Do you carry out pre-purchase vehicle inspections?
Pre- Purchase Reports start from $132.00 for a fully comprehensive inspection and written report. Either you will buy the car and get an idea of what your next service/repair might be or you will discover that you were about to buy a “lemon”! The information that you get from us may give you bargaining power when it comes to the asking price of the car. If you are buying from a private seller be especially careful as they may be repairing either mechanically damaged or body damaged vehicles cheaply, purchased from damaged vehicle auctions and repaired in a shoddy manner.
If you service my new vehicle, do I retain my factory warranty?
Yes, by using genuine parts and lubricants as recommended by the manufacturer and by servicing your vehicle as per the log book schedule with a professional workshop and having them stamp your log book for every service that they do. Dealers often “scare” new car owners by stating their car can only be serviced by them – this is not true – you do have a choice.
One Stop Suzi Shop uses only high quality parts and oils as recommended by your car’s manufacturer. Your log book will be stamped which also enhances its resale value as showing it was regularly serviced and maintained.
We will give you peace of mind knowing your warranty is safe and save you money too!
My new car log book states it only needs one service per year – is this right?
Oil is in the engine to protect it, to lubricate vital parts and to keep it running efficiently. Your engine oil loses its effectiveness over time and use – we always recommend regardless of the vehicles service schedule, 7,500km - 10,000km or 6 month service intervals is the best way of keeping the internal of your engine in tip top condition.
Oils on the current market today can roughly be broken up into 3 different categories; mineral based oils, semi-synthetic based oils and fully synthetic oils, each vehicle has its own specific requirement and it is important that wherever you have your car serviced, that the correct oils are used. Generally, mineral based oils are offered in ‘cheap’ advertised services as they are the cheapest and probably the lowest on the quality scale. Whilst there is nothing wrong with these oils, it is vitally important to change these oils on a regular short term, low km basis as they are not well suited to lengthy periods of time or extended mileage, the semi synthetics are a step up in both quality and price and fully synthetic is the best you can get. For example, using mineral based oil a maximum of 5,000km or 6mths is a guide, semi synthetics should be good for 10,000-15,000km and a fully synthetic is the only oil to be used where manufacturers suggest 12mthly or 15,000-20,000km service cycles. We only use quality Penrite lubricants and will always ensure that we have the correct type of oil on hand to service your car with.
There is a lot more to servicing your car than just changing the engine oil and every car is different, of course new cars should not have parts that fail for a couple of years, but it’s not 100% guaranteed and if there is an issue developing your mechanic needs to see your car at least twice a year to ensure that your tyres are wearing evenly, perishable rubber parts are not wearing out or about to break and to keep essential fluids topped up. We can also keep an eye on parts that may be faulty and may be able to be rectified “under warranty”.
I have a flashing air bag sensor/light – what does this mean?
This is a fairly common problem and requires immediate investigation as it could mean that your airbag system is inoperable. It is important to have qualified personnel perform a diagnostic check to see what the problems could be. It could be a sign of bad news! Our sister company; The One Stop Suzi Shop has seen a few cars that have had this issue and in each instance we were very saddened to report that the cars had been interfered with and in fact did not have complete air bag systems and functioning air bags!!! If you purchase a car and this happens – even if it the warning lamp goes on then off irregularly – get it checked immediately for your peace of mind.
Will you match another quote?
We are happy to match any competitors quote for the same work however, it is important that you are aware of exactly what you are being quoted on and that we are asked to match your quote for the exact same work. Be wary of cheap quotes – they are often not what they seem! Check they are using the same parts and will carry out the same thorough inspections as we do. An example of this is the customer that calls and requests a quote to replace the front brake pads on their car. Whilst brake pads are generally an inexpensive item and the replacement of just the pads is a relatively simple job, quotes can vary considerably depending upon whether the workshop you have enquired to is quoting you on a professional or amateur job.
