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GENERAL MAINTENANCE

Working Hours
  • Mon 7:30AM - 5:30PM
    Tue 7:30AM - 5:30PM
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    Thu 7:30AM - 5:30PM
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GENERAL MAINTENANCE

It's Time for the 21st Century Tune-up

Times are changing...cars are changing. One of the biggest changes in today's automotive industry is the perception of a "tune-up." Ask 10 vehicle owners their definition of a tune-up and chances are there'll be 10 different answers. The classic "tune-up" was once the heart of the automotive business and contrary to some beliefs; today's modern vehicles still need tune-ups to keep them performing at the most efficient levels.

The tune-up was historically associated with the routine replacement of key ignition system parts like spark plugs and ignition points, along with some basic adjustments to help "tune" the engine. Mounting pressure for increased fuel economy and lower emissions drove the car manufacturers to adopt electronics and to do away with ignition points in the '70s, along with the carburetor in the middle '80s. This eliminated the need for the replacement and adjustment of a growing number of ignition and fuel system parts.

As the pace of technology quickened, the procedures required to perform a traditional tune-up changed dramatically. Highly sophisticated ignition and fuel systems are now the norm, using one or more onboard computers to control critical engine and transmission management functions. Things that were once handled mechanically are now controlled electronically through the widespread use of onboard computer technology.

Because vehicles have changed so much over the years, the Car Care Council has introduced the 21st Century Tune-up. This program is designed to help re-define and educate motorists as to what a tune-up should consist of on today's modern vehicles.

"There is a misconception that today's modern vehicles don't need tune-ups because they never break down, but that simply is not true," said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. "If you're at work and your computer goes down, you can't get any more work done. It's the same with your vehicle. If the vehicle isn't being properly maintained, you're not going to get where you want to go."

As part of the 21st Century Tune-up on today's modern vehicles, the following systems should be inspected:

  • Battery, charging and starting
  • Engine mechanical
  • Powertrain control (including onboard diagnostic checks)
  • Fuel
  • Ignition
  • Emissions

Vehicle owners ask for tune-ups for a variety of reasons, including improving performance, maintaining reliability, planning a vacation, preparing for winter/summer or because they're giving the car to a friend or family member.

To help ensure good performance, fuel economy and emissions, the Car Care Council also recommends that motorists take the time necessary to become familiar with their vehicle from every aspect. Study the owner's manual to become thoroughly acquainted with the operation of all systems. Pay special attention to the indicator lights and instruments.

Getting Your Vehicle Ready for Winter

Mechanical failure—an inconvenience anytime it occurs--can be deadly in the winter. Preventive maintenance is a must. Besides, a well-maintained vehicle is more enjoyable to drive, lasts longer, and could command a higher resale price.

Some of the following tips can be performed by any do-it-yourselfer; others require the skilled hands of a professional auto technician.

  • Engine Performance - Get engine drivability problems (hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.) corrected at a good repair shop. Cold weather makes existing problems worse. Replace dirty filters-air, fuel, etc.
  • Fuel - Put a bottle of fuel de-icer in your tank once a month to help keep moisture from freezing in the fuel line. Note that a full gas tank helps keep moisture from forming.
  • Oil - Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual—more often (every 3,000 miles) if your driving is mostly stop-and-go or consists of frequent short trips.
  • Cooling Systems - The cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled about every 24 months. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. (A 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is usually recommended.) DIYers, never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled! The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses should be checked by a pro.
  • Windshield Wipers - Replace old blades. If your climate is harsh, purchase rubber-clad (winter) blades to fight ice build-up. Stock up on windshield washer solvent-you'll be surprised how much you use. Carry an ice-scraper.
  • Heater/Defroster - The heater and defroster must be in good working condition for passenger comfort and driver visibility. Newer models have a cabin air filter that should be replaced periodically. Check your owner's manual for the location and replacement interval.
  • Battery - The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment. Routine care: Scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections; clean all surfaces; re-tighten all connections. If battery caps are removable, check fluid level monthly. Avoid contact with corrosive deposits and battery acid. Wear eye protection and rubber gloves.
  • Lights - Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs; periodically clean road grime from all lenses. To prevent scratching, never use a dry rag.
  • Exhaust System - Your vehicle should be placed on a lift and the exhaust system examined for leaks. The trunk and floor boards should be inspected for small holes. Exhaust fumes can be deadly.
  • Tires - Worn tires will be of little use in winter weather. Examine tires for remaining tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. Check tire pressures once a month. Check the tires when they are cold, before driving for any distance. Rotate as recommended. Don't forget your spare, and be sure the jack is in good condition.
  • Carry emergency gear: gloves, boots, blankets, flares, a small shovel, sand or kitty litter, tire chains, and a flash light. Put a few "high-energy" snacks in your glove box.

