Posted on April 9th, 2014
Hey, we love you year round, but nothing says love like a clean windshield, and new set of wiper blades (at least to us in the car world, roses and candy may work better for your signifiant other).
So April is Customer Appreciation Month At Atlantic Motorcar Center, which means, Stop By For A Maintenance Service, and get a set of Free Wiper Blades. How’s that for love, clean windshield, cleaned car, fully serviced, and even some AMC jellybeans…I’d say that’s a great way to kick off the season!
Just mention this offer when you Check In, we’ll make certain you Check Out with new wipers!
Posted on March 25th, 2014
This poor Volvo XC70 presented with an engine oil pressure light on.
One quick look at the engine oil pan provided what we in the business call a “clue”. A huge amount of RTV sealant oozing out of the oil pan to engine block area. The car had recently been at another repair facility…
1) The previous servicing shop had resealed the engine oil pan with the incorrect sealant.
2) Had used an excessive amount of sealant, to the point where it oozing inside and outside the engine oil pan.
3) Excess sealant had entered the engine oil pickup, and was subsequently sucked into the engine lubrication system, restricting oil flow to critical engine parts.
4) Sealant used appears to be something you’d buy at Home Depot to caulk your windows, not properly repair your Volvo…really, not kidding here.
Holy clogs Batman, this is a mess. Also the three O-Ring seals, Volvo uses for the engine oil pickup to oil pump interface, were not replaced, and if you look carefully, you see one is actually folded over.Cost of the seals, perhaps $7, cost of the correct sealant, about $25, cost to replace the engine, close to $6,000.We’re hoping to be able to salvage the engine for the customer, but needless to say, this was a good “teaching moment” on the true cost of a “cheap repair”.Professional automotive service isn’t “cheap”, it’s priceless.
Having someone who cares about your car as much as you do, also priceless.
For fair priced, proper service, with a 2 Year Nationwide Warranty, just call us, we’re here to help (207) 882-9969.
- Bruce and the AMC Team
Posted on March 21st, 2014
Tech Tip – Volvo Fuel Filter Changes, Prevent Problems
See the photo? That’s a electric fuel pump, you don’t want to have to buy one, read on for a a quick way to save yourself some real money, and headache!
Volvo has a 105K or 120K mile schedule for replacement of the engine fuel filter. Lately we’ve been seeing an increasing number of the electric fuel pumps failing. We feel that this problem is brought about by extended intervals between fuel filter replacement. In the past, fuel filters were often changed at 30k or 60K mile intervals…and we rarely had pump failures. A clogged or dirty filter makes the pump work harder, resulting in premature wear, and soon, failure.
The cost to replace the fuel filter, usually under $100, is dwarfed by the replacement cost of the electric fuel pump, in some cases over $1,300. We strongly advise changing the fuel filter in your 2001-2007 Volvo on a 60K interval.
Part of professional auto service to not just replacing parts, but determining why they failed in the first place. Armed with this knowledge, we can make recommendations to save you both time, and money. That’s the Atlantic Motorcar Center way, preventing problems before they occur, everyday.
Questions, or if we can help you with your auto, just call us at (207) 882-9969, we’re here to help!
- Bruce and the AMC Service Team
Posted on March 19th, 2014
Just another day at the Atlantic Motorcar Center Planet Of Fun.
Being serviced under the delicate ministrations of our Senior Service Technician Shaun.
Lesson here, don’t let your family member push up on the sunshade.
Interior and headliner out of car, 10 hours later, new sunroof installed.
Yes, BMW does build and ship in the wooden “coffin case”.
Problems with your BMW, or your BMW Panoramic Sunroof, we’re the experts, and know these like the back of our hands, and feet, and…
Anyway, you get the message, done right, the first time, warrantied for 2 Years Nationwide, exceptional service for exceptional cars!
Just give us a call, and prepare to be delighted – (207) 882-9969
- Bruce and the AMC Service Team
Posted on March 19th, 2014
Recently we were engaged to work with customer’s insurance company on a problem with his BMW’s glass sunroof. It was, to put it mildly, an interesting experience. Having done this for more than a few years, thought I might pass along some tips in the interest of helping our customers.
