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865-272-3379 | 106 Melton Lake Dr

GENERAL MAINTENANCE

GENERAL MAINTENANCE, Oak Ridge, TN

It's Time for the 21st Century Tune-up

Times are changing...cars are changing. One of the biggest changes in today's automotive industry is the perception of a "tune-up." Ask 10 vehicle owners their definition of a tune-up and chances are there'll be 10 different answers. The classic "tune-up" was once the heart of the automotive business and contrary to some beliefs; today's modern vehicles still need tune-ups to keep them performing at the most efficient levels.

The tune-up was historically associated with the routine replacement of key ignition system parts like spark plugs and ignition points, along with some basic adjustments to help "tune" the engine. Mounting pressure for increased fuel economy and lower emissions drove the car manufacturers to adopt electronics and to do away with ignition points in the '70s, along with the carburetor in the middle '80s. This eliminated the need for the replacement and adjustment of a growing number of ignition and fuel system parts.

As the pace of technology quickened, the procedures required to perform a traditional tune-up changed dramatically. Highly sophisticated ignition and fuel systems are now the norm, using one or more onboard computers to control critical engine and transmission management functions. Things that were once handled mechanically are now controlled electronically through the widespread use of onboard computer technology.

Because vehicles have changed so much over the years, the Car Care Council has introduced the 21st Century Tune-up. This program is designed to help re-define and educate motorists as to what a tune-up should consist of on today's modern vehicles.

"There is a misconception that today's modern vehicles don't need tune-ups because they never break down, but that simply is not true," said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. "If you're at work and your computer goes down, you can't get any more work done. It's the same with your vehicle. If the vehicle isn't being properly maintained, you're not going to get where you want to go."

As part of the 21st Century Tune-up on today's modern vehicles, the following systems should be inspected:

  • Battery, charging and starting
  • Engine mechanical
  • Powertrain control (including onboard diagnostic checks)
  • Fuel
  • Ignition
  • Emissions

Vehicle owners ask for tune-ups for a variety of reasons, including improving performance, maintaining reliability, planning a vacation, preparing for winter/summer or because they're giving the car to a friend or family member.

To help ensure good performance, fuel economy and emissions, the Car Care Council also recommends that motorists take the time necessary to become familiar with their vehicle from every aspect. Study the owner's manual to become thoroughly acquainted with the operation of all systems. Pay special attention to the indicator lights and instruments.

Getting Your Vehicle Ready for Winter

Mechanical failure—an inconvenience anytime it occurs--can be deadly in the winter. Preventive maintenance is a must. Besides, a well-maintained vehicle is more enjoyable to drive, lasts longer, and could command a higher resale price.

Some of the following tips can be performed by any do-it-yourselfer; others require the skilled hands of a professional auto technician.

  • Engine Performance - Get engine drivability problems (hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.) corrected at a good repair shop. Cold weather makes existing problems worse. Replace dirty filters-air, fuel, etc.
  • Fuel - Put a bottle of fuel de-icer in your tank once a month to help keep moisture from freezing in the fuel line. Note that a full gas tank helps keep moisture from forming.
  • Oil - Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual—more often (every 3,000 miles) if your driving is mostly stop-and-go or consists of frequent short trips.
  • Cooling Systems - The cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled about every 24 months. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. (A 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is usually recommended.) DIYers, never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled! The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses should be checked by a pro.
  • Windshield Wipers - Replace old blades. If your climate is harsh, purchase rubber-clad (winter) blades to fight ice build-up. Stock up on windshield washer solvent-you'll be surprised how much you use. Carry an ice-scraper.
  • Heater/Defroster - The heater and defroster must be in good working condition for passenger comfort and driver visibility. Newer models have a cabin air filter that should be replaced periodically. Check your owner's manual for the location and replacement interval.
  • Battery - The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment. Routine care: Scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections; clean all surfaces; re-tighten all connections. If battery caps are removable, check fluid level monthly. Avoid contact with corrosive deposits and battery acid. Wear eye protection and rubber gloves.
  • Lights - Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs; periodically clean road grime from all lenses. To prevent scratching, never use a dry rag.
  • Exhaust System - Your vehicle should be placed on a lift and the exhaust system examined for leaks. The trunk and floor boards should be inspected for small holes. Exhaust fumes can be deadly.
  • Tires - Worn tires will be of little use in winter weather. Examine tires for remaining tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. Check tire pressures once a month. Check the tires when they are cold, before driving for any distance. Rotate as recommended. Don't forget your spare, and be sure the jack is in good condition.
  • Carry emergency gear: gloves, boots, blankets, flares, a small shovel, sand or kitty litter, tire chains, and a flash light. Put a few "high-energy" snacks in your glove box.

