It’s Pothole Season

We’ve all done it; you really can’t avoid it and not risk getting hit by oncoming traffic — hitting the dreaded pothole. Whether it’s the instant damage of a punctured tire or bent rim, or the cumulative effects of daily pothole abuse, hitting a pothole is a bad feeling. Today’s cars don’t help with the pothole problem either. We love the look and feel, but low-profile tires and tight suspensions make vehicles more susceptible to pothole damage and, unless you have an older car, your rims are probably alloy rims and they can’t withstand as much force as older steel rims.

What to do? Well, you can stay home, get your friend to drive you everywhere in her/his car, or try to keep some of the these tips in mind:

  • Make sure your tires are at the correct tire pressure
  • Slow down. Hitting a pothole at high speed increases the chance of damage to tires, wheels, shocks, struts, or springs
  • Don’t brake when directly over a pothole. Applying the brakes causes the car’s weight to shift to the front of the wheel and can increase damage from the impact
  • Beware of water that may be concealing a deep pothole

If you’ve hit a big pothole, take time to inspect your rims and the tires. Look for signs of bulging sidewalls or loss of tire pressure. Also, pay attention for new noises or bad handling your car may have from the cumulative effects of hitting potholes. We recommend an alignment and/or wheel balancing for anyone who feels their car has been the victim of daily pothole encounters.

Call us right away if you think you have any damage from pothole abuse — 781.642.7766. We can fix anything and have some discounts on alignment and wheel balancing to help you out.

Posted in automotive blog, automotive repair, automotive repair Boston, automotive repair Lincoln MA, automotive repair Waltham, automotive repair Weston, BMW repair service, car blog, car care, car maintenance, cars potholes, Little Foreign Car Garage, pothole damage | Leave a comment

LFCG Fall Special—Save 50%

Remember the Winter of 2011? The Farmers’ Almanac says that this winter will be colder and wetter. Be prepared for harsh conditions. Let our factory-trained technicians perform a 32-point safety inspection and oil change on your vehicle to ensure the best performance and gas mileage.

Save 50% on Oil Change and Service as part of the LFCG Fall Special.

For $49.95 you get a 32-point safety inspection and Oil and Filter change (up to 5 qts./ synthetic oil extra). This special is valid thru Nov 18, 2011.

All of our work is backed up by an industry-leading 2-year warranty on all parts and labor.

Join the LFCG Car Club for discounts on oil changes, car rentals, and parts. It’s free! New car club members get one hour of labor free on the first repair. Go to to sign up for the club.

Call 781-642-7766 or email to make an appointment today!

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Choosing the Right Automotive Shop

This post is contributed by Lindsey Brown, Shop Forman and Little Foreign Car Garage employee for 29 years. Read more about Lindsey on the LFGC website.

Are you happy with the shop which services your car? While few people are happy to spend money on repairs and maintenance, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t feel good about dealing with those who do the work. It’s no secret what the two biggest concerns of car owners are when it comes to buying service: cost, and quality of workmanship. I’m not going to waste any of your time or mine insulting your intelligence with something that reads like ad copy here; you need certain tasks performed on your car in order to keep it safe, and operating correctly, and we who are in the business of performing those tasks need to earn a living. You have every right to expect a friendly business relationship, in which you pay fair market value for the work, no more, no less, it’s done correctly by people you respect, and backed by a meaningful warranty program.

Quality of Workmanship: Dealerships and Independent Shops

Conventional wisdom for a long time has been that dealers are likely to do a better job than other facilities, because they know their particular brands of cars better than anyone else, and have access to factory training for their mechanics, and specialized tools and diagnostic equipment that’s specific to each car. Although factory warranty work usually needs to be done at a dealership, so all late-model car owners should at least know where their nearest authorized dealer is located, lately, many dealers have taken to reducing their payroll by eliminating those experienced individuals who are the best problem solvers. Believe me, given a choice, you definitely want an experienced mechanic doing the work on the vehicle to which you entrust your life, and those of your loved ones.

Factory Warranty Maintenance

Many people believe they must have their car serviced at a dealership in order to maintain the factory warranty. This is simply untrue. Any shop can perform the required jobs, and as long as the service book is stamped, and there are maintenance records, the warranty will remain valid. If the manufacturer or dealership that sold you your car offered a free maintenance plan though, of course you should take advantage of it, but it wasn’t really free, you just prepaid when you bought the car.

