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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.

auto repair North Bethesda, MD

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.

auto repair shop in Rockville, MD

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.

auto repair in North Bethesda, MD

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.

auto repair North Bethesda, MD
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.

auto repair in Rockville, MD

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.

5 Tips for Getting Your Car Ready for the Start of Summer

The last thing you want to do this summer is get stuck inside because your car is in the shop being repaired. So before the summer officially gets underway, consider doing whatever you can to get it ready for the season. You should, of course, wash your car early and often in the spring and summer to keep it looking its best. But don’t stop there! Have a Rockville, MD auto repair shop take a look at it, too, to ensure it’s in tip-top condition. Here are 5 tips to prepare your car for summer.

Rockville, MD auto repair shop

Check the air pressure in your tires.

Chances are, you’re going to be spending a lot of time out on the road once the summer starts. It’s important for your car to get the best gas mileage possible to prevent you from overspending at the pump. One easy way to improve your car’s fuel efficiency is by putting a little air in the tires to bring the tire pressure up to the recommended amount. It’ll allow your car to get better gas mileage than before.

Add thicker oil to it during an oil change.

During the summer months, it’s important to use a thicker oil in your car to combat the heat. Therefore, it’s usually a good idea to get an oil change in May or June and ask your mechanic in Rockville, MD to use the right kind of oil in your car. You can go back to using a thinner oil once the fall and winter roll back around.

Take a look at your coolant level.

Coolant plays an important role in your car in both the winter and the summer. It prevents your radiator from getting too cold or too hot. You should keep a close eye on your coolant level at all times of the year, but you should pay close attention to it near the beginning of the summer. You might even want to consider doing a coolant flush to replace your old coolant with a fresh supply.

Consider replacing your brakes.

Does it feel like you have to put some extra oomph into it when you press down on your brakes to get your car to stop? Or are your brakes starting to make strange sounds when you’re driving down the road? These are both signs that your brakes may need to be replaced with new ones. A mechanic can inspect your brakes and let you know if it’s time for new brake pads or rotors.

Service your A/C system.

You’re not going to make it through an entire Maryland summer driving around with no A/C. If your car isn’t blowing out cold air anymore, it’s time to take it to a mechanic to have your A/C serviced. You may even want to think about servicing it even if there is still cold air coming out of your vents. This will help you avoid having your A/C system break down on you in the middle of a hot summer day.

Preferred Automotive can help you get your car ready for the hot summer months. We can perform an oil change for you, service your A/C system, and make other auto repairs in Rockville, MD. Reach out to us at (301) 881-8530 today to schedule a time to bring your car in for service or drive down to 12356 Wilkins Ave., Rockville, MD 20852 for assistance.

How You’ll Know an Auto Repair Shop Isn’t Right for You

No matter how hard you work to maintain your car, there is going to come a time when you’re going to need to take it to an auto repair shop in Rockville. A problem with your brakes, your tires, or, heaven forbid, your engine will pop up, and you’ll need to have a mechanic take a look at it. It’s important for you to have a repair shop you trust on your side.

Don’t assume that an auto repair ship is going to be right for you simply because it’s located around the corner from your house or is owned by a guy you went to high school with 20 years ago. Instead, do your homework and find a repair shop that will give you access to great services at the right price every time you bring your car in to have something done. Here are a few ways you’ll know an auto repair shop is not right for you.

Rockville, MD mechanic

They don’t give you a warm welcome.

When you call a Rockville repair shop or stop in to see them in person, they should go out of their way to make you feel comfortable. That means greeting you warmly and asking how they can help you before listening to your problem. There are some auto repair shops that will barely say hello to you when you call or stop in. Those aren’t the kinds of repair shops you want or need. You need a shop that’ll make you feel like you’re a part of their family when you reach out to them.

They make you feel stupid.

When you need to have repairs made to your car, a good mechanic should take the time to explain them to you in detail so that you know what the issue is with your vehicle. They should not say things like, “When is the last time you serviced your transmission? It looks like it’s in terrible shape!” All that’s going to do is make you feel stupid and small. Make sure an auto repair shop doesn’t ever make you feel that way.

They take their time when they have your car.

