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European and Import Focus at Aspen Auto Clinic in Centennial, Colorado

Posted on 05/20/2014

  Aspen Auto Clinic in Centennial, Colorado is currently making a transition to focus its specialty on European and Asian Import Vehicles.  They will continue to serve the Centennial, Englewood, and the surrounding areas near Denver with the excellent customer service that so many have come to know and love.

  In addition to focusing on Import vehicles, we have more technicians on the Aspen Team with specialties in handling European and Import cars and trucks.  You may notice our signage has changed and our logo is a bit different now too. 

Aspen Import Auto Clinic focuses on European Cars

 We promise to keep the most luxurious customer lounge, all the snacks and beverages, and most importantly the promise of our mission statement:  Redefining excellence in automotive repair, maintenance and customer service.  No changes will EVER be made there!

  Stop by and meet our fantastic Team at Aspen Import Auto Clinic in Centennial.  We will be happy to give you a tour and show you around, even in the shop area.  We have the experts that your European vehicle deserves to have care for them.  We take great care and pride in the work we perform on all makes and models of vehicles especially, Mercedes, Porsche, Audi, Jaguar, MiNi Cooper, Land Rover and other European cars, trucks, and mini-vans.  We would love to meet you and answer any questions you may have about your car.

  We are open Monday - Friday 7am to 6pm to serve you.

 

Dawson Euro

Top Ten Ways to Kill Your Car

Posted on 05/15/2014

Today's vehicles are quite complex and most now have that light in the dash that says "check engine".  If this light could talk, it may spit out obscenities at you for ignoring it when it's trying to tell you something and help you out.

Your "check engine" light is your car's way of sitting you down for an intervention.  It's trying to tell you that something is wrong and you better take some action before it gets worse.

Most of us just hope that the little LED bulb will burn itself out so we can go about our business as if all was well with the world.  After all, how bad could it really be?  Or if it is bad we really don't want to know about it.  If something were really wrong we'd hear something, right?  If we hear something then maybe we could just log on to YouTube type "car noise" in the search bar and watch a video on how to fix it ourselves.

This is exactly how car repairs have increased for the second year in a row.  Major car repair data sites report that auto repairs have increased 6.7% overall last year, including a 13% raise in labor costs and another 3% in parts costs.  Places like the Northeast and the Midwest where temperatures plummet, brought a 9% increase in average car repair costs last year.

Some of the most common "check engine" light repairs in 2013, reported in the Vehicle Health Index by CarMD, could have been prevented by simple, inexpensive, routine maintenance.  This is a sad fact, but true. 

The internet is a great source of information but will never take the place of an ASE Certified Technician taking a look at your vehicle.  In the past year, all of the "self-certified" (do-it yourself) mechanics out there failed to diagnose the following problems.  Please note that the prices within the list are based on averages.

10. " Inspect For Faulty Vacuum Hose and Replace As Necessary"

cracked vacuum hose

Average repair costs: $122
Percentage of all "check engine light" repairs: 2.22%
Change in repair cost from a year ago: +14.1%

The hose connects to the intake manifold and vacuums the extra air from parts of the engine. Vacuum hoses heat up when the engine is running.  When they heat up, they can crack and leak.  Cracked hoses let excess air get into the engine and can cause engine hesitation, stalling and rough idling, plus damage to the oxygen sensor and eventually to the engine itself.

9.  "Replace Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) Valve and Clean All EGR Parts"

Exhaust Gas Recirculation

Average repair costs: $351.97
Percentage of all "check engine light" repairs: 2.32%
Change in repair cost from a year ago: +7.9%

Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) helps control emissions and keeps your car running more efficiently. The EGR valve recirculates part of the exhaust back through the combustion process, lowering the combustion temperature and the formation of nitrous oxide emissions. An EGR valve that is faulty, or a blocked EGR passage can cause poor fuel economy, rough idling, and make your engine hesitate or misfire.

This is one of the most expensive repairs on this list; ignore it and you spend even more money on lost vehicle performance and gas money all to a valve!

 

8. "Inspect Battery and Charging System and Repair/Replace as Necessary"


Inspect Battery and Charging System and Repair

Average repair costs: $110.82

Percentage of all "check engine light" repairs: 2.54%

Change in repair cost from a year ago: +10.1%

Your car’s computer is sensitive and it monitors voltage on charging systems.  With increased sensitivity it will trip the check engine light when things are not perfect. That means a lot more cars in the shop.  This also means that we also know a lot more about why batteries act up now than we ever have before.

