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FAQ: State Auto Inspections

content-blog-topleft-225wIf your vehicle is due for a Texas State Emissions test you may be curious what you’re in for. In order to legally license your vehicle it needs to meet certain safety criteria and emissions regulations put in place by the state. If you have additional questions please contact your local state inspection facility.

Q. Where can I take my vehicle for a state inspection?

A. All testing must be done at a qualified testing center that meets certain state appointed criteria. This includes meeting space and equipment requirements, having qualified personnel on staff to complete the checks who have also passed a state background check and the facility must be able to properly handle all necessary paperwork.

Q. I have made changes to my vehicle’s engine, will it still pass the emissions test?

A. Your vehicle must retain all original manufacturer emission equipment in order to pass the emissions control test. These parts may include sensors or other mechanical parts such as:

  • EVAP – evaporative emission
  • CAT – catalytic convertor
  • SPK – spark control
  • FR – fillpipe restrictor
  • O2S – oxygen sensor
  • PCV – positive crankcase ventilation
  • ACL – air cleaner
  • AIS – secondary air injection
  • EGR – exhaust gas recirculation

Q. What is tested during an inspection?

A. Many parts and systems of the vehicle are tested during a state inspection. Many of the features are related to safety and must be properly working or in good condition such as the horn, windshield wipers, mirrors, steering system, seat belts, brakes, tires and the wheel assembly. Of course your exhaust system and exhaust emission system will be tested to ensure you’re meeting the proper environmental standards. Lighting will be checked as well, including tail lights, brake lights, license plate light, rear red reflectors, turn signals and headlights. Your Vehicle Identification Number, gas cap, and the legality of window tint will also be inspected.

If your car is due for an inspection remember that it must be completed within 5 days of the end of the month of which your current sticker expires. For state auto inspections in Plano bring your vehicle to Auto Fix It. We conduct inspections and if anything is found to be wrong with your vehicle we can fix it in our full service auto repair shop. Remember that if your car fails a test you are eligible for a free re-test as long as you have the issue resolved and you bring your vehicle back to the original test location within 15 days! Call Auto Fix It at (972)509-4517 to schedule an appointment for a state inspection or other auto maintenance service in Plano!

5 Serious Signs It’s Time for Brake Repair

It is understandable that some people neglect issues with their vehicles due to financial strains or just because they “plan on getting to it later.” But there are some problems that need to be addressed right away. The brake system on your car needs to be well cared for in order to safely maintain your vehicle’s ability to slow. The brakes are the most important safety feature of your car, as they help you regulate speed and provide you the opportunity to avoid accidents, as long as they are in good condition. If you experience any of these signs of brake trouble be sure to visit your local auto repair shop right away!

Grinding Noise

More than likely the first sign of brake trouble that you’ll experience is a grinding, screeching or howling noise that occurs as you slow your vehicle. This is a strong indication that your brake pads have completely worn down and are in need of replacement. The noise is created because the metal frame of the brake pads is rubbing on the metal rotors or drums.

Vehicle Pulling

If your vehicle tries to pull to the left or right when you hit the brakes there is something causing uneven wear on the brake pads. The uneven thickness of the pads means that one wheel will grab faster than the other, even if just briefly, which is a serious control issue. This pulling can also be caused by impurities in the brake fluid or a stuck wheel cylinder.

Brake Pedal Vibrations

A vibration that occurs in your brake pedal, steering wheel or the whole car when you apply the brakes likely means that there is odd wear in a brake rotor or drum or that one or more has become warped. This can happen if a rock becomes stuck between the pads and the rotor or even because a slight collision with a curb or pothole.

Soft Brake Pedal

Do you find yourself having to press harder and harder on the brake pedal in order to get a reaction from the brakes? This may indicate heavily worn brake pads, but it is likely caused by a more serious issue. If you recently had brake work completed there may be air in the brake lines causing the loss of pressure. Worst of all there may be a brake fluid leak. If you notice any brownish-clear liquid collecting around your wheels you should not drive your car, as this may be brake fluid!

ABS Light

Modern vehicles are equipped with a dashboard indicator light that reads ABS, which stands for Antilock Braking System. If this light comes on head straight to the repair shop as it is letting you know of some impending issue with the brake system.

