The Estimate

21 02 2019

Dale BertramToday automotive service and repair shops are getting more calls than ever asking for an estimate and we at Fairway Auto Repair are no exception.  We understand that consumers in Phoenix are searching for the best value for their hard earned dollars. It has been a while since I addressed this issue but many are asking exactly how we, and other auto repair shops arrive at the estimated price so I thought I would take a moment and explain this again.

An estimate consists of three parts:

  1. The labor rate
  2. Parts and supplies
  3. Overhead

Fairway Auto Repair and other automotive service and repair shops estimate the labor rate by how long any given service or repair should take. There are guidelines set down by the manufacturer of each vehicle estimating the time it takes a trained technician to perform any given task.

Parts and supplies are included in the estimate, of course. We use two categories of parts, OEM or “Aftermarket.” The parts manufactured by the original car manufacturer are known as Original Equipment Manufacturer or OEM parts. Aftermarket car parts include parts for replacement, collision, performance, and appearance. These parts are usually cheaper than the new OEM parts.

Shops such as myself make sure we use quality parts as they last longer and we feel save our customers more money down the road. These parts also come with a warranty so if the part for whatever reason fails or doesn’t perform as it should, we can replace it without the consumer having to pay for it all over again.  Supplies include such things as replacement fluids and disposal fees.

Overhead includes such items as the cost of the building lease/mortgage, the constant training that we must take to keep up with technology, utilities, diagnostic and scanning equipment and staff benefits.

The goal of independent service and repair shops like Fairway Auto Repair, is to provide quality parts and labor with an excellent warranty.

I hope this helps clarify how we arrive at an estimate. For more information on caring for your vehicle, visit our website at or contact us.  Fairway Auto Repair is always here to help you!




Safety First

14 02 2019

Dale BertramHaving a well-maintained vehicle is very important to safety while driving.  Many accidents could be avoided by having a car serviced regularly.

Another detriment to our safety on the highways is distracted driving.  I doubt you can drive without noticing another driver that is either driving recklessly or seems to not be paying attention while driving.

Distracted driving is any activity that could divert your attention away from the main task of driving. It is both dangerous and disturbingly common. Drivers spend more than half of their time focused on things other than driving. You may be surprised to learn that cell phones and texting are just part of the problem when it comes to distracted driving. We know many think that if they are “hands free” it is okay…but I’ve talked to people that have been so focused on their phone conversation they don’t “remember” their drive at all!  Now that is scary!

The fact is, anything that occupies your mind or your vision can cause you to be distracted behind the wheel!

A list of driving distractions may include:

  • Talking on your phone
  • Texting
  • Eating or drinking
  • Grooming
  • Reading – including maps and directions
  • Programming a GPS or navigation system
  • Adjusting a radio or MP3 player
  • Adjusting the temperature controls

It only takes a moment for an accident to occur.  To make sure your car is roadworthy, bring it to Fairway Auto Repair and we’ll make sure your vehicle is up to date on service and repair.  The rest is up to you!



Keeping Your Car Happy

7 02 2019

Dale BertramWe know cars don’t really have feelings but if your car did…would it be happy with how you treat it? Think about it for just a moment.  Your car does so much for you.  It gets you where you need to be…and back again.  It hauls you and other passengers and groceries and sometimes lots of baggage or tools or gardening supplies.  If it had feelings what would it take to make it feel cared for?

  • It would want to be clean and shiny…inside and out.
  • The windows would be the mirror of its soul so make sure they are clean and that the wiper blades work properly.
  • Fluids are essential so it would want its fluid intake to be changed when necessary so it drinks healthful fluids to lubricate all its parts.
  • How are the tires?  Do they resemble a worn pair of shoes or worse…a flattened donut? Has it been a while since the tires were checked for proper inflation?
  • I’m sure it would want its brakes checked so it wouldn’t be in fear of crashing or running a red light!
  • Is the air conditioner working properly?  It wouldn’t want sweaty passengers if it could be avoided.
  • Is it leaking?  This would certainly embarrass a car if it had unsightly leaks leaving puddles in parking spaces and on garage floors.
  • Does it hum along quietly or does the muffler make it sound loud and angry. Every car wants to have a voice but it wouldn’t want to sound like it needs anger management classes!
  • How are all the lights working on the car?  Turn signals, headlights and brake lights give a car confidence that it can be seen when it goes out in public.

These are just a few items that would make a car happy.  Is your car happy?



Driving In All Kinds Of Weather

31 01 2019

Dale BertramHere is a little checklist of things to do when driving in unusual weather … at home in Phoenix or elsewhere!

Driving In The Rain

  • Turn your headlights on – many states require it.
  • Remember that oil on the pavement can make driving conditions slick.
  • Should you hydroplane, keep the steering wheel straight but remove your foot from the gas.
  • It takes longer to stop on wet roads so adjust your speed accordingly.
  • Don’t drive closely behind large vehicles as their spray can reduce your visibility.
  • Make sure your wiper blades are working properly.
  • Make sure your tires have proper tread.
  • Drive carefully through puddles, they may be hiding a pothole.
  • If your windows fog use the defroster.
  • If you are in a thunderstorm and you need to pull over, do not park under trees.
  • Look out for downed branches and power lines.

Driving In Flood-Like Conditions

  • Driving through moving water could cause your vehicle to be swept away.
  • It only takes two feet of water to carry a car away.
  • If your carpets get wet do not turn on the ignition as it can damage your vehicle.  Have your car care provider check it out first!
  • Even a small amount of water can damage your braking system.
  • If you are driving through deep water and your vehicle stalls…do not attempt to restart it because it could result in engine damage.

