Oct 9, 2020

How to Find an Auto Shop for your Car Repairs

Thinking of going on a road trip and want a mechanic to look over your car. Maybe you just need some repairs done. I’m fortunate that I do most repairs on my vehicles myself. But every now and then the project is bigger then my skill set and I need a mechanic to help me out.

  • Look for ASE certifications at the shop. This means that their mechanics are keeping up with the latest trainings. Cars and trucks are complicated and keeping up to date with technology is important.
  • Reach out to you friend network, if they can refer a great mechanic they’ve used for years.
  • Build up a relationship by using the auto shop for small things like oil changes and inspections. link to inspection post If they do a good trustworthy job with those, you’ll feel comfortable when it comes to a major repair
  • How clean and organized is the shop. Do they take pride in their appearance. Remember it’s an auto shop so it won’t be perfect, but if it’s in disarray, probably not the greatest.
  • Do they have a clear written warranty? Make sure they stand behind their work and honor their warranties. If it’s just verbal, they may not stand behind their repairs.
  • Is it convenient to you and your needs. Are they close by? Do they offer a free shuttle? Do they have a waiting room? Do they have secure key drops?
  • Check the better business bureau at bbb.org for a clean track record. How many complaints have been resolved lately? What’s their ratings? The one comment I will make is be wary of online ratings.
  • Do they communicate in simple terms you understand. They explain your problem and the fix they’ll be performing in clear terms you understand.
  • Make sure they are receiving the car manufacturer’s technical service bulletins. These are notices for know problems and how to repair them. In many cases these should be free fixes if you car is under warranty.

If you stay loyal to them and they provide your good work at a fair price, they will be more likely to treat you fairly when it comes to the more expensive repairs.

Good Luck

Oct 7, 2020

Skillet Nachos over a Campfire

I love nachos and was pretty excited to when I came across this recipe for skillet nachos. Nachos are great tasting and can be made with just about any ingredients. With a large skillet and a bunch of ingredients, mostly canned and bagged. You can make great tasting nachos at your next campfire.

Here are some of the ingredients you might like to consider, many of them are canned or bagged, fee free to add fresh if your refrigerator can handle the extra space.

Campfire Nacho Ingredients

These are just examples of what can be included in our camp nachos. I wouldn't use everything on this list or you’re going to have one huge batch of machos.

  • Olive Oils (best), Cooking spray or avocado oil 
  • 1 can corn 
  • 1 bag tortilla chips 
  • 1 can black beans or 
  • 1 can pinto beans 
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese and/or 
  • 1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese and/or 
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese and/or 
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (great for tang) 
  • 1 salsa 12 oz or as much as you want

Fresh ingredients you may like to add: 

  • lettuce
  • diced white onion 
  • jalapeƱos 
  • olives 
  • cilantro 
  • avocado

How to prepare and cook skillet nachos

  1. Coat the bottom of your cast-iron skilet with oil or cooking spray.
  2. Spread a layer of chips over the bottom
  3. Sprinkle the cheeses on top of the tortilla chips
  4. Top with a 1/3 of you salsa, onions, peppers, corn, beans and any of your other ingredients.
  5. Repeat two more times with another layer of tortilla chips and the other ingredients.
  6. Cover the skillet with aluminum foil.
  7. Cook for until the cheese is melted. Probably 5 to 15 minutes depending on how hot your coals are and the distance from the fire.
  8. Top lettuce and avocado
  9. Dig In… eat right from the pan.

Oct 5, 2020

Auto Maintenance - Prepare for Your Next Road Trip

I’m getting ready to take my next trip and thought I’d share the checks I do to make sure my truck is ready. Check your owner’s manual maintenance schedule, no need to do things that aren’t ready to be done.

Under The Hood Maintenance

If you’ve had an oil change recently, they’ve probably looked at most of these for you.

  • [ ] Oil Level - If you have a dipstick for oil level check it. Some new cars have a sensor so nothing for you do do for oil.
  • [ ] How much Oil Life do you have. You no longer change the oil every 3,000 miles like in the old days. Your car monitors use and calculates a % oil life.
  • [ ] Transmission Fluid - Same as for oil
  • [ ] Washer Fluid - Fill up the reservoir before you leave
  • [ ] Coolant - For most cars there is now an overflow reservoir, check to make sure there is coolant.
  • [ ] Power Steering Fluid
  • [ ] Engine Air Filter
  • [ ] Air Conditioner - Nothing for your do do here. If it works you good.

Around the Exterior

  • [ ] Check that your brake lights work.
  • [ ] Check that your turn signals work, front and back
  • [ ] Check your headlights
  • [ ] Check your running lights
  • [ ] Brakes - have them inspected for proper wear, they may last 30,000–50,000 miles, but maybe less depending on how you drive.
  • [ ] Check the tire air pressure. Use a proper gauge. The correct pressure can be found on the driver’s door jam
  • [ ] Tire Tread - You can do the penny test, put a penny in your tread upside down If Lincoln’s head goes below the tread you are good. Should be at least 2/32 inch.
  • [ ] To prolong tread life, have your tires rotated every 6000–8000 miles
  • [ ] Windshield Wiper Blades - Look at the rubber, not worn or loose. If so replace the rubber or the blade with pre-installed rubber.
  • [ ] Give all the fascia trim a quick inspection and make sure it’s tight

Inside the Passenger Cabin Maintenance

  • [ ] Check the cabin air filter, usually replace every year. Some cars and trucks have an air filter to keep you interior cabin air fresh and clear.
  • [ ] Clean the windows for better night vision.
  • [ ] I also like to start my trips by vacuuming and having a clean interior.

Other Maintenance to Think About before you leave on a trip

  • [ ] Wash and wax your car. Dish soap and and old rag should not be used! Today’s finishes like special soap designed for cars and a soft microfibre towel

Check Engine Light

Is yours on or does it come on during the trip. If the light is on and it’s flashing or red you need immediate maintenance. If it’s intermittent or if it’s yellow you probably have some time. At your first opportunity you should have the code read by a dealer, auto repair shop or parts store. They’ll all do this for free… or they should.

The most comment items are:

  • [ ] Catalytic Converter - This will cost you some money, upwards of $1000
  • [ ] Oxygen Sensor - you can replace it yourself or pay a mechanic $250
  • [ ] Ignition Coil and Plugs - Probably more then $300
  • [ ] Loose Fuel Cap - Free to tighten but may need to be replaced if it’s broken
  • [ ] Mass Air Flow Sensor - $350

Safe Travels!