Schuylkill County Auto Shop Displays Creative Signs

AAMCO of Pottsville Total Car Care has a unique way of catching its customers’ attention.

Driving along Route 61 near Pottsville, a sign offering “pumpkin spice” motor oil might have caught your eye. It caught Jim Kelly’s of Scranton.
“I had to get a picture of this one,” Kelly said. “I think that’s a riot.”

The sign caught Newswatch 16’s* eye, too. We went inside the business where it’s located.

“We used to put all kinds of specials up out there and they never got any feedback, never,” said Ken Worrall, AAMCO of Pottsville Total Car Care. “One day, we were feeling quirky. We all kind of have a sense of humor and we just decided, alright, we’re just going to put some funny stuff on.”

He said his staff started coming up with different sayings for their sign about five years ago.

“We’ll sit here and brainstorm and whoever is giggling, that’s what makes it to the sign,” Worrall said.

The signs can be funny. “I need a six-month vacation, twice a year,” AAMCO of Pottsville Total Car Care Technician Douglas Homewood said. “That was one of my favorites.”

Others are more holiday-themed.

“We had, “Honk if you love America,” and we had that on for a few weeks,” AAMCO of Pottsville Total Car Care owner Tom Bashinsky said. “We had people constantly blowing the horns.”

Whatever the sign may say, the goal is still the same.

“If we bring a smile to somebody’s face once a day, we did our job,” Worrall said. “If we fixed their car and they’re safe, we did our job, times two.”

* OCTOBER 17, 2017, BY JESSICA ALBERT, Newswatch 16 WNEP

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Signs you might need your brakes serviced

Is your brake light constantly on?
Does the light come on when braking?

The skilled technicians at AAMCO know that there are many reasons that may cause your brake light to come on. It can indicate several different issues within your braking system, all of which can affect your vehicle’s safety and shouldn’t be ignored, as few parts of your car, truck or SUV are as essential as working brakes.


Brake Issue Symptoms:

  • Your brake fluid is low.
    This could be an indication of a leak.
  • Your brake pads are getting low.
    Many manufacturers include sensors in the pads which can indicate when the pads are close to the end of their life. When the pads wear down to a certain point, this sensor touches the brake rotor and triggers the light to come on.
  • You may have an anti-lock problem with a sensor or a part.
    This could be dangerous and should be checked out quickly.
  • Or…. oops! It could be that you simply forgot to release the parking brake,
    and it’s just a matter of doing so. If you have driven far or often like this, you could have worn down the brakes and should get them checked to be on the safe side.
  • Squealing, Grinding, Squeaking, or Groaning Sounds
    The squeaking could be that your pads are worn down to the wear indicators and they are telling you to get the brake pads changed before you do damage to the rotors and calipers. The grinding could be that you waited too long and they are now metal to metal and completely worn out. Whatever the noise you hear when you push on the brakes, it’s important to get them checked to avoid creating any further damage.
  • Pedal Vibrations or Pulsations
    Pedal pulsations or vibrations are usually caused by a condition where the brake rotor has worn unevenly. This pedal movement happens because as the brake pads go in and out to follow the unevenness of the brake rotor, the pedal under your foot follows that movement. Usually this will necessitate replacing the pads and rotors. Another more dangerous condition could be that you have loose brake parts or a loose wheel. Get this checked out immediately. If you suspect anything loose, do not drive the car, have someone look at it before operating again.
  • Car driving or pulling to one side when applying the brakes
     condition could be caused by a hydraulic caliper sticking, a loose brake part or even a loose steering or suspension part. This can be very dangerous and should be checked out immediately.
  • A low, soft or spongy brake pedal
    All these conditions are generally created by leaking brake fluid. You may have a hose, line, or hydraulic cylinder or caliper leaking in the system and if not repaired immediately will eventually cause you to lose all braking. If your pedal goes to the floor or becomes soft or spongy, check the master cylinder reservoir to see if it’s low and have a professional take a look immediately.  Avoid driving if possible.
  • Smoke or a hot burning smell from a wheel
    This condition happens when a hydraulic caliper has frozen in the applied position and will not release. This condition usually ruins the pads, the rotor and the caliper. Always replace them in pairs and change the hoses that feed the caliper.

All parts, especially brakes, wear out over time. Delaying brake inspections and maintenance servicing could put you, your passengers and people around you at unnecessary risk. Like most automotive maintenance and repair problems and issues, the longer you put it off, the greater the chance for larger repair bills.

