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Auto Repair Tips & Guidance


Find quick auto repair answers here because you have things to do!

Who has time to read a manual on auto maintenance? Get fast auto repair and maintenance tips you can trust with the Rick's Car Care blog. Updated monthly, our blog offers quick auto maintenance tips, suggestions for better fuel efficiency and cost saving auto repair ideas.

Looking for more answers? Come by our service center at 211 W Betteravia Rd, Santa Maria, CA 93455 today or ask one of our auto repair experts by phone at 805-937-6033.

Preventive Auto Maintenance For Severe Driving

2023-02-16

Reduce the Effects of Severe Driving On Your Car

Are you an "aggressive" driver? Everyone answers "no" to this question because "aggressive" has become associated with road rage incidents. Today we replace "aggressive" with the word "severe." Severe driving is often unavoidable.

8 Types of Severe Driving

  1. Moving quickly through curvy roads in and around Santa Maria
  2. Traversing gravel or sandy roads
  3. Driving in extreme heat, on icy roads or roads with a deep snowpack
  4. Executing multiple lane changes in stop-and-go traffic
  5. Consistently driving 10 mph or more over the speed limit
  6. Short time dependent commutes around Santa Maria
  7. Truncating a safe following distance resulting in frequent braking
  8. Driving with heavier loads such as a cargo or passenger van or towing a trailer

While most motorists have experienced "severe" driving on occasion, for other drivers it is an unavoidable part of their daily commute. If you are a severe driver, take extra care to avoid excessive wear and tear on your car, SUV or truck. Severe drivers are more likely to experience an inconvenient breakdown.

Increase Your Preventive Maintenance Intervals On These Six Important Items:

  1. Replace your motor oil and oil filters
  2. Top off or replace your coolant
  3. Have your brake pad thickness and brake fluid inspected regularly
  4. Check your tire tread depth
  5. Replace your windshield wipers
  6. Monitor your transmission and steering fluid

Other ways to avoid excess wear and tear on your car from severe driving involve slowing down, avoiding quick starts and stops, and removing heavy items left in your car's trunk or truck bed. Remember gas mileage decreases rapidly when you drive above 60 mph.

Stop by Rick's Car Care in Santa Maria and let our pro mechanics help you develop a preventive maintenance plan that matches your driving style. Call today at 805-937-6033 or come by the service center at 211 W Betteravia Rd, Santa Maria, CA, 93455.



5 Regular Auto Maintenance Items That Save Real Money

2023-01-15

Save Money And Time With Simple Preventative Maintenance From Rick's Car Care

A little auto maintenance goes a long way toward protecting your wallet from high-cost auto repairs in the future.

Schedule regular auto maintenance for these five essential systems

  1. Brakes, including brake pads, brake fluid, calipers and rotors
  2. Tires, including tread wear, proper inflation, front end alignment and balancing
  3. Belts, including serpentine, starter and timing belts
  4. Hoses, including cooling and radiator hoses
  5. Fluids, including oil, transmission, steering, brake, antifreeze and wiper fluids

At Rick's Car Care in Santa Maria we keep your car running smoothly and efficiently to save you both time and money in and out of the repair shop. Many drivers overlook how services such as a simple oil change can increase fuel efficiency and save you money at the gas pump.

Come by Rick's Car Care at 211 W Betteravia Rd, Santa Maria, CA, 93455 and discuss an annual vehicle maintenance plan with us today. Spreading maintenance items out over the course of the year can help make auto maintenance expenses more affordable. Ask us about Rick's Car Care coupons and rebates on items such as tires for additional savings.

Call Rick's Car Care today at 805-937-6033.



Should I Replace My Car's Spark Plugs?

2022-10-01

The Two Instances When You Should Always Replace Your Spark Plugs

Let's talk spark plugs. A common question we hear at Rick's Car Care is, "Should I replace my spark plugs?"

A spark plug performs a critical task for your vehicle's engine. Without a spark plug your car or truck's engine cannot work. Properly working spark plugs also deliver added fuel efficiency. Most owners manuals say to replace the spark plugs every 80,000 to 100,000 miles. In many cases spark plugs last longer than the driver's ownership of the car.

So, when should you replace your spark plugs?

  1. If you just purchased a used vehicle
  2. At least every 80,000 miles

Spark plugs are one of the hardest working parts of a vehicle. If you just purchased a used car, it is best to go ahead and replace the spark plugs. You have no idea if the previous owners were "severe" drivers. A spark plug can fire 400 times per minute per cylinder or 1,600 times a minute on a four-cylinder engine. Severe driving can place even higher demands on the spark plugs and engine.

Many used car dealers boast an extensive multi-point inspection plan prior to the sale of any car but many of these plans don't cover spark plug integrity. Because a failed spark plug can mean disaster for your new purchase it is best to get them replaced by the qualified technicians at Rick's Car Care in Santa Maria.

At Rick's Car Care we recommend replacing spark plugs before they reach the 80,000-mile mark. Many car owners delay spark plug replacement until the engine starts "missing." An engine that is "missing" will typically result in a jerking feeling when accelerating. Spark plugs that are severely worn out will create a pinging or knocking sound. These fouled, worn-out spark plugs can lead to extensive engine damage that is expensive to fix. Therefore, replacing spark plugs before they reach the 80,000-mile mark is very important.
Three Indicators Your Spark Plugs Need To Be Replaced

  1. Rattling, pinging or knocking noises when accelerating
  2. Missing, hesitating or jerky feeling when driving
  3. Slow acceleration or chugging

Sluggish and reduced performance also causes poor fuel economy. Save money at the pump by taking care of your vehicle's spark plugs.

