How Do You Know You Need a Brake Job?

How Do You Know You Need a Brake Job?

Your brakes are one of your vehicle’s most vital safety features, so it’s important to know the signs of when it’s time to schedule a brake job. Typically, these fall into one of two categories: noises or pulsation in the brake pedal. 

Understanding Brake Noises

The majority of brake pads on the market are designed with an audible brake wear indicator. This is a small piece of metal that rubs against the brake rotor once the friction material on the brake pad has worn down to the point that it should be replaced. When this happens, it will create a noise that sounds like a chirp or squeal. Although you’ll still be able to stop safely, this noise is an indicator that you should have your brakes serviced soon. 

If you ignore the sounds coming from the brake wear indicator and don’t have your brakes serviced, it will eventually progress into a grinding noise. This is much more serious because it means that the friction material on the brake pads is completely worn away and the metal parts of the brake are grinding against the rotor. 

Without the friction material, the brake pad can’t stop your wheels nearly as well; the metal-on-metal contact will also damage your rotors. You may need to have the rotors resurfaced or replaced—which costs significantly more than simply replacing your brake pads.

Brake Pedal Pulsations

If the brake pedal pulsates when you push it down, you could have warped or uneven rotors. When the rotors aren’t in perfect alignment, they push against the brake pads when you brake, which causes the brake pedal to pulsate or vibrate. 

This could be because the rotor and wheel hub don’t fit together properly, which causes the rotor to spin off-center. The misalignment could stem from either the rotor or the hub, or even a combination of the two. If you wait too long to address the issue, the rotor may start to wear unevenly and develop varying thicknesses, leading to more intense pulsations. When the brake pad and the rotor don’t match up evenly during braking, there’s less contact, which reduces your braking power.

Other Signs That It’s Time for a Brake Service

While the signs mentioned above are the most typical, several other indicators can let you know when it’s time to book a brake service appointment. These include:

  • Your vehicle veers to one side when you hit the brakes
  • It takes longer than normal to come to a complete stop
  • Visible grooves on the rotors
  • Low brake fluid levels
  • Brake fluid leaks
  • A burning smell when you hit the brakes
  • The brake warning light is on
  • A spongy or soft brake pedal

Schedule a Brake Job Today at EuroCar Service

Whether you’ve noticed any of the above signs or it’s been a while since you’ve had your brakes serviced, contact the skilled team at EuroCar Service. Founded in 1981, we’re committed to providing high-quality auto repairs and maintenance that keep your vehicle reliable and safe on the road. We specialize in all European makes, including BMWFiatMercedesLand RoverAudiMini-CooperSaabJaguarVolvoVolkswagen, and Smart Car. Call us today at (206) 527-8828 or request an appointment online

Maximizing Fuel Efficiency: Essential Maintenance Tips

Maximizing Fuel Efficiency: Essential Maintenance Tips

Although hybrid and electric vehicles are on the rise, many of us still rely on gas-powered cars to get us where we need to go. Gas prices being what they are, it’s always helpful to find ways to make your vehicle more fuel-efficient. The good news is that preventive maintenance can go a long way in improving fuel economy and preventing more expensive repairs. Here are just a few things you can do to keep your car running as efficiently as possible.

Proactive Maintenance for Better Fuel Economy

It’s a simple equation: the better you take care of your car, the less fuel it will consume. By keeping up with the following preventive maintenance tasks, you can enjoy significant savings over time: 

