For answers to some of the more common questions we receive, please browse the frequently asked questions section below. If the answer you seek is not there, please give us a call at one of our locations or just drop by anytime during our normal business hours.
1. How much will it cost?
Before any repairs begin, you should be given a price for that repair. However, no technician can accurately diagnose a problem over the phone. Anyone who tells you how much a repair will cost before even looking at the vehicle is doing a severe dis-service to their potential customer. All vehicles experiencing some type of problem should first be inspected by a trained and certified professional. Once the problem and necessary repair is identified then you should be provided an estimate before any repairs are started.
2. Who or what is ASE & what does it mean to me?
The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is widely known for its industry certification program for automotive professionals. It was founded in 1972 as a non-profit, independent organization dedicated to improving the quality of automotive service and repair through voluntary testing and certification of automobile technicians.
ASE voluntary certification is a means by which technicians can prove their abilities not only to themselves and their employers, but also to you - the consumer. ASE certification is recognized internationally throughout the automotive repair industry as the most valuable credential technicians can earn. And because ASE certification is voluntary, it means technicians wearing the ASE logo on their shirts have made the time, investment, and effort to earn certification, which means they can be counted on to have a strong sense of pride in accomplishment and commitment to excellence in their profession. ASE certification means that a person has passed tough, industry developed, exams.
3. Do you have ASE Certified Technicians actually working on customer cars?
AASTRO Transmission is open 5 1/2 days a week. Our ASE certified technicians are available to offer you full service repairs on your vehicle during all hours of operation.
Repair shops that advertise longer hours or open on Sundays may have limited services available since they do not have all their technicians working. Additionally, most parts departments and/or after market parts stores are not open during these 'extended hours'. As a result, your vehicle may be tied up waiting for technician or parts availability.
4. What does AAA Approved Auto Repair mean to me?
American Automobile Association (AAA) performs an inspection of the facility, makes sure that the shop has the necessary equipment to perform their indicated services and repairs and that there is a current ASE Master Technician employed at that facility.
Among other advantages, AAA also mandates that their members be offered a written estimate that can not be exceeded by 10%, without the customer's authorization. They must have their replaced parts available for member examination or possession. They also serve as a mediator with member complaints.
5. How long has your repair facility been in business?
That's a great question...and here's why. There are too many good shops in the Tucson area to run the risk of one that's only been in business for a short time. Although time isn't the only measure of a good business, but longevity can give you the expectation that they will be around 'tomorrow' to take care of you. By the way, we've been in business, with many of the same employees, since 1987.
6. What are shop supplies and EPA Fees and why are they on my bill?
A shop supply represents the additional cost for miscellaneous parts and labor that are used for servicing and repairing customer's vehicles. These costs are not itemized because they cannot be purchased on a job-by-job basis. A few examples of shop supplies are: solvents, cleaners, the paper floor mats that are used to protect in interior of customer's cars from getting dirty, shop towels, oil dry, grease, etc.
At AASTRO we are committed to maintaining our environment. We do this in many ways like all of our mop water, waste oil, engine coolant, scrap metal and paper are all recycled. Shop towels are cleaned as opposed to disposable, the uniforms we wear, when laundered, the water is recycled, etc.
7. What are diagnostics?
A diagnostic service is a process that a technician must perform to determine the root cause of a problem a customer is experiencing with their vehicle. This requires the use of various sophisticated diagnostic equipment, which also require specialized training. The labor time the technician uses during the diagnostic process are mutually exclusive of the labor time required to actually fix the problem.
Diagnostics are also specific to the problem a customer is experiencing with their vehicle. Example, if a customer were experiencing a problem with the vehicle hesitating at a specific speed, the diagnostic service would not uncover a problem with the air conditioning not working.
8. What is the difference between electronic diagnosis, tests and inspections?
An electronic diagnosis, as explained above, may point to a particular problem but it may require test(s) to confirm or eliminate a particular component or area for repair. For example the electronic diagnosis of the on board computer may indicate a possibility of an engine related problem. The engine may need to have a compression test run to determine if the rings are bad.
Some inspections require very little technician time, like to remove the wheels from the car and visually check the brake parts. The cost of the inspection may be waived because the labor to do the inspection has reduced the time to do the actual repair.
However, with transmissions, transaxles, differentials, clutches and sometimes engines they may require a removal, disassembly and a detailed inspection to determine the actual internal damage and its associated cost to repair. There is no way to determine these repair costs without this type of inspection. Otherwise, you may have the whole component replaced, unnecessarily, and with a much higher cost.
