Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Today's Most Common Car Repairs

Everyone has had that moment when your driving down the road and your engine light comes on, the first thing you think about is, “how much is this going to cost me?”. For most new cars today about half the time the problem the engine light pertains to a loose gas cap.
Although in general you should NEVER ignore ANY warning light, but common check engine repairs can range from a $15 gas cap replacement to a $1,100 catalytic converter replacement and everything else in between. The most common repair across makes, models happens to be oxygen sensor replacement. The average cost for this repair is around $250 and goes up from there especially if it's a heated oxygen sensor which is more complex in design and application and the price tag proves this. 
Overall, the average repair cost in 2017 was $387.31 ($155.15 in labor, $232.16 in parts). That’s 8% less than the 10-year high of $422 in 2006. One big hint from this blog post is if the check engine light goes on, check your gas cap to ensure it's clicked three or more times, preferably a non-locking cap because it will seal better.
That’s the good news. The bad news is perhaps self-evident: The average cost to repair 2006 cars was $399, double the average repair cost of 2017 models (whose repairs were usually covered by warranty). Worse still, the second-most common repair involved are the infamous pricey catalytic converters. Rounding out the top five were replacements for the ignition coil and spark plug” ($390), gas cap replacements and checks and thermostat replacements ($210). New to the top 10 most common repairs were evaporative emissions purge control or solenoid replacements, which both cost just less than $300.
One of the best ways to minimize and reduce the cost of unforeseen car repairs is to follow a regular maintenance program here at Rick's Complete Automotive in Forestville. CA (707)887-1641 and take care of small problems as soon as you’re aware of them before big problem arise, particularly as vehicles age.
At our shop we have seen a simple spark plug failure that can snowball from a $50 part into a $400 part order in a blink of a eye going from a bad spark plug to a bad ignition coil and a bad fuel injector over the same cylinder with a misfire condition.
This past 2017 calendar year, during which the U.S. experienced an El NiƱo weather pattern, spark plugs were only the eighth-most common reason for check engine light issues. Battery replacements are not listed on the 10 most common repairs this year.

Take a look at the top 10 car repairs of 2017:
  1. Replacing an oxygen sensor – $249
  2. Replacing a catalytic converter – $1,153
  3. Replacing ignition coil(s) and spark plug(s) – $390
  4. Tightening or replacing a fuel cap – $15
  5. Thermostat replacement – $210
  6. Replacing ignition coil(s) – $236
  7. Mass air flow sensor replacement – $382
  8. Replacing spark plug wire(s) and spark plug(s) – $331
  9. Replacing evaporative emissions (EVAP) purge control valve – $168
  10. Replacing evaporate emissions (EVAP) purging solenoid – $184
If you are one of those people who lose sleep over repair bills,owning a car may not be the best option. If a lease is sounding like a better idea to you just remember, you still need to pay a monthly bill to lease your ride when you can have a paid off car and get get hit with a big bill once in blue moon. 
The point of this blog entry is if you under maintenance your vehicle, and your not proactive to auto repairs when weird sounds or warning lights come on and continue to drive your car sooner or later you will be hit with lighting leaving you and your car on the side of the road waiting for a tow-truck and a big repair bill coming out of your pocket book.
Please be proactive and let Rick's Complete Auto in Forestville take care for your concerns by addressing the cause and correction to keep your vehicle trouble free and make sure your running the life you want to live without a broken down car being your biggest priority.
Rick's Complete Automotive
6560 Railroad Ave. Forestville, CA 95436
Contact Owner: Keith Tacla

Friday, April 8, 2016

Safety Tips for Driving. It Could Save Your Life...

We all know that newer cars are safer than ever, but remember they are still driven by human beings and, humans by design make mistakes.

Follow some of these safety tips while driving and one day it may be able to save your life.


