Car Service

Frequently Asked Questions

Dedicated to providing only the best customer service to each of our clients, 521 Automotive is always available to answer questions you have about your vehicle and our services.  Our Mesa auto shop team has been providing auto repair services to customers for many years.  Call us today to learn more or if you have concerns, questions, or comments on our services!

What is preventative maintenance?

Preventative maintenance for your car really comes down to REGULAR maintenance.  This helps to ensure your vehicle is running optimally and helps to avoid larger issues from developing.  Overall, preventative maintenance makes your car safe, dependable, efficient, and in the end, saves you money.  A well maintained car will not only last longer but will get better gas mileage.

Below are a few examples of preventative car maintenance services in Mesa:

  • Regular Oil Changes
  • Tune Up
  • Differential Gear Oil
  • Battery
  • Power Steering Flush
  • Servicing the Transmission and Fluid Flush
  • Brake Flush
  • Replacing Belts and Hoses
  • Coolant Flush
  • Replacing Head Lights/Tail Lights
  • Replacing Windshield Wipers
  • Rotating the Tires
  • Inspecting the Exhaust System

Do you offer any sort of warranty?

521 Automotive is a certified NAPA AutoCare center which means we are able to offer a 24 months or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first Peace of Mind® Warranty on qualifying repairs.  Best of all, this warranty is a nationwide warranty which means you are covered at any NAPA AutoCare Center if you are traveling or relocate.  We offer a 12 months or 12,000 miles warranty on all other repairs.

Can I apply for financing through 521 Automotive?

Absolutely!  521 Automotive offers financing through NAPA EasyPay credit card with Synchrony bank.  Click here to learn more.  An added benefit to using your NAPA EasyPay credit card for your repairs is it extends your Peace of Mind® Warranty on qualifying repairs to 36 months or 36,000 miles whichever comes first.

How do I know when I need a tune up?

You may notice your vehicle starts to run rough or the check engine light may come on.  Each vehicle has a different manufactures recommendation for when a tune up is needed.  You can check your owner's manual or stop in and we can help you determine if it's time for a tune up.

How quickly should I bring my car in when the check engine light comes on?

When your check engine light comes on, it's your vehicle's way of telling you something isn't right.  It is the same thing that happens to us when we get a cold.  You feel tired but don't know why you feel this way, because your nose hasn't started running and you aren't coughing.  You're body is giving you the first signal that you are sick.  Your check engine light is your vehicle's signal that it's time for a check up before it turns into a coughing, sputtering mess.  Once you notice your check engine light is on, don't panic, but know it is time to take your vehicle in to your local Mesa automotive repair professional for an inspection.

What is an ASE Master Certified Technician?

ASE is short for National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.  ASE is an independent, non-profit organization that tests and certifies automotive professionals.  It is a way to gauge the level of technical expertise a technician has and brings confidence to the vehicle owner.  To be an ASE master certified technician, you have to pass a variety of ASE tests in different subject matters.  To remain ASE certified, a technician must re-test every five years to verify they are keeping with all the advancements in the profession.

How often should I change my oil and why?

Each automobile manufacturer sets different standards as to when they recommend your vehicle needs an oil change.  In our experience, we have found doing an oil change every 3,000 miles works best.  If you have questions about what oil change schedule would work best for your vehicle, give us a call.

Should I prepare my car for a road trip?

Yes, we suggest that any time you are planning a trip with your vehicle, you have it inspected for any possible safety issues along with making sure it is in optimal running condition.  You don't want the highlight of your trip to be when the tow truck finally rescued you from the side of the road!

If it has been a while since your last oil change, we typically suggest you have your oil changed before and after any long road trips.  In addition to an oil change, you will want to check and make sure all your lights are in working order, along with your windshield wipers.  Check all your fluids, belts and hoses, and inspect your battery to make sure it doesn't show any signs of corrosion.  It is also very important to check your tires to make sure you have plenty of tread, no cracks, and to ensure they are properly inflated according to the manufacturer's specifications.  We suggest you also take a few basic items with you in case of an emergency, such as jumper cables, some basic tools, a first aid kit, and water.