  1. Replace Your Engine Air Filter: A clogged engine air filter restricts airflow to the engine, which affects the combustion process. Replacing the engine air filter regularly will not only ensure your engine performs well, but can also lead to immediate fuel savings.
  • Keep the Fuel System Clean: A dirty fuel system, clogged fuel filters, and grimy fuel injectors can all lead to unnecessary fuel wastage. Regular fuel system cleaning can decrease fuel consumption and increase your engine’s power output.
  • Pay Attention to the Check Engine Light: Ignoring the Check Engine light can be a costly mistake. Some issues that trigger the light to come on, like a faulty oxygen sensor, can drastically reduce fuel efficiency. Addressing check engine light issues promptly will help you save fuel and potentially prevent engine damage. 
  • Get Regular Tune-ups: Tune-ups enhance fuel economy, so you should consider having them performed regularly. This includes staying on top of routine maintenance tasks like oil changes and transmission and cooling system services. Remember, vehicles with dirty or low fluids work harder, using more fuel.
  • Tire Maintenance: Under-inflated tires aren’t just a safety hazard—they can also increase fuel consumption. Similarly, wheels that are out of alignment can cause your car to use more gas than necessary. Regular tire inspections and maintenance are the best ways to prevent these issues.
  • Check Your Gas Cap: A loose or faulty gas cap allows fuel to escape the gas tank. Check that your cap is screwed on tightly; if you notice it seems faulty, loose, or damaged, have it replaced. 

The Bottom Line: Maintenance Matters!

Keeping up with your car’s maintenance schedule is crucial for fuel efficiency and preventing breakdowns. Follow the service recommendations in your owner’s manual, or talk to our service advisors to determine the best maintenance intervals for your vehicle and driving habits. This not only saves money but also keeps your car running smoothly and efficiently. 

Located in Seattle’s University District, EuroCar Service has been providing high-quality auto care since 1981. As a full-service auto repair shop, our ASE-certified technicians offer everything you need to keep your vehicle running its best, including inspections, maintenance, tune-ups, and repairs. We work on all European makes, including AudiBMWMercedesLand RoverMini-CooperFiatVolvoVolkswagen,SaabJaguar, and Smart Car

Schedule an appointment with us today at (206) 527-8828, or request an appointment through our online form.  

European Precision: Why Maintaining Your Disc Brakes is Vital for Safety & Performance

European Precision: Why Maintaining Your Disc Brakes is Vital for Safety & Performance

All vehicles come equipped with a variety of safety features, but few have as large of an impact on your safety as the braking system. The ability to come to a swift, controlled stop is crucial for avoiding accidents and protecting the well-being of you, your passengers, and other drivers—so keeping your brakes in good shape is vital. 

There are two types of braking systems used in passenger vehicles: drum brakes and disc brakes. Disc brakes (which European automakers have long favored) have become the preferred braking system worldwide and are now found in the majority of vehicles. Although they offer many advantages over drum brakes, regular maintenance is still necessary to keep them in top condition. 

In this blog post, we’ll go over how disc brakes work, why European models need special attention, and some of the most important steps you can take to give your vehicle safe and reliable stopping power. 

How Brakes Work: Disk Brakes vs. Drum Brakes

Drum brakes (which consist of a brake drum, brake shoes, and a wheel cylinder) operate within the wheel assembly. When the driver presses the brake pedal, hydraulic pressure is applied to the cylinder, causing the brake shoes to press against the inner surface of the brake drum. This friction generates heat and slows down the rotation of the wheel, bringing the vehicle to a stop.

Disc brakes (which consist of the rotor, caliper, and brake pad) also use hydraulic pressure to engage the brakes. When the driver presses the pedal, hydraulic pressure activates the brake caliper, causing brake pads to squeeze against the rotor. The friction this generates slows down the wheel’s rotation and brings the vehicle to a stop. 

Disc brakes are known for having better heat dissipation, reduced fade, and improved overall performance compared to drum brakes. While they were both patented in the same year (1902) it took half a century before the disc brakes became cost-effective and practical to use in passenger vehicles. Jaguar was among the first automakers to recognize the superiority of disc brakes and led the way in making them the standard for modern-day vehicles. 

Why European Vehicles Need Specialized Brake Care

It’s no secret that European makes are known for delivering top-notc performance, and their brake systems play a crucial role in this. Brands like Audi, Porsche, BMW, and Volkswagen have more intricate and high-performing brake systems that demand more care. In addition, European regulations are stricter when it comes to brake components, which is partly due to the challenging conditions drivers face on European roads. 

