused a few individuals to have to pay for costly repairs at their local auto shop.

Several car owners have had to take their vehicles into the auto shop for car repair after the local omnivores ate through rubber hoses and wires and destroyed other components. Technicians and disturbed car owners have found out the hard way that the tiny creatures can very easily wreak hundreds of dollars of damage on vulnerable components. One car owner, named Ken Blum told CBS4, “When I had the trouble with the oil light coming on, the...

more

As a follow-up to a previous post in which we looked at the pro’s and con’s of getting repairs and maintenance done at the dealership as compared to an independent auto shop, we now have some actual data to back up our conclusion. If some of you were a bit skeptical of the fact that we came down on the side of the independent auto repair shop (in light of the fact that this blog is by an independent auto repair shop), it turns out that we aren’t the only ones who came to that conclusion.

A study that was done by AutoMD surveyed consumers and found that the conventional wisdom that your local auto shop is more affordable and reasonably priced than the dealership is true in most cases. In addition, the survey found that although most consumers were satisfied by the services that they received at the dealership, they still preferred an independent auto repair shop two to one over the dealership.

A recent study finds that consumers prefer local auto shops two-to-one over dealerships for repair and maintenance.

Very interesting, indeed. Respondents cited two...

more

It’s an age-old question, but where should you take your car to have that repair or maintenance done? Should you go back to the dealership (assuming you bought the car at the dealership in the first place), or should you take it a to a local independent auto repair shop? Today, we’re gonna examine the differences and pro’s and con’s for each option. Of course there isn’t a definitive answer either way. Some people prefer the dealership for the expertise that mechanics have working on the particular make and other people find a local mechanic’s car maintenance service to be more reasonably priced. To each his own, of course. But, we can shed some light on the general differences that exist between the two options.

So, what are the differences between dealerships and private auto repair shops? Well, after scouring the internet we have come up with a few generalized difference that people seem to agree on. We’ve broken these down into a few sections to make it easier to compare.

For some brands it makes sense to see an expert.

  • Expertise – The mechanics at the...
more
Young man smiling at the camera

If you live in America outside of a major metro area with good public transportation, a car is probably a necessity. And if you drive a car, sooner or later it is going to need some kind of car repair. Although you can minimize the likelihood of a breakdown by ensuring that you keep the car in tip top shape, drive it gently and perform all regular maintenance services religiously, you’re probably not going to be able to put off the inevitable forever. So, when you do waltz in to your local auto shop, you want to make sure that you can minimize the cost of whatever repair may be due for your vehicle.

So, in the spirit of saving money while keeping your car healthy and running at peak performance. Here are some tips for saving money on car repair services.

5 good tips for saving $$$ on car repairs.

  1. Learn to perform basic repairs and regular maintenance yourself. – This is a big tip for saving money. If you can avoid taking your car into the local auto shop for an oil change a couple times a year you can shave about $50-$60 over your...
more

The Georgia-based manufacturer of ignition interlock devices, Guardian Interlock Systems, was recently acquired by LMG Holdings Inc. The move is not expected to have a significant impact on either operations or personnel and Guardian will remain a mostly independent subsidiary of its new parent company. LMG will add Guardian’s line of ignition interlock devices to its existing lineup of products, which includes LifeSaver and Monitech devices.

Guardian Interlock manufactures and leases ignition interlock devices which can be installed at a qualified auto shop. Fort Collins Foreign Car Service proudly provides Guardian ignition interlock installation. Drivers who get the devices installed typically have been required to do so by the state, or have chosen to do it on their own accord in order to reduce the amount of time that their license is suspended after a DUI conviction.

Ignition interlock devices, which can be installed at the auto shop, require the driver of the vehicle to blow into a breathalyzer like alcohol monitoring mouthpiece that ensures that they are not...

more

Every driver on the road is required by law to at least be insured for liability, that means that if you accidentally hit someone else’s vehicle the insurance company will pay out in order to help them repair their vehicle. Many drivers opt to purchase insurance policies that go further and for an additional cost, provide you with ‘collision protection’. This means that not only are you covered for the damages to the other person’s vehicle, but you are covered for auto repair to your own vehicle as well. Now, there are other types of coverage that you may have heard of. Bodily injury liability coverage provides additional insurance for bodily harm caused to another person that you get in an accident with, comprehensive coverage covers damage due to just about anything else besides an auto accident (lightning, tornadoes etc.)