Getting Your Vehicle Ready For Summer

Summer's heat, dust, and stop-and-go traffic, will take their toll on your vehicle. Add the effects of last winter, and you could be poised for a breakdown. You can lessen the odds of mechanical failure through periodic maintenance. . . Your vehicle should last longer and command a higher resale price, too!

Some of the following tips are easy to do; others require a skilled auto technician.

  • Air Conditioning - A marginally operating system will fail in hot weather. Have the system examined by a qualified technician. Newer models have cabin air filters that clean the air entering the heating and air conditioning system. Check your owner's manual for location and replacement interval.
  • Cooling System - The greatest cause of summer breakdowns is overheating. The cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled about every 24 months. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. (A 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is usually recommended.) DIYers, never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled! The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses should be checked by a pro.
  • Oil - Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual-more often (every 3,000 miles) if you make frequent short jaunts, extended trips with lots of luggage, or tow a trailer.
  • Engine Performance - Replace other filters (air, fuel, PCV, etc.) as recommended-more often in dusty conditions. Get engine drivability problems (hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.) corrected at a good shop.
  • Windshield Wipers - A dirty windshield causes eye fatigue and can pose a safety hazard. Replace worn blades and get plenty of windshield washer solvent.
  • Lights - Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs; periodically clean dirt and insects from all lenses. To prevent scratching, never use a dry rag.
  • Tires - Have your tires rotated about every 5,000 miles. Check tire pressures once a month; check them while they're cold before driving for any distance. Don't forget to check your spare as well and be sure the jack is in good condition. Examine tires for tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. An alignment is warranted if there's uneven tread wear or if your vehicle pulls to one side.
  • Brakes - Brakes should be inspected as recommended in your manual, or sooner if you notice pulsations, grabbing, noises, or longer stopping distance. Minor brake problems should be corrected promptly.
  • Battery - Batteries can fail any time of year. The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment. Routine care: Scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections; clean all surfaces; re-tighten all connections. If battery caps are removable, check the fluid level monthly. Avoid contact with corrosive deposits and battery acid. Wear eye protection and rubber gloves.
  • Emergencies - Carry some basic tools-ask a technician for suggestions. Also include a first aid kit, flares, and a flashlight. Consider buying a cellular phone.

Keeping Your Vehicle in Tune with the Environment

Car care is definitely a win-win situation. Besides helping the environment, a properly maintained and operated vehicle will run more efficiently, will be safer, and will last longer-up to 50% longer, according to a survey of ASE-certified Master Auto Technicians. The following tips should put you on the road to environmentally conscious car care.

  • Keep your engine tuned. A misfiring spark plug can reduce fuel efficiency as much as 30%. Follow the service schedules listed in your owner's manual. Replace filters and fluids as recommended.
  • Check your tires for proper inflation. Under inflation wastes fuel-your engine has to work harder to push the vehicle. Wheels that are out-of-line (as evidenced by uneven tread wear or vehicle pulling) make the engine work harder, too. Properly maintained tires will last longer, meaning fewer scrap tires have to be disposed.
  • Keep your air conditioner in top condition and have it serviced only by a technician certified competent to handle/recycle refrigerants. Air conditioners contain CFCs-gases that have been implicated in the depletion of the ozone layer. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, almost one third of the CFCs released into the atmosphere come from mobile air conditioners; some simply leaks out, but the majority escapes during service and repair-so it's important to choose a qualified technician.
  • Do-it-yourselfers: dispose of used motor oil, anti-freeze/coolant, tires, and old batteries properly. Many repair facilities accept these items. Or call your local municipal or county government for recycling sites. Never dump used oil or anti-freeze on the ground or in open streams.
  • Observe speed limits. Mileage decreases sharply above 55 mph.
  • Drive gently. Avoid sudden accelerations and jerky stop-and-go's. Use cruise-control on open highways to keep your speed as steady as possible.
  • Avoid excessive idling. Shut off the engine while waiting for friends and family. Today's vehicles are designed to "warm up" fast, so forget about those five-minute warm ups on cold winter mornings.
  • Remove excess items from the vehicle. Less weight means better mileage. Store luggage/ cargo in the trunk rather than on the roof to reduce air drag.
  • Plan trips. Consolidate your daily errands to eliminate unnecessary driving. Try to travel when traffic is light to avoid stop-and-go conditions. Join a car pool.

Remember, how your car runs, how you drive it, and how its fluids, old parts, and tires are disposed of all have serious consequences on the environment.