So, the brakes are built to handle these extremes—and European manufacturers also like to stay ahead when it comes to technology. From ABS to Electronic Fuel Injection, European automakers adopt new tech early, and that extends to their braking systems. 

Some European models come equipped with high-performance brake systems that include materials requiring specialized care during maintenance, such as carbon ceramic. Additionally, brake rotors in European high-performance vehicles are often larger compared to domestic models, and they may have distinctive features like being drilled, slotted, and coated. These characteristics mean that special attention is necessary when performing maintenance on these brake systems.

Disc Brake Maintenance 

Every time you brake, it wears away a small amount of the friction material—a lot like how a pencil eraser wears down with each use. When this material gets too low, it reduces the effectiveness of braking. If you wait too long to replace the brake pads, it can eventually cause the metal part of the pad to rub against the rotors. This metal-on-metal contact not only compromises your ability to stop effectively, but can also lead to significant rotor damage. 

If you hear squealing or grinding when you use the brakes, schedule an appointment to have them inspected. Our technicians will check all the brake components to make sure they’re working properly, and let you know if anything needs to be repaired or replaced. Rotors can be warped and cracked, and the calipers can wear out over time as well, so regular inspections are essential to ensure all the components are in good condition. 

Here are some typical replacement intervals; keep in mind that this can vary depending on your make, model, and typical driving conditions:

  • Brake pads: Every 10,000 to 20,000 miles 
  • Rotors: Every 50,000 to 70,000 miles
  • Calipers: Every 100,000 miles or 10 years

Your brakes rely on brake fluid to create the hydraulic pressure needed to squeeze the brake pads against the rotors. Like engine oil, brake fluid breaks down over time; it also absorbs moisture from the air, which causes further degradation and lowers its efficacy. This is why it’s important to change the brake fluid at the intervals recommended in your owner’s manual. Although it can vary depending on your make and model, brake fluid replacements are typically recommended every one to two years. 

If you notice any other signs of brake problems, such as: 

  • Difficulty coming to a complete stop
  • An illuminated brake service light on the dashboard
  • Odd pulsations or vibrations in the brake pedal 
  • A spongey brake pedal

Don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment. Ignoring a brake issue for too long not only puts your safety at risk—it can also lead to more expensive repairs. 

Visit Your Local European Auto Care Experts

If you need brake inspections, repairs, or maintenance, turn to the experts at EuroCar Service. We specialize in complete care for European makes, including AudiBMWMercedesLand RoverMini-CooperFiatVolvoVolkswagenSaabJaguar, and Smart Car. Schedule an appointment today at (206) 527-8828, or request an appointment through our online form.  

Are Coolant Flushes Really Necessary?

Are Coolant Flushes Really Necessary?

A few weeks ago, a client’s temperature warning light came on while they were running errands. After waiting for their car to cool down, they brought their car in for an inspection. We took a look and found that the water pump was leaking and needed to be replaced. Without a working water pump, the engine can become overheated very easily. 

We also inspected the radiator hoses, serpentine belt, and tensioner–all of which were OK. However, the coolant was long overdue for a flush and replacement. When we told our client what was needed, they were surprised. In fact, they weren’t even aware that coolant changes should be done on a regular schedule. 

Our client isn’t alone–many drivers aren’t aware that coolant changes are a part of regular vehicle maintenance or understand exactly why they’re important. If you fall into this category, read on to learn more about this necessary service. 

Why Are Coolant Flushes Important?

Just as with other automotive fluids, coolant (also called antifreeze) plays a significant role in how well your vehicle runs. 

Coolant is responsible for pulling excess heat away from your engine and other components, which helps maintain a healthy operating temperature and prevent overheating. This also helps preserve the life of your engine and prevent expensive repairs, like a broken head gasket. Coolant also helps prevent the water pump from freezing during cold temperatures, rust and corrosion from developing in the cooling system, and plastic parts from becoming brittle and damaged.

If the coolant level gets too low, it can potentially cause irreparable engine damage. For this reason, it’s very important to monitor your coolant levels and top it off as needed. If you suspect a coolant leak, it should be repaired as soon as possible. However, it’s not enough to just keep your fluid at the right level–it should also be replaced from time to time. 

