Vinyl Wraps vs. Traditional Paint Jobs

As professional mechanics and car enthusiasts we have heard, as well as, participated in the debate over traditional paint jobs & vinyl vehicle wraps.  Although vinyl wraps are gathering more attention and popularity, the truth is they have been around for a long time! Only now are people really understanding the pros and cons to this “paint” alternative. We thought we’d give you our take on which we prefer and deem a better investment.  We may be a bit biased on our viewpoint because we are totally pro vinyl wraps.

 Vinyl Wrap Benefits

  • Cost- If we are honest, cost is a very big piece of the decision when deciding to paint or alter the body of your vehicle.  A traditional paint job can be quite spendy once all is said & done. Especially because with either a vinyl wrap or paint job you get what you pay for.  Meaning it is undoubtedly worth it to spend a bit more for the use of HIGH QUALITY materials. In the end even with the use of high quality vinyl wraps you end up paying about ⅓ of the price of a traditional paint job.
  • Marketing & Advertising Purposes- A lot of people choose vinyl wraps over traditional paint for the marketing and advertising benefits.  In fact we spoke with the owner of www.orlandoautowrap.com and he told us that the number of fleet wraps he does for large companies as well as a small amount of vehicles for smaller businesses almost out numbers the wraps done for shear image purposes.  Jason, Orlando Wraps owner, knew his numbers very well actually. He informed us that vinyl wraps are the most affordable form of advertising for any business and calculate out to about 1$ for each impression(person).  Not to mention the size and demographic of audience that you are able to leave impressions with.
  • Maintenance-  Another selling aspect is the low maintenance of vinyl wraps.  You can spray down your vehicle with a hose to remove most dirt and grime or use a light soapy water for harder grime. With traditional paint jobs you have to wash and wax them frequently to keep up the quality and appearance.  Another great piece of info is that a vinyl wrap actually protects the underlying paint job. Which leads us to……..
  • Versatility-  Vinyl wraps protect the original paint job which means they don’t actually alter your original paint on your car.  Should you choose to paint your vehicle the original paint job is lost forever unless you pay to have it painted back to resemble the original color.  With a vinyl wrap you can enjoy it’s appearance for generally 6-8 years if using high quality materials. When you choose to remove the wrap your original paint job is intact still with virtually no damage or aging signs.

Although it basically comes down to the preference of the vehicle owner when choosing vinyl wraps over traditional paint, there are some great benefits to going with a vinyl wrap.  Should you choose to paint or wrap your car we strongly advised that you acquire the services of professional & reputable paint or wrap specialist. The quality of the materials or product you use should be considered and the use of high quality materials should always be used for the best outcomes.  There are do it yourself vinyl wrapping kits but remember it’s harder than it may look. Precision and attention to detail as well as over all professional skills are worth the extra money you will pay to have it done by a professional.

 

Important Tips To Follow When Purchasing A Used vehicle

Perhaps one of the most daunting things when it comes to vehicles, is the purchasing of a used one.  Many times people are taken advantage of when buying a used car because they just don’t know exactly of what to look for and asess.  With new cars or certified pre-owned automobiles often times a warranty can be purchased or is offered with the car/truck. When buying a used car involving a private sale there really is no safety net once the sale is said and done and the title is signed over. You don’t necessarily get what you pay for when it comes to purchasing a used car. We compiled a short list of the most important things to look for and consider when purchasing a used car:

Important Tips To Follow 

  • List specifics When Looking A Pricing- Not all vehicles are in the same condition even if they were made in the same year.  When using a site to look up market value and fair pricing for the car you are interested in make sure to list specifics such as: mileage, over all vehicle condition, paint etc.  This will ensure that you really get a fair price listing for the vehicle and you don’t end up paying more than the car is actually worth.
  • Read the Vehicles Reviews– It never hurts to read reviews left by other owners on the vehicle you are looking at.  This allows you to acquire useful information such as any flaws or recall of parts the vehicle may have or had. The seller isn’t going to want to call attention to these details if he doesn’t have to.  Be prepared and in the know can make a lot of difference.
  • Speaking of Recalled- It is suggested that you check the National Highway Traffic Administration database regarding your vehicle.  If there has been a recall of any part of the vehicle it will be listed in this database. Should you find something you should make sure the buyer has proof of the part being replaced or fixed before going through with the purchase of the vehicle.
  • Vin Number…Ask For It!-  Buy getting the vin number of the vehicle at hand you can run a history check online with Carfax or Autocheck.  This report will show if the car has been in any accidents that were reported, if it has a salvage title, if the odometer has been tampered with etc.
  • Ask Owner For Service Records & Proof of Title- This allows you to really get a good understanding of how the vehicle has been cared for.  It usually shows if the vehicle has had any major repairs, such as an engine overhaul or a transmission job. In this case it is advised to steer clear of purchasing any used car with serious repair history.
  • Test Drive- although we assume it’s rare it does happen that some people may purchase a vehicle without even test driving it.  This is a HUGE NO NO! Test driving the vehicle is key to ensure that you feel comfortable driving the car or may pick up on any issues that don’t seem right.
  • Gut Instinct-  Last but not least and definitely of great importance, your GUT INSTINCT!  Listen to what your intuition is telling you. If you have followed the above criteria and the purchase of the vehicle or something just doesn’t feel right, don’t buy it!

