Should You Buy a Used Car Battery?

used car batteryYou can purchase a used car battery at a junkyard or salvage yard. It is certainly cheaper than a new one. However, is this a good idea? How reliable is a used battery? Should you err on the side of caution and spend a little more for a new one? This is especially a pertinent question with respect to VW and Audi models.

The Truth About Used Car Batteries

We can’t say that you should never purchase a used car battery. We do, however, recommend buying a brand-new replacement to avoid the battery’s dying just months down the road. Nevertheless, we know that some people on a tight budget will opt for a used battery. If you decide to go this route, then be mindful of the pointers below.

Know the Battery’s Age

Look up the date stamp on the battery. The date isn’t written in the typical format. The stamp includes a letter followed by two digits. The letter ranges from A to L and indicates the month. A is for January, B is for February, and so on. The two digits indicate the year. A code like E15 means the battery was manufactured in May, 2015. We suggest a battery no more than 12 months old. Continue Reading →

Four Top Summer Destinations in Washington State

summer destinationsWith the summer comes long vacation road trips. If you do not wish to travel across state lines, you can remain right here. This state is home to various scenic wonders and popular tourist hotspots. Travel within the state and enjoy the sun with these summer destinations in Washington.

1. Olympic National Park

The Olympic National Park encompasses most of the Olympic Peninsula and includes popular coastal areas like Rialto and Ruby Beach. If you prefer forested scenery, then plan for the park’s Hoh Rain Forest. Serious hikers can ascend the forest’s 13-mile trail to Blue Glacier.

2. San Juan Islands

Washington is also known for its many islands located in the northern section of Puget Sound. These are known as the San Juan Islands; and the four largest ones are accessible by ferry. Each has its own attractions consisting of restaurants, parks, and galleries. Continue Reading →

Why Are Some Auto Repairs Higher Than the Estimate?

auto repair estimateMany customers have asked us why auto repairs sometimes end up higher than the initial estimate. Is this due to an unethical mechanic trying to squeeze every nickel and dime out of customers? Why are some auto repairs higher than the estimate?

Am I Being Swindled?

Is the mechanic trying to rip you off? Sadly, this may be the case in some instances. Unethical workers exist in the auto repair industry. This may even be so in niche-specific areas like VW and Audi repairs where customers may be less knowledgeable about German automobiles.

However, repair invoices that exceed the original estimate may also be due to other factors beyond the technician’s control. We advise customers not to automatically think the worst when their invoice reveals a higher cost. Continue Reading →

Best German Cars for Pet Owners

German cars for pet owners, German pet carsCommuting with a furry companion can be a joy as well as a hassle. Some cars are more well suited for travelling with a pet than others. We examine the top German cars for pet owners. Some VW and Audi models can easily accommodate a four-legged passenger.

Best Audi Cars

For small to medium breeds, hatchbacks like the A4 and A5 allow your canine to hop in with ease. Owners with large breed dogs should consider the Q series, such as the Q5, Q7, and Q8. Their larger capacity also makes it easier for pet owners to accommodate a pet crate.

We should also point out that most Audi cars come with leather upholstery. This is a plus because it’s easier to vacuum up fur and pet dander. On the other hand, dog claws can easily scratch the leather. Continue Reading →

Standard Mileage Vs Actual Expense: Which Is Better?

standard mileage, actual expenseTax time is here. Did you know you can deduct car-related expenses on your taxes if you use your vehicle for work-related errands? For VW and Audi owners, you might be able to deduct overhead costs like maintenance and gas. To take advantage of the write-off, you have two options: standard mileage and actual expense.

Standard Mileage

The standard mileage deduction is the simpler and more common of the two options. To determine deductions, simply multiply the total miles driven by the standard mileage rate (SMR). As of the first half of 2019, the SMR is 58 cents per mile. The rate, however, frequently changes. With standard mileage, you usually cannot deduct actual auto expenses, such as repairs. Continue Reading →

Beware of a Camshaft Tensioner Leak

camshaft tensioner leak, camshaft leak, camshaft tensionerMost VW and Audi models have a camshaft tensioner that uses pressurized hydraulic oil to keep the timing belt running. An oil leak in this area will lead to accelerated engine wear. We’ll show you how to recognize the signs of a camshaft tensioner leak.