But, a type of insurance you may not have heard of is car repair insurance. Car repair insurance, as you may have guessed, covers repairs that you need for your vehicle. Yes, it is possible to insure your car against breakdowns and even normal...

more

Although your local auto technician is always there to fix your vehicle for you if you ever have an issue with the engine breaking down, some people prefer to get their hands dirty and dive in to see what they can do first. Now, cars are actually not extremely complicated machines (perhaps until you get into the computers and electronics on newer models), but it is important to know a bit about your vehicle and how the engine operates before you start disconnecting and unscrewing things. So, find a good repair manual or guide for your vehicle, do some searching and read up on the basics of how an internal combustion engine works if you don’t know.

For those who are of the DIY mindset, we won’t try to stop you from tinkering with your own vehicle. But, we will give you some pointers to make sure that you are at least being safe while you are working on your vehicle. In most cases, your car won’t explode if you mess something up, but if you really are unsure what you are doing you should probably get some repair advice from a qualified auto technician in your area. You...

more

Effective today, the first day of the new year, all drivers in Washington state who are convicted of a DUI violation and required to install an ignition interlock system will have an additional facet mandated to prevent fraudulent readings. All new systems will have to have a camera as part of the system to avoid tampering and fraudulent readings.

Ignition interlock devices are designed to allow those who have been convicted of a DUI to still operate their own motor vehicle, but with the caveat that their ignition be outfitted with an alcohol monitor device that must be blown into to start the car and periodically after driving to ensure that the driver is not impaired and assure the safety of all those on the road. Washington state has some of the strictest ignition interlock laws, requiring that all first time offenders have the device installed on their vehicles and used for a period of one year. Most other states, including Colorado, make the system optional offering a reduced period of license suspension if they elect to have a system installed. In most states,...

more

The prevailing wisdom for many years has been to get your car’s oil changed every 3,000 miles to ensure that your engine is running as smoothly as possible and to maintain car health. Well, it turns out that, in fact, that may no longer be true. Oh, of course you still need to get an oil change for your car, but many vehicles these days do not need this done as frequently as every 3,000 miles.

An oil change may be the most important piece of preventative maintenance that you can get done. Keeping your oil clean and free of impurities will keep your engine running smoothly and without wear and tear that could result in more expensive repairs at the auto shop down the road. However, many more recently manufactured vehicles don’t actually require the oil change every 3,000 miles. In fact, the manufacturers typically recommend an oil change every 5,000-10,000 miles instead for newer cars. Ford recommends that you roll into your local auto shop for an oil change every 7,500 miles (or 5,000 for older models). Hyundai recommends 7,500 miles as the best interval for getting...

more

When we talk about car health, what we are talking about is making sure that your vehicle is always running at peak performance and that every system and component on your vehicle is being maintained. Why is it important to take advantage of a car maintenance service in order to maintain car health? Well, there are typically two reasons you end up at your local auto shop: for preventative maintenance or car repairs. The major difference is that the second one is much more expensive.

Ask yourself whether you would rather spend a couple hundred dollars a year for preventative maintenance or if you would like to neglect your car health and end up coming in for a repair that could easily be over a thousand dollars. Convinced yet? I thought so. Let’s get started. The most important part of a car maintenance service is basic things like checking fluid levels, getting oil changes etc. But, in the winter time there are a few things that are especially important to check. So, to keep you driving smoothly and without issues, here are 3 quick items you can check to make sure...

more

The national auto insurance company AAA, famous for its roadside assistance services, has joined the National Transportation Safety Board in calling for all drunk drivers convicted of DUI charges to be required to have an ignition interlock system installed on their cars. Currently the alcohol monitoring system is only required for those who would like to reduce the amount of time that their licenses are suspended or for those who blow over twice the legal limit when they submit to a breathalyzer test after being pulled over. Nearly any auto technician can install the ignition interlock device at the auto shop, and the cost for the install is typically borne by the convicted driver.

The ignition interlock system requires the driver of the vehicle to blow into a mouthpiece to ensure that their BAC (blood-alcohol content) is not over the legal limit before they start driving. The systems also require random ‘rolling retests’ which also require the driver to temporarily pull over and blow into the mouthpiece after they have been driving for a while. The system has earned...

more

Lawmakers in New York are considering mandating that Ignition Interlock Devices be installed on all school busses after two separate incidents in which bus drivers were found to be intoxicated.

