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The Great Spark Plug Confusion

The Great Spark Plug Confusion

There is a lot of misinformation about spark plugs on the internet. We have been looking at much of it and are amazed by how inaccurate most of it is. When to Change Them The best advice about spark plugs that we can provide is that you should change them on your manufacturer's schedule. Here's why. How much spark your plugs produce is regulated by the brain of your car called an electronic control module or ECM for short. Your ECM is going to decide how much spark your vehicle needs and you will never know when your spark plugs are worn out till an ignition coil fails. A Bit of Misinformation All the blogs that say that bad spark plugs will cause your car to consume more fuel, lose power, or cause your car to be hard to start are wrong. Misfires in your engine will cause the check engine light to come on and worn out spark plugs might be part of the repair.  Electronic Control Module Worn spark plugs alone will not cause your check engine light to come on because t ... read more

Car Emergency Kit – Keep It Handy

Car Emergency Kit – Keep It Handy

Having an emergency kit in your car is really smart.  It doesn't take up a lot of room in your trunk and can be very valuable in an emergency.  We have some suggestions for you on the items we keep in our vehicles.  In addition to the items listed below, take your cell phone even on short trips in town.  Make sure your cell phone is charged every time you get in the car.  Keep a cell phone charger in your car, too.  CAR EMERGENCY KIT LIST Keep the below items in a bag in your trunk. Ideally, we’d suggest a clear, plastic container so it’s easy to see everything.  You can buy a pre-packaged kit or create your own.  Minimum list: Flashlight, plus extra batteries. Jumper cables.  We suggest 4-gauge wire.  Heavier wire will start more cars.  The smaller the number, the thicker the wire. First Aid Kit (band-aides, adhesive tape, antiseptic wipes, gauze pads, antise ... read more

The Good That Makes America Great!

The Good That Makes America Great!

We have long been students of the history of our country and one of our favorite holidays is Independence Day.  The signers of the Declaration of Independence had the vision and foresight to imagine not only the structure our country needed in their time but also create a plan that lives on 242 years later.  We want to share some of our thoughts on the good that makes American great. Good God: Allow God to bring out the very best of you. God the Father never makes junk.  We all have a purpose. When our Founders established this country, they believed that we were capable of self-government because we could self-discipline ourselves according to Biblical principles. Good News: Our freedoms and duties as citizens boil down to our choices. When we choose wisely, we prosper individually and as a country. The more individual responsibility we assume, the more freedom we enjoy. Good Talks: Our rights and responsibilities are ours to live out, to instruct our young, and ... read more

How Bad Is It? Answers to Your Car Questions

How Bad Is It? Answers to Your Car Questions

We have a new topic for our blog – How Bad Is It?  We’re answering those tricky questions that you wonder about and don’t know who to ask.  To drive with the check engine light on? Kinda Bad. The “check engine” light can come on for any number of reasons, from a loose gas cap to a malfunctioning component or sensor. As a general rule, you can still drive the car. Super Bad. A flashing “check engine” light indicates an engine misfire, which can cause irreversible damage to the car’s catalytic convertor.  Stop the car if the check engine light is flashing and get a tow truck. To rotate tires about every 10,000 miles? Not so bad.  Most vehicle manufacturers recommend that the tires be rotated on the same schedule as oil changes. In most cases that means every 6,000 miles or six months.  Unless you drive fewer than about 7,500 miles per year, it's a good idea to rotate tires every six months or so to prevent ... read more

Five Tips: Be Good to Your A/C so Your A/C will be Good to You

Five Tips: Be Good to Your A/C so Your A/C will be Good to You

Air conditioning during Houston’s summer is a necessity for most of us, and it is one of the most expensive systems to repair.  So literally an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Tip 1: Act Fast When Your A/C Isn't Cooling Most importantly don't postpone repairs to your A/C system once you notice the air isn’t cold.  Most modern systems have less than two pounds of refrigerant.  If your system holds 32 ounces, 10% is 3.2 ounces; that’s not even a half cup.  And the manufacturers tell us if the system is 1.6 ounces low, your compressor is being damaged.  Many people may not be aware that there is a refrigerant oil that lubricates the air conditioner’s metal moving parts.  When your refrigerant is low so is the refrigerant oil.  Running your system on empty is like running the engine without motor oil.  So, our recommendation is to have your refrigerant checked every two years or as it seems not to be c ... read more

We Just Earned the Blue Seal of Excellence!

