Difficulties Diagnosing Problems with Your Imported Car?

diagnosing imported car problemYou may have had an auto shop experience where the mechanic told you he couldn’t diagnose the problem with your vehicle. The eventual advice was to take your car elsewhere. Motorists are rightfully baffled when an auto shop has difficulty diagnosing problems with an imported car. However, is it really a matter of can’t, or won’t? The truth may surprise you.

Why Repair Shops “Can’t” Diagnose Your Car

Here’s the truth only industry insiders know about: In most instances, they do have the capability of diagnosing problems in your imported car. However, most auto shops only charge for one hour of diagnostics. If they can’t pinpoint the problem within the timeframe, then they’re wasting their time and staff resource. In other words, it’s cutting into their profit margins.

In this scenario, the shop usually instructs you to take your vehicle to the dealership. Repairs from dealerships, though, tend to be far pricier since their technicians usually work on commission. Continue Reading →

Why Your Car Needs a Summer Pre-Trip Inspection

pre-trip inspection, summer inspectionDo you have vacation plans for summer? This is the perfect time for a road trip. However, a lengthy drive, combined with the summer’s heat, can be taxing on any vehicle. We can’t overstress the importance of a summer pre-trip inspection.

Pre-trip Inspection Basics

Most auto shops provide pre-trip inspections. What exactly does this entail? What’s included? Our inspections cover these areas:

  • Battery: we check for corrosion, and gauge its estimated remaining life. Hot weather is just as bad as cold temperatures for batteries.
  • Brakes: we examine the brake pads, bushing, calipers, and other components.
  • Belts and hoses: we look for signs of fraying, cracking, punctures, etc.
  • Tires: we examine the depths of the tread and the sidewall. We also ensure it has just the right amount of air according to manufacturer specifications. A tire check is really important; poorly maintained tires are more prone to a blowout under summer conditions.
  • Windshield wipers: we check the wipers, which are almost always overlooked. The Kirkland area does experience summer rains.

Best Cars for Summer Trips

People tend to think of SUVs and pickup trucks as ideal for cross-country trips. However, smaller vehicles actually make for a nice experience if traveling as a smaller party of two or three. The AARP actually listed the Volkswagen Beetle among its list of best cars for summer travel. Both modern VW and Audi cars have the prowess to handle long-distance travel.

If commuting with bulky equipment (e.g. an ATV, Sea-Doo, etc.), then consider renting an RV.

We Do Summer Pre-Trip Inspections

If you own an Audi or VW, then not any auto shop can conduct a pre-trip inspection. Bring your car to Buttera Motors; our crew is versed in pre-trip checkups for German models. A summer pre-trip inspection prevents a breakdown that can totally ruin the fun.

Pre-Trip Inspections and RV Rentals

VW and Audi service in Bothell, Bellevue, Kirkland, Kenmore, Redmond & Woodinville

Oil Sludge in Turbocharged Engine: A Recurring Problem in VW Vehicles

turbocharged oil sludgeSludge is a car engine’s worst nightmare. The accumulation of heat and moisture causes the oil to gel, leading to Trouble—with a capital “T”. Oil sludge in turbocharged engines is especially common. If you’re a VW or Audi owner, you may want to take notice.

What’s Going On?

Volkswagen manufactured a 1.8-liter turbocharged engine for the VW Passat from 1997 to 2005. While such engines are renowned for their exceptional performance, they also became hot really fast. Due to the relatively low 3.7-quart oil capacity, the engine bay can quickly overheat. This is especially the case if you frequently commute for short distances or are late on an oil change. Along with VWs from the above years, the Audi A4 from years 1998-2004 have the same turbocharged engine as well. Continue Reading →

What Causes Sudden Car Electrical Failure?

Has your car’s electrical system ever inexplicably shut down, only to restart on its own? This can be frustrating to diagnose because this can be due to a number of causes. This is especially the case with VW and Audi cars, which have a more sophisticated ECU than their American-made counterparts. We’ll outline the common causes and symptoms of sudden car electrical failure. The Main Culprits Modern cars receive electrical power from the battery and alternator. The battery starts the engine, runs additional accessories when the engine is off, and powers the voltage regulator. The alternator creates electricity to power everything else, such as the headlights, when the engine is on. So, what happens when everything—from the lights to the engine itself—suddenly go dead before starting up again? To pinpoint the cause, pop open the hood and examine the battery connection. Are either the positive or negative connections loose? Do the terminals have a load of corrosion buildup? If your car has a fusible link, then you should inspect that as well. The Digital Display A faulty digital display is another sign of a compromised car electrical system. Several owners of Audi and VW models have noticed the digital display lose pixels and fade in and out. The brightness may also fluctuate or flash on and off. At other times, the display just completely goes out. A technician will need to reprogram the dashboard light system. This likely involves the car ECU, so this is beyond the scope of DIY capabilities. We’ll Fix any Car Electrical Failure Issues Leave it to Buttera Motors to diagnose faulty electrical problems with your car. Even with the sophisticated engineering of German cars, most modern models can still go haywire at times. Our story spans many years, and we are well versed in the diagnosis of German-made automobiles, including diagnosing car electrical failures. Car Electrical Failure Diagnosis and Repairs VW and Audi service in Bothell, Bellevue, Kirkland, Kenmore, Redmond & WoodinvilleHas your car’s electrical system ever inexplicably shut down, only to restart on its own? This can be frustrating to diagnose because this can be due to a number of causes. This is especially the case with VW and Audi cars, which have a more sophisticated ECU than their American-made counterparts. We’ll outline the common causes and symptoms of sudden car electrical failure.

