Best Auto Repair, Harrisburg

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GENERAL MAINTENANCE

Working Hours
  • Mon 8:00AM - 6:00PM
    Tue 8:00AM - 6:00PM
  • Wed 8:00AM - 6:00PM
    Thu 8:00AM - 6:00PM
  • Fri 8:00AM - 6:00PM
    Sat Closed
  • Sun Closed

GENERAL MAINTENANCE

It's Time for the 21st Century Tune-up

Times are changing...cars are changing. One of the biggest changes in today's automotive industry is the perception of a "tune-up." Ask 10 vehicle owners their definition of a tune-up and chances are there'll be 10 different answers. The classic "tune-up" was once the heart of the automotive business and contrary to some beliefs; today's modern vehicles still need tune-ups to keep them performing at the most efficient levels.

The tune-up was historically associated with the routine replacement of key ignition system parts like spark plugs and ignition points, along with some basic adjustments to help "tune" the engine. Mounting pressure for increased fuel economy and lower emissions drove the car manufacturers to adopt electronics and to do away with ignition points in the '70s, along with the carburetor in the middle '80s. This eliminated the need for the replacement and adjustment of a growing number of ignition and fuel system parts.

As the pace of technology quickened, the procedures required to perform a traditional tune-up changed dramatically. Highly sophisticated ignition and fuel systems are now the norm, using one or more onboard computers to control critical engine and transmission management functions. Things that were once handled mechanically are now controlled electronically through the widespread use of onboard computer technology.

Because vehicles have changed so much over the years, the Car Care Council has introduced the 21st Century Tune-up. This program is designed to help re-define and educate motorists as to what a tune-up should consist of on today's modern vehicles.

"There is a misconception that today's modern vehicles don't need tune-ups because they never break down, but that simply is not true," said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. "If you're at work and your computer goes down, you can't get any more work done. It's the same with your vehicle. If the vehicle isn't being properly maintained, you're not going to get where you want to go."

As part of the 21st Century Tune-up on today's modern vehicles, the following systems should be inspected:

  • Battery, charging and starting
  • Engine mechanical
  • Powertrain control (including onboard diagnostic checks)
  • Fuel
  • Ignition
  • Emissions

Vehicle owners ask for tune-ups for a variety of reasons, including improving performance, maintaining reliability, planning a vacation, preparing for winter/summer or because they're giving the car to a friend or family member.

To help ensure good performance, fuel economy and emissions, the Car Care Council also recommends that motorists take the time necessary to become familiar with their vehicle from every aspect. Study the owner's manual to become thoroughly acquainted with the operation of all systems. Pay special attention to the indicator lights and instruments.

Getting Your Vehicle Ready for Winter

Mechanical failure—an inconvenience anytime it occurs--can be deadly in the winter. Preventive maintenance is a must. Besides, a well-maintained vehicle is more enjoyable to drive, lasts longer, and could command a higher resale price.

Some of the following tips can be performed by any do-it-yourselfer; others require the skilled hands of a professional auto technician.

  • Engine Performance - Get engine drivability problems (hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.) corrected at a good repair shop. Cold weather makes existing problems worse. Replace dirty filters-air, fuel, etc.
  • Fuel - Put a bottle of fuel de-icer in your tank once a month to help keep moisture from freezing in the fuel line. Note that a full gas tank helps keep moisture from forming.
  • Oil - Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual—more often (every 3,000 miles) if your driving is mostly stop-and-go or consists of frequent short trips.
  • Cooling Systems - The cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled about every 24 months. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. (A 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is usually recommended.) DIYers, never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled! The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses should be checked by a pro.
  • Windshield Wipers - Replace old blades. If your climate is harsh, purchase rubber-clad (winter) blades to fight ice build-up. Stock up on windshield washer solvent-you'll be surprised how much you use. Carry an ice-scraper.
  • Heater/Defroster - The heater and defroster must be in good working condition for passenger comfort and driver visibility. Newer models have a cabin air filter that should be replaced periodically. Check your owner's manual for the location and replacement interval.
  • Battery - The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment. Routine care: Scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections; clean all surfaces; re-tighten all connections. If battery caps are removable, check fluid level monthly. Avoid contact with corrosive deposits and battery acid. Wear eye protection and rubber gloves.
  • Lights - Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs; periodically clean road grime from all lenses. To prevent scratching, never use a dry rag.
  • Exhaust System - Your vehicle should be placed on a lift and the exhaust system examined for leaks. The trunk and floor boards should be inspected for small holes. Exhaust fumes can be deadly.
  • Tires - Worn tires will be of little use in winter weather. Examine tires for remaining tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. Check tire pressures once a month. Check the tires when they are cold, before driving for any distance. Rotate as recommended. Don't forget your spare, and be sure the jack is in good condition.
  • Carry emergency gear: gloves, boots, blankets, flares, a small shovel, sand or kitty litter, tire chains, and a flash light. Put a few "high-energy" snacks in your glove box.