If you are experiencing any issues with your brakes, stop in or call your local AAMCO center today for an appointment. It’s important to have your brakes checked for any potential problems long before they ever stop you on the road. The skilled technicians at AAMCO will to help keep your braking system in good working order.

 

 

 

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What does it mean when your Check Engine Light is on?

And there it is.
The dreaded Check Engine Light just appeared on your dashboard out of nowhere.
Or you've seen it flashing on and off a few times before and maybe you just hoped it would go away by itself.

Your Check Engine Light functions to help ensure your safety on the road.
The light coming on is really just an early warning signal from one of your car’s computers that it notices something is not right that could potentially cause damage to your vehicle, pollute the air, etc. if not taken care of quickly.  It’s important to find out exactly what the light is trying to tell you.

When your car’s Check Engine Light comes on, it could mean a lot of different things are happening within your vehicle.
Issues can range from a weak oxygen sensor, to anti-lock braking system trouble or a more costly problem, like an engine or transmission issue. It could also simply be something very minor, like a loose or missing gas cap.

This system will also produce codes that can be retrieved by AAMCO’s technicians that will tell them just what system or circuit is seeing the problem. Oftentimes, it may take more in-depth testing to pinpoint exactly what in that identified circuit or system is at fault. Without professional testing of the components in the circuit, you could be throwing costly parts at the problem without actually repairing the real problem.

When you see your Check Engine Light come on, the most important thing you can do is to get a correct diagnosis of what is triggering the light on or flashing as soon as possible.

AAMCO can help you whenever your Check Engine Light comes on.
We will retrieve the codes and tell you what system has caused the light to come on and what will be required to turn the light off.

Your safety on the road is important to us at AAMCO.  If your Check Engine Light is on, let one of our expert technicians correctly diagnose your vehicle. Stop in or call us today for an appointment at an AAMCO center near you.

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AAMCO Expanding Brand's Footprint With 18 New Centers Nationwide

AAMCO announced today that it plans to open 18 new service center locations with new and existing franchisees across the country. This latest growth news comes during a strong year for franchise development for the company, which has been recognized by Entrepreneur magazine as a 2017 “Best of the Best” and by Franchise Direct as a Top 100 Global Franchise.

The new AAMCO service centers will be located throughout the U.S. in cities from Los Angeles; Queen Creek, Arizona; and Katy, Texas to Teaneck, NJ; New Orleans and Miami. In addition to these openings, AAMCO is targeting select cities in Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri and Pennsylvania to continue to fuel national expansion for the remainder of the year.

“AAMCO has been working tirelessly with new and existing franchisees to identify opportunities for growth and help them achieve their business goals,” said Brian O’Donnell, senior vice president of franchise sales at AAMCO Transmissions, Inc. “As the company continues expanding its national footprint, we look forward to opening more service centers with these talented men and women and bringing our brand of total car care to even more markets.”

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Back-To-School Car Prep

As the summer draws to a close, our focus naturally shifts to thoughts of “back-to-school”. There is much to prepare to keep things running smoothly. In all likelihood, you’ll need your vehicle to complete many upcoming errands. One checklist item that often gets overlooked this time of year is preventative maintenance for your car, truck or SUV.

Whether you are carpooling to and from school, driving to a multitude of after school activities, driving to high school for the first time or are college bound out of state, AAMCO has you covered.

AAMCO’s Back-To-School Car Prep Checklist:

Registration and Proof of Insurance –
Make sure your registration is up-to-date and you have proof of insurance (where required). Keep them both in a sturdy, moisture proof folder in your glovebox or console, so you are prepared should an incident arise.

Inspection– For areas that require state inspections and/or emission inspections, make certain that your vehicle’s inspections are up-to-date and will remain current throughout the school year.

Wiper Blades and Washer Fluid – Are your wiper blades cleaning your windshield properly with no streaks or squeals? Are the washers properly spraying on the windshield and is the reservoir topped off?  A sudden heavy rainstorm without good wiper blades could present a very unsafe driving situation. A dirty windshield without washer fluid is just as bad.  It’s important to replace worn out wiper blades and top off washer fluid as needed.

Lights – Check all of your vehicle’s exterior and interior lights to make certain they are all working.  Have a friend help by sitting in the car & stepping on the brakes while you inspect around the vehicle to determine that all of your brake lights work. Be sure to check the turn signals and make sure your license plate light is working as well.