We Just Earned the Blue Seal of Excellence!

And we’re so excited!  What does that mean for our customers and friends?  The Blue Seal of Excellence Recognition is earned through voluntary testing and certification for automotive repair and service professionals by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of vehicle repair and service. Eligibility To be eligible for this recognition, 75% of our automotive professionals are ASE certified.  We’ve gone beyond these requirements and 100% of our technicians are ASE certified.  In addition, we have a certified technician in each area of service offered.  We also renew each year and confirm our professionals’ certification status. Our ASE certified technicians use high tech equipment to test and inspect your auto.  The modern automobile is a complex machine requiring knowledgeable and skillful technicians to mai ... read more

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News and Events

Now Entering Tire Blow-out Season

Now Entering Tire Blow-out Season

Summer is when the outside temperature is the hottest, and when motorists are driving farther, and faster, in more heavily loaded vehicles. The combination can push a neglected or injured tire beyond its breaking point. Under inflation is the easiest way to kill a tire. After all, air is what allows a tire to carry the weight of a vehicle and its cargo. Without proper air pressure, the internal components of the tire—fabric, steel, rubber, and composites—flex beyond their designed limits.  Tire Safety Tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration The NHTSA has some great tips for taking care of your tires.  Click here to see their infographic.  Here are 3 things to do regularly. 1. Check Tire Pressure Maintaining proper tire pressure is one of the most important things you can do to ensure the safety of your vehicle. Check ... read more

Memorial Day History and Things To Do

Memorial Day History and Things To Do

For most of us, Memorial Day is the kickoff of summer.  During our celebration of summer, we would like to suggest that we also give a moment to those who have fought and died in the service of our county.  We also thought you might like to hear a bit of history about the day along with some ideas for things to do to this weekend. In May 1868, General John A. Logan, the commander-in-chief of the Union veterans’ group known as the Grand Army of the Republic, issued a decree that May 30 should become a nationwide day of commemoration for the more than 620,000 soldiers killed in the recently ended Civil War. Decoration Day On Decoration Day, as Logan dubbed it, Americans should lay flowers and decorate the graves of the war dead “whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.” According to legend, Logan chose May 30 because it was a rare day that didn’t fall on the anniversary of a Civil War battle, though som ... read more

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News and Events

Battery Basics

Battery Basics

With all the gadgets we have on cars today, batteries are essential to meeting those needs. More than just cranking the engine, today’s batteries provide power to other electrical components even when the engine isn’t running.  And the battery acts as a voltage stabilizer for the entire electrical system. Batteries (12 Volt) fall into two basic categories: Flooded lead acid (FLA), which has been the standard for decades Absorbent glass mat (AGM), a newer design that while more expensive generally lasts longer. Both of these types of batteries have the same basic function yet they aren’t interchangeable.  Installing a standard 12-volt lead acid battery when a manufacturer requires an AGM can damage alternators or prevent electrical systems to function properly. Be sure to check your owner’s manual when you are looking for a new battery. While your car is in for service ask the mechanic to check: Cleanliness of the terminals.   Mounting hardw ... read more

The Beginning of Adolf Hoepfl & Son Garage

The Beginning of Adolf Hoepfl & Son Garage

In 1946 when Shepherd was a dirt road and 43rd Street was the edge of the city, Adolf Hoepfl & Son Garage opened for business.  The story actually begins in the early 1940’s.  Since there were not automotive training programs in Texas, Adolf had to travel to Kansas City, Missouri for training.  He was one of their top students and graduated from automotive school while earning his high school diploma at the same time.   Adolf was one of the first certified technicians in Texas, and the first Texan to purchase one of the earliest engine analyzers which is still on display in the shop. Adolf and his wife, Lillie, built the shop themselves from cement blocks that they poured and used the pine trees that they had cut down as ceiling rafters. When they opened on January 1, 1946, their first customer was Adolf’s dad who needed work on his Dodge truck. Adolf and Lillie had two children - Eugene and Linda.  Both worked at the shop while growing u ... read more