Getting Your Vehicle Ready For Summer

Summer's heat, dust, and stop-and-go traffic, will take their toll on your vehicle. Add the effects of last winter, and you could be poised for a breakdown. You can lessen the odds of mechanical failure through periodic maintenance. . . Your vehicle should last longer and command a higher resale price, too!

Some of the following tips are easy to do; others require a skilled auto technician.

  • Air Conditioning - A marginally operating system will fail in hot weather. Have the system examined by a qualified technician. Newer models have cabin air filters that clean the air entering the heating and air conditioning system. Check your owner's manual for location and replacement interval.
  • Cooling System - The greatest cause of summer breakdowns is overheating. The cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled about every 24 months. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. (A 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is usually recommended.) DIYers, never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled! The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses should be checked by a pro.
  • Oil - Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual-more often (every 3,000 miles) if you make frequent short jaunts, extended trips with lots of luggage, or tow a trailer.
  • Engine Performance - Replace other filters (air, fuel, PCV, etc.) as recommended-more often in dusty conditions. Get engine drivability problems (hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.) corrected at a good shop.
  • Windshield Wipers - A dirty windshield causes eye fatigue and can pose a safety hazard. Replace worn blades and get plenty of windshield washer solvent.
  • Lights - Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs; periodically clean dirt and insects from all lenses. To prevent scratching, never use a dry rag.
  • Tires - Have your tires rotated about every 5,000 miles. Check tire pressures once a month; check them while they're cold before driving for any distance. Don't forget to check your spare as well and be sure the jack is in good condition. Examine tires for tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. An alignment is warranted if there's uneven tread wear or if your vehicle pulls to one side.
  • Brakes - Brakes should be inspected as recommended in your manual, or sooner if you notice pulsations, grabbing, noises, or longer stopping distance. Minor brake problems should be corrected promptly.
  • Battery - Batteries can fail any time of year. The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment. Routine care: Scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections; clean all surfaces; re-tighten all connections. If battery caps are removable, check the fluid level monthly. Avoid contact with corrosive deposits and battery acid. Wear eye protection and rubber gloves.
  • Emergencies - Carry some basic tools-ask a technician for suggestions. Also include a first aid kit, flares, and a flashlight. Consider buying a cellular phone.

Keeping Your Vehicle in Tune with the Environment

Car care is definitely a win-win situation. Besides helping the environment, a properly maintained and operated vehicle will run more efficiently, will be safer, and will last longer-up to 50% longer, according to a survey of ASE-certified Master Auto Technicians. The following tips should put you on the road to environmentally conscious car care.

  • Keep your engine tuned. A misfiring spark plug can reduce fuel efficiency as much as 30%. Follow the service schedules listed in your owner's manual. Replace filters and fluids as recommended.
  • Check your tires for proper inflation. Under inflation wastes fuel-your engine has to work harder to push the vehicle. Wheels that are out-of-line (as evidenced by uneven tread wear or vehicle pulling) make the engine work harder, too. Properly maintained tires will last longer, meaning fewer scrap tires have to be disposed.
  • Keep your air conditioner in top condition and have it serviced only by a technician certified competent to handle/recycle refrigerants. Air conditioners contain CFCs-gases that have been implicated in the depletion of the ozone layer. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, almost one third of the CFCs released into the atmosphere come from mobile air conditioners; some simply leaks out, but the majority escapes during service and repair-so it's important to choose a qualified technician.
  • Do-it-yourselfers: dispose of used motor oil, anti-freeze/coolant, tires, and old batteries properly. Many repair facilities accept these items. Or call your local municipal or county government for recycling sites. Never dump used oil or anti-freeze on the ground or in open streams.
  • Observe speed limits. Mileage decreases sharply above 55 mph.
  • Drive gently. Avoid sudden accelerations and jerky stop-and-go's. Use cruise-control on open highways to keep your speed as steady as possible.
  • Avoid excessive idling. Shut off the engine while waiting for friends and family. Today's vehicles are designed to "warm up" fast, so forget about those five-minute warm ups on cold winter mornings.
  • Remove excess items from the vehicle. Less weight means better mileage. Store luggage/ cargo in the trunk rather than on the roof to reduce air drag.
  • Plan trips. Consolidate your daily errands to eliminate unnecessary driving. Try to travel when traffic is light to avoid stop-and-go conditions. Join a car pool.

Remember, how your car runs, how you drive it, and how its fluids, old parts, and tires are disposed of all have serious consequences on the environment.

What People Say About Us


  • -Monika Robinson

    Wonderful service. Friendly, professional, quick.


  • -Jodi Ximiness

    I am very pleased with ACAR. Personable and honest!


  • -Kaitlyn A.

    Thank you so much for getting the paint off of my car. That was so nice of you and you have no idea how much it meant to me! Thanks again!


  • -Alicia

    Thank you for all your kindness. The truck is fine. Thank you for your help it was truly a blessing. I pray that God will bless you back for all your help.