1) Get An Independent Estimate, Always -
As far as much possible, have a trusted, independent professional service provider provide an estimate BEFORE the insurance “adjuster” shows up. You don’t need to get the traditional “3 estimates”, just a single, well written estimate, from a professional. Remember, the insurance “adjuster” is really looking out for the insurance company’s interest, not necessarily yours. It takes time and delays your auto repairs, to get the adjuster to come back out and look at additional work needed.
2) The Insurance Adjuster Is Looking Out For the Insurance Company, Not You -
If you remember anything from this list, remember this one – while most adjusters are fair, they are paid to minimize claims, not necessarily look after your best interest. He or she may be friendly, or want to offer you a payment check on the spot, but it is much harder to go back and correct the estimate later, than it is to get it right in the first place. Again, most companies are fair, but like anything else, you do need to stand up, or have an independent shop, stand up for your rights. Ask questions!
3) The Insurance Adjuster Is Not An Expert On Your Car -
Most are well trained, but by simple statistics of the vehicle population on the road, they are largely familiar with domestic cars. Your European or Japanese import might be a different matter. This is where a estimate from a qualified professional independent service facility is to your advantage, and helps speed up the claim process.
Example – We recently had to work with a customer’s insurance company about a glass sunroof issue on his BMW. This was the very complex, two part “Panoramic Sunroof”. The adjuster admitted that he was not familiar with the vehicle, and it took well over a week to finally write and settle the claim. It was only after 3 phone calls to us, and my suggestion that he contact BMW directly to confirm our diagnosis and repair course, that he realized that extent of the repair. If we had not been involved, the customer would have likely ended up with a denied claim, or worse, had a used assembly installed (yes, that was the original offer), and had to deal with the problem again in a short while, after the warranty expired…a 10 hour, $3,000 repair.
4) Estimates Are Not Written In Stone -
It is not uncommon for hidden damage to be found, especially in the event of collision or impact accident damage. Most shops know this as well, and should work with your insurance company to write what is termed a “supplement” for additional repair work. A professional shop will look out for your interests here, and call and work with the insurance company to make sure your car is repaired to “pre-loss condition”, not just the way the insurance provider wants.
5) Warranty, Be Sure Of The Warranty -
Insurance work is funny, oftentimes the insurance company will attempt to have the shop install “used” parts in an effort to save the insurance company money. Problem is that used parts often only have a 30 day warranty, leaving you on the hook, for expensive repairs, from day 31 on.
A quality shop will look out for your best interest, and press the insurance company to cover any repairs for at least 1 full year. Ideally, you want NEW parts installed on the car, rather than used, but your insurance company has to consent. There have been times, when we could not get an insurance company to agree to new parts, we suggested to the customer to pay the difference, just to assure a quality job…the difference is often surprisingly small. At Atlantic Motorcar, we warranty all service for 2 Years, Nationwide, you should expect nothing less.
Summary – This is just the tip of the iceberg, so if you have questions, please call. And remember, we are not knocking insurance companies or adjusters, we just want to show you have the game is played, the rules of the road if you will.
If you have questions relating to the repair of your car, please contact us. Likewise if you have experienced a loss, we’re happy to provide a fair, independent assessment of the damage, and offer a suggested course of repair. We’ll work directly with your insurance company to make the procedure painless, and simple!
At Atlantic Motorcar Center we’re all about relationships, with you, and your car! Let us know how we can help you.
- Bruce and the AMC Service Team
Posted on March 12th, 2014
Tech Tip – How’s Your Sunroof?
Important service tip, make sure your sunroof drains are clean and clear. Modern sunroofs are not designed to seal perfectly from water entry, some always gets through, especially in the large glass panoramic designs.
Normally this water entry is not a problem, but when the drain tubes get clogged, all manner of havoc can break loose. These tubes are designed to take the water that makes it around the seal, and drain it down the front “A Pillars”, the metal channels on either side of the front windshield. Once these tubes clog, they often allow water to leak inside the car, making for a wet headliner, carpet, dash, or giving rise to all sorts of electrical gremlins.
We’ve had two of those, over the last week, one a VW and the other a Mini Cooper, where leakage had occurred inside the car, including one diagnosed by another shop as needing the complete sunroof assembly, to the cost of $3,000. Needless to say our simple cleaning service made us new AMC friends and customers.
