Category Archives: Tips and Advice

Shade Tree Garage continues to raise awareness and funds for ALS Research

Customers and Morristown-area residents are encouraged to bring their vehicles to Shade Tree Garage for an oil change during the month of April. When they do, Shade Tree Garage will donate $3 of every oil change to support research at The Robert Packard Center, the only center of its kind dedicated solely to finding new therapies to slow or cure ALS.

ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a debilitating and progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. In the later stages of the disease, patients may become totally paralyzed, and between two and five years after diagnosis, patients will die.

O’Connor became a supporter of ALS when his brother, Gary, was diagnosed with the disease at the age of 52. Sadly, Gary passed away from the disease in March of 2012. “Just like many people, I was not fully aware of the effects of ALS until my brother was diagnosed with the disease. As soon as we heard, our entire family began to do whatever we could to raise funds for The Robert Packard Center.”

To schedule an appointment for an oil change in April, vehicle owners should call Shade Tree Garage at 973-540-9880.

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How to Prevent a Blown Head Gasket

A head gasket that blows is not something you want to have happen to your vehicle. When it happens, you could end up with an engine rebuild, having to purchase a new engine or buying a new car. That’s expensive. There’s good news! With proper vehicle maintenance, the catastrophe of a blown head gasket can be avoided.

Wondering what the head gasket does and why it could lead to a ruined engine if it fails? Coolant/antifreeze needs to pass by the engine block to remove the heat that’s generated during the combustion process. The job of the head gasket is to form a seal so the coolant doesn’t enter into the engine block. As you can imagine, the head gasket is exposed to a wide range of conditions and temperatures. Over time, the head gasket will begin to wear out. To replace it, the entire engine must be disassembled.

An overheated engine is the most common reason a head gasket will fail. That’s because an overheated engine can cause the cylinder head to expand. The result is a crushed head gasket that allows coolant to enter into the engine block and mix with the oil. It’s important to take care of a worn head gasket before it becomes a major issue. Here are some signs of a problem with the head gasket:

  • White smoke is seen coming from the exhaust pipe.
  • There may be coolant leaks on the grown beneath the exhaust manifold.
  • An overheating engine.
  • There are bubbles in the radiator or coolant overflow tank.
  • The engine oil looks white (or milky).
  • There is no evidence of external leaks in the cooling system, but you have to replace coolant on a regular basis.

Head Gasket Failure Can Be Prevented – Here’s How

Regularly maintaining the cooling system will keep the engine from overheating. Cooling system maintenance includes flushing and replacing the coolant on a set schedule (at least every two years, if not sooner). It also means inspecting belts and hoses and replacing them before they fail.

Need a little extra peace of mind about the safety and reliability of your vehicle? Every time you bring your car, truck or van to use for regular maintenance, we perform a 27-point courtesy inspection. That allows us to be able to tell you whether or not belts, hoses or the coolant needs to be replaced. If the engine is running hot or you notice any of the signs we listed above, bring your vehicle in for a check-up. Click here to schedule an appointment for head gasket repair in Morristown, NJ.

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Is it time to replace your shocks or struts?

When it comes to vehicle safety, excessive bouncing and swaying is not a good thing. In fact, it can be quite dangerous. If you are experiencing these types of symptoms while driving, more than likely, your shocks or struts may have something to do with it. You may not know it, but shocks and struts do more than provide a smooth ride. They are an integral part of keeping your tires on the road, so when they begin to wear out, vehicle and passenger safety becomes compromised.

If you take a look at the underside of your vehicle, you will see some very large springs over each wheel. Those springs are part of the suspension system, and are designed to absorb the impact as your vehicle’s tires roll over the road. Without a shock or strut, the energy stored in the spring would begin to cause major bouncing and swaying as you drive down the road. The shocks and struts absorb that energy so you have a smooth ride.

