Signs of Bad Fuel Injectors

Is It Time for New Fuel Injectors?

A fuel injector is part of your vehicle’s fuel system. Fuel injectors are the component that spray the fuel into the engine. These are controlled by the vehicle’s engine computer (ECM), which controls how it sprays fuel into the engine, following purposely timed intervals and patterns that help optimize the engine’s efficiency and overall performance.image of used, dirty, fuel injectors.

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Fuel Injector

There are many things to look for to determine if your fuel injector is failing in some way or needs to be replaced. Since these are a part of the fuel system, it’s important to watch for these symptoms to determine if the fuel injector is bad or failing.

Engine Performance Issues

Often, when a fuel injector is clogged or starting to fail, you will experience engine performance issues. These types of issues can include everything from engine performance issues to strange smells – all of which your local Minnesota AAMCO auto repair center can diagnose.

Check Engine Light Comes On

A bad fuel injector can cause too much or not enough fuel to be delivered into the engine – this will cause the Check Engine light on the car to turn on, indicating an issue. Your trusted Minnesota AAMCO auto repair center can help decipher your check engine light and figure out what issues need to be addressed.

Vehicle Won’t Start or Struggles When Starting

If the fuel injector is not delivering enough fuel to the engine system, this can cause the car to struggle when trying to turn over or not turn over at all (just cranks with no result). This can also cause the engine to stall due to the air-fuel ratio not being correct.

Vehicle Misfires

This can occur if your engine is not receiving enough fuel from the fuel injector – which stems from fuel injectors being clogged and dirty.

Poor Idle

You will notice a rough or choppy engine idle when the car is not moving. It might even feel like the engine it going to stall every time you stop. This can be caused by the fuel not being properly injected to the engine cylinder.

Engine doesn’t Reach Its Full RPM

If too much fuel is being injected into the engine, this can cause the engine to surge. This will make it feel like your car is jumping forward quickly but struggling to fully take off. You may also notice a loss in power or acceleration. 

Smell of Fuel

Another symptom of a failing or leaking fuel injector is a fuel odor. Because fuel injectors hold high amounts of pressure, and over time they can begin to leak around the seal at the tip of the injector or nozzle. A leak from either of these areas can affect engine performance – most noticeably fuel efficiency – and will give off the smell of gasoline. If you begin to smell gas fumes, you should take your car into a mechanic as soon as possible to avoid any further damage or safety hazards.

Related: Some Causes of Smells Coming From Your Car

AAMCO Can Help with Your Fuel Injector Repairs & Replacements

image of new, clean fuel injectors ready to be installed.Because fuel injectors are one of the main components for an engine being able to run – by providing fuel to the engine – they are extremely important to the overall functionality and performance of your vehicle. If you start noticing any of the previously mentioned symptoms, or suspect that there could be some issues with your fuel injectors or any part of the fuel system, schedule an appointment with a professional mechanic to diagnose the problem and provide next steps for how to fix it. 

Find Your Local Minnesota AAMCO Auto Repair & Transmission Center

If you have any questions, feel free to call and talk with one of our courteous technicians. Or, book an appointment online to reserve your time, date, and location.

 

 
AAMCO Fridley

940 Osborne Rd NE | Minneapolis, MN, 55432

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At AAMCO Fridley we believe in performing honest and affordable transmission and auto repair services. We do the job right and get you back on the road safely and reliably. From transmission repair and rebuild to brake service, air conditioning repair, tune ups, check engine light and car maintenance, AAMCO Fridley, MN is your one-stop auto mechanic. Trust AAMCO’s expert auto technicians to use the latest tools and technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle, and back it with the best nationwide warranty. At AAMCO of Fridley, Minnesota we know all vehicle makes and models and have the latest in diagnostic tools and technology. We are your total car care specialists.

Convenient payment plans available.

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AAMCO Hopkins

10921 Excelsior Blvd #117 | 10921 Excelsior Blvd #117, MN, 55343

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At AAMCO Hopkins, MN we believe in the value of good, honest work and giving you and your family the peace of mind a safe, reliable car provides on a daily basis. From transmission repair and rebuild to brake service, air conditioning repair, auto tune ups, check engine light and car maintenance, AAMCO of Hopkins is your one-stop shop for car repairs and maintenance. Trust the transmission experts at AAMCO of Hopkins transmission repair to diagnose and repair your vehicle right the first time and back it with the best nationwide warranty. At AAMCO Hopkins transmission and car repair we know all vehicle makes and models and have the latest in diagnostic tools and technology. We are your total car care and repair specialists.

Convenient payment plans available.

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AAMCO Maplewood

1905 County Rd D E | Maplewood, MN, 55109

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People come to AAMCO of Maplewood, MN because we care about making sure you car is running safely and reliably. You can count on us for all your automotive repairs and maintenance. From transmission repairs and rebuilds to brakes, radiators, air conditioning, check engine light and tune ups. AAMCO Maplewood transmission and auto repair technicians use the latest technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle right the first time - and we back it with the best nationwide warranty. At your local Minnesota AAMCO of Maplewood we know all vehicle makes and models - we're your one-stop total car care specialists.

Convenient payment plans available.

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AAMCO Minneapolis

5231 West Broadway | Minneapolis, MN, 55429

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Transmission repair and rebuilds are our specialty at AAMCO Minneapolis, MN. From transmissions to brakes, radiators, air conditioning repair, tune ups, check engine light diagnosis and car maintenance, people who know call AAMCO. Our expert technicians use the latest tools and technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle. From automatic and manual transmission repairs, clutch service and replacement, and more, we know all vehicle makes and models. We back our work with the best nationwide warranty. AAMCO of Minneapolis, MN is your one-stop transmission rebuild and total car care center.

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AAMCO West St. Paul

1571 S Robert St | St Paul, MN, 55118

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AAMCO Transmissions West St. Paul is your Twin Cities one-stop shop for transmission repairs, rebuilds, and car maintenance. Our certified technicians can handle any transmission repair or rebuild, as well as auto repair and maintenance service for your vehicle. You can rely on our mechanics for automatic and manual transmission problems and rebuilds, clutch service and replacement, and more. We use modern computer diagnostics to identify transmission and engine issues so we can repair your car quickly and get you back on the road. We work on all makes and models, including 4x4s.