Hopefully our tips will come in handy to those looking to purchase a used vehicle.  It is always best to air on the side of caution when purchasing a used car. Check things out thoroughly and gather as much info on the said vehicle as possible.  Having knowledge and good judgement should aid you in a successful purchase.

  

The Importance Of Oil Changes

It’s safe to say that many if not all vehicle owners know that their vehicle needs oil in order to operate.  What a lot of vehicle owners don’t understand is how important engine oil is for your car as well as frequent and routine oil changes.  Here we have 5 reasons why oil changes are so important!

5 Reasons Oil Changes Are Important

  • Saves you $$$ Over Time- while most people think they are saving money by not having a regular oil change done, the truth is your really are NOT.  Studies show that on average, regular oil changes throughout the year amount to $120. Not such a high expense compared to an average of $4,000 worth of repairs for the lack of having proper oil changes and levels.
  • Improves Fuel Efficiency- proper engine lubrication can lead to less fuel consumption.  When your oil is low or dirty it can cause your engine to consume more fuel. Having regular oil changes done on your vehicle has been proven in studies to save you up to 2% on fuel used. Which equals an entire gallon of gas per year.
  • Longer Life Of Your Vehicle- Isn’t it true anything you take care of lasts longer? Same is true for the longevity of your vehicle.  Having regular oil changes done can lead to a longer life span for your car as well as optimal performance.
  • Gets Rid Of Dirt, Debris, & Oil Sludge-  Dirt collects over time in your engine oil and then old oil begins to turn to sludge. Both of these things are hazardous to your entire engine and can create a multitude of problems. Having regular oil changes done keeps things clean and functioning properly.
  • Prevent Excess Heat & Overheating- When an engine is not properly lubricated with engine oil a lot of heat and friction are created and do not cool without the aid of suffcient oil.  This in turn creates and inferno of heat in the engine and its compartments and can lead to your vehicle overheating or heat damage to some of the parts from prolonged exposure.

There are a variety of other reasons why regular oil changes as well as maintaining oil levels is so important for your vehicle.  These happen to 5 of the most important in our eyes, however each reason is important in its own right. The bottom line is that in order to ensure your car performs at its highest ability and does not require unneeded repairs that can be costly and often prevented, you need to invest in regular routine oil changes.  Trust us, you will begin to see the benefits over time!

Timing Belt vs. Timing Chain

Having to replace your timing belt or timing chain, is perhaps one of the most labor intensive and thus most expensives repairs to have done on your car.  Are there ways to prevent having to change your timing belt or chain? And what exactly is the difference between a timing belt and a timing chain? We figured that most drivers don’t really understand what the timing belt/chain actually does, they just know it really sucks if you have to pay to repair it, or even worse if it causes irreversible damage to your vehicle.  After working as one of the top mechanics at JNJ Auto Service for many years in Phoenix, we saw a lot of devastated people come in with timing belt issues and saw the stress of having to pay for such an expensive repair. We thought as one of our first post that we would give you all the info, tips, and preventative maintenance you can do to help reduce timing belt/chain issues.

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Understanding Warning Indicator Lights

One of the most important things when it comes to owning and operating a vehicle is understanding the various warning light indicators.  Knowing what part of your car each sensor belongs to can help should your car experience any issues.

 

Warning Indicator Lights

  • Check Engine Light- this sensor detects various issues within your cars motor.  Sensors are connected to an OBD-II interface that can interpret over 4,00 different codes.  Should this light come on it is best to have your car looked and hooked up to a OBD-II scanner that read the different problem codes.
  • Brake Warning Light-  This light can mean many different things.  Your parking brake may be engaged , brake fluid levels could be low, or there could be an issue with your cars brakes. Check your cars owner manual for what it may mean and don’t hesitate to have it checked out by a professional mechanic should it not be one of the simple fixes. Brakes are VERY important when it comes to driving!
  • ABS Warning Light- This is your anti lock brake indicator light.  This system keeps your car stable and prepared should you have to slam on your brakes or come to a sudden stop.  If this light comes on it is advised that you take it to your nearest auto mechanic shop. This is an extremely important part of your cars braking system
  • Coolant Warning Light- If this indicator light comes on your car is probably already overheating.  Pull over and open your hood allowing the engine to cool down. Once the engine is cooled you can remove the radiator cap to chcl levels.  Removing the ca before the engine is cooled is VERY DANGEROUS! It is a highly pressurized system and the heat of the engine causes great pressure.
  • Oil Warning Light-  This light generally comes on when your vehicle’s oil pressure is low.  Should this light appear it is advised that you stop and immediately check your oil level.  Driving with low oil or possibly no oil can cause severe engine damage and VERY costly repairs. The oil warning light can also indicate oil pump failure, oil filter and strainer issues as well.  It is best to have things assessed by a professional.