One thing to note is that your vehicle either has struts or shocks, never both. The difference between the two is that a strut is part of the suspension system while a shock is not. Here’s more information on each:

  • Struts – Mounted to the chassis, the struts not only lessen the movement of the springs, they are a vital part of wheel alignment and act as a pivot point for the steering system. That’s why a wheel alignment needs to be done when the struts are replaced.
  • Shock Absorbers – Though they are equally vital to driving safety, a shock absorber is responsible for absorbing the energy generated by the springs. When they begin to wear out, you will start to notice more of the road vibrations along with excessive swaying and bumping.

As mentioned, shock absorbers or struts that have worn out can cause a serious safety risk. Not only will you notice more bouncing, bumping and swaying while you drive, it will take you longer to stop your vehicle. It will also become more difficult to safely turn corners. In addition to the serious safety concerns, the car tires will wear out fast and you will spend more when you fill up the tank.

Very often a shock or a strut will leak a small amount of oil over many miles and long before they are bouncing they will become very harsh.  If you hit a seemingly innocuous bump or cement crack and instead of slowly absorbing the impact, the strut slams feeling like it’s going to take the filings out of you teeth, mention it to your technician or shop. Often times, the lack of oil leaking fools the technician into thinking all is well.  While you might experience it every day, our technicians may not feel it since we won’t take overly long test drives unless we’re looking for a symptom.

If you notice any of the signs identified above, have the certified automotive technicians at Shade Tree Garage take a look at your vehicle’s suspension system.

How to Properly Maintain the Suspension System

Just like any other vehicle component, the suspension and steering systems require periodic maintenance to work properly:

  1. Lubrication – The ball joints, tie-rod ends and other parts of the steering system should be well-lubricated. With regular maintenance in our shop, we will let you know when these parts need to be lubricated.
  2. Power Steering Fluid – Just like other vital engine fluids, check the power steering fluid each month to make sure there’s enough fluid and it is in good condition. An important factor to note: If you have to add steering fluid, there’s a problem with the steering system that requires repair.
  3. Tire Rotations – Have them done regularly. When you do, have the steering and suspensions systems checked.
  4. Wheel Alignments – Don’t neglect having wheel alignments done, especially if you hit a curb, ditch or pothole.
  5. Replace Shocks or Struts – The shock absorbers or struts should be replaced about every 50,000 miles. Ask us about the particulars for your vehicle. One last note, if your vehicle is equipped with shocks, you will need to replace all four of them at the same time.

Need new shocks or struts? Click here to schedule an appointment with Shade Tree Garage in Morristown, New Jersey.

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9 Tips to Help You Confidently Buy a Used Car

Do you need a “new” car but don’t want to buy or lease a new one off the dealer’s lot? There are a lot of used vehicles from which to choose. Some of them are good, reliable vehicles and some are not. “Buyer beware” was never more appropriate than when applied to buying a used car, truck or van. Buying a used car takes a little bit of effort and research, but with the 9 tips outlined here, you’ll be able to purchase one confidently, whether it’s for you or your teen driver.

