Beware of sign waving monkeys

monkey clown

It is always shocking to me to find a young employee waving a sign that indicates which extremely narrow margin of the public is entitled to a discounted oil change on a given day.  “College discount Monday!”  “Senior Saturday!”  “Female Friday!”  Give me a break, just tell me what an oil change costs!

Here is the simple truth, at The Auto Clinic:

Standard oil change  = $26.50 plus tax = $28.13

Synthetic oil change = $30.25 plus tax = $32.24

These prices include up to five quarts of oil and a new standard filter, which fits about 80% of vehicles, and includes a free inspection of your vehicle, all done by real technicians.

These prices are good every day, for everyone, always, and indefinitely.

Why is this difficult for some places to understand?

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A short guide in a shady industry

It is nearly impossible to pick a decent and honest doctor or mechanic based on a phone call alone.  Thankfully, you can expect one of the two to talk to you reasonably.  There are a few things that may help to determine if you are dealing with a facility that can protect you properly.  It is fair to expect honest, clear answers to your questions that allow you to gauge if you are in the right place.  Remember: any lack of willingness to disclose information may, in itself, be a red flag.  Ask them:

How long have you been in business?  Believe it or not, there are facilities that do not last long in this industry for a number of reasons.  The worst is a facility that is in business for a few years, shuts down, and then opens again with exactly the same people.  This is sometimes a way to get out of warranties or paying bills to parts stores.  Look for a place with decades of stability.

Are you insured?  Many technicians work out of their homes, some are pretending to be an actual business.  They are not.  Although they have the ability to work on cars, they lack some key elements that are in place to protect you, most commonly, insurance.  These rogue repairers are often limited based on availability of tools, diagnostic information, and basic needs such as a vehicle lift.  These things are not optional.

Are your technicians certified?  Although certifications will not guarantee that your technician knows what he is doing, certifications do show a desire for professionalism and continued education.  To become certified requires an understanding of a particular system and an ability to demonstrate that understanding.  Not all technicians are certified, it is important that you ask.

Do your repairs have a warranty?  Any repair that you pay for should have a warranty.  Don’t get stuck using a small shop that requires you to return to them in order to enact your warranty, nation-wide warranties should be standard.  You don’t pay to have things done to your car, you pay to have things done right, any facility should be willing to stand behind their work and state that they intend to do so in writing.

Can I wait for my car?  The answer will always be yes, you need to dig a little deeper.  What you mean is, do I need a tetanus shot to wait in your waiting area?  Should I bring bleach if I’m bringing my kids?  You should expect that your repair facility has a clean and comfortable waiting are that is suitable for men, women, and children of all ages, wearing anything from sweat pants to suits.  Many times there are activities for kids, a place to take a walk, or books, magazines, or televisions.

If you look at my car, will I get an estimate before you work on it?  Not only is this a fair expectation, but it is required by law.  You are not liable for any bill over $100 that did not first gain you approval.  There are many shops out there who are dishonest and prey on your ignorance, make no mistake, they do not care about your well-being.  Make sure that your technician knows that you demand to be in control of your repairs and your finances.  Do not become a hostage, if you do, don’t buckle.

If I bring my car to you, can you bring me home?  Not all facilities are staffed to run a shuttle service, you know that you are in a place that cares if they off one.  Shuttle service can include a ride to pick you or drop you off, or to pick up or drop off your vehicle.  Imagine that while you are at work your technician comes to get your car, repairs it, and then drives it to be dropped off with you before you even need it for lunch.  That type of service may deserve a mention on Facebook, just saying.


Well, there you have  it, the short list of what to ask on an initial phone call to a repair facility.  Of course there are many other indicators that will help you to determine if you want to do business with whomever is on the other end of the phone.  If you want to maximize the effectiveness of these questions, ask them in person.  Remember: the best indicator may be your gut feeling.  Make sure that you feel comfortable with the people who work in the repair shop everyday, good people honestly intend to take care of your interests.

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Spring is coming, I promise, but it’s not quite here.  Until the first day of spring we will have discounts on two items that are perfect for this situation.

So, here are the deals:

1)  Coolant flush: $89.95*

First, coolant flushes are a vital maintenance item that often save engines and restore proper heat.  The coolant flush includes up to two gallons of universal mixed coolant and labor.  Please, think of your poor toes!

2)  Tune up: 15% OFF PARTS

Secondly, tune ups not only extend the life of your car, but also help to make the most out of the gas being burned (spring maintenance).  Tune up offer is related to spark plugs, wires or boots, cap, rotor, air filter, PCV, and fuel filter.




*Coolant flush special includes all the time needed to flush most vehicles, but can not guarantee that all heating problems will be solved or that all coolant or debris will be removed.  Call for questions.

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We are in need of some help, if are interested or know of someone who may be, please call or stop in as soon as possible.  We are looking for a professional technician and tow truck driver.  All experience levels will be considered, training never ends.  Please spread the word.

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10% OFF!!!!

It’s maintenance time again, which means that it’s also time for a deal.  Get your vehicle ready for cold weather, it’s bound to arrive at some point.  Get 10% off a full tune up on any vehicle.  Stop in for details and estimates.

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Winner, Winner, Winner!

The free oil change drawing is over, and the winner is Mike Zachary.  Your name was chosen at random (from a coffee mug full of all the entries).  You now have a credit with us that is redeemable whenever you need it next.  Thank you all for the shares on Facebook, it does help to spread the word.

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It’s time for another free giveaway!  FEE OIL CHANGE DRAWING!  To enter, just share this post on Facebook or sign up to follow us through our webpage here.  Deadline for entries is Halloween night, but why wait?  Free oil change voucher does not expire, is fully transferable, and includes parts, tax, disposal fees, and labor up to $30.

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Fall maintenance

We have been busy updating our computer systems, getting our heaters ready for winter, and focusing on upcoming specials and discounts.  The fall season seems like an appropriate time for planning ahead.  Make sure you are prepared for the upcoming cold by maintaining your vehicle.  Pre-winter check ups are a good way to ensure a problem free transition into this cold season.  A car that will not start or has no heat can sure make a winter feel a lot worse.  Call today for your appointment!

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October Specials

In an effort to promote maintenance, which is an effort to reduce unforeseeable repairs, we are focusing on whether related items.

Coolant Flush:

Flush out your vehicle’s entire coolant system for a reduced price of only $89.99!  (up to 2 gallons of universal antifreeze)  This service will protect your vehicle as the cold is about to set in and ensure you that your vehicle adjust well to this climate change.

Free tire rotation or 1/2 price wiper blades (when purchased in combination with any other service (most vehicles)).  Tire rotations are key to longevity of your tires, and also allow for a free brake inspection.  Wiper blades are sure to be important this fall as morning dew and rainy days begin to creep up on us.

Be prepared by staying ahead of your cars needs.  Call The Auto Clinic today!

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Welcome to our new website, which is a work in progress.  Please notice the “Follow” button as well as the “Share” buttons.  These are very helpful (to us and your friends) in spreading the word of how helpful we have been (to you) in the past.  Thank you, please send any feedback, as we are in a constant state of improvement.

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