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How often should I change my oil?

Our grandparents' trusted old oil change interval of every 5000 km/3 months is, well... old; and outdated! Today's engines and engine oils are much better than in years past, and changing your oil this frequently is often a waste of money. We recommend following your vehicle's oil life monitor, if equipped, providing the correct oil which the system was designed around is being used. On vehicles without an oil life monitor, we recommend following the manufacturer's maintenance schedule, and we would be happy to look up these intervals for you.

Should I use synthetic oil?

With many new vehicles, requirements set by the manufacturer can only be met by synthetic oil.
In other vehicles, synthetic oil can offer better engine protection, especially in cold temperatures. However, many oils marketed as "synthetic" in North America could not legally be called this in other parts of the world, and synthetic oils are not always better. Using an oil that meets your vehicle's specific standards remains the most important. Oil specifications today can be complicated, but we will help you choose the right lubricant.

What do you charge for an oil change?

We do not have a set or "packaged" price for any service we do. The truth is, we probably wouldn't be taking care of your vehicle properly if we did. Why? We only use original equipment fluids specified by your vehicle's manufacturer; no so-called "multi-vehicle" or universal fluids. We stock over 25 different types of transmission fluid alone! We also use premium filters that can cost much more than cheap "lube shop grade" filters. The correct engine oils, fluids and filters vary greatly in price from vehicle to vehicle, and therefore the price for these services varies as well. Including a tire rotation and full vehicle inspection, the average oil change costs around $75.

Doing these little things right just makes sense when you think about it: Let's say your transmission fluid is getting older and due for service. If you flush your original transmission fluid and replace it with new, but inferior "bulk" fluid that doesn't meet the standards set by the transmission manufacturer, have you really done anything to improve your vehicle, or have you made it worse?

What is your labour rate?

Customers often ask this in an attempt to determine how expensive a repair shop is (or isn't).
However, most local business' labour rates are pretty much the same, and there are other factors that have a much larger effect on the overall value. What about parts pricing? Will the business reduce the published labour times to account for labour overlap on related jobs? Even diagnostic ability and honesty make a difference. Will you be charged two hours labour to pinpoint a problem that a more qualified technician could find in one hour, or will a misdiagnosis leave you paying for parts you didn't need?

The average labour rate in Airdrie is around $125 per hour. We feel that this rate is too high for many simple repairs; but not high enough to offset the high equipment cost and skill required to accurately diagnose complicated electrical problems - the first time - or carry out technical programming operations. The solution? We utilize multiple labour rates, based on the complexity of the job being performed.

Tools in Motion does not charge a "Shop Supplies" fee, or any other additonal hidden fees on top of the labour rate, effectively saving you another $10-15 per hour versus our competitors.

What is your "No Strings Attached" warranty all about?

We stand behind the quality of our work like nobody else. We cover every repair we do with an unbeatable 3 Year/60,000 km full parts and labour warranty. In typical Tools in Motion fashion, it's very simple, too: Just have us perform a repair, and it's covered. Period; no strings attached. There are no hoops to jump through in order to maintain this warranty, including no mandatory annual inspections. We're not going to void the warranty on your water pump if you decide not to fix your brakes!

In addition, the first two years of this warranty are North America-wide! If you experience a problem within 50 kilometers of our shop, we'll handle it. But if you're out of town, one of over 30,000 other members of the Confidence Plus repair shop network will step in and look after you - even towing is included!

What is flat rate pay?

Flat rate, used by dealership service departments and many other shops, is a pay system that provides incentive for technicians to complete more repairs every day. Most shops, including us, use a published labour guide to estimate the labour charge for repairs. However, when a 3 hour service is approved by the customer in a flat rate shop, the technician is paid a flat amount to perform the service, equal to 3 hours at their regular wage. If the technician can complete the job in 2 hours, they are still paid for 3. Of course, it works the other way, too: they are still paid this amount if they run into problems and the job takes 5 hours.

Flat rate pay is popular amoung business owners because it can allow a poorly managed or disorganized shop which normally wouldn't turn a profit to do so, since technicians are 100% commission paid. If there are no vehicles for a technician to service because of scheduling errors, incorrect parts or other problems, there are also no wage costs to cover.

Do you use flat rate pay?

Tools in Motion does not use or support the flat rate pay system, because we feel it leads to poor quality workmanship, and would prevent us from attracting the kind of high-quality technicians we employ. Unlike the majority of auto service businesses, our technicians are paid a straight hourly wage with no incentive-based pay system in place at all. Our employees work hard because we promote a team atmosphere and all enjoy what we do.

Will you install parts that I supply?

Yes we will, but we charge a higher labour rate of $150 per hour when using your parts. This is mostly to offset lost revenue, and make your repair worth doing for us. Like every other auto repair business, we purchase parts at a wholesale discount, and then resell them for a price closer to what you would pay. This mark-up is part of what pays our bills, or "keep the lights on", so to speak.

There's another reason that automotive professionals shy away from customer supplied parts: When we install a part you supply, and it fails, there is a legal "grey area" when it comes to determining blame: Is it your part that caused the failure, or our installation of the part? We also have the experience to know what parts will work well in a given vehicle. We know where you can save money by using an aftermarket part or a certain brand; and where only an OEM or premium part will yield a long-lasting repair.

Will you honor my extended/aftermarket warranty?

We will be happy to negotiate with your warranty company on your behalf. Dealing with an aftermarket warranty company is very different than a factory warranty, and to avoid customer disappointment, we try to emphasize the following points regarding aftermarket warranties before we start a repair:

  • Many aftermarket warranty companies will not cover all of the costs necessary to properly repair your vehicle (we will inform you of what is covered and what isn't before starting a repair) and you will be responsible for the difference. Most warranty companies will also not cover diagnostic charges of any kind, or other charges such as a tow, or service call if we come to you.
  • Most aftermarket warranty companies will not cover a repair until the part in question has totally failed. As an example: If we are replacing a leaking engine gasket and notice that the fan belt is very cracked and ready to break, they will not authorize this repair until a later date when the belt has actually broken (and your vehicle has broken down again).
  • Because the aftermarket warranty industry is notoriously unstable, with new companies popping up and others going out of business all the time, we will not extend credit to aftermarket warranty companies under any circumstances. The bill must be paid in full before your vehicle leaves our care.

"Tim has been servicing my 2003 Hyundai Elantra for over a year now. Tim will never "steer you wrong".
I love how honest he is; if you do not understand what is wrong with your car, or what has created the issue, he goes through it in detail and makes sure you understand. He also will explain the severity of the the issue - does it need replacing/repairing, or should/can it wait. His rates were very fair, and the mobile service was awesome."
- Michelle A, Calgary

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