This is such a frequent cause of accidents that most makes and models today adopted fancy radar sensors or camera systems capable of detecting other vehicles in your blind spots and if you own one and you enter a blind spot with a car there you will hear a extremely loud beep/scream as you swerve in terror and/or crash your vehicle anyway. If your car doesn't have these fancy upgrades adjust your mirror so you don't see ANY of your car to give you the most field of vision as you can get. Remember, look over your shoulder and don't be lazy.


We're not saying that you should ignore stoplights and road signs, but that you shouldn't rely on them to make every decision for you. Just because you had the right of way at an intersection won't make you any less dead if you pull in front of an 18 wheeler. Be safe out there and use your eyes and head as you see fit. I mean come on...we are all adults here so let's act like it!


As you can see in the above picture it is MUCH easier to see the a car in low light conditions with the headlights on as opposed to the headlights off. It also isn't a ticket to drive with them on and never a bad idea to be more safe then sorry. According to a recent study, you can reduce your risk of being involved in an accident by up to 32 percent simply by driving with your headlights on at all times and I don't know about you but I'd rather have the odds in my favor when my life's in danger.

This message was brought to you from the safety instructions of the following company:
Rick's Complete Automotive
6560 Railroad Ave.
Forestville, C.A. 95436

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

6 Ways To Damage Your Vehicle

The parking brake is there for a reason. It locks up the wheels so the car won't roll downhill. It also prevents stripping the parking pawl in the transmission when in "park". Your car is not meant to be held by the transmission and that is what your parking brake is used for so let's start using it people...Remember to always release the parking brake before driving.

You can strip the gears and bands in your transmission when you don't come to a complete stop before shifting gears. Eventually, you won't be able to shift into gears because they will no longer have teeth to mesh, nor any bands to apply tension to hold all of the necessary force in place for propulsion.

Don't ride the brakes, or rest your foot on the brake petal when going downhill. If you do, it could wear down the brakes pads faster then you wanted. Brakes are you life so this issue is one of the most important pro-active maintenance items on your vehicle.Get your brakes checked by Rick's Auto in Forestville regularly.

The engine has metal pistons with round metal rings that slide up and down the cylinder walls. If oil is not maintained, the metal rubbing can eventually lead to some major issues. Regular oil changes can extent the life of any motor.

Don't forget to turn your AC off before starting your car; AC is connected to the serpentine belt, so it requires the engine to work a little harder when it is left on.

You probably didn't know that fuel in your gas tank actually cools down the fuel pump once submerged. If you are one that likes to wait until the gas light come on please don't do it. You may be saving a little money by not fueling up as often but you could be setting yourself up for bigger issues. Try to keep you fuel gauge at 1/4 or more full to avoid fuel pump issues.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Honda Air Bag Recall

Honda has recently expanded its air bag recall to two-million vehicles marking this as one of the biggest air bag recalls of all time. 
The problem lies in a defective inflator that could explode in a crash, sending shards of its metal casing into the passenger compartment. The inflator was made by Takata Corporation, which has said the propellant inside the inflator was not properly prepared and was too powerful. Last month, Takata recommended that customers including Toyota, Ford and Chrysler recall vehicles in Hawaii, Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, saying that high humidity appeared to make the problem more likely to happen.
But Honda said it would recall vehicles in other areas that also have high humidity because it wanted to make sure owners would not be endangered. In addition to the states recommended by Takata, Honda had said it would recall vehicles originally sold or registered in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas.
Honda has since received a report of an “energetic deployment” of an air bag in California, leading to the decision to issue a recall, Chris Martin, a spokesman for the automaker, said in a telephone interview. Mr. Martin also said that the automaker was still calculating how many vehicles are being recalled because it involves tracing vehicle histories. But he estimated the total will be about 3 million in the United States.