The most recent incident involved a bus driver who left the school with 5 child passengers on board and, moments later, crashed into a nearby house. Luckily, none of the children were hurt. The driver was charged with several DUI counts as well as several counts of endangering a child and reckless endangerment. Some New York lawmakers have seized on the incident to call for requiring that alcohol monitor systems known as ignition interlock be installed on all new school busses.

Although no children were hurt, the bus driver was hospitalized after the DUI incident. This was not the only recent incident with a school bus driver driving while intoxicated in New York either. A few weeks after that crash, a bus driver was pulled over on Long Island and found to have a BAC of. 23, which is over ten times the legal limit for a commercial driver.

The initiative to mandate that...

more

It’s inevitable. If you own a car for any length of time, eventually it will need some type of repair. The big question is how do you ensure that when that time comes, you don’t end up paying too much for auto repair at the auto shop? There are a couple ways to make sure that you avoid overpaying and get the best auto repair for the best price.

The first piece of advice to avoid overpaying at the auto shop is probably the most obvious one: shop around. If you only get an estimate from one auto technician or at one auto shop, it’s very difficult to know whether or not the price that was quoted to you is a good price, simply because you have no basis for comparison and unless you are an auto technician yourself, you probably have no idea what the work should cost just by knowing the type of job. For example, the average person has no idea whether replacing a catalytic converter should cost them $200 or $1,000 (the answer is that its likely to be closer to the second figure). By simply shopping around and getting quotes from other technicians at other auto shops, you can...

more

Most of us drive our cars nearly every day. We rely on them to get us just about everywhere. Most cars are so dependable that the idea that they could just spontaneously break down is usually far from our minds–until it happens. The car starts stuttering, making strange noises and then it just dies. Or perhaps you go to start your car and it won’t start up at all. Maybe you get a little orange blinking error light, perhaps a slight dinging sound–maybe not even that. The questions race through your head (perhaps after a few choice words): What do I do? Who do I call? This is precisely why it’s a good idea to have a trusted local auto shop on speed dial (as well as a good tow service).

Well, here are a few tips to make sure that you are safe and to get the problem dealt with as smoothly and quickly as possible.

  • First, if your car breaks down while driving, immediately put your hazard lights on to alert other drivers and see if you can slowly coast to the shoulder of the road. If you can, good. Take a deep breath, you’ve completed the hard part. If your...
more

California has finally changed an outdated law from the 1950’s which allowed legislators to receive free car repair and car maintenance service courtesy of the taxpaying citizens of California. The old law made some sense when some representatives had to drive hundreds of miles to the capital of Sacramento, but in modern times when most representatives are either located in Sacramento or regularly commute by flying, it had essentially become a taxpayer-funded subsidy of the personal auto repair costs for California legislators.

In light of California’s recent budget crises, this perk seems particularly wasteful and has angered many California taxpayers, who would rather not pay for the car maintenance service of these (typically already wealthy) legislators. a 2009 article in the L.A. Times estimated that the law had cost taxpayers over $3 million over a 3-year period for the car repair and car maintenance services.

Unfortunately, it looks like some less scrupulous legislators decided to take advantage of the situation one last time just before the benefit was...

more

In this edition of Car Help 101, we’re going to learn how to do that simplest of car maintenance services: the oil change. Changing your car’s oil is a very simple process that does not require much mechanical know-how. It does require a bit of time and getting underneath your car and getting dirty, so if that doesn’t sound like something you’re interested in then bring it into the auto shop instead. For all of you that don’t mind getting a little dirty and saving a little bit of cash, read on for a few simple steps to doing your own oil change.

Disclaimer: This guide only covers the basics of the oil change, I recommend consulting your vehicle’s owner’s manual for model-specific instructions and looking up other guides and/or talking to your local auto technician before proceeding. Have fun!

What you’ll need:

  • oil
  • oil filter
  • oil filter removal wrench
  • funnel
  • drain pan
  • gloves
  • old rag

All of these items can be purchased at your auto shop (where they can also perform an oil change...

more

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on Tuesday put out a statement recommending that ignition interlock systems be mandated for all first time DUI offenders. Ingnition interlock devices have proven effective in preventing offenders from driving while intoxicated. The alcohol monitor system involves a breathalyzer-like device that is installed into the vehicle and which must be used before starting and periodically after driving for so much time.

