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Auto Repair Tips & Guidance

Working Hours
  • Mon 8:00AM - 6:00PM
    Tue 8:00AM - 6:00PM
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    Thu 8:00AM - 6:00PM
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Auto Repair Tips & Guidance

Providing the right answer to auto repair questions since 1995

We are here for you! Call 717-564-5110, drop by our service center in Harrisburg or use our online form. At Dale's Automotive in Harrisburg we don't just promise great service we deliver it.

That's why we created this easy-to-read resource, updated monthly, with quick auto maintenance options, simple suggestions to get better fuel economy and time saving auto repair tips. For more just come by our service center at 3715 Derry St, Harrisburg, PA 17111 today.

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 Dale's Automotive 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 Dale's Automotive in Harrisburg.

At Dale's Automotive 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 Dale's Automotive in Harrisburg 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 717-564-5110 or stop by our service center at 3715 Derry St, Harrisburg, PA, 17111.



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

2022-10-01

Remember to Change Your Belts

Drivers in Harrisburg 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 Dale's Automotive in Harrisburg.

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 Dale's Automotive 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 Dale's Automotive 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 Dale's Automotive 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 Dale's Automotive in Harrisburg today at 717-564-5110 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 Harrisburg

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 Dale's Automotive in Harrisburg 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 Dale's Automotive in Harrisburg today at 717-564-5110 or stop by our service center for preventive auto maintenance services at 3715 Derry St, Harrisburg, PA, 17111.



Dale's Automotive Knows What Older Cars and Trucks Need

2022-10-01

Take Your Older Car or Truck To Dale's Automotive in Harrisburg 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 Harrisburg 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 Dale's Automotive in Harrisburg 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

Dale's Automotive in Harrisburg is dedicated to helping busy car owners prioritize preventative maintenance. We make it easy with convenient, affordable and friendly service. Call today at 717-564-5110 or stop by our service center at 3715 Derry St, Harrisburg, PA, 17111 and speak to one of our technicians.



What People Say About Us

  • reviewicon
    , 08/10/2021

    I HIGHLY RECOMMEND Dale's Automotive! First, they understand that each vehicle has a person and their lifestyle attached to it! That's so much more important than just being able to do repairs and maintenance! Two Cadillacs, three Lexus, one Toyota, three Chevrolets, one Honda's my personal list of vehicles that my family and I have entrusted to the hands of Dale's mechanics to keep our valuable transportation safe and sound and on the road as both my family and our cars and trucks age! They know what they are doing period! Here's the best part. They absolutely will not overcharge you! As a matter of fact, time after time they have saved me money compared to a traditional dealerships overwhelming hourly rates and even steeper price mark up on parts. These guys are great. And I don't recall any service that they could not provide! Inspection, oil and filter, tires, brakes, engine analysis, emissions, air conditioning, electrical issues are all within their grasps! Thank you Dale and Family (that's how they function), for all that you've done for us down through the years!

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    I highly recommend Dales Automotive. It's a family run repair shop, and I've been going to them for nearly 10 years now. My parents have been getting their cars repaired here for longer than that. You see, I don't trust mechanics...but I definitely trust Dale. I drive an older car, which means I need a trustworthy mechanic who won't charge me for more than I need, and he doesn't. I dropped my car off about 2 weeks ago because I noticed my breaks felt squishy and I wasn't stopping quickly enough. (I usually drop my car off the night before and pick it up before they close.) At first glance, they couldn't really find anything wrong, so they called me to find out exactly what it was doing. I explained to them how it was acting and they put it up in the air to recheck it. They found out the problem and fixed it and my breaks are good as new! They always take good care of my vehicle, and will let me know (in english) when something looks like it's going to need to be repaired in the future. I've never been charged for something I didn't need...unlike other places. Sure, it can be expensive...but I don't feel like they're using me. Some things are just more costly to repair, especially when my car has over 200,000 miles on it! But thankfully they accept the autopride card. That thing is a lifesaver. It allows me to make payments over the period of several months...interest free.

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    I will never go anywhere else with my car again. I came here after taking my car to Monroe Muffler Break to have my oil changed. Monroe cracked my oil pan while changing my oil, all of the oil leaked out, and not knowing any of this I drove. When my oil light went on I panicked and drove back there where I was treated awfully and told it was my fault. They told me that I needed to buy a new oil pan which is very expensive. As a full-time student with no income I had no idea what to do or what kind of damage that I had done to my car driving on it with no oil. Panicked, upset, and not knowing anything about cars I had my car taken here to Dales. I was treated wonderfully and my car was taken excellent care of. They were able to fix my oil pan and assure me that my car was ok. Every single time that I need something done on my car, they do their best to squeeze me in. These men do excellent work and really care about what they are doing. If there is anyway for me to get my car to Dales, I will continue to return time and again.

  • reviewicon

    This shop has consistently provided excellent service at great prices. They've always been very friendly and accommodating. They do only the work requested, without digging for other issues that may or may not actually exist. Wonderful local business!

  • reviewicon

    Knowledge, integrity, and determination to do the job right. That's what you will find at Dale's Automotive. And reasonable prices, too. I know that sounds a bit like a commercial, but it's all true. Sadly, it is NOT true of the vast majority of big company service places that loudly advertise their typically terrible service (I'm looking at YOU Tires Plus!).

  • reviewicon

    Thanks for getting the inspection done! And I really appreciate you telling me which stuff didn't need to be replaced right away, saving me hundreds in the process! And Dale, thanks for letting me drive my car home with you in tow to drive it back to the shop so I didn't need to call a cab from your shop, that was priceless!

Call us for service: 717-564-5110

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