  1. Before you start checking out vehicles, figure out what you want type of vehicle you would like to purchase. Do you have a particular make and model in mind? Once you decide upon that, you can begin your research. It’s helpful to gather as much information as you can on the particular make and model you want – pricing, features, etc. There are some online websites that can assist you in your research. Kelley Blue Book (kbb.com) and Edmunds (Edmunds.com) are both great places to start.
  2. Next, you will want to learn more about the repair and maintenance costs for the particular make and model you are considering. A simple internet search will yield all sorts of information. You will most likely come across some forums for the particular vehicle you want to buy that will give you a good idea on some of the typical repair issues owners of the same vehicle are experiencing. You can also ask us. We are servicing many different makes and models and have definitely found there to be trends in repair issues.
  3. Now it’s time to start searching for your new vehicle. Local dealerships will have some used vehicles on their lots. Classified ads are also an excellent source. Let us know, too! We may be aware of a vehicle owner who is looking to sell the same type of vehicle you want to buy.
  4. When looking at vehicles, bring a basic inspection checklist with you. If you do an internet search for “used car buying checklist” you should be able to find something that will suffice. There’s also one you can find at bankrate.comhttp://www.bankrate.com/auto/18-tip-checklist-test-driving-a-used-car/
  5. You definitely want to test drive any vehicle you are considering. When you do, drive it on hills, highways and in traffic so you can look for any problems in the way the vehicle may handle.
  6. Don’t be afraid to ask to view copies of the vehicle’s service and repair records.
  7. Probably the most important of the steps, and one people often overlook, is having the vehicle inspected by your mechanic. That’s right, the certified technicians at Shade Tree Garage will complete a pre-purchase inspection on the vehicle for you. If there’s a vehicle that interests you, give us and we will let you know how to handle having use complete the inspection.
  8. Make sure you go to recalls.gov to see if there are any old or open recalls on the vehicle you want to purchase. You’ll need to know the VIN for the vehicle when you complete the search.
  9. The final step is to complete a search with a trusted database resource like Carfax.com. Records included in each CARFAX Report reveal important information about a car’s history, such as an odometer reading, existence of a branded title such as a salvage/junk title, or past registration as a fleet vehicle. Here’s more about what’s provided in one of their reports > https://www.carfax.com/company/vhr-data-sources

Once you purchase your new vehicle, we hope you will bring it to our auto repair shop in Morristown, New Jersey, for all your auto repair and maintenance needs. We will help you take care of your vehicle so it lasts a good, long time. Click here to schedule an appointment for a pre-purchase inspection now.

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Doing These Things can Lead to a Bad Catalytic Converter

Car owners often neglect some maintenance items, like tune-ups, because they want to save money on car expenses. Unfortunately, the problem with this mindset is that by ignoring certain service items one will end up having more expensive car repairs down the road. This is especially true when it comes to the catalytic converter. Its job is to remove harmful gases from the exhaust so they don’t pollute.  To do this, several precious metals (usually platinum and palladium) act as a chemical catalyst. It’s become of these metals that the cost to replace a catalytic converter is expensive. By doing (or not doing) certain things, you will more than likely end up with a bad catalytic converter. What are some of the things that will cause a catalytic converter to fail? Read on to find out.

  1. Neglecting Engine Tune-Ups – When was the last time you had the spark plugs and wires changed? When the engine gets out of tune, the entire vehicle will undergo more wear and tear. The catalytic converter is particularly susceptible to bad engine performance. An improper air/fuel mixture, improper timing and/or misfiring spark plugs will affect the exhaust coming from the engine. Anything that affects the exhaust will cause issues with the catalytic converter. If the problem continues for an extended period of time, the catalytic converter will go bad.
  2. Fuel Entering the Exhaust System – For your engine to run properly, it requires an exact ratio of fuel to air. Too little fuel and the engine doesn’t run right. Too much fuel and the unburnt fuel will enter the exhaust system. When that happens, the unspent fuel ignites when it reaches the catalytic converter causing it to heat up beyond its normal operating temperature. If it runs like this for too long… the catalytic converter will fail and you’ll be spending a lot of money to replace it. You can prevent this from happening by having tune-ups done regularly and replacing faulty parts, like oxygen sensors and fuel injectors.
  3. Coolant or Oil Entering the Exhaust System – The cooling system is paramount to engine performance. When the cooling system is neglected, the engine runs hotter than it should which could cause things like a cracked manifold gasket or cylinder head gasket. When these gaskets go bad, coolant and/or motor oil can leak into the combustion chamber and exhaust. Coolant and/or oil in the exhaust system will result in the accumulation of carbon deposits on the catalytic converter and end up blocking exhaust flow.
  4. “Check Engine” or “Service Engine Soon” Light Left Unfixed – The Check Engine and Service Engine Soon light is an important warning system that lets you know there is a problem somewhere in the emissions system. If left unfixed, you will end up having to replace the catalytic converter. (Read more about the Check Engine Light here).