Keep your vehicle safe and never put off brake repairs! For professional brake repair in Plano bring your car, truck or SUV to Auto Fix It. Since 1984 we have been servicing our friends and neighbors vehicles, providing superior auto maintenance and repairs for all makes and models of vehicles. Call us today at (972)509-4517 and schedule an appointment for expert auto repair in Plano!

3 Signs Your Car Needs Clutch Repair

A vehicle’s clutch is used as a lever to regulate the distribution of power in two separate places. First it controls the amount of power produced in the engine and secondly it regulates the distribution of that power to the transmission and eventually the wheels. The clutch is what is used to allow for the changing of gears in the transmission in order to create more power during acceleration. Without a clutch your manual transmission car would not be able to successfully switch gears. Here are three signs it’s time for clutch repair or adjustment.

Sticking Clutch

If it becomes difficult to to press the clutch down or if the clutch seems to get stuck close to the floor than you’re experiencing a strong indication that the hydraulic linkage utilized by the clutch has failed. It may just need to be adjusted, however there is a good chance that a leak of the hydraulic fluid has caused a loss of pressure. The latter would require a complete clutch linkage replacement and possibly a new clutch plate.

Slipping Gears

If your vehicle continuously slips out of gear or seems to lurch or jerk forward forward as you drive for no apparent reason then your clutch is likely worn down and needs to be replaced. However, another common cause of this is an oil leak that is dripping onto the clutch plate and causing excessive lubrication that results in the gear slipping.

Burning Paper Smell

You likely remember learning to drive a clutch and experiencing the burning smell as you learned how to accelerate in first gear. Well if that smell becomes a regular occurrence and you’re now a veteran driver of stick shift vehicles it means there is a larger problem at hand. While the problem is often caused by excessive wear from driving in slow moving traffic it can also be an indicator that you need a clutch adjustment, especially if you notice smoke accompanying the smell.

In order to prevent further damage to your transmission and other vehicle systems it is imperative that you take care of clutch problems right away. For professional clutch repair in Plano bring your car, truck or SUV to the certified team of expert auto repair mechanics at Auto Fix It. We will be able to swiftly identify the problem that you’re having with your clutch, or any other vehicle issue for that matter, and have you on your way in no time! Call Auto Fix It today at (972)509-4517 and schedule an appointment for superior auto repair in Plano!

Keeping up with Scheduled Maintenance Save You Money

As a vehicle is being initially engineered, before there are any parts for it produced and sketches are still roughly drawn, the team that is creating the vehicle is thinking far ahead in the future about the maintenance needs the vehicle will require. All new cars and trucks come with a maintenance schedule that dictates how often certain services should be conducted to maintain proper driveability and reliability. By keeping up with these services you can avoid the need for unnecessary repairs in the future, thus saving you money during your ownership of the vehicle. But what does this maintenance include? Factory scheduled maintenance includes many different services, such as the following.

Oil Changes

While the saying states oil changes should be conducted every 3,000 miles, for many cars that is far too often. Lots of newer vehicles have larger mileage intervals and only need to have their oil changed between every 5,000 to 10,000 miles, depending on your vehicle manufacturer recommendations, although many professional auto technicians recommend this service closer to the 5,000 mile mark for all cars to ensure a long vehicle road life. Changing the oil removes gunk and restores engine power and fuel efficiency while providing much needed lubrication.

Fluid Flush Service

You vehicle utilizes several different types of fluid to operate its many systems, including the transmission, power steering, brakes and cooling systems. Many of these fluids need to be drained and refilled and their filters replaced to ensure the system can operate appropriately. This ensures the fluid is free of any contaminants, such as excessive outside moisture, or other debris that may make its way into these fluids over the years. Check your owner’s manual to see how often these services need to be completed.

30/60/90K Factory Scheduled Maintenance

General check up services are required on most vehicles every 30,000 miles. During these appointments a mechanic overlooks each vehicle system to search for problems that could include leaks, general wear and tear or broken parts. Another important aspect of these services is the safety check that is completed, which makes sure things such as the airbags, seatbelts and other items are in proper working order. The mechanic may also check that vehicle electronics are operating as they should and all sensors reading properly. It is important that these services are not skipped, as they are necessary to maintain any warranty the vehicle may be under.

