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Speak Up: Talking with Your Clayton's Auto Service Service Advisor

Posted July 4, 2017 3:56 AM

About 80% of the vehicles on Corvallis roads today are behind on their preventive maintenance schedules. That translates to about 160 million vehicles in the United States that aren't performing as well as they could be - thousands right here in Oregon. Some of the maintenance issues are minor. Others represent serious safety concerns.

There are many reasons Corvallis drivers neglect their routine car care. Some of the more common ones are complacency, lack of confidence, lack of trust and budget issues.

Modern vehicles are amazingly reliable compared to their older counterparts. They can run for years without any repairs, and we sometimes translate that to mean they don't need any maintenance. The trouble is that without maintenance, parts in the vehicle are gradually wearing out, fluids are getting dirty, oil is developing sludge — a lot of stuff is happening that we can't see, and it is destroying the vehicle. The first time we learn there is a problem, we have a major repair bill on our hands.

Older vehicles just couldn't keep going without frequent maintenance; they broke down without timely vehicle care. Modern vehicles are designed to keep running even when they're not fully healthy. Unfortunately, that convenience has led some of us to become complacent and ignore vehicle care — until we have to fix something. And fixing something today takes a whole lot more than it used to.

Some people in Corvallis just don't feel comfortable taking their vehicles to their local Corvallis service center. They don't know much about engines or auto mechanics, so they don't know what questions to ask. They don't want to appear foolish or ignorant.

Your physician doesn't expect you to understand what a ligament is or how it works. But if you have a problem with one, she's going to explain to you what it is, what's wrong with it and how it can be fixed. It's in her best interest as well as yours to do so. You'll both feel more comfortable with the treatment.

That's what you can expect from the pros at Clayton's Auto Service. They have to be highly trained and work with a lot of complex, high-tech systems. They don't expect their Corvallis customers to understand car care. So ask questions. You need auto advice from a service specialist, just as you need medical advice from a doctor and financial advice from a financial advisor.

Which brings us to the next concern: trust. A lot of rumors fly around Corvallis about auto repair scams. You may have heard about some local auto shops taking advantage of customers and replacing parts that weren't broken. Frankly, this is just bad business practice. Corvallis auto service centers won't stay in business long if they're engaged in this type of activity.

It's in the best interest of Corvallis service centers to diagnose a problem correctly and fix it right the first time. That's how they keep their businesses open.

Trust must be earned. But just as it took time for you to establish a relationship and rapport with your doctor, it will take time to build a relationship with your service center.

Also, realize that when your friendly and knowledgeable service advisor at Clayton's Auto Service recommends routine maintenance, he is generally relying on your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations. In other words, your trust lies both with your service advisor and your vehicle manufacturer. You'll find that most of the service recommendations from Clayton's Auto Service you receive coincide with what's in your manual.

Those recommendations were set up by the engineers who designed your vehicle, not Clayton's Auto Service. The team at Clayton's Auto Service is just offering you a friendly reminder — a helpful reminder really, since most of us don't post our owner's manuals to our calendars.

Money is behind most neglect of vehicle maintenance. First, they worry that they can't afford it. Second, they worry that they're being overcharged.

The simple truth is, car care is like health care. We can't afford not to have it. Preventive maintenance is cheap compared to repair work. It extends the lives of our vehicles and saves us money on fuel. It also makes our vehicles safer to drive, which can prevent accidents. Putting off preventive maintenance can be very expensive.

Corvallis area service centers have to be competitive. Like any business, they can't afford to overcharge customers or they go out of business. But vehicle care today does cost more in Oregon than it used to. Vehicles are more sophisticated, complex and high-tech. That means technicians have to be better trained. They have to purchase high-tech diagnostic equipment and tools. They have to keep up with the latest advances in vehicle engineering and subscribe to computer databases. Like any business, they also have labor costs, insurance, rent, utilities, taxes, office supplies, etc.

If you are strapped for cash, Clayton's Auto Service can offer auto advice to help you keep your car running safely and manage your budget. For example, let's say you need new brake pads, transmission service and a new cabin air filter. A technician can't ethically recommend you delay brake service: that creates a safety hazard for you and other Corvallis drivers. You need to get that done now. But they can let you know if the transmission service can wait a month and how long you can put off changing the cabin air filter. They can also estimate what these services will cost. That gives you the time and information you need to save up for the other services.

The key to modern car care is preventive maintenance. Our modern vehicles are safer, more fuel efficient and more reliable than ever before. But to keep them that way Corvallis drivers have to be more proactive about caring for them. It's good to know there are knowledgeable professionals at Clayton's Auto Service who can help us do just that.

Clayton's Auto Service
797 NE Circle Blvd
Corvallis, Oregon 97330
541-752-2263
https://claytonsautoservice.com


What You Need to Know from Your Clayton's Auto Service Service Advisor

Posted May 8, 2017 11:48 AM

Corvallis drivers may feel intimidated when they take their vehicles to a service center. They have questions but aren't sure how to ask. They don't want to feel embarrassed about their lack of knowledge. They don't want to make the service technician feel that they don't trust him.