  • -Doris

    It means a lot to me to have found someone who is honest & cares about what the customer feels. As I told you, I was taken advantage of more than once because of what I didn't know. You took the time to explain the problem without giving me a lot of double talk.


  • -Jane

    Thank you for helping a home sick heart heavy gal. I'm sorry I haven't been able to send this sooner, but my husband has taken a turn for the worse. Thank you once again.


  • -Cindy L.

    I just wanted to express my thanks for all your help & advice the other day. You really went above & beyond for me & I really appreciate it! Your kindness is greatly appreciated & I couldn't be happier with you as my mechanic!


  • -Bill D.

    I moved here in 1977 and soon connected with you as the guru in Hondaville! Thanks for doing excellent work on my and everyone's cars! Otherwise, why would I drive 70+ miles to have my car lovingly and professionally cared for? Thanks again!


  • -The Monmouth Family

    Thanks for the 10 years of service and advice! Your honesty, integrity, and excellent customer service are priceless!


  • -Rick

    To Al and Rod & the rest of your amazing staff, thanks for all your good work & rides when I needed them! Wishing you all a Merry Christmas!


  • -Kay

    I just wanted to take a moment to say THANK YOU to you and your team for looking at my car & clearing the code. I know it was an easy thing for you but it meant a lot. Best to you & your team!


  • -Greg D.

    Just a note to say thank you to you and your wonderful people for helping me keep my old Jeep on the road. Peter and I are so appreciative for all you do. We know we can always count on you to find the problem and fix it. Again, Al, thanks.


  • -Oliva O.

    Referred to Al's from my extended warranty. Drove an hour over from the coast. Excellent customer service!!! Truly accommodating and customer oriented at the front desk. Al himself was even there. I appreciate an owner on premises, it says so much for the company. The boys behind the wall had my car fixed fast. Best of both worlds. I would recommend them any day.


  • -Becky A.

    Thanks for the great service. I am so glad I found you guys last year. Always a pleasure dealing with John. The service is great. The mechanics are knowledgeable. Great customer service. Thanks to all. See you again I am sure!


  • -Joseph C.

    Al's C.A.R. is great. My car broke down and they got me in for repair immediately. Every step of the process was clearly explained, and the work done was impeccable too. Highly recommend.


  • -Kyle M.

    ...I was stranded in Augusta with a nonfunctional vehicle and a large bag of perishable groceries, in 90-degree heat. After stowing my groceries in his refrigerator, Al figured out a game plan for fitting my car into the repair schedule AND getting me home. Then he and his wife DELIVERED my repaired car the next evening after they closed the shop, as I had no way to get back to Augusta to pick it up. His prices were in line with other garages, but the service/attention was unlike anything I have ever experienced. From now on, Al's is my go-to for auto repair. They will treat you well!!!


  • -Neil S.

    Al went the extra mile to help us out. He stayed late and made sure we had a safe vehicle to drive. His employees were very courteous and did such a good job. I highly recommend Al's Certified Auto Repair because they do a great job and they are great people.


  • -Howard J.

    The Al's Certified Auto Repair is one of the most largehearted group of people I have ever met. Along our route for the Hemmings Great Race 2018 they kept the doors open to make sure our car was running the way it was made in 1952. We were experiencing a handful of issues all of which were quickly diagnosed, resolved and tested. It's places like this that really remind myself and our team that good people still exist. We come from New York City and Connecticut where you'd be lucky if someone stuck around late or even took the care to look for other issues. I would highly recommend Al's to anyone in need of auto repair.


  • -Keith K.

    ...Unfortunately while traveling, my Yukon experienced a lack of power. I googled auto repair in Augusta and found ACAR. I knew they couldn't fit me in right away, but was pleased that they worked with me. Within an hour they had it diagnosed and called with an estimate...They kept me informed, squeezed me in, and very professionally took care of me. I met the owner Al, What a great guy!...Al's Certified went above and beyond, and the prices were VERY reasonable...Thanks to your team for taking such good care of a stranger. I can only imagine how good they take of their regular customers!


  • -William S.

    Al's helped us out in a pinch by keeping us motoring safely and happily. Great customer service, knowledge and professionalism. He stayed late and took the extra steps to make sure everything was right before we left. Can't say enough about how he was able to solve several issues quickly and permanently. Thank you!


  • -Andrew W.

    Went to Al's a while back. Needed some help. They were great to work with. Very friendly and helpful, explained everything to me. They have a great warranty, which was really nice. The shop is nice, clean, and inviting. Got to talk to Al himself, what a great guy! I was very satisfied with my visit. If I lived closer I would come back every time. Thanks guys!


  • -Monika Robinson

    Wonderful service. Friendly, professional, quick.

Call us for service: 207-622-4747

ASE (Automotive Service Excellence)
IDENTIFIX
IATN (International Automotive Technicians' Network)
AAA Approved Auto Repair
ASE Master Technician
AutoWares - Auto Value - CSC