Most independent shops are a less pricey alternative to dealer service. If they employ accomplished problem-solvers, have an up to date set of scan tools, and an on-line service manual subscription, which gives them instant access to practically everything known about every car built-in the last twenty-five years, there’s very little they shouldn’t be capable of doing. When you’re dealing with a small business, you have the advantage of being a bigger fish in a smaller pool, and small businesses are more sensitive to having anyone out there saying bad things about them, so they’re highly motivated to try to keep you happy. The prospect of an unhappy customer really does keep us awake at night, and we do everything in our power to see to it that we don’t have any, which is one of the reasons why we lead the industry with a two-year warranty on parts and labor.

When Quality Trumps Price

While nobody likes to overpay, there are situations in which shopping price alone may not be in your best interests though. There’s definitely a down side to buying the least expensive running shoes, for instance, and it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to take your dinner date to the lowest bidder. This applies to several automotive situations as well, perhaps most notably with tires. A wise person once said that the disappointment of poor quality will be with you long after the joy of a low price has worn off.

Specialists Miss A Lot

Specialty franchises, chain stores, and department stores with an automotive division often offer advertised prices which are hard to beat, and the convenience of quick service, often without an appointment. While many franchises are independently owned and operated, so blanket statements regarding their service would be wrong, the majority tend not to hire accomplished mechanics. They may do a perfectly acceptable job on the few select systems on which they’ve been trained, but you’re driving a complex machine, consisting of many vital systems. An automotive “general practitioner” is more likely to notice potential problems with drive train, engine management, fluid leaks, and other areas which may not be obvious to someone who’s there to work only on exhaust systems or brakes.

A highly respected shop owner once told me that he would never speak ill of a competitor to a customer, because it looks unprofessional, and suggests ulterior motives. I have always heeded his advice, but having said that, in all honesty, I believe the quality of our work is superior to that of anyone who undersells us, and we’re at least the equal of those who charge more. No brag; just fact. At Little Foreign Car Garage, our motto is “We never run away from any job”. There are a few from which I’ve been tempted to walk away quickly, but where would the fun be in that?

Posted in automotive blog, automotive repair, Belmont MA, BMW repair service, Boston MA, car blog, car care, car maintenance, choosing an automotive repair shop, Concord MA, Lexington MA, Lexus repair service, Lincoln MA, Little Foreign Car Garage, Mercedes Benz repair service, Porsche repair service, SAAB repair service, Toyota repair service, Volkswagen/ VW repair service, Volvo repair service, Waltham MA, Watertown MA, Weston MA, what makes a good reapir shop | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Little Foreign Car Garage Car Club

The Car Club at the Little Foreign Car Garage offers our customers great savings and support at no additional cost. Join for free with a valid e-mail address to receive helpful discounts, like $10 off our Spring Special. This is a fantastic value.

Free Emergency Advice

We also offer free emergency advice to Car Club Members. Try calling us before calling a tow truck, and you may be on your way in no time.

What are the Advantages of Membership?

Here’s a complete list of Car Club benefits and discounts:

  1. Discounts on Oil Changes
  2. Discounts on car rentals, parts, and car washes
  3. A $10.00 discount on our Spring and Fall Specials
  4. Receive a $25.00 credit when you refer a friend who becomes a new customer. Your friend will also receive a $25.00 credit toward a first repair.
  5. Preferred scheduling
  6. Free telephone consultations: the Automotive Hotline! Have car trouble? Drive by or call.

Join Now to Start Saving

To join the LFCG Car Club just go to our Website and fill out a brief form. It’s simple, easy, absolutely free, and you won’t be disappointed.

Posted in car care, car maintenance, Car repair discounts, LFCG Car Club, Little Foreign Car Garage, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

LFCG 32-point Inspection

Our thorough 32-point safety inspection, part of the Little Foreign Car Garage Fall Special, is the best thing you can do for your vehicle and your piece of mind. We’ll advise you on the overall condition of your vehicle and help you take the right steps to make it safe and reliable, and have it deliver the best fuel economy possible.

The Right Mechanic for Your Car

At Little Foreign Car Garage our technicians are trained to work on your type of car. This is very important, since certain makes and models have problems specific to your vehicle that a general mechanic can miss. We’re sure to catch, and properly fix, these issues, like that bent wheel or front suspension that’s out of alignment, causing tires to wear poorly and even scrub, rather than roll, down the road, lowering gas mileage.

Authorized Bosch Service Center

LFCG is an authorized Bosch Service Center, one of only a few in the Boston area, which means that, out of the hundreds of local repair shops, LFCG met their strict requirements and was chosen and certified to be a Bosch Service Center. This is a very exclusive club, ensuring our customers the highest quality parts and service possible at the right price. In a future blog post we’ll talk more about the many benefits of having your vehicle repaired at a Bosch Authorized Service Centers. So stay tuned!

The 32-Points – So What Do We Actually Do?