At Atlantic Motorcar Center, we check these on a regular basis, and clean as needed, usually twice yearly. It’s important, if you are having your vehicle maintained elsewhere, to make sure this simple, but vital service is carried out. An ounce of prevention, worth a pound of cure. By the way, this is not use a Mini Cooper or VW problem, we see the same issue on Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Volvo, Saab, Lexus, and other brands.
There you go, a simple, time, and money saving tip, from your friends at AMC.
- Bruce and the AMC Service Team
Posted on March 3rd, 2014
Posted on February 25th, 2014
Vanna White Vists – Here our own Vanna White, also known as Rick Lee, one of our Senior Service Writers, models the new Timing Belt Teaching Tool.
Most newer cars us a rubber timing belt, which requires replacement at regular intervals. Failure of these belts can severely damage the engine, yet, it’s one of the most overlooked service items. Take a look on our “Case Studies” page - http://www.atlanticmotorcar.com/case-studies/?s=timing+belt
We’re delighted to add this to our “Show and Tell” process of informing our customers about the service needs of their autos…and Rick was happy to get in some “face time” with his spiffy new beard!
- Bruce and the AMC Service Team
Posted on January 16th, 2014
Top Ten Things To Do When Looking for a Pre-owned Car
Buying a used automobile can be a successful and satisfying experience if you are armed with enough knowledge to determine whether the asking price on a particular car is a good deal. You want to avoid getting stuck with someone else’s problems and discover too late that the purchase price is only the “tip of the iceberg”, when you find that your “new” car needs $2000.00 worth of repair and maintenance to make it safe and reliable transportation. The newer generation cars are considerably “higher tech” than the older ones and as such are much less user friendly to the do-it-yourself owner than ever before. As always, it pays to KNOW BEFORE YOU OWE.
1. When you are talking with a seller, ask about the car’s current condition. Specifically, if there is anything that needs repair or is not working properly. Pay particular attention when he or she answers the following question: Have you maintained the car well? If the answer is “Yep, I’ve changed the oil every 3,000 miles” or “It’s been a great car, I haven’t had to spend a dime on this car”, BEWARE! This throws up a red flag. Do not buy this car without having a Specialist carefully inspect it before purchase. Changing the oil regularly does not in itself constitute good maintenance on any car. Ask the seller for maintenance records for the last year. Since people often defer maintenance when they plan to sell a car, a lack of a maintenance records is a red flag.
2. Try to start the engine cold. There should be no sputtering or hesitation. Pay particular attention to knocking or tapping noises coming from within the engine. A light tapping noise from the top of the engine is fairly common on multi-valve engines that have not been started for 2-3 days or more, but this raises a red flag to look closer and determine whether oil changes have been performed on schedule.
3. When raising the hood, look for obvious oil leaks on the engine, particularly fresh oily and greasy deposits on the valve cover around the oil filler cap, multi-valve engines should not leak oil at all and this indicates the flame trap system has not been serviced frequently enough to prevent clogging of the system. This is easily the most commonly overlooked single service item that we see. When a quick oil change facility changes your oil, they don’t know to check the condition of the flame trap and consequently it eventually becomes clogged thereby pressurizing the crankcase and either blowing front and rear seals completely out or wearing them out prematurely. For example, rear seal replacement on an Volvo 850 is expensive, at 13 hours labor this job is in excess of $1000.00.
4. Check for paintwork and previous accident damage. In front, check to see whether paint is chipped off of the bolts and washers attaching the front fenders to the body and hood to the hood hinges. In the rear, open the trunk and look at the rearmost upper corners of the rear quarter panels next to the trunk lid, you should clearly see a half-moon shaped factory seam in this area. Its absence signals the presence of body filler and indicates the car has probably had significant rear body damage.
5. Turn the ignition key on to the second key position and check that all warning lights come on, particularly the check engine, ABS/TRACS and SRS lights. These should go out after starting the engine. If they do not or you see a flashing arrow in the instrument cluster or flashing lights on the transmission mode switch, BEWARE, any of these are potentially expensive fixes. Have these checked out by a Specialist who has the Factory Diagnostic Tool to read the associated fault codes.
