Germain Toyota of Columbus

Germain Toyota of Columbus

Main 877-469-9437 | Service 614-924-7033 | 5711 Scarborough Blvd., Columbus, OH 43232

Frequently Asked Questions


My owner's manual says that regular unleaded is fine for my vehicle. Would it be better for my car if I splurged on premium gas or is that an unnecessary waste of money?

Save your money. If your Germain Toyota of Columbus's owner's manual recommends regular unleaded then that's perfectly fine. You're just wasting precious pennies if you pay for a higher octane fuel. Most of today's cars, with the exception of high performance engines, are tuned to run on regular unleaded fuel. And, there's no advantage to be gained by using premium. Here's the skinny:

Your engine's cylinders hold a mixture of gas and air. The cylinder compresses that mixture very quickly and your spark plug ignites it. That little explosion (like a cannon firing) is the combustion in an "internal combustion engine" and creates the energy to make your car go. The octane of a gasoline tells you how much compression it can stand before it ignites spontaneously. The higher the octane, the higher the compression it can take.

Most cars have an eight to one compression ratio, which is perfect for regular unleaded gas. That means the cylinder is compressing the gas/air mixture at just the right rate.

If the gas isn't a high enough grade for the compression rate of the cylinder, it'll ignite early, before the spark from the spark plug. And that's bad for your engine. Those early explosions result in knocking and pinging. So, if you don't hear any knocking and pinging, you're using the right grade of gas. If you do hear those sounds, try upgrading to a premium gas. But, for most cars, using a premium gas doesn't give you or your engine any advantage.

How can I tell if my car really needs the work my mechanic says it does or if I am being ripped off?

We've all felt that pain as our wheels faded into the distance trailing behind a tow truck. You'll probably have to take off work and rearrange your schedule to make time for the repairs. You might even have to ask your neighbor who always smells like cabbage if she'll take your turn in the carpool. Maybe you're just taking your car in to track down a weird sound. No matter why you're taking your car there, you're at the mercy of the mechanic. Unless you're a closet grease monkey, you don't know what's wrong with your car. And, you don't know whether your mechanic is being straight with you.

Look for credentials. Make sure your mechanic has the proper accreditation. Certificates are usually posted in the office area. Make sure they're the real deal.

Will they give you a written estimate? An itemized invoice?

The bottom line is that unless you're as skilled as they are, you won't really know if they're telling you the truth or not.  At Germain Toyota of Columbus you can always trust that you and your vehicle will be well maintained with a fully transparent approach.

Is my mechanic secretly laughing at me when I try to make the noise my car is making to explain the problem or is that helpful information?

Probably, but not if he's a serious mechanic. Those nutty sounds you're making can provide really helpful information. But it's better to try to describe the sound. Was it high-pitched? Did it sound like metal scraping? Was it more of a thumping sound? As mom used to say, use your words.

High-pitched, metallic screeching sounds can be a warning that your brake pads are worn down.

Whining can be a sign that your transmission, differential, or children need help.

A low rumble can mean a wheel-bearing issue.

Squealing can mean a loose belt.

Be sure to describe not just the sound itself, but where and when you hear it. Does it happen when you shift, turn, go uphill, or when it's cold? All of those details can be a great help in diagnosing the problem.

What are the advantages to taking my car back to the dealership where I bought it for service?

There are some serious advantages to taking your car back to your dealer for service. Here are just a few reasons why your dealer might be your best choice.

Expertise. No one knows your car like a dealer technician. Dealer technicians (and the rest of the staff too), usually undergo extensive continuing education to keep them up to date on the latest techniques and vehicle enhancements. Also, dealers tend to pay their mechanics well, and expect a level of excellence in return.

Specialization. Your dealer's mechanics specialize in your car. The world of auto repair isn't a one-size-fits-all world. Knowing the ins and outs of your particular car is a big advantage offered by most dealers.

Depth. At Germain Toyota of Columbus, there will be multiple levels of knowledgeable people from technicians to supervisors and managers who oversee the quality of the work. You can always escalate an issue if you need to.

Convenience. Many dealers offer shuttle services or loaner cars for you to use while your car is being worked on. And, often, their waiting rooms are places you're actually willing to sit down in.

Warranties. If your car is still under warranty, your dealer will repair your vehicle for free. Most dealers also offer nationwide manufacturer-backed guarantees for the work they do. That means, if you're out of town and have a problem, you can probably find an in-network repair shop to handle the repair for free.

Recalls. Dealers are also the first to know if there's a part recall and you'll have the problem taken care of quickly and painlessly.

Accountability. The dealer you bought your car from is answerable to their manufacturer. They need to provide quality service in order to stay in the family, so it's in their best interest to keep you happy. A happy customer is a repeat customer. And, if you're happy, you'll probably tell your friends, and good word of mouth is the best advertising money can't buy.

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