1. Oil Change We’ll change your oil and filter, using the proper oil and filter specified by your car’s manufacturer (there’s no one oil that’s right for every car.) And remember, an oil change is the single most important piece of preventive maintenance you can do to keep your engine running smoothly for years to come.

2. Check rims and make sure they aren’t bent

3. Check tire condition for wear, nails, and sidewall damage

4. Check front suspension components ball joints, tie rods, and bushings for tightness and wear. If ball joints wear too much, not only will your car be out of alignment, but ball joints or tire rods can break, leaving you stranded.

5. Check steering gear, couplings, and bushings for tightness and wear

6. Check shocks. Chances are your shock absorbers have taken a beating this winter. In the short run your car won’t ride or handle properly. But it’s a bigger safety issue if your car doesn’t handle correctly during a quick emergency maneuver, like swerving to avoid a bicycle on a summer day, worn shocks could make you lose control of the car.

7. Check rear suspension arms and bushings

8. Check exhaust for leaks, rust, proper alignment and hangers; make sure it’s vibration-free

9.  Our experts will check your alignment by test driving your vehicle and inspecting your tires for uneven wear.

10. Check for leaks — engine oil, power steering, coolant, differential, brake fluid, fuel, etc.

11. Check brakes for wear, sticky calipers, rusty rotors, brake pedal feel and stopping power, and stopping straight. Such problems can be dangerous, and lower gas mileage significantly. You might not even notice them, until it’s too late.

12. Check brake lines and hoses

13. Check condition and levels of fluids including: brake, oil, power steering, coolant, differential, transmission, etc.

14. Check and load test battery and check connections. A harsh winter can push a battery to the end of its life cycle, leaving you stranded when you least expect it.

15. Check starter motor condition and amperage draw

16. Check alternator for proper output

17. Check all belts and pulleys. During the winter, your engine’s extreme heating and cooling cycles can damage rubber belts and pulleys. A broken or slipping belt can leave you stranded at an inopportune time.

18. Check all coolant hoses and clamps

19. Check all vacuum lines and clamps

20. Check all emission hoses

21. Check for smooth engine operation

22. Check that the engine is not making unusual noises

23. Check filters

24. Check your engine to see if it’s time for a tune up or factory-scheduled maintenance service

25. Check transmission and clutch operation

26. Check all lights

27. Check all directional and hazard lights

28. Check for “Check engine light” codes. A bad sensor signal can lead to an expensive repair if it isn’t addressed quickly. Never ignore a check engine light.

29. Check condition and operation of wipers and windshield washer system

30. Check that car will pass state inspection, even if it’s months away

31. Road test and check drivability and handling

32. Check condition of the body paint and undercarriage for rust and leaks

For older cars, we dig deep, checking for rust, frame problems, air and water leaks, trouble with rubber brake lines, and metal brake and gas lines that may corrode in older cars.

Call now to schedule an appointment for the Spring Special—the best thing you can do for your car this Spring. Members of our Car Club get $10 off our low $49.95 price. If you have any questions, we’d love to talk.

Posted in 32-point inspection, Audi repair service, automotive repair, Belmont MA, BMW repair service, Boston MA, car care, car maintenance, Concord MA, Lexington MA, Lexus repair service, Lincoln MA, Little Foreign Car Garage, Mercedes Benz repair service, oil change, Porsche repair service, SAAB repair service, Toyota repair service, Volkswagen/ VW repair service, Volvo repair service, Waltham MA, Watertown MA, Weston MA | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

$49.99 Spring Special at Little Foreign Car Garage

Let’s face it, after surviving the harshest winter in years your car needs a little help. Driving over punishing winter roads wreaks havoc with wheels, tires, suspensions, and steering. Freezing and thawing cycles are rough on critical rubber bushings and belts. Your engine is now running on dirty, acidic oil that has absorbed moisture that the filter cannot remove and is literally gumming up small oil and air passages with sludge and carbon.

So how can you set things right? Try our Spring Special to ensure safety, promote fuel economy, and maximize the longevity and reliability of your vehicle. For just $49.99 ($39.99 for Little Foreign Car Garage Car Club Members), our experienced mechanics first conduct a comprehensive 32-point safety inspection to catch and correct problems, both small and large, in order to prevent costly breakdowns and accidents down the road. Then we change your oil and filter — the single most important piece of preventive maintenance you can do to keep your engine running smoothly for years to come.

Finally, we advise you on the overall condition of your car so you understand what we have done and what needs to be done to your car. Now you are ready for a fun and safe summer of driving!

In future blogs we will examine the 32-point special in greater detail, and discuss the ever changing composition of oils and which oil is right for your car.

We welcome all questions or comments.

Posted in 32-point inspection, automotive repair, car care, oil change | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment