Why No Two Repairs Are Alike: Understanding the Differences in Repair Costs

Why No Two Repairs Are Alike:
Understanding the Differences in Repair Costs

It’s a warm summer day, so you turn on your car’s air conditioning only to discover it isn’t working. So, you make an appointment and find out the evaporator needs to be replaced. Your friend recently just had the same repair on their car—so why is the estimate so different?

The fact is, no two vehicles—or their repairs—are alike. 

Different Cars, Differences in Repairs

To understand why the same types of repairs can have widely varying costs, let’s take a closer look at the evaporator example. In one vehicle, the evaporator might be easy to access and replace. In another vehicle, the entire dashboard may need to be removed. Depending on how the unit itself is designed, we may also need to use specialized tools during the repair. This all adds to the cost of labor and the amount of time it takes to complete the repair. 

In addition, the part itself may cost more or less than the evaporator for your friend’s car. Parts for newer vehicles and foreign makes can cost considerably more than parts for an older car or domestic make. The more technologically complex a car is, the more the repairs are likely to cost. So, even though an evaporator replacement is essentially the same repair in any vehicle, the process required for the repair and the cost of the part can vary quite a bit. 

How Can You Be Sure You’re Getting a Fair Price?

If all vehicles and repairs were the same, it would be easy to do comparisons to ensure you’re being charged a fair price—but since repair costs vary, how can you know for sure you’re not being taken advantage of?

This is why it’s helpful to establish a lasting relationship with a reputable repair shop. The shop will know you and your vehicle, but more importantly, they’ll value keeping you as a long-term customer. Repair shops that are only interested in money don’t really care about customer retention, and because of that, they often suggest unnecessary services and inflate their prices. 

When you have a regular shop that’s worked on your vehicle for years, you have experience with them; you pretty much know what to expect when it comes to things like labor costs, parts prices, and warranty policies. 

No one enjoys paying a lot of money for auto repairs; fortunately, automakers have made significant strides in things like corrosion prevention and engine and powertrain technology. Newer vehicles can last longer than older models. One study in a major consumer magazine found that if you can keep your vehicle running for 200,000 miles (an average of 15 years), it can save you up to $30,000 or more on the cost of a new vehicle. When you look at it that way, investing in repairs makes a lot of sense!

Keep Your Car on the Road with EuroCar Service

At EuroCar Service, our goal is always to help you maximize the value and road life of your vehicle. Whether you need diagnostics, maintenance, or repairs, you can rely on our skilled team for quality auto care and honest recommendations. We see all European makes, including AudiBMWLand RoverMercedesMini CooperSaabVolkswagenVolvoSmart CarFiat, and Jaguar. Call us today at 206-527-8828 or request an appointment online.

What is Fuel Injector Cleaning?

What is Fuel Injector Cleaning?

Are you looking for ways to save money at the gas pump? One of the most common issues we see with fuel economy is clogged fuel injectors. When the fuel injectors get blocked by carbon deposits and debris, it can cause your vehicle to use more fuel than it used to. Fortunately, fuel injector cleaning is generally all that’s needed to get your vehicle’s mileage back on track. 

What Are Fuel Injectors, and What Does Fuel Injection Cleaning Entail?

Fuel injectors are components that send fuel from the gas tank into the engine. The injectors atomize the fuel and then force it directly into the combustion chamber at the precise time in the combustion cycle. This process happens thousands of times a minute. Over time, high temperatures under the hood and variations in fuel quality can cause the injectors to collect wax, dirt, water, additives, and carbon. This can cause them to become partially clogged, which prevents them from being able to deliver the right amount of fuel at the proper pressure. 

When your vehicle’s fuel injectors are dirty, it causes the fuel to burn less efficiently, leading to a loss of power and poor fuel economy. Some other signs that can indicate when it’s time to have your fuel injectors serviced include:

  • Rough idling
  • Engine misfires
  • Engine vibration
  • The check engine light is on
  • Fuel leaks
  • A smell
  • Engine surges

If your fuel injectors are completely clogged, there’s a chance your engine won’t start at all. 