There are some car repairs that are going to take a few days to finish. There are even some instances in which auto repair shops will need to keep a car for a week or two to get to the bottom of an issue. But generally speaking, good auto repair shops should go out of their way to get your car back to you as soon as possible. If your repair shop constantly drags their feet, it’s time to find a new shop to service and repair your car.

They seem to charge you too much.

Does it seem like your auto repair shop is ripping you off when they make repairs to your car? Use the internet to see the average cost for the most recent repairs that you had made. If your shop is charging way more than what most other shops are, there could be a reason for it. They may, for example, have more skilled technicians working on cars, which would explain the price hike. But there is also a chance they may just be charging you too much because they know that you don’t know any better. You shouldn’t stand for that type of treatment.

At Preferred Automotive, we work hard to make sure that we treat all of our customers with the respect they deserve. We also encourage our Rockville mechanics to go out of their way to be courteous and kind to customers. Call us at (301) 881-8530 today to hear about what sets us apart from other repair shops or come see for yourself by bringing your car to 12356 Wilkins Ave., Rockville, MD 20852.

4 Signs It’s Time to Have an Auto Repair Shop Look at Your Brakes

Does it feel like you have to press down on your car’s brakes harder than usual to bring your car to a complete stop? It could mean that your brakes are on their way out. You should take your car to an auto repair shop in Rockville, MD as quickly as you can to have them looked at. And that’s not the only sign that your brakes might need to be inspected and replaced, either. Here are 4 other signs that’ll let you know you should have a mechanic take a look at your brakes.

auto repair shop in Rockville, MD
Your brakes are making strange sounds.

When your car’s brakes are on their way out, they’ll usually make plenty of strange sounds to let you know about it. More often than not, brakes will begin to squeal, squeak, and even grind when they’re starting to go bad. Don’t ignore these sounds! This is your car’s way of talking to you and letting you know that there is an issue that needs to be addressed. The only way to stop the sounds is by having a Rockville, MD mechanic check out your brakes to see why they’re suddenly so noisy.

Your brakes seem to be leaking fluid.

Is there a puddle of fluid underneath your car every time you park it? The fluid could be coming from any number of places. But if it appears to be located in the general area of your brakes, it likely means that brake fluid is leaking. This is another issue that you don’t want to ignore for too long. If you drive around without brake fluid in your car, it can hinder your car’s ability to brake and put you and others out on the road in danger.

Your brakes smell like they’re burning.

Any time your car smells like there is something burning, it usually means that there are at least two things rubbing together that shouldn’t be coming into contact with one another. Walk around the outside of your car and see if you can pinpoint where the smell is originating from. If it seems to be coming from your tires, your brakes could be to blame for the burning smell. Your brake pads or rotors may need to be replaced in order to stop your brakes from producing the smell.

Your brake light just came on.

Did the brake light in your car just pop on? This typically happens when you don’t have enough brake fluid in your car. But it could also be indicative of another problem with your brakes. Whatever the case, you shouldn’t turn a blind eye to your brake light and drive around for too long with it on. You could potentially make the problem with your brakes worse and be forced to make more costly repairs to your car later.

Driving around with brakes that aren’t working properly isn’t just inconvenient. It could also put your life in jeopardy in some cases. Let Preferred Automotive provide you with Rockville, MD auto repair to get your brakes working the way they should again. Contact us at (301) 881-8530 today or stop by 12356 Wilkins Ave., Rockville, MD 20852 to have your brakes serviced.

Why You Should Have an Auto Repair Shop Service Your Car’s A/C

The temperatures are finally starting to heat back up again in Maryland after another long winter. And you know what that means, right? It’s only a matter of time before you’re going to have to start using the A/C in your car again, if you haven’t already. Before you do, you should consider taking it to a shop that specializes in auto repair in Rockville, MD to have your car’s A/C serviced.