Coolant, like oil, starts to break down over time. When this happens, the coolant not only becomes less effective at cooling your engine, but it also begins to become corrosive. Coolant that goes too long between fluid changes can damage the radiator, head gasket, intake manifold gaskets, heater core, metal cooling pipes, spark plugs, and more. This is why it should always be changed on a regular schedule–typically every 30,000 miles or three to five years. 

It’s much easier (and cost-effective) to have your coolant flushed and replaced than to deal with repairs. During a coolant flush, we drain out all the old coolant and replace it with fresh coolant. Beyond protecting your engine better from overheating, coolant flushes also provide the following benefits:

  • Removes rust, corrosion, and other buildup that could affect the efficiency of your cooling system
  • Lubricates the water pump and extends its life
  • Prevents rust from forming in the water pump
  • Prevents additional damage from old, corrosive fluid

In addition, we inspect the entire cooling system during a routine coolant flush, so if there are any other issues that might be developing, we can handle them proactively. 

Common Signs Your Vehicle Needs a Coolant Flush

There are several signs that indicate your car is due for a coolant flush, including:

  • Engine overheating
  • A sweet smell coming from under the hood
  • Odd noises coming from under the hood, like gurgling or or hissing 
  • Low coolant levels or dirty-looking coolant
  • Visible coolant leaks under your vehicle
  • Heater malfunctions

Protect Your Engine–Schedule a Coolant Flush Today

If your car, truck, or SUV is due for a coolant flush, or you’ve noticed any of the above issues, contact EuroCar Service today! We offer complete auto care for all European models, including Audi, Fiat, BMW,Land Rover, Mercedes, Mini Cooper, Saab, Jaguar, Volkswagen, Volvo, and Smart Car. Call us today at 206-527-8828 or request an appointment online

What is the Severe Service Maintenance Schedule?

What is the Severe Service
Maintenance Schedule?

One of the most important things you can do to keep your vehicle in top condition (and prevent repairs) is to keep up with your preventive maintenance. However, if you look in your owner’s manual, you’ll see there are two different maintenance schedules listed: “normal” and “severe.” 

Many drivers assume that their maintenance should fall under the normal category, when in fact, they should be following the severe service schedule. Here’s a closer look at maintenance schedules and how to tell which one you should be following. 

Understanding Maintenance Schedules

Every owner’s manual comes with maintenance schedules that have been pre-determined by the vehicle’s manufacturer based on driving conditions. The “normal” service schedule typically involves less demanding driving conditions, such as regularly taking long trips on the highway. However, approximately 80% of drivers fall under the “severe” service category, which includes many common everyday conditions like driving in stop-and-go traffic or short trips. 

The normal maintenance schedule usually involves a review of the entire vehicle, while the severe schedule (which has more frequent intervals) mainly focuses on inspecting and replacing the automotive fluids. Oil change intervals, for example, can vary significantly between normal and severe driving conditions. If you’re changing your oil at the normal interval, but should be following the severe schedule, it can cause more wear and tear on your engine over time. 

Should You Be Following the Severe Maintenance Service Interval?

When determining which maintenance schedule to follow, it’s important to look at your typical driving conditions; climate can also play a role. If your driving typically includes any of the conditions below, you should be following the severe service interval:

  • Most of your trips are less than four miles
  • Frequent idling for long periods (such as stop-and-go driving in heavy traffic)
  • You regularly drive in very hot or very cold weather 
  • Frequent driving in dusty conditions, like gravel or dirt roads
  • Driving up steep hills on a regular basis
  • You regularly tow a boat or trailer, haul heavy loads, or carry heavy items on your roof rack
  • You routinely drive at low speeds (not on the highway)

Keep in mind that fleet vehicles (like tow trucks or delivery vehicles) experience more wear and tear than the average driver’s daily commuter; because of this, they should be following the severe service maintenance schedule. 