If your service advisor at Clayton's Auto Service uses a term you don't understand, just ask him to explain. Remember, they are the auto service experts. If they came to your place of work, they probably wouldn't understand the jargon, either. When you take your vehicle in to be serviced, make sure you understand the financial issues up front. Ask about payment policies, warranties and, of course, the cost of the work being done.

It helps to understand basic services your vehicle needs. Know the difference between a quick check-up and a thorough inspection, which you are getting and which you are asking for. Understand that diagnosing a problem takes time, and time isn't free. If you have concerns about cost, negotiate your limits before service is done. Don't be afraid to ask your service advisor for auto advice on how to keep your vehicle on the road within your budget. He can help you prioritize your vehicle's needs. Some repairs are for the safety and future health of your vehicle. Others can wait. Your Clayton's Auto Service service advisor can help you set up a plan to get all the work done as you can afford it.

It may be tempting for Corvallis drivers to save money with budget parts. Your service advisor can help you to sort through the options to work within your budget. High-quality parts are always preferable for any auto repair. Your service advisor will make sure the parts used won't compromise the safety of your vehicle.

Don't leave your Corvallis service center without your paperwork, either. Ask about warranties for parts and labor. You may need these for claims or if there is a problem in the future. Get detailed explanations of the work done on your vehicle. These records will help you keep track of repairs, service and warranties.

Those records may also help close a deal when it comes time to sell your vehicle. After all, the biggest concern most people in Corvallis have when buying a used vehicle is that they are inheriting someone else's problems.

Records of repairs and service are a good picture of your vehicle's condition and performance and what problems a new owner can expect. People are always happier to purchase a vehicle they know has been well-maintained. Whenever we climb into a vehicle, we are entrusting our health and safety to it. Perhaps it's time to take our vehicles' health a little more seriously. Open up; ask and learn.

Clayton's Auto Service
797 NE Circle Blvd
Corvallis, Oregon 97330
541-752-2263
https://claytonsautoservice.com

 


How Does Clayton's Auto Service Know What to Recommend?

Posted March 13, 2016 6:06 AM

When you drop your vehicle off at Clayton's Auto Service in Corvallis, they don't just poke around under your hood looking for stuff to do. Clayton's Auto Service professionals have lists and procedures they follow for different types of service. First of all, your Corvallis service center will note the mileage on your vehicle. They'll then check to see what inspections and services the vehicle manufacturer recommends for a vehicle of your make, model and mileage. If you are a regular customer, they will also check your vehicle's history.

If the vehicle manufacturer's recommendations go beyond the services you've ordered, they'll let you know. They'll also indicate whether those services are urgent or if you can wait a while to take care of them. The Clayton's Auto Service pros won't do work that you don't agree to.

They will, however, perform inspections while they're servicing your vehicle. They'll check belts, filters and fluids. They'll check your windshield wipers for wear. They'll let you know if there's an urgent problem that needs taken care of, and they'll give you a heads-up about problems that might be developing. If repairs or services are in order, you are given options based on driving needs and budget.

You can think of it like a trip to the dentist for a check-up. The dentist will check if you've had x-rays recently. If not, he'll get your permission to take new ones. Then the hygienist will clean your teeth and check your gums. At the end, the dentist comes in and inspects your teeth. You'll be told if you need any work done, about problems that are developing, and if anything is urgent. You'll be given different care options and recommendations on where to get work done that is beyond your dentist's usual purview. Then you'll be sent to the front desk for appointments and paperwork.

These procedures make sure your teeth are in good working order and that you are apprised of any problems. Then you can make a decision as to what work you want done and when. Clayton's Auto Service in Corvallis operates the same way. They want Corvallis drivers to be able to make informed decisions about their car care.

Preventive auto maintenance is a lot like dental check-ups. Small problems can quickly develop into big ones. A cavity becomes a root canal. A dirty filter becomes engine damage. Skipping check-ups for either your teeth or your vehicle can lead to repairs.

Clayton's Auto Service follows industry guidelines. A part is replaced only if it can no longer perform its function, no longer meets its design specifications or is missing – or if you ask for upgraded performance. Your Clayton's Auto Service service advisor will recommend a part be replaced if it is showing signs that it will soon fail.

Dentists often offer services that go beyond routine care, such as teeth whitening. Service centers also offer Corvallis drivers help with upgrades to a vehicle. They'll know what parts are needed and how to perform the work so that safety and performance aren't compromised. You can rely on the pros at Clayton's Auto Service for good auto advice.

The next time you're headed to the dentist's office, think about the vehicle you're riding in. Is it time for it to get a check-up, too?