6. Check all functions of the power seats. Any malfunction can be fixed, sometimes as simply as resetting the seat computer with the Diagnostic Tool.
7. Drive the car. It should accelerate and stop smoothly. The presence of a pulsation felt in the steering wheel or through the seat while braking indicates brake rotor warpage. Take a look at the tires, if they are a inexpensive brand which you do not recognize, changes are the other maintenance was skimped on as well.
8. While driving with the A/C on, monitor airflow from the center vents while accelerating. If the airflow stops and then reappears when you take your foot off the accelerator this indicates a failure of one or more vacuum damper motors of the A/C system in the dash.
9. Does the transmission shift smoothly from a stop on up to freeway speeds? Any malfunction is potentially expensive.
10. Once the car has passed all of these inspections, schedule a time to have a detailed pre-buy inspection performed by a Specialist. Have the Specialist run a CarFax to check vehicle history, mileage and accident status. All cars need at least some repair and it is not unusual to see a $500.00 list on a well-maintained car. You want to avoid the car with a $2,500.00 list as this indicates a history of neglect and a poor life expectancy for the car.
There you have it, 10 steps to help you select a good used car. I personally go through all of these steps and more when evaluating a potential purchase for our inventory and it will help you weed out the good from the bad and the “don’t waste your time” cars you are likely to run into.
Posted on January 16th, 2014
WE CAN SERVICE YOUR NEW CAR, EVEN IF IT IS STILL UNDER FACTORY WARRANTY.
The following was written to answer common questions asked regarding new cars under warranty. These are general questions and answers, we will be glad to answer specific questions on request.
1. Am I required to return my car to an authorized dealer for normal service work?
No – you may have normal maintenance service performed at Atlantic Motorcar.
2. Am I required to have the recommended maintenance work performed?
Yes – A condition of your warranty is maintain your car according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Failure to perform recommended maintenance operations might possibly jeopardize a warranty adjustment or repair by the manufacturer.
3. I have heard my warranty will be voided if anyone other than an authorized new car dealer services my car, is this true?
No – Atlantic Motorcar is qualified to perform the necessary required maintenance services to maintain your new car warranty.
4. Does Atlantic Motorcar use the recommended parts and lubricants to service my car?
Yes – we use only first quality parts and lubricants that meet manufacturers requirements and specifications.
5. Can Atlantic Motorcar stamp my maintenance book.
Yes, we can. We also retain all service records on computer for immediate access.
6. Can Atlantic Motorcar perform a manufacture’s warranty repair on my car at no charge to me?
Sometimes – If it is a Bosch component or system that has failed in the warranty period we will be able to perform the warranty at no cost to you. If it is a non-Bosch product then we will check and arrange for warranty service with the new car dealer. Speaking of warranties, does the new car dealer offer you a one year unlimited mileage warranty on all service and parts like Atlantic Motorcar?
7. Does Atlantic Motorcar really know my type of car?
Yes – the majority of our service staff are factory trained technicians who once worked at new car dealers. We also have access to an extensive database of service information, safety recalls, updates, etc. that pertain specifically to your car. Unlike the new car dealer were service is often a sideline to selling cars, service is Atlantic Motorcars’ only business. If you want to buy a new car see the dealer, if you want your car repaired correctly, the first time, see
8. What about pricing, are you competitive with new car dealers?
Yes – very much so. At a new car dealer the large and expensive cost of inventorying new cars figures very strongly into service pricing.
9. Do you offer the same range of services a new car dealer can?
Yes – perhaps more. With the possible exception of collision work, Atlantic Motorcar is a full service workshop.
10. Is Atlantic Motorcar convenient to do business with?
Yes – very much so. Atlantic Motorcar is obsessed with customer service satisfaction. We offer loaner cars, after hours pickup and drop-off and friendly personable service.
11. The new car dealer makes me wait a week for an appointment.
Not at Atlantic Motorcar, we pride ourselves on efficient service. You will wait no more than 2-3 days for a service appointment and many services can be performed same day while you wait.
12. I can never understand the bill the dealer gives me, and no one ever takes the time to explain it to me.
Not at Atlantic Motorcar. You will be given a clear computer generated invoice that lists every part and service that was performed on your car. The invoice will be personally explained to you by a knowledgeable and friendly employee who will answer any questions you may have.