The simplest way to avoid having to replace the catalytic converter is to regularly maintain your vehicle. The certified technicians in our auto repair shop in Morristown, New Jersey, complete a 27-point courtesy inspection each time you bring your vehicle to Shade Tree Garage for service. We also keep a detailed service history on your vehicle so we can let you know when it’s time for a tune-up, the cooling system needs to be serviced, or there’s another engine component that should be addressed. Click here to schedule service or repair with Shade Tree Garage.

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5 of the Most Overlooked Car Maintenance Services

Commuting to work, carpooling the kids… when you have busy work and family schedules, there’s no time for unexpected car repairs. The majority of times, these high repair costs and the trouble associated with them could have been avoided with some basic car maintenance. Here are 5 of the most overlooked car maintenance services.

Are you guilty of not taking care of any of the following 5 car care services?

  1. Power Steering Service – When was the last time you brought your vehicle into the shop and asked for a power steering service? Thought so. Most people don’t, but in time, your vehicle’s power steering fluid will become dirty or sludgy from the normal wear and tear it undergoes each time you drive. Fluids are important to proper operation of the steering system. When the power steering fluid gets dirty and old, it can begin to clog steering components and may even cause system failures. Not sure how often to replace the power steering fluid? Ask us.
  2. Wheel Alignment – Wheels that are out of alignment can cause all sorts of problems from uneven tire wear to problems with the suspension system. Over time, the alignment will go out – a little more quickly if you hit potholes or curbs. You should have the alignment checked at least once a year and more if you’ve hit a pothole or curb.
  3. Transmission Fluid and Filter Service – How often do you check the condition and level of transmission fluid in your vehicle? To that end, when did you last have the fluid and filter changed? Because today’s transmissions are fairly reliable, many people don’t even think of having this important service performed. Check the fluid once a month and follow the recommended service intervals in your owner’s manual. For more on transmissions, click here.
  4. Timing Belt Replacement – The timing belt is critical to the proper operation of your vehicle engine. So much so that if the timing belt breaks, your engine could sustain irreparable damage. Your owner’s manual will identify when the timing belt should be replaced. Don’t wait until it breaks to replace it.
  5. Cooling System Service – Another very important component to your vehicle’s operation, the cooling system prevents corrosion and keeps the engine from overheating. A cooling system that hasn’t been maintained can’t protect engine parts from corrosion and will most likely cause the engine to run too hot. If the engine overheats, just like with the timing belt, you could sustain major engine damage. Make sure you have the proper level of coolant/antifreeze in the fall and spring. Flush and replace the coolant/antifreeze when it’s time to do so.

Our certified technicians and service advisor are happy to answer questions you may have about any of these services. Also, each time you bring your vehicle to us for repair or maintenance, we complete a 27-point courtesy inspection. If we find anything that needs to be replaced, we’ll let you know. Click here to schedule your next appointment with Shade Tree Garage in Morristown, New Jersey.

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The Type of Oil Filter You Use Does Make a Difference

You may be aware of the importance of using a high-quality oil in your vehicle, but were you aware that the type of oil filter that’s used is equally important? If you don’t change the oil frequently enough or use a motor oil of lesser quality, the life of your engine will be compromised. The same holds true for the quality of the oil filter that is used. So, what’s so important about the oil filter? We’ll explain it all in this blog post.

The oil lubricates the engine parts. Vital to engine life. The oil filter plays an equally vital role in protecting your vehicle’s engine from premature wear and failure. As your car engine runs, little pieces of metal will chip off various engine parts. The oil filter is responsible for cleaning the oil as it circulates through to the engine so these little bits of metal don’t cause additional damage to the engine.

You can save a few bucks on an oil filter, but it could cost you thousands in engine repairs if an oil filter comes apart or gets dirt in the system. In the first picture (the oil filter on the left), the paper element had blown out sending debris through the engine, and of course, no longer filtered the oil. The second picture shows how the filter on the right started collapsing which caused the height to shorten. If a low-quality oil filter does something like this in your vehicle, you’ve got a real mess on your hands.

