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What Is a Car Diagnostic Test, and When Should You Have One Done?

Many years ago, mechanics had to spend hours on end checking out every single aspect of a car to diagnose an issue with it. It took a long time for mechanics to do auto repair in Rockville, MD when they had to go through this process. But these days, it’s easier than ever before for mechanics to figure out what’s wrong with a vehicle. They can simply run a car diagnostic test and find out what the problem is. Continue reading to learn more about car diagnostic tests and how they can help you.

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What is a car diagnostic test?

Computers run just about everything these days, and that includes most cars. Cars that are on the newer side have computers inside of them that are designed to help them run properly. These computers can also be used to diagnose issues with a car when they pop up. During a car diagnostic test, a Rockville, MD mechanic will use car diagnostic tools to “talk” to your car’s computer and figure out what’s wrong with it. Within a matter of just minutes, a mechanic can know what needs to be done to fix a problem with your car.

Which parts of your car will a car diagnostic test actually test?

Car diagnostic tests cannot be used to test every part inside of a car. But they can be used to test most of the major ones. During a car diagnostic test, a mechanic can check on the condition of your car’s engine, transmission, brakes, exhaust system, and so much more. A test will provide a mechanic with a code if there is something wrong, and that code can be used to issue an official diagnosis for your car.

When should you have a car diagnostic test done?

Is the check engine light on in your car? If so, this is the most obvious sign that you should have a car diagnostic test done. Your mechanic can tell you exactly why the check engine light has come on by plugging into your vehicle’s computer. But that isn’t the only time you should think about having a car diagnostic test done. You should also have one done if you suspect that there might be an issue with your car. If nothing else, it’ll provide you with peace of mind and let you know whether or not you have anything to worry about.

What are the benefits of running a car diagnostic test?

As we mentioned earlier, it used to take forever for mechanics to get to the bottom of car troubles. They would have to spend a long time digging around under the hood before diagnosing an issue with a car. Car diagnostic tests have made it easy for mechanics to tell you about a problem with your car. This means you’ll be able to get your car fixed and back into your possession a lot sooner than you would have been able to a few decades ago.

Would you like to have a car diagnostic test performed on your vehicle? Preferred Automotive would be happy to set you up with one when you visit our Rockville, MD auto repair shop. Reach out to us at (301) 881-8530 today to schedule a car diagnostic test or bring your car to 12356 Wilkins Ave., Rockville, MD 20852 to have a test performed.

5 Reasons Why Your Car Might Not Be Starting the Way It Should

There is almost nothing more frustrating than going to drive to work or to pick up your kids only to realize that—gasp—your car won’t start. It’s one of the most helpless feelings in the world, especially if you aren’t particularly handy when it comes to dealing with car problems. Fortunately, you can have auto repair in North Bethesda, MD done on your car to diagnose the issue and fix it. But before you find yourself in this scenario, you should familiarize yourself with some of the things that might prevent your car from starting. Learn about 5 of the top reasons for a car not starting below.

auto repair in North Bethesda, MD

Dead battery

When you first realize that your car isn’t starting, you should look at your dashboard to see if your battery light is lit up. If it is, there’s a good chance that a dead battery is the cause of your car not starting. A battery can die when you leave the lights inside or outside of your car on overnight. It can also die on you when it gets to be too old. Whatever the case, you’ll need to either jumpstart your car if the battery has died or replace the battery altogether with help from a North Bethesda, MD auto repair shop.

Lack of gas

Believe it or not, there are a lot of people who realize their car won’t start and then freak out because they think there might be a serious issue with it—only to then later realize that a lack of gas in their car was the only problem! If your car isn’t starting, think about how long it’s been since you took it to a gas station. You might not have enough gas in it to get it to start. Adding a gallon of gas to it will help you get back on the road so that you can fill it up.

Clogged fuel filter

You might have plenty of gas in your car at the moment. But if that gas can’t get to your engine, what good is it? A clogged fuel filter can prevent gas from making its way to your engine, which will often lead to your car not starting or starting after a real struggle and then stalling out. You should think about having your fuel filter replaced if you suspect that it might be clogged. Fuel filters usually need to be replaced about once every 30,000 miles or so.

