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10 Car Repairs You Should Never Try to Do Yourself

1. Body work and paint

Repairing damaged body panels and applying paint is an expensive, messy, noxious, and time-consuming process. Between all the fumes and required training, it’s one of those repairs that specialized professionals are the only obvious option.

By tackling this fix on your own it’s easy to end up with a finished job that looks like crap, with Bondo bubbles, wet sanding gouges, and a multitude of other issues. Painting isn’t much better; shoddy coverage, insufficient clear coats, “orange peel,” and overspray issues are a dime a dozen if performed in a makeshift paint shop. We understand that this is an expensive fix, but so is realizing that it all needs to done over again.

2. ECU fixes and tuning

A good rule of thumb is to always leave automotive computer repairs alone. Unless you are a certified ASE master technician, there’s no reason for you to be fooling with air/fuel ratios, shift points, and redline limiters. Let an experienced tuner take over and fix whatever issues or fine tuning needs may be required to get your ride to the point where you can enjoy it once more.

3. Windshield replacement

This is one of those repairs that all drivers dread, and at around $200-300 a pop, it’s easy to understand why. While you can always carve a used one out of a donor car in the junkyard for next to nothing, by the time you pay for all the adhesive, fresh clips, and any required window trim pieces, that quote you got from the shop down the street doesn’t seem all that bad. Spend the dough and get a brand-new windshield professionally installed, because the last thing you need is a leaky piece of glass ruining your interior.

4. Electrical gremlins

Outside of swapping in a fresh fuse or relay, staying away from run-of-the-mill electrical repairs is a wise move. There are endless yards of electric wiring in a car (a Bentley Bentayga utilizes an adult’s weight in wiring), with lord knows how many connectors, sensors, and computers plugged into them. If certified industrial electricians tend to shy away from automotive electronic gremlins it might be best if you do the same.

5. Fuel system fixes

Here’s a great way to blow your car up and get third-degree burns in the process. Fuel systems have the capacity to cause headaches, garage fires, and even unconsciousness. Our recommendation is to play it safe and leave anything having to do with replacing a fuel pump, tank, injectors, rails, or pressurized lines to the pros.

6. Snapped coil springs

Always under extreme pressure and strong enough to kill a full-grown man, the springs on a car are tightly wound mouse traps; you get one guess as to who’s at risk of getting caught. This video explains the dangers associated with swapping springs, and while it is by no means an impossible task to undertake, the risks involved make it a chore that’s best to hand-off to a mechanic.

7. Transmission fixes

Have you ever looked inside the bell housing of a car’s transmission? It’s a twisted maze of gears, tensioners, bearings, and rods, all of which have to fit right back where they belong in order to work. Think swapping a transmission is the way to go instead of rebuilding one? Good luck getting all those sensors out of the way without breaking a few crusty clips and smashing a finger or two. Even automatic gearboxes on a small four-cylinder weigh a lot, so you’ll also need some serious assistance in order to get a new gearbox to go in its home.

8. AC system restoration

A number of parts requiring replacement on a modern vehicle when an AC compressor locks-up is staggering. Once that crucial component seizes up, it will more than likely send tiny shards of metal through every inch of the system, meaning every line and fitting needs to be replaced along with the condenser, evaporator, compressor, and various other items. Expensive, time-consuming, and dangerous, this is a task that even trained professionals dread doing.

9. Brake plumbing and reservoir replacement

Even the small stuff, like replacing your brake pads and rotors can put you in dangerous territory really quick. Being able to stop safer than when you started is the reason we bleed brakes and upgrade pads and rotors with aftermarket options, but things don’t always go according to plan. So when something like a master cylinder or a line rusts in half, it’s usually best to take your car to a shop for repairs in order for everything to be flared and fixed properly.

10. Defective airbag fixes

This last warning should be a bit obvious, but that doesn’t stop people from trying to swap out detonated or defective airbags on their own. Unplugging everything properly and removing the old unit is one thing; fitting in the fresh airbag can be a completely different story. While these kinds of repairs may save you money (when not covered under warranty or recall), relying upon trained professionals will provide you both with peace of mind and factory fitment without all the headaches.



KBB's annual list of the 10 Best SUVs Under $25,000 typically includes a collection of subcompact SUVs, compact SUVs and even the occasional quasi-midsize SUV, but here we recognize just the five top-ranking compact SUVs from that list.

2016 Honda CR-V
As our Small SUV Best Buy for 2016 and one of our 16 Best Family Cars, the CR-V was an easy pick for this top spot. Honda’s small SUV is roomy, reliable, refined, efficient and just about everything else you might be seeking from a small SUV.

2016 Mazda CX-5
Like most cars with a Mazda badge, the CX-5 is arguably the most stylish and most fun-to-drive entry in its class. Tech and design updates for 2016 only added to its already considerable appeal.