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How to Tell if Your Brakes Are Bad

Identifying Common Brake Problems

Squeaking, Squealing, Grinding, Shaking

Your brakes need to be fixed.

An auto mechanic working on disc brakes,  inserting new brake pads in the caliper.As many car owners know, when issues with the brake system arise, they present themselves in a multitude of ways. Over your vehicle’s lifespan, you will likely experience a number or different issues specifically related to the brakes. While these repairs may not always seem to be pressing, problems with the brakes can become dangerous very quickly. Don’t worry! We are going to review some of the most commonly reported problems which require repair.

Paying attention to changes in the way your vehicle drives can indicate brake problems with minimal mechanic experience. We are going to outline some of the most common sounds, smells, and sensations which signal trouble. We will also look at some of the most frequently replaced brake system components.

Brake Pads

It is quite common to replace brake pads, and this is one of the simpler solutions to brake problems. Typically, brake pads are replaced approximately every 50,000 miles (though this really depends on your vehicle make, type, and the type of pads you are using – check your manual for recommendations). Worn pads will cause a metal on metal, grinding sound, and you will notice the braking distance increases. When a brake pad overheats, it causes it to crack, and then they will begin to squeak or squeal. If you’re hearing this sound on a regular basis, it is absolutely time to get them replaced!

Rotors

The surface of rotors must be flat in order to keep contact with the brake pads. Over time, a rotor’s surface will begin to warp due to heat damage, which then causes the vehicle to pulsate or jerk when the brakes are applied. If your rotors are overheated the surface will have a blue or purple hue which hardens the surface preventing the pads from gripping the rotors. Some rotors can be resurfaced (where they physically reshape these discs so that they are smooth and flat again), while others require replacing.

image of mechanic working on brake disc and caliperSticking Caliper

The caliper and caliper brackets hold the brake pads and force them against the rotor to stop the vehicle. When caliper pistons become stuck, the car will begin pulling to one side as the brakes are applied. This will also cause your rotors to overheat and wear down much more quickly. Essentially, one of your brakes is engaged regardless of whether you are driving or stopped. This is much more than just an inconvenience, this can be quite dangerous and should be addressed immediately.

Emergency Brake Engagement

It may seem like more of an issue of attention to detail, but this happens more often than you may think! It is easy to forget when you’ve put your emergency brake on, especially since some modern cars use a button instead of a lever. Leaving your emergency brake on will cause performance issues and damage to the entire system. If you suddenly hear a squeaking or grinding sound, be sure to confirm that your emergency brake is not engaged. 

Brake Light

When the brake light on the dashboard is illuminated, it can indicate that there is a serious issue with the braking system. In many cases, this light points to a problem with the hydraulics and should be inspected and repaired right away. This is not an error light which you should ignore. (This light also indicates that your parking brake is engaged!)

Smoking Brakes

Your brakes should not smoke… Ever. If you are experiencing this, it means that the brake pads have been burned, or that something is leaking onto the brakes. This is a dangerous problem which should be addressed immediately. Any indication of burning should be handled with urgency to prevent further damage and major repairs.

Leaks

If the brake system is leaking, it is usually a sign of a hydraulic issue. If you are able to press the brake pedal all the way to the floor, it can often be traced back to a leak. This type of leak is typically a slow leak where the brake fluid is lost gradually, but this eventually causes the brake system to fail altogether. A puddle of fluid on the ground or a low brake pedal are all symptoms of a leak.

AAMCO Minnesota for All Your Brake Services

Your brake system has a big, important job to do, and should not be taken for granted. Always be aware of the last time work was done on your car’s brakes, and make sure you keep them in top stopping condition! Your vehicle’s manual should provide you a recommended maintenance plan. At AAMCO Minnesota, we have seen it all, and we’ll help you make the best decision regarding solutions to the problems you’ve been encountering. Give us a call, or book an appointment online to get your car back in tiptop shape!

 

Find an AAMCO Minnesota Transmission & Auto Repair Center Near You

 
AAMCO Fridley

940 Osborne Rd NE | Minneapolis, MN, 55432

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At AAMCO Fridley we believe in performing honest and affordable transmission and auto repair services. We do the job right and get you back on the road safely and reliably. From transmission repair and rebuild to brake service, air conditioning repair, tune ups, check engine light and car maintenance, AAMCO Fridley, MN is your one-stop auto mechanic. Trust AAMCO’s expert auto technicians to use the latest tools and technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle, and back it with the best nationwide warranty. At AAMCO of Fridley, Minnesota we know all vehicle makes and models and have the latest in diagnostic tools and technology. We are your total car care specialists.

Convenient payment plans available.

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AAMCO Hopkins

10921 Excelsior Blvd #117 | 10921 Excelsior Blvd #117, MN, 55343

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Call Now Set Appointment

At AAMCO Hopkins, MN we believe in the value of good, honest work and giving you and your family the peace of mind a safe, reliable car provides on a daily basis. From transmission repair and rebuild to brake service, air conditioning repair, auto tune ups, check engine light and car maintenance, AAMCO of Hopkins is your one-stop shop for car repairs and maintenance. Trust the transmission experts at AAMCO of Hopkins transmission repair to diagnose and repair your vehicle right the first time and back it with the best nationwide warranty. At AAMCO Hopkins transmission and car repair we know all vehicle makes and models and have the latest in diagnostic tools and technology. We are your total car care and repair specialists.

Convenient payment plans available.

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AAMCO Maplewood

1905 County Rd D E | Maplewood, MN, 55109

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Call Now Set Appointment

People come to AAMCO of Maplewood, MN because we care about making sure you car is running safely and reliably. You can count on us for all your automotive repairs and maintenance. From transmission repairs and rebuilds to brakes, radiators, air conditioning, check engine light and tune ups. AAMCO Maplewood transmission and auto repair technicians use the latest technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle right the first time - and we back it with the best nationwide warranty. At your local Minnesota AAMCO of Maplewood we know all vehicle makes and models - we're your one-stop total car care specialists.

Convenient payment plans available.

Write a Review

AAMCO Minneapolis

5231 West Broadway | Minneapolis, MN, 55429

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Call Now Set Appointment

Transmission repair and rebuilds are our specialty at AAMCO Minneapolis, MN. From transmissions to brakes, radiators, air conditioning repair, tune ups, check engine light diagnosis and car maintenance, people who know call AAMCO. Our expert technicians use the latest tools and technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle. From automatic and manual transmission repairs, clutch service and replacement, and more, we know all vehicle makes and models. We back our work with the best nationwide warranty. AAMCO of Minneapolis, MN is your one-stop transmission rebuild and total car care center.