9. What is the difference between OEM and After Market parts?
Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) parts are the same parts that were supplied to the manufacturer, based on their specifications, during assembly of the vehicle. "After Market" parts are made by companies that may or may not have supplied the manufacturer. Some after market parts are actually better than the OEM part. These parts meet or exceed the OEM design and usually carry a longer warranty period. There are also after market parts that are lower in quality which are sold at a lower price and have a lower service life expectancy.
10. What is the difference between rebuilt and remanufactured?
Rebuilt is the process of restoring a part to its previous state, before failure, by replacing the faulty or damaged parts of the component as well as those parts that are severely worn. The term 'remanufactured' is sometimes used interchangeably with rebuilt. To remanufacture means to replace the parts that are worn or damaged as well as re-designing parts or components. The purpose of which would be to provide more longevity or higher performance than the original design. However, there is no industry standard in place that clearly defines a difference between remanufactured versus rebuilt. So be leery when someone has a price difference between rebuilt and remanufactured.
11. How often should the hoses and belts be replaced in my car?
Some people believe in waiting until something is "broken" before replacement. With belts and hoses especially, always follow your manufacturer's replacement recommendations (found in your owner's manual). Replacing these items at the recommended intervals serves to avoid not just the inconvenience associated with a breakdown but in most instances, there is collateral damage with their failure. Breakdowns always come with additional costs of time and money.
12. How often should the engine coolant be flushed?
Always follow your manufacturer's recommendations as outlined in the owner's manual. Typically the cooling system should be flushed out at least once every two years or 30,000 miles. The best time to have this service performed is in the spring or fall.
If you experience an overheating problem it needs to be diagnosed to determine the cause. Normally, if a cooling system component (radiator, water pump, etc.) needs to be replaced, a coolant flush is recommended. This is done to clean the entire cooling system and provide a coolant mixture that has the proper anti foaming agents, rust inhibitors and water pump lubricants.
13. How often should my brake fluid be flushed?
Brake fluid should be flushed every 30,000 miles or as indicated by a "litmus" test. Brake fluid gets extremely hot and it does "break down." When this happens, the brake fluid will start to negatively affect the seals in the brake system. The debris from the seals then starts to impact the brake system operation, etc - It's a "Domino Effect" that can be avoided by routine brake fluid flushes.
14. How often should I have my transmission serviced (should I have it flushed)?
The transmission industry recommends that in the Southwest, the transmission should be serviced every 12 months or 12,000 miles. This is due to the extreme under-hood temperatures common in Arizona's extreme heat and driving conditions. All manufacturers state that this type of service include a road test of the vehicle, remove and clean transmission fluid pan, remove and replace filter, remove and replace pan gasket and fill with the appropriate automatic transmission fluid.
15. I just had my car serviced because the "check engine light" came on and shortly after the repair, the light came on again. Did my repair shop make a mistake?
The answer is, "maybe-maybe not". Because the check engine light/service engine soon light illuminates for many different reasons (I.E. A bad sensor, or a bad computer, or a vacuum leak, or a bad fuel pump, or a bad spark plug, or a plugged fuel filter or a broken, pinched or disconnected wire, or a loose gas cap, engine overheating, etc.). To determine what caused the trouble light to illuminate, a trained and experienced technician must recheck the vehicle. Make sure your service advisor provides you a printout of the "codes" or other findings that indicated the need for the associated repairs when the check engine light came on. This way you will know, if the light comes on again, if it is related to the previous repair or is it a completely new problem with the vehicle.
16. My vehicle has noticeable or excessive smoke coming out the tail pipe, what does that mean?
If the smoke is gray or black in color it typically means the vehicle is running rich (too much gas and not enough air). If you only have experienced this when the car is started it is typically an issue with the settings of the fuel injection system. If you get black smoke all the time, there are additional problems with the fuel injections system that need to be checked. For example, oxygen sensors, map sensors, fuel injectors, fuel pressure regulators, air filter, etc. If this condition is allowed to continue, it could cause damage to the catalytic converter as well.
If the smoke is blue in color it means the vehicle is burning oil. This can be caused by bad pistons and rings, damaged cylinder walls, or other internal engine damage. If the smoke is white in color it is a sign of a coolant leak or coolant being forced into the cylinders and being burned. Typical causes of white smoke are faulty head gaskets, a cracked head or broken cylinder wall. These, of course, are generalities and can only be accurately diagnosed by a trained auto technician.
17. Why should I replace the spark plug wires, distributor cap and rotor?
Spark plugs, wires, distributor caps and rotors break down and fail over time due to exposure moisture, oil, grease and under hood temperatures that can reach as much as 550 to 700 degrees.
