Are you looking for a reliable repair shop in Boise to provide you with foreign car service and auto repair? If you are, we think you have come to the right place. At Tune Tech Downtown, almost half of vehicles we service and repair are classified as foreign or import.
What is a foreign car?
For a more clear definition, we’ll go back in time a little and review some of the history of the foreign car, also known as an “import”. In the strictest sense, this refers to a vehicle built in a foreign country and imported for sale and use in the US. As global manufacturing and marketing strategies have evolved since the 1980s, the line dividing foreign from domestic vehicles has become blurred.
Today, many foreign car manufacturers ship their vehicle parts from countries like Japan, Korea, and many European locations to plants they have somewhere in the United States. The result is a foreign vehicle that is assembled in America. The question now becomes whether they are more domestic because they are built in the US, or more foreign because the vehicle parts originate outside the US? While people differ in the way they answer this question, many still consider a vehicle foreign if its manufacturer is headquartered in a country outside the US.
Why People buy a foreign car?
Because America is truly a social “melting pot”, variety and choice are the order of the day for today’s consumer. Virtually gone are the days when the “foreign car service and repair” options were as few and far between as the foreign cars themselves.
It is, and always has been, a competitive spirit that drives the automobile market. As foreign car manufacturers compete for a piece of the US domestic vehicle market, they must address issues of quality, economy, and appearance to be competitive.
While many American consumers want an “American-made” vehicle, smaller models with better fuel economy become more appealing as fuel prices climb. Those that buy for the sake of appearance and sportiness have consistently been given options by foreign manufacturers. During times when domestic vehicle quality waxes and wanes, foreign car manufacturers focus on providing superior products for buyers who demand the most for their dollar.
Just as there are Americans who say they’ll never buy foreign, there are others who say they’ll never buy domestic. Still, each person’s preference and transportation needs can be satisfied by the options available.
Differences between Domestic and Foreign Car Service and Repair
While there are differences in maintenance and repair of vehicles in either category, there are too many to address here. We’ll cover some specifics as they relate to the following categories:
- Timing belts – More imports use timing belts to control camshafts on overhead cam engines. If the belt slips or breaks, valves in the engine’s head can be bent requiring repair that can easily run between $2000 and $4000. Timing belt replacement is one of the most important maintenance service items we perform on foreign cars.
- Suspension systems – For years, many import vehicles have utilized front and rear struts in their suspension systems. Lighter in weight than the shock absorbers commonly found on domestic vehicles, they perform well for the smaller sized foreign cars. Replacement of struts is one of the most common suspension services we perform.
- Front wheel drive – Having introduced this type drive axle earlier than domestic manufacturers, CV joint drive axle service is needed by many import vehicles. The rubber boot covering the CV joint of both front drive axles of a front wheel drive vehicle deteriorates over time. This allows grease essential for lubrication to leak out. The dry axle joint begins to make a clicking noise, especially while accelerating around a corner, alerting the listening ear to the need for repair. While boot or joint repair is an option, we are able to replace the entire CV joint drive axle more economically for our customers.
- Engines – The aluminum heads on many foreign car engines undergo a great deal of expansion as heat is generated during operation. When a cooling system is not maintained to properly circulate the correct amount of coolant, the engine overheats. The result can be head gaskets that leak, cylinder heads that warp, and an engine that must be overhauled. Making certain coolant levels are adequate is routinely done during scheduled maintenance service by our professional repair technicians.
As American manufacturers find themselves competing with import manufacturers in vehicle quality, fuel efficiency and appearance, they have begun to adjust their focus. They now offer smaller front-wheel drive models along with their larger rear wheel drive car, truck and SUV options. They are building their own lighter weight engines with aluminum heads and overhead camshaft engines driven by timing belts and chains. These are just a few more evidences of how the lines that divide foreign and domestic vehicles are becoming less clear with the passage of time.
