Warranty Information - 29/01/14

Do I Have to Use the Car Dealership for Servicing?

This question is often asked of me, “Do I have to return my new car to the dealer for regular servicing such as oil changes, tune-ups, or adjustments in order to maintain my new car warranty”? There is a widespread misconception that if work is done by someone other than the selling dealer that the warranty will be voided. This is incorrect. Let me use my column to answer this question and save you time and money.

  •  You do not have to return to your new car dealer for regular maintenance.
  • A dealer cannot deny you repairs covered under the manufacturers warranty if you have not returned to the dealer for maintenance. A dealer can do so if no maintenance or lack of maintenance has caused the failure.
  • Oil changes, tune-ups and maintenance can be performed by yourself or any repair facility competent to perform these services as outlined in your owners manual.
  • You must keep records of these services (or receipts of items if you performed these services yourself) to provide if there is a question about whether or not the car has been maintained.
  • Your owners manual may indicate two different service schedules; if so, you should follow the service schedule under “severe service” in New England due to temperature extremes, salt and snow.
  • Any and all repairs covered by a manufacturers warranty must be performed by an authorized dealer unless you wish to pay for these services yourself. If you breakdown out of town and cannot find an open dealer close by, then you can have any repairs done on an emergency basis at your own expense and then submit the receipts to your selling dealer or zone office for reimbursement. In most cases, some or all of this expense will by reimbursed.
Nov ’13 – Friends of Kevin Radio Show Interview - 13/12/13

Auto Industry Chat with Kevin and John!

Oct ’13 – John Simone talks with Kevin Willett - 22/10/13

Auto Repair and Business Talk on the Friends of Kevin Radio Show

John Simone featured on Business Radio Show - 20/09/13

Kevin Willette interviews John Simone of J&R Auto Repair about Car Repairs, Timing Belts, Guidelines in Car Care and more.

Tips For Winterizing Your Vehicle Tips For Winterizing Your Vehicle - 20/12/12

Don’t wait until the cold weather hits to winterize your vehicle.  Proper winterizing is not only good for the health of your car, but also for your safety-which is what is most important.  Although safety is a consideration to take all year long, it is especially important when the winter months hit.

Get your battery tested. Most are good for five years, if it’s older than that just replace it. It’s not going to fail on a warm sunny afternoon

Make sure your wipers are clearing the windshield properly.

Are your tires making the grade?Have your tires inspected and replaced if necessary.  Bring your vehicle in to be assessed.  Do you need winter tires?  How does the tread depth measure up? The National Highway Transportation Safety Board says you need at least 2/32″ of depth to be considered safe. Also, be sure to check your tire pressure. The cold air contributes to loss of pressure, so make sure to check your air frequently.

Be sure your spare tire is in your trunk and filled.  We also recommend keeping an emergency kit with a flashlight, first aid kit, jumper cables, flares and a blanket handy for emergencies.  Other great ideas include waterproof matches, protein bars, a Swiss army knife and a bag of cheap kitty litter to use to gain traction in the event you get stuck in the snow.   

Our most important tip is to take the time to get your car’s coolant system checked. Extreme temperatures and harsh conditions can be the nail in the coffin of a weak coolant system.  Your car’s radiator pressure should be tested and the hoses examined for cracks or bulges. The good news is a technician can quickly test a radiator without the hassle of having to remove them from the vehicle.

Did you remember to perform a radiator flush last spring?  Antifreeze is one of the most important parts of your car’s winter armor.  Make sure your levels are correct and that your mixture of antifreeze to water is a 50/50 ratio. Don’t forget to check the PH of the coolant. It can cause a myriad of problems in your cooling system. It will literally rot the system from the inside out.

If you can’t remember the last time your water pump was replaced, it’s time for a new one.  This is also a great opportunity to consider replacing your thermostat.  You will save money on labor by doing it while your vehicle is apart.

Last, but not least, please have your brakes examined.  A well-maintained braking system can be the difference a fender bender and having your vehicle declared totaled.  Replacing your brakes now is a minor expense compared to the potential of purchasing a new vehicle, higher insurance rates and the headaches associated with working with your insurance company.  Remember, No brakes = No fun.