Don’t put off vehicle maintenance as it may lead to systems degrading, resulting in a need for expensive repair. For expert auto maintenance in Plano come see the certified technicians at Auto Fix It. We offer a wide variety of auto repair and maintenance services to keep your car healthy and reliable. Give us a call at (972)509-4517 to request an appointment for import or domestic auto repair in Plano today!

Why are Oil Changes so Important

Routine maintenance is an important part of any vehicle’s life. All vehicles are designed with maintenance needs in mind, and these are translated by the engineers into a maintenance schedule that is listed in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. Major maintenance services are generally referred to as 30/60/90K maintenance because they are done at 30,000 mile intervals. However there is one service that is necessary much more frequently in order to keep your vehicle healthy. For most vehicles oil changes should be completed between every 3,000 and 5,000 miles. But why is this service so important to complete? The main reason, to prevent catastrophic engine failure. Here is how regularly changing your oil keeps your vehicle healthy.

Regulates Engine Temperature

Engine oil is scientifically engineered to be able to help control the temperature of the engine as it operates by absorbing heat. But as oil ages it begins to break down, losing its ability to do so and it may actually reflect heat causing the engine to heat up to dangerous temperatures. While the cooling system can generally handle the task of keeping the engine cool, oil reaches areas that coolant can’t, thus providing a valuable service.

Restores Engine Power

As oil circulates through the engine it picks up dirt, dust, metal flakes and other contaminants that have made their way inside the engine. This turns the oil into a mud like substance often referred to as sludge. The sludge makes it difficult for the pistons to pump up and down, decreasing engine power and reducing your fuel-efficiency. When oil is changed all of the sludge is removed from inside the engine, in turn restoring power and fuel economy. At the same time the oil is changed the oil filter is also replaced, ensuring that oil can properly circulate through the engine.

Ensures Proper Lubrication

The most important reason to have your oil changed on time is to ensure proper lubrication of the moving parts inside the engine. Fresh oil is imperative to the operation of the engine, as it prevents harsh metal on metal contact that can cause major damage inside the motor which will result in a need for an engine rebuild or replacement. During an oil change the technicians servicing your vehicle are also able to identify any potential problems that your vehicle may be suffering from, not only in regard to issues related to the engine oil but all over the vehicle.

Keeping up with your scheduled maintenance, including oil changes, is the best way to prevent break downs. If you’re looking for a fast and professional oil change in Plano head to Auto Fix It. As a full service auto maintenance and repair shop you can count on us to take care of your car. Give us a call at (972)509-4517 to request an appointment for expert auto repair in Plano from the certified technicians at Auto Fix It.

How do I know if I Need Suspension Repair?

The suspension system in your car has a lot of important responsibilities. It is not only tasked with providing you a comfortable ride, but also a safe one. The suspension’s safety roles include keeping all four wheels constantly on the ground to ensure that there is adequate braking power available when you need it and healthy suspension prevents the vehicle from rolling over or losing control during cornering, especially at higher speeds. If you experience any of these signs of suspension failure be sure to head to your local auto repair shop right away.

Roll over sensation

One of the scariest symptoms of suspension trouble is that gut wrenching feeling that your car is going to roll over. This will occur if the anti-sway bar, which is part of the suspension system, has failed. This part is tasked with shifting the vehicle’s center of gravity during cornering to prevent it from rolling over. If you ever get the feeling that you’re losing control of your car while cornering be sure to get in touch with your mechanic to have the issue resolved.

Oily struts

Vehicle struts utilize a special oil that allows them to absorb the bumps and cracks of the road. If this oil begins to leak from the struts it will be quite visible, and you will notice that your ride is a bit more jarring. If you feel like your ride comfort has decreased be sure to take a peek at your struts to see if you can identify the trouble.

Low corner of the car

If one corner of your vehicle appears to be lower than the rest but all of the tires are properly inflated it is easy to come to the conclusion that suspension components in that particular corner have failed.

Excessive bouncing

If you believe that your suspension system has been compromised you can perform a quick test to see if it is really what’s giving you ride discomfort. Push on the hood or trunk of your vehicle several times to get it to start bouncing up and down. Once you stop pushing the car should return to its normal ride height within three to four bounces, any more than that and you can certainly bet on suspension failure.