What Our Customers Are Saying

I have a rather unusual vehicle for this area. It was a recent acquisition and has a lot of issues besides what it was brought in for. You guys took it on without complaint or even a shudder. You have an amazing team and some of the best attitudes of anyone I have ever dealt with in public. If anyone ever needs work done, this is the place to take your vehicle. I will NEVER use any other place again.

, 03/30/2020

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They are very professional, and they take the time to make sure all your vehicle needs are satisfied. And their shop foreman is master certified and has 21 years experience in the automotive field. Great group of guys.

, 02/07/2020

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I have nothing but great things to say about this company and their staff! I needed an oil change, brakes, and rotors. Not only did they pick my vehicle up from my job and bring it back they went above and beyond to save me money. There was a faulty part on my car, instead of replacing it and setting me back $1000, they researched and found the part was on "recall". They then took my vehicle to the dealership where said faulty part was replaced for free!! They didn't stop there though they took the vehicle back to the shop to double check everything was done as it should have been! On top of that they placed me in one of their vehicles so I didn't have to stress over how I would get around. They kept me up to date every day with what was going on. When I tell you the service they provided brought me to tears I mean it literally made me cry! Thank you Chris, Jessica, and the rest of the staff!

, 02/07/2020

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Wonderful service for simple and immediate repair. I own a 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution GSR, which is fairly low to the ground. Last night it snowed/rained significantly(there was about an inch of ice on the car this morning) and my car's skid plate (big plastic shield under the engine bay) was frozen to the ground. When attempting to reverse out of my parking spot, I inadvertently dislodged the back half of the skid plate, so that the back half of it was dragging on the ground, like a sled, with about 20-30 pounds of ice on it. Since the skid plate was only attached by a few of the front mounts (which are plastic screws), I really didn't want to drive far to get some sort of repair. Other places were either closed at 9 am, or weren't answering their phone, due to the bad weather. Initially, I tried R T Clapp Co, since they were closer, but none of their jacks/lifts would fit under my car. When I called Peoples Choice Auto Repair, they said they'd be able to start when I got there, and told me ahead of time that they may not be able to get parts, should they need it (since the NAPA delivery service may not be possible due to the ice), but that they would definitely be able to fix it so that the skid plate wouldn't be scraping against the ground. Once I arrived, they immediately started on my car. The mechanic had to use a heat-gun to melt the ice to get to all the mounting holes. After about 90 minutes, I was handed my keys and told that I was set. They had repaired the skid plate using fasteners that they had on-hand, but didn't charge me a dime, nor ask for compensation of any kind. For this reason, I feel compelled to write this glowing review about my experience. I would definitely recommend this business to others, and will very likely take my car there in the future, should it need repairs.

, 02/17/2015

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Recently brought in my daughters 1997 Honda Accord needing several different things (complete new breaks on front, radiator hose repairs and flush, oil change with engine flush. The staff was courteous and professional and the cost was reasonable. Highly recommend Peoples Choice Automotive.

, 12/06/2016

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The staff is friendly and helpful however they are pricey and I had to tighten most of the bolts holding my radiator in after they replaced it.

, 03/25/2017

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Chris runs a tight ship. His staff is well trained and professional. Prices are reasonable and I have always been happy with the completed job.

, 04/14/2017

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I have brought both of my vehicles here on several occasions. Will definitely bring them back in the future. Very friendly and knowledgeable.

, 04/20/2017

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Outstanding customer service, the owner gave me advice concerning a collision repair and the lady at the front desk was very polite and helpful.

, 04/20/2017

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Fair, fast, ethical, professional & caring. My bill went from $330 to $180; I went for a starter replacement, they quickly found I was wrong about the problem. Discovered a fuel leak, brought the part I needed from Knoxville, total stay of under 2.5hrs. This was the third time I went to them for help. When they did my head-gasket replacement a year ago, it was discovered that I needed an extra $200+ in parts due to cracked heads; they still honored the [$1200] original estimate..! Second time, my car died while driving, late at night. I called the mechanic's personal cell, they towed my car, and even offered me a ride home. Diagnosed & fixed the next day.

, 08/01/2017

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People's Choice has sometimes surprised me at the counter when things weren't entered into the computers right, however they've always made it right and done business honorably. They've had a few opportunities to leave me high and dry because of my car being in poor shape but they've always made sure I'm well taken care of. The first time I came here I needed an immobilizer repaired and every auto shop in town thought I was talking about getting a breathalyzer installed, but this was the only shop that actually knew what part I was talking about and was able to get it installed and fixed. Then when I had to get my power steering pump replaced, they were able to fix that and a few other problems from the last guy I had work on it (some crossed threads and improperly installed hoses), and they worked with me very generously on the price considering the parts that went into it. Chris is the owner, I've dealt with him a few times, and he does business the right way. I'll come here even if somewhere else quotes me a better price to know I won't get swindled and that things will be taken care of every time hands down.