Remember, your safety is important to J&R Auto Repair.  Bring your car in before that first snowfall and let us help keep you and your family safe all winter long.

Like us on Facebook for a chance to win a FREE OIL CHANGE! Like us on Facebook for a chance to win a FREE OIL CHANGE! - 12/12/12

Did you know?

We are raffling away a FREE OIL CHANGE! Enter to win by “liking” us on Facebook. Our winner will be announced after we have reached 100 fans.

Good luck!

Getting the car ready for a road trip How To Get Your Car Ready for A Road Trip - 09/05/12

Getting the car ready for a road tripDriving across the country can be wicked fun, but are you sure that your car or truck can take the punishment? Just to be sure, you should definitely ask your local auto mechanic how to get your car ready for a road trip. Of course, you can do the checkup yourself – just be sure to know what you’re looking for! The following six things should be checked before you take your car to the open road. If you don’t, you may end up finding yourself in the middle of nowhere with no ride and no luck.

1. Flush The Radiator

Now, normally you should replace your coolant at least once per year. Over time, the radiator coolant can break down and it can corrode your radiator. This can obviously lead to very expensive problems down the road. But to get ready for a long trip, it’s a good idea to just flush it and fill it.

2. Check Your Tires

Hitting the road in the summer? You’ll probably run into some rain. Make sure the tread on your tires aren’t too worn, and that they will be safe if you hit wet or otherwise hazardous roads. You wouldn’t want to end up in a ditch – or worse. Oh – while you’re down there, be sure to check your tire’s pressure. Look in your car’s manual for the proper PSI.

3. Replace Windshield Wipers

The winter does a number on your windshield wipers, and they become warped and useless. It’s pretty inexpensive to just replace them so that you don’t have to worry about not being able to see in torrential downpours.

4. Replace Your Air Filter

This should be replaced at least twice a year anyway. It takes five minutes and it will save you tons of headaches in the future.

5. How Are Your Brakes?

Please don’t attempt to fix your own brakes unless you’re trained to do it!  Now that I’ve got that off my chest, your brakes should be inspected twice a year to make sure that everything is working. You should never take chances with your car’s brakes, especially when you’re traveling a long distance in unfamiliar places.

6. Check Your Battery

If your battery looks like it’s corroded or the connections seem to be loose, try cleaning it and then reconnecting and tightening the wires and cords that connect to the positive and negative ports. Then use a voltmeter to test the connections. If you’re getting enough power and you’ve cleared the corrosion, you should be good. But if your battery isn’t working well, it’s better to change it now , or you risk having it die on you at the least opportune moment.

If you are heading out on a road trip this summer, call J&R Auto Repair and we will make sure you get to and from your destination safely with expert Lowell MA Auto Repair services.

Buy A Used Car 6 Things You Should Do Before You Buy A Used Car - 28/03/12

Buy A Used Car6 Things You Should Do Before You Buy a Used Car

Car shopping is an exciting time, especially when you find one you really like. But before you hand over any money for that vehicle, make sure it’s in good working order. Just as you should never judge a book by its cover, you should never trust the health and history of a car just by how shiny its paint job looks. Instead, take these six very important steps when it comes to deciding whether or not to buy that used car you have your eyes on.

Go For a Test Drive

Before you pay money for any car, new or used, you should take it for a test drive. If the owner of the vehicle insists to go with you, make sure the person doesn’t try to cover up any odd noises or smells. Some owners will talk over the noises while you’re test driving or they’ll temporarily mask engine odors with strong air fresheners. It’s best to focus in on the car while you’re driving. Pay attention to how it feels, how it smells and listen for any clunking or other odd noises that could indicate problems.

Outside of the Car

While you’re circling the car, check the front and rear bumpers by pushing down on them. If the shocks are good, you should feel continuous bounce. But if the car feels squishy, the shocks are probably worn and should be replaced before you pay for the vehicle.

