How to Diagnose a Weak Car Engine

When you first bought your car, you could feel its glorious power as you pressed the gas pedal. But now that your car has aged, it may feel like it has lost some of its former glory out on the road. It is possible for car engines to experience a level of decline, even in new vehicles. There are signs you can look for to better understand the condition of your car engine and determine if it needs professional attention.

Continue reading to learn how to diagnose a weakening or declining car engine and where to take your vehicle in for top-notch automotive tune-ups and repairs in Indianapolis.

Indianapolis Engine Repair and Service 317-475-1846
Indianapolis Engine Repair and Service 317-475-1846

Signs That Your Car Engine is Losing Power

There are several reasons why your car engine might be losing power or performance value. Before the modernization of the fuel system, most vehicles were manufactured with carburetors and mechanical fuel pumps. Accordingly, engine power loss was easily diagnosed as a clogged filter or vapor lock. With today’s sophisticated exhaust and fuel system technologies, it can be more difficult pinpointing the underlying cause of a failing car engine.

Engine Power Loss Signs and What They Mean

To ensure you pick up on signs of engine trouble sooner rather than later, keep your eye out for some of the most common tell-tale signs. Whether you experience these scenarios every time you drive or intermittently, it is strongly encouraged to seek out professional auto service to inspect your vehicle for safety and performance issues.

Gas Pedal Inefficacy

If you feel like your gas pedal is not responding at the same rate or in the same way as it used to, it could indicate an issue with your fuel system. The most common fuel system malfunctions are caused by a clogged fuel injector, fuel line leak, gunky fuel filter, or a faulty fuel pump.

Steering Wheel Movement

Does your steering wheel shake vigorously while your vehicle is in idle or coming to a rest? A trembling steering wheel is often a sign of engine power loss, and it typically happens as a result of your cylinders misfiring. What causes cylinders to misfire? Most commonly, spark loss, dropped compression, or imbalanced air-to-fuel ratios.

Poor Incline Performance

Do you notice that your vehicle begins to show signs of struggle as you drive up an incline? If your car slows down as it courses uphill even if you are pressing on the gas, it could be due to a number of underlying mechanical problems. But in most cases, cars that struggle on inclines have a clogged fuel filter. Fortunately, this is a quick an inexpensive repair.

Check Engine Light

If your Check Engine Light is illuminated on your dashboard, it be a warning that your engine is losing power. The underlying issue could be a faulty catalytic converter, mass airflow sensor, O2 sensor, or spark plug wires. Sometimes, the issue related to a defective positive crankcase ventilation valve (PCV), which is a part of the vehicle’s emissions control system.

Not sure what’s causing your car’s performance or efficiency issues? Contact Northeast Auto Service at 317-475-1846 for professional automotive maintenance service in Indianapolis, Indiana. We also offer a generous selection of automotive service and repair coupons, discounts, and deals!

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Indianapolis Auto Repair and Service
Indianapolis Auto Repair and Service 317-475-1846

Frequently Asked Questions About Gas Caps

Typically, one does not ask questions about their gas caps until a gas cap has gone missing or begun to malfunction. If you are experiencing issues with your check engine light, fuel consumption rate, or fuel cap in general, continue reading to review some frequently asked questions about gas caps that may clear up your confusion and point you in the right direction.

Fuel System Service and Repair in Indianapolis IN
Fuel System Service and Repair in Indianapolis IN 317-475-1846

Fuel Cap FAQS

Can I Drive Without a Gas Cap?

Whether connected by a plastic tether or an old-fashioned manual screw-on, there are many reasons why a fuel cap goes missing. Regardless of why you no longer have a gas cap on your car, it is important to understand why you should not drive your vehicle until you have replaced the gas cap.

For starters, you can lose a nominal amount of gasoline to spillage and evaporation. Not only will fuel loss cost you a lot of money and waste your hard-earned paycheck, but what it will also allow moisture and organic debris inside of the gas tank, which can lead to fuel tank damages and costly repairs. It can also pollute the environment.

Furthermore, if you live in a state that requires vehicles to pass an emissions test prior to registration, not having a gas connected to your vehicle can affect this qualification.

Is it Expensive to Replace a Missing Fuel Cap?

