How to Use Engine Braking to Extend the Life of Car Brakes

If you haven’t heard of a car care strategy known as engine braking, you will be glad you came across this blog. Extending the components and systems within your vehicle ultimately extends its life. And engine braking will contribute to this objective. Continue below to learn what engine braking is, why it is beneficial, and most importantly, how to do it!

Car Brake Repair Indianapolis Indiana 317-475-1846
Car Brake Repair Indianapolis Indiana 317-475-1846

Engine Braking Basics

How do you reduce your speed when driving? You use the brake pedal, of course! Pressing on the brake is the go-to instinct of all drivers who want to slow their vehicles down or come to a stop. But did you know that routinely pressing the brake can impact your car’s performance and safety? Fortunately, there is more than one way to brake. Enter engine braking.

Engine braking is a driving technique that slows your car down by simply releasing your foot from the brake pedal, then shifting the gears down, one by one. This can be done in both manual and automatic transmission vehicles.

In a manual transmission vehicle, after you take your foot off the brake, keep it off, and then shift down through each gear until it is time to stop completely or gas back up. In automatic vehicles, release your foot from the pedal, then let the car slow down on its own. It is not recommended to use engine braking too often in automatic transmission vehicles.

Benefits of Engine Braking

Engine braking is an easy-to-do driving strategy that can extend the life of your car brakes and improve your vehicle’s overall efficiency. How does it work? In plain language, engine braking limits the amount of airflow sent to the engine, which causes the engine to decrease the speed of the wheel revolutions. There are many more benefits of engine braking. It reduces the rate of wear and tear on your car’s braking system and engine, especially in the case of long descents down steep roads or hills. Engine braking also increases your fuel economy, giving you better gas mileage. And, although not entirely true for automatic vehicles, engine braking is not harmful to your manual transmission so long as you do not let the RPMs go close to or above the red line on the dashboard gauge.

How to Engine Brake Safely

Engine braking is more than just taking your foot off the brake pedal and down shifting through each gear. There are some other good driving practices you must follow to protect your engine and transmission.

First, never shift down to a low gear when you are still driving fast. High speeds are not conducive to safe engine braking at low gears.

Also, it is very important to go through each gear. Avoid skipping a gear, as this can put a lot of strain on your transmission and engine.

Last, engine braking is a great driving tool, but not one to be overused. Too much engine braking can have adverse effects on your car.

Are you looking for professional car brake repair or maintenance in Indy? Contact Northeast Auto Service at 317-475-1846 for professional, ASE-licensed car brake repair in Indianapolis, Indiana. Check out our auto shop coupons, too!

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How to Detect Automotive Failure With Your Ears

How to Detect Automotive Failure With Your Ears

While driving, one might hear nothing but the purring of their car engine and the clicking of their turn signal. But there are times when a person can experience another set of noises they have never heard before; or ones that certainly startle. Such noises are not desirable, as they may portend the certainty of repairs and maintenance work ahead. But not to worry; most car noises, like thumping, crackling, grinding, and squeaking, are perfectly resolvable. The first step is to diagnose the cause of the noise or noises, and there are three very common noises that are related to a number of common repairs.

Continue reading to learn the top 3 most common car noises, how to listen for them, and what they might mean in terms of auto repair and service.

Engine Repair Indianapolis IN 317-475-1846
Engine Repair Indianapolis IN 317-475-1846

Car Noises That Indicate a Problem

Metal Grinding

If you are hearing metal on metal grinding sounds coming from somewhere in your car, this could possibly be the brakes.  Brakes are made up of balanced parts, each with a particular path that allows them to harmoniously work together toward a common goal of stopping the car. If any of these parts are worn or off-set, it can create noises that sound like grinding. This means your car is probably in need of some new brake pads, or possibly even some new rotors. It is always best to have a certified technician take a look to be sure what the catalyst for the noise really is. 

Aggressive Clunking

If you are suddenly hearing a heavy thumping or clanging sound coming from your vehicle, there is no telling whether or not it’s a serious or complex repair without further investigating some areas. These sounds could be occurring for a number of reasons, such as worn out or broken joints on a drive shaft and bad shocks. On the minor side, sometimes you just have something really heavy in your trunk and you keep hitting bumps on the road. Check your trunk, and if it turns out that’s not the issue, contact an auto repair shop to investigate further for you.