The Main Culprits

Modern cars receive electrical power from the battery and alternator. The battery starts the engine, runs additional accessories when the engine is off, and powers the voltage regulator. The alternator creates electricity to power everything else, such as the headlights, when the engine is on.

So, what happens when everything—from the lights to the engine itself—suddenly go dead before starting up again? Continue Reading →

The Truth About Auto Service Pricing by Phone

phone auto service pricingDo you ever call an auto service for a price quote? If you do this, you’re wasting your time. Your wisest course of action is to take your vehicle to the shop for an in-person diagnostic test. Acquiring auto service pricing by phone almost never yields the actual cost you will pay once the work is finished.

Why Auto Service Pricing by Phone Is not a Good Idea

Typically, the idea is to obtain a quote from three auto repair services and go with the cheapest one. Usually, if one quote is way off from the other two, then that one is likely a scam.

If you know the exact problem, then the mechanic may be able to give you a ballpark figure. However, we never suggest calling for the sole sake of acquiring a quote. Continue Reading →

Does Your Car Require a Multi-Point Inspection?

multi-point inspectionCars require routine maintenance; that’s a given and applies to all models, whether German or American-made. VW and Audi models, like all other vehicles, require a multi-point inspection. We wanted to discuss this because there seems to be some confusion regarding what this type of inspection entails.

What Is a Multi-Point Inspection?

You may have heard of auto shops advertise a 50-point inspection. The number in the front, though, differs from shop to shop. Some may offer a 30-point inspection, a 10-point inspection, or even as high as a 150-point inspection. What does the number mean, and is a higher number better? Continue Reading →

What Is the Life Expectancy of a Luxury Car?

luxury car life expectancyYou can extend the life of your VW or Audi by bringing it in for regular maintenance. Nevertheless, the car will croak at some point. Some people believe the life expectancy of a luxury car surpasses normal cars. Is this true? We’ll examine whether this notion holds merit.

Do Luxury Cars Really Have a Longer Life Expectancy?

German luxury models, such as the Audi A3 and the BMW 3, 4, and 5 series are top sellers. They all made the J.D. Power list for the best-selling luxury cars in 2016.

Luxury cars are indeed fancier, not to mention pricier. Do these attributes translate to longer life? Luxury car owners do retain their vehicle longer than owners of regular cars. However, this is due to a complex set of factors. Continue Reading →

Why Diagnosing A Modern Car’s Problems Requires A Professional

diagnosing a modern carModern cars contain the latest gadgets and safety features. The electronic control unit (ECU) also records a lot of data, from engine temperatures to tire rotations per minute. With the built-in ECU, you would think this would make diagnosing a modern car easier. Actually, it hasn’t. If anything, it makes diagnosing more complex in some instances. This can especially be the case for Audi and VW vehicles.

Diagnosing A Modern Car May Be More Complex

We’ll illustrate our point with a story. We once had a client that came to us after both the ABS and air bag light came on and the car began bucking. The problem occurred whenever he switched on the stability control.

We hooked up the vehicle to a scanner and found faulty codes in the ECU. We cleared the code and returned the car to the customer. That seemed simple enough. However, the customer reported the same issue after another 60 miles of driving. Continue Reading →

What Is the Definition of “German Engineering”?

German engineering

Volkswagen and Audi have used the term “German engineering” on multiple occasions when marketing their lineups. What exactly does this mean? Obviously, the phrase entails a car made in Germany, but what else? How is this a distinguishing factor from American or other foreign models?

German Engineering at a Glance

“German engineering” doesn’t have a clear-cut definition. Stefan Gies, who heads VW’s chassis development team, provided a very convincing characterization. In an interview with Car and Driver, Gies sums up the idea in one word: precision. We believe Gies hits the mark here, and we couldn’t have characterized the term better ourselves.

If German engineering means precision, then what does precision in this sense mean? Gies believes precision in a car is about how the driver feels in relation to the controls of the vehicle. Drivers must feel a connection with the car and feel confident that it will respond to their navigational input. Continue Reading →

Maintaining High-Mileage German Cars

high-mileage german carsWhich car models are high-mileage vehicles? By high-mileage, we mean cars that can reach the 250,000 to 300,000-mile mark and still operate reliably. Do German cars fit the high-mileage category? More specifically, do VW and Audi models meet this designation?

Reviews from Authoritative Car Sites

The car site Oscaro did a blog post of 10 cars that are known to reach the 300,000-mile mark. The list includes the VW Jetta, Golf, and Corrado from the 1983 to 1999 model years. The MK2 and MK3 series are especially known for long-running capability. Another German model, the BMW 3 series from the 1981 to 1994 production years, topped the list as well.

In the auto site Mojo Motors, the Volkswagen Passat, both the sedan and wagon version, made the top 10-list for the compact car category. This vehicle has built a cult following over the years, and some owners have kept the vehicle beyond the typical 15-year car lifespan. Continue Reading →