Tag Archives: car

New Parts Policy

Axleboy: Parts Policy

Experiencing a vehicle breakdown can be both stressful and expensive.  One way that some folks attempt to alleviate the financial burden of paying for repairs is by ordering and supplying their own parts.

It’s nearly impossible for local shops to compete with the majority of prices found on sites like Amazon, Ebay and Northridge4x4. For the DIY or shade-tree mechanic, this offers an easy way to cut costs, but we’re finding more and more legitimate businesses are turning down work to install “customer supplied” parts.

Work is work, right? So who cares where the parts come from?  There was a time when we would have agreed and gladly taken any type of work that came through the door.

For the past couple of years, we have struggled to find that perfect balance between quantity and our commitment to quality.  At long last, we have reached the determination that quality is truly our primary corporate social responsibility.  With that being said, Axleboy no longer installs “customer supplied” parts.

This decision was reached based on the following factors:

  1. Axleboy has spent years developing and maintaining vendor relationships.  This is significant because when our technicians have problems with how a part installs or performs on a vehicle, we can obtain technical support, send it back and/or negotiate product upgrades.
  2. Incorrect parts cost too much time and money for everyone involved.  If we are doing anything on a vehicle related to suspension or drivetrain, once we put that vehicle on the lift, it tends to stay there until the job is complete.  When a customer supplies their own parts and things don’t match up perfectly, production comes to a halt until correct parts are ordered, shipped to the customer and eventually make their way to our mechanic.  In the meantime, our customer may go days without his/her vehicle and we are able to service fewer vehicles which may drive other aspects of our schedule out of alignment.  By contrast, we stock several parts, so if one component of a kit is not perfect, we can generally replace it pretty quick. Even when we don’t stock a particular part, we can almost always source replacements from one of our local suppliers or have it overnight shipped directly to us, which helps to reduce the delay time.
  3. Liability.  When an auto shop installs parts that were supplied by the customer, and those parts do not work properly, who is held responsible?  Even when the shop installs everything correctly and the part itself fails, from a legal standpoint, the shop is held accountable for the complete job (service and parts).  We’re not saying that everybody is trying to “pull one over” on the automotive shop, but you know there’s always that one bad apple that sets a precedent.
  4. Ultimately we are committed to providing total customer care.  What this means to us is: When customers have questions, we answer them.  When we quote a price, we stand beside that quote.  If something we installed or worked on doesn’t function properly, we’ll do what it takes to make things work right.  Taking care of our customers is our top priority and when we provide parts, we can confidently stand behind their quality before, during and after installation.

 

How much was your free estimate?

FREE Estimate vs Diagnostic Service

Estimate vs Diagnostic




When does a FREE automotive estimate become a billable diagnostic service?  Each auto shop could probably answer this question differently.

At Axleboy, free estimates typically take place at the service counter.  Whether your vehicle needs repair services or you’re trying to discover the next step in off-road modifications, you can call or walk in and one of our service writers will be more than glad to take the time to understand your vehicle needs.

A classic example of a free repair estimate would look something like this: A customer breaks an axle while wheeling over the weekend and would like to know what it will cost to replace both front and rear axles with Tera 60 axles.  Our service writer would then provide an estimate that includes the cost of all parts and book-labor time. At that point the customer could then make an educated decision to proceed or pursue an alternative option.

By contrast, when a customer comes into the shop with either a check engine light or a mystery noise, we can speculate only so much before the vehicle needs to come into the shop for further clarification or discovery.  It is at this point, that a free estimate typically becomes a billable diagnostic service.

Most shops bill diagnostic services based on an hourly rate, so we recommend that before you hand over the keys, first review with the mechanic or service writer their diagnostic plans, including estimated cost.

For a quick reference to the differences between a free estimate and diagnostic services, just check out the infographic to the right.

Winterize Your Car

Winter Preparedness

Getting stranded on the side of the road is never a pleasant experience, but as fall fades into winter, frosty weather and icy roads are on the way.  With just a little preparation, you and your family can be prepared for the possibilities that accompany this change in the seasons.

The guys at Axleboy know that snow, ice and sometimes just plain old bad luck can leave you stranded on the side of the highway or out on a trail.  That’s why we’ve put together a short list of things you might consider adding to your vehicle this winter.

In addition to the standard items that should be kept in your vehicle (i.e. Spare tire, jumper cables, first aid kit, etc.) these are the items that made our Winter Preparedness List:

 

  • An ice scraper (or two)
  • A bag of sand, salt or cat litter to improve traction
  • A warm blanket or sleeping bag
  • Additional warm clothing for each passenger
  • Snow gloves
  • Road flares for increased visibility
  • Nutrient rich snacks
  • Tire chains or tow straps

 

Hopefully you never find yourself in a situation where you need to use these items, but as the saying goes, “Plan for the worst, hope for the best.”  How prepared are you for winter this year?

 

Check Engine Warning

The Check Engine Light

The Light is On

You’re ready to leave work, so you go out to your car and turn the key…or push the button.  Typically all of your dash lights will turn on for a second and then turn off.  This time however, you notice an obnoxious yellow light continuing to illuminate your dash…the dreaded “check engine” light.   What the heck, right!?

If you’re like me, seeing that check engine light on can initially feel pretty aggravating.  Once the realization sets in that the light is still on, one of two very different personalities tend to emerge.  Personality ‘A’ will call or text family and friends, and vent their frustration all over social media.  Personality ‘B’ on the other hand will feel upset by the light but ultimately ignore it in the hopes that it will turn off on its own.