Check the Tires

The tires should have proper tread and proper inflation. Tires are not cheap and you should never assume that the tires are in good working order. To be safe, always check tires as part of the overall package when purchasing a used automobile.

Check Electrical Devices

Does the air conditioner work? What about the radio or CD player? Do all the dials work? What about any of the extra features that came with the model in question? These are important considerations as automotive electric repair isn’t cheap.

Check Carfax

While you’re checking out the car, put the VIN number into Carfax and get an accurate snapshot of that vehicle’s history. You’ll be able to tell if the vehicle has been in an accident, what repairs were done, etc.

Bring It To A Certified Mechanic

The best way to determine whether or not you’re spending your money wisely is to bring the vehicle in question to a certified auto mechanic shop. At our Lowell MA auto repair shop we will take the vehicle through a multi-point systems check. We will give you an accurate report that includes our recommendation and any repairs the vehicle may need. Come into J&R Auto Repair and let us help you find the perfect used car.

What To Do When Your Vehicle Fails an Emissions Test - 20/02/12

You took your car to get inspected and it didn’t pass the emissions test. What do you do now? What if you have to pay thousands to repair your vehicle? What if you can’t come up with the money? Will you get a ticket for driving it? Will you Emissions Repair at J&R Autogo to jail? When your car fails, hundreds of questions start swirling around in your head. To help ease your mind, here are four tips that can help you get your car back to being ‘street legal’ by passing the emissions test without the need for expensive repairs.

Don’t Throw Money At Your Car

Many drivers panic when they find out that their vehicle didn’t pass the emissions test. So, they take it to the nearest mechanic only to throw money at the problem. This would be fine if it always worked. However, even expensive repairs might not be enough for your vehicle to pass. Before you take your car to a mechanic, review your options. One option is to qualify for a ‘Waiver’.


A ‘waiver’ is a loophole that allows some vehicles to pass an emissions test even when they can’t meet the applicable requirements. If you cannot afford to make the necessary repairs to your vehicle in order to pass an emissions test, you may qualify for one of these waivers. You will be given credit towards repairs that will fix your vehicle ‘just enough’ so that you can get back on the road. The waiver program varies from state to state, so contact the Department of Motor Vehicles in the state you reside in and ask plenty of questions.

Get Several Estimates

If you don’t qualify for a waiver and you still think you may be facing serious repairs, find out what needs to be done to pass the emissions test, both at a minimum and at a maximum. While this seems incredibly time-consuming, the effort will be well worth it because you can manage to save hundreds or even thousands of dollars on the least expensive automotive repairs.

Maintain Your Vehicle

The best way to prevent your vehicle from failing an emissions test is to maintain it properly. And that’s why you should always have a great auto mechanic’s phone number on speed dial. For help finding the perfect auto mechanic, visit Lowell Auto Repair expert John Simone at J&R Auto where you’ll find more of this and much more, including help with failing Emission Test.

Why You Should Change Your Timing Belt - 16/02/12

It’s important to have your timing belt looked at when your car has gone about 100,000 miles. This  is a good rule of thumb but always consult  each manufacturer for the the mileage interval that they recommend.

Plain & simple, don’t take the chance of your timing belt breaking or “jumping” a tooth.  Although many engines are considered “non interference”,  meaning that if the belt breaks the valves will not come in to contact or interfere with the pistons, causing engine damage. Even if they are non interference, if the engine is revving high enough the valves could “float” and still come in to contact with the pistons.

The other problem that may arise would be if the belt did not completely break but “jumps” a tooth or two. This will cause the valve timing to be off and can be a very difficult problem to diagnose. It can cause a host of issues including poor fuel economy, drivability concerns and engine lights. 

When replacing the belt be sure to check the water pump and idler pulleys and tensioner. It would not be good to have to redo a job six months later because a pump started leaking or a pulley started making noise.  Or even worse, the belt breaks due to a seized pulley. Yes, this  does happen.

In summary, it is not much fun to have an expense on your car that gives you nothing tangible in return. On the other hand, you can plan and budget for the cost of your timing belt . An engine replacement is never a planned expense.