Come by Rick's Car Care in Santa Maria if you just bought a used car or your vehicle is approaching the 80,000-mile mark to have your spark plugs replaced by one of our qualified pro mechanics. Call today at 805-937-6033 or stop by our service center at 211 W Betteravia Rd, Santa Maria, CA, 93455.



Don't Forget to Replace Your Car or Truck's Belts

2022-10-01

Remember to Change Your Belts

Drivers in Santa Maria are busy and it is easy to forget that belts are tirelessly working to keep your engine running. A worn-out belt is a break down waiting to happen. Avoid being stranded on the side of the road and get your belts inspected each time you get an oil change at Rick's Car Care in Santa Maria.

Your car or truck's belts are essential for many of the vehicle's critical components such as water cooling, air conditioning and the alternator. Serpentine belts are used to turn the alternator, power steering and air-conditioning compressor. Often when serpentine belts brake your vehicle will stop working completely.

Come to Rick's Car Care to get worn or frayed serpentine belts replaced. Replacing belts when cracked, frayed or showing signs of excessive wear is very inexpensive when compared to having your car or truck towed to our repair shop.

Listen for signs of belt problems. Noise like rattling or slipping in the belt system is a sign of wear. Use your nose to tell you if a belt problem is imminent. The smell of burnt rubber can indicate a slipping belt.

At Rick's Car Care when we replace a worn serpentine belt, we check all the components in the serpentine system such as tensioners and pulleys. A typical serpentine belt replacement is 60,000 to 90,000 miles.

Why risk being stranded when a bad belt can be diagnosed with simple routine maintenance? Get Rick's Car Care to replace your car or truck's serpentine belts as directed by your owner's manual and avoid the hassle and expense of a sudden breakdown.

Call Rick's Car Care in Santa Maria today at 805-937-6033 to schedule regular maintenance such as belt inspection.



Owning A Car Is A Hidden Cost For College Students

2022-10-01

Car Ownership - A Hidden Cost for College Students in Santa Maria

Public transportation, Uber or Lyft may be an option for students attending college in large cities but for students attending colleges in small towns the only option may be owning a car. This is particularly true for students attending community colleges where commuting to campus is the only option.

College is expensive and owning a car while attending school is an added expense. Here are the top six expense categories college students should plan for:

  1. Fuel
  2. Financing
  3. Parking permit, annual taxes and registration
  4. Insurance
  5. Maintenance
  6. Tires

Parking permits, licensing, registration and taxes are unavoidable. However here are some recommendations for managing other costs.

  • Consider using a gas app that helps you track down the best price in town for gas. Many local gas and convenience stores offer a reward card just for gas.
  • Revisit your auto loan. College may be a good time to consider a less expensive car. Call your local credit union and ask them about financing. Some financial institutions offer lower interest rates for car owners who sign up to have their monthly payments deducted directly from their bank account each month.
  • Shopping for car insurance may also create a significant savings. If you switch to a less expensive car you may need less coverage. If you are driving less on average this may also lower your insurance costs. Keeping a clean driving record while you are in college can help keep your insurance rates low.
  • Come by Rick's Car Care in Santa Maria and let us help you create a solid auto maintenance plan. No one wants to miss class because their car wouldn't start. Regular maintenance on your car will help prevent high-cost car repairs in the future. Maintenance items such as oil changes can also increase fuel efficiency saving you additional money at the gas pump.
  • The cost of tires can be a jolt to a college student's budget. Plan to buy tires by setting aside a little money each month. Save on tires by taking advantage of manufacturer rebates.

Call Rick's Car Care in Santa Maria today at 805-937-6033 or stop by our service center for preventive auto maintenance services at 211 W Betteravia Rd, Santa Maria, CA, 93455.



Rick's Car Care Knows What Older Cars and Trucks Need

2022-10-01

Take Your Older Car or Truck To Rick's Car Care in Santa Maria For Preventative Maintenance

The consumer price index for used cars and trucks jumped up by 40.5% from January 2021 to January 2022. As a result, the average age of vehicles on the road is rising as many owners of older cars decide it is cheaper to hang on to them than to buy one today.

As cars get older, they need more maintenance and repair. Drivers in Santa Maria must be more diligent about preventative maintenance. Replacing a bad O2 Sensor costs $250.00 on average. This may increase or decrease based on the make and model of your car or truck. However, performing recommended auto maintenance such as air filter replacement and spark plug replacement can extend the life of your O2 sensor.

Kelly Blue Book reports the average vehicle age in the US is 13.5 years. After five years of ownership the chances of a breakdown or service issue increases dramatically unless drivers are vigilant about preventative maintenance. Come by Rick's Car Care in Santa Maria and let us help you set up a preventative maintenance plan for your car or truck. Sticking to a maintenance plan will minimize the chances of breakdowns, increase fuel efficiency and decrease any future repair costs.

The Top 6 Auto Preventative Maintenance Items to Plan for Today

  1. oil change
  2. oil and fuel filters
  3. belts and hoses
  4. brake system components
  5. brake and transmission fluid flushes
  6. tires and alignment

Rick's Car Care in Santa Maria is dedicated to helping busy car owners prioritize preventative maintenance. We make it easy with convenient, affordable and friendly service. Call today at 805-937-6033 or stop by our service center at 211 W Betteravia Rd, Santa Maria, CA, 93455 and speak to one of our technicians.




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OUR REVIEWS

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Their professionalism and work are exceptional. I have never had luck finding a good repair shop. I've taken my Mercedes to four shops two of those shops specialized in Mercedes and could not fix my car. Ricks however did and they did such a great job I am very pleased. They called and kept me update and checked on my after. Also I never leave reviews these guys are worth a review, the drive and money thank you guys for doing such a good timely job. I will be returning for all my oil changes and any other repairs. Thank you thank you!

, 01/30/2024

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