Just because the check engine light comes on, doesn’t mean that you have to immediately stop whatever you are doing but by the same token, ignoring the light altogether is a good way to make things worse.

 

At Axleboy, we want to help alleviate some of the anxiety surrounding the check engine light.  To do that, we’ll do our best to answer two questions:

 

What’s the deal with the check engine light?

Ever since the 80’s, onboard diagnostic (OBD) systems, inside the vehicle, have monitored and controlled more and more going on under the hood.  The OBD system checks things like engine speed, ignition timing, and fuel mixture.  Whenever one of these things isn’t working just right, the OBD is programmed to bring things back into balance and optimize engine performance.

The check engine light doesn’t trip unless the OBD has identified a problem, attempted to correct it and the problem persists.  This light can come on for something as little as a loose gas cap (easy fix) or as big as an engine that is misfiring (not so easy to fix).

 

What should I do now?

Take a couple of deep breaths…you’ll be okay.  Now, if the light just came on, and it’s not flashing, there’s no need to panic.  You might even try tightening the gas cap just to see if it’s an easy fix (this actually happen quite often).  If the light doesn’t go off after a few miles, consider making an appointment at Axleboy.  Our OBDII certified technicians can read the trouble codes stored in the vehicle and tell you what will correct the problem.

If, however, the check engine light is flashing, something may be critically wrong inside the engine and it would be in your best interest to get your vehicle checked out ASAP.

 

When you need auto service, you know who to call.  Axleboy, (636)939-5337.

Rain drops

Rainy Day…Smear?

When was the last time you had your wiper blades changed?  If you are like most people, checking and replacing wiper blades doesn’t rank very high on the priority list.  That makes a lot of sense, since we don’t typically use them on a daily basis…but it can be pretty frustrating to turn them on and see streaks across the windshield.

According to a study conducted by the Car Care Council, 1 in 5 vehicles on the road have deficient wiper blades or washing systems.  That doesn’t sound so bad, right?  According to information gathered at statista.com, there were approximately 254 million registered vehicles on the road (in the U.S.) in 2012, and if only 1 out of 5 is deficient, then around 50.8 million drivers may be visually impaired when driving at night or in precipitous weather conditions.

What can you do to avoid being part of the 20% problem?  For starters, you can keep your windshield and side windows clean.  Use the courtesy squeegees provided at most gas stations each time you refuel your vehicle.  In addition to using the squeegee, check and replace wiper blades that are cracked, split or leaving streaks.

According to the experts at RainX, “Wiper blades should be replaced [at a minimum] every year” as part of a routine, preventative maintenance schedule.  At Axleboy, we realize that drivers make critical decisions nearly every moment they are on the road, and those decisions are based primarily on visibility.  Our top concern is keeping you on the road, and a good set of wipers can go a long way to helping you make the safest driving decisions.

Rain Drops on Windshield

RainX Wipers

Axleboy now carries a full line of the premium RainX Latitude windshield wiper blades.

Sources:

www.carcare.orgwww.rainx.comwww.statistica.com

Keep it Cool this Summer

Don’t Overheat this Summer

With the summer heat sending temperatures in St. Louis through the roof, knowing how to assess the overall health of your vehicle is a vital part of making sure everyone remembers this year’s summer trip for all the right reasons.

At Axleboy, we’ve noticed that summer is one of the busiest times of year at our auto shop.  “Why is that,” you might ask?  We believe that most major engine problems start with minor issues in the cooling system, and that many of those minor problems go undiagnosed during the fall, winter and spring months.

Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council advises:

“Neglecting your cooling system can result in serious damage and even complete engine failure, which would put a sudden end to your summer road trip.   If the cooling system doesn’t receive regular maintenance, it’s not a question of whether it will fail, but rather when it will fail. Performing regular checkups of belts, hoses, the water pump and fluids will ensure your car remains properly cooled and healthy for many miles down the road.”

Under normal driving conditions, most engine temperatures fluctuate between 190 and 215°F.  If the engine cooling system isn’t working just right, those temperatures can soar, causing a multitude of malfunctions.

 

Symptoms of a Sick Cooling System

To help prevent coolant-related breakdowns this summer, pay close attention to these common symptoms before you hit the road: frequent overheating, constantly low coolant levels and the sweet smell of syrup.  All of these are symptoms of a sick cooling system that should receive immediate mechanical attention.

 

Routine Maintenance

According to the Car Care Council, “A major factor that affects the replacement of cooling system parts is the frequency of regular maintenance, such as coolant changes.”  We advise motorists to follow the service schedule in their owner’s manual for specific recommendations about how often to change antifreeze and flush the coolant system (typically every couple of years).  These schedules are formulated by the manufacturer to optimize engine performance and reliability.

In addition, motorists should regularly (like once a month) check the coolant levels at the reservoir and top off as needed.  The reservoir can be topped off with a 1:1 mixture of antifreeze and distilled water.  Using tap water is discouraged because, over time, the mineral deposits left behind when tap water evaporates can clog lines, leading to additional problems.

At Axleboy, we realize that NOBODY likes to pay for car repairs and that costs seem to add up quickly.  The fact is, small repairs will almost always be less expensive than a complete engine overhaul.  So, if you notice chronically low fluid or any of the other trouble symptoms, get to your trusted mechanic right away.

 

To make an appointment with Axleboy call: (636) 939-5337