Worn spark plugs cause higher voltage requirements, forcing the ignition module and coil to produce higher and higher voltages to over come the resistance. The higher voltage breaks do the spark plug wires' insulation, creating an easier path to ground. This causes the ignition module and coil to produce even more voltage, creating even higher current temperatures within them, higher than normal resistance weakens transistors and electrical insulation within modules, coils and computers, resulting in intermittent and premature failure.
If your vehicle has over 60,000 miles and you haven't replaced your spark plug wires, distributor cap and rotor, you may experience a variety of drivability problems that are often difficult and very costly to diagnose and repair.
18. What should I do if My Vehicle Fails the Arizona Emission Test?
If your vehicle fails the Arizona Emissions test, AASTRO has full staff of highly skilled and Certified Emissions Technicians ready to serve you. All you need to do is bring the test results you were provided by the person at the test station to any of our AASTRO locations. We then inspect your vehicle and perform our emission diagnostic service, which may include one or more of the following to determine the cause of test failure.
1. On-board computer analysis.
2. Analysis of primary and secondary ignition systems.
3. Fuel delivery system analysis.
4. Drive evaluation.
5. EGR system evaluation.
6. Data stream analysis.
7. Exhaust Gas Analysis.
This testing will determine what repair or service you need. We will discuss these results, inform you of the problems we found and recommend the repair that will bring your vehicle's emission to acceptable levels.
My friend advised that I go the AASTRO Transmission on East Broadway and ask for John. He is a Master Mechanic and I was told he would run a diagnostic on my 2004 Lexus 330ES. I have 108K miles on it. When I brought it in I was thinking my transmission might be the problem (Sluggish, skipping during acceleration). Gloria was the gal at the front desk and actually asked John to come up front to meet me. She is an excellent representative and face for the business in meeting with the customers. I use Lexus of Tucson and also used a Mom and Pop shop for my 3K oil change. When I asked them about the sluggish performance they recommended that I use Premium gas. So, I have been doing that for a year but still couldn't out run my girlfriend's Prius. John has the capability and owns his own very expensive equipment to diagnose just about any car and along with that a very large TV screen to view the results. To make a long story short, John ran the diagnostics. He said I had a very well-maintained car but made a couple of changes and recommendations: He put back standard motor oil, he said based on the schematics and OEM recommendations of the 2004 Lexus to not use synthetic. In looking at my invoice the services provided: Motor Vac Fuel Injection & Decarb, which included: clean fuel injector, fuel rail, throttle body, combustion chamber and exhaust system all in compliance with OEM recommended maintenance. AASTRO did the 3K mile maintenance and I believe this shop automatically does a 41-point Inspection. I personally went back to see John's work station, tools and diagnostics area. Very impressive and clean. My invoice was around $300. So, now my car performs like never before, I find myself getting to the speed limit faster and getting to that speed without it skipping and not sluggish. I am so happy with my car and will continue to use AASTRO. I live by Ina Road and knew they had a shop there but my friend insisted I see John. My 3K mile oil changes will be done at this company but I will go to the Ina Rd shop. Anything major? Back to John. Oh, and on that note John also advised me that I could use regular as opposed to premium gasoline as per the Manufacturers' recommendation. I will save at the pump and I am grateful to my friend for the recommendation and appreciate John's incredible knowledge and passion for wanting to get things done correctly.
Patrick and his team jumped on an unexpected problem with our Chrysler 300. The radiator cracked and we had just enough time to get it replaced. Between price, service and attitude I can't say which was better.
I took my car in for a problem. It was quickly diagnosed & the cost was minimal. The guys really know their stuff.
Just the usual great service.
I have always received great service & great advice. My questions are always answered honestly.
Your staff were very courteous & professional. They explained everything in detail and were exceptional in helping keep the repair affordable. They were honest & up front about everything. I came away feeling my repair needs were given the highest priority. Thanks.
Thank you for showing me my serpentine belt. I was told by others it needed replacing and you showed me that the belt was still O.K. - appreciate your honesty.
Your staff is always very accommodating & go out of their way to help you.
I am very happy because I have less worries about my car.
Thank you for all the personal attention - I hope I can find as trustworthy & conscientious group of mechanics where I live now.
They have been good people to deal with.
Very courteous staff, I was taken care of right away. Staff went above & beyond.
I was treated with care and given detailed explanations for everything.
I have been using AASTRO to service my cars for about 10 years. I have always received great service.
Your staff was awesome. Very professional, courteous, friendly & helpful.
Excellent repair personnel - nice people to deal with.
So thankful for their assistance while traveling! Exceptional service by caring folks. Highly recommend!