If you are missing a fuel cap on your vehicle, the good news is they are inexpensive to replace. Additionally, the labor to install one is both easy and quick. In most cases, you simply attach it on yourself, so you avoid having to pay for labor. The cost of the gas will depend on the make and model of your vehicle, but on average you can expect to pay anywhere from $9 to $15. They come in 55 to 57 mm or 58 to 60 mm options, including the threads.

Can the Gas Cap Cause the Check Engine Light to Come On?

Yes, your fuel cap can cause the check engine light to come on. If the gas cap is not properly screwed on or connected, the vehicle’s computer system will detect this disconnect and trigger the check engine light to illuminate. This is more common in modern vehicles, as older cars may not have this type of automotive technology.

How Do I Know if My Gas Cap is Malfunctioning?

There are many signs to look out for when it comes to detecting a faulty gas cap. One of the first signs that indicate you have a problem with your gas cap is unexplained fuel loss or increased gas consumption. If you’re noticing that you’re going through your fuel much faster than before, it could be that your fuel Is loose or disconnected. Another common sign of a faulty gas cap is lingering gasoline smells. If you are detecting gasoline odors in your vehicle, it could be a sign that your fuel cap is not properly attached.

How Often Should I Replace My Fuel Cap?

Unless your gas cap goes missing, you don’t need to replace it anytime soon. Gas caps are designed to last 50,000 miles or more. So long as you are taking your car in for routine maintenance, you will be immediately notified if there’s ever an issue with your gas cap by your trusted Indianapolis auto mechanic.

Are you experiencing automotive issues that need a quick diagnosis? Contact Northeast Auto Service at 317-475-1846 for dealership-level car maintenance and repair services in Indianapolis, Indiana, but at neighborhood prices. Request a free estimate, today.

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How to Smell a Car Problem
Top 4 Reasons Why Your Car Won’t Start
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Indianapolis Auto Repair and Service
Indianapolis Auto Repair and Service 317-475-1846

Strange Car Smells and What They Might Mean

Sure, your car smells funny sometimes. But when it is not coming from last night’s fast food or that gym bag that’s been sitting in the back seat since Sunday, those smells could indicate a real problem. Continue reading to learn the most common types of car odors and which type of automotive problems they may signify.

Indianapolis Auto Safety Inspection and Service
Indianapolis Auto Safety Inspection and Service 317-475-1846

Common Car Smells

Car odors like burning rubber, burning wood, sulfur, gasoline, hot oil or exhaust, mold or mildew, and sweet smells are common types of odors that indicate an automotive problem or need for repair. Here are the reasons why these odors might be apparent in your vehicle right now, and what you need to do to resolve the issue:

BURNING

If you smell burning rubber, it could mean that your brake pads are worn down, or your tires are being overworked. If you detect burning wood smells, it could mean that your clutch is malfunctioning.

SULFUR

Sulfur is often described as smelling like rotten eggs. If you smell sulfur like odors in your vehicle, the most likely culprit is overcharging your car battery. Otherwise, it could be from a defective catalytic converter or even an issue with your fuel system.

GASOLINE

Unless you’ve accidentally spilled on yourself after filling station, if you are smelling gasoline in your car, is most likely a leak in your fuel tank. It could also be from a failing component within your evaporator emissions system.

HOT OIL/EXHAUST

If you are smelling hot or burning oil, or a smell similar to exhaust, it is most likely caused by an oil leak in your engine. Typically, this is from a defective gasket or seal.

MOLD OR MILDEW

Moldy or mildew odors in your vehicle are typically associated with air conditioning problems. Moisture or water can get trapped inside the inner components of your PC, and after some time begin to develop mold and mildew growth. These odors could also be caused by a buildup of moisture inside of your car, or because your cabin air filter is old.

SWEETNESS

If you are smelling sweet sugary cells in your car, it is often indicative of a coolant leak. Coolant is also known as radiator fluid, and it is on the most vital automotive fluids for all vehicles.

If you are detecting any strange odors or noises within your vehicle, it is important to have them looked at right away. Contact Northeast Auto Service at 317-475-1846 for professional automotive service and repair in Indianapolis, Indiana. Request a free estimate, or schedule service, today.