Broken starter

The starter that’s in your car has a very important job. It’s connected to your battery and it lets your engine know that it’s time for it to start up when you put your car key into your ignition and turn it. Starters only have to work for a few seconds for your car to start up, but if they don’t do their job, your car isn’t going to start like you want it to. If the only thing you hear when you turn your car key is a clicking sound, it likely means that your starter is broken and needs to be replaced.

Defective ignition

Your car battery is fine. You have enough gas in your car, and your fuel filter was just replaced a few months ago. Your starter is on the newer side, too. So what in the world could be causing your car not to start? It could be a problem with your ignition switch. This is another common culprit when it comes to cars that won’t start. You’ll have to replace your ignition switch if it’s defective to get your car to start up again.

The truth is that there are lots of different things that can stop your car from starting. If you’re stumped as to what could be keeping your car off the road, let a North Bethesda, MD mechanic from Preferred Automotive take a look at it. We can find out what’s preventing your car from starting the way it should. Contact us at (301) 881-8530 today to have us check out your car or arrange to have it towed to 12356 Wilkins Ave., Rockville, MD 20852 so that we can repair it.

The 5 Most Common Engine Problems That Vehicle Owners Face

There are a lot of important parts located under the hood of your car. But obviously, there are none more important than your car’s engine. Your engine is the heart and soul of your car, and if there are ever any issues with it, you’ll want to have auto repair in Rockville, MD done right away to fix them. You should keep a close eye out for signs of trouble and get to a mechanic immediately if you spot them. Here are 5 of the most common engine problems that vehicle owners face.

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An engine that won’t start

Is your car not starting? This could be caused by a problem with your car battery. If your battery is dead, you’re going to need to either have it replaced or jumped to bring your car back to life. But this issue can also be caused by your engine. If you have, say, a faulty fuel pump or a fuel filter that’s blocked up, it might result in your car not starting. You’ll know your engine and not your battery is the problem if your engine doesn’t make any noise when you use your car key to try and start your car.

An engine that is overheating

Your car has a coolant system in it that’s designed to prevent your engine from overheating. But if your coolant system isn’t doing its job, it could cause your engine to overheat. A malfunctioning radiator can also result in your engine overheating if you’re not careful. You’ll need a Rockville, MD mechanic to check out your car if you find that it’s overheating all the time.

An engine that is smoking

Is there smoke coming out from under the hood of your car? This should be a huge red flag for you and a pretty clear sign that you need the help of an auto repair shop. Smoke can be a sign that your engine has a bad gasket or cylinder in it. There are also all kinds of other engine problems that can cause smoke. Take your car to a mechanic sooner than later to see what’s causing your engine to smoke.

An engine that is always stalling out

If your car is stalling out on you almost every time you’re sitting at a red light, you could be putting yourself and others into danger. It’s only a matter of time before someone slams into you when your car stalls. A stalling engine can be caused by fuel line or fuel filter problems. It can also be caused by spark plugs that need to be replaced. Figure out why your car is stalling so that you can have your engine fixed.

An engine that is making odd sounds

A noisy engine is an engine that probably has something wrong with it. Engines will often times make knocking or squealing sounds when there is an issue. You might have a bad starter or a timing belt that needs to be replaced if your engine is sending out all kinds of weird sounds. Make an appointment with an auto repair shop to have these sounds addressed.

Preferred Automotive is the Rockville, MD auto repair shop you can trust to work on your engine or any other aspect of your car. Avoid putting engine problems off for too long since they can cause more problems down the line. Call us at (301) 881-8530 today to have your engine serviced or visit us at 12356 Wilkins Ave., Rockville, MD 20852 to have your car looked at right away.

5 Steps Mechanics Must Take to Work at an Auto Repair Shop

There are almost 800,000 automotive service technicians and mechanics working in the U.S. today. That might lead you to believe that it’s easy enough to become a mechanic. But the truth is that it can be very challenging to break into the auto repair industry without putting in a lot of hard work. Here are 5 steps mechanics must take before they’re allowed to make their first auto repair in North Bethesda, MD.

auto repair North Bethesda, MD
Earn a high school diploma or GED.