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AAMCO West St. Paul

1571 S Robert St | St Paul, MN, 55118

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Call Now Set Appointment

AAMCO Transmissions West St. Paul is your Twin Cities one-stop shop for transmission repairs, rebuilds, and car maintenance. Our certified technicians can handle any transmission repair or rebuild, as well as auto repair and maintenance service for your vehicle. You can rely on our mechanics for automatic and manual transmission problems and rebuilds, clutch service and replacement, and more. We use modern computer diagnostics to identify transmission and engine issues so we can repair your car quickly and get you back on the road. We work on all makes and models, including 4x4s.

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Signs of a Damaged Exhaust System

Here are some reasons your exhaust system is acting up.

The exhaust system has a lot of parts that can be damaged.

From the cylinders through the manifold to the catalytic converter and beyond.

image - dual chrome exhaust tailpipeYour car’s exhaust system is a network of connected pipes and parts designed to filter and route emissions from the engine compartment toward the rear of the vehicle. Five primary parts – oxygen sensor, exhaust manifold, catalytic converter, and muffler – are involved. Components are joined together with gaskets, or seals, to minimize leakage. As the engine burns gas to power your car, it emits gases containing water vapor, unburned fuel and acidic contaminants. The catalytic converter filters out most of the pollutants, converting the exhaust to a less toxic byproduct of carbon dioxide and water vapor. The exhaust then passes through the system of pipes, to the muffler, which all work to cool the exhaust and muffle the noise the system would make without all of these pieces in place.

Many of the pipes and fitments, as well as the muffler and key parts of the exhaust system live under your car, probably the worst place to be, second only to where the oil dipstick has to spend most of its life. Being on the underside of the car, these parts of the exhaust system are exposed to all kinds of hazards – road debris, crud, dirt, water, snow, ice, construction materials, old shoes, boxes. You name it. What other stuff have you witnessed discarded or lost on America’s roads? Someone we know once ran over a wood 2×4 on the highway at night. It blew a hole in and did such damage that the whole pipe system had to be replaced. Before being repaired, you could hear his car coming a mile away.

Oxygen Sensor

Road junk and highway hazards aside, there are parts of the engine that rely on and contribute to the exhaust system that are not exposed to the onslaught of the outside world. The engine pistons are in their cylinders, busy making explosions, creating heat, and generating hot, noxious gases. The gases that result from all of this have to be pushed out of the cylinders, processed into environmentally friendly, legally acceptable emissions, and passed through a piping system, and finally out the tailpipe.

All of this starts with the oxygen sensor. Located in or near the manifold, the oxygen sensor sends O2 level readings to the car’s computer, which regulates how much fuel is needed in the engine. This helps determine the best fuel mixture and efficiency. Without a properly functioning oxygen sensor, the computer can’t calculate the air/fuel mixture, which affects the engine’s performance, and this can affect many other systems as a result. For instance, if you smell gasoline as you drive, check the oxygen sensor as soon as possible.

Exhaust Manifold

image of exhaust manifoldThe exhaust manifold sits over the cylinder heads and collects the exhaust gases from each, through exhaust valves, and pushes them through a single pipe to the catalytic converter. It also burns any excess fuel that is not used in the engine. A leak in the exhaust manifold can burn the exhaust valves, which compromises their seals over the cylinders, and impacts the performance of the pistons, hence the engine. If the manifold is cracked or has a leak, the back pressure in the exhaust system will be incorrect, which reduces engine power. Sputtering, sluggishness, and strange noises like ticking or clicking, and other problems are all symptoms of a compromised exhaust manifold. Additionally, a damaged manifold causes slow warm-up time which results in excess fuel consumption, and in turn will cause excess wear on your catalytic converter.

Over time, the constant expansion and contraction of the manifold, caused by the heating and cooling in the engine, can cause the manifold to crack and leak. These leaks permit hot toxic gases to escape, which can damage other components in the engine compartment. A leaking exhaust manifold can also affect engine performance. Some symptoms of a cracked, leaking manifold include:

  • Excess, unfamiliar noise from engine.
  • Low engine performance.
  • Check engine light is on.
  • Smells from the engine compartment – burning, melting.
Catalytic Converter

image of catalytic converter cross sectionThe catalytic converter, even though it is on the underside of the car, sits cozily within its own secure, hard case just behind the engine. Once exhaust gases leave the cylinders and pass through the manifold, they flow into a single pipe toward the catalytic converter. This important piece comes after the exhaust manifold and serves to convert the harmful carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon gases into carbon dioxide and water vapor, making the exhaust safer for the environment.

Some converters also reduce harmful nitrogen oxides. If the odor you are smelling is like rotten eggs, then the catalytic converter is probably failing. The rotten egg smell is because the converter is not breaking down the sulfur pollutants created by the engine. Catalytic converters can’t be repaired – they must be replaced.

Muffler

image of Car Exhaust Pipe isolated on white backgroundThe muffler does exactly what its name implies – it muffles the extreme levels of noise produced by the combustion process (explosions) in the engine and noise throughout the exhaust system. The sounds of the combustion process travel through the system, to the muffler. The muffler is a metal chamber attached to the tailpipe assembly at the rear of the car. It contains a series of baffles that sound must travel though. As the sound traverses the baffles, it dissipates. At the end of the muffler is the resonator, which cancels out the sound waves.

What about that water dripping out of the tailpipe?

If you see liquid dripping out of the tailpipe, don’t panic. It normal and harmless condensation of water vapor This is caused by the exhaust system getting really hot, then cooling down, which causes moisture to collect, or condense, in the muffler and pipes. It then manages to flow and drip out the tailpipe.

Exhaust Leaks

An exhaust leak is dangerous, as the fumes contain carbon monoxide and could potentially get into the cabin of your car. When the exhaust system isn’t working correctly, extra heat flows into the engine. This damages the catalytic converter. The best thing to do is to take your car to a muffler repair shop where they can insert a new section of pipe or component to make sure your exhaust system is tight and leak-proof.