Many will quote you the lower amount just for the pads and fitment and then ‘work on you’ when they have control of your car. We would always quote you from your initial enquiry on doing the correct job which would involve checking and lubricating the brake caliper slides and either the machining or replacement of your disc rotors to ensure longevity and effectiveness of your new brake pads and depending upon the service history of your car and the condition of your brake fluid, most likely suggest or include a brake fluid flush at the same time. The principle of this example can be applied to most work that is quoted – to do a proper job or just ‘slap it together’… be aware and find out exactly what is going to be done for the money you are paying !
Your car transports you and your family – you NEED it to be working properly and efficiently at all times.
How is it that the big name mechanical workshops can offer a set price for a service – do you do this or can you match it?
We now have prices “starting from” to give you an idea but as every car is different what may fix one car will not fix another. When you call us you will speak directly to a technician to discuss your vehicle. Whilst it is very easy to give a cheap quote and then add to it once the car is in pieces on the hoist we prefer to be upfront at the outset and call you if we find extra work or repairs that are necessary and gain your approval first. All our major services come with a list of future work required to enable you to plan and budget for future maintenance.
Other workshops can offer a set price and in order to cover themselves may cut corners on checking or parts/oil quality. Once your car is regularly serviced by us you will understand the level of our service is superior to anywhere else.
Be wary of set prices e.g. by well-known chains and franchises – it seems that they offer a lot for the money, the truth is most of the items are “check” or “inspect” etc. – we do all of this as a matter of course and we test drive every vehicle before all minor and major work to ensure that we are aware of any problems requiring investigation during our service and after so that we can confirm that those problems have been rectified. There is nothing wrong with the services provided – the question is the definition of “checking” does NOT mean “repairing” and quality can vary enormously.
Cheap $99 services – they usually consist of an oil change with low grade oil or just a top up and a new oil filter so in fact the price is anything but cheap!
Do you stand by your work?
Yes provided it is for work as requested by the customer and not something else that may have arisen since the car left our premises. Any problems resulting from faulty workmanship will be rectified as soon as possible and with the least inconvenience to the customer. Quite often, parts used will be covered by manufacturer’s warranty and unfortunately these warranties are limited to just the part replacement cost and will not cover any labour involved in the removal and re-fitment. Ask your mechanic to explain to you exactly what is likely to happen in the instant that you have a failure with a part you have just had fitted.
Can I just get an oil/lube service instead of a full service?
Yes, regular maintenance is the only way to minimise long term costs and ensure your vehicle is safe. There is a lot more to servicing your car than just changing the oil, we recommend that for some cars an intermediate ‘lube service’ every 5,000kms is a beneficial addition to the regular service schedule.
How often should I service my vehicle if I only do a few thousand km’s a year?
Our standard recommendation is every 6 months or 7,500 kms, whichever comes first, but this can vary depending upon your car and how you use it – it is regardless of mileage/kilometres travelled. We must emphasize the importance of regular maintenance and service to keep your vehicle running efficiently and as safely as possible – not only to you and your passengers, but to everyone else on the roads! Ask yourself if you would go on a ride at a theme park that travels at 125km/hr if it had not been serviced for a year or even 6 months (they are checked daily and serviced very often)? Yet some people put their children and family in a car that is poorly if at all maintained. Servicing and maintenance is a cost that must be included when budgeting which car to purchase whether new or older.
Do you have set prices for services and oil changes?
We give honest quotes, but every case is different. In order to compete with the fixed prices that our competitors offer, we have just introduced starting prices, if it is your first visit we recommend a major service and we will provide you with a list (or not) of items required and the time frame for carrying out the work.
In our experience, unless it is a fairly new car or under 50,000kms, more often than not other work or ‘catch up’ maintenance is required, we feel the customer must be given the option of repair or not at that time. We prefer to have a low labour rate and charge accurately for our time and not overcharge or change parts unnecessarily. See services section for further details.
I recently had my 8 year old car serviced and when I drove it home it was making another noise I had not heard before – is this fault of the workshop I used and shouldn’t they put it right?
