Five Commonly Reported Mini Car Problems in Austin

Mini car problems AustinA Mini car is such a joy to own and drive. The car is renowned for its go-kart-like feel and handling. Nevertheless, owners have reported some common Mini car problems as their vehicle racks up the miles. We’ll go over the five most common issues.

1. Common Mini Car Problem: Noisy Timing Chain

Owners have reported a rattling noise in the timing chain. The noise is especially apparent when the engine is idling. This issue often occurs when owners fail to regularly change the transmission fluid.

2. Transmission Problems

Mini has stated that its car transmissions are “sealed for life,” meaning they don’t require fluid changes ever. To prolong transmission life, we still believe transmission fluid replacement is necessary. This is especially true of Mini model years from 2008 and before. Fluid change intervals of about every 30,000 to 40,000 miles will prolong the life of your transmission.

3. Broken Radiator Support

The radiator support is a plastic piece that protects the radiator, condenser, and fan. The radiator sits low and is susceptible to damage from even a minor impact. A broken radiator support also puts these components, the condenser and fan, at risk. All Mini repairs should include checking the support for cracks.

4. Failed Electric Power Steering

Many Mini owners report the power steering failing after several thousand miles. When the power steering pump fails, you should also check the cooling fan and related components.

5. Failed Variable Valve Timing (VVT)

The VVT fails prematurely due to lack of interval oil changes. Sludge buildup ends up blocking the VVT’s small passageways. The detergent from fresh oil should be able to clear the passages.

We Diagnose Mini Car Problems

As a European brand, Mini vehicles may not receive adequate care from a regular auto station. Repairs require German auto servicing. Schedule an appointment with Northwest Imports to address common Mini car problemsContact us today!

Mini Car Problems Are One of Our Specialties in Austin

Serving Customers in Austin, Pflugerville, Round Rock, Cedar Park, Wells Branch, Liberty Hill, Jollyville and Anderson Mill

Posted on May 21, 2020 | Published by Ignite Local | Related Local Business

Budgeting for German Auto Repair and Service in Pflugerville


German Auto RepairAre you having trouble with your German-made vehicle in Pflugerville, Texas? Maybe it’s time for routine service. Whatever your needs, it’s important to set a budget for your German auto repair or maintenance. Estimating costs can be difficult, but every driver can do it. As you work to establish your budget, keep the following tips in mind while finding a reasonably-priced German auto shop.

Research the Cost

The best way to set a realistic budget for German auto repair and service is to research the average cost for similar services in your area. Knowing how much most drivers pay will provide a good starting point. It’ll ensure you don’t pay more than necessary.

Schedule Consultations

Don’t assume the first foreign auto repair shop you find is the best. Plan to discuss your needs with at least two or three different technicians. Requesting multiple estimates allows you to better compare options. 

Consider Options Holistically

The cost of auto repair and maintenance warrants your attention, but it’s not the only factor you should consider when picking a shop. There are several other important aspects to keep in mind, including technician experience, shop reviews and warranty offers. Consider your options holistically before making a final decision.

Looking for a Reliable German Auto Repair Shop in Pflugerville?

For a reliable German auto repair and service shop in Pflugerville, the pros at Northwest Imports can help! Our highly-trained technicians have the knowledge, skills and equipment to address issues quickly and efficiently. Certified and insured,  we work with a variety of vehicle types, including BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Volkswagen, Porsche and Mini. Contact us today with questions or to schedule an appointment.

Reliable German Auto Repair Shop in Pflugerville

Serving Austin, Pflugerville, Round Rock, Cedar Park, Wells Branch, Liberty Hill, Jollyville & Anderson Mill

Posted on May 7, 2020 | Published by Ignite Local | Related Local Business

How to Find a Reliable German Auto Repair Shop in Austin

reliable German auto repair, German auto repair

Are you looking for reliable German auto repair shop in Austin, Texas? Whether you need routine maintenance or extensive repairs, it’s important to find a company you can rely on. Knowing where to turn for expert service can be challenging. Follow these tips to find the best German auto repair services in your area.

1. Ask for Recommendations

The best place to begin your search for a reliable German auto repair shop is with people you know. Spend some time discussing your needs with family, friends, coworkers or neighbors who also own German-made vehicles. You probably know someone who can point you in the right direction.

2. Research the Options

While recommendations provide a great place to start your search, the work isn’t over yet. Next, you’ll need to research each option carefully. Visit company websites or schedule a meeting with a technician. It’s also important to verify that the services you need are actually available before deciding which German auto repair shop to choose.