Noises & Performance

A chugging or rhythmic hissing noise could mean a blockage in the exhaust system. Additionally, loud, abnormal sounds will come from the engine area, and/or the tailpipe. If you hear rattling under the car it could mean that the exhaust system has become loose, misaligned, or disconnected. If you hear a loud metallic vibration, it usually means that something is touching the exhaust pipe or that a mounting is loose.

 

Find Your Locally Owned & Operated AAMCO Minnesota Auto Repair Center

 
AAMCO Fridley

940 Osborne Rd NE | Minneapolis, MN, 55432

Details Directions

Call Now Set Appointment

At AAMCO Fridley we believe in performing honest and affordable transmission and auto repair services. We do the job right and get you back on the road safely and reliably. From transmission repair and rebuild to brake service, air conditioning repair, tune ups, check engine light and car maintenance, AAMCO Fridley, MN is your one-stop auto mechanic. Trust AAMCO’s expert auto technicians to use the latest tools and technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle, and back it with the best nationwide warranty. At AAMCO of Fridley, Minnesota we know all vehicle makes and models and have the latest in diagnostic tools and technology. We are your total car care specialists.

Convenient payment plans available.

Write a Review

AAMCO Hopkins

10921 Excelsior Blvd #117 | 10921 Excelsior Blvd #117, MN, 55343

Details Directions

Call Now Set Appointment

At AAMCO Hopkins, MN we believe in the value of good, honest work and giving you and your family the peace of mind a safe, reliable car provides on a daily basis. From transmission repair and rebuild to brake service, air conditioning repair, auto tune ups, check engine light and car maintenance, AAMCO of Hopkins is your one-stop shop for car repairs and maintenance. Trust the transmission experts at AAMCO of Hopkins transmission repair to diagnose and repair your vehicle right the first time and back it with the best nationwide warranty. At AAMCO Hopkins transmission and car repair we know all vehicle makes and models and have the latest in diagnostic tools and technology. We are your total car care and repair specialists.

Convenient payment plans available.

Write a Review

AAMCO Maplewood

1905 County Rd D E | Maplewood, MN, 55109

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Call Now Set Appointment

People come to AAMCO of Maplewood, MN because we care about making sure you car is running safely and reliably. You can count on us for all your automotive repairs and maintenance. From transmission repairs and rebuilds to brakes, radiators, air conditioning, check engine light and tune ups. AAMCO Maplewood transmission and auto repair technicians use the latest technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle right the first time - and we back it with the best nationwide warranty. At your local Minnesota AAMCO of Maplewood we know all vehicle makes and models - we're your one-stop total car care specialists.

Convenient payment plans available.

Write a Review

AAMCO Minneapolis

5231 West Broadway | Minneapolis, MN, 55429

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Call Now Set Appointment

Transmission repair and rebuilds are our specialty at AAMCO Minneapolis, MN. From transmissions to brakes, radiators, air conditioning repair, tune ups, check engine light diagnosis and car maintenance, people who know call AAMCO. Our expert technicians use the latest tools and technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle. From automatic and manual transmission repairs, clutch service and replacement, and more, we know all vehicle makes and models. We back our work with the best nationwide warranty. AAMCO of Minneapolis, MN is your one-stop transmission rebuild and total car care center.

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AAMCO West St. Paul

1571 S Robert St | St Paul, MN, 55118

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Call Now Set Appointment

AAMCO Transmissions West St. Paul is your Twin Cities one-stop shop for transmission repairs, rebuilds, and car maintenance. Our certified technicians can handle any transmission repair or rebuild, as well as auto repair and maintenance service for your vehicle. You can rely on our mechanics for automatic and manual transmission problems and rebuilds, clutch service and replacement, and more. We use modern computer diagnostics to identify transmission and engine issues so we can repair your car quickly and get you back on the road. We work on all makes and models, including 4x4s.

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Schedule Your Appointment Today

If you have any questions, feel free to call and talk with one of our courteous technicians. Or, fill out the form below to reserve your time, date, and location.

Tips for Affordable Car Maintenance

Save Money & Time With These Easy Tips

Maintaining your car so it is safe and reliable doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.

image of car speeding around bend on country road with sun shining through trees.

Having a car can be fun, and it definitely makes life easier, but when it starts to malfunction or break down, it can be a costly hassle and a safety issue. Your car can cost a lot of money if you don’t run a regular maintenance schedule. Making sure that maintenance is affordable and easy is important in our go-go-go world. Luckily, there are some things you can do to ensure your car is running smoothly and safely, without breaking the bank. Here are some handy tips and information on some simple, affordable things you can do to help your car run better and last longer. Grab a coupon and save some money with these local Minnesota AAMCO specials.

Get to know your car – read the owner’s manual.

Read and pay attention to the owner’s manual for your car. Don’t have one? Check with your local dealership or go online – there might be a PDF version you can grab, load to your phone and have with you at all times. No matter what car you drive, the regular maintenance schedule should be spelled out in the manual. Old myths like “Change your oil every 3,000 miles,” will go right out the driver’s side window. Of course, if the manual says you should change the oil every 3,000 miles, then do it – but we bet it doesn’t say that.

You’ll discover how often your manufacturer recommends to change the oil for best performance and reliability, as well as even what kind of oil to use. Your owner’s manual will also enlighten you on many other aspects of your car and the things that should be regularly maintained – such as the all-important transmission fluid, filters, timing belts, hoses, battery, lights, and fuel types. All of this information is available in the car’s owner’s manual.

If you’re part of the TLDR crowd, then just consider this: you’re throwing away good money by not taking care of your car, and to do things right you have to educate yourself. Most car owners know how important it is to know at least a little about their cars, but even if you’re not interested in how your car works you should know a little about it, otherwise you run the risk of being taken for a ride with some shady mechanic (more on that later). Knowing some simple things, like the right kind of oil to use, for example, can save you trouble in the long run. Even knowing what kind of fuel is best for your car is really important and can save you a lot of headaches – and money – if you just know. Doing the wrong thing or treating your car poorly might run the risk of voiding your warranty or even worse – causing damage that requires expensive repairs.

Sure, these days we can just pick up our smart phones and holler questions at it and get quick answers. Good, solid answers that provide you useful information that helps you make good decisions can be hard to come by, though – even in this day of information access (and overload). If you want to know more about your car or are concerned about its performance, or why it’s making weird noises. why your ride is bumpy even on smooth roads, or if you know you need repairs, call your local Minnesota AAMCO auto maintenance and repair center.