Tips to Extend the Life of your Foreign Car, SUV, or Pick-up truck
If you like the vehicle you are currently driving, maintaining it can be much less expensive in the long run than repairing or replacing it. While foreign car service and repair can be more expensive when compared to the cost of similar service and repair for domestic vehicles, it is still true that it costs less to maintain than it does to repair.
The first tip to enjoying long and satisfying service from your current car is to find one shop you trust and rely on for most, if not all of your repair and service needs. Whether or not you choose Tune Tech Downtown in Boise as your trusted and reliable one stop repair shop, there is value in having your vehicle serviced and repaired at one automotive repair shop.
The history of service and repair work on a vehicle is valuable in the same way a person’s health history is valuable. It makes available important information about what has been done and when. A car that arrives at whichever quick lube has the best price on an oil change may be given a long list of scheduled maintenance services that need to be done. The recommendations, while based on general year, make, and model info, don’t take into consideration that vehicle’s history of service.
Your ability to feel comfortable making maintenance or repair decisions for your car is based on the relationship you have with a repair shop. Having positive service and repair experiences with helps you trust their recommendations and opinions. The history they have on your vehicle means they know exactly what has been done for your car and when. A reputable shop understands the value of a customer’s trust and will recommend what is needed, not what might be needed.
A second tip is a reminder about the importance of scheduled oil change services on newer vehicles. The precision machining on today’s vehicle engines means having service on time is more critical than it used to be. Smaller oil passages and screens are more easily restricted or plugged by contaminants in dirty oil. This reduced oil flow limits lubrication. Then damage from the heat of friction can cause excessive engine wear and premature engine failure.
A third tip relates to another aspect of fluid services. Many European and Asian manufacturers are requiring very specific types of fluid to meet their standards for a variety of systems on their vehicles. If a shop uses a substandard fluid so they can provide a fluid service for a lower price, the result may be stress, damage, and excess wear to internal components. In the end, you may be faced with a costly foreign car service bill, simply because a lower quality fluid resulted in needless damage.
Here’s another tip. Should you flush or drain and fill your foreign car’s automatic transmission? A repair shop with less experience in foreign car service and maintenance may not know that some foreign manufacturers, like Honda, specifically recommend NOT having machine flushing of their transmissions. Having your auto repaired or serviced at a shop like Boise’s Tune Tech Downtown with expertise providing service to import vehicles means you can be sure we will use the correct fluids and the recommended procedures with every service we provide.
This tip is to remind you about the value of maintenance reminders from your trusted auto repair professional. When you visit your repair shop for routine fluid service, they are able to remind you of upcoming services for your vehicle. These may have been mentioned at a previous service check-up or inspection and forgotten over time. A reminder allows you the opportunity to budget your car repair dollars for the upcoming expense.
Lastly, don’t ignore warning signs or sounds. As a problem develops, you often see dash warning lights or messages – a check engine, low tire inflation, traction control, or service due light comes on. Though you don’t mean to put off, time has a way of passing and before you know it, a minor issue has become a major one and the delay costs many times more than it needed to. At Tune Tech Boise, you don’t have to wait on the phone for help. You can request an appointment online and a service advisor will get back to you to set a date and time.
Boise Foreign Car Service at Tune Tech Downtown
If you wondering what manufacturer makes we provide foreign car service and auto repair for, see the following list:
- Toyota – Lexus and Scion
- Honda – Acura
- Nissan – Infinity
- Land Rover
In our average 6-day workweek, the highest percentage of repair and service we do falls under the heading of Asian. Broken down by individual manufacturer, it looks like this:
- Toyota – 24%
- Subaru – 19%
- Honda – 14%
- Nissan – 9%
As you can see from above, nearly one quarter of all the foreign car service we provide is for Toyota make and model cars and pick-up trucks. While that translates to extensive experience, what carries more weight is the satisfaction our customers have with the work we do on their vehicles.
To find out if it’s possible for you to become one of the many satisfied Boise foreign car service customers we take care of, take a look at our 462 customer reviews. Reading these reviews can give you a feel for not only the type of vehicles our customers drive but what they have to say about their service and/or repair experience at Tune Tech Downtown.