Is there anything I should do to my vehicle before monsoon season?

Yes, monsoon season can be very dangerous in Arizona.  There are a few items you want to make sure are working properly before the monsoon season starts.  Make sure all of your lights are working along with your windshield wipers.  Verify your wipers turn on and you have no streaking, smearing, or squeaking.  These are all signs your wiper blades may need to be replaced.  It is also important to inspect your tires and make sure you have plenty of tread. An easy at home test you can do to check if you have enough tire tread is to take a quarter and have George Washington's head upside down.  Insert the quarter between the tread blocks. If you can see the top of George's head, then it is time for new tires.  We also suggest you have your brakes checked.

My brakes make noise when I engage them. Is this an issue?

If your brakes make a grinding or squeaking noise, it normally means your brake pads are worn out and need to be changed.  It is always best to have any noise your brakes make looked at by a professional technician to make sure it isn't a safely issue.

Is it important to have a mechanic inspect a used car before I buy it?

We can't stress enough how important a pre-sale vehicle inspection is.  This is the only sure fire way of knowing what you are really purchasing, because even 'pretty' vehicles can have an ugly unsafe side to them.  With our used car inspection, we look for safety concerns and look for overall maintenance issues.  We also review the vehicle for body damage that the seller may be trying to hide.  Having a professional technician inspect your car gives you a very clear picture of the 'true' condition the car is in and in some cases gives you the power to negotiate a better price.

What do I do if my vehicle starts to over heat?

Once you notice your vehicles temperature is starting to climb, it is best to take immediate action.  First thing you should do is turn off your AC if you have it on and find a safe place to pull your car off the road.  Do NOT attempt to remove the radiator cap or check any of the hoses.  It is very dangerous to do this under these conditions, and you are likely to get severely burned.  A car that has over heated can cause massive damage, very quickly.  This is why it is important to pull off the road as soon as you safely can and have your vehicle towed to our shop for an inspection.

Is it necessary to replace the timing belt at the recommended time?

Yes, in most cases, if your timing belt fails, you can cause severe engine damage.

How do I know if my battery is in good working condition?

The Arizona heat can be very hard on car batteries.  A couple indicators that your battery may be starting to fail are the clock in your vehicle has been reset or isn't keeping correct time or your radio stations are no longer programmed.  You may also notice your car is slower than usual to crank over when you start it.

Do I need to check the coolant in my vehicle and does it need to be replaced ever?

It is a good idea to check your coolant and engine oil at least 1 to 2 times a month to make sure the fluid looks good and is filled to the appropriate level.  Every manufacture will have suggested maintenance schedule for replacing your cars fluids.  In most cases, we suggest you change your coolant every 30,000 miles.  If you are unsure whether it is time to have your coolant replaced, stop by with your car, and we can help you determine if a coolant change is needed.

What is the difference between synthetic and regular oil and what one should I use?

Synthetic motor oil and regular motor oil both start off life as crude oil.  However, synthetic motor oil has been refined and broken down to remove impurities.  This improves its stability and also improves its lubrication qualities at higher and lower temperatures.  Synthetic motor oil is a more costly choice.  There are a few scenarios in which we recommend using synthetic motor oil, such as performance vehicles with a turbo and in some high mileage vehicles.  Despite this, regular motor oil should not be looked down on.  It does a wonderful job at protecting your vehicle's engine and keeps it running smoothly.

When do I need to replace my belts and hoses?

If you notice any cracks on your belts or hoses, it is time to replace them.  Other indicators it is time to replace them is if they feel hard or extremely soft.  However, hoses can start to wear from the inside out, and this isn't something you would be able to see on a visual inspection.  We typically recommend you replace them every 2 to 4 years.


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