Check and Change Your Oil

Old story, been handed down from campfire to Facebook – but oil is vital to the successful operation and long life of your car’s engine. Checking the oil is a good habit to get into. Even if you think everything is fine, it’s a good idea to check it when you stop to get gas. It’s easier than it sounds. Pop the hood (you do know where the hood release lever in your car is, right?), grab some paper towels (usually found with the windshield squeegee around the gas pump), pull the dipstick, wipe it, put it back in, pull it back out, and see where the oil meets the fill line. If it doesn’t meet the fill line, it’s low. Repeat the steps and check again, but if it’s still low you should take your car in for a checkup to find any potential leaks or areas that might be eating or burning oil.image-hand-of-mechanic-holding-white-rag-with-oil-dipstick

Also pay attention to the color of the oil. It should be golden and clear. If it’s dark brown, a change is in the near future. If it’s black and/or thick and gooey, it should be changed as soon possible – don’t wait! Modern cars will tell you with an electronic warning light when it’s time for that regularly scheduled oil change you read about in the owner’s manual. Keep in mind that checking the oil after the car has been running might not give you the most accurate read on level. You’ll want to double check once the car has had a chance to cool down and sit a while. This gives the oil a chance to recollect in the oil reservoir, which will give you a more accurate read on its level – and you can get a better read on the color, too.

Go beyond oil and learn how to check other important fluids in your car.

Even if you don’t know how to change your antifreeze, power steering, transmission, or even your wiper fluid, you should learn how to check them and which ones to top off, which ones to have changed by a mechanic. Wiper fluid – don’t let someone charge you for this, unless it’s part of a larger package deal. That is so simple, it’s painful to think of paying to have it done.

For many fluids you can see the tank level directly, but most have gauges or dipsticks that help you check the levels. Even if your owner’s manual doesn’t provide much information or guidance about checking things such as your transmission fluid or coolant, don’t be afraid to educate yourself. Go online and find answers, or just open the hood and look around. See if you can find the right tank, cap, or dipstick (they’re usually labeled to some extent). If you’re running low, add more fi you can, or schedule a maintenance appointment with your trusted mechanic. If you notice a leak of some sort, definitely take your car in for diagnosis and repair.

Check the battery and make sure it’s clean and good to go.

Check the battery for signs of corrosion, and generally keep it clean and clear of debris. Make sure any terminal convers are secure and clean, and clean the terminals if necessary. Most batteries these days don’t require much manual maintenance, but you should know where the batter is and check it from time to time, usually along with the oil. This will help you ensure it’s not leaking and there is no corrosion or crud building up on the contacts. If there is, clean them with a battery cleaning brush. The brush doesn’t cost much and it’s a quick, easy thing to do. Also consider getting a simple battery tester or jump starter. Using these, you can monitor your battery and know when it needs to be replaced before it leaves you stranded. You’ll never have to call or wait for roadside assistance.

Get your timing and serpentine belts replaced when necessary.

image of engine with serpentine belt

The engine timing belt is usually replaced every 60,000 miles or so, and the serpentine belt about every 40,000 miles. Again, your owner’s manual is the authority on this. These are really important parts that can make or break the engine. If you don’t have the owner’s manual, look online to get this important information, or call your local Minnesota AAMCO. If you’re just not sure, or know that it’s been a long time (or never) since you last even thought about that serpent timey belt or whatever it’s called, schedule an appointment and ask your mechanic to inspect all belts and hoses and replace them if necessary. You just don’t want to let them fail. It is not only a matter of having a safe and reliable car, but if you wait and those belts do fail, your car will break down, possibly leave you stranded or in an unsafe place – and leave you with costly towing (if your mechanic doesn’t do it for free within a certain mile radius). It can also damage other engine parts and systems, making repairs even more expensive.

Rotate and balance your tires, check the alignment.

Tire rotation and balancing is often overlooked by drivers. It does take time, you always have to battle a long line, and it’s just never convenient (when is any car-related maintenance or repair convenient?). Once again, your trusty owner’s manual will tell you how often to rotate the tires. It’s important to make sure your tires wear evenly and your car drives smoothly, not only because your fuel efficiency is directly affected by these factors, but your safety is, too. The saying that you’ve got a lot riding on your tires is true! You can make your tires last a lot longer by having them rotated and balanced. Along with that, your alignment is just as important. If you’re fighting to keep your car driving straight or having trouble safely navigating curves and turns, it’s time for an alignment. Alignment also affects the wear of your tires. Bad alignment will cause serious wear and tear on your tires, risking flats and, even worse, blow outs which can be dangerous or deadly high speed.

Change the spark plugs.

If the spark plugs are worn out or covered in crud, your engine is not running efficiently. This alone can cost you a lot of money in fuel, and it can lead to a breakdown. This might be a little more technical than you’re comfortable with, but in many cases checking and replacing the spark plugs is not that difficult. If it’s something you just don’t want to do – especially if it’s complicated for your vehicle, just follow the recommendation in the owner’s guide. Take your car to your trusted mechanic and get those spark plugs changed on time – usually around 30,000 miles for standard copper spark plugs, but it can vary.

Find a Reputable Repair Shop with Certified Mechanics

Finding a mechanic you trust is important, and sometimes not easy. It can take time, and might involve some trial and error, as well as, unfortunately, some money in the process. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a mechanic who is honest, trustworthy, tells you like it is, and doesn’t do any repair work that is unnecessary – and definitely not until you give the OK.image of smiling AAMCO mechanic tipping his hat.

AAMCO Minnesota is your one-stop for affordable local auto maintenance and repair.

AAMCO represents a national family of trust and expertise with over 50 years of transmission repair and automotive repair and maintenance experience. At AAMCO Minnesota, our mission is to provide the best auto repair and maintenance in Minnesota. With several locations to serve you, including the Twin Cities, we are your go-to locally owned and operated automotive repair shops. Our certified mechanics have years of knowledge and experience to provide expert diagnosis, repairs and maintenance on nearly all makes and models of cars. With nearly 50 years in business, you can count on your local Minnesota AAMCO center to provide expert transmission repair, brake service, tune-ups, oil and filter changes, electrical system repair, battery service, fluid services and much more for your car, truck, or SUV.