The good news for those who want to become a North Bethesda, MD mechanic is that you do not have to attend college and rack up a ton of student debt to do it. But you do need to earn at least a high school diploma or a GED prior to pursuing your auto repair dreams. This needs to be done before you can move onto the second step.

Take part in a vocational education program.

It’s important to have a high school education to become a mechanic because, while you won’t have to attend college, you will need to enroll yourself in a vocational education program. These programs are available through most vocational schools, auto manufacturers, and community colleges. As part of your vocational education program, you’ll need to take everything from math and English classes to electronic and auto repair courses.

Seek National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification.

The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, better known as ASE, is responsible for certifying those looking to become mechanics. You can earn ASE certification in eight specialty areas, including brake systems, heating and air conditioning, engine restoration, and more. ASE certifications can make you a very valuable job candidate at many auto repair shops and auto dealerships, which is why you should seek certification as soon as you can.

Receive on-the-job training at an auto repair shop or auto dealership.

You can read all the books about auto repair that you want and put in all the necessary work in the classroom to get good grades. But you won’t really start learning everything you need to know about working on cars until you begin on-the-job training at an auto repair shop or an auto dealership. Apply for jobs at these places and learn from those around you as you start at the bottom and work your way up.

Work towards becoming a master mechanic.

At some point in your career, you should become certified in all eight of the specialty areas offered by the ASE. When you do this, you’ll become a master mechanic and turn yourself into one of the best mechanics in your area. You won’t have any trouble finding working when you add “master” to your job title.

When you bring your vehicle to Preferred Automotive, you can rest assured knowing we’ll put the best mechanics in town to work on your car. Our North Bethesda, MD auto repair shop only hires the best of the best to perform car repairs. Give us a call at (301) 881-8530 today to have a repair made to your car or come and see us at 12356 Wilkins Ave., Rockville, MD 20852 to have your vehicle serviced.

How You Can Help an Auto Repair Shop Diagnose a Car Problem

When you bring your car into a shop to have auto repair in Rockville, MD performed, you should avoid telling your mechanic that you know what’s wrong with your car. If you don’t have extensive formal training when it comes to working on cars, there’s a good chance you don’t know exactly what the issue is with it. But there are some things that you can do to help your auto repair shop get to the bottom of the issue at hand. Here is how you can help them to diagnose a car problem.

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Take your car to an auto repair shop at the first sign of trouble.

Did your car just start making a strange sound when you have it in drive? Rather than turning the music up and ignoring it, it’s a good idea to bring your car in immediately to have a Rockville, MD mechanic look at it. The longer that you put off an auto repair, the more likely it is to get worse. Before long, there could a bunch of different parts in your car that have been affected by the original issue and diagnosing that issue can turn into a huge headache for your mechanic.

Steer clear of tinkering with your car yourself.

When you first notice trouble with your car, you might be tempted to pop the hood and see if you can figure out what’s wrong yourself. If you do this, you better be 100 percent sure you know what you’re doing. You could make a minor problem with your car worse if you try to repair it the wrong way. You can also make a mechanic apprehensive about working on your car since they won’t have any real way of knowing what damage you may have done to it yourself.

Be as descriptive as possible when explaining the issue with your car.

Once you arrive at an auto repair shop to have your car fixed, a mechanic will ask you one simple question: “What seems to be the problem?” It’s your job to do your best to explain what you’ve noticed about your car. Tell the mechanic if you’ve heard any weird sounds coming from your car or if it’s been driving funny as of late. The more information you can provide, the better your mechanic’s chances of finding the problem with your vehicle quickly.

Let a mechanic know if you’ve had any recent work done on your vehicle.

If your car was just in the shop, you should make sure that your mechanic knows about it. Whatever work you had done to it could be to blame for the issue you’re having now. You might also want to let your mechanic know the last time you had certain parts worked on. For example, if you’re hearing sounds from your brakes and you haven’t had your brake pads replaced in five years, that might be a logical first place for your mechanic to look for problems.