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Why You Should Get an Auto AC Tune Up Right Now
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Indianapolis Auto Repair Service
Indianapolis Auto Repair Service 317-475-1846

Top 4 Reasons Why Your Car Won’t Start

So, you get into your car, already late for whatever it is you are on your way to, but the engine won’t seem to turn over. Although there are millions of things that can go wrong in vehicles, there are 4 in particular that tend to be the most common culprits. Fortunately, they can all be repaired, and some only take a few minutes of your own time to fix!

Continue below to learn why your car will not start, and what how to determine exactly what the issue might be.

Indianapolis Auto Repair and Service 317-475-1846
Indianapolis Auto Repair and Service 317-475-1846

Your Car Will Not Start? Here’s What Might Be the Problem:

Your vehicle is designed with various electrical and mechanical systems that can breakdown or experience interruptions in performance. However, when your car won’t start, or the engine refuses to turn over, you can likely chalk it up to 4 essential auto parts: the alternator, battery, starter, or fuel tank. Of course, it can also be a combination of breakdowns and failures, including among these four car parts. Here is some information that will help you determine what and why for each one:

Alternator

If your alternator is faulty, or is breaking down, you can expect your car to have problems starting. It is common to experience issues with the battery and starter when your car’s alternator is bad, making it more challenging to detect the underlying issue without a licensed mechanic providing the diagnosis. In fact, the signs of a failing alternator are very similar to a dying car battery, including electrical flickering and dimming lights. If your alternator is bad, you will need alternator replacement.  

Battery

A dead or nearly dead car battery is a common cause behind a car that won’t start. You can try to use jumper cables to re-power your car’s battery; but if that doesn’t work, it is likely that you need a whole new battery. Fortunately, car batteries are not expensive, and they are easy to maintain for many years. If your car battery is new, you might be dealing with a failing starter instead.

Starter

As just mentioned, if your car won’t start and it is definitely not a dead battery, it could be a broken starter. Starters are designed to receive electrical currents from the battery and convert them into larger energy in order to power the engine. If it is failing, it cannot do its job, therefore, your car will not start. If your car is making no sounds or vibrations when you turn the key, it is a common sign that the starter is broken.

Fuel Tank

In the best case scenario is that your fuel tank is empty. In fact, the most common reason why people’s cars will not start is simply because they are out of gasoline! Check your fuel tank regularly, and be sure to keep some extra fuel at your home in case you need an emergency top-off to get you to the nearest gas station. In a worse scenario, your car could have a leak or crack in the fuel tank, which will require immediate auto repair.

Are you having problems starting your car? Contact Northeast Auto Service at 317-475-1846 for auto repair and scheduled car maintenance in Indianapolis, Indiana you can afford. We work on both domestic and foreign vehicles, and specialize in major engine work. Request a free estimate, today.

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How Much Does Alternator Repair Cost?
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Indianapolis Auto Repair and Service
Indianapolis Auto Repair and Service 317-475-1846

Fascinating Facts About Ethanol Car Engines

Ethanol is a high-powered alcohol fuel.  It offers high quality and high octane qualities for hybrid cars and even standard car engines on the market today. Ethanol has been used in cars since Henry Ford’s Model T in 1908. Since the early eighties, millions of vehicles have run on ethanol-based fuels. They are used in foreign and domestic automotive racing industries as well. As of 2010, ethanol fuel has been an additive in gasoline all across America.

Continue reading to learn more about ethanol car engines and how they benefit and affect the automotive industry.

Indianapolis Engine Repair and Service
Indianapolis Engine Repair and Service 317-475-1846

Ethanol Engines Use Bio-Fuel, Not Gasoline

Ethanol powered car engines operate in a very similar way to standard gasoline engines. The only real difference is that ethanol engines can actually utilize the bio-fuel, while standard ones cannot. Other than that, fuel is injected into the engine the same way it would in a regular gas-powered car. Most hybrid cars can also use gasoline, which is why they are also referred to as “flex fuel” engines. Although they can operate using gasoline and ethanol mixed fuel, they perform best with simple ethanol fuel.  

Here are some of the most notable facts you should know about ethanol car engines if you are interested in purchasing a hybrid vehicle, or contemplating a switch in fuel sources:

🌽⛽ Ethanol can be used in snowmobiles, motorcycles, tractors, motorboats, and lawnmowers.