The basic rule of thumb is to replace a car's battery every three years.  But most people just wait until something happens before giving it serious consideration or worse, we get left stranded somewhere! Extreme cold and heat gives that three-year limit a little more urgency, though, and may even decrease it depending on how you're treating your car.  Colorado is one place that is considered to have extreme conditions.  Colorado Springs and Denver not only have rapidly changing weather but we also have a very dry climate, both take a toll on your vehicle and its parts, especially the battery.



7. "Replace Ignition Coil(s) and Spark Plug(s) if needed"

Replace Ignition Coil and Spark Plug

Average repair costs: $420.34

Percentage of all "check engine light" repairs: 2.89%

Change in repair cost from a year ago: +32.7%

Look at that cost! You have to realize it could have been very minimal if you took the time to simply replace a tiny little part such as a spark plug. Instead, by ignoring it, you let it snowball until your ignition coil was shot and now it costs you upward of $400 to get everything fixed. You own the car, and you're better than this. Just replace a spark plug when the light comes on or, better yet when you go in for your oil change or a tune-up have it checked and replaced as needed.  At Aspen Auto Clinic and Aspen Auto Import Clinic checking the spark plugs is standard with an annual inspection.

6. "Replace Ignition Coil(s)"

Replace Ignition Coil
 

Average repair costs: $250.94

Percentage of all "check engine light" repairs: 3%

Change in repair cost from a year ago: No change

Over $250 to replace only the ignition coil!  If you're the procrastinator type, just  ignore and neglect the spark plugs until something more expensive goes wrong,  but you shouldn't see this happen until well into your car's sunset years.

 

Ignition coils help the engine start and keep running by taking the battery's 12-volt current and step it up to ignite the spark plugs. Sometimes cars have just one, but there are vehicles that have one for each cylinder in the engine. Surprisingly, even this isn't always a fatal problem for your car.  But when it destroys your catalytic converter completely, you will really pay some costly repair bills!

5. "Replace Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor"


Replace Mass Air Flow

Average repair costs: $423.61

Percentage of all "check engine light" repairs: 3.35%

Change in repair cost from a year ago: 3.2%


 

Another small issue in the beginning but if left alone it can grab money out of your wallet every time you fill the tank with gasoline.

The mass air flow sensor controls the air coming into your car's engine and determines how much fuel to inject into that engine. When it goes bad, your fuel economy can drop by 10% to 25%.

 Losing fuel economy at that ratio is like heading to the gas station, putting three gallons into the tank and pouring the fourth gallon's worth of cash down the drain.  $423 isn't cheap, but neither is throwing that much cash away on gas you're squandering!

4. "Replace Spark Plug Wires and Spark Plugs"

Spark plugs
 

Average repair costs: $361.95

Percentage of all "check engine light" repairs: 3.35%
Change in repair cost from a year ago: 5.7%

Even if your car is seems to be running fine, stop ignoring the "check engine" light!

Even if your car is running fine, stop ignoring the “check engine” light!

 Spark plugs make the combustion in your internal combustion engine happen.   When the spark plugs conk out, their misfires kill gas mileage and eventually destroy far more expensive parts. Living in colder parts of the country, you probably already know the damage that cold weather can do to a spark plug. Fuel needs to vaporize for the spark plugs to work and when it doesn't, those drops just collect and mess up the plug.


3. "Replace Catalytic Converter(s) with new Original Equipment

Catalytic Converter(s)"

catalytic converter

 

Average repair costs: $1,154.23

Percentage of all "check engine light" repairs: 2.22%

Change in repair cost from a year ago: 6.1%

The most expensive repair on the list often is caused by one of the least expensive parts to replace in your whole vehicle.

(Four catalytic converters from a Mclaren F1 pictured)

More than 6% of you have this problem but who could have saved yourselves a four-figure repair.  Responding to an earlier issue instead of putting some tape over your "check engine" light would have helped save your this big repair bill.  Hopefully you didn’t reduce it to a pleasant little beacon in the background -- ambient red mood lighting for your dashboard.  AAA reports that a catalytic converter is one of the five most-stolen car parts in the U.S.,  because the metals in it are so valuable.  Give your catalytic converter the same respect a thief or chop shop would, if not, you deserve every bit of financial pain you get for abusing and ignoring it.