The A/C in your car might be working just fine at the moment. It might be blowing plenty of cold air and keeping your car nice and cool. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you shouldn’t have your car’s A/C serviced anyway before the temperatures really start heating up. Here is why you should have A/C services performed before the summer starts.

auto repair in Rockville, MD

Recharges your A/C system

The air that’s coming out of your car’s vents right now might be cold. But that doesn’t mean that your car’s A/C system is fully charged up. Your A/C system can still create cold air after losing some of its charge, but that obviously won’t last forever. When you bring your car to a Rockville, MD auto repair shop, they’ll give it the charge that it needs and make sure it continues creating cold air for months and even years to come.

Prevents oil and moisture from building up in your A/C system

Over time, oil and moisture can build up in your car’s A/C system and cause problems if you’re not careful. When A/C services are performed on it, any oil and moisture that has been trapped in the system will be removed along with the refrigerant that’s in it. Refrigerant will then be placed back into your A/C system minus the oil and moisture to make sure they don’t cause any issues down the line.

Takes very little time

Some people worry about having to turn the keys to their car over for an extended period of time to have their A/C systems serviced. But the truth is that it doesn’t take much time at all. Often times, you can have your car’s A/C system serviced while you wait. It doesn’t usually cost much to have an A/C serviced, either, even though it could save you from having to make much costlier repairs to your A/C system later.

Helps you avoid having your A/C stop working in the middle of the summer

There is almost nothing worse than climbing behind the wheel of your car on a hot summer day, turning the A/C on, and realizing that it doesn’t work. It’ll leave you sitting in a pool of sweat by the time you reach your final destination, even if that destination is just a few miles away. On especially warm days, your car might actually be useless because of your broken A/C system. It’s best to avoid finding yourself in this scenario by servicing your A/C system before it reaches this point.

Would you like to have your car’s A/C system serviced this spring before it begins to get extra hot outside? A Rockville, MD mechanic from Preferred Automotive would be happy to take a look at your A/C system and perform the proper services to it. Call us at (301) 881-8530 today or visit 12356 Wilkins Ave., Rockville, MD 20852 to schedule A/C services.

4 Simple Tips to Help You Maintain Your Vehicle This Spring

A long Maryland winter can really take a big toll on a vehicle. Even if you managed to keep your car in a garage for most of the winter, it’s still probably covered in salt that was put down on the roads to melt snow and ice. Make sure you wash it down real good to remove any salt that’s still stuck to it. And make sure you perform the proper maintenance on it as well with help from a Rockville, MD auto repair shop. Here are 4 tips for maintaining your vehicle this spring.

Rockville, MD auto repair shop

Start by doing an oil change.

Once the winter is pretty much over, you should always make it a point to have an oil change done on your vehicle, especially if you’re planning on driving it a lot in the spring. During the oil change, you should also ask your mechanic to check the levels of all your various fluids. If you’re low on anything, you should top your fluid levels off to ensure that you don’t run out of any of them once the weather starts to heat up.

Check the air pressure in your tires and rotate your tires as well.

It’s not uncommon for tires to lose a lot of their air pressure when the weather starts to change in the spring. You might even find that your air pressure alert will come on in your car to let you know that you need to add air to your tires. But even if that doesn’t happen, you should still make an effort to check your air pressure and add air accordingly. You should also consider rotating your tires in the spring so that they wear evenly.

Replace your windshield wipers.

You should get into the habit of replacing your car’s windshield wipers about once every six months to a year. Many car owners choose to do it in the spring since the winter can cause their windshield wipers to get very brittle and wear out. You’re likely going to be using your wipers early and often thanks to the spring showers in your area. Replacing your wipers will guarantee that you don’t have to deal with streaky windshields all spring long.

Inspect your brakes, your alignment, and your suspension.

In a perfect world, you won’t need to replace your car’s brakes or have the alignment or suspension adjusted. But there is a chance you might need to make one or even all of these auto repairs in Rockville, MD at the start of the spring. It never hurts to have your brakes, alignment, and suspension looked at just to see if there are any problems with them. You can usually have the inspection done when you bring your car in for an oil change.

Do you need help maintaining your vehicle this spring? Allow Preferred Automotive to provide you with a reliable mechanic in Rockville, MD. We can check out your car and take the right maintenance steps to keep it up and running all spring and summer long. Make an appointment by calling (301) 881-8530 today before bringing your car to 12356 Wilkins Ave., Rockville, MD 20852.