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  1. Repairs

    Some important things to know about your vehicle.

    Q.1 What is a "code"?

    A code is automotive industry jargon for information stored in one of your vehicle’s many onboard diagnostic (OBD) computers. All vehicles today require some sort of “scan tool” (computer and software) to “read”, retrieve, or scan your vehicle’s computer for the stored codes.

    Q.2 What's so important about my check engine light being on?

    When your Check Engine Light (CEL) is illuminated it means your car is polluting. To reduce air pollution, manufacturers have spent millions designing and equipping their vehicles with sophisticated fuel, engine, and transmission management systems to get the best possible fuel economy while achieving the lowest air emissions. Car manufacturers do everything they can to keep costs down while complying with Federal emissions and crash safety regulations Americans have demanded.

    The CEL (or MIL) should never be on when driving. Period. If the CEL is Flashing you should stop driving the car because you are damaging the Catalytic Converter and those get expensive. If the CEL is on steady, then there’s one thing you can do - be certain the gas cap is tight. If that doesn't help, you really should make an appointment for us to retrieve the codes, test the allegedly failed componentsn and prepare an estimate.

    Q.3 What is a timing belt?

    This is a terrific video on the importance of a timing belt. We couldn't have said it better ourselves.

    Q.4 What's a CV joint and what does it do?

    Constant-Velocity (CV) joints allow a drive shaft from the transaxle to transmit power through a variable angle, and at constant rotational speed, to the wheels. They are used primarily in front-wheel and all-wheel drive cars and small trucks. The actual joint is protected by a rubber boot that keeps the joint lubricated and protects it from water, salt, and sand, all of which combine to cause the joint to wear out and break. Cracked or ruptured boots are a cause for State Inspection rejection.

    Q.5 How do you go about diagnosing problems with my vehicle?

    The most critical step in this process is your communication with us about the history of the events surrounding the problem with your vehicle:

    Exactly what is happening?

    How long has your vehicle had this symptom?

    Is it constant or intermittent?

    If it’s intermittent, is there any pattern to its occurrence?

    Can you explain how and when it takes place? For example, "It happens only when I have driven the car for 30 minutes and go into the store to buy groceries and come out 15 minutes later.”

    If there's a noise associated with the problem, can you replicate it with one of our technicians riding with you?

    What have you (or others) attempted in order to correct the problem?

    Depending on the specific issue, the technician will attempt to duplicate the condition – a process that often requires a road test.

    Q.6 When does my vehicle need an alignment?

    If your vehicle pulls to one side when driving on a straight road or the tires are worn unevenly, the wheel alignment should be measured. There are some instances when the tires on the front wheels differ in their respective rolling resistance which will cause a pull to one side that is symptomatic of a vehicle needing an alignment.

    Q.7 How do brakes actually work?

    When you depress your brake pedal, your vehicle’s brake system converts the force from your foot on the brake pedal to the brakes on all 4 wheels through the brake hydraulic system using brake fluid. Here's a quick little article that explains disc brakes.

  2. Services

    Here's some background on what we do, and how we do it.

    Q.1 Do you handle ME and NH state inspections?

    YES we do them both. An appointment is required though, and be aware, different states have different inspection standards.

    NH State Inspection includes both a safety systems inspection AND an emissions inspection. To pass the emissions portion of the NH Inspection, the Check Engine Light (CEL) or Malfunction Indicator Light (MIL) and the vehicles onboard computer must be in what is known as “readiness state.” This means there can be no pending emissions codes. This is attainable only if the vehicle has successfully passed through 3 “EPA defined drive cycles” without fault. If you just replaced your vehicle’s catalytic converter, it will have to be driven long enough to come into readiness even though the catalytic converter failure codes were cleared. Similarly, if your Check Engine Light has been on for a long time and you disconnect the battery cable to clear the stored codes and the CEL is out, the vehicle will likely fail NH Emissions Inspection because the computer is not in readiness.

    In Maine there are two inspections and we do both. An Emissions Inspection is required if the vehicle is registered in Cumberland County. This inspection fee is $18.50 pass or fail, payable in cash only. If your vehicle’s Check Engine Light (CEL) or Malfunction Indicator Light (MIL) is on when the engine is running, it will fail the emissions inspection. Inspection for all other Maine counties carries a fee of $12.50 pass or fail, payable in cash only.

    Q.2 Does your shop have a maintenance philosophy?

    Our 36 years in business and our staff’s combined 216 years experience in this profession have proven at least one truth – if you maintain your vehicle regularly, it will return decades of reliability and comfort. If you neglect it, ignoring maintenance schedules, it will cost you more and break down when you can least afford it. In the end, the choice is yours, and it’s not our place to judge your decision.

    Q.3 What are Scan Tools?

    Scan Tools are specialized computers that connect to the computers in your motor vehicle. Each manufacturer creates their own software causing the need for multiple scan tools for a facility that services many makes of cars, like Autoworks. Perhaps someday, the car makers will agree on the same software, but until then it borders on the Tower of Babel. We continue to commit to making sense of it all. But it takes more than a tool to extract the information. It takes an educated person to test the systems that are controlled by the computer and can be controlled by a well designed scan tool. It may cost a little more, but in the end, it's definitely worth it.

  3. Operations & Marketing

    How we conduct ourselves to benefit our customers, our neighbors and the environment.

    Q.1 How do I arrange for a service appointment?

    Visit the Contact Us section and fill in the form. You can also call us from Maine Mon.-Fri. at 207-439-4500 or from N.H. toll free 888-430-4500.

    Use our key drop locations at:

    - One New Hampshire Ave., Suite 125 at Pease Tradeport

    - 155 Fleet Street in Downtown Portsmouth

    - After hours at our Kittery facility

    - At the Tradeport and downtown, see the receptionist who will provide you with a key drop envelope.

    We will pick up your vehicle and return it for your convenience.

    Q.2 Does Autoworks have a recycling program?

    Besides recycling paper, glass, aluminum, tires, scrap metal, we have been heating our facility with recycled engine oil since 1991.We even recycle vehicles transforming them into our FREE loaner vehicles.

    Q.3 Do you offer any customer reward programs?

    Yes, customers can take advantage of several programs.

    1. At check out, each customer receives an Automobile Association of America (AAA) comment card to rate their experience at Autoworks. AAA sends the completed response cards to us each month. Every person who took the time to fill one out receives a $5.00 CAR BUCKS thank you to use toward their next service.  A monthly winner is also drawn from the cards to receive a $20 Reward Card.

    2. Reward Cards are gift certificates you can use at Autoworks or other  local Kittery independent businesses, such as Beach Pea Bakery, Jackson Hardware, Tasty Thai, Tulsi Restaurant and Terra Cotta Pasta. Reward cards can also be earned when you refer a new customer to us.

    3. Become an Autoworks Premier Customer simply by allowing us to install an Autoworks license plate frame on your vehicle. Doing so makes you eligible for special discounts and benefits:

    Invoice greater than $1,000 = $20 off

    Invoice $500 - $1,000 = $10 off

    Invoice $250 - $500 = $5 off

    FREE Maine State Inspection during February.

    Complimentary Wash & Vacuum with all services.

    Registration Renewal Reminder