The vehicles affected by the recall are the 4-cylinder-engine-equipped 2001-7 Honda Accord; the 2001-2 Honda Accord V6; the 2001-5 Honda Civic; the 2002-6 Honda CR-V; the 2003-11 Honda Element; the 2002-4 Honda Odyssey; the 2003-7 Honda Pilot; the 2006 Honda Ridgeline; the 2003-6 Acura MDX; and the 2002-3 Acura TL and CL.
Here is a video example of how powerful an air bag explosion can be:

Air bag explosion: http://youtu.be/oXnfySKQock

Take your Honda to your local dealership to see if you qualify for the current recall. You can also call the dealership and give them your VIN Vehicle Identification Number so they can run the number and see if you qualify for the recall.
For any other questions or concerns about the Honda recall contact Rick's Complete Automotive (707) 887-1641. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


The Alternator

Here are some symptoms to look for that are grouped together. Of course there is a warning light that will be displayed once an alternator goes out; however, be in touch with your senses to find the problem before they get worse:

OLD               NEW

  • Use Your Eyes: Usually when our customers complain of an alternator issue it just takes a quick look to find a belt missing, hanging off the engine block or so loose it's flapping around the engine compartment. A quick visual check of the belt for cracking, excessive wear marks and other visual related problems can give you some idea of what may be the problem. Also, the drive belt must have the proper tension to run the alternator correctly; too much tension is just as bad as not enough. A quick check of the belt tension is usually enough to determine if a problem exists.

  • Use Your Ears: We also see our customers complain about hearing a "growling" or "whining" noise before an alternator gives out. The alternator is driven by either an accessory belt or a serpentine belt in conjunction with the crankshaft pulley. The alternator pulley typically spins about two or three times faster than the crankshaft pulley to produce the power necessary at lower engine speeds, such as at idle. If the pulley is not in correct alignment with the belt, if it's canted on the shaft or if the bearings and bushing are worn out, the growling or whining noise will let you know there's a problem.

  • Use Your Nose: The smell of burning rubber or hot alternator wires will often accompany alternator failure. A pulley that isn't in alignment or not turning freely will cause more friction on the belt, which creates heat and then the smell of burning rubber. The hot alternator wire scent can be caused by an overheated alternator, so keep your nose in tune with your vehicle.

The Battery 

While not technically an alternator problem, a car that won't start is a definitive notice from your car that there's a problem in the starting system. When the key is turned, you'll hear a tell-tale clicking of relays ticking over but nothing else happens. After a time, even that noise stops. The immediate problem is usually a dead battery; but the question a driver should ask is, "Why is it dead?"


When an alternator begins to fail, or fails outright, the car's battery begins to take up the slack rather than acting as a capacitor for the system by receiving a constant infusion of electrical power from the alternator. However, even the best car battery will run down eventually leaving a driver stranded in the driveway or worse, on the side of the road. Car batteries are not designed for long-term power use. They're average life is between 5-7 years and they are designed to provide the vehicle with enough electrical oomph to start by juicing the starter motor with a surge of power and getting the whole works spinning.
Diagnosing a dead battery versus a dead alternator is relatively easy. Simply jump-start the car and then remove the cables as quickly as possible. Then wait. If the alternator is failing to charge the system, the car will soon die again and the problem has been pinpointed. If the car runs and continues to run, then it's likely the problem is with the battery. Caution should be used, however, as a dying battery can only receive a charge for so long and may go completely dead at a later point despite the best efforts of the alternator. 
We can test your battery at Rick's Complete Automotive (707)887-2281 and see if your charging system is up to par.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Common Car Problems In Winter

The Infamous "Dead Battery"

  • The battery is the first part connected when first starting your vehicle. The battery must crank 100-200 amps in order to turn the starter against the flywheel and turn engine over. Your battery will produce up to twice or two-and-a-half times more cold cranking amps than is required to start the engine. The problem that still lies is, during extreme temperatures, the amperage capacity of the battery can be reduced to half its output. In addition, if the vehicle is parked outside in inclement weather, the flywheel and starter wheel can become frozen. A standard battery life is between five and seven years. Have your battery checked to see if it can handle the load your vehicle needs to withstand the winter season.

