Ali's Bellevue Auto Repair Official Blog
- You haven’t brought your car to a professional in a while. This is a little bit of a trick---not an actual “sign” but a way of doing things that can help save you from trouble. If you are doing oil changes yourself, or not going to a complete auto repair facility for your oil changes (the most common and frequent service for your car), then you’re not getting eyes on your transmission system regularly. If you bring your car to a “quicky lube”-type place, you’re missing out on the most important reason an auto mechanic wants to do your oil changes: to do regular checks on your vehicle. It’s not a scam, it’s the way to help and keep a close eye on ALL your car’s systems, especially the transmission. If you don’t have a mechanic you can trust, then FIND ONE---catching problems before they start is the best way to save money.
- Your transmission is leaking fluid. Any time your car or truck leaves a fluid spot on your driveway, it’s a BIG DEAL. Make sure you do your best to identify what kind of fluid has leaked, and possibly try to locate approximately where it’s dropping down out of your car. To help identify the fluid, try placing a piece of cardboard under the car, at the place where the fluid is dripping. If the fluid seems dark red, bright red, or brown, it’s likely transmission fluid, and usually indicates some sort of malfunction with it. Get this into the shop IMMEDIATELY to catch the issue before it becomes very costly.
- The transmission is shifting poorly and has problems of any kind shifting gears. Poor shifting can happen so many ways. Any hesitation when putting the car into gear, falling out of gear while driving or shifting gears for no apparent reason, and also any kind of jerking when shifting gears. Regular servicing can keep these from occurring or could solve a small problem with this. Don’t wait! Report what you’re seeing and feeling from the car to your professional mechanic as soon as you can. If you’re afraid it’s too small an issue to bring it up, at least mention it at your next oil change or regular service. They’ll be able to take a look at the issue.
- Grinding sounds or shimmying between gears. If your transmission changing gears makes a grinding sound or a shake/shimmy type movement, you’ve got to have it looked at or repaired immediately. Sometimes you may even have rough noises when idling. Strange sounds always need to be inspected.
- A burning or unusual odor coming from the transmission. Transmission fluid should be replaced on a schedule---usually every 30 to 60 thousand miles---check your car’s manual. But, if you smell a burning fluid while getting in or out of the car (usually a sweet-type smell as opposed to burning oil) then suspect something. Burning smells of any kind are not normal for cars, and heat is a killer for most parts under the hood. Get this checked out to make sure it’s not your transmission causing the issue and to get whatever it is corrected.
- Your Check Engine Light or Transmission Warning Light is On. Well, this is kind of obvious….or is it? Many people will ignore or procrastinate if things SEEM to be working fine. Don’t fall into this trap. You could be slowly wearing your car’s sensitive mechanics down to the point of needing replacement, as opposed to just fluid changing, adjustment, and smaller repairs.
- You actually begin to push the gas pedal and accelerate slightly for a couple of seconds. This actually gives you control of the car and keeps you going straight down your lane, and not contacting other vehicles. After a couple of seconds, you slowly release the gas pedal.
- Remember to keep the car straight down the lane you are in, and don't use the brake (or the clutch).
- Then allow the car to coast to a slow speed---and it will, due to the drag created by the flat tire. When the car is below 30 mph, which is usually slow enough to be safe, put on your turn signal and turn carefully toward the road's shoulder. It's safer if the shoulder you go toward is on the same side as the blown tire, but this might not always be the easiest thing to do.
- If you must use the brakes, use them lightly at the end to come to a complete stop.
- Accelerate slightly for a couple of seconds. Then slowly release the gas pedal.
- Remember to keep the car straight down the lane.
- Then allow the car to coast to a slow speed. One difference is that you will likely have to apply brakes lightly in order to achieve a safe, slow speed.
- Get to the shoulder with a smooth turn.
- Reputation - Expertise defines this as a "history of delighted customers". For about a decade we've been building our customer base upon the idea that we treat others the way we'd want to be treated, in order to gain our customers' business and their recommendations. Today, those "delighted customers" have come back again and again, and there are plenty of online reviews that speak to that.