What Is a Camshaft Tensioner?

As suggested in its name, a tensioner ensures the various belts—mainly the timing and serpentine belts—remain tight with the proper tension. The hydraulic oil that maintains this tension can seep out of the tensioner. When it does the associated engine belts become loose. Continue Reading →

Should You Drive on an Empty Gas Tank?

empty gas tank, fuel warning lightAs a rule of thumb, you should always fill your gas tank when the meter hits the one-fourth level. If you miss this marker, pay attention when the fuel warning light comes on! Driving on an empty gas tank is not only dangerous, it’s also bad for the car. We explain why you should never let your VW or Audi reach near-empty fuel levels.

Why Is Driving on an Empty Gas Tank Bad?

Safety is a primary concern. It’s dangerous when your car comes to a halt in the middle of the road. Besides the safety element, you can also seriously damage the vehicle’s fuel pump. When gas is low, the pump sucks the remaining fuel from the bottom of the tank. The pump ends up sucking debris that rests at the bottom, which ends up contaminating other parts.

Do not Rely Only on the Fuel Gauge

We mentioned the one-fourth rule earlier because it gives you some buffer. Most modern cars indicate the approximate miles remaining before fuel runs dry. However, this number isn’t always accurate and is calibrated depending on your driving habits. If you constantly drive on the freeway, for example, then it might not reflect miles remaining when driving on local streets. Continue Reading →

Winter Car Maintenance Guidelines for German Vehicles

winter car maintenanceThe winter chills are right around the corner. Your car will feel the effects of the cold as much as you will. Winter car maintenance for German vehicles is not much different than that of American-made cars. Following these maintenance guidelines ensures that your VW or Audi car remains in peak operating condition.

1. Battery Care

Some German models have an absorbed glass mat (AGM) battery. This battery has an above-average lifespan of five to seven years. However, it’s also known to die suddenly, without warning. We suggest a replacement if winter is approaching and the battery is more than four years old.

2. Coolant Refill

Coolant is just as important in the winter as in the summer because engines are still capable of overheating. Top off the reservoir but be sure not to overfill. Many German models use a pressurized cooling system that is susceptible to malfunction if you exceed the fill line. Only use a coolant formula compatible with your car. Some German cars require a specific formula. Continue Reading →

Signs You Need to Replace a Valve Cover Gasket

valve cover gasketMost vehicles have a valve cover gasket. VW and Audi models are no exception. Like any other car part, this component requires periodic replacement to ensure smooth engine performance. What happens when this part wears out and how might this affect car health?

What Is the Role of the Valve Cover Gasket?

As implied in its name, the valve cover is an encasement that protects the valves and cylinder head hardware. The gasket acts as a seal between the valve cover itself and the cylinder block. When the gasket deteriorates, it will leak oil. This will lead to damaged valves, lifters and cylinder heads. It might even lead to a cracked cover.

Symptoms of a Worn Valve Cover Gasket

One of the first symptoms is a burning oil smell. When the gasket deteriorates, compressed oil escapes. When the engine is running, the oil drips on the hot fuel intake or cylinder block, causing the burnt smell. Of course, a burning smell can indicate other problems. A mechanic will need to diagnose the cause. Continue Reading →

VW and Audi Brake Recall: What You Need to Know

brake recall, VW brake recall, Audi brake recallVW and Audi cars are notable for their smooth handling and overall reliability. However, this doesn’t mean they’re not prone to occasional problems. No car brand is immune to recalls. In fact, VW and Audi both issued a separate brake recall. How does this affect your vehicle?

Affected Models

The recall pertains to all of the following models:

For Audi: the 2018 Q5 and SQ5

For VW: the 2018 Beetle, Golf, Passat, Atlas, Sportswagen, and GTI

We recommend bringing your vehicle to an Audi and VW repair shop or to the dealership for an inspection. A technician may need to bleed the brakes. Continue Reading →