Dash Warning Lights – If you have any warning or maintenance lights on, such as your Check Engine Light or tire pressure warning light, it’s important to get these warnings checked out and the conditions repaired as soon as possible and certainly before heading out of town. Stop into your local AAMCO center today for a check.
Tires – Take a close look at your tires or have a professional at AAMCO look at them for you, to make sure they are in good shape and the air pressure is correct.  If you see some wear, it may be a good idea to have your tires rotated.
You may also choose to go ahead and change them for new ones, if the tire tread is less than 3/32 deep.

Not sure how to check your tread for wear? Use the penny test. Simply insert a penny into your tire’s tread groove with Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, your tread depth is less than 2/32 inch and it’s time to replace your tires.

Brakes – While the tires are being rotated, have a professional check to ensure your brake pads and brake parts are in good working order and there are no leaks in the hydraulic system. If you notice pulling, pulsating, a low or spongy pedal or noises when braking, it is wise to have them checked more thoroughly to be able to determine what is causing this condition, as it could be a serious problem within the braking system.

Fluids, Filters, Belts and Hoses – Always abide by your vehicle’s owner’s manual for suggested mileage and time intervals for fluid and filter changes.  If you are getting close to the intervals or your vehicle will be away from home longer than the time that’s necessary for an upcoming scheduled maintenance, you might want to go ahead and get in front of it, do it early rather than waiting too long.

Also, check the belts and hoses for any leakage, swelling or abrasions.  Fluids and filters are the lifeblood of vehicle operating systems. The belts drive the water pump, power steering and air conditioning, while the hoses keep fluids inside (and not on the ground), so it’s important to keep them all well maintained.
Battery – Have your battery and connections checked while you are under the hood, to make sure they are ready for the school year.  You don’t want a dead or weak battery when you need your vehicle the most.  If your battery is more than 5 years old, consider replacing it with a new one to make sure you won’t have a problem later.

Keep an Emergency Kit for the Car in the Trunk– Obtain a good emergency kit and store it safely inside your vehicle. Include a good set of jumper cables, in the case your battery should fail. Make sure the kit is stocked with any necessary medications, some basic first-aid remedies and is well stocked with items needed for the part of the country you or your student will be taking the vehicle.

Jack and Spare Tire– Make sure you have a jack and a spare tire in the vehicle that is inflated and in good shape. Also, having a canister of a fix-a-flat type aerosol is a good idea for tires that get low and you need to just quickly get off the road and to a service center.

At AAMCO, we’re here for you and happy to help get your vehicle ready for going back-to-school. Also, if you are a student in high school or college, call or stop in today for our Free Vehicle Courtesy Check, at participating AAMCO centers across the country to help ensure your safety on the road throughout the school year.

 

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10 Summer Road Trip Tips from AAMCO

Taking a summer road trip? Make the most of your quality time on the road with family or friends with these 10 tips from AAMCO to help your trip be even more enjoyable.

1. Give your vehicle some love.
First things first. For safety’s sake, before you leave town do some basic preventative maintenance checks. Be sure all fluids are topped off, your tires are properly inflated, your windshield wipers are working, you’re travelling with jumper cables and a full spare tire in your vehicle, etc. If your check engine light is coming on, your brakes are acting up or your vehicle is making strange noises, stop into any one of over 650 AAMCO locations across the country for a check before you go or while you’re out on the road.

2. Decide on the sites you really want to visit.
Don’t cram too many hours of driving into your days. Allow for time for spontaneous exploration & lingering without feeling rushed. Stay one step ahead by doing some research beforehand on where you can sleep for the night near your destination.

3. Tell someone where you’re going.
Sending a message to a friend of family member at home on where you plan to end up each day is always a good idea as accidents, bad weather and breakdowns can happen anywhere.

4. Bring an extra key to your car.
There are few things worse than being stranded or locked out of your vehicle. Don’t let it happen to you!

5. Make it about the journey.
Play car games, make a road trip music playlist, be creative… your trip is all about fun! Not to mention, it certainly helps to keep the “Are we there yet?” whines to a minimum.

6. Discover a city’s hidden gems by talking to locals.
They’ll often point out some local color or a restaurant that might be missing from your “city attractions” brochures. Whenever possible, stop and see that slice of Americana or roadside oddity for awesome photos that will make your road trip that much more memorable.