2016 Hyundai Tucson
The Hyundai Tucson is now one of the best compact SUVs on the road thanks to a complete redesign that added loads of refinement and style. 

2016 Subaru Forester
Standard all-wheel drive meets long-term reliability and excellent resale value in a small SUV that makes just as much sense in sunnier states as it does in the more wintry ones. 

2016 Toyota RAV4
With one of the segment’s roomiest interiors and arguably the most established reputation for reliability, the Toyota RAV4 overachieves in both practicality and value.


5 Places Never to Use a Debit or Credit Card

Turns out there is something to carrying a wallet of cash

In today’s cashless culture, nearly all of our purchases are paid for via credit card. But with all the identity theft and hacking in the headlines, there are plenty of reasons to give pause. 

Here’s where to think twice before swiping.

1. Online Shopping Sites That Aren’t Secure: It seems obvious, but many of us are guilty of giving up our card numbers without checking on the security of the site. Before you enter your digits, look for the green lock icon (without any overlays) at the front of the site’s URL.

2. Gas Pumps and Self-Checkout Stations: These places are sweet targets for credit-card skimming devices that can sit there for months without anyone noticing. They’re small, not obvious to the average customer and easy for criminals to retrieve or install in a matter of minutes.

3. Outdoor ATMs and Pay Terminals: Avoid using ATMs that are out in the open (on the sidewalk, in the corner store) whenever you can. And when you have to use them, at least be sure to cover the PIN pad while entering your information--you never know who’s lurking behind you or if there’s a hidden camera nearby. Outdoor stations, including fast-food drive-throughs, are prime locations for hidden skimmer devices.

4. Cell-Phone Charging Stations: We know what it’s like to have a dead battery, but swiping your card to get access to free charging stations at the airport could be putting you in danger. These kiosks are ripe for skimming and nefarious card-information storage, and have also been known to dump the information from your cell phone while charging. It’s called juice jacking.

5. Desktop or Mobile Applications: Watch out for apps and pop-ups on your computer and phone that ask for credit-card info outside of the official program or app store. Things like “You have a virus--please deposit $10” or “Your files have been encrypted and can be unlocked for a certain price.” You’ve probably seen at least one of these threats before. It might seem obvious, but be alert and don’t fall for these traps.

So how should you pay? By using cold, hard cash or prepaid reloadable cards that aren’t linked to any personal financial information. As the old saying goes, buyer beware.


Are off-road vehicles the next family cars?

Typically, off-road vehicles are for bachelors - for the camping and adventuring with friends that come before settling down, having kids, and getting something practical and family-friendly like a Honda Odyssey. But what if it didn't have to be that way? What if off-road vehicles were the next family car? New wisdom and changing trends may be encouraging a shift in this area.

Off-Roading 101

Off-road vehicles aren't just ATVs and Jeeps with the doors taken off, though those certainly fit the bill. No, according to Kelly Blue Book, off-road vehicles are actually any vehicle with four-wheel drive, larger tires, and a high ground clearance, allowing them to drive on unusual surfaces. If your car can handle dirt roads, gravel, mud, and sand with ease, it qualifies as an off-road vehicle.

The KBB definition may be surprising to some, but it makes sense; while most soccer moms driving smaller SUVs don't think of themselves as ready to head off-road, they absolutely could. The fact is that the vehicles many buy to ensure safety while driving in snow or heavy rain are equally well equipped to explore uncharted terrain.

Where Safety Meets Adventure

The beauty of off-road vehicles for families is that they were made to navigate imperfect terrain, and while you may spend most of your time driving down the streets of your suburban development, having an off-road vehicle opens up your options while providing an added measure of safety. After all, if you can drive a Jeep along the beaches and volcanoes of Oahu, it can certainly handle your local campgrounds or the next snow storm.

A Question Of Capacity

Another factor in the rise of off-road vehicles as family cars is that of capacity. Minivans are historically popular because they are perfect for hauling groceries, sports equipment (and half the sports team), or all the gear for vacation or college. But why drive a minivan when a truck can do the same thing with better optics?

The Ford F-150 is a perfect example of the pickup turned family car. It's an ideal option for several reasons, including the fact that it fits three safety seats across the back with plenty of legroom for adults and older kids, has a huge cargo area since it's a pickup, and offers extraordinary comfort for a workhorse. This new model is also a top safety pick according to Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

An Expanded Repertoire

It's easier than ever for families to adopt off-road vehicles as their primary cars because so many more cars are equipped to take on the unusual terrain. The affordable Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland, for example, has the sleek SUV look popular with families right now but can conquer just about any terrain with ease. The combination of a comfortable interior and sturdy exterior is hard to beat.