3. Ask for References

It’s also a good idea to ask for a list of references. Speaking with prior clients about their experiences can be extremely helpful. Their past experiences can influence your hiring decision. Avoid repair shops that cannot provide a reference list.

Looking for a Reliable German Auto Repair Shop in Austin?

Are you looking for a reliable German auto repair shop in Austin, Texas? The pros at Northwest Imports are here to help! Our highly-trained technicians offer a wide variety of superior maintenance and repair services. As industry leaders with years of experience, we have the knowledge, skills and equipment to service vehicles of every kind: BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Volkswagen, Porsche and Mini. We’ve served the region for many years, providing expert advice, quality workmanship and unbeatable customer care for every household. Contact us today with questions or to schedule an appointment.

Reliable German Auto Repair Shop in Austin

Serving Austin, Pflugerville, Round Rock, Cedar Park, Wells Branch, Liberty Hill, Jollyville & Anderson Mill

4/17/2020 | Published by Ignite Local | Related Local Business

Car Temperature Gauge in the Red Zone: What’s Happening?

car temperature gauge

A car’s temperature gauge measures how cold or hot the engine is. Did the needle in the gauge all of a sudden move to the red? We probably don’t have to tell you your car is overheating. Why is the car’s temperature gauge in the red zone and what should you do?

Why the Car Temperature Gauge Is in the Red Zone

A healthy car should have a running temperature between 195 and 220 degrees. The needle will also sway back and forth in the middle of the gauge. On hotter days, the needle may yield a higher reading than usual. This is normal and no cause for alarm.

However, if the needle sways into the red zone, then the engine is overheating. The temperature warning light may also light up. Overheating is usually a symptom of an issue with the cooling system. The radiator may be faulty or coolant levels may be low. With some BMW models, the 3 and 5 series in particular, this may also indicate an electronic water pump failure.

Some car owners have also experienced the opposite problem where the needle is pointing unusually close to the cold side. This may indicate a problem with the thermostat.

What Should You Do?

If the needle is in the red zone, do not continue to drive. Pull over and turn off the engine. Even driving for a short distance can cause damage to the engine cylinder block. Pull over when safe to do so and call a tow truck to haul your vehicle to a German auto service.

Bring Your Car to Our German Auto Repair Shop

Schedule an appointment with Northwest Imports or bring your car to our shop pronto if the engine is heating up. When the car’s temperature gauge is in the red zone, you’re experiencing a dangerously high heat buildup.

German Vehicle Checkup

Serving Customers in Austin, Pflugerville, Round Rock, Cedar Park, Wells Branch, Liberty Hill, Jollyville and Anderson Mill

Does Car Wheel Size Matter?

car wheel size

Expanding the wheel size is a common car modification. The mod is sought after not just by car enthusiasts but by everyday commuters as well. Why the upgrade? Does bigger wheel size translate to better performance?

What the Study Shows 

The UK auto site Tyre Review put the theory to the test. The tester examined a Volkswagen Golf GTI on a Goodyear test track in France. The vehicle underwent trials using 17-, 18-, and 19-inch wheels.

The results? All three wheel and tire sizes performed nearly the same in both dry and wet road conditions. The tester, however, did note that the bigger, 19-inch, wheels seemed to handle better under dry conditions. Under wet roads, though, he pointed to the 17-inch wheels as offering more reliable handling. Of course, these are subjective opinions, albeit one from a professional tester.

Should You Upgrade Wheel Size?

The decision is entirely yours. Expanding wheel size may actually be beneficial for off-road vehicles. However, to accommodate the larger wheel size, you will also have to incorporate a lift kit to raise the ground clearance. While a more elevated ground clearance and larger wheel size improve off-road handling, the investment is also pricey. Bigger wheels may also slightly decrease gas mileage. 

For non-off-road car owners, expanding tire size is not a good idea because it may affect the speedometer’s accuracy. Instead, we suggest plus sizing, where you increase wheel diameter but keep tire diameter the same by reducing sidewall size. While this may slightly decrease acceleration, it may noticeably improve handling. Consider whether the trade-off is worth it.

We Service Modified Vehicles

Cars that enter our shop may include modified Mercedes, Porsche, and other European models. Modifications or not, bring your car to Northwest Imports. Expanding wheel size is a common upgrade that will remain popular for the foreseeable future.