Depending on the age of your car and exactly what you had done this is difficult to answer. In our experience with older cars there is a time frame when some parts start wearing out especially if they have not been changed during services in the past. Often it will be that one part that is fixed which puts pressure on another component which then subsequently fails too! We would certainly wish to ascertain if it was something caused by our workmanship which we guarantee. Again regular maintenance and log book servicing is a MUST.
I have an old car and have been told it needs a lot of work doing to it – more than the value of the car – what do you suggest?
That you address all the safety issues first and then the maintenance the car requires and if these costs far outweigh the value of the car, then you should consider cutting your losses and selling it or trading it in. The cost involved in it passing a Road Worthy Certificate examination or Safety Inspection could easily be higher than what you may be able to get for the car if you sold it. We have experienced customers coming in with vehicles that have had little or no maintenance that in our opinion are unsafe for them and any other road users. We strongly discourage any customers ignoring safety issues. Your safety and that of other road users is paramount to us and our reputation.
My daughter is purchasing a used car through a private sale and the RWC was carried out by a Mobile Examiner at the seller’s house – is this acceptable?
Whilst there are many Mobile Safety Certificate examiners around and all are approved by the department of transport, our opinion is that it is not possible to undertake a thorough safety examination of a vehicle without the ability to raise the vehicle into the air and inspect from underneath. In Qld it is only a requirement to have a safety examination at ‘point of sale’ to another user or for new registrations unlike other states of Australia where it is mandatory to have annual checks. Usually, the sellers of vehicles are never in the right frame of mind to spend money on a car they are selling and RWC mechanics vary enormously in honesty and quality and there are many unscrupulous ones out there who don’t even look at the car before issuing a RWC.
We strongly recommend a pre purchase inspection of a vehicle you are thinking of buying, regardless of whether it has a current safety certificate or not – our inspections start at $99 and we will advise you on the condition of all aspects of your future asset and probably save you bargaining money too!
To correctly check a car to ascertain its roadworthy condition, it must be inspected thoroughly from underneath. We have had experience with customers who after purchasing a car then brought it to us for a service only to find that their new purchase had major safety issues that should have been picked up by a competent examiner.
For our pre-purchase inspections we nearly always save customers money by pointing out future works and repairs and the costs involved.
Do you carry out repairs as well as servicing?
Yes, we do a very wide range of repairs. See our Services Info section for further information.
My brakes are squeaking does this mean they are worn?
This is, more than likely the reason, however if you have recently had them worked on perhaps the mechanic did not machine or replace your old disc rotors at the same time? Best brake performance involves machining or replacing the discs because this helps the new brake pads to contact the disc rotors and create the correct friction required to stop your car.
Brakes are a vital safety component – squeaking brakes can sometimes be an indication of glazed disc pads and rotors or possible mismatched new pads that have been fitted to un-machined disc rotors, but screeching brakes can indicate brake pads are worn down to “tell-tale” indicators (where fitted) or in extreme cases to the metal backing and need immediate attention and replacement. We remove wheels during major services to correctly establish the life left on your brakes.
Brake fluid is often overlooked by many workshops and yet it is a vital part of your vehicles braking system. When your brakes are applied, the brake fluid is pushed from your brake fluid reservoir (where you check the fluid level) through the master cylinder (which sits just underneath) through a series of pipes and hoses to the brake on each corner of your car. This fluid then pushes either the calliper piston (in the case of disc brakes) or the wheel/brake cylinder (in the case of drum brakes). The pushing out of each of these parts has the effect of either pushing a brake pad against a disc rotor or pushing brake shoes onto a brake drum. The braking process relies upon a huge amount of friction being created between these two surfaces and with friction comes heat, the heat transfers through each of the metal components to the fluid and if this fluid is not in tip top condition, it can cause the fluid to boil and the hydraulic properties of the fluid will be lost, affecting your braking performance. Ever driven down a steep hill and applied the brakes a little too much and then found that you had to pump the brake pedal a few times to make the brakes work?? This is caused by the fluid getting too hot and boiling and this can be a major safety issue!
