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Getting Your Car Ready For Holiday Travel

Getting Your Car Ready For Holiday TravelThe holidays are here, and you may be getting ready to travel. Whether you are traveling 10s of miles or 1000s of miles, if you travel by car, you should make sure that your car is ready to make the journey safely. The last thing you need is to get stuck with a dead battery, a flat tire or a broken-down vehicle when you are miles away from home and lots of businesses are closed for the holidays. Bring your vehicle to Clark Automotive and we will complete our winter maintenance checklist for you so that you can be confident that your car will not interfere with your upcoming holiday travel plans.

Before you hit the road, you want to make sure that the following systems are working as they should:

Tires: We can inspect your tires for any signs of tread damage or excessive wear and tear that might be a problem for you on an extended trip. We complete tire repair, tire rotation and tire replacement depending on the service that you need. No one wants a flat or blown out tire on a road trip!

Battery: The staff at Clark Automotive can also test your battery to ensure that it is working properly and that it is not time for a replacement. This will ensure that you will not have to deal with a car that does not start. A new battery is a relatively inexpensive issue to fix.

Brakes: Your brakes may be the most important safety feature of your car. They are what allows you to stop when needed. If you are concerned about your brakes or have noticed any break noises, always get your brakes checked before any extended trip. Our brake work includes replacing brake pads, wheel bearings, lubricating backing plates and calipers, topping off or flushing brake fluid, checking the hydraulic system and repairing the drums and rotors.

Blaine MN Auto Repair Shop

We can also complete oil changes and make sure that all of your fluids are topped off when you bring your vehicle in for general maintenance. We value each and every one of our customers and work hard to make sure that your car is safe for your next adventure. Whether you are traveling across town or across the country, we will make sure that your car is ready. For more information or to schedule an appointment with our team, call Clark Automotive at 763-784-7944 today.

Importance Of Routine Vehicle Maintenance

Importance Of Routine Vehicle Maintenance Anyone who is knowledgeable about automobiles–from your amazing local mechanic to a sales representative at an auto dealership to a neighbor who does work on his own car and can fix anything–will tell you that periodic maintenance is the key to keeping your vehicle running smoothly and reliably. One of the reasons our automobiles need unscheduled maintenance is that it can be difficult to keep up with the scheduled maintenance recommended by your vehicles’ manufacturers. Clark Automotive has made a name for us by helping our clients with the routine maintenance needed to keep your car in good shape and also the unscheduled maintenance or repairs when something unexpected happens.

Schedule Routine Maintenance For Your Car

Keeping vigilant about scheduled maintenance requires discipline and a good memory. Part of this discipline is having your car or truck serviced even when there are no obvious signs of problems. The most reliable, problem-free vehicles lull us into a sense of security–a false sense of security–precisely because they are so reliable. All machines eventually break down and it is often the case that the most reliable machines work so well for so long that we do not notice the smallest changes occurring inside them. We become used to the specific hum of our vehicles’ engines, without realizing over the course of tens of thousands–sometimes hundreds of thousands–of miles that parts are wearing and eroding, resulting in a change in the familiar hum of the engine. That is true until something extremely noticeable occurs. We hear a grinding or a loud screech, and we know that something is most definitely wrong. In most cases, a service like Clark Automotive will be able to fix the issue without much of a problem. But in some cases, that new sound means big trouble.

Blaine Minnesota Auto Repair Shop

Scheduled maintenance can prevent a serious problem from ever occurring, but it is difficult to develop the discipline to take your car in for scheduled maintenance. It may be easier to develop that discipline by making a plan to take your car in every 4-6 months. Minnesota’s change of seasons can be a stark reminder for you to get your car serviced so that you can feel confident that your car is prepared for driving in the winter weather that is coming. Minnesota is known for its winters, but summer can also be brutal for a car. So, consider a twice-a-year self-reminder to get your car serviced ahead of the change of weather. Clark Automotive will be here to prepare your vehicle for what is ahead. Call us at (763) 784-7944 to schedule an appointment.

Essential Maintenance Tips For The Fall Season

Essential Maintenance Tips For The Fall SeasonMany vehicle owners use the change of seasons to get their cars taken care of. This is a great plan, and as we leave the cooler fall season and head straight into winter, we at Clark Automotive in Blaine, MN want to share some of the more essential maintenance tips to keep your vehicle running at its best. Feel free to ask us to inspect your vehicle as well.

Having Your Battery Tested: Many auto parts stores perform this basic test for free, so it’s easy to have this service done. During the winter your battery is worked extra hard, not only to run, but to provide the “cold cranking amps” to start a cold engine. It’s not uncommon to see a car battery that seems to function fine but lacks the cold cranking amperage. This means that your battery is just barely strong enough to perform in the fall, but under pressure in the winter, the battery will likely fail. This is good to know now and have time to get a replacement before the onset of the colder months.

Check All Exterior Lights: Out of sight and out of mind. Well, in the event of heavy rain or snowfall, without lights, your car goes out of sight! It’s a good time to ensure that all the bulbs are functioning and furthermore, to ensure that the headlight and taillight lenses are not cloudy, as this reduces the amount of light that reaches the road. If your lenses are cloudy, use a headlight restoration kit, which utilizes fine-grit sandpaper and cleansing agents.