Shade Tree Garage in Morristown, NJ, for your oil and oil filter changes.

When it comes to replacing oil filters, change them whenever you have the oil changed. If you regularly drive towing heavy loads, in stop-and-go traffic or in extreme weather conditions, it’s a good idea to change your oil and filter more frequently. Your technician at Shade Tree Garage can let you know the best oil and filter change schedule for your vehicle and the conditions under which you drive.

So now you know why the quality of an oil filter is important.  Have more questions? Feel free to ask us the next time you bring your vehicle in for service. Click here to schedule your next oil and oil filter change now.

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Is Your Car’s Cooling System Waiting for Disaster? 4 Signs of a Problem

When was the last time you had maintenance done on your vehicle’s cooling system? If you don’t remember, it’s definitely time to have this vital engine system checked out and serviced. In this blog post, we will address some signs that there may be a problem with the cooling system. We will also let you know what you can do to protect your car’s engine from major damage.

Signs of Cooling System Problems

The cooling system in your vehicle is a vital component responsible for making sure the engine and transmission don’t overheat. When the cooling system isn’t properly maintained, failure of the system can result in serious engine damage. As with any engine system, there are usually some telltale signs that indicate a problem. Here are the four symptoms that your vehicle’s cooling system needs to be serviced:

  1. The engine overheats. If this happens, you should have your vehicle’s cooling system checked out right away. If you continue to run the engine, it could result in major engine damage. Schedule your cooling system service now.
  2. You can smell antifreeze.
  3. You notice a leak under the front of your vehicle that is yellowish-green, pastel blue or fluorescent orange in color.
  4. You have to frequently add coolant to the radiator.

Tips on Maintaining the Cooling System

Regular maintenance is key to preventing cooling system failure. Here’s how to maintain the cooling system on your vehicle:

  • Regularly inspect the radiator, drive belt and hoses. You want to make sure the hoses aren’t showing signs of dryness, cracking, and/or bulging. When it comes to the drive belt (a/k/a serpentine belt), you will want to look for evidence of cracks, chunks missing, abrasions, rib separation, uneven rib wear, and/or damaged ribs. Replace any hoses when they show the first sign of a problem.
  • Have the drive belt replaced before it fails. Use the service recommendation listed in the owner’s manual. Typically, this is around 50,000 miles (or about 5 years). Our certified technicians can let you know if your vehicle is nearing the time that the drive belt should be replaced.
  • Flush and change the coolant about every 2 years. The coolant helps disperse the heat and prevents corrosion. As the antifreeze ages, it loses its ability to keep the engine from overheating. Flushing and replacing the antifreeze helps the engine run cooler and removes sediment that can be damaging to other parts in the cooling system.

The best way to take care of your vehicle’s cooling system is to have it maintained at Shade Tree Garage in Morristown, New Jersey. We can take care of coolant flushes and replace or repair all cooling system parts. Click here to schedule your cooling system service today in Morristown, NJ.

photo credit: EvelynGiggles radiator via photopin (license)

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The Most Expensive Car Repairs and How You Can Prevent Them

It’s impossible to completely eliminate car repairs, but you can lessen the chance of having to replace some of the more expensive car parts. We have written about it many times — The best way to reduce the probability of having to deal with major vehicle repairs is to make a commitment to regular maintenance. Properly maintaining items and replacing worn parts before they fail is the most cost-efficient way to take care of vehicle expenses. By doing so, you will have peace of mind about the safety and reliability of your vehicle and you’ll save money in the long run. Read on to find out how you can maintain some of those higher ticket components on your auto.

Is your vehicle turbocharged?

Turbocharged cars are definitely fun to drive, but they can also be a challenge. A turbocharger takes the exhausts gases and uses them to push additional air into the cylinders. In doing so, your car’s engine is able to burn more fuel to increase power to the engine. When running at full capacity, the turbocharger spins around 200,000 rotations per minute. If you have to replace a turbocharger, it could cost upwards of $6,000. That said, you can see why it’s important to make sure you take care of it properly to avoid problems.