Getting Your Vehicle Ready For Summer

Summer's heat, dust, and stop-and-go traffic, will take their toll on your vehicle. Add the effects of last winter, and you could be poised for a breakdown. You can lessen the odds of mechanical failure through periodic maintenance. . . Your vehicle should last longer and command a higher resale price, too!

Some of the following tips are easy to do; others require a skilled auto technician.

  • Air Conditioning - A marginally operating system will fail in hot weather. Have the system examined by a qualified technician. Newer models have cabin air filters that clean the air entering the heating and air conditioning system. Check your owner's manual for location and replacement interval.
  • Cooling System - The greatest cause of summer breakdowns is overheating. The cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled about every 24 months. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. (A 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is usually recommended.) DIYers, never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled! The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses should be checked by a pro.
  • Oil - Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual-more often (every 3,000 miles) if you make frequent short jaunts, extended trips with lots of luggage, or tow a trailer.
  • Engine Performance - Replace other filters (air, fuel, PCV, etc.) as recommended-more often in dusty conditions. Get engine drivability problems (hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.) corrected at a good shop.
  • Windshield Wipers - A dirty windshield causes eye fatigue and can pose a safety hazard. Replace worn blades and get plenty of windshield washer solvent.
  • Lights - Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs; periodically clean dirt and insects from all lenses. To prevent scratching, never use a dry rag.
  • Tires - Have your tires rotated about every 5,000 miles. Check tire pressures once a month; check them while they're cold before driving for any distance. Don't forget to check your spare as well and be sure the jack is in good condition. Examine tires for tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. An alignment is warranted if there's uneven tread wear or if your vehicle pulls to one side.
  • Brakes - Brakes should be inspected as recommended in your manual, or sooner if you notice pulsations, grabbing, noises, or longer stopping distance. Minor brake problems should be corrected promptly.
  • Battery - Batteries can fail any time of year. The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment. Routine care: Scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections; clean all surfaces; re-tighten all connections. If battery caps are removable, check the fluid level monthly. Avoid contact with corrosive deposits and battery acid. Wear eye protection and rubber gloves.
  • Emergencies - Carry some basic tools-ask a technician for suggestions. Also include a first aid kit, flares, and a flashlight. Consider buying a cellular phone.

Keeping Your Vehicle in Tune with the Environment

Car care is definitely a win-win situation. Besides helping the environment, a properly maintained and operated vehicle will run more efficiently, will be safer, and will last longer-up to 50% longer, according to a survey of ASE-certified Master Auto Technicians. The following tips should put you on the road to environmentally conscious car care.

  • Keep your engine tuned. A misfiring spark plug can reduce fuel efficiency as much as 30%. Follow the service schedules listed in your owner's manual. Replace filters and fluids as recommended.
  • Check your tires for proper inflation. Under inflation wastes fuel-your engine has to work harder to push the vehicle. Wheels that are out-of-line (as evidenced by uneven tread wear or vehicle pulling) make the engine work harder, too. Properly maintained tires will last longer, meaning fewer scrap tires have to be disposed.
  • Keep your air conditioner in top condition and have it serviced only by a technician certified competent to handle/recycle refrigerants. Air conditioners contain CFCs-gases that have been implicated in the depletion of the ozone layer. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, almost one third of the CFCs released into the atmosphere come from mobile air conditioners; some simply leaks out, but the majority escapes during service and repair-so it's important to choose a qualified technician.
  • Do-it-yourselfers: dispose of used motor oil, anti-freeze/coolant, tires, and old batteries properly. Many repair facilities accept these items. Or call your local municipal or county government for recycling sites. Never dump used oil or anti-freeze on the ground or in open streams.
  • Observe speed limits. Mileage decreases sharply above 55 mph.
  • Drive gently. Avoid sudden accelerations and jerky stop-and-go's. Use cruise-control on open highways to keep your speed as steady as possible.
  • Avoid excessive idling. Shut off the engine while waiting for friends and family. Today's vehicles are designed to "warm up" fast, so forget about those five-minute warm ups on cold winter mornings.
  • Remove excess items from the vehicle. Less weight means better mileage. Store luggage/ cargo in the trunk rather than on the roof to reduce air drag.
  • Plan trips. Consolidate your daily errands to eliminate unnecessary driving. Try to travel when traffic is light to avoid stop-and-go conditions. Join a car pool.

Remember, how your car runs, how you drive it, and how its fluids, old parts, and tires are disposed of all have serious consequences on the environment.

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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