🌽⛽ Ethanol emissions are less harmful to the environment than gasoline.

🌽⛽ Ethanol fuel has a 113 octane rating that supports high engine performance.

🌽⛽ Ethanol blended fuels can be used in all standard car engines-not just hybrids.

🌽⛽ Ethanol fuel mixtures keep fuel systems cleaner than gasoline.

🌽⛽ Ethanol fuel does not leave behind sticky residues and deposits.

🌽⛽ Ethanol can prevent winter engine complications by acting as antifreeze.

🌽⛽ Ethanol-blended fuels are approved under all warranties for vehicles marketed in the U.S.

Do You Need a New Car Engine?

Replacing a car engine is not cheap; but it doesn’t have to be an upsetting cost either. One way to go is a rebuilt car engine. Rebuilt car engines are an old secret among mechanics and car enthusiasts. More and more people are starting to become aware of the benefits surrounding used and rebuilt car engines.

Not only are they less expensive than a brand new engine or vehicle, making them more affordable for a larger market, good rebuilt engines are just as reliable as a brand new one, and often times, still comes with a warranty. If you need engine replacement, look to your local Indianapolis automotive repair shop for details on where to start.

Indianapolis Engine Repair at an Affordable Price

Call Northeast Auto Service at 317-475-1846 for dependable Indianapolis engine repair and service you can afford. Our highly-trained, ASE-certified mechanics provide comprehensive auto repair services, but specialize in major engine work and transmission repair. We offer the most competitive prices in town, as well as auto service coupons and discounts! Request a free estimate or schedule service, today.

Indianapolis Auto Repair and Service
Indianapolis Auto Repair and Service 317-475-1846

Don’t Trust These Top 5 Fuel Efficiency Myths

Whether you have a brand new car or a vehicle with several thousand miles on it, it is never too late to improve your fuel efficiency. There are several reasons why all drivers should try to improve their gas mileage, but the most obvious benefit is cost savings. Saving on gas means saving more money. It also means improved fuel economy and performance for your vehicle. But don’t make the mistake of falling victim to common untruths about how to reduce gas mileage. Not only will these misconceptions waste your time, but they will also waste your money.

Continue reading to learn the top 5 most common myths about gas mileage, and what you can do to get your car fuel efficient in no time.

Fuel System Repair Indianapolis Indiana
Fuel System Repair and Car Maintenance 317-475-1846

Avoid Believing These Common Fuel Efficiency Myths

Small Cars Get Better Fuel Mileage

Size has nothing to do with fuel efficiency. Everything under the hood, the materials used to manufacture the vehicle, and proper maintenance are what make vehicles fuel-efficient. Advancements in technology that promote better fuel economy include diesel engines, turbochargers, hybrid drive-trains, and low-rolling resistance tires.

Manual Transmissions Get Better Gas Mileage

Although true in the past, new advancements in automatic-transmission technology has made this a modern-day myth. More gears has led to less wasted fuel and much more. Whether you choose manual or automatic, fuel efficiency will not be comprised by this decision.

Old Cars Get Poor Gas Mileage

A vehicle is really only as old as its engine. And so long as the engine is properly maintained over the years of ownership and use, the gas mileage should not be affected. In fact, there is a vehicle “break-in” period (the first 5,000 miles or so) where the fuel efficiency actually improves, rather than declines!

Replacing the Air Filter Will Jump-Kick Fuel Economy

If your car has an older engine with a carburetor still, then this myth is a little true. But fuel economy for modern fuel-injected cars and trucks is not influenced by a singular filter change. Fuel-injected engines delivers lower emissions and improved fuel economy. An onboard computer automatically adjusts the fuel-flow depending on the amount of air entering the engine.

Premium Fuel Will Improve Gas Mileage

This will just end up being a waste of money. Premium fuel does not equal better fuel economy. In fact, using a higher-octane fuel will not alter vehicle performance at all. Only use premium gas if your vehicle’s owners’ manual suggests to; otherwise, stick to unleaded.

Want to know how to truly get better gas mileage? The short answer is staying current on all factory scheduled car maintenance and care. But, check back at the end of the month for a blog informing you on all the ways you can enhance your fuel efficiency!