Symptoms of a Potential Problem

  • Your vehicle is accelerating poorly.
  • You notice irregular or excessive exhaust.
  • The dreaded Check Engine light comes on.
  • You hear a loud, shrieking noise coming from under the hood.

How to Maintain this Engine Part

The first line of defense to prevent a problem with the turbocharger is to have the engine oil and filter changed regularly. When you do, it’s a good idea to use a high-quality synthetic oil – one that’s recommended by the manufacturer for your particular vehicle. Equally important is allowing the engine to warm up before running it at full capacity. You also want to make sure you cool down the turbocharger before shutting off your car.

Fuel Injection

Your vehicle engine requires the proper mixture of fuel and air to operate properly. The fuel injectors have the job of sending the fuel to the engine. Because of normal wear and tear, eventually you will have to replace fuel injectors.  The key to extending the need to have them replaced comes with proper and regular vehicle maintenance.

Symptoms of a Potential Problem

  • The Check Engine light is on.
  • You notice the engine is misfiring.
  • There’s a decrease in gas mileage.
  • You smell gasoline.
  • Severe engine problems like stalling, hesitating, the engine idles roughly and/or the engine fails to start.

How to Maintain this Engine Part

It’s important to periodically clean the fuel injector system. We recommend a fuel injector system cleaning be done about every 3 years or 36,000 miles.

The Head Gasket

When your car is operating, fluid from the cooling system is circulating around the engine to protect it from overheating. The head gasket seals the engine so the coolant doesn’t enter into the engine with the motor oil. If the head gasket cracks, engine damage will occur. Not only will you have to replace the head gasket, which is difficult to access, but you will have to repair the damage to the engine.

Symptoms of a Potential Problem

  • Coolant may leak from below the exhaust manifold.
  • Your vehicle’s exhaust will be white in color.
  • The engine will overheat.
  • You may find bubbles in the radiator or the coolant overflow reservoir.
  • There may be a loss of coolant with no signs of a leak.

How to Maintain this Engine Part

Avoiding problems with the head gasket comes down to maintaining the cooling system. Flush and replace the coolant every 2 to 3 years or 24,000 miles. You will also want to make sure the hoses and belts running the cooling system are replaced before they fail.

The Timing Belt

As you can imagine, the timing belt endures a lot of wear and tear. If the belt breaks, you’ll end up with major engine damage. Replacing the timing belt can be expensive, but the repair bill for a broken timing belt will be much higher. You may even have to replace the entire engine. Read more about timing belt replacement here.

Symptoms of a Potential Problem

  • The belt is missing some teeth.
  • There are signs of cracking on the belt.
  • The belt looks glazed.

How to Maintain this Engine Part

You can prevent major engine damage from a broken timing belt by replacing it according to the schedule recommended by your vehicle manufacturer.

The Fuel Pump

The fuel pump sends the gasoline to the carburetor and is located on either the inside or the outside of the gas tank.

Symptoms of a Potential Problem

  • There’s a noise coming from the gas tank.
  • You may have problems starting your car.
  • Engine power is reduced.
  • Poor acceleration.
  • Decreased fuel efficiency.

How to Maintain this Engine Part

 First and foremost, you should have the fuel filter changed regularly. In addition, never let the level of fuel in the gas tank fall below ¼ of a tank and use only a high quality fuel when filling up.

An Engine that has Seized

If something happens that causes your engine to seize, you’ll either have to buy a new engine or a new car. With proper maintenance, you can prevent this from happening.

Symptoms of a Potential Problem

If you oil warning light and/or engine temperature light come on, immediately pull over and turn off your car. Do not drive the car. Instead, you should have it towed to Shade Tree Garage’s auto repair shop located in Morristown, New Jersey. Once you do, give us a call and let us know what happened.