European Car Repair Services in Austin

Serving Customers in Austin, Pflugerville, Round Rock, Cedar Park, Wells Branch, Liberty Hill, Jollyville and Anderson Mill

Why Is My VW Making Rattling Noise?

vw rattling, vw noise

Some owners have reported a rattling sound in their Volkswagen vehicle. Of course, such a sound is always worrisome and can occur in any car. However, we have noticed this trend is particularly common in VWs. Here’s why some VWs make a rattling noise and how to correct the issue.

The Problem

The issue occurs mainly in VW vehicles from model years 2008 to 2013 that are equipped with a 2.0 engine. Owners report a rattle just as they turn the ignition.

In most cases, the issue lies in the timing chain that has too much slack. This causes the chain to jump when you turn the ignition. The engine may even fail to start altogether.

The Primary Cause

The primary cause is often a faulty or broken timing chain tensioner. No one seems to know exactly why these critical components go bad. Surprisingly, VW has not issued a recall for this problem, nor is this issue covered in warranties. The problem can arise regardless of mileage on the vehicle.

Other Causes of Rattling Noise

Of course, rattling may not necessarily be due to a faulty timing chain. Another possible cause is a cracked flywheel or flexplate. When either is cracked, it begins to bend during acceleration.

Also, if you hear rattling while the car is at idle, then you may have a catalytic converter problem. Some people describe the noise as a clattering of metal rather than rattling. 

Regardless of cause, schedule an appointment right away. The problem is serious.

We Diagnose VW Rattling Noises

A rattling sound is not normal in any car, and especially not in German vehicles. Bring your car to Northwest Imports if the sound persists. A rattling noise in a VW indicates serious engine troubles and warrants immediate inspection.

Complete German Vehicle Diagnosis

Serving Customers in Austin, Pflugerville, Round Rock, Cedar Park, Wells Branch, Liberty Hill, Jollyville and Anderson Mill

Is It Time to Replace the Ignition Module?

ignition module

You, the driver, just need to turn the key in the ignition, or press the button, to start the car. However, a really complex process takes place under the hood to get the car running. The ignition module is part of the process. If this part wears out, then the engine will fail to turn on.

What Is an Ignition Module?

The ignition module switches the ignition coil on and off. When you engage the ignition, the ignition module signals the coil, which in turn starts the vehicle. You can locate the ignition module inside the wheel-well or firewall. The component resembles an electrical box with a wire harness.

Ignition module failure is not that common, but it does happen occasionally in German automobiles. It’s a bit more prevalent in BMW vehicles and especially the BMW 7-series, at least based on our observation.

Signs of Ignition Module Failure

One of the surest signs of failure is if the vehicle suddenly stalls and fails to restart. This indicates power loss, most likely from worn or corroded electrical wires.

Another indicator is vehicle overheating. If this is due to the ignition module, then the engine will stall. The reading on the temperature gauge will also be abnormally high.

Aside from an overheated engine, the engine might also stutter. You might also notice lower fuel efficiency and strong gas fume odors from the exhaust. 

If you have enough mechanical knowledge, then you can test for ignition module failure yourself using a light timing tester. This inexpensive instrument gauges the output coming from the module.

We Run Tests on the Ignition Module

Schedule an appointment with Northwest Imports if your car suddenly begins to stall or if overheating occurs. We can confirm whether an ignition module replacement is in order or if we’re dealing with another problem altogether.

Ignition Module Diagnosis

Serving Customers in Austin, Pflugerville, Round Rock, Cedar Park, Wells Branch, Liberty Hill, Jollyville and Anderson Mill

Three Signs You Need to Replace Your Oil Pump

replace oil pump

You are probably familiar with the 3,000-mile oil change rule—you should actually go by the recommendation on your car’s user manual. Neglecting timely changes can damage the oil pump. In this article you’ll learn how to recognize the signs that you need to replace your vehicle’s oil pump.

1. Clanking Noise

A noise coming from the engine can be a sign of a number of problems. If you hear clanking, accompanied by the check engine light, schedule an appointment with us right away. A clanking sound is usually a sign the hydraulic lifters are experiencing metal friction. This is due to insufficient lubrication, which occurs when a faulty oil pump does not distribute oil adequately.

2. Drop in Oil Pressure

The temperature gauge on the dash might display a higher-than-average reading. The happens when oil is not freely flowing to the various engine parts. A mechanic will need to determine if this is the diagnosis. Low oil pressure can also be due to other issues, such as when a recent oil change uses incompatible oil. Low oil pressure will also result in the engine’s frequently stalling out.