2. "Inspect for Loose Fuel Cap and Tighten or Replace as Necessary"

Inspect for Loose Fuel Cap and Tighten or Replace

Average repair costs: $0.11

Percentage of all "check engine light" repairs: 7.17%

Loose gas caps were the cause of 9% of all "check engine light" repairs in 2010. The overwhelming majority of them just needed to be tightened. If you're tightening it and it's still not working, a replacement is only a few bucks. Tip: Put a little extra into it when you're done filling up. If however, you're in New Jersey or Oregon and aren't filling up yourselves, it may be worth your while to see what your fuel cap actually looks like so you're not troubling a mechanic with this more than once.


1."Replace Oxygen Sensor(s) (O2S)"

Replace Oxygen Sensor

Average repair costs: $261.61

Percentage of all "check engine light" repairs: 7.55%

Change in repair cost from a year ago: -10.9%

This little sensor does a lot, and there are a whole lot of ways to foul it up. The O2 sensor measures the amount of unburned oxygen in the exhaust and tells a car's computer when there is either too much, or not enough fuel as compared with oxygen for ideal operation. But when you don't bring a car in for routine maintenance, skip oil changes and are missing things such as oil and coolant leaks, you are just inviting disaster.

Ignore that O2 sensor warning, especially if it feels like there's nothing wrong with your car and it will cut your mileage by 40% - talk about a waste of gas money! A little pain upfront or a long slow bleeding approach, which will you choose?

Top Ten Ways to Kill Your Car all listed out for you and most can be avoided with some extra attention to your check engine light and some intervention on your part.  At Aspen Auto Clinic we don't just repair your car, we work with you to help you keep your car in excellent running order for many years to come!

Contact one of our expert Service Advisors if you have any question or to schedule an appointment for your car. Bring your car to us, we'll earn your trust!  We stand behind our parts and labor with a 3 year/36,000 mile warranty.


 

Recall again on Toyota, Lexus Models for Suspension Failure

Posted on 09/11/2013

 

Lexus HS 250h

According to filings with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Toyota is recalling about 781,000 cars to fix suspension components that can break loose.

This is the second time that the same 780,584 cars have been recalled in the US.  The 2006-2011 Toyota RAV4 the 2010 Lexus HS 25h for loose nuts that attach the rear suspension arm to the wheels.

If these nuts are loose, the threads on the arm can rust and cause the entire arm to fracture or separate, which in turn can hamper the vehicles alignment.  This can cause the vehicle to leave the desired lane you want to be in or veer off course.  Toyota initially recalled these vehicles in August 2012 after a two-month NHTSA investigation which included at least 470 complaints and warranty claims alleging failure of the rear suspension arm.  No less than nine crashes and three injuries are related to the problem.

The August 2012 recall according to Toyota “was not adequate” and “portions of the repair procedures may not have been performed correctly”.  Toyota’s first fix with the recall involved tightening the bolts and attaching labels to the suspension components to alert technicians to the proper tightening procedure.

This new recall requires dealers to replace the rear lower suspension arms and seal them with epoxy, effectively making the alignment permanent.  Toyota is denying responsibility at the factory for loose bolts or improper tightening.

You can also call your Service Advisor at Aspen Auto Clinic. We will be happy to assist you with any questions you may have regarding your vehicle or any of these safety issues.

Last week on September 4th, the automaker also recalled about 369,000 Toyota and Lexus models to correct problems that could cause the vehicles to shut down while driving.  Part of the recall expanded on an earlier recall of the Highlander Hybrid SUV’s that did not properly address the problem.  In June, Toyota recalled 242,000 Prius and Lexus HS 250h hybrids to fix brakes that became weak.  That recall included 87,000 vehicles in the US.

Toyota Image

Celebrating Twelve Years of Quality Auto Repair in Colorado Springs

Posted on 09/09/2013

From humble beginnings in owner and President, Greg Bunch’s garage to now six locations across the Front Range of Colorado Aspen Auto Clinic celebrates our 12th year in business!

We want to thank all of our loyal customers and our amazing Aspen Team their support in our first 12 years and we can’t wait to what the next 12 years brings!

Throughout the month of September, all six of our Aspen Auto Clinic locations will be taking entries for our $500 CASH Drawing.  No purchase necessary to win, just stop by fill out and entry form and even have a cool beverage and a snack if you like.  We’d love to see you and say hi!

All entries must be in by 6pm on Monday, 30 September 2013.  Winners will be notified by phone and must be at least 18 to enter.  Stop by and get your entry in today, end of the month will be here before you know it.

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