During your fuel injection service, our technicians will inspect the various components associated with the fuel injection system, including the system’s connections, vacuum lines, pressure regulator, and fuel rail. We’ll also clean the fuel injectors, so they operate perfectly and deliver the ideal amount of fuel for your engine. Although it can vary based on your make and model, fuel injector cleaning is typically recommended every 36-48 months or around every 45,000 miles. 

Keep Your Engine Performing its Best with Fuel Injection Cleaning 

For an engine to perform well, it needs a carefully balanced mix of fuel and air. If the injectors become clogged, it can disrupt the ratio of the mixture and affect the combustion process, resulting in issues with starting your engine, drivability, performance, and gas mileage. At EuroCar Service, we use state-of-the-art equipment and cleaners during our fuel injection services to restore your engine’s performance and fuel economy. 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. 

What is Differential Service—And Do You Need It?

What is Differential Service – And Do You Need It?

When you drive around a corner in your car, the outside wheels have a slightly longer distance to travel than the inside wheels. Because of this, the outer wheels need to spin at a faster speed to keep pace with the inner wheels. The component that makes this possible is called the differential. The differential essentially allows your wheels to travel at different speeds without binding or hopping while transferring power from the engine

If you have a rear-wheel drive vehicle, the differential is on the rear axle; for front-wheel drive vehicles, the differential function is handled by the transaxle. All-wheel drive vehicles have differentials on both axles, as well as a center differential or a transfer case. This allows compensation between the front and the rear axles. 

Why Differential Service is Important

Since all the power of the engine is transferred through the differential(s), they’re very strong and built to last a long time. However, like other components in your vehicle, your differential needs to be serviced in order to perform its best.   

Like engines, differentials use oil to keep the internal gears lubricated and reduce friction that can cause excessive wear or heat. However, differential oil is much thicker than engine oil. It needs to be changed at regular intervals because the oil will become thin and contaminated over time. If the oil isn’t changed, the differential will start to have metal-on-metal contact, which will wear out its gears. 

What’s Involved in a Differential Service?

During a differential service, your technician will drain the old differential fluid and replace it with new fluid. They’ll also inspect the u-joints, which connect your drive shaft to the differential. In some cases, we may recommend servicing these as well. 

The interval for differential service can vary based on your vehicle, its mileage, and your typical driving conditions, but it’s generally around every 40,000 to 60,000 miles. However, if you frequently drive on dirt roads or other dusty conditions, it may need to be changed more frequently. Check your owner’s manual for recommendations on your car, or ask your service advisor. 

Differential Replacement

Although differentials last a long time, they’ll eventually wear out and need to be replaced. A failing differential isn’t something you want to ignore—it can freeze up while you’re driving and cause you to lose control or damage other parts of your vehicle, like the axle, driveshaft, or transmission. Some common signs your differential needs to be repaired or replaced include:

  • Excessive engine oil consumption
  • Reduce handling around corners 
  • Difficulty steering
  • Noises like grinding gears, clunking, whining, or howling
  • Sidewall or out tire damage
  • Vibrations that increase as you speed up

If you’ve noticed any of the above signs or you’re due for a differential service, contact the pros at EuroCar Service. We specialize in all European makes, including BMWAudiLand RoverMercedesMini-CooperSaabJaguarVolkswagenVolvoSmart Car, and Fiat! Call us today at (206) 527-8828 or request an appointment online. 

The History of the Dashboard & Important Warning Lights to Watch For

The History of the Dashboard & Important Warning Lights to Watch For

Have you ever wondered why they call the part of your vehicle that sits behind the steering wheel the “dashboard?” It might surprise you to learn that the name comes from a time before cars were even invented. 