Find Your Locally Owned & Operated AAMCO Minnesota Auto Repair Center

 
AAMCO Fridley

940 Osborne Rd NE | Minneapolis, MN, 55432

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At AAMCO Fridley we believe in performing honest and affordable transmission and auto repair services. We do the job right and get you back on the road safely and reliably. From transmission repair and rebuild to brake service, air conditioning repair, tune ups, check engine light and car maintenance, AAMCO Fridley, MN is your one-stop auto mechanic. Trust AAMCO’s expert auto technicians to use the latest tools and technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle, and back it with the best nationwide warranty. At AAMCO of Fridley, Minnesota we know all vehicle makes and models and have the latest in diagnostic tools and technology. We are your total car care specialists.

Convenient payment plans available.

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AAMCO Hopkins

10921 Excelsior Blvd #117 | 10921 Excelsior Blvd #117, MN, 55343

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At AAMCO Hopkins, MN we believe in the value of good, honest work and giving you and your family the peace of mind a safe, reliable car provides on a daily basis. From transmission repair and rebuild to brake service, air conditioning repair, auto tune ups, check engine light and car maintenance, AAMCO of Hopkins is your one-stop shop for car repairs and maintenance. Trust the transmission experts at AAMCO of Hopkins transmission repair to diagnose and repair your vehicle right the first time and back it with the best nationwide warranty. At AAMCO Hopkins transmission and car repair we know all vehicle makes and models and have the latest in diagnostic tools and technology. We are your total car care and repair specialists.

Convenient payment plans available.

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AAMCO Maplewood

1905 County Rd D E | Maplewood, MN, 55109

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People come to AAMCO of Maplewood, MN because we care about making sure you car is running safely and reliably. You can count on us for all your automotive repairs and maintenance. From transmission repairs and rebuilds to brakes, radiators, air conditioning, check engine light and tune ups. AAMCO Maplewood transmission and auto repair technicians use the latest technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle right the first time - and we back it with the best nationwide warranty. At your local Minnesota AAMCO of Maplewood we know all vehicle makes and models - we're your one-stop total car care specialists.

Convenient payment plans available.

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AAMCO Minneapolis

5231 West Broadway | Minneapolis, MN, 55429

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Transmission repair and rebuilds are our specialty at AAMCO Minneapolis, MN. From transmissions to brakes, radiators, air conditioning repair, tune ups, check engine light diagnosis and car maintenance, people who know call AAMCO. Our expert technicians use the latest tools and technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle. From automatic and manual transmission repairs, clutch service and replacement, and more, we know all vehicle makes and models. We back our work with the best nationwide warranty. AAMCO of Minneapolis, MN is your one-stop transmission rebuild and total car care center.

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AAMCO West St. Paul

1571 S Robert St | St Paul, MN, 55118

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AAMCO Transmissions West St. Paul is your Twin Cities one-stop shop for transmission repairs, rebuilds, and car maintenance. Our certified technicians can handle any transmission repair or rebuild, as well as auto repair and maintenance service for your vehicle. You can rely on our mechanics for automatic and manual transmission problems and rebuilds, clutch service and replacement, and more. We use modern computer diagnostics to identify transmission and engine issues so we can repair your car quickly and get you back on the road. We work on all makes and models, including 4x4s.

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Schedule Your Appointment Today

If you have any questions, feel free to call and talk with one of our courteous technicians. Or, fill out the form below to reserve your time, date, and location.

Pre-Purchase Used Car Inspection

Check before you write that check.

Before you spend your hard-earned money on that used car, have it inspected by a certified mechanic. To protect yourself in a private party transaction, or even if you’re buying from a car dealership, experts agree that used cars must be inspected before final purchase negotiation. The ordinary car buyer really can’t do it to the degree that a certified, independent third party mechanic can. If the inspection is done right, a good mechanic can tell you if you’re buying a good, reliable car or an unsafe, bucket of bolts that will cost you even more money once you drive it away.

Where do I start and what do I do?Image of smiling AAMCO mechanic

First things first – do your research and be ready with knowledge.

Before setting an appointment with the seller, research vehicle safety reports for the different makes and models you’re interested in. Kelly Blue Book and Edmunds are established authorities that publish owner surveys and reviews. They are good sources of information on vehicles and their performance records. Before you ever go shopping, on the lot or online, decide what type of vehicle you want and what models you will look at.

Check for Recalls and Defects

You’ll need the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) for this level of research. Check all four of the federal government’s databases (http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov) for recalls, service bulletins, safety investigations and owner complaints on the make and model of the vehicle you are interested in. Service bulletins are notices that automobile manufacturers send out to dealerships to warn them about problems that have been discovered in vehicles and how to fix them. The only way to know if your vehicle was repaired for the problem already is to check with your local dealer’s service department and get a vehicle repair history from them.

Get an online vehicle history report.

If you’ve found the specific car you want to buy, it’s easy to get some additional important information on it from online services like CarFax and AutoCheck.

Tell the seller you intend to have the car inspected.

With planning and foresight, the inspection process can go smoothly and quickly, setting the stage for a good purchase or save you a lot of time and trouble. You’re the one with the money, so it’s your call. Most sellers will let you take the car to a mechanic for an inspection. If they are hesitant, you can propose to have a mobile inspection done at their location. If the seller balks at the idea of an inspection altogether, then you should wonder what they are hiding and whether this whole purchase process is in your own best interest. Don’t be scared to walk away.

Set up a test drive route.

The car should be taken for a test-drive over a predetermined route that includes level stretches of highway, city and stop-and-go traffic, as well as hills to detect engine performance issues. Uneven bumpy roads, or even speedbumps, are good for detecting suspension problems.

Bring a copilot.

Take someone you trust with you, not just the seller. This person can lend a second set of eyes and ears, and even a nose, to not only help detect problems, but help filter any sales pitches or talk to gloss over potential problems with the car. This person should also be a notetaker during the test drive. Have them write down any and all observations – things that seem wrong, such as strange noises, odd behavior of the car such as pulling to one side, vibrations, shuddering, lag in acceleration. Beyond performance of the vehicle, are there any unusual smells? Is there cosmetic damage inside or outside the car? Basically, anything that seems odd to you should be noted so you can present your findings to the mechanic when you take the car for inspection.

