Ask Logan

My name is Logan. I come from a family of Gearheads! I’ve been around cars my whole life. My Abuelo (Grandpa) has a mechanic shop in Orlando. I go there to help from time to time when they are really busy and need an extra hand. We fix cars from Orlando and far regions like Winter Park, Dr. Phillips, Lake Nona, Oviedo, and Windermere just to name a few. (I’m kinda short so everything seems far to me) When I am at the shop I get all kinds of questions so I told Abuelo to set up a page for me to answer them (I don’t speak too well yet so I prefer writing). Don’t forget that some answers are my humble opinion based on over 20 years Abuelo has working on cars.

Here are a few of the questions and the answers I came up with:*

Q. Does my Volkswagen or Audi have timing chain or belt?

A. Well, your car could have both. Some engines like the 1.8T have a belt in the front and a small chain in the back to run the camshafts. The belt in the front must be changed at times. If you don’t change it and it breaks, well, you kinda bought an engine. Just ask my uncle Alex. This was how he got his first car; the previous owner kept waiting and the belt broke. Oh, boy that was bad! The head had to be removed and valves were bent. It took a long time and money to fix.

Q. What service does my BMW need?

A. This one is tricky. BMW cars and SUVs can tell you what they need! Simple, right? NOT! Most shops will reset the memory of the system to get rid of the service message. When they do that, they can erase things that were not done like spark-plugs or brake flushes. We take the car year and miles and figure what must be done. If the customer knows when a particular service was done, we record it in Abuelo’s computer. After we catch up with everything, then we can listen to the car. It takes work but we don’t mind. Like I said, when they are busy I come to the rescue!

Q. Why you charge so much for alignments?

A. Good question. If you are familiar with our promise of “Dealer Quality Service at a Friendly Price” you will understand after I explain. I see the guys doing the alignment and taking a long time. I said to Abuelo, “they are not priced well and they take too long!” He smiled and explained; “There are two kinds of alignments: fast, cheap, and bad or slow, fair, and good.” While our technicians take their time, they are adjusting something called caster, camber, and toe in the front and rear wheels. I see them pull out all kinds of weird tools and do what it takes until they give a thumb up! (I guess that’s good). Abuelo told me of some places that do something called “toe and go.” This is bad. They just get the steering wheel straight and give the car back. I asked him, what’s wrong with that? He said that after a while the tires wear badly and the customer ends up buying new tires earlier. He showed me some papers that were so cool. The papers have numbers in read that indicate the measurements of the car prior to being fixed and green numbers that indicate the new measurements afterwards. He also said to tell you to look at our alignment page to understand what he meant.

Q. What is a brake flush and why should I have it done to my ride?

A. I know this one. Brake fluid is hydroscopic (Abuelo had to type this word). Simple answer, it attracts the water in the air. Water and metal do not get along. I know this because my bubble machine at home got rusted! So, to remove the water you must change the fluid! If not, just like my bubble machine, some brake parts will corrode and need to be replaced. Trust me. Not having a bubble machine for a week was bad!

Q. What is a Mercedes-Benz flex service?

A. Mercedes-Benz has made a mess of the service schedule with letters and number. So here are my 50 cents (Abuelo is always saying that): Use your owner’s manual! At DSA we look up the maintenance by time and miles and do the service like Mercedes-Benz says. Same goes for all other cars. Do what the factory says and the car runs for a long time!

Q. Does a BMW transmission need services? I’ve heard they are lifetime fill.

A. I heard Abuelo tell a customer that the yellow transmission warning on their Bimmer was due to a code that said the fluid was old and dirty! Then I asked why? “Well,” he said, “we recommend the transmission to be serviced between every 60 to 80,000 miles. We see transmission issues all the time that could have been prevented if serviced on time. They also leak from the plastic oil pan around that time and running low on fluid is very bad”. He replaces valve-bodies all the time for “sticking” valves and solenoid problems. Well, you decide: Service now or repair later!

Q. Why should I only put factory coolant in my car?

A. Chemistry is a long way for me, but I was told that new cars have different metals and seals in them. The wrong coolant can make the engine deteriorate and the seals leak. But because it can take a long time to mess up the engine, people don’t see it as being caused by the wrong coolant. Abuelo and his staff always look up what fluids to use to keep your car running well.

Q. Why is important to get rid of the check engine light?

A. People always ask me this silly question. When some hurts you, you go to the doctor, right? Do the same for you car. I may be a simple thing like fixing an air leak or as bad as the transmission going bad! I know every time Grandpa says the transmission went (I don’t know where it goes), its bad. People get upset because they lost the transmission and I guess it cost a lost to find it. But they get really upset when they hear that waiting to check the “check engine light” caused the transmission to go away. Once I heard him stelling the guy with the Volkswagen; “If you have come by sooner we could have fixed the small leak and your transmission would be OK” Don’t tell him I told you but I think he drove the car with the check engine for a little too long. Now Grandpa is looking for the transmission because “it went”.