When people traveled by horse and buggy, the streets weren’t what they are today. Instead of smooth concrete or asphalt, the roads were rough and unpaved. It wasn’t unusual for mud and stones to get “dashed” (meaning knocked, thrown, or hurled) in the direction of the buggy. Because of this, carriage makers began installing a board to protect them—which became known as the dashboard. 

Eventually, the word carriage got shortened to car, and the dashboard was sometimes referred to as the “dash.” Today’s dashboards sit behind and below the windshield and are used to house a variety of controls and instruments. 

Modern Dashboards Have Become Essential

In addition to the speedometer, tachometer, and gas gauge, your instrument panel has warning lights that can alert you to a variety of issues. These are very important to pay attention to, as they can help you prevent breakdowns, damage to the various systems, and costly repairs. Here are a few of the most important dashboard warning lights to watch for:

Oil Pressure: Oil is essential; it keeps the moving parts of your engine well-lubricated, reduces friction on these parts that can lead to excessive wear and tear, and pulls heat away from the engine. When the oil pressure light comes on, it means there’s been a drop in oil pressure in the engine—so the parts aren’t getting the lubrication they need. Left too long, this can cause serious damage. Call your service advisor immediately and avoid driving until the issue has been resolved. 

Check Engine Light: If your check engine light is on, it means one or more sensors in your vehicle have detected an abnormal situation. This could be anything from a loose or faulty gas cap to a clogged sensor or severe engine misfires. Again, this should be checked out as soon as possible. Our technician will read the code stored in your vehicle to diagnose the issue. If the check engine light is flashing, this means the problem could cause serious damage—so don’t wait! Get it checked out right away. 

Brake Light: If this light is on, it could mean that you left your parking brake on, or there could be a more serious problem, like low brake fluid or hydraulic system issues. Check your parking brake first; if this isn’t on, and the light is on, make sure to get it diagnosed ASAP. 

Tire Pressure: Newer vehicles have a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) built in that will tell you if any of your tires are under or overinflated. Both conditions are a problem. Underinflated tires can affect your ability to handle the vehicle and brake safely, while overinflated tires are more prone to damage from debris, potholes, and other road conditions. If the light is flashing, it means the tire pressure monitoring system itself needs attention. 

Of course, there are many more warning lights in your vehicle. If you see any of the following, it’s best to have your vehicle towed to our shop:

  • Oil light
  • Temperature light
  • Charging (Batt) light
  • Brake light

These warning lights indicate issues that could cause serious engine damage, or leave you stranded or with unsafe brakes. 

Visit EuroCar Service for Reliable Car Diagnostics

Although things were simpler back in the horse and buggy days, today’s dashboard warning lights can tell you many things about the complexities of modern vehicles. At EuroCar Service, we want to make sure your driving experience is trouble- and worry-free! We offer reliable diagnostics services for all European makes, including BMWAudiLand RoverMercedesMini-CooperSaabJaguarVolkswagenVolvoSmart Car, and Fiat! Call us today at (206) 527-8828 or request an appointment online.  

Trouble Accelerating? It May Be the Throttle Position Sensor

Trouble Accelerating? It May Be the Throttle Position Sensor

When you step on the accelerator pedal, you expect your vehicle to speed up—not slow down. If it doesn’t, you may have a problem with the throttle position sensor (TPS). 

What is the Throttle Position Sensor?

The TPS is a sensor that helps determine the right mixture of fuel and air in the engine. When the engine needs more air to accelerate, the throttle opens; it closes when you need less. The sensor is responsible for sensing the position of the throttle. It sends that information, along with airflow measurements, to your vehicle’s onboard computer. 

The computer takes a variety of factors, such as the airflow and how fast the engine is turning over to determine how much fuel the engine needs. When everything is working properly, you’ll have good fuel economy and the acceleration you’d expect. If the TPS fails, you might notice the following symptoms:

  • Poor acceleration
  • Reduced engine power 
  • Your vehicle accelerates on its own
  • The check engine light is on
  • Stalling
  • A rough or slow idle
  • Your vehicle won’t shift up

If you notice any of the above signs, it’s best to schedule an appointment soon. A faulty or failing TPS can be a serious safety issue. 