While there are other warning lights to be aware of and understand, we feel these are the top 5 to really understand.  When it comes to your vehicle if you just don’t know what is going on, it is best to pull over and seek roadside assistance and take your car to the nearest auto mechanic.  The worst thing you can do is attempting to drive your car when something is wrong within the engine or its other components. You can save yourself a lot of unneeded repair costs if you air on the side of caution.

The Craft Behind Limo Conversions

As we mentioned in our introduction, we love cars and all things pertaining to cars and mechanics.  Being that both of us have been in the mechanic business for some time we have explored all areas of mechanic work.  Perhaps one of my most favorite however, is stretch limo conversions!

A friend of mine, Jamal, owns a profitable limo company in Arizona.  While he has all different types of limos, his most sought after are the Hummer and Cadillac Escalade stretch limos he offers! He once told me most of his calls or inquires are for those two types.  To keep up with the demanding trend of these limos he needed to increase his fleet sizes of both.  He looked to me and  my mechanic expertise to help.  And thus that is how my love for limo conversions began!

Let’s start with a little history.  Armbruster was the 1st company ever to make the stretch limousine.  Their motivation came from the need to transport affluent passengers in class in style.  They however, did not convert already manufactured cars into limos, they started from the ground up.  After about 5 years of business they decided to partner with Stage-Way Coaches.  The pair then started converting Cadillacs and Lincolns into stretch limousines.  Eventually their limousines became increasingly more popular and the competition wanted in.  Thus high end sports cars, SUVs and other luxury vehicles began to be converted into stretch limos. So now the question is, How Are Regular Automobiles Converted In Stretch Limos?

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Shocks, Struts and Springs – And When To Replace Them

First things first – what exactly are those things that are mentioned in the title? What’s their purpose in a vehicle? All those things are part of the suspension system of a car. The suspension system is a set of parts that connects the wheels to the rest of the car. The spring in a car is an actual spring/coil, which is used to absorb shocks from irregularities on the road surface. They are capable of handling large amounts of vertical impact, and they are part of the system that helps in keeping your ride smooth.

The actual shock absorbers (often called ‘shocks’ or ‘dampeners’) don’t do much shock absorbing per se. They are used to dampen the vibrations resulting from the spring’s compression. So when the spring absorbs the vertical impact, it contracts. This spring will tend to compress and decompress, which would cause vibrations, leading to a very uncomfortable ride. It is this vibration that is largely curbed by the shock absorber.

A strut, or a strut assembly, is a structural part of the car’s suspension system. Its main components are the shocks and the spring. The function of the strut assembly is same as a regular shock absorber. Each wheel on your car will either have a strut or shock.

Like all moving parts of your car, this entire shock absorbing system will also need replacement/maintenance because of routine wear and tear. Now that we know what’s what, let’s try and see when these parts will need to be replaced.

Rough rides – Since the goal of the shocks/springs/struts is to keep your ride as smooth as possible, naturally, if you notice that your car bounces more than usual on rough roads, it could mean that the shock absorbing system is beginning to wear out. This is the most telling sign, indicating a need to rush to the nearest auto repair place.

Trouble with steering the car – The strut is a crucial part of the car’s steering system as well. So if you experience difficulties while steering, if it seems that manoeuvring the car got tougher, or even if steering the car causes unusual noises, it could mean that there’s a problem with the struts. Additionally, you may also notice that the car leans towards one side slightly more while taking turns.

Trouble with braking – If the struts in your car are damaged, braking will take more effort. Your car will travel further than usual after the brakes have been hit. There could also be a tendency of the car to nose-dive when the brakes are applied. All of these are possible signs of strut damage.

Tires worn out – Strut damage can cause cupping in car tires, leading to abnormal wear patterns in them. So if this happens, the shocks/struts might need to be replaced.

Mileage – It has been observed that in most cases, a car’s suspension system needs examination and replacement once it hits around 50k miles. So once that number is reached, it’s better to get the shocks and struts checked for replacement.

All of these serve as indicators of the shocks being worn out. It’s always best to keep your eyes and ears open for any such issues.

Welcome To Our Blog

 

Hello All!  Welcome to our blog that will be focusing on car repair tips, intresting car facts, maintenance tips and so on.  We are looking forward to getting our blog started and encourage you to invite others to check us out as well.  My brother Tom and I(John), have been in the automotive repair business for many years. 

We enjoy building & restoring old cars, sharing tips and tricks of the trade with others, as well as teaching even the least mecahnically inclined how to check and eventually cahnge their own oil.  We encourage any comments or suggestions and would love to here feedback from our readers as far as anything pertaining to vehicles that you may have questions about or would like to share.  Stay “tuned” like a perfect engine, for our first post!