Whistling Engine Noise

This is not like the whistle of a train or trolley, but more like a hissing sound seeping out of your engine.  Sometimes this sound is followed by heavy steam coming from the engine and can even last after the car is turned off. The root of the whistling can be a variety of reasons, from cooling system leaks to overheated engines. Again, it is best to check with a professional to diagnose the issue accurately.  You do not want to risk a faulty repair job on your only means of transportation!

Concerned about the noises and sounds coming from your car or truck? Contact Northeast Auto Service at 317-475-1846 for engine repair and scheduled car maintenance in Indianapolis, Indiana you can afford. We also offer auto service coupons and discounts!

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

What You Need to Know About Serpentine Belt Replacement

A serpentine belt is not a tacky snakeskin wardrobe accessory. It is a vital automotive part that helps power your car’s engine. If you have been driving your vehicle for several years, but have never had the serpentine belt replaced, it could be time now. Continue reading to learn what you need to know about serpentine belts, including information on serpentine belt replacement, maintenance, and repair.

Serpentine Belt Replacement Indianapolis IN 317-475-1846
Serpentine Belt Replacement Indianapolis IN 317-475-1846

Serpentine Belt Operation and Design

A serpentine belt is a long belt inside the engine that winds around various pulleys, thus aligning them with the motion of the engine’s crankshaft. As the serpentine belt goes round, it causes the pulleys to turn, which sends power to many automotive components within a vehicle, including the air conditioning, alternator, power steering pump, and water pump.

If you have an older vehicle, keep in mind that they are known to require serpentine belt replacement sooner than modern-day vehicles do. Consult with your local Indianapolis auto repair shop to determine a routine car maintenance plan to support proper engine efficiency and performance.

Common Signs of a Failing Serpentine Belt

Although serpentine belts are manufactured to last for many years, they do need replaced every now and then. You will know if your serpentine belt needs to be replaced by looking for certain automotive performance issues. For instance, if you are having trouble with your air conditioning, car battery, or dimming lights in your car, it could be due to the serpentine belt not allowing the pulleys to send power to these automotive components.

Here’s What To Look For:

➾ Squealing Noise From Steering Wheel
➾ Battery Warning Light on Dash
➾ Temperature Warning Light on Dash
➾ Check Engine Light on Dash
➾ Sluggish or Heavy Steering
➾ Broken Air Conditioning

Serpentine Belt Replacement and Costs

Most automotive manufacturers recommend replacing serpentine belt at 60,000 miles; however, many vehicles can drive up to 100,000 miles without serpentine belt replacement work. The most important element of serpentine belt replacement is catching the need for replacement before the serpentine belt breaks.

Early diagnosis of engine problems is important, which is why routine car maintenance is critical for your vehicle’s safety, performance, and longevity. Your Indianapolis IN mechanic will be able to spot the need for serpentine belt work before it can break down on you. Not only can the save you a lot of time and stress, but it can also save you money.

The cost to replace a serpentine belt will depend on the price of the auto part itself and labor. Serpentine bells usually run anywhere from $25-$75, depending on the retailer and the make and model of the vehicle. Labor to remove and replace the serpentine belt can range anywhere from $100 to $200 or so. So, you can expect to pay anywhere between $200 and $300, depending on your make and model vehicle and the complexity of the job.

Are you looking for a trusted automotive mechanic for serpentine belt replacement in the Indy area? Contact Northeast Auto Service at 317-475-1846 for professional, ASE-licensed engine repair services in Indianapolis, Indiana. Check out our auto shop coupons, too!

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ASE Certified Automotive Mechanics 317-475-1846
ASE Certified Mechanics Indianapolis 317-475-1846

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

How to Tell if You Need to Replace the Spark Plugs in Your Car

If you are not a trained mechanic, you can’t always tell what’s wrong with your car, or whether there’s even anything wrong at all. But by educating yourself on the stop signs of different failing auto parts, you can better be attuned to what your car is trying to tell you. One of the most overlooked auto part replacement needs is bad spark plugs.

Continue reading to learn how to tell if you need to replace the spark plugs in your car, and who to trust for affordable auto repair and car maintenance in Indianapolis.

Indianapolis Spark Plug Replacement and Engine Repair
Indianapolis Spark Plug Replacement and Engine Repair 317-475-1846

What Do Spark Plugs Do?

Spark plugs are important automotive component because they play a vital role in your engine’s overall operation. As small electrical devices within a vehicle, spark plugs work by triggering combustion within the engine. And just like their name suggests, they produce a spark that ignites the air-fuel mixture within the combustion chambers of the engine cylinders. As a result, the engine gets the power it needs to move the vehicle. Basically, spark plugs are responsible for starting your car, keeping it started, and ensuring a smooth ride.