- Credibility - Not only do we have ASE certified technicians, and mechanics that trained at institutions like Wyo Tech, but we also keep up on the latest diagnostic equipment and techniques when it comes to working with transmissions and other areas of your vehicle.
- Experience - Ali and his technicians have decades of experience repairing the transmissions on many different makes and models of cars and trucks. The Bellevue shop has been serving at it's current location for a decade now, so we know what Bellevue-area folks may face with local weather and conditions. Transmission work requires many years of experience to even diagnose with precision---this is primarily what makes us a great shop to choose for transmission work.
- Availability - Our auto repair facility is family-owned and family-operated, and this means we treat our customers like we would treat our family as well. You should always feel welcomed at Ali's and it should be apparent that we make every effort to communicate and get your car scheduled and fixed as promptly as we can. Give us a call or stop by and test us---we'll pass the test!
- Professionalism - Whether you are checking us out online, calling for an appointment, or coming by in-person, Ali and his team use the same professional approach. It's about friendliness, clear diagnosis, straightforward communication of challenges and options, timeliness of service, and leaving our customers with confidence in choosing our shop.
- Black - A small amount of black smoke produced when your car starts up is normal but if the black smoke keeps being emitted your engine is burning a large amount of fuel. This may be due to a small issue with your air-filter or it can be an indication of a larger problem with the fuel regulator, injector or return.
- Blue - When you notice an unusual amount of blue smoke your engine is burning oil. When your car is burning oil you may notice that the car is having a difficult time starting. Your engine burns oil when there is a leak into your engine’s combustion chamber. There may be a problem with your valve- either the valve seal or valve guides. Or your car may have damaged piston rings; or damaged cylinder walls.
- Gray - Gray smoke can also be an indicator of burning oil or your car could be having problems with your transmission fluid or PCV system damage.
- White - A small amount of thin white smoke is normal- especially if the weather is cold and the smoke dissipates quickly but the thicker white smoke represents car issues. This is usually due to coolant being burned in the combustion chamber. Unfortunately this symptom comes from problems with the engine. A blown or damaged head gasket, a block in the engine or a problem with the cylinder head are the common causes of this type of smoke.
In Bellevue and in King County, you must go through an emissions test every two years. If you have not yet had taken your vehicle through emission testing, but your "check engine" light is on, you SHOULD NOT bring your vehicle to any shop (including ours) just yet. Why? Well, it's part of a process that will allow you to gain a "waiver", in case the repairs you would need are too expensive, or do not allow you to pass the test clearly.
If you have a "check engine" light that is currently on in your car, what you should do is go ahead and put your vehicle through testing and expect it to fail. Then, you're next step is to call and schedule your service with us (especially if you live in the Bellevue WA area, but ANY certified emissions repair shop will do) to have the vehicle's issue diagnosed and corrected right after.
Ali's Bellevue Auto Repair is approved by the State of Washington to repair your vehicle after a failed emission test. If you have failed your emission testing, please, call us and schedule an appointment right away! Preferably before your tabs have expired.
So, the main reason you should go in this particular order and have your vehicle tested first is because any repairs made BEFORE the first test cannot be applied toward the waiver amount ($150). After an initial fail, if you pay that waiver amount (or more) to an approved auto repair company, you are "waived" through (essentially a "pass"), even if you still have a check engine light showing. Ultimately going in this order gives YOU more options for handling your vehicle.
It is probably best to go ahead and get the car fixed and fully address the issue that is causing your engine light to come on. But, we don't live in a perfect world, so if you need more time to consider options, or if the problem isn't immediately detrimental to your car, this will get you through the test. Then you can get your tabs and at least avoid being pulled over.