If you’re still not sure which category your driving falls under, talk to your service advisor. They can help you determine the best schedule based on your specific model and driving conditions. 

Get the Right Services at the Right Time

Everyone wants to keep their vehicles running well for as long as possible. By following the right service schedule and prioritizing regular maintenance, you’ll not only extend your vehicle’s life but also minimize unexpected repair costs—and enjoy a smoother, safer driving experience.

Whether you need repairs or maintenance, your vehicle is always in excellent hands at EuroCar Service. We specialize in complete care for European makes, including AudiBMWMercedesLand RoverMini-CooperFiatVolvoVolkswagenSaabJaguar, and Smart Car. Schedule an appointment with us today at (206) 527-8828, or request an appointment through our online form.  

The Importance of Using the Correct Fluids in Your Vehicle

The Importance of Using the Correct Fluids in Your Vehicle

Advancements in automotive technology have also led to the development of high-tech automotive fluids. One example of this is the cooling system. For decades, the cooling system was primarily made from iron, steel, and rubber hoses. There was only one kind of coolant available to protect the system’s components from corrosion. 

Fast forward to today. Late-model vehicles’ cooling system components are manufactured using various types of metal alloys and plastics. Unsurprisingly, these materials need different types of additives in the coolant to help protect them from corrosion—and since materials vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, there are several different kinds of coolant on the market. 

Understanding the Advancements in Automotive Fluids

Since coolant contains different additives that offer protection for specific materials, it’s important to use the right type. If you add the wrong kind of coolant, it won’t protect the cooling system—and in some cases, it may even void your warranty! If you think you might have used the wrong fluid, it’s best to play it safe. Bring your vehicle to the shop, and our technicians can flush the system and give it a fresh start with the right fluid. 

Brake fluid is another automotive fluid that can cause confusion. In the past, most vehicles used Dot 3 brake fluid; now there’s Dot 4 and Dot 5. Despite what some people think, these new additions aren’t upgrades—they’re completely different formulations specifically designed to meet the needs of different brake systems. Just like coolant, only one type of brake fluid is recommended for your vehicle. 

Transmission fluid also has different formulations designed to meet the advanced needs of modern automatic transmissions. However, nowhere are the advances in automotive fluids more evident than in motor oil. There’s now a variety of formulations and weights manufactured specifically to meet the demands of modern engines. 

A large part of this is due to the fact that modern engines contain more parts and have tighter tolerances than engines of the past. With each passing year, engines are designed to be more powerful and fuel-efficient. This means the oil they use must be formulated to lubricate, clean, and protect more parts while being thin enough to travel through smaller passageways—while also being resistant to vaporization. 

If your vehicle came from the factory with synthetic fluids, it’s important to use synthetics when you have your vehicle serviced. Your service intervals will be based on synthetic fluid intervals, rather than conventional fluid intervals. 

Keep Your Fluids in Check at EuroCar Service

Each type of fluid plays an important role in the way your vehicle functions. Since the grades of oil and types of coolant, transmission fluid, and brake fluid are so carefully matched to the vehicle, you should always take care to use the correct fluid if you top your fluids off at home. The wrong fluids can cause damage, so check your owner’s manual or ask your service advisor if you’re unsure about what to use. 

If you’re not comfortable checking or topping off your fluids yourself, EuroCar Service is always here to help! We see all European makes, including AudiFiatBMWLand RoverMercedesMini CooperSaabJaguarVolkswagenVolvo, and Smart Car. Call us today at 206-527-8828 or request an appointment online

Is it Time to Replace Your Engine Air Filter?

Is it Time to Replace Your Engine Air Filter?

In order to burn fuel efficiently, your vehicle’s engine needs access to a large quantity of clean air—around 216,000 gallons for every tank of gas it consumes. The engine air filter plays a crucial role in catching dust and dirt particles so that only clean air enters the engine. However, if the filter becomes clogged and reaches its capacity, it can cause contaminants to reach the engine and cause a variety of issues. 

How Does a Dirty Air Affect the Engine?