At Preferred Automotive, we work to diagnose issues with cars as fast as we can. We can usually pinpoint problems on our own, but we appreciate our customers letting us know as much information as possible when it comes to car troubles. Reach out to us at (301) 881-8530 today to schedule Rockville, MD car repairs or drive down to 12356 Wilkins Ave., Rockville, MD 20852 to have someone take a closer look at an issue you’ve been having.

Independent Auto Repair Shop Vs. Car Dealership: Which Is Better?

When you’re in need of auto repair in North Bethesda, MD, you’ll have two main options that you can go with. You can either take your vehicle to an independent repair shop or bring it to a car dealership. Both of these options will allow you to get your car fixed up and back out on the road in a hurry.

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But there are a lot of advantages that come along with taking your car to an independent auto repair shop as opposed to a car dealership. You should consider them before you decide to take your car to a dealership. Here are some of the reasons why an auto repair shop will provide you with a better overall experience.

More personalized service

When you take your vehicle to a car dealership, you are unfortunately going to be just another number to them. They see dozens, if not hundreds, of people walk through their front door every week, and there’s a good chance they won’t recognize you in the future once your car is done being fixed. A smaller North Bethesda, MD auto repair shop, on the other hand, will treat you like family. You’ll get to talk to your mechanic if you want to and establish a relationship with them over time.

Better prices

Generally speaking, you’re going to spend more taking your car to a dealership than you would bringing it to an independent auto repair shop. A dealership can’t afford to cut deals with their customers due to the high overhead costs associated with running one. Smaller auto repair shops, meanwhile, can extend all kinds of great offers to their customers and find ways to help them stay within their budgets. You won’t have to pay an arm and a leg to do auto maintenance and repairs with them.

Excellent mechanics

There are some people who mistakenly believe that the mechanics at auto repair shops somehow aren’t as good as the ones at dealerships. But in reality, most auto repair shop mechanics cut their teeth working at dealerships before heading out on their own. It never hurts to check the credentials for mechanics at auto repair shops. But more often than not, you’ll find that they’re just as qualified, if not more qualified, than the mechanics at dealerships.

Work on more types of vehicles

Many dealerships specialize in working on just one or two types of vehicles. If you bring them something outside of their wheelhouse, they may not be able to work on it for you. They may also struggle to diagnose the specific issues that a car has with it. Independent auto repair shops can work on just about any vehicle. You won’t have to worry about the mechanics at one being unfamiliar with working on your car.

Try an independent auto repair shop out the next time you need repairs made to your vehicle. You’ll see the difference between working with an auto repair shop and working with a dealership right away. Preferred Automotive can set you up with a North Bethesda, MD mechanic and allow you to experience it for yourself. Give us a call at (301) 881-8530 today to arrange to have repairs made to your vehicle or bring your vehicle to 12356 Wilkins Ave, Rockville, MD 20852 to allow us to take a look at it.

4 Tips for Creating an Effective Budget for Auto Repair

If you own a car for long enough, there is going to come a time when you need to make an unexpected auto repair in Rockville, MD to it. Your water pump will go or your timing belt will snap and you’ll be forced to foot the bill for it. It’s all part of owning a car.

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This can present a problem for a lot of people, especially those who don’t have a small fortune saved in the bank. Studies have shown that the average American is unable to deal with a surprise $500 expense. Most people have to put that kind of expense onto a credit card, which means they end up paying way more than just $500 for it in the end.

You can steer clear of finding yourself in this kind of situation by budgeting for auto repairs. You know that they’re going to come up sooner or later, so why not be ready for them? Here are 4 tips for creating an effective budget for auto repair.

Keep track of your car-related expenses as soon as you buy a car.

From the moment you purchase a car, you should keep a close eye on every dollar that you spend on it. Specifically, you should keep receipts from any trips your car takes to a Rockville, MD auto repair shop. This will help you keep track of the maintenance and repairs you do to your car over time. But maybe more importantly, it’ll allow you to see how much you’re spending on car maintenance and repairs year in and year out. You can plan accordingly for these expenses when you know what to expect.

Look ahead at the recommended maintenance for your specific car.

Have you familiarized yourself with the owner’s manual for your car yet? If not, do it immediately. The manual will shed some light on when you should do certain types of maintenance on your vehicle. By doing this maintenance, you can prevent some problems from popping up. You can also prepare for other problems and know when to expect them. This could help you avoid getting caught off guard and hit with a huge repair bill.