Fuel Condensation

  • Moisture can cause condensation to form in the fuel tank and fuel lines causing cars to not start in winter months.  A full tank of gas can produce one pint of condensation inside the fuel tank during the winter months. After a drive and the fuel pump stops pumping fuel into the motor, condensation can begin to form inside the fuel lines. After a long sit throughout the night you wake up to a near frozen car, when you go to turn your car over to start the condensation (water) reaches the throttle before the actual fuel does, resulting in the vehicle not being able to ignite the water and start. In addition, to trying to start the vehicle the starter will begin to heats up very quickly and continuously trying to turn a stubborn engine over could easily damage the starter.

Coolant and Oil
  • Coolant and oil are important no matter what time of year it is, but they won't have an effect on your vehicle starting or not, they are essential in extreme conditions. Thinner weight oil will help prevent coagulation of the oil properties which will help move the oil into the engine once started. Coolant on the other hand should be properly mixed--not too concentrate and not too lean--in order to ensure the correct temperature and pH balance have a Rick's Auto mechanic test it for you. Obviously there is a difference between a cold engine and a running engine, it doesn't take long for a cold engine to heat up. If the temperature of the antifreeze is not correct, you can crack your engine block.

Steps to Beat the Cold

  • As mentioned, having the car checked regularly at Rick's Complete Automotive in Forestville California will go a long way in preventing no-starts in winter. On extremely cold nights, you could place a battery charger onto your battery. The use of a trickle charger will prevent you from overcharging your battery, which isn't good either. A trickle charge will help keep the battery warm for the initial turnover when demand is called upon it. If your battery charger does not offer a trickle charge option, trade it in for one that does.

    Parking your car in a garage, away from the harsh wind and chilly weather conditions, will also help during extreme cold periods that wind-chills affect the temperature.

    Get your car checked to be ready for the winter season at Rick's Complete Automotive 6560 Railroad Ave. Forestville, CA 95436. (707)887-1641.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Brake Noise? Here Are The Top 4 Things To Look For

One of the most important safety features of ANY automobile is it's ability to stop. Our customers' place such a high value on their car's ability to slow and stop this is why we pay attention when they complain about the brake issues.
Let's review the four most common brake complaints and how to resolve them.

#1. Brake Noise

Hearing brake noise, or what sounds like finger nails on a chalk board, is the most obvious sounds for drivers today. Unwanted movement of brake components can also cause brake noise. So how do you fix it? Keep brake components in place per factory specifications and properly prepare surfaces during service.

Things to look for on braking components are things like binding, corrosion, lack of lubrication, and worn or damaged components, clean the caliper moving parts and retaining hardware. Clean pin bores with a round wire brush to make for a smooth operation. Doing so will ensure safe travel on the roadways.

#2. Pulsation

Do you feel a pulsation in your brake petal when you push it? If so this can mean your brake rotors are warping causing a vibration in your petal. Also do not forget to check the hubs.Hubs can be the culprit while the rotor shows the symptoms.

If your brake rotors check out fine and you still feel pulsation make sure the tire and wheel assemblies are all in balance. They can cause similar pulsation that you would feel by a rotor problem.

Below is an example of a warped rotor:

#3 Dust

Once you apply brake pressure to your brake rotors, small amounts of brake pad material starts to burn off of your brake pads. This material is known as brake dust. This material deposits throughout the braking system and in and around the surrounding wheel.

It's always a good rule of thumb to get your brake dust deposits blown out during a regular brake check of brake job at your local mechanic.

Here is an example of excessive brake dust:

#4. Excessive Brake Wear

We hear all types of brake complaints but it usually is a result of lack of maintenance. Brake wear on your vehicle will vary due to driving conditions but overall the brake pads will have more wear and failure from abuse like overloading your vehicle, making short, stop-and-go trips or even leaving one foot on the brake pedal while driving. 

Here is an example of excessive brake wear where the brake pads worn down into the backing plate and then the car owner continued to drive making a metal to metal contact on the brake rotor (very unsafe).

Here at Rick's Auto we have brake front or rear jobs that range from $250-$300 depending on what kind of brake system you have. Make an appointment today to get a brake check making your family safe.

Rick's Complete Automotive
6560 Railroad Ave.
Forestville, CA 95436