Dirty air passing through the air filter affects goes on to affect the mass airflow sensor. The mass air flow sensors measure the amount of air entering your engine, ensuring it receives the right ratio of air and fuel needed for proper combustion. However, if it’s contaminated by dirty air, the mass air flow can provide incorrect readings. As a result, your engine won’t receive the appropriate amount of fuel, which can lead to it running rough and poor performance. 

Here’s where things can get a bit costly. If the mass airflow sensor becomes severely damaged, it may need to be replaced, and sensor replacements are not cheap. In fact, the cost of replacing a damaged sensor could easily equate to the price of several cases of air filters—a significant expense that can be avoided by simply replacing your filters on a regular schedule!

Unfortunately, it’s not just your wallet that takes a hit when you neglect your engine air filter. The dirty air continues its journey through your engine, where it mixes with the fuel and gets burned. This process causes contaminants to build up in the combustion chamber, which, in turn, increases harmful exhaust emissions. 

How Often Should You Change Your Engine Air Filter? 

Although recommendations can vary depending on the type of vehicle you have and your driving habits, engine air filters should typically be changed every 30,000-45,000 miles. If you frequently drive in dusty conditions, like dirt roads, you may need to have it changed more often. 

If you haven’t kept track of your replacement intervals or are overdue for a replacement, you may notice the following signs: 

  • Engine misfires
  • Black smoke from the exhaust 
  • The check engine light is on
  • Engine hesitation 
  • Engine sputtering or popping noises
  • Low gas mileage

This is where EuroCar Service comes in! With over 40 years of experience in auto maintenance and repairs, we’re here to keep your vehicle performing its best. Whether you need a simple engine replacement or to diagnose engine issues, our skilled ASE-certified team will have your car, truck, or SUV back on the road in no time. 

We specialize in all European vehicles, including BMWAudiLand RoverMercedesMini-CooperSaabJaguarVolkswagenVolvoSmart Car, and Fiat! Call us today at (206) 527-8828 or request an appointment online. 

The Hidden Stories Behind Auto Parts Delivery Trucks

The Hidden Stories Behind Auto Parts
Delivery Trucks

Have you ever noticed auto parts delivery trucks making the rounds in Seattle? Believe it or not, every auto part has a story behind it—and unfortunately, some of them could have been prevented!

Most vehicles are built to last for many years, but the way you take care of your car has a significant impact on how long you’ll be able to enjoy it. With regular maintenance, you can expect your car to last 20 years or longer; neglecting maintenance, however, can cause issues that compound over time and lead to costly repair bills. To illustrate how neglecting routine maintenance can affect your vehicle, let’s follow the auto parts delivery truck driver as he makes his stops. 

The Price of Neglecting Vehicle Maintenance

The driver’s first stop is to deliver an engine air filter and a mass air flow sensor for a customer’s pick-up truck. The service advisor at the shop has been recommending that the customer replace the dirty air filter for the last couple of oil changes, but the customer didn’t feel it was worth the cost. Since dirty air has been getting into the mass air flow sensor for months, it’s now ruined and needs to be replaced—along with the air filter. 

The next stop on the delivery driver’s route is to deliver a fuel system cleaning kit and a set of four fuel injectors; the auto shop’s customer has never had their fuel system cleaned. Over the years, a buildup of gum and varnish has completely ruined the fuel injectors and they need to be replaced. In addition to replacing them, the technician will also have to clean the system to remove carbon deposits from the valves and combustion chamber. 

The third stop is to deliver transmission fluid and a transmission rebuild kit. This case is really unfortunate! The customer had never had his transmission serviced… The small bits of dirt and clutch material that naturally come loose over time turned the transmission fluid into an abrasive substance that ate away at the seals and gaskets. The transmission had internal leaks, which made it lose the hydraulic pressure needed to shift properly. Rebuilding a transmission isn’t a cheap fix—it can cost thousands of dollars. Even worse, it could have been prevented by changing the transmission on a schedule. 