In the case of total TPS failure, most vehicles have what’s known as a “limp home” or “limp-in” mode. This is a security feature that’s activated when your vehicle’s computer detects an issue that could damage the engine. The less important features of your car will be switched off, and you’ll have reduced engine power and speed, but it’s enough to get you home or to the repair shop. 

Get Your TPS Repaired at EuroCar Service

Computers are an essential part of today’s vehicles, so it’s important to keep them—and the sensors that provide vital information—working properly. Our qualified technicians will diagnose and install the correct TPS replacement part. In some cases, it may also need to be reprogrammed, so it can work harmoniously with the other software in your vehicle. 

Whether you’re having acceleration issues or just need some general maintenance, EuroCar Service is here to keep your vehicle safe and reliable. We see all European makes, including AudiBMWMercedesLand RoverMini-CooperSmart CarVolvoSaabJaguarVolkswagen, and Fiat. Schedule an appointment today by calling (206) 527-8828 or request an appointment online.  

Volkswagen to Roll Out Its First e-SUV, the ID.4

Though gas prices continue to tumble downward, the shining future remains electric. Volkswagen is preparing to prove that green doesn’t mean you have to give up on style, comfort, or function.

The “ID” in ID.4 stands for Intelligent Design, and the compact SUV’s smartly refined exterior features a front short end and a long wheelbase. This opens up the inside, giving the driver and passengers an open bright interior.

More MEB Please!

VW introduced its modular electric drive architecture (MEB) with the compact ID.3. The ID.4 will carry on the MEB with a host of modular drive components. There will be rear and all-wheel versions. Providing balanced weight and a low center of gravity, the battery is installed under the passenger cell. Depending on which drivetrain package you choose, the elegantly curved vehicle will have a range of up to 310 miles.

Nearly every function of the ID.4 will be controlled by touch functions or voice commands. Connectivity and technology are at the beating heart of this low, long beauty.

Hoping to make up for past indiscretions, VW is promising that the entire production of the ID.4 is carbon neutral. Charging can be, too. Charging options include the ability to recharge with renewable energy.

Big Bucks, Big Plans

There are big plans for the Zwickau plant in Germany. VW plans to become a global leader in electric mobility. Putting its money where its ambitions are, the German carmaker is plunking down nearly 12 billion dollars for the e-side of its Volkswagen brand and expects to produce 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles by 2025. The plant in Zwickau will commence by churning out 330,000 cars in 2021, making it the largest electric vehicle plant in Europe.

Volkswagen is making MEB available to other manufacturers, including Ford which will be one of VW’s first MEB partners. Also, a 16 GW battery is in development with Swedish company Northvolt. Production is planned for 2024.

Bring Your Best to the Best

For your current or future VW, EuroCar Service knows how important high-performing, well-engineered cars are to you. That’s why we give you cutting edge procedures for the service and maintenance of your vehicle. We also service Audi, Fiat, Land Rover, Mercedes, MINI, Volvo, and more at our up-to-date facility and are staffed with highly-trained ASE Certified Master mechanics and knowledgeable service advisors. Conveniently open Monday through Friday, 7:30 to 5:30, we’ll make your visit hassle-free with complimentary shuttle service and loaner cars. To schedule an appointment with a European car repair shop  that is dependable, accurate, and honest, contact online or call 206-527-8828 today!

Volkswagen Arteon: Nearly Safe and Stylish Enough

Long, lean, and lithe, the 2019 Arteon earns high marks on style and safety—though not the highest on either. While Car and Driver calls the new Arteon “gorgeous,” Motor Trend says it’s “more pleasing” than sedans produced by Toyota or Nissan, but does not have the performance and styling of the high-end makers that the $36,840 to $47,705 price tag will have to compete with.