Where to Get Trusted Indianapolis Auto Service at the Right Price

Call Northeast Auto at 317-475-1846 for affordable auto repair and service in Indianapolis, Indiana. We provide domestic and foreign car repair and factory scheduled maintenance for all make and model vehicles. On top of competitive prices, we also offer car repair coupons and discounts! Call 317-475-1846 to request a free estimate, today.

ASE Certified Automotive Mechanics 317-475-1846

4 Ways to Get Better Gas Mileage

The price of fuel is ever-fluctuating in this economy, making most of us keen on conserving our gasoline whenever possible. Aside from not driving, there are some easy and effective ways to increase your gas mileage and save some money. Continue reading to learn the top 4 methods of obtaining better gas mileage, as well as, what to do if you suspect your fuel system is not performing as well as it should.

Indianapolis Fuel System Repair 317-475-1846
Indianapolis Fuel System Repair 317-475-1846

➀ Tire Pressure

Surprisingly, the amount of pressure you have in your tires can influence the amount of gasoline consumption.  This is because low tire pressure forces a car to exert more energy and work harder to get from one place to the next.  This uses a lot of fuel.  Be sure to check your tires on a monthly basis, and do not let radial tires trick you.  They can sometimes look completely inflated, but actually be low on pressure.

➁ AC Usage

It is hard to not always blast your vehicle’s AC on a scorching hot summer’s day.  Unfortunately, the frequent use of a car’s air conditioner uses a lot of fuel.  Try to roll down windows and keep a cool drink in your cup holder.  These are ways you can avoid using too much AC and wasting all your fuel.  Also, try parking in shady areas to keep the car cool when not in use.

➂ Aggressive Driving

Quick stops and sudden starts is often referred to as jackrabbit driving.  Aggressive and abrupt driving habits can not only use up a lot of fuel, it can potentially damage your vehicle.  If this describes your driving, try to slow down in the future.  Relaxed driving keeps your car at a comfortable status and reduces the amount times you have to fill up.

➃ Routine Car Maintenance

Having your car in optimal condition drastically improves the amount of miles it gets per gallon of gas.  This includes oil changes, tire rotations, brake services, engine cleanings, tune-ups, and much more.  Keeping your car in a condition that it can perform at its best reduces the amount of work the engine has to do to operate the vehicle.  Factory scheduled maintenance is crucial for any vehicle you own.  It has a huge influence on how long your vehicle will survive and how fast it uses its fuel.

Indianapolis Fuel System Repair

Call Northeast Auto Service at 317-475-1846 for specialized fuel system repair in Indianapolis, Indiana. We are ASE licensed and certified car mechanics who provide a wide range of foreign and domestic auto repair services, as well as, free estimates, coupons, car care advice, and more. Request a free estimate, today.

ASE Certified Automotive Mechanics 317-475-1846

What Happens if You Put the Wrong Type of Fuel in a Car?

Oops! You accidentally put unleaded gasoline into your diesel car engine. Now what? Well, automotive fuel systems are designed to use a specific type of fuel for optimal performance and efficiency. So if you use the incorrect type of fuel in your car or truck, you could be looking at some mechanical consequences.

Continue reading to learn what could happen if you use the incorrect type of fuel in your vehicle, including what you should do if you make this common fuel pump error.

Indianapolis Fuel System Repair 317-475-1846
Indianapolis Fuel System Repair 317-475-1846

Gas Pump Confusion

At modern-day gas stations, you will find a series of fuels to choose from, including unleaded, premium, diesel, and more. As a result, gas pump confusion and fueling mistakes happen every day. Most of the time, a fuel switch up is harmless, but when it involves diesel fuel, the result could be quite detrimental.

Gasoline in a Diesel Engine

If you have a diesel car engine, and you accidently use regular gasoline in the tank, you could be facing some serious damage, spanning from corroded fuel lines to complete engine failure. If you instantly realize you have made this mistake, do not start the car. Starting the engine can make the situation much worse, as it will send the fuel from the tank, through the fuel lines, and circulate it within the engine. Instead, you will need to immediately have your vehicle towed to a trusted mechanic to have the entire fuel system flushed out.