We'd love to have you come into our shop and allow us to be your advisor on the subject. Call and schedule your car for an appointment if you have recently failed your emissions test in Bellevue WA. For this and any other automobile need, Ali's Bellevue Auto Repair is the place for you! 425-450-9713
We love to give out important tips for driving safely and taking great care of your car. Giving help and fixing cars is why we're in the business of Auto Repair in Woodinville WA, and Bellevue WA.
We also want to share tips on how to be safe when on the road as a pedestrian. It's especially important to think safety when out walking with little ones this week for Halloween, but also on into fall as it gets darker and weather conditions vary here in Bellevue, the eastside, and in the northwest in general.
We would like to help you and yours be safer this Halloween and this fall by going over some safety tips for being a smart pedestrian. We found a great list on another blog (link to it at: http://www.allvovo.com/Vovo-Blog.html?entry=smart-pedestrian-safety-tips ) They also mention that there are more tips like this at Walkinginfo.org . On their site, they group us all together, pedestrians AND drivers as "road users".
Here are some safety tips for pedestrians:
- Be safe and be seen: make yourself visible to drivers Wear bright/light colored clothing and reflective materials. (Pay attention to your costume on Halloween and be aware that it may make it LESS easy to be seen).
- Carry a flashlight when walking at night.
- Cross in a well-lit area at night.
- Stand clear of buses, hedges, parked cars or other obstacles before crossing so drivers can see you.
- Be smart and alert: avoid dangerous behaviors. (Halloween is a fun time, but goofing off in or near a roadway is OUT OF THE QUESTION!)
- Always walk on the sidewalk; if there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic.
- Stay sober; walking while impaired (just like when driving) increases your chance of being struck.
- Don't assume vehicles will stop; make eye contact with drivers, don't just look at the vehicle. If a driver is on a cell phone, they may not be paying enough attention to drive safely.
- Don't rely solely on pedestrian signals; look before you cross the road.
- Be alert to engine noise or backup lights on cars when in parking lots and near on-street parking spaces.
- Be careful at crossings: look before you step
- Cross streets at marked crosswalks or intersections, if possible.
- Obey traffic signals such as WALK/DON'T WALK signs.
- Look left, right, and left again before crossing a street.
Ali's Bellevue Auto Repair would also like to add that you should be careful to hold hands with children as they cross the street, and even on the sidewalks if the road is very busy. We are a family business, and there is nothing more important than protecting your family and especially young children.
Have a happy and safe Halloween, and we hope you can safely enjoy all of your walks in our Northwest weather this fall.
Your car's timing belt doesn't look much different from a giant rubber band, but it's oddly vital to the operation of your engine, and thus your vehicle. The timing belt wears over time. It gets thinner, it starts to get rough on the edges, and even small cracks can appear, but you'll want to replace it LONG before it looks like it might fail or break.
Your car's manual will have a recommended replacement mileage, or window. Most cars need a timing belt replacement every 50,000 to 90,000 miles. The smart driver will just get it changed on this schedule without trying to check for visible wear or funny sounds. Why? Because unlike some parts of your vehicle, if your timing belt breaks, you car is not only dead in it's tracks, but you will likely have to replace your entire engine. That's a cost of $2,000-$5,000 depending on the engine! Replacing the timing belt costs FAR LESS, and most of the cost is simply the labor intensive disassembly of parts of the car to gain access to the belt.
If you're not sure how long it's been since your last timing belt replacement, a reputable shop like ours at Ali's Bellevue Auto Repair will gladly inspect the belt and let you know if we are seeing any signs of wear, or age. It's going to be worth your money to err on the side of caution. If you have a mechanic you trust, you shouldn't hesitate if they recommend this repair----it's not one that you can take a change with.
The good news is that we not only replace the belt, but the tensioners, seals, and sprockets that are all part of the belts functionality. This will give you even more assurance for the next 50K-90K miles! We handle hundreds of these per year at our Bellevue Auto Repair shop. You can be confident that we have more than enough experience in doing these jobs correctly, and more efficently than most, which can save you money!