The Arteon, which is replacing Volkswagen’s struggling CC, just missed being named a Top Safety Pick. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing deaths, injuries, and property damage from motor vehicle crashes. IIHS gave the Arteon a “good” rating on frontal crash, side crash, roof strength, head restraints, front crash prevention, and latch evaluation. That is excellent news for the manufacturer and anyone riding in the vehicle!

The Drawbacks

Unfortunately, all three of the Arteon’s headlight configurations received poor ratings. These LED projector headlights offered on the SE, SEL, and SEL Premium trim were rated as poor for different reasons. On the SE trim, the lights didn’t project far enough forward or well enough on the right. On the SEL and SEL Premium, the low beams were penalized for excessive glare. 

Maybe that sounds unfair since the car is structurally safe, but cars must earn good ratings in all areas to be a Top Safety Pick. There is a good reason for this. IIHS reports that nearly half of all fatal crashes occur in the dark—so, Volkswagen needs to work a little hard to be considered safe and stylish! We can’t do much about the stylishness of your Volkswagen Arteon or other European automobiles, but we can make sure it is as safe and efficient as possible. EuroCar Service has been your dependable, accurate and honest state-of-the-art service facility in Seattle since 1981.  We are committed to high-quality workmanship for your MercedesVolvoAudi, BMW, Land RoverMINI, SAAB, Smart car, or Fiat. Our high level of customer service is only exceeded by the training and experience of our ASE Certified master mechanics. We provide free shuttle service and loaner cars for our Seattle customers and are conveniently open Monday through Friday, 7:30 to 5:30. Join the EuroCar Service family by scheduling an appointment online or calling 206-527-8828 today!

Volkswagen Once Again Considering Low-Cost Brand

Volkswagen Once Again Considering Low-Cost BrandWith the successful launch of the Renault Nissan Mitsubishi Alliance’s Dacia brand, Volkswagen has been considering a low-cost brand manufactured abroad for several years. This was one of the driving factors between their purchase of a sizable stake in Suzuki, which has a significant manufacturing brand in India. However, that partnership dissolved in 2015.

Low Cost Volvo Brand In The Works

Now they’ve turned their attention to China, where they plan on introducing a budget brand within the next two years. The brand will roll out with a sedan, which is priced starting at $10,500, with 2 SUVs to follow by 2021.

VW will be partnering with local brand FAW to produce this budget line of cars. Though the initial launch will be focused on China, they do plan to expand to other nations in the years that follow–though it is unlikely to reach the US. However, unlike other brands that have pulled their production out of India, VW does plan to continue brand development there, through the Skoda brand. Skoda is produced through a partnership with a company known as Tata, which released a compact sedan called the Racemo at Geneva in March of 2017.

Old Deals Close as New Ones Open

All this follows the messy dissolution of VW’s partnership with Suzuki. Though that relationship–where VW took a 19.9% stake in Suzuki–began with promise, bickering over business deals, such as Suzuki’s purchase of automaker Fiat, eventually led the companies to arbitration at the International Court of Arbitration in London. There, the arbitrator demanded that VW sell back their share in Suzuki, after they had refused to comply with the Japanese company’s initial requests. However, the arbitrator also found that Suzuki was in breach of their own contract, so they were asked to pay VW back for damages.

But Volkswagen has emphasized that this new deal is not related to either the prior deal with Suzuki or their deal with Tata to produce the Skoda brand.

“This is India and this is not a budget car for China,” says Dr. Frank Welsch, speaking for VW. “This is different and I cannot comment what Skoda is doing.”

Volkswagen Opens Wide for Discovery Shark Week

For the sixth consecutive year, Volkswagen is partnering with the Discovery Channel to sponsor their popular Shark Week. This year, Volkswagen will build on the excitement surrounding Shark Week with their Land of Sharks–a cross country journey in their seven-seater Volkswagen Atlas.