Driving In Fog

  • Reduce your speed
  • Use low beam headlights
  • Use your defroster
  • Use your wipers
  • Poor visibility limits your vision when it comes to other vehicles, pedestrians, and animals…proceed with caution.

Driving In Ice

  • Bridges and overpasses freeze first
  • Reduce speed
  • Easy on the brakes
  • Keep a safe distance between your vehicle and others on the road
  • If you skid, turn your steering wheel into the skid, ease off the accelerator and do not slam on the brakes.
  • If you encounter black ice ease up on the gas rather than applying the brakes

Driving In Snow

  • Make sure your windows are clean and that accumulated snow is removed from the hood and top of the vehicle.
  • Drive slowly and allow ample stopping distance so you don’t collide with a vehicle ahead of you.
  • Do not slam on brakes…ease off gas gently and then lightly apply brakes.
  • If your area allows and it is necessary use chains and snow tires.

Driving With a False Sense of Security

Those who drive SUV’s and trucks and other four-wheel drive vehicles sometimes have a false sense of security. Slick highways put all vehicles on an equal footing so proceeding with caution is recommended.




How Are Your Shocks/Struts?

24 01 2019

Dale BertramShocks and struts take a beating so we don’t have to!  They help us ease the pain of driving over less than perfect roads and stabilize us over bumps, when we stop quickly and when we go around corners.  We pretty much take them for granted.  Our owner’s manuals tell us they need to be replaced every 30,000 to 90,000 miles, depending on our driving habits.  That is a wide range!

We would like to recommend that you take some time when you are out driving around to notice a few things about your vehicle.  If your car is bouncing a bit after you hit a bump in the road, is nose diving after you brake or is swaying around corners you need to have your shocks replaced.

Struts basically perform the same function as shocks except they also are an integral part of your suspension system.  When you are out and about in your car and notice the same symptoms as above and also notice noise while you go over those bumps or turn corners you might also have an alignment situation.

Shocks and struts also give you another symptom if they are ready to be replaced…they leak fluid.  They do a lot for us and we certainly take them for granted until we notice our ride is just not as enjoyable or comfortable as it could be.  Bad shocks and struts also cause wear and tear on our tires and our suspension components.

Make sure your shocks and struts are ready for whatever condition the roads you drive on happen to be in. Whatever your car may need, at Fairway Auto Repair we want your vehicle to always be ready to go when you are!  Call us!  We are here for you and your car!




17 01 2019

Dale BertramGasoline has been around for decades and the changes to the formulation have been incredible.

The basic refined crude is mostly the same. What makes each brand unique is the additives and detergents package mixed in. Regular fuel has less additives than the premium blend.

One of the biggest changes to gasoline is the introduction of ethanol. Ethanol has brought us lower emissions and a little better MPG, but it also has caused some new drivability issues. Most fuels started with a small amount of ethanol; now the base amount is 10%. As we randomly test fuel from the tanks we see as much as 30% ethanol.

What that means is the ethanol and the detergents added do not work together! Ethanol washes the detergent away that is supposed to help stop carbon build up inside the engine. Type “engine carbon” into a browser and there are many articles to scan. The tough part for you, the driver, is you don’t know it’s happening until it gets bad.

Here are the symptoms of carbon build up:

  • Drivability issues; engine not running smoothly or stalling
  • Engine vibration or shaking
  • Car jerking or surging at stops
  • Check engine light may be on
  • Cold start misfires

The cure is to be proactive by cleaning the fuel injectors and air intake system every 15,000 miles. For most drivers that is once a year. This is great insurance to protect the investment you drive. Previous year cars did not have the carbon concern, so this will be something to be educated on. If ignored the cost to dis-assemble the engine to clean out the carbon is not pretty.

Cars, year 2000 and newer, have a different type of fuel system than previous years and 2010 and newer have gasoline direct injection (GDI) that is even more susceptible to carbon build up.



Auto Parts Don’t Last Like They Used To!

10 01 2019

Dale BertramWhy do parts fail more often than they did in the old days? Parts are made smaller and lighter to help the manufacturers meet the 50.5 MPG mandate by the year 2020. This change is imposed by the government CAFÉ standard (corporate average fuel economy). The car companies are working to increase the technology of cars with turbo charging  engines that are smaller; using direct fuel injection; and the start and stop system, just to name a few.

Car manufacturers have found it is less expensive to lighten the weight of vehicles instead of creating new technology to meet the CAFÉ standards.  The manufacturers are shedding pounds of components whenever and wherever possible!

A repair that comes to mind is having to replace an electric window motor? This repair can cost $300 to $800. One reason this part fails more often than they did in older cars is because the part is integrated with the window regulator as one unit and made half the size to in order to save weight and improve fuel mileage.

Other ways the manufacturers are making parts lighter to increase fuel mileage:

  • They are using aluminum frames,
  • Smaller transmissions with 5, 6, 7 or 8 gears.
  • Engines are designed to use extremely light oils such as 0w20 to help reduce internal part friction.
  • Brakes are very small compared to years past.
  • Every external body part on your car is being downsized or made of plastic, carbon fiber or other composite materials.
  • Less fluid capacity in engines, transmissions, power steering and all other systems are other ways to save weight.
  • Transmissions that used to hold 10 quarts of oil, might hold 6 now. All cars also require synthetic oils in all components to help make up for the smaller capacity.

To sum it up, parts are smaller, fluid capacities are less, and the stress is greater than ever on car systems. I wish I had a silver bullet for you, but I don’t. The best advice I can give you is choose a service provider that you trust, have the car inspected regularly and service the fluids often.