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?
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:
The part no longer performs its intended purpose
The part does not meet a design specification
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:
The part is close to the end of its useful life – just above discard specifications or likely to fail soon
To address a customer need or request – like for better ride or increased performance
To comply with maintenance recommended by the vehicle's manufacturer
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.
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 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.
One might say the most challenging part of being an automotive service technician at Clayton's Auto Service in Corvallis is diagnosing a problem before it can be fixed.
Cars in Oregon are made up of a bunch of complex systems. There usually could be a number of reasons for any given symptom. So, it's challenging to track down the actual cause of the problem. And it can be frustrating for the vehicle owner because it can take time and money to get to the bottom of a problem. If it's not something obvious, it's easy for the customer to focus on the fixing and not the diagnosing.
Let us at Clayton's Auto Service introduce you to something we'll call 'Customer Detective Work' – that is helping your technician find clues to what's wrong.
We start with the detective basics: What, Where and When. Play along with me; You come in to Clayton's Auto Service and your car is making a funny sound...
Q: Where's the sound?
A: Around the right front wheel.
Q: What kind of sound?
A: Kind of a clunk, clunk sound.
Q: When do you hear the sound?
A: When I turn and accelerate.
Q: Right and left? Forwards and back?
Do you see where we're going? You're gathering additional information to help your technician at Clayton's Auto Service know where to start. Based on your car and the tech's experience, he'll know where to look and can start with the obvious suspects.
You can see how that would be more helpful than dropping the car off with a note that says "making a funny noise".
If the tech can experience the problem personally, he's better able to make a diagnosis and repair, and then test to see if the repair solved the problem.
We've all seen drivers do crazy things while driving to or from Corvallis. A guy shaving in the rear-view mirror, a woman applying makeup, people talking on their phones, texting or drinking from an enormous coffee mug. It's a wonder we even dare drive on Oregon roads.
The truth is that all of us are distracted when we drive. Unfortunately, traffic, road construction and other external factors are beyond our control. The distractions inside our car, however, are things we can often control.
Here's some things that'll give you more control in your car, and help keep your attention on the roads around Corvallis.
Corvallis drivers who are 16 to 20 years old tend to be more distracted by the radio, CD or MP3 player.
Corvallis drivers who are 20 to 29 are more distracted by passengers in the car, including small children.
Those over age 65 tend to be more distracted by objects or events that are outside of the vehicle.
Other factors like fatigue, stress and lack of sleep make it harder to pay attention to driving – no matter what age we are. It is always better to pull over and take a quick nap than risk falling asleep at the wheel. Corvallis drivers are also distracted by thinking about relationships, family issues, money and bills. So what can Corvallis drivers do to manage these distractions? Well, the first thing is to eliminate as many as we can.
If you really think you have to shave, change your clothes or put on make-up while driving in Corvallis – you're wrong. Just start getting ready earlier so you have enough time to finish those things before you drive around Corvallis.
The professional here at Clayton's Auto Service wand you to remember that driving is probably the most dangerous thing you'll do all day – so don't make it any worse. Use these tips to keep you and your loved ones safer behind the wheel in Corvallis.