If you start the engine before realizing that you have put gasoline in your tank, unfortunately, the most likely result will be total engine breakdown, but not before the injection pump and the injectors experience complete mechanical failure. There is no telling when this breakdown might occur, but it is not safe to drive a vehicle under these impending conditions.

Why is it So Bad?

The reason why you cannot use regular gasoline in a diesel car engine mostly has to do with petroleum refining process. You see, the process of making gasoline (petroleum) gives the fuel much higher boiling points, roughly between 105 and 410 degrees Fahrenheit. Diesel fuel, on the other hand, boils between 500 and 650 degrees Fahrenheit, making it incompatible for gasoline designed automobiles.

On a more technical scope, diesel engines do not have spark plugs, and instead, use compression to ignite the fuel. Using gasoline in a diesel engine will result in an increased amount of pressure of the early ignition, which in turn, can damage pistons, warp connecting rods, and even blow the head off the engine.

Diesel Fuel in a Gasoline Engine

If you were to put diesel fuel into a car engine designed for standard gasoline, you can expect some complications, but none comparable the scope of using gasoline in a diesel engine. If this were to happen to you, simply follow the same advice as above. Do not start the car if you realize your mistake, and have it towed to a mechanic right away. If you do start the engine, the fuel pump, lines, filter, and other components may get ruined.

Indianapolis Fuel System Repair

Call Northeast Auto Service at 317-475-1846 for specialized fuel system repair in Indianapolis, Indiana. We are ASE licensed and certified car mechanics who provide a wide range of foreign and domestic auto repair services, as well as, free estimates, coupons, car care advice, and more. Request a free estimate, today.

ASE Certified Automotive Mechanics 317-475-1846

Which Side is My Gas Tank On?

On the learning curve of driving a car, many of us have experienced that panicky rush after pulling up to the gas station and not remembering which side the gas tank is located on. Well, if this is still something you struggle with today, you will be glad to learn that there is a simple and quick way to remind yourself which side of the car is the side you fuel up on!

Continue reading to learn why some gas tanks are on the left side of cars and some are on the right, as well as, how to determine where your gas tank door is without having to get out of your vehicle.

Fuel System Service Repair 317-475-1846
Fuel System Service Repair 317-475-1846

Fuel Tank Doors

Automobile manufacturers design vehicles with the fuel tank both the left and right sides of the vehicle. The preference of left or right is largely influence by country or region. For instance, in America, we drive sitting in the left side of the car; so, most drivers prefer for the fuel tank door to be on the same side because it is easier to pull the left fender closer to the gas tank. In contrast, Europeans drive on the right side of a vehicle, and accordingly, it is common for European automobile manufacturers to place the fuel tank on the left side of the car.

More so than regional preference, the decision to put the fuel tank on the left or right side depends on the position of the components beneath the vehicle since it is difficult to route the filler tube to the same side on every vehicle. You see, if a vehicle is designed with large mechanism on the left beneath its carriage, such as a speaker, automotive engineers will put the fuel tank on the right where there is more room. So, when it comes to fuel tank position, it is not a random decision; there are various factors that influence where a fuel tank will be positioned within a vehicle.

Which Side is Your Tank On?

If you want to prevent the onset panic of pulling up to a gas pump and being unsure of which side your fuel tank is on, simply look at the gas pump icon on your dashboard. Near the fuel gauge or icon, you will see a small arrow, usually without a handle, like these “ƒ„.” Whichever side the point is facing is the side your fuel tank door is on! Now you will never have to worry about this problem, no matter which car or truck you drive in the future!

Fuel System Maintenance

It is important to take good care of your vehicle’s overall fuel system. Not only can it improve decrease fuel consumption and increase gas mileage, it can also improve your engine’s overall performance. This can also make your car or truck last years longer. Refer to your owners’ manual for recommendations regarding your make and model’s specific maintenance instructions. If you cannot locate your owners’ manual, you can download a new one online.

Indianapolis Fuel System Repair and Service

ASE Certified Automotive Mechanics 317-475-1846

Call Northeast Auto at 317-475-1846 for affordable fuel system service and repair in Indianapolis, Indiana. We provide domestic and foreign car repair for all make and model vehicles. On top of competitive prices, we also offer car repair coupons and discounts! Request a free estimate, today.