, 08/09/2017

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Great place to have your car worked on great people

, 09/24/2017

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Fast response with wrecker, top of the line certified auto mechanic, great people.

, 01/05/2018

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Excellent customer service by Chris and his team of professionals. Highly recommended!

, 11/29/2018

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Chris and Eddie do good work... Highly recommend

, 02/24/2019

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Chris and his team are great

, 07/02/2019

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Always great service.

, 07/05/2019

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They went way above and beyond my expectations. The work was professional and completed faster than the usual. They are easy to talk to, they explained what they needed to do, they answered all my questions, they went out of their way to get me back on the road, they didn?t charge me a fortune, AND on top of all that they contacted me a couple days later to make sure everything was still working right. You can?t be beat that and I will definitely use their services again!

, 07/11/2019

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Great people, knowledgeable mechanics, they'll get your vehicle fixed, when they tell you they will. All around easy to deal with, very reasonable prices. Great owner!

, 07/22/2019

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The cleanest campground I have seen. Could be bigger camper area.

, 08/02/2019

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Great folks to deal with and highly recommended! Thanks so much to Chris & Nick for helping get my Mercedes back on the road!

, 08/04/2019

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Nick and the guys did a great job with my truck. Chris is the owner and is very knowledgeable with diesels. He set me up with a tune on the engine and transmission. More power, smoother shifting and better fuel economy.

, 01/28/2020

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Nice guys. Affordable and timely service. Tyvm

, 09/27/2013

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I would like to thank the knowledgeable staff! I asked the direction I should go in for some off road tires. Once they knew my wants they fixed me up perfect! Great price and they perform awesome off road! Had them in snow and mud already!! Great company to do business with!!!

, 12/11/2013

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I want to thank you for fixing my truck, I will recommend you to other people, you all are great.

, 03/26/2015

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We were hauling our fifth wheel camper to Rockwood, and the brake line broke. We called Peoples Choice that evening, and they scheduled us in the next morning, and had us up and going again very quickly, and were very reasonable! Thanks Guys, we really appreciate you!!!!

, 10/03/2016

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People Choice Auto is an awesome bunch of people. their work and the way they treat people is 2nd to none. Very reasonable priced. Thanks People Choice Auto for all your great work. Edward Mannuzza

, 01/26/2017

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I have been going to people for a while and I absolutely love them the staff is always friendly and straight forward about my car needs they even help by keeping recommended estimates on file and help remind you to do milestone maintenance. It also doesn't hurt when you wait you can appreciate the beauty of the classics in their lobby! Thanks guys! Keep up the good work!

, 08/03/2017

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People's Choice is the best car shop in the world! If you live in Kville, I recommend you go to this place in oak ridge! Great prices and great people!!!

, 08/10/2018

Great owner!
reviewiconCar & Truck Care, near Oak Ridge, TN

Great people, knowledgeable mechanics, they'll get your vehicle fixed, when they tell you they will. All around easy to deal with, very reasonable prices.

, 09/10/2019

They went way above and beyond my expectations.
reviewiconCar & Truck Care, near Oak Ridge, TN

The work was professional and completed faster than the usual. They are easy to talk to, they explained what they needed to do, they answered all my questions, they went out of their way to get me back on the road, they didn't charge me a fortune, AND on top of all that they contacted me a couple days later to make sure everything was still working right. You can't be beat that and I will definitely use their services again!

, 07/20/2019

Great folks to deal with and highly recommended!
reviewiconCar & Truck Care, near Oak Ridge, TN

Thanks so much to Chris & Nick for helping get my Mercedes back on the road!

, 07/29/2019

Chris and Eddie do good work... Highly recommend

, 03/05/2019

Highly recommended!
reviewiconCar & Truck Care, near Oak Ridge, TN

Excellent customer service by Chris and his team of professionals.

, 01/24/2019

Chris and his team are great

, 08/23/2019

Always great service.

, 07/02/2019

Courteous and Professional
reviewiconBrakes, near Oak Ridge, TN

Recently brought in my daughters 1997 Honda Accord needing several different things (complete new brakes on front, radiator hose repairs and flush, oil change with engine flush). The staff was courteous and professional and the cost was reasonable. Highly recommend Peoples Choice Automotive.

, 02/06/2017

Long-time Customer
reviewiconCar & Truck Care, near Oak Ridge, TN

I have brought both of my vehicles here on several occasions. Will definitely bring them back in the future. Very friendly and knowledgeable.

, 10/07/2017

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  • Call Us For Service: 865-272-3379