Downsides Remain

Of course, there are still notable difficulties for families with off-road vehicles, for example entry height. Cars that are meant to clear rocks and glide through snow and sand are typically high off the ground, making them difficult for kids to climb in and out of independently. They can also be hard for elderly family members to navigate.

Another difficulty with off-road vehicles is width. Although some, like the Chevrolet Colorado, have slimmed down cabs, these vehicles are typically wider, making it harder to navigate narrow streets, parking lots, and driveways. 

As with any car, it's important to do your research before investing in an off-road vehicle for your family. Read reviews, take a test drive, sit in the back, and get a feel for how these vehicles operate in your daily life. It's great that you can take a Jeep or pickup truck anywhere and don't need to work about snow and flooding, but for most of us, that isn't the day-to-day.

Safety, comfort, and ease should be your top concerns for a primary family vehicle - off-roading comes second.


Consider these four apps

Own a newer Chevy, GMC, Buick, or Cadillac? Check out these apps.

Long-Range Access

Some of the features included with these apps, like the ability to lock and unlock your car and remotely start it (if equipped with remote start), are also available from the key fob. However, while you typically need to be relatively close and in sight of your car to use the key fob to, say, remotely start it, the app doesn't have those limitations; if you want, you could lock, unlock, or even start your car from hundreds of miles away. Also, what if you lock your keys in the car, but have your phone on you? Not a problem, just unlock it with the app.

Send a Destination to Your Car

Instead of writing down an address to enter into the navigation system later, you can send it to your car with the app. It lets you send addresses and points of interest to the built-in navigation system (if equipped) or the OnStar turn-by-turn navigation feature. Entering an address or search term like "gas stations" is as easy as typing it into Google Maps, with suggested results appearing as you type.

Never Forget Where You Parked

If you've ever wandered around a parking garage pressing the panic button and then listening for the honk of your car's horn, we've been there, too, and we know it isn't fun. These apps give you a few tools to lessen the odds of this happening again; you can pin the location of your car on a map, enter a note about your parking location — like what floor of the parking deck it's on — and attach a photo of your parked location.


Ask our salesmen/saleswomen about our free 90 day OnStar trial with purchase of any OnStar capable vehicle on our lot.

My Chevrole
t App

My GMC App

My Buick App

My Cadillac App


Summer-ize Your Vehicle

Before you hit the road for your favorite summer destinations, check out this list of maintenance suggestions:
1. Maintain your air conditioning. The most common cause of a malfunctioning air conditioning unit is a low level of refrigerant. This could be caused by a leak in the system. Since modern AC systems are complex, it’s best to have a professional check out the problem.

2. Clean your battery. The hot summer months are tough on your battery. Summer heat can speed up the chemical reaction inside a battery, causing the battery to be overcharged. This significantly reduces battery life. Regularly detach the battery cables and wipe off the terminals. Make sure that the battery is strapped down tightly and that all connections are secure. If you need to replace your battery, make sure it is the right battery type for your specific vehicle.

3. Check the coolant and radiator. Cars are designed to run pretty hot, but there is a limit to just how hot they should run. If an engine is allowed to get too hot, moving metal parts can actually start to melt and fuse together, causing a variety of engine problems.

4. Check your brakes. Your brakes are probably the single most important safety mechanism on your car. If you notice a brake problem, it pays to have it inspected or repaired as soon as possible. The cost of a brake repair service increases dramatically if even minor problems aren’t fixed in a timely manner.

5. Replace your windshield wipers. The summer months are notorious for sudden, violent thunderstorms. When water is beating against your windshield in buckets, your wipers NEED to work. This is true in daytime, but more so at night, when a storm can decrease visibility by 15 to 20 feet in front of your vehicle.

6. Change the air filter. Over the winter, your air filter can get clogged with salt and road debris. Replacing a dirty or clogged air filter can improve gas mileage by as much as 10%.

7. Check hoses and belts. The key to successful summer driving is keeping the engine cool. If hoses crack or belts snap, the radiator can quickly overheat. Check hoses for cracks, leaks and loose connections as well as doing visual checks on belts for cracks and damages.

8. De-Winterize your car. If you haven’t driven your car very much during the winter months, it is a good idea to check all the fluid levels to make sure that there aren’t any leaks.

9. Change oil and oil filter. Oil keeps hardworking engine parts running clean, smooth and cool. Before you take that long distance summer road trip, check your oil. Heavy driving mixed with high temperatures can lead to an overheated engine.

10. Check your tires. Tire pressure changes with rising temperatures approximately one to two PSI for every 10 degree increase in outside air temperature. An under-inflated tire bulges outward and puts undo pressure on the tire sidewall. With enough heat and pressure, the tire will eventually blow. Over-inflated tires make less contact with the road surface and can cause hydroplaning during summer thunderstorms.

Need help with this kind of maintenance? We can help! Stop by our service department or schedule an appointment here.


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