Set aside a little bit of money every month for car repairs.

No matter how hard you work to maintain your vehicle, you know that it’s going to need to be repaired eventually. Put aside $50 or so every month so that you have a sinking fund you can use to pay for repair bills. You won’t feel stressed out when you experience car troubles anymore. Your sinking fund will be there to save you when your car conks out on you for whatever reason.

Want to have your car repaired without blowing your budget? Preferred Automotive can provide you with affordable prices for Rockville, MD car repairs. Reach out to us at (301) 881-8530 today to make an appointment with a mechanic or drive on down to 12356 Wilkins Ave, Rockville, MD 20852 to have us check out your car.

5 Types of Auto Repair You Shouldn’t Put Off for Too Long

There are certain types of auto repair in North Bethesda, MD that you can put off for a month or two if you really need to. If, for example, your car’s air conditioner isn’t blowing ice-cold air on you when you turn it on, you can have it fixed by a mechanic. But if you don’t do it, you’ll still be able to use your car without having to worry about putting your safety or health at risk.

There are some types of auto repair that absolutely need to be done in a timely fashion, though, to prevent further problems with your car. Let’s take a closer look at 5 types of auto repair you shouldn’t put off for any longer than you have to.

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Bad brakes

Are the brakes on your car making loud noises every time you drive? Or are you finding that you have to push down all the way on the brakes to get your car to slow down and stop? These are signs that you could be experiencing serious problems with your brakes, and you should not ignore them. If you drive around with bad brakes for too long, you could end up getting into an accident and putting other drivers and pedestrians at risk. Have your brakes repaired by a certified North Bethesda, MD mechanic right away.

Cracked windshield

Your windshield is a whole lot stronger and more durable than you might think. It can withstand almost anything that gets thrown at it when you’re out on the road. But in some instances, something as small as a tiny rock can cause a crack in your windshield. And when your windshield cracks, you shouldn’t delay having it fixed. A cracked windshield could put you and your passengers in danger if you’re ever involved in an accident. It could send shards of glass flying everywhere and cause injuries and even death. You’re advised to repair a cracked windshield as soon as you notice it.

Low oil level

Most cars need to have their oil changed once every three months or 3,000 miles. Some newer cars may be able to go longer than that, but you shouldn’t ever avoid changing the oil for six months or longer at a time. This can cause your oil level to get low and prevent your engine from getting the oil it needs to function normally. You could end up with a seized engine if you’re not diligent about having your oil changed and checking your oil level.

Failing timing belt

Is there a strange ticking sound coming from your engine? Is your engine misfiring all the time? Do you have oil leaking from in front of where your car’s motor is located? These are all indications that your timing belt might be going, and you should have it replaced sooner than later. When a timing belt snaps, it can cause bent valves, do damage to cylinder heads, and more. It’s good to prevent your timing belt from snapping at all costs by replacing it right away at the first sign of trouble.

Check engine light

Is the check engine light on in your car? Do not ignore it. Many people are afraid to take their car to an auto repair shop to see why their check engine light has come on. But you shouldn’t let fear stop you from doing it anyway. Fixing whatever caused the light to come on in the first place could save you a ton of time and money down the line.

Are you looking for a North Bethesda, MD auto repair shop to make an important repair to your vehicle? Preferred Automotive is the shop you can trust to take care of all your car repair needs. Contact us at (301) 881-8530 today to schedule a repair or come visit us at 12356 Wilkins Ave, Rockville, MD 20852 to see how we can help you.

What Happens During a Typical Tune-Up at an Auto Repair Shop?

Do you want to avoid having to do auto repair in North Bethesda, MD all the time? One easy way to prevent the need for auto repair is by having tune-ups done on a regular basis. Performing tune-ups can help you take preventative measures to keep your car up and running. It can also help you steer clear of repairs later on that could have been avoided. Here are some of the things that will take place during a typical tune-up on your car.