Checking Tire Conditions: Having tires that are in good condition and properly inflated are essential in ensuring that your vehicle has enough grip on the road during the heavy rainstorms, ice storms, and eventually the snowstorms during the winter months. The coin test is the simplest at-home test. Place a penny in the grooves of your tire with the head facing down. If you can see the entire head, it is time to replace the tires as they are too worn.

Check Functionality Of The Heater And Defroster: Perhaps it seems the most logical, but it is oftentimes the task that is least done. A simple check to ensure that the heater actually puts out warm air and that the defroster warms the windshield is sufficient.

ASE-Certified Mechanic Services Available In Blaine, MN

If you notice that your vehicle isn’t quite ready for the wrath that winter can bring upon Minnesotans, bring your vehicle by the certified mechanics at Clark Automotive. We have the knowhow and the experience to ensure that your vehicle is ready for whatever Mother Nature wants to dish out! Call (763) 784-7944 to schedule an appointment or just come on by!

Pre-Purchase Inspection Catches

Pre-Purchase Inspection Catches Buying a used car instead of new can seem like a cost-effective choice, however sellers aren’t typically upfront about the condition of the car they’re selling. Whether or not information is left out intentionally, you’re better off safe than sorry when it comes to understanding what you’re putting thousands of dollars towards and what other costs may follow soon after.

A good pre-purchase inspection should check all major systems within your car. Overall, this inspection should verify that all systems of the car you’re considering purchasing are working efficiently. They’ll catch any impending issues and assess wear on key parts, including brake pads, tires, and fluids.

Frame damage: If the car was in a serious accident, there could be residual frame damage that wasn’t repaired – or just not repaired correctly. Structural damage can have a huge impact on how your car runs and how fast certain parts wear out. At the very least, this can cause tires to wear unevenly.

Careless repairs: This can range from insignificant to serious, depending on what was done. Improper installation of modifications or accessories may be simple enough, but if previous mechanics did bad repair work on the engine or transmission, that could end up being very expensive down the road.

Flood damage: By checking parts such as the engine, transmission, exhaust, and radiator, mechanics can spot signs of flood damage so that it doesn’t become a drain on your wallet after you have purchased the car.

Overdue maintenance: This can be anything from keeping up with regular oil changes to ignoring a fluid leak. If the previous owner neglected to address even a small problem, it could turn into a big issue for you after you’ve already bought the car. Catching these issues ahead of purchasing the car means you can choose to back out of the deal or negotiate the price based on any maintenance issues your mechanic finds.

As-is Vehicle Purchases

If you’re purchasing a used car without a warranty, you’re taking on any expenses that come up after you buy the car. That means if something is wrong with the car before you buy it, but it isn’t caught, you’ll still have to foot the bill. This may be relatively minor, but it could also end up being a serious car repair. Excitement over a new car can quickly turn to dread when it becomes clear that regular maintenance was lacking, or corners were cut prior to your purchase.

Pre-purchase Inspection Checks

We invite you for a professional pre-purchase inspection at Clark Automotive in Blaine, MN before you purchase your next used vehicle! Call us at (763) 784-7944 to schedule an appointment, but typically, you can drive right over!

Car Warranty Service In Blaine Minnesota

Car Warranty Service In Blaine MinnesotaAutomobile ownership comes with the convenience and flexibility to drive to all sorts of destinations. However, after clocking all those miles, you’re bound to find yourself in need of an oil change, new tires, or something else entirely. Unless you’re mechanically inclined, you should let the ASE-certified mechanics at Clark Automotive handle all your service needs.

It’s not too often that a dealer writes a warranty to be specific to a dealership. Approximately 90% of all extended warranties can be serviced through independent mechanics. Independent mechanics typically have less overhead and are able to offer more affordable rates when it comes to parts and labor. This can prove especially true when vehicles get older and are faced with costly repairs. You also get more opportunities to speak directly with the shop owner or the mechanic working on your car. They may even be the same person. Assuming you become a repeat customer, your mechanic will become more familiar with your specific vehicle each time they work on it.

OEM Parts Available

Auto shops are likely to offer aftermarket parts first, which can save you money in the short term. While they may not be the same quality as their OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) counterparts, the good news is that you can usually work with your mechanic to use OEM parts. So, while you might pay a similar cost for OEM parts, you could also save significantly on labor.

Location, Location, Location…

Whether it’s an auto shop, body shop or tire shop, independent mechanics are a common sight in most cities. For those who live a considerable distance from a dealership, an independent mechanic may be the only practical option for servicing your vehicle. Not to worry though, as you just need to find one who’s worth their weight in sheet metal.

What To Look For In An Independent Mechanic

If you’re thinking about using an independent mechanic, we recommend looking for a shop that specializes in your vehicle’s make, ideally one with great reviews and regular customers. Don’t just get a quote; get to know the people you’re trusting to take care of your car. Like a doctor or dentist, a good relationship with your mechanic can go a long way.

For more information about your extended warranty mechanic, give Clark Automotive in Blaine, MN a call today. Contact Clark Automotive anytime at (763) 784-7944 or email info@clarkautomotiveblaine.com.

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