17 states already require the ignition interlock system to be installed in vehicles after the first DUI offense, but the NTSB is recommending that all 50 states adopt a similar policy. In Colorado, the ignition interlock system is only mandated if the offender is convicted of a DUI violation and has a blood-alcohol content more than twice the legal limit (or .17). Those convicted of a DUI violation in Colorado can opt to have an ignition interlock system installed on a voluntary basis in order to reduce the amount of time that they have their license suspended and to enable them to be able to drive with a restricted...

more
car driving in a snowstorm

Winter is upon us and the roads will eventually be getting icy, slippery and generally dangerous to the inexperienced winter driver. So in preparation for the wintery driving conditions, here are some car help tips for driving in wintery conditions and avoid unnecessary car repair.

1. Get Some Snow Tires

If you live in an area that gets a good amount of snow (i.e. in rural areas or where the city isn’t the best at plowing that snow), it may be worth it to invest in a couple pairs of snow tires. Snow tires have heavier treads that allow you to keep traction and control while driving in icy or snowy conditions. Stop by your auto shop for more information.

2. Make Sure Your Car Is Stocked With The Proper Winter Driving Gear

In the wintertime, you may encounter a number of treacherous obstacles that may require additional tools, or in a worst-case scenario you may find yourself temporarily stranded or lost and may need basic survival tools. So, this piece of car help is to make sure you have the following items in your car...

more
3079479453_88aee99022.jpg

A new bill which seems likely to pass in Congress, would mandate that the ‘black boxes’ now in use on commercial airlines throughout America, be standard in all vehicles. These boxes are designed to record important information about the engine and operation of the vehicle for car help purposes and assistance in ‘accident investigation’. They monitor your car health and can be used by law enforcement with the assistance of auto repair technicians to get a better picture of what happened after an accident.

Many people are familiar with the ‘black boxes’ on commercial airliners, and the valuable data they have supplied for investigators of mechanical failures and subsequent crashes they sometimes cause, but others are concerned about privacy issues that may arise when they are installed in private vehicles. Some people are skeptical that these devices are really designed for safety and car help reasons and would not open them up to further monitoring or tracking by law enforcement.

...

more
black car in front of sunset

A few years ago, Forbes magazine did a study of the most expensive cars to repair. Not surprisingly, they are all imported high-end luxury vehicles which are notorious for having exotic, expensive parts and a lot of them. The most expensive cars were an Audi, a Jaguar, two Mercedes-Benz models and a Land Rover. These imported cars will cost their owners a small fortune for import car service, if they need repairing (which is okay because purchasing the cars cost a large fortune). But, for fun let’s take a look at this list of the most expensive cars for your auto technician to repair.

5. BMW 7-Series

The BMW 7-Series is BMW’s most expensive line of luxury vehicles (they start at over $75K). They have been in production since 1977 and have been a favorite of people with too much money for almost as long. Forbes, estimates that for import car service on this vehicle, you will be forking over an average of $1,529 for the first five years of ownership (which admittedly doesn’t seem like as much considering the initial cost of the...

more
7166271559_1cfb2952a9.jpg

When that check engine light comes on in your vehicle it is normal to get a bit nervous. Although the problem could be a simple, cheap fix it could also be something that may end up costing you thousands of dollars. Here is a list of common problems that require repairs, what they mean and what they are likely to cost you.

1. Replacing the Oxygen Sensor

The oxygen sensor, which monitors the oxygen in the engine is one of the most commonly broken items in the car engine. Luckily, it is usually a relatively cheap fix, costing around $200 (which is quite a bit less than the average repair cost of $305.56).

2. Loose or Missing Fuel Cap

This is a common issue that is very easy to fix. It usually just requires tightening the cap or replacing it, which will probably run you less than a dollar. In other words, it is the piece of repair advice that you should hope for when you pull into the auto shop.

3. Broken Catalytic Converter

‘When that light comes on, just come in’, sings a men’s choir in a...

more
cracked bumper of a black car

What is the repair cost difference between imported cars and domestic cars? Is it more cost-effective to purchase an imported car or a domestic vehicle, purely in terms of cost of ownership? Reliability, including maintenance and repair costs, is obviously a huge factor in determining what car or vehicle to purchase and so this question is of the utmost importance when determining what make and model to select for your next vehicle. How do domestic car service costs stack up with import car service and repair costs?