7. Avoid time killing traffic spots.
Don’t be in the wrong place at the wrong time. For example, anticipate rush hour when driving near a major city and avoid heading out to a popular vacation destination on the Friday afternoon of a holiday weekend. It’s also smart to have some cash on hand for toll roads in case you have to take an unexpected detour.

8. Leave room to bring something back with you.
Sometimes it’s a framed painting or it could be 4 bushels of fresh peaches. You never know what you’ll find, but when you do, make sure you have enough room in your vehicle to get that souvenir home with you. Also, strive for a trash free vehicle for the duration of the trip as it will help to save space too.

9. Pack some snacks & a small cooler.
Being prepared and avoid a car full of cranky people. You may often be driving for an hour or more without seeing a convenience store. Pack a small cooler with bottled water or your favorite beverages and bring snacks in resealable bags to hold you over until you reach the next town.

10. Bring a map.
Many of us rely on GPS or apps like WAZE to get us from Point A to Point B. But things can happen and devices fail. Don’t set out into the great unknown without a hard copy map or road atlas as backup.

Any time of the year is great for a road trip but sometimes even the best laid plans can encounter a few hiccups. Our goal at AAMCO is always to keep you safe while out on the road, no matter your destination. Should your vehicle experience any issues, call
(800) GO-AAMCO
to get in touch with an AAMCO Total Car Care center close to your location.

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AAMCO Franchise Continues to Evolve as a Best-Bet Investment

After more than half a century as one of America's most iconic franchise systems, AAMCO continues to drive towards a bright future. Led by an executive team that is entirely focused on improving the business model for its growing network of franchisees, the AAMCO of today is a forward-looking, tech-savvy powerhouse that is rapidly expanding across the country. time-tested business model. This dedication makes AAMCO franchises easier to run and easier to scale than ever before.
Under the leadership of President and CEO Brett Ponton, AAMCO has invested in a state-of-the-art initial and ongoing training platform called AAMCO University, which not only has made AAMCO accessible and welcoming to entrepreneurs without experience in the auto industry, but has given technicians and employees at AAMCO franchise centers the ability to move upward in their careers. This has allowed AAMCO to retain its hard-won expertise in the auto repair industry and has made it easier for franchisees to hire and retain the best talent.

The brand also successfully launched Total Car Care. AAMCO has leveraged it’s 50 year history of fixing the most complex part of the car, the transmission, into a full-service offering that includes brakes, oil changes, heat and A/C, brakes, and in 2018, the brand will add tires. This level of service and consumer trust— combined with an ongoing initiative to “win the internet” through a series of marketing efforts, a new financing program for consumers, and a new POS system — has delivered to the AAMCO franchisee multiple revenue streams and the ability to out compete auto repair chains in their markets.“We’re so proud to be a part of the wonderful AAMCO brand and are privileged to help make our business model more competitive and more profitable for our franchise owners,” Brett says. “By working side-by-side with our franchisees to create initiatives that drive sales to their centers, we have made AAMCO not only more competitive in the 21st-century economy, but also more attractive to entrepreneurs who are looking for a business opportunity with a proven track record of success and even brighter future. We’re working hard to ensure that our next 50 years in business is even better than the last.”

The industry agrees. In 2017, Entrepreneur magazine included AAMCO on their prestigious “Franchise 500” list, and ranked AAMCO as the No. 1 brand in their category for the third consecutive year. Based on network size, growth rate and financial strength, the brand also earned a spot on Entrepreneur’s “Best of the Best” list. Additionally, AAMCO has been ranked on the Franchise Times Top 200+ for the past two years.

Existing AAMCO franchisees agree. The investments that AAMCO has made to improve its business model allows existing franchisees to open new centers in record numbers. If the measure of success in a franchise system is its franchisees answering this fundamental question in the affirmative: “If you could go back in time, would you make the investment again?” — then AAMCO has knocked the ball out of the park.

“The fact that we have so many deposits for new centers from existing franchise owners is proof that all of our hard work and investments are paying off,” says Kim Robinson, Director of Franchise Development at AAMCO. “When an entrepreneur is interested in opening a new center, they always ask about the existing franchise network. The fact that I can tell them our existing owners are opening new centers in record numbers speaks volumes about how healthy the AAMCO franchise system really is, and is a signal to potential franchisees that AAMCO is a wise investment.”

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