VW Showcasing 2018 Atlas SEL

The 2018 Atlas SEL Premium fits families of all sizes. With third row seating, a variety of high tech features (including a Fender Premium audio system, the Volkswagen digital cockpit, and available Volkswagen app-connect, its sure to please the most tech savvy members of your family. It includes robust safety features as well, such as the Automatic post-collision braking system, and a 72,000 mile or six year warranty.

Volkswagen Opens Wide for Discovery Shark WeekLand of Sharks will take Shark fanatics on a cross-country journey, following a family on a road trip across America in their Atlas, visiting sites once occupied by prehistoric sharks. Three 60-second vignettes will follow the family first to an archaeological site, then to a research lab, and then finally to an encounter with present-day sharks. It was Volkswagen’s agency of record Deutsch and produced by Discovery Channel.

To supplement these ads, Volkswagen has created a unique online component which utilizes Google Street View. Shark Week viewers will be able to view their own neighborhood as inhabited by prehistoric sharks at http://landofsharks.com.

Volkswagen Is Excited To Team Up

“Volkswagen is excited to continue our sponsorship of Discovery Channel’s SHARK WEEK for the sixth year,” said Jennifer Clayton, Director of Brand and Marketing Communications, Volkswagen of America. “This year’s cross-country journey to explore oceans of the past provides an ideal platform to show the versatility and spaciousness of the all-new 2018 Volkswagen Atlas.”

“Discovery Channel is proud to be working with Volkswagen for six consecutive years on SHARK WEEK, TV’s must-see summer event,” added Mark Lewis, VP Ad Sales Marketing, Discovery Communications. “Discovery Channel and Volkswagen are both advocates of innovation and exploration, and the all-new Atlas was a perfect fit for this year’s programming as we ventured across the deserts of the United States to explore the ancient oceans and its sharks.”

VW in Hot Water for Violating Emissions Standards

VW in Hot Water for Violating Emissions StandardsFor years, Volkswagen has promoted their “clean diesel” energy standards. This alternative to hybrid and electric cars has been wildly successful, with VW now taking 70-percent of the US diesel market, but researchers recently discovered that some of the company’s claims were falsified.

According to the EPA and the California Air Resources Board, VW installed “defeat devices” in their cars. These devices switched the cars between two distinct operating modes. In test modes, all cars would operate below federal emission standards. But when switched to operating modes, exhaust-gas recirculation, fuel pressure, and injection timing were significantly altered. This gave drivers a better driving experience (as they could achieve better fuel mileage and higher power) but created nitrogen-oxygen emissions up to 40 times over the federal limits.

Though there is no current recall, VW has admitted to violating federal emissions standards, which could mean that some states (including California) may refuse to re-register cars until a fix is produced. Additionally, VW is currently barred from selling new diesel vehicles except for certain 2015 models.

For current owners of impacted 2.0 liter vehicles, Volkswagen is offering a 10 billion dollar buyback program. Depending on model, age and trim, owners can sell their cars back to VW for a sum between $12,500 and $44,000. For those who prefer to keep their vehicles, VW is offering between  $5100 and $10,000 to compensate for loss of value, plus a free emissions fix. Owners have until May 2018 to decide which option they’ll choose.

Additionally, Bosch–who developed the emissions software–is offering owners a $350 settlement, a portion of a larger $327.5 million settlement with the software manufacturer. Lessees are eligible to receive $200.

VW also has a separate settlement program for owners of 3.0 liter vehicles, which differs substantially from the 10 million dollar. Owners of 2009–2012 Audi Q7 and Volkswagen Touareg models with the Generation 1 engine are eligible for buybacks between $24,755 to $57,157. There is no option to repair the emissions system because the systems in these vehicles cannot be repaired.

In early 2017, the Justice Department arrested 6 VW executives who were implicated in the scandal and ordered a $14.7 billion settlement. VW will be monitored for 3 years as part of the conditions for its probation.