One last bit of advice: Whether you have your Timing Belt Replacement performed at our Bellevue shop, our Woodinville Auto Repair shop, or any other Bellevue Mechanic, you should ask about having your water pump replaced at the same time as your timing belt. Even if it is not leaking at all, it's worth doing NOW while the your mechanic already has access to the area. It will usually only add the cost of the part and a small amount of labor to the job. A good mechanic will recommend that you do this, but just in case they don't, you can simply inquire about this cost-saving measure.
Feel free to have your car in to Ali's Bellevue Auto Repair for your next oil change or servicing, where we will inspect your belt and many other areas of your car as a free part of the service!
The only safety features on your vehicle that are as important as seat belts are your brakes. Like safety belts, you need to know they'll work BEFORE you need them. Too many people try to avoid brake repair because of the cost. However, considering the consequences of what could happen to you or your loved ones if your brakes fail, it's well worth the expense.
If you suspect it's time for your brakes to be inspected, our trained mechanics can give you peace of mind by performing a thorough inspection. If repairs are necessary, you'll have the confidence of knowing that your car, and more importantly, your safety has continued to be a top priority that you have taken control of. That's really what's important.
However, in addition to expert service and repair, we offer competitive pricing to help you get the most for your money. And, never worry--we won't suggest repairs if there is plenty of "life" left on the brakes. In fact, we usually check your brake life every time we get your car in here for any service.
While you're out driving around, here are some warning signs about your brakes that you should note. If you experience any one of these conditions, you should bring your car in for a brake inspection right away.
By the way, we found this great list at: http://autos.jdpower.com/
The main set of tips refers to Looking at your brakes (if you know how) and Listening to them when you brake.
If you look at your brakes and see less than 1/4 inch of pad, you may want to have your brake pads inspected or replaced.
Have you ever heard a high-pitched screeching sound when you applied your brakes? That's a small metal shim, called an indicator, which is giving you an audible warning that you need to replace your brake pads. If you hear it regularly, quickly make an appointment with your mechanic.
Here are some of the other signs you should look out for:
Reduced responsiveness or fading. If your brakes are not as responsive as they should be or if the pedal "sinks" toward the floor, this could be an indication of a leak in the braking system. It could be an air leak (in the brake hose) or a brake fluid leak.
Pulling. If your vehicle "pulls" to one side while braking, it may be a sign that the brake linings are wearing unevenly or that there is foreign matter in the brake fluid. Your vehicle may need a brake adjustment or to have the fluid drained and replaced.
Grinding or growling. This loud metallic sound means that you have worn down the pads completely, most likely beyond replacement. The grinding or growling noise is caused by the two pieces of metal (the disc and the caliper) rubbing together. This can "score," or scratch your rotors, creating an uneven surface. If this happens, do not be surprised if your mechanic tells you that the rotors need to be "turned" (a process that evens out the rotor surface), or even replaced.
Vibration. A vibration or pulsating brake pedal is often a symptom of warped rotors (but can also indicate that your vehicle is out of alignment). The vibration can feel similar to the feedback in the brake pedal during a panic stop in a vehicle equipped with anti-lock brakes.
Okay, so here it is! This is our brand new and official BLOG. Nothing too special here, but we hope to use this blog as a tool to share interesting points about car care, inform you a little more about our shop, and our family-owned and operated business.
We will point out that we DO have a second location and a second website for that location. You can find that at: http://www.woodinvilleautorepair.com/. Both of our shops are operated with the same strong principles and dedication to serving customers and their vehicles well, above all else.
The website you are currently looking at may be brand new, but Ali's history with serving Eastside customers is a lengthy one. This shop alone has building a strong fan base for about a decade, and we hope that kind of consistency and reputation is enough to convince folks to share us with a friend, and others to go ahead and give us a chance to demonstrate our high-level of service.
We encourage you to find us and follow us on facebook (go to: https://www.facebook.com/BellevueAutoRepair ) and also to check back for news about our company, and tips on how to better understand your vehicle, proper car care, and proper safety!
Thanks for reading!