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Air filter is replaced

The air filter in your car has a very important job. It’s in charge of making sure that plenty of air is able to work its way to your engine. This air mixes with the fuel in your car to keep you moving. When your air filter gets dirty, though, too much fuel and not enough air runs through your engine. This can wear down some of the parts in your car over time and lead to costly repairs down the line. Simply replacing your air filter during a tune-up will eliminate the chances of this happening to you.

Spark plugs are cleaned or replaced

Spark plugs are small, but they have a huge responsibility when it comes to the overall operation of your car. They spring into action when you turn the key for your car and allow it to start right up by sending out a tiny spark of electricity. Your engine’s pistons won’t start moving unless the spark plugs in your car are doing their job, and during a tune-up, a North Bethesda, MD mechanic will make sure they’re doing just that. If they’re not, they will either clean the spark plugs to get them going again or replace them altogether.

Fuel filter is replaced

The fuel filter in your vehicle does exactly what its name would suggest. It keeps the fuel in your vehicle running to your engine as smoothly as it can. But over time, your fuel filter can go bad, and it can cause all sorts of issues. Your engine might have a lack of power or stall whenever you push it due to a bad fuel filter. You may also experience engine misfires more often when your fuel filter is on the fritz. You can have it replaced with a new fuel filter during a tune-up.

Distributor cap and rotor are replaced

Most casual drivers aren’t all that familiar with distributor caps and rotors, but much like the other auto parts mentioned here, they’re important to your vehicle. They take the voltage created by a car’s ignition coils and move it to the cylinder in an engine to help ignite fuel. During a tune-up, a mechanic will make sure distributor caps and rotors are working as they should, and they’ll replace them if they’re not.

Would you like to hear about some of the other services provided during a typical tune-up? Preferred Automotive can set you up with more information on tune-ups and tell you which specific services we provide at our North Bethesda, MD auto repair shop. Give us a call at (301) 881-8530 today to arrange a tune-up or come pay us a visit at 12356 Wilkins Ave Rockville, MD 20852.

4 Signs Your Vehicle Is in Need of a Transmission Flush

Most car manufacturers only recommend performing a transmission flush once every 30,000 to 60,000 miles or so. As a result, drivers don’t always think to ask their mechanics to flush their transmissions when they take their car in for auto repair in Rockville, MD. If it’s been awhile now since your last transmission flush, you might want to consider getting one done soon. Here are 4 signs that your vehicle is in desperate need of a transmission flush.

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Your transmission is making grinding sounds.

Anytime there are any grinding sounds coming out of your car, it’s not a good thing. It usually means that you need to have some kind of services performed on it at a Rockville, MD auto repair shop. You should be especially cautious about driving around in a car that has grinding sounds coming from its transmission. It means there is something going on with it. Bring your car in for a transmission flush and other transmission services right away so that you don’t further complicate matters with your car.

Your gears aren’t shifting smoothly.

Regardless of whether you have a manual or automatic transmission in your vehicle, it should allow you to switch gears effortlessly when you want to drive faster or slower. If you find that your gears aren’t shifting as smoothly as you might want them to, it’s usually a sign of a transmission issue. The last thing you want is to continue driving a car in this condition since it could put you and other drivers at risk. It could also lead to more serious transmission problems.

Your gears are slipping when you’re driving.

Are you having a tough time getting your car into a certain gear? Gears will usually start to slip when you’re driving when your transmission fluid is on the lower side. To bring it back up to speed, you’ll need to visit an auto repair shop to have a transmission flush done. During your flush, a mechanic will add fresh transmission fluid to your vehicle and check for any leaks that might be causing transmission fluid to run out.

Your car is taking longer than usual to accelerate.

When you press on your car’s accelerator, you expect it to start moving forward. But unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen in cars with transmission problems. These cars will typically take a few seconds to get going, which can be very frustrating when you’re trying to pick up speed on the highway or even just start moving after sitting at a red light. Having a transmission flush done could make it easier to accelerate from now on.

If you’ve been putting off having a transmission flush done, a Rockville, MD mechanic from Preferred Automotive can get the job done for you. We can get rid of your old transmission fluid and replace it with new transmission fluid to make your vehicle run better. Call us at (301) 881-8530 today to schedule an appointment or bring your car down to 12356 Wilkins Ave Rockville, MD 20852.