How to Maintain this Engine Part

Your car’s engine must maintain proper lubrication to operate efficiently. Regular oil and filter changes will extend engine life. Always make sure you have enough oil in the engine by checking the oil level once a month. If you notice that you have to add oil on a continual basis, schedule an appointment to have the car engine checked. It’s also important to have the cooling system serviced regularly to avoid engine overheating.

Automatic Transmission

The transmission can be quite tricky. It’s better to deal with a transmission problem when you first notice symptoms than to wait. Failing to properly maintain the transmission or ignoring transmission problems can result in an expensive transmission repair. Click here to read more about your automatic transmission.

Symptoms of a Potential Problem

  • The transmission fluid is dirty and has a black or dark brown color. It may also smell like it’s burnt.
  • Low transmission fluid.
  • Evidence of red-colored fluid leaks under your vehicle.
  • The transmission overheats.

How to Maintain this Engine Part

Like any other engine component that is lubricated, you should change the transmission fluid and filter on a regular basis. You should also check the level and condition of the transmission fluid once a month. If you find you have to add more transmission fluid or that it has a dark color or a burnt smell, have the transmission checked. If you have never had the transmission fluid and filter changed and you are approaching 80,000 to 100,000 miles on your vehicle, ask us before you have the fluid and filter changed. In that situation, it may be better to not change the fluid as doing so may cause transmission problems.

The Best Way to Avoid Expensive Engine Repairs – Bring Your Vehicle to Shade Tree Garage in Morristown, NJ

Regular maintenance is the key to avoiding all of these major engine repairs. The certified technicians at Shade Tree Garage can handle all your auto maintenance needs. Every time you bring your vehicle to our shop for service or repair, we perform a 27-point courtesy inspection. That way we can alert you when a part is showing wear so you can have it replaced before it fails. Click here to schedule your auto maintenance or repair with Shade Tree Garage.

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This is why the family-owned auto repair shop is better than the dealership

At Shade Tree Garage, we understand that where you bring your vehicle for service and repair is an important decision. After all, the safety and reliability of your car depends on it. A common question for car owners… Should I bring my car to a family-owned auto repair shop or back to the dealership?  We think there are some very distinct advantages to working with an independent, family-owned shop like Shade Tree Garage. We can summarize it all in one sentence – You have more options when you bring your vehicle to a family-owned auto repair shop.  Here are a just a few of the benefits:

  1. Maintenance Services – Let’s demonstrate this for you by comparing a family-owned restaurant vs. franchised fast food chain. When you walk into a fast food chain, they always ask if you want to “biggie size” your order. It doesn’t matter whether you need it or not, the goal is to get you to buy the larger serving of food. This is similar to the dealership, where you’ll be prompted to purchase more expensive maintenance packages, whether you need the services done or not. As an independent auto repair shop, we base our service and repair recommendations on the 27-point courtesy inspection we complete each time we service your vehicle. We aren’t looking to “biggie size” you on repair or maintenance work.
  2. Replacement Parts – When it comes to any repair work, you’ll be limited to the parts supplied by the dealership. You may think that’s good, after all, they are putting on parts that are meant for your vehicle. But, is it really a good thing? What if we told you that a family-owned auto repair shop can offer you more choices for replacement parts and the ones we can provide might actually be of higher quality and a better price?
  3. Tires – Here again, we can offer you more options. We are able to shop many different brands of tires and will help you select the right tires for your vehicle and budget. If you want to order your tires from someplace like Tire Rack and have us install them, that’s okay, too.
  4. More Experience – You may think the technicians at a dealership would be more knowledgeable than those at an independent repair shop. However, you’ll find that our ASE-certified technicians provide a higher level of service than most dealership technicians. Not only do they know your vehicle, inside and out, they have broader knowledge and experience. They possess superior diagnostic skills that can only be gained from years of servicing many different makes and models.

If these benefits alone aren’t enough, check out our list of 25 Reasons to Choose Shade Tree Garage. If you have never brought your vehicle to any place but the dealership, we invite you to give us a try. We promise, you’ll receive only the best in customer service. Click here to schedule an appointment with Shade Tree Garage.

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