Go to a trusted mechanic for the inspection.image - Mechanic and customer looking at exhaust system under car on lift

Have the inspection performed by a mechanic you’re familiar with – not just a relative or friend, but a professional mechanic who knows cars and works on them. A trained inspector will know what to look for and can perform the inspection in a defined amount of time, providing a comprehensive report for you on the key findings.

How much does a pre-purchase inspection cost?

A pre-purchase inspection is a small price to pay for the peace of mind you will get out of it. Do you really want to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for a car you know nothing about? Add to that the risk of the car being a lemon and costing you a fortune in repairs after you buy it. When you finally hand over your money, you should be confident that you’re getting a good, reliable car at an honest price. AAMCO Minnesota shops are independently owned and operated, and may vary in their fees for pre-purchase inspection, but you can rest assured that AAMCO Minnesota’s multi-point diagnostics and inspection will get the job done.

Aside from a verified checklist, the benefits you experience from an AAMCO Minnesota used car pre-purchase inspection are nearly priceless.

  • Protecting yourself from buying a used vehicle that may need costly repairs
  • Ensuring the vehicle is safe and reliable for the safety of yourself and loved ones
  • Paying the right price
  • Knowing the vehicle won’t break down in the near future
  • Verification of the equipment and options on the vehicle

Other benefits of an inspection include:

  • Reveals hidden problems with the engine, frame, and body.
  • Alerts mechanic to engine codes that can indicate larger engine problems.
  • Reveals previous repair work done on the car.

What Does a Pre-Purchase Inspection Cover?

Inspection of a used car before you buy it – a pre-purchase inspection – includes important mechanical checks that should be performed by a professional mechanic. When you bring the car to your local AAMCO Minnesota auto mechanic, we’ll run our multi-point inspection diagnostics that include:

Vehicle Performance Multi-Point Inspection

  • Transmission & Clutch
  • Engine Performance
  • Brakes
  • Steering
  • Shock Absorbers
  • Heater & Air Conditioning
  • Instruments & Controls
  • Headlights & Foglights
  • Brake & Back-up Lights
  • Interior & Warning Lights
  • Turn Signals & Flashers

Under Hood Multi-Point Inspection

  • Fluid Level & Condition
  • Drive Belt
  • Battery
  • Starter
  • Charging System & Alternator
  • Idle Speed
  • Engine
  • Intake System
  • Fuel Delivery System
  • Ignition System
  • Computer Systems
  • Cooling System

Under Car Multi-Point Inspection

  • Steering & Front Suspension
  • Brakes
  • Rear Suspension
  • Engine Mounts
  • Transmission Mounts
  • Engine Seals
  • Transmission Seals
  • Clutch & Transmission Linkage
  • Driveshaft
  • U-Joints
  • Drive Axles
  • CV Joints
  • Exhaust System
  • Rear Axle

AAMCO Minnesota is Here for You

From auto inspection to repairs and maintenance, we’re here to help.

While no inspection is guaranteed to find every flaw in a used car, an experienced, trained mechanic can help you avoid serious and costly problems. An AAMCO pre-purchase inspection is good insurance and peace of mind when buying a used car.

AAMCO Minnesota is Here for You

From auto inspection to repairs and maintenance, we’re here to help.

While no inspection is guaranteed to find every flaw in a used car, an experienced, trained mechanic can help you avoid serious and costly problems. An AAMCO pre-purchase inspection is good insurance and peace of mind when buying a used car. Visit an AAMCO Minnesota transmission repair and total car care center near you. When issues arise and you need affordable, honest auto repair, schedule an appointment with your locally owned and operated AAMCO Minnesota transmission and auto repair center. If you have questions about your car’s road readiness, or about car repair and maintenance topics, AAMCO Minnesota is a great resource for expert automotive repair and maintenance information. Feel free to call or visit your local AAMCO Minnesota transmission and total car care center.

Other Articles About Car Maintenance & Repair

Sounds Your Car Makes When It Needs Repairs

My Car Rolls When I Put it in Park

Reasons Your Ride is Bumpy and Rough

Dangerous Driving Habits To Avoid

10. Parking in Illegal Areas

Despite the fact that most parking areas are monitored fairly closely, drivers continue to park where they shouldn’t  This includes handicap parking spaces, red zones, along curbs outside of clearly-marked legal parking hours, and so on. Having your car towed can be expensive, so even if you’ve gotten away with illegal parking in the past, you should resist the urge to park “just for five minutes” in restricted areas.

9. Accelerating Through Yellow Lights

Sure, it might be exhilarating to speed up in order to make it through a light, but often you don’t quite make it, and you end up holding up other drivers who actually have the green light. This is a bad habit to have, as it could lead to major collisions. Some lights are longer than others, so you may think that you have time to make it when you really don’t. Do the responsible thing and slow down when the light turns yellow if you’ve got room to stop. This goes hand in hand with following the speed limit, if you are following the posted speed limits, you won’t need to smash the brake pedal to stop in time for a red light. 

8. Ignoring Traffic Signs

Do you blow through stop signs or fail to yield when it’s required of you?  Those signs are there for a reason, and even if no one’s around, you should obey them. You never know when a car or pedestrian might come out of nowhere, or even a cop. 

7. Not Checking Blind Spots

Blind spots are dangerous, but not even trying to check them is more dangerous. Drivers who don’t look have a tendency to start moving over into other lanes and nearly colliding with other cars; this can cause, at the very least, anxiety and distraction, and at the most, a serious car accident. Always be sure to not only check the appropriate mirror when switching lanes, but to glance over your shoulder too to make sure the coast is clear. 

6. Merging Improperly

How many times have you been on a freeway acceleration ramp and found yourself behind someone who doesn’t understand how to merge? They let car after car zoom past them, thinking they’re being polite, when really, they’re holding up the flow of traffic. On the other hand, There are motorists who don’t know how to be patient. They seem to think that racing to the front of a line of cars getting on the freeway, when they know that the lane merges, is acceptable behavior. This is wrong too, and shouldn’t be put into practice. Accelerate and get up to speed, look for an opportunity, and merge when you get the chance. 

5. Not Using Turn Signals

If you don’t tell other people where you’re going, how can you expect them to know? Changing lanes or turning without signaling throws others off, and it could put you in harm’s way. The worst is when drivers slow down to turn without putting their blinker on: this can catch the cars behind them off guard, and the offending individual could get rear-ended. If you are experiencing issues with your electrical system, schedule an appointment today with your local AAMCO Minnesota Location. 

