By Kristin Boza
The only thing scarier than your car’s “check engine” light is not knowing you have a problem with your vehicle. That’s why Brach’s Auto Center, 10333 S. Western Ave., performs a digital vehicle inspection on every car that comes into the shop. This technology is not readily at other shops.
“Every car that comes in gets a complete inspection, and this begins with one of our techs and a tablet,” said Gary Brach, owner of Brach’s Auto Center. “The tech will take pictures of your car, test drive it and evaluate your car against a checklist of 52 items including belts, hoses, filters and the battery.”
Once the evaluation is complete, the technician downloads the information from the tablet to Brach’s main computer. Then, they contact the customer and provide an email with all of the photos and issues found with the vehicle. “We show all of the items that are good, those that need immediate attention, and those that will need attention in the future,” Brach said. “We automatically do this for every car, and the evaluation is free of charge.”
Since the shop started using the technology, Brach found that customers are very happy — particularly because they have the opportunity to actually see what needs to be fixed before they make a decision about it. “A picture says a thousand words!” Brach said.
The photos are especially valuable when looking at the level of cleanliness of air filters and transmission fluid. “The air filter filters the air that goes into the car that you are breathing in. We will often see leaves and debris on the filter, and usually our customers will agree that it needs to be replaced.” Transmission fluid should be pink or red; when it gets old, it becomes brown or black when it’s really overdue for a change. “We take a sample of the oil and place it on a blotter. The blotter gives comparisons to how the fluid should look, so our customers can see how old or dirty the fluid is and make an informed decision about replacing the fluid,” Brach said.
Additionally, the inspection includes determining why a “check engine” light is on, and whether the car is due for an oil change, and an inspection of the battery and tires.
Since implementing the state-of-the-art inspection, Brach said his customers are really excited about the technology. “The cool part is that you can keep all of the pictures — and we do too — to keep an eye on things. So if you have a minor oil leak this time, we will be sure to check it again to see if it’s getting worse or not,” he said.
Brach also noticed an uptick in sales due to the inspections. Most people will go for the needed repairs in order to keep their car running smoothly. It’s due to those sales that enables Brach to offer the inspection for free. The shop even offers 6-month same-as-cash financing for people who qualify if they do find numerous repairs.
Brach believes the inspection offers peace of mind to his customers, as they know that even if they go in for an oil change, their car will be thoroughly inspected and issues can be taken care of before they happen on the road.