Clayton's Auto Service
797 NE Circle Blvd
Corvallis, Oregon 97330
541-752-2263
https://claytonsautoservice.com


Ethics of Automotive Repair in Corvallis

Posted August 26, 2014 5:00 AM



We're going to be talking about the ethics of automotive repair. It seems like news outlets really like hit-and-run reporting; they hit everyone from groceries stores to retail to physicians. And the Corvallis automotive service and repair industry hasn't been given a pass either.

Unfortunately, every profession in Corvallis has some bad actors that hurt the reputation of everyone else. On the automotive side, industry associations and professional licensing organizations are very committed to high ethical standards.

Yet some people remain uncomfortable with Corvallis automotive service and repair. It may start with the fact that our vehicles are a big investment and we rely on them for so much in our lives. That alone guarantees our attention. And how well we understand the recommendations really impacts our comfort level.

If we understand what's recommended and the benefits of taking care of the work – and the pitfalls of putting it off – we'll have more trust in the recommendation. So communication is key. It's like going to the doctor; If she's using medical jargon and takes a lot of basic medical knowledge for granted, we have a hard time following her train of thought. It can be like that with your Corvallis service advisor too. He's so familiar with all things automotive, he may forget you don't know a PCV from an EGT.

If you don't understand what your doctor's talking about: ask some questions. If you don't understand what your Corvallis automotive advisor's talking about: ask some questions.

Let's go back to those ethical standards; when we hear a repair recommendation, we always ask ourselves, "Is this really necessary?" Well, here's the industry standard:

If a technician tells you that a repair or replacement is required it must meet the following criteria:

  1. The part no longer performs its intended purpose
  2. The part does not meet a design specification
  3. The part is missing

For example, it you take your car in for a grinding noise when you step on the brakes, you may just think you need new brake pads. After the inspection, the technician at Clayton's Auto Service says that you have a cracked rotor and need to replace it.

If you tried to get him to simply put new pads on, he would say that if you didn't want to replace the rotor; Clayton's Auto Service would ethically have to refuse the repair.

To just put pads on a cracked rotor would have been very wrong. The brakes could've failed at anytime and needed to be repaired – not just have a band-aid slapped on them.

Now, looking at something not so serious, the technician may suggest repair or replacement if:

  1. The part is close to the end of its useful life – just above discard specifications or likely to fail soon
  2. To address a customer need or request – like for better ride or increased performance
  3. To comply with maintenance recommended by the vehicle's manufacturer
  4. Based on the technician's informed experience

Of course, the technician has the burden of making ethical recommendations and properly educating their customers. For the customer, if you are uncomfortable with a recommendation, ask some questions. More information is always a good thing.

Clayton's Auto Service
797 NE Circle Blvd
Corvallis, Oregon 97330
541-752-2263
https://claytonsautoservice.com


On Board Diagnostics for Corvallis Motorists

Posted May 8, 2014 8:00 AM

Some Corvallis vehicle owners wonder why Clayton's Auto Service and other Corvallis auto repair shops charge a fee for vehicle diagnostics.

Receiving a diagnostic charge at Clayton's Auto Service for a tricky automotive problem shouldn't be a surprise. In the Corvallis area, automotive diagnostics can cover quite a range. If you hear a noise in your vehicle brakes when you slow down in rush-hour traffic on a busy Oregon road, you pull off at the next off-ramp and take a quick visual check. That is usually enough to know what needs to be done. If you're having an intermittent problem with your vehicle engine, however, a Clayton's Auto Service diagnosis may be much more involved.

Much of the Corvallis driver's confusion comes when the problem involves the Check Engine light. The Check Engine light comes on when the engine management computer has sensed a problem.

There's a common misconception among Oregon drivers that the trouble code tells the Clayton's Auto Service technician exactly what's wrong. They wonder why there is a diagnostic charge because the scanner quickly gave the diagnosis.

In reality, it is not that easy and straightforward. The computer monitors many sensors throughout the vehicle. When one of these sensors has a reading that's out of parameters, the computer will record a trouble code and turn on the Check Engine light.

The vehicle computer's trouble code just tells the Clayton's Auto Service technician what engine parameter is out of range, not what's causing it. The technician needs to determine the underlying problem that's causing the malfunction.

There are many problems that could cause a troublesome sensor reading for Clayton's Auto Service customers. The service advisor makes a list of the most likely causes and begins tracking down the source of the problem. This takes time.

Corvallis service centers subscribe to databases that document possible causes for all the possible trouble codes. The databases outline procedures for confirming a diagnosis and provide the documented repair. These  databases are specific to each vehicle and engine combination.

Some diagnoses are quick and easy. Others are more involved, time-consuming and difficult. Of course Clayton's Auto Service wants to figure out what's wrong with your vehicle and get you back on the road as quickly as possible.

Clayton's Auto Service
797 NE Circle Blvd
Corvallis, Oregon 97330
541-752-2263
https://claytonsautoservice.com