So, the next time you see an auto parts delivery truck, think about your own car. Is there any maintenance you’ve been putting off or minor issues developing? Check your owner’s manual or talk to your service advisor about your manufacturer-recommended service schedule. It could end up saving you time and money in the long run! 

Trust EuroCar Service to Keep Your Vehicle in Top Condition

The stories behind these auto parts deliveries serve as a cautionary tale for all vehicle owners and showcase how neglecting routine maintenance can lead to costly repairs. At EuroCar Service, we recognize the value of preventive maintenance and take a proactive approach to your vehicle. Our goal is to help you avoid expensive problems and keep your car running at its best for as long as you own it. If your vehicle is due for service, contact us today at (206) 527-8828 or schedule an appointment online. We specialize in all European makes, including AudiBMWMercedesLand RoverMini-CooperFiatVolvoVolkswagenSaabJaguar, and Smart Car!

The Importance of Keeping a Vehicle Maintenance Record

The Importance of Keeping a Vehicle Maintenance Record

Time has a way slipping by—especially when it comes to getting your vehicle serviced. 

A few years ago, a customer brought his 10-year-old vehicle into the repair shop for an oil change; since colder weather was approaching, the technician servicing his vehicle decided to inspect a few vital components that are essential to have working properly during the winter months, including the battery. 

The technician performed a battery test to check its ability to hold a charge, only to discover it was weak. When the service advisor asked the customer how old the battery was, the driver said he thought he had had it replaced “a couple of years ago.” The battery said otherwise! 

Most batteries have a manufacturing date stamped on them, so the technician was able to determine that it was five years old. This is around the time most batteries start to fail—and cold temperatures can wreak havoc on an old battery with a weak charge. To cover all bases, the technician also checked to see if the vehicle’s charging system was sending enough current to fully charge the battery; it was, so the recommendation was to replace the battery. 

If the technician hadn’t run that simple test on the battery, the customer may have ended up stranded on a cold winter day because the battery didn’t have the cranking power to start the engine. This story is a perfect example of why it’s important to maintain records of your vehicle’s maintenance, rather than relying on memory alone. With so much to keep track of these days, it’s easy to forget when essential maintenance was last performed. 

Why Drivers Should Keep a Car Maintenance Record

While we maintain complete records of every service you’ve had performed at our shop, and we’re always happy to look them up for you, there are several reasons why it’s a good idea to keep a car maintenance record yourself. 

Having your own maintenance records gives you quick and easy access to your vehicle’s service history; you can look it up at any time and don’t need to rely on anyone else to provide the information you’re looking for. This makes it a lot easier to keep track of your maintenance schedule and make sure you don’t miss any important services. It also helps with budgeting!

Some cars have reoccurring issues that can be tricky to resolve; keeping records of maintenance and repairs that have been performed can be invaluable when diagnosing them, especially if you’ve been to several mechanics for the same issue. Using the records as a guide, technicians can better understand the history of the problem and be more effective at solving it. 

If your vehicle is still under warranty, maintaining your own records can help you provide proof of proper maintenance if you need to make a claim. Many manufacturers require you to provide evidence that the maintenance was performed as recommended. If your vehicle changes hands at any point, you can pass on the records to the new owner. A car that has a well-documented maintenance history is also more attractive to potential buyers and can help increase its resale value. 

Tips for Creating a Vehicle Maintenance Record That Works for You

The good news is that creating a vehicle maintenance record is easy and can be completely customized to whatever system works best for you. 

If you prefer the low-tech route, you can file your service records and invoices in a file folder or binder or jot down notes in a notebook. To help you stay organized, consider adding a table of contents and dividers for different categories. It’s also important to keep your log updated with any new services you have performed. 

If you’d like to go the digital route, you can use a spreadsheet or a digital records app (like aCar, Drivvo, or MyCarfax) to keep track of everything. A cloud-based app, like Google Sheets, is a great option because it’s free and can be updated via your phone or computer. You can also create custom tables, filter data, and set up reminders. 