There are different grades of brake fluid on the market but generally a DOT 4 grade brake fluid is used on most vehicles. The higher the DOT number, the higher grade of brake fluid it is. Motorcycles tend to use DOT 5 because the heat created during braking is a lot higher and they only have two brakes to rely upon to slow them down. Brake fluid absorbs moisture from the air and over time, the water content absorbed will lower the boiling point of the fluid and allow oxygen into the system thus affecting its performance. We carry bulk engine oil in 800lt tanks however we only store brake fluid in 500ml containers because once the seal is opened, the moisture absorption will begin to occur.
Do different cars use different engine oils?
Yes they do. While a lot of vehicles will use the same types of oils a lot do vary greatly and this is something we always check with the manufacturer’s specifications before replacing any oils and lubricants on your car. We only use the best quality oils from Penrite and whenever necessary purchase special oils. See our service section for further information.
My steering wheel is shaking at 100 kM/HR but I just had a wheel alignment?
Provided the steering and suspension systems are in a satisfactory condition and the wheel alignment was done correctly, you may find you need a front wheel balance to rectify the problem. However, some makes of cars have different reasons for shaking steering wheels so it is best to get it checked out.
When is it a good time to sell my car before it starts costing too much money to run?
Regular log book servicing and maintenance can enable many makes of car to run well for over 200,000km’s. However, generally once a vehicle reaches around 10 years old it is common for parts to start wearing out and fail, causing the vehicle to become less reliable and more costly. We are happy to offer advice on the best course of action for you and your budget.
Generally, from the time a vehicle is purchased new, until the end of its warranty period (normally 3yrs or 100,000km) regular servicing / maintenance as per the manufacturers recommendations in their log books is sufficient, after this period you may find that maintenance and some repairs (worn part replacements) are required, once the car hits the 10yr mark or has upwards of 150,000km you will spend a lot more money on repairs and this will only increase and you will be forever chasing your tail. Of course this will depend upon how well the car has been looked after during this period and how many owners the car has had. Many younger drivers save up their money to buy their first car but they have no money to maintain or service it.
Do you have a car for me to use whilst mine is being serviced?
Yes, we offer a loan car and a ute for tradies (T&C apply) while your car receives at least a minor service or repairs over $200. We ask that you top up the fuel tank before returning it to us and sign a declaration in the event and accident occurs or you receive a speeding/toll fine.
We also offer a pick up and delivery service and can lend you a car for larger jobs – please go to our Service Information section for more information.
What do you think about buying cars off eBay or from car sale sites or private sellers?
You must bear in mind 2 key points:
Are you a mechanic or do you know a mechanic with experience and knowledge to have the car checked over?
Secondly, you must ensure you get the relevant information and that it is genuine about the car.
There are, believe it or not, some trustworthy and reliable mechanics on the coast – we are one of them. Always get a pre purchase inspection done – from us a verbal inspections will cost $99, or $150 for a full written report; $210 from the RACQ. Would you buy a house without getting it checked first?
RWC (Road Worthy Certificates) – we strongly recommend you get a RWC from a reliable company and that the car has been on a hoist (or over a pit) so that an under body inspection can be made. We have sadly seen too many examples of cars purchased when a mobile RWC has been carried out. How did they look under the car?
Any genuine seller will be prepared to give you as much information as you require. Be wary of “regular” private sellers, they often do this as a business from their own homes.
Remember – there is no statutory warranty when you buy from a private individual (these include the “at home in the garage repair people”). Buying from a reputable, licensed dealer gives you the standard statutory warranty. However, be warned, dealers can be “dodgy” too – check out body paint colour discrepancies; bad panel work, lift the bonnet, check the odo and service history. Get a pre purchase inspection for some peace of mind. There is nothing wrong with buying a car that has been on the repairable written-off register – it is legal, but it must have been done properly.