Signs of Bad Spark Plugs

Most auto manufacturers recommend replacing spark plugs every 30,000 miles, while others suggest their vehicles can last up to 100,000 miles or more before spark plug replacement is needed. Most spark plugs are made with metals like titanium and iridium, which are strong grades. Other spark plugs are made from copper, which tends to not last as long. Check with your owner’s manual or local Indianapolis auto mechanic to confirm your spark plug replacement schedule.

There are various symptoms a vehicle can demonstrate that may indicate an underlying problem with spark plugs. However, there are 5 very common signs that suggest your spark plugs have gone bad and should be replaced. These top five signs include poor gas mileage, engine misfires, engine turnover problems, slow or delayed acceleration, and bumpy idling.

Poor Gas Mileage

If you notice that your fuel tank is not lasting as long as it usually does, and no other changes have taken place within your driving habits for your vehicle, it could be a sign that your spark plugs are deteriorated. Spark plugs that are in good condition help your engine burn fuel efficiently, so when they start to deteriorate, one of the first signs is increased fuel consumption.

Engine Misfires

An engine misfire is when a running engine suddenly blows, pops, and shuts down. Misfires sound like sputtering, rough shaking, or a sudden wind down of power. Spark plugs are not in the best condition, they can cause engines to misfire because the spark producing is not adequate to ignite the air fuel mix within the combustion chambers.

Engine Turnover Problems

Like engine misfires, if you have trouble starting your car, whether in cold weather, when you have a low level gas, or for what seems like no reason at all, it could be because your spark plugs are dirty or damaged, and therefore not generating a strong enough spark anymore. Jerky starts or unsuccessful turnovers are a telltale sign of spark plug problems.

Slowed Acceleration

Slow or delayed acceleration is another common sign of bad spark plugs. When you press your foot down on the gas pedal, but your car doesn’t seem to respond as quickly as it used to, it could be because you were spark plugs are deteriorated or damaged. This sign could also indicate other issues, like dirty fuel injectors, defective oxygen sensors, and bad fuel pumps. But most often, it’s just the spark plugs, which fortunately, are much cheaper to repair.

Bumpy Idling

Rough, bumpy, and/or loud idling, whether sitting in the driveway waiting to take off, or at a stoplight, is a common sign that spark plugs have corroded. Keep your ears open for rattling, bumping, knocking, and pinging noises, which are all frequent symptoms of spark plug problem in the engine.

Are you looking for a trusted auto mechanic for help with your spark plug problem? Contact Northeast Auto Service at 317-475-1846 for engine repair and scheduled car maintenance in Indianapolis, Indiana you can afford. We also offer auto service coupons and discounts!

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ASE Certified Automotive Mechanics 317-475-1846
ASE Certified Mechanics Indianapolis 317-475-1846

What You Need to Know About Car Engine Steam Cleaning

After some time, some drivers will choose to have their engine’s steam cleaned to remove the years of built-up dirt, grease, and oil. But many drivers are hesitant to steam clean their engines because they believe it might be damaging to the motor. The reality is, if implemented properly and professionally, engine steam cleaning can be highly beneficial to a vehicle. But if not done properly, it can have the potential to cause some interior damage to a vehicle’s engine.

Continue reading to learn more about engine steam cleaning, and tips to promote better engine performance.

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

Car Engine Cleaning Services

Engine steam cleaning uses hot, high-pressured water to remove particle build-up and accumulation in a vehicle’s engine and motor compartment. It is intended to clean the engine and promote smoother and improved performance. Many automotive service shops that provide this service will also use a de-greasing additive to assist in the removal process. These products break the oils and grease down, making it substantially easier to remove them.

The most important precaution to take in the process of engine steam cleaning is to make sure water does not get inside the engine, including the air intake and under the distributor cap. If water enters these areas, there can be problems. The other precaution to take in terms of engine cleaning is using the high-pressure water wand properly as to not remove paint and manufacturer decals.

These reasons are why it requires the skill of a trained professional to implement a safe engine steam cleaning job. Not only do they have to constantly move and maneuver the water wand to ensure exterior damage is avoided, they must also have the skill to comprehensively clean the engine and compartment proficiently and without causing water to enter the engine.