4. Cutting Other Cars Off

When you’re in a hurry, you often wish that the roads were completely clear so that you could zoom right through. Weaving between lanes without regard for others is extremely hazardous. You run the risk of being hit from behind if the driver you’re cutting off isn’t paying attention, and if you’re going too fast and squeezing between two cars, you could end up slamming into the car ahead of you. Don’t put yourself in this situation. Be sure that you give yourself plenty of time for travel. 

3. Tailgating

Tailgating is irritating to both parties involved. The driver in front is annoyed that the person behind them won’t stay off their bumper, and the driver in back of him is annoyed that he can’t go faster. Why create this tension? Tailgating can lead to car accidents AND it can lead to intentional vindictive actions, like brake checking. If you want to go faster, pass the car ahead of you in another lane if it is safe to do so, but keep a safe distance if it is not. 

2. Speeding

We all do this once in a while. But that doesn’t make it okay! Driving above the speed limit is one of the biggest reasons car accidents happen, and it leads to many of the other behaviors on this list. Just think: how many bad incidents would be prevented if we all adhered to posted speed limits? Not only is speeding dangerous to drivers around you as well as yourself. It wears your vehicles components much quicker. It consumes more fuel, wears brakes, and is tough on your transmission when accelerating quickly. 

1. Using Your Cell Phone While Driving

This is the big one, and unfortunately it’s become common among most drivers out there nowadays. While talking on your cell phone may be legal in some states under certain circumstances, it’s still a bad habit to have. It can be tempting when that ringtone goes off while you’re behind the wheel, but it’s better to resist the urge to answer. Talking while on your cell phone is distracting, and distracted driving is dangerous driving; it puts you and others at risk. Don’t even get us started on texting while driving! 


Related Articles About Car Maintenance & Repair

How Brakes Work

There are three principles of braking – leverage, hydraulics, and friction – that encompass the eight basic steps of how your car’s brakes work wonders every time you step on the brake pedal. [Read more…]

Anti-Lock Brakes – More Than Just a Better Way to Stop

Anti-lock brakes, also known as anti-lock braking system (ABS), have become a standard feature on cars, but they weren’t even originally invented for cars. They were invented in 1929 in France by Gabriel Voisin to help planes more smoothly apply brakes on landing and shorten the distance needed to come to a stop. Today it is an automobile safety system that is mandatory on all new passenger vehicles. [Read more…]

Reasons Why Your Ride is Bumpy and Rough

Sometimes your car does not ride as smoothly as you like. If the ride gets really bumpy or rough, and you’re not on a dirt road, there are some things that could be mechanically wrong. There are a number of things that can cause a rough, bumpy ride while you’re accelerating, cruising, or coming to a stop. [Read more…]


AAMCO Transmissions & Auto Repair Shops

Locally Owned & Operated

 
AAMCO Fridley

940 Osborne Rd NE | Minneapolis, MN, 55432

Details Directions

Call Now Set Appointment

At AAMCO Fridley we believe in performing honest and affordable transmission and auto repair services. We do the job right and get you back on the road safely and reliably. From transmission repair and rebuild to brake service, air conditioning repair, tune ups, check engine light and car maintenance, AAMCO Fridley, MN is your one-stop auto mechanic. Trust AAMCO’s expert auto technicians to use the latest tools and technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle, and back it with the best nationwide warranty. At AAMCO of Fridley, Minnesota we know all vehicle makes and models and have the latest in diagnostic tools and technology. We are your total car care specialists.

Convenient payment plans available.

Write a Review

AAMCO Hopkins

10921 Excelsior Blvd #117 | 10921 Excelsior Blvd #117, MN, 55343

Details Directions

Call Now Set Appointment

At AAMCO Hopkins, MN we believe in the value of good, honest work and giving you and your family the peace of mind a safe, reliable car provides on a daily basis. From transmission repair and rebuild to brake service, air conditioning repair, auto tune ups, check engine light and car maintenance, AAMCO of Hopkins is your one-stop shop for car repairs and maintenance. Trust the transmission experts at AAMCO of Hopkins transmission repair to diagnose and repair your vehicle right the first time and back it with the best nationwide warranty. At AAMCO Hopkins transmission and car repair we know all vehicle makes and models and have the latest in diagnostic tools and technology. We are your total car care and repair specialists.

Convenient payment plans available.

Write a Review

AAMCO Maplewood

1905 County Rd D E | Maplewood, MN, 55109

Details Directions

Call Now Set Appointment

People come to AAMCO of Maplewood, MN because we care about making sure you car is running safely and reliably. You can count on us for all your automotive repairs and maintenance. From transmission repairs and rebuilds to brakes, radiators, air conditioning, check engine light and tune ups. AAMCO Maplewood transmission and auto repair technicians use the latest technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle right the first time - and we back it with the best nationwide warranty. At your local Minnesota AAMCO of Maplewood we know all vehicle makes and models - we're your one-stop total car care specialists.

Convenient payment plans available.

Write a Review

AAMCO Minneapolis

5231 West Broadway | Minneapolis, MN, 55429

Details Directions

Call Now Set Appointment

Transmission repair and rebuilds are our specialty at AAMCO Minneapolis, MN. From transmissions to brakes, radiators, air conditioning repair, tune ups, check engine light diagnosis and car maintenance, people who know call AAMCO. Our expert technicians use the latest tools and technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle. From automatic and manual transmission repairs, clutch service and replacement, and more, we know all vehicle makes and models. We back our work with the best nationwide warranty. AAMCO of Minneapolis, MN is your one-stop transmission rebuild and total car care center.

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AAMCO West St. Paul

1571 S Robert St | St Paul, MN, 55118

Details Directions

Call Now Set Appointment

AAMCO Transmissions West St. Paul is your Twin Cities one-stop shop for transmission repairs, rebuilds, and car maintenance. Our certified technicians can handle any transmission repair or rebuild, as well as auto repair and maintenance service for your vehicle. You can rely on our mechanics for automatic and manual transmission problems and rebuilds, clutch service and replacement, and more. We use modern computer diagnostics to identify transmission and engine issues so we can repair your car quickly and get you back on the road. We work on all makes and models, including 4x4s.

Write a Review

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