Research suggests that consumers are keeping their cars for longer (the average car on the road is now 10.6 years old, up from 8.8 years a decade ago), so it is even more important that your car be well-built and relatively inexpensive to maintain. The prevailing logic just a decade ago was that imported cars were more reliable and cheaper to maintain than their domestic counterparts. Honda and Toyota are two imported car brands which are considered to be particularly well-built and reliable cars, saving their owners considerable money at import car...

more

These days with gas prices hovering anywhere from the mid $3’s to almost $4 a gallon in peak season, many people have understandably started coveting fuel-efficient hybrid cars which boast MPG ratings in the 40-50 MPG range. If you head to your nearest car dealership or auto center you will likely see many of these vehicles prominently displayed and their selling points consistently emphasized–gas mileage, lower emissions, eco-friendliness. But, what is the bottom line with these models? They may be fuel efficient, but does that efficiency translate to saving you money? And what about car repair costs?

Perhaps surprisingly, the answer to the first question is mostly ‘no’ (or at least, ‘not for a long time’). Take the most popular hybrid car currently on the market, the Toyota Prius, for example. The 2012 Toyota Prius gets a combined (city/highway) 50 MPG rating from the EPA, which is certainly no slouch compared to other vehicles (nearly double the average fuel efficiency of vehicles on the road today). But, the hybrid drive-train and advanced technology also means...

more

Fort Collins Foreign Car Service is one of the only car repair shops in Fort Collins that offers ignition interlock installation. Some people may be familiar with these systems if they have ever known someone who was convicted of a DUI violation, but many others are not. As such, this post is to explain the system’s purpose and function, as well as Colorado laws regarding ignition interlock systems and DUIs.

Ignition interlock systems are typically installed in a vehicle after the vehicle’s owner has received a conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). An ignition interlock system is essentially an alcohol monitor device that is installed into the vehicle and wired into the ignition system. After installation, the system requires that the user blow into a mouthpiece which measures the individual’s blood-alcohol content (BAC) in order to ensure that the driver is not impaired due to excessive alcohol consumption.

Typically the system requires the driver to blow before the engine can be started and also randomly while the vehicle is already being...

more

Cars need to have routine maintenance performed on them in order to stay running as efficiently as possible. You probably are aware of this fact, but you may not know exactly what you need to check to maintain car health, or what your local mechanic will be working on when you take your car into the auto shop for its next tune up. Here is a bit of advice from our car help 101 instructor to make you aware of some of the most important engine components that you (with the help of a qualified auto technician) should keep an eye on in terms of regular maintenance.

Air Filter

The modern internal combustion engine needs two basic things to run: fuel and air. Your engine’s air filter is therefore a crucial part of car health. If the air filter is dirty and clogged the engine will have to strain harder to bring in clean air which is necessary for the combustion process. This will both kill your fuel efficiency (making you spend more money at the gas pump) and devastate the longevity of your engine. So, the first piece of advice in this car help post is...

more

Whether you like it or not, winter is coming. The cold weather can be very bad for your car’s health if you don’t make sure to take a few simple steps to ensure that your vehicle and its engine are ready for the winter. Thankfully, just in time for the chilly season, here are 5 tips to keep your car running smoothly through the winter months. Of course, if you are less mechanically inclined (or just too busy) it is a good idea to take your car into your local auto shop for a checkup. Your auto mechanic can offer repair advice if needed and tips to maintain your car’s health.

1. Check Your Tires

Winter weather brings ice, snow, sleet and a whole host of other potential obstacles to driving safely. Your first line of defense against these winter hazards are your car’s tires so it is very important to inspect your tires for adequate tread and replace them if the tread is worn down. It may be worth it to purchase a set of snow tires to ensure traction and safety and maintain car health. Your local auto shop can recommend a good pair for...

more

The engines in modern cars are relatively simple machines. In fact, for the most part they are unchanged in nearly half a century. That being said, your car’s engine requires regular maintenance in order to make sure that it runs as long and efficiently as possible. Why is it important to take advantage of a car maintenance service to check your engine? Let’s look at the top reasons for doing so.

#3. The Warranty

If you have a newer car that is under warranty, maintenance and repairs on your vehicle may be paid for by your vehicle’s manufacturer. This can obviously save you a bunch of money compared to paying out of pocket. Many manufacturers require, however, that you bring your car in and take advantage of a regular car maintenance service in order for your warranty to remain valid. If you fail to meet these regular maintenance requirements, you could void your warranty prematurely potentially costing you hundreds or thousands of dollars when you finally do bring your car into an auto technician. The moral of the story is don’t wait too long...

more