frequently asked questions
Q: Why is my Check Engine light (or Service Engine Soon indicator) on and what do i do about it?

A: An illuminated Check Engine Light symbol or Service Engine Soon message indicates a problem with your vehicle's on board emissions control system(s). If the symbol or message illuminates, it will either blink or remain constant, depending on the problem. Either way, you should have your vehicle checked by one of our technicians as soon as possible. However, a blinking light indicates a problem that needs immediate attention. Ignore the warning, and you could end up damaging expensive components. It also can be a sign that your car is getting poor fuel economy and emitting higher levels of pollutants. Today's automotive computers often try to compensate when there's a problem; so you may not notice deterioration in performance, even though your fuel mileage is suffering and your vehicle is emitting unacceptable levels of hydrocarbons and other pollutants.

The "Check Engine" light is part of your car's so-called onboard diagnostics (OBD) system. Since the 1980s, computers increasingly have controlled and monitored vehicle performance, regulating such variables as engine speed (RPM), fuel mixture, and ignition timing. The main purpose of this is to keep the engine running at top efficiency with the lowest possible emissions. In 1996, under federal OBD II regulations, carmakers were required to install a sophisticated system that essentially acts like a built-in state emissions testing station. The system monitors and adjusts dozens of components and processes. For example, it continually samples exhaust emissions as they come out of the engine and again when they leave the catalytic converter, a device that removes carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon pollutants from the exhaust. The system also monitors your car's fuel system to ensure that gasoline vapors are not escaping into the atmosphere through a leak or a loose or missing gas cap. When it finds a problem in the electronic-control system that it can't correct, the computer turns on a yellow warning indicator (Malfunction Indicator Light - or MIL) that's often labeled "Check Engine," or "Service Engine Soon". Sometimes the light may be nothing more than a picture of an engine, known as the International Check Engine Symbol, perhaps accompanied by the word "Check." In addition to turning on the light, the computer stores a "trouble code" in its memory that identifies the source, but not necessarily the cause, of the problem, such as a malfunctioning sensor or a misfiring engine. The stored trouble code and description can only be retrieved with a special scan tool. The code itself does not necessarily tell what part to replace; it only gives a general direction in which to look. Our technician must perform certain tests specific for each code to find the exact cause of the problem. There are many reasons for a Check Engine Light, and many causes for any one of the associated trouble codes.

In a late-model car, an illuminated MIL is almost a sure sign your car will fail a DEQ test. In Oregon, it's an automatic failure, even if the problem was nothing more than a loose gas cap. Lastly, don't bother trying to fool the inspection station by disconnecting the battery or using any other method to erase the trouble code and turn off the "Check Engine" light. Your vehicle's computer will let the inspection station know that its codes have been erased without the root problem being addressed.

Q: When should I have my brake fluid changed?

A: Typically, in our climate, you should have your vehicle's brake fluid replaced at least every two years, regardless of mileage. This is also the service interval recommended by Porsche, Audi, BMW, VW and Mini.

Because brake fluid is hygroscopic (attracts moisture), over time water is drawn into the brake hydraulic system. In addition to lowering the fluid's boiling point, water will also cause corrosion problems, but to-date there are no accurate service tests for water content in brake hydraulic systems. The real indicator of brake fluid quality is not water, but copper. Corrosion inhibitors in brake fluid reduce the breakdown of materials in the hydraulic system. As these inhibitors wear out due to age, water infiltration and high heat in the braking system, copper in the brake hydraulic lines starts corrosion. When enough copper ions are present in the brake fluid they act as oxidizers and begin to attack other parts such as ABS valves, master cylinders and calipers. The amount of dissolved copper in brake fluid (measured in parts per million) is the best indicator of its quality; 200ppm is generally considered the limit of brake fluid life.

It's also important to understand that the color of the fluid is not an indicator of fluid quality. Some brake fluids naturally change color from light to dark amber as they come into contact with brake system rubber components. It's possible to find vehicles with dark brake fluid that is still good and vehicles with light amber fluid that is of poor quality.

Q: Can I get an estimate?

A: In order to provide you the most accurate estimate for service or repair we suggest you contact us to schedule an inspection of your vehicle and review with you any related symptoms and relevant history, or if you prefer, you can request an appointment directly from this site by clicking here.