Car Engine Maintenance and Care

It is important to follow your vehicle’s recommended maintenance schedule as lined out in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. Always be sure your car has all the required fluids it needs to operate safely and properly, and have these fluids flushed, changed, or re-filled as necessary. After several thousand miles, it is important to have your motor serviced, to inspect everything from timing belts and spark plugs to distribution caps, transfers cases, and much more. An engine tune-up is necessary after 60,000 miles or so. Talk to your local trusted Indianapolis IN auto repair mechanic about your vehicle’s necessary maintenance schedule, and catch up on all the services you need now, before the winter is here!

Are you looking for fast and affordable car engine repair and service near you? Contact Northeast Auto Service at 317-475-1846 for professional, ASE-licensed engine repair services in Indianapolis, Indiana. Check out our auto shop coupons, too!

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

Do I Have to Repair a Check Engine Light?

When that check engine light comes on, the panic starts to set in. “How much is this going to cost me?” is the only thought that runs through your head until you take your vehicle to a mechanic for an inspection. But while you wait for the diagnosis, there is no need to worry prematurely; not all check engine light warnings are serious. In fact, some are so minor, car owners ask themselves whether or not it’s even worth fixing. On the other hand, some are so easy to fix, you can manage it on your own, and at no cost.

If your check engine light is on, continue reading to learn why it might have illuminated and what your options are for repair.

Indianapolis Check Engine Light Repair
Indianapolis Check Engine Light Repair 317-475-1846

Check Engine Light Warnings

A check engine light is also referred to as a malfunctioning indicator lamp (MIL). They are designed to detect mechanical and electrical issues within a vehicle, and then illuminate upon detection. Once your check engine light comes on, your first step is to get a diagnostic reading. You can purchase a check engine light code reader online or at your local auto supply store, however, it is better to have it done by a trained mechanic who can help you understand the issue and your options for repair.

Minor Automotive Issues

Some of the most common causes for a check engine light to illuminate are somewhat minor problems. For example, a top cause is a loose or open gas cap. Simply forgetting to close your gas cap can cause your check engine light to illuminate, so be sure to always check this first before heading to your local auto shop. Another common cause for a check engine light to come on is low tire pressure. Not all vehicle’s are designed with a malfunctioning indicator lamp that will detect this issue, but most newer models do. Simply tend to your tire as needed, and the check engine light will turn off.

Moderate to Major Automotive Issues

The check engine light is also designed to detect more serious issues with your vehicle. If the minor causes are not applicable to your situation, it could be a moderate to major automotive issue. Some of the most common moderate to major issues detected by a malfunctioning indicator lamp include:

Your vehicle needs a new oxygen (o2) sensor.

Your vehicle needs a new mass airflow sensor (MAF).

Your vehicle needs new spark plugs or plug wires.

The catalytic converter is damaged or defective.

To Repair or Not to Repair

It is important to talk to your trusted Indianapolis mechanic for advice on car care and automotive repair. If your check engine light came on due to a minor issue, you won’t need auto repair service. However, if it came on due to something more serious, the issue must be repaired or corrected in order to safety and efficiency of your vehicle. Even if you feel that your car is operating just fine, you should still have it inspected, as some problems can start small and worsen, overtime.

Need an Auto Mechanic?

Call Northeast Auto Service at 317-475-1846 for professional Indianapolis check engine light services you can trust. Our ASE certified car mechanics provide a wide range of automotive services for all make and model vehicles, foreign and domestic. Schedule a free inspection and estimate, anytime. Don’t forget to ask us about our auto repair coupons and discounts!

3 Options for Homemade Engine Degreaser

Engine degreasing involves removing the buildup of dirt, oil and grease inside a car engine compartment. Removing this accumulation is beneficial for several reasons. Not only does it make your car engine look brand new, it enhances performance and efficiency, which in turn, saves you money on fuel, repairs, replacements, and more. In fact, a cleaner engine runs cooler, which is better for all interior automotive systems.

Best of all, you do not have to spend your hard earned money on expensive engine cleaners to get the job done right. You can make your own engine degreasing solutions with a few common household ingredients. There are several recipes to choose from, so the one you choose will largely depend on what you have one hand and what you are comfortable applying to your vehicle.

Continue reading to learn the top three most recommended recipes for homemade engine degreaser, as well as, what to do if you are experiencing car engine troubles.

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

❶ Sodium Carbonate Washing Soda

For this engine degreaser, you will need ¼ cup of sodium carbonate washing soda, also known as washing ash. You will also need one gallon of warm water. Simply combine the two ingredients until they are fully incorporated, then transfer it to a plastic spray bottle. Do not use baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) as a substitution because it will not clean as effectively.

