If I have my car serviced at your shop instead of the dealership will it void my warranty?

“But the dealer says I have to do my oil changes and repairs with them or it will void my warranty!” This is simply not true! The Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act says that you have to maintain your vehicle according to the instructions in your maintenance book. You may never have to go to the dealer ever again! Except for warranty repairs and recalls we can do it all for you right here. All aspects of your new car warranty will remain in effect when we service your car.

What is the difference between repair work, scheduled maintenance, and preventative maintenance?

Repair Work
When your car breaks down or something quits working correctly, it needs to be fixed. Car problems are usually a surprise; they seem to happen when you are trying to get to work, taking the kids to school, or running errands, and they aren’t a pleasant surprise. They cost you money and they disrupt your schedule. Preventative maintenance and scheduled maintenance can often prevent the need for repair work.

Scheduled Maintenance
Your car’s warranty usually specifies when certain maintenance must be performed. This scheduled maintenance may be an oil change, a tune up, or a checkup. The maintenance is usually scheduled by a time limit or a mileage limit, whichever comes first.

Preventative Maintenance
Everything wears out eventually, including many of your car parts that aren’t scheduled for regular maintenance by the car’s warranty. We work on cars every day and we know from experience what parts should be checked and replaced. Replacing a worn part before it actually fails may prevent catastrophic failure and damage to other parts and the need for extensive repair work and its associated cost and inconvenience.

Whether you need repair work, scheduled maintenance, or just want us to do some preventative maintenance, we can do it all.

My check engine light just came on. What does this mean?

There are many conditions that might turn on your check engine light. Some of them are serious, and some are not. Sometimes just reaching a certain odometer reading will turn it on, forcing you to take your car in for auto service. Your car’s computer should store a code that will tell us what condition caused the check engine light to turn on. When you bring in your car with the check engine light on, we will test and analyze the problem and discuss it with you before we incur any more cost.

When should I buy a new car, and when should I just fix my current car?

If you love your old car, or you want to save your money, consider fixing your current car instead.

  • It’s paid for, and repairs will probably cost less than a new car.
  • You should figure in car payments, ownership taxes and insurance payments on a new car vs. general maintenance, taxes and insurance payments on your current vehicle!
  • Do you want to go through all the hassle of selling your car?
  • You have taken good care of your car and you don’t know the history of a used car from a dealership, and even some new cars are lemons.
  • Do you want to go through all the hassle of registering a new car, and changing your insurance?
  • Do you want to spend your time at a car dealership trying to get a fair deal?

If you are seriously thinking about buying a new or used vehicle, bring it in for a pre-purchase inspection so you will know what you are buying.

What can I do to improve my gas mileage?

With the high price of gas, many of our customers want to know how to increase their gas mileage. You can do many things to improve your gas mileage, and we can help too.

  1. Try to keep a constant speed. Your car wastes a lot of energy when you slow down and then speed up again.
  2. Pick the most efficient route. Consider both the length of the route and the amount of traffic you will encounter.
  3. Drive at 55 mph or lower. Air resistance increases dramatically when driving at high speed which requires your engine to use more gas per mile.
  4. Run accessories less. Running your air conditioner, headlights or heater fan makes your engine work harder and use more gas. Some cars actually use less gas if you close the windows and run the air conditioner because the air resistance decreases significantly when you close the windows.
  5. Keep your tires properly inflated. Low tire pressure increases your car’s rolling resistance which makes your engine work harder and use more gas.
  6. Tune up your engine. An out-of-tune engine is less efficient and must burn more gas per mile.
  7. Increasing the flow in your exhaust and air intake can improve gas mileage.
  8. Fuel Injection Services can also help with gas mileage and performance.
  9. Replace your oil at scheduled intervals. Dirty oil makes your engine work harder and use more gas.
  10. Replace your air filter. A dirty air filter will also make your engine less efficient.

Conservative driving and a properly maintained vehicle will give the best possible gas mileage and save you a few bucks. A sudden decrease in gas mileage is a sign that something is wrong with your car. Bring your car in for auto service if you do notice a decrease in gas mileage and we will find out what is happening and fix it.

How often should I change my oil?

Auto manufacturers have increased the recommended time between oil changes in modern cars, but we still recommend changing your oil every 3 months or 3000 miles for maximum engine protection because dirty or worn out oil can cause your engine to wear out sooner than it should.

What is synthetic oil and should I be using it?

All oil is made from processed crude oil and additives. The synthetic oils are designed to be “thinner” and give enhanced lubrication performance.