Regardless of the method you choose, make sure to keep your physical records and invoices as well, and include the following information:

  • Date the service was performed
  • Type of service performed
  • Mileage at the time of service

This will help you monitor your car’s maintenance needs and keep it on schedule. 

If you purchased a used vehicle, you may have incomplete records. In this case, you may be able to find more information about your car’s maintenance history from:

  • The dealership
  • Online services, like Carfax and AutoCheck
  • The previous owner

As we mentioned before, we also keep records of every service you’ve had performed at EuroCar Service and are always happy to provide any information you need to complete your maintenance record. And if you find your vehicle is overdue for routine maintenance, schedule an appointment today at (208) 527-8828! We specialize in all European makes and models, including AudiBMWMercedesLand RoverMini-CooperFiatVolvoVolkswagenSaabJaguar, and Smart Car. Don’t let time slip away—take control of your vehicle’s maintenance today! 

2 Essential Steps You Should Take Before Buying a Used Vehicle

2 Essential Steps You Should Take
Before Buying a Used Vehicle

It’s always exciting to get a new car, but it can often feel like you’re going out on a limb when you buy a used vehicle. While it’s true that people sell cars for many reasons, there’s always the chance that there’s something really wrong with the vehicle you’re considering. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to ensure you’re not getting a lemon. 

Order a Vehicle History Report

When you’ve found a car, truck, or SUV you’re interested in purchasing, it’s always a good idea to order a vehicle history report from a service like Carfax or AutoCheck; all you’ll need to order the report is the vehicle’s VIN number. 

Vehicle history reports include details on a car’s ownership, accident history, title status, mileage, and more. They can also uncover damage that the seller doesn’t disclose or know about, such as fire or flood damage or recall notices. Carfax and other vehicle history reports will also often include any major maintenance or repairs that the vehicle received, which can be very helpful given that many sellers likely won’t have this information available. 

While you probably won’t be able to see when every oil change was performed, the repair and maintenance section is helpful in determining whether the factory scheduled maintenance was performed and if any significant repairs were needed. Keep in mind that a vehicle history report won’t cover things like the mechanical condition of the car, whether certain parts are worn, or whether there are components in the particular model that are known to be prone to early failure. For this reason, it’s also recommended to get a pre-purchase inspection. 

Pre-Purchase Inspections

A pre-purchase inspection from a professional mechanic will go much deeper than how the vehicle looks and drives. It will give you a good sense of the car’s overall condition, the status of major safety systems, and how well it’s been maintained. An auto repair shop will also be able to tell you whether there’s any work that needs to be done, which can help you determine an appropriate value for the vehicle. In some cases, you may also be able to use this information to negotiate a new price with the seller. 

Although pre-purchase inspections can vary depending on the auto repair shop you choose, they will typically check for the following issues:

  • Hidden problems with the body, frame, or engine, 
  • Flood or fire damage
  • Rust
  • Fluid leaks
  • Burned-out bulbs
  • Non-functioning accessories
  • Suspicious odors
  • Overdue maintenance tasks
  • The overall condition of the vehicle, including the tires and brake pads
  • Issues with the engine
  • Trouble codes that can indicate mechanical or electrical problems

It’s pretty easy to see how a used vehicle inspection is worth the cost! If problems are uncovered, you can either steer clear of the vehicle or bargain for a better price. If everything is OK, you’ll have a plan for addressing any routine services that should be done, not to mention a whole lot of peace of mind.

Schedule a Pre-Purchase Inspection at EuroCar Service

It’s easy to fall in love with a vehicle, but it’s important not to let your feelings cloud your judgment. Save yourself the headache that comes from buying a lemon—schedule a pre-purchase inspection at EuroCar Service! Our skilled ASE-certified team has been providing honest, reliable auto care and repairs since 1981. Our team will perform a thorough inspection of the vehicle and let you know if there are any issues that should be addressed. 

We specialize in all European makes and models, including BMWFiatMercedesLand RoverAudiMini-CooperSaabJaguarVolvoVolkswagen, and Smart Car. Call us today at (206) 527-8828 or schedule your appointment online