HANS' FOREIGN CAR REPAIR   (415) 892-6016   815 OLIVE AVENUE   NOVATO, CA 94945



  Vehicle owners many not always know their recalled vehicle still requires repairs.
  Follow this link to enter your vehicle's VIN to check for information.


  • Check for predicted reliability for the model you want to purchase.
    See chart here

  • When buying an older used car, reliability is more important because used cars    
    need more repairs as they age.  See chart here   Japanese models are the most
    reliable (Honda, Acura, Toyota, Lexus, Nissan, Infiniti).

  • When buying most of these models they will need extensive work between 90K
    and 120K miles.  Common problems will include spark plugs, timing belt, and
    axle boots.

  • Try to get any receipts for auto work from its previous owner - which should
    include the names of the shops that performed the services.

  • We suggest getting any car checked out before finalizing the sale.  Spending
    $100 on a diagnostic may save you thousands.

  • When buying a car from a dealer you usually have three days to check out the
    car.  If buying from an individual check out the car first and use the repair cost
    estimates to negotiate the price.  If this is not possible write up an agreement
    stating that you can return within a specified timeframe if repairs will exceed a
    given dollar amount.

  • Ask the owner how often the oil had been changed and how much oil the
    vehicle uses between oil changes.

  • It would be a good idea to call a repair shop even if you are planning on
    purchasing a new vehicle.  Some models have problems or costs you may not
    be aware of.

  • Places to look for used cars include newspaper ads, Craig's List, eBay, friends,
    and various local sellers.

  • We don't suggest looking too far from your local area - it may become more
    hassle than it's worth!



  Prior to shopping for any specific vehicle, we suggest checking the reliability
  ratings and suggestions in Consumer Reports to best suit your needs.  Though
  Consumer Reports is a great resource, we highly recommend you check with us
  before making a final decision.  We feel that some vehicle brands are improperly
  reflected on their reliability charts, such as Audi.

  Do not buy an extended warranty.  If you feel strongly about purchasing the
  warranty, we'd recommend purchasing the plan when the 'New Vehicle Warranty'
  period ends.  Most companies end this initial warranty period at around 36,000 miles
  but you should check the specific expiration on your vehicle brand in order to plan

  When test driving new vehicles, dealerships must request your driver's license for
  liability purposes.  Be sure to request that they do not photocopy your license or
  submit a credit check for financing purposes without your permission.

  Do not buy the 'PermaPlate coating' offered as an upgrade option at most
  dealerships.  Washing and maintaining your new vehicle regularly will be more
  than sufficient in keeping that "show room shine" that PermaPlate offers with
  their coating.



  Federal law prohibits new car dealers from implying or denying
  warranty service because routine scheduled maintenance was
  performed at an independent facility.

  Magnusen - Moss Act (1975)  Title 15, Chapter 50,
  Section 2301 - 2312, US Federal Code


  A lot of our new clients have been changing their engine oil more frequently than  
  necessary and using poor quality oil from various express oil change facilities.  
  What we suggest Is changing the oil every 5000 miles on average.  Automobiles
  such as BMW and Mercedes Benz using synthetic oil normally have oil changes
  at 7500 to 15000 mile intervals depending upon how often and how far the vehicles
  are driven during a given year.


  The Check Engine Light (CEL) is a warning system that lets the driver know that
  something isn't functioning correctly.  The Engine Control Unit (ECU) is constantly
  receiving data from its sensors and if any one of them malfunctions or gets
  a reading that is out of the ordinary, the ECU immediately illuminates the CEL
  and stores the relative code in its memory.  Any number of problems could cause
  the ECU to generate a code.  Certain non-detrimental problems may cause a 'SOFT
  CODE' meaning the car still drives normally, however the CEL is illuminated
  indicating that there is still a problem of some kind such as a misfire, too rich
  or lean mixture, etc.  Usually it is all right to drive in this condition temporarily.
  However if the car is not running normally it needs to come in for inspection
  as soon as possible to prevent damage to parts such as the catalytic converter.
  Other more potentially harmful problems that the ECU detect will throw the car into
  what is called 'LIMP MODE' where the ECU instantly retards the timing and dumps
  an overly abundant amount of fuel into the motor, robbing it of power so that one
  can still 'limp' the car home under power but prevents the driver from causing any
  more damage.  Problems such as Manifold Absolute Pressure sensor (MAP)
  malfunction, low oil or excess knock will send the ECU into Limp Mode.  In either
  case it would be helpful to know what the problem is that the ECU has detected
  since a CEL in the dashboard doesn't tell you much.  When you determine the
  code that the ECU generated you can then tell how serious the problem is.


© Copyright 2005 Hans' Foreign Car Repair