Q: What forms of payment do you accept?

A: We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover

Q: Can I get a discount?

A: In fairness to all of our customers we do not discount our work. In order to give discounts, we would have to leave something out of the service or repair, and we are not willing to compromise your safety or the reliability of your automobile.

Q: Do I need an appointment?

A: For anticipated services or repairs we suggest you contact us to schedule an appointment, or if you prefer, you can request an appointment directly from this site by clicking here. However, we understand that sometimes cars can be unpredictable. In such cases, don't hesitate to give us a call. At the end of each visit we'll be sure your next maintenance appointment is scheduled in advance. This helps us, and you, ensure your vehicle's service needs are kept up to date.

Q: Can I supply my own parts?

A: While we detest the word "policy", and prefer to address specific situations individually, any services or repairs performed with customer-provided parts forego our warranty. Should the parts you provided be wrong or faulty, you will be charged for the time your vehicle ties up our facility until you can re-source, pick-up and deliver the correct parts. Additionally, we have an administration charge for handling outsourced parts. Essentially, our services and repairs must be successful; this success is not possible without complete accountability.

Q: What is your warranty?

A: With few exceptions our repairs are guaranteed for 12 months or 12,000 miles (whichever comes first). Please contact us directly for warranty specifics.

Q: Can I get a ride?

A: On most occasions we can offer customer or car pick-up and drop-off service within a reasonable distance. We only ask that you try to make this request ahead of time.

Q: Do you have loaner cars?

A: While we do not have cars available to loan out, we are happy to make arrangements for a reasonably priced Enterprise rental car.

Q: Do you offer after hours drop-off and pick-up?

A: Yes. For early-bird drop off, park (and lock) your vehicle in front of our shop, thoroughly complete the drop-off envelope, place your car key and any necessary wheel lock keys and alarm remotes in the envelope, seal the envelope and push it into the mail slot of our front door. For the convenience of after-hours pick-up, we accept credit card payment over the phone and will make arrangements with you regarding vehicle key return.

Q: Do you do aftermarket warranty work?

A: Yes. We will be happy to work directly with your warranty company for diagnosis and repairs covered by your policy.

Q: If I go anywhere but the dealer while my vehicle is still under warranty, will it void my warranty?

Absolutely not. By law, you may have your vehicle serviced at the facility of your choice. As long as the services are performed properly, the manufacturer cannot void your warranty. This is one of the reasons it's important to maintain a history file (note: we save all service history electronically). The only time you are "required" to return to the dealer is for factory warranty repairs and recalls. Even then, you may have those repairs done at any repair facility, but the vehicle manufacturer will not cover the cost.

If you have your vehicle serviced at Stuttgart while under warranty, we will make you aware of any needed warranty work so that you may return to the dealer and have the repair covered at no charge to you.

Q: How much do you charge an hour?

A: It depends. Does your vehicle have an intermittent drivability problem or electrical issue? Is the check engine light on? If so, do the stored faults require extensive diagnosis? Is the car in for routine maintenance that includes replacement of parts and fluids designed to be replaced? As diagnosis often requires the greatest amount of sophisticated equipment, technical expertise and shop resources our diagnostic hourly charge is greater than our service and repair rate. While we utilize up-to-date industry and factory Suggested Repair Time data, it is important to understand that there is no direct relationship between the time spent on the job and its cost. Ultimately, you are paying for the results.

Q: How often should I have my engine oil changed?

A: Many vehicle manufacturers (including Porsche, BMW, Audi, Volkswagen and Mini) have extended their oil change intervals in an attempt to reduce maintenance costs to the vehicle owner, and as a result have run into trouble with repairs as a result. Audi, Volkswagen (and even Toyota) have suffered a rash of warranty claims on some of its engines due to oil sludging because the owners were not changing their oil often enough or using the correct grade of oil. Apparently, their recommended service interval of 7,500 miles wasn't often enough. Unfortunately for many, problems related to neglected maintenance may not surface until after the car's warranty expires. Extended oil change intervals are based on "ideal operating conditions," not the type of short-trip, stop-and-go driving that is typical for most motorists. Consequently, we recommend you follow the "severe" service maintenance schedule rather than the "normal" schedule and have your oil and filter changed every 3,000 miles and 5,000 miles for conventional and synthetic oil respectively.