Advantages of synthetic oils

  • Synthetic oils last two to five times longer than conventional oils, reducing your maintenance cost and the pollution caused by waste oil.
  • Synthetic oils aren’t affected by temperature changes as much as conventional oil. Conventional oils get thicker at cold temperatures and don’t protect your engine as well until your engine warms up when in cold weather. A synthetic oil will protect your engine when your engine is cold even in cold weather.
  • Synthetic oil lubricates your engine better which can improve your gas mileage and decrease engine wear.

Disadvantages of synthetic oils

  • Synthetic oils cost more. In the long run they may not cost much more because synthetic oils don’t have to be changed as often.
  • Synthetic oils are “thinner” so they will leak more than conventional oils.


Use a synthetic oil if you want the very best performance and protection for your engine and the added cost isn’t a factor. The main reason you change your oil is not because it wears out, but because it gets dirty, and this dirt can harm your engine. This dirt comes from air used to burn the fuel, engine wear and the burning of the fuel. Both synthetic and conventional oils will get dirty and they should be changed regularly. Most drivers will be happy with a conventional oil. Just be sure to change it regularly.

I just replaced my wiper blades last month and they are already squeaking and skipping. Do I need to replace them or can I rejuvenate them?

The summer heat can turn your wiper blades hard and brittle so they don’t make good contact with your windshield and don’t clear off the water without skipping and streaking. Wiper blades do wear out, so if they are really hard and brittle or missing pieces just replace them. If the wipers are just a little too stiff to make good contact with your windshield, try wiping them with rubbing alcohol. This can remove some of the oxidized rubber and improve their contact with the windshield which will allow them to clear the water better.

How do I know if I need a new muffler?

You need a new muffler or exhaust pipe if:

  1. You hear a loud rumbling noise coming from under your car.
  2. Your muffler was damaged or it has holes and rust.
  3. If your muffler fell off we may be able to reuse it.
  4. If your muffler is loose or makes noises banging against other parts we may be able to make an adjustment.

Carbon monoxide is odorless and undetectable until it’s too late. That’s why we offer free exhaust inspections. Rattling or plugged converters can cause performance and emissions failures too.

How much will it cost to find out what is wrong with my car?

We will inspect your brakes, exhaust system and front end free of charge. We also test and analyze most other auto systems at a very competitive cost. We will show you which parts need to be replaced now and which parts could be replaced later.

Should I replace my timing belt?

The timing belt is a large rubber belt that synchronizes your engine’s valves and pistons. You can’t see the timing belt without taking apart your engine, so you have to depend on your owner’s manual to know when it might be starting to wear out and should be replaced. You should replace the belt before it breaks and causes major engine damage.

Are your technicians certified?

Our staff mechanics are highly trained ASE-certified technicians with a combined total of over 135 years of experience.

Do I need an appointment?

We can minimize your wait if you schedule an appointment, but of course you don’t need an appointment in an emergency, and we do accept walk-ins at any time.

Do you have a waiting area I can use while I wait for my car?

Yes, we have a new, clean and comfortable waiting room. Watch the TV, use our bathroom, browse the Internet using our free WiFi or go for a walk in the park across the street while you are waiting.

Do you have loaner or rental cars for me to use?

We provide a free loaner car if you need one while your vehicle is in our shop. We just ask that you return your loaner car with the same amount of gas that it had when you borrowed it. We also offer our courtesy shuttle for delivery and pick-up.

Can I drop off my car for service when you are closed?

When we are open, you can just park your car in our lot or on the street adjacent to the shop and give your keys to service manager with instructions for the work you want done. Outside our business hours you can park your car in our lot or on the street and drop your keys into our secure key drop slot in the front door. Be sure to call us so we know what work you want done.

How do I pick up my car after you close?

We can arrange for you to pick up your car after we close if you can’t make it in during our regular business hours.

Do you provide towing service?

Crossroads Towing will tow your car to our shop, and they are available 24 hours a day. Just call them at (970) 419-8697 and tell them you need a tow to Fort Collins Muffler and Automotive.

Which payment methods do you accept?

We accept cash; personal checks; travelers’ checks; debit cards; Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express credit cards; and Voyager Fleet Services.

What is your smoking policy?

Fort Collins Muffler & Automotive is a non-smoking facility. There is no smoking or use of tobacco in the shop, around client’s vehicles or in the office areas.

What is your customer privacy policy?

No customer information is ever released to anyone without the customer’s consent. Your privacy is our main concern.

What is your environmental policy?

We agree with many of our customers that it is important to protect the environment, so we recycle everything we can, including used oil, antifreeze, metal and batteries. Recycling is just one part of being a responsible member of the community.

Why Choose Us?

  • Family owned and operated since 1977
  • AAA Approved Auto Repair and ASE facility
  • Free loaner cars or shuttle service
  • Free consultation and estimate
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Hassle-free guarantee

Schedule Your Service Appointment Today!

Contact one of our automotive professionals today.