The suspension is key to a comfy and safe ride so never put off having it repaired should you believe it is giving you trouble. For superior suspension repair in Plano for your import or domestic vehicle make an appointment with Auto Fix It. Our team of certified technicians will quickly diagnose and repair the issue, ensuring a reliable ride. We conduct all sorts of auto maintenance and repair so give us a call today at (972)509-4517 for exceptional auto repair in Plano.

4 Signs You Need a Wheel Alignment

When a vehicle leaves the factory it is designed to drive straight as an arrow with little effort. However, over the course of a car’s roadlife run ins with curbs, potholes and enduring other accidents a vehicle’s alignment will be thrown off, causing a multitude of problems for your car. If you suffer any of the following signs of alignment problems be sure to make an appointment with your local auto repair shop to have the issues resolved in order to prevent safety hazards, increased tire wear and maintain good fuel mileage.

Vehicle Pulling

In a vehicle with very bad alignment you will feel it trying to steer left or right when you don’t want to go in any of those directions. You should never have to hold the wheel sternly to keep your vehicle driving in a straight line. On the other hand you may not even notice your car drifting during regular driving, but with a light grip on the steering wheel it may start to go one way or the other. This is called light pulling, which is another sign of alignment issues.

Crooked Steering Wheel

A common symptom that your vehicle is having alignment issues is if the steering wheel rests off center when the car is driving in a straight line. This shows that you are having to hold the wheel in an odd position in order to have control of the vehicle which usually happens following a low speed collision with a curb or other obstruction.

Complete Vehicle Vibration

Alignment problems will cause the vehicle to shake as you drive down the highway. This is because a bad alignment means that two tires are trying to go in separate directing, pulling against each other, which makes the steering wheel and car as a whole shimmy and shake.

Uneven Tire Wear

You should regularly check your tires to ensure they are properly inflated and have sufficient tread. If you ever notice that one tire is wearing differently from the one on the opposite side of the axle then you likely need an alignment, as it shows they are hitting the road at different angles.

If you suspect alignment issues don’t delay seeing a local auto repair mechanic. These problems can cause issues with the suspension, the steering system and even lower gas mileage. For a professional wheel alignment in Plano bring your vehicle to the expert technicians at Auto Fix It. We service all makes and models of vehicles, and conduct many different auto maintenance and repairs. Give us a call at (972)509-4517 at the first sign of trouble to request an appointment for quality auto repair in Plano!

How to Find a Great Auto Repair Shop

If your car is giving you any sort of trouble you are likely going to be searching the web to find a great mechanic in your area. There are several things to check for as you conduct your search, all of which will help ensure you find a great auto repair shop. Your car is a massive investment, so be sure you only allow a mechanic that will offer great care and service to handle the repairs it needs. Never utilize unlicensed services offered online, as this could end up costing you more money than the repair is worth and leave you with a car in worse condition. Here are a couple things to look for in your hunt for an expert auto repair shop.

ASE Certified Mechanics

Always be sure of is that the shop you select to service your car employs ASE certified technicians. ASE, which stands for Automotive Service Excellence, is the industry standard when it comes to testing technicians’ skills, including those in customer service. A shop with certified employees will ensure you’re leaving your vehicle in well trained hands.

BBB Accredited Auto Repair

A BBB Accreditation can say a lot about a shop. What it means most is that it has been thoroughly evaluated by the Better Business Bureau to provide superior customer service and honest car care and repair.

Free Estimates

It is very important that an auto shop provides free estimates for repairs. You shouldn’t have to pay $100 just to find out what is wrong with your vehicle!

State Auto Inspections

If a car provides state auto inspections it means they understand just what needs to be done to your car to ensure it is legal to register. When it comes time for inspection you also don’t have to worry about finding a second trustworthy shop.

Scheduled Maintenance

Be sure the facility you choose conducts factory auto maintenance. This means that the vehicle can be completely taken care of by the technicians at the shop, including conducting warranty services.

Complete Auto Repair

Perhaps what is most important is that the shop offers full service auto repair. That way you can leave it to them to conduct any repairs that are deemed necessary following an initial diagnosis. If you’re looking for this kind of auto repair shop in Plano, just outside of Dallas, head to Auto Fix It. We take care of all makes and models of vehicles at our bumper to bumper shop. Call us today at (972)509-4517 to request an appointment for outstanding auto maintenance in Plano!