❷ Kerosene Degreaser

This recipe may sound strange, but kerosene works well to remove grease and gunk from engines. For this engine degreasing solution, you will need kerosene, water, and liquid dish soap. Combine one part kerosene with four parts water, and then add a few drops of soap. Then transfer to a plastic spray bottle. Just be very careful working with and storing this solution, as kerosene is highly flammable.  

❸ Ammonia Degreaser

For this engine degreaser recipe, you will need to mix two parts ammonia, two parts water, and one part liquid dish soap into a plastic spray bottle. Be sure all ingredients are thoroughly combined. It is important to be very cautious when using this degreaser because ammonia is caustic and can harm the eyes, nose, throat, and mouth.

Using Your Engine Degreasing Solution

The first step to using your engine degreaser is to ensure your car engine is off and completely cooled. You will also need to don some protective gear, such as work gloves, safety goggles, and apron. Once your engine is cool and you are geared up, it is time to apply your solution with a stiff bristled scrubbing brush.

Start by generously coating the engine compartment with your degreaser. Let it to sit for a few minutes, then use your brush to scrub the solution in, one small section at a time. Do your best to avoid hoses and wiring, as strong cleaning chemicals can damage them if they are delicate. Finish by thoroughly rinsing your work areas with clean water, and then patting it all dry with a microfiber cloth.

Do You Have Car Engine Problems in Indianapolis?

Call Northeast Auto Service at 317-475-1846 for car engine service and 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, automotive service coupons, and more. Call 317-475-1846 to request a free estimate for Indianapolis auto repair, today.

ASE Certified Automotive Mechanics 317-475-1846

Simple Instructions for Engine Cleaning and Detailing

Regular scheduled maintenance and routine care are imperative when it comes to cars or trucks. The engine is one of the most vital components to maintain. Regular engine cleaning for any make or model car and truck will protect it from major damages and costly breakdowns. There are several ways to approach cleaning a car engine; however, it’s strongly recommended to understand and educate oneself on the best practices of engine maintenance. Continue reading to learn the easiest and most effective ways to clean a car engine at home.

Indianapolis Engine Repair 317-475-1846

Indianapolis Engine Repair 317-475-1846

Step-By-Step Guide to Engine Cleaning

First, find an area outside that is far from a storm drain or sewer. You do not want the soapy runoff to enter these trenches because it can have harmful effects on the surrounding environment. There will be engine sludge and other waste that you will need to responsibly dispose of; so find a place ahead of time and have a plan to make the process smoother.

If your engine is very heavily soiled, it is helpful to turn it on and let it run for five minutes or so. This will loosen accumulated dirt, grease, and debris. Do not let the engine run too long because it will become too hot to touch by hand. Once this is done, remove the negative battery and the positive battery cables. Be sure it is in this order.

You are almost ready to start cleaning at this point, but you still need to make sure water and soap will not enter parts of the vehicle. Grab some plastic tarp, or bags, and use them to cover the electrical components and other areas that you don’t want to get wet.

Locate a thick bristled brush, such as a stiff paint brush, and begin scraping away the accumulated fragments and dirt on the engine’s surface. This makes the lathering process more effective. To start this step, mix a solution of dish detergent, preferably liquid, and warm water. Dish detergent has grease-fighting elements in it that cut through engine grease well.

Use the thick brush to apply the solution and scrub the engine inside and out. This step requires a little elbow grease, so be prepared to put in some effort. The more you scrub the more thorough the cleaner the engine will turn out.

Use a garden hose to lightly rinse the soap and residue away. Be sure to let the engine dry completely before turning it over. Driving with a wet engine can inflict serious and costly damages. Remove the plastic and store for the next scheduled cleaning.

Indianapolis Auto Mechanics

Factory Scheduled Maintenance Indianapolis IN

Auto Repair Coupons 317-475-1846

For more information about car engine care and regular scheduled maintenance, call our professional Indianapolis car mechanics for free advice and information. Feel free to discuss anything you can need; from tips to improving your gas mileage to fuel system repair. Here at North East Auto, we care about helping our community in any way possible. We provide free estimates, DIY advice, auto repair coupons, fair rates, and more.

Trust our licensed and trained auto repair technicians to give you accurate and honest advice for car Indianapolis car engine repair, care, and maintenance in Indiana.