3. Whirring and Whining Noise

Aside from the aforementioned clanking sound, you might also hear a whirring or whining noise. This is actually uncommon because oil pumps typically do not emit noises audible to the human ear. However, once the part goes bad, the sounds might occur, especially while the car is idling. This is a symptom of the deterioration of the pump’s internal gears.

We Repair and Replace Oil Pumps

Our German auto repair service checks the oil pump for most European models, including Mercedes, Audi, and more. Bring your vehicle to Northwest Imports if you notice any out of the ordinary signs. Your car may be in dire need of an oil pump replacement.

Oil Pump Diagnosis and Repairs

Serving Customers in Austin, Pflugerville, Round Rock, Cedar Park, Wells Branch, Liberty Hill, Jollyville and Anderson Mill

Signs of Coil Pack Failure

coil pack

The coil pack is an essential component in Volkswagen and Audi vehicles. It’s also a part that car owners almost always overlook since most are unaware that such a component even exists. Learn to recognize the signs of coil pack failure.

What Is a Coil Pack?

A coil pack is also referred to as an engine coil. This is a bundle of spark coils that create the needed electric spark for igniting the fuel and firing the engine. Coil packs are especially common in modern German vehicles with a turbocharged direct injection engine. Coil packs eliminate the need for a distributor. The latter is prone to failure especially when exposed to water. Coil packs also have more longevity, up to 150,000 miles in some models.

Common Coil Pack Failure Symptoms

  • The engine idles roughly or stalls
  • The exhaust pipe emits smoke on an intermittent rather than steady basis
  • The gas warning light comes on despite having plenty of gasoline
  • The RPM drops significantly during acceleration
  • The engine roar sounds louder than usual
  • The check engine light blinks or randomly light on and off

Of course, many of these signs can also be symptoms of other issues. Engine stalling, for instance, is also a common sign of a worn fuel injector or pump. It might also be an indicator of a bad camshaft or be as simple as a dirty air filter. This is why you need to schedule an appointment with an auto service to pinpoint the issue. Even if not a coil pack issue, the symptoms indicate that some kind of problem exists.

We Repair Coil Packs

Bring your car to Northwest Imports if you notice any of the above symptoms. Coil pack problems are very difficult to diagnose for DIYers because the signs overlap with more commonplace problems. We can assess for coil pack failure and take immediate action.

Coil Pack Diagnosis

Serving Customers in Austin, Pflugerville, Round Rock, Cedar Park, Wells Branch, Liberty Hill, Jollyville and Anderson Mill

Four Common Reported Problems with the Porsche Boxster

Porsche Boxster problems

The Porsche Boxster is a vehicle that definitely turns heads. Unfortunately, like any other car model, it’s not without its issues. We examine some of the common Porsche Boxster problems many owners have reported over the years. These are the same problems we notice ourselves when working on this particular model. 

1. Oil Seal Failure

Many of the Porsche Boxsters we inspected had premature leaks around the main oil seal. The oil seal itself is not expensive to replace. However, accessing the part is problematic, requiring removal of the exhaust, bumper, transmission, and flywheel. Replacement is not exactly a DIY process.

2. Intermediate Shaft Bearing Failure

Some pre-2005 Boxster models have a single-row bearing for the intermediate shaft. We suggest a checkup of the area during a clutch inspection. Early diagnosis is vital. If the intermediate shaft goes out, then you might need a costly engine rebuild. Some models have a dual-row shaft bearing, which is far sturdier and less prone to premature failure. 

3. Broken Suspension Springs

The 2nd-generation model from 2005–2011 commonly had a broken spring on one side. This is easily noticeable as one corner of the vehicle will sag. You might also notice an out-of-place noise while driving. Immediately schedule an appointment if you notice these oddities. Driving with a broken spring can harm the wheel bearing.

4. Cracked Cylinders

A cracked cylinder is a fairly common Porsche Boxster problem, as is a failed water pump. While commonplace, if you buy a pre-owned Porsche Boxster, then chances are that the previous owner already addressed these issues. As long as you maintain these parts, then they’re capable of handling high mileage. 

We Fix Porsche Boxster Problems

We address common problems for all Porsche models. In fact, Northwest Imports services most German and European brands. The Porsche Boxster problems require immediate attention in order to ensure continued reliable function.

Maintenance for all Porsche Models

Serving Customers in Austin, Pflugerville, Round Rock, Cedar Park, Wells Branch, Liberty Hill, Jollyville and Anderson Mill

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