Signs of a Damaged Heater Core

Car Heater Dashboard

Vehicle owners may or may not know about the heater core located behind their dashboard. This mechanism operates your defrost and heating functions. If you are having trouble with your car’s heating system in Atascadero, CA, Rick’s German Performance can help. We offer heater core replacement services in the Atascadero and Paso Robles area. If you are unsure if your car’s system constitute repair services, check out these signs of a damaged heater core:

Busted Heater

If your car isn’t getting any heat, you will be able to notice pretty easily. This is obviously apparent during the winter months. While other factors could be causing the lack of heat, one of the most common ones is a hole in your heater core. This sucks in the heat before it ever reaches your cabin, rendering your heater effectively worthless.

Fogged Windshield

If your windshield and windows are fogging up uncontrollably, it is a common sign of heater core damage. You will likely notice condensation on all of the windows. This indicates a leak in the core mechanism. Vaporized coolant is actually dripping into your vehicle’s cabin.

Humid Aroma

Not every sign of a damaged heater core is visible. But sometimes you can actually smell it. Leaking radiator fluid has an almost sweet smell but certainly a humid aroma. This smell can be apparent on both the interior and exterior of your vehicle. Double check underneath your car for signs of liquid. Call (805) 466-3236 for heater core repair in Atascadero, CA and Paso Robles, CA.

Three Fall Car Tips

Fall Car Tips

As the Seasons Change, Make Sure Your Car is Ready/

As summer wanes and winter approaches, car owners should practice a few fall car tips. Decreasing temperatures and the end of summer’s demands require a few updates. Also, you will need to review and account for any wear or maintenance needs after a busy, hot summer. Utilize these fall car tips, and you’ll be ready for the road in no time.

Check Belts, Fluids, Hoses

Summer takes a toll on a vehicle. For a safe fall, you’ll want to check your car’s belts, fluids, and hoses to make sure that none need the attention of a mechanic. You should also change your oil if needed.


Your antifreeze must have equivalence to the temperatures in which you drive your car. Antifreeze can become diluted over the summer, and needs attention to cope with colder temperatures. Without the proper amount, your engine’s operation can suffer.

Tire Pressure and Fuel Lines

Colder weather has a special impact on these two areas. The change in weather can cause your tires to expand or contract, which results in lower tire pressure. Fuel lines can also suffer negative impacts from cold weather. For especially cold weather, you may need to use fuel supplements to prevent freezing.

Update Car Kit

Seasonal changes should also affect changes to your car kit. As cold weather approaches, update it with blankets, gloves, or other items that will add to your comfort.

While many people overlook fall as a reason to review your vehicle, seasonal changes do make our fall car tips necessary. If you own a German-made vehicle and need assistance in  Atascadero, CA, contact RIck’s German Performance at __PHONE__.


Three Signs You Need Transmission Repair

transmission repair

The transmission is one of a car’s most complicated mechanisms.

A car’s transmission serves as its heart. This complicated mechanism transfers the engine’s power to the wheels and enables the car to move. With a faulty or failing transmission, your car may actually cease to function. To prevent such an occurrence, you should recognize when your car needs transmission repair.

Warning Light Activation

Though they often get ignored, a car’s warning lights provide valuable indicators of repair needs. For the transmission especially, the light will indicate subtle vibrations that precede serious problems. As a general rule of thumb, always take your vehicle for service if a warning light activates.

Fluid Leaks

Your transmission would quickly overheat and fail without the presence of transmission fluid. The transmission does not consume this fluid, however, and any loss opens the door to major problems. A transmission fluid leak, for example, opens the door for serious problems. You can always detect transmission fluid thanks to its sweet smell.

Movement Delays

Transmissions should operate smoothly, with no jerks or sudden movements. The design of transmissions enables them to enter gears smoothly. Any delay in this function indicates trouble that could quickly evolve into an emergency. Another sign occurs when your engine revs without an accompanying response in movement. This means that your transmission struggles with the transfer of power, a sure sign that its needs service.

For any needs with transmission repair in Atascadero or Paso Robles, CA, call (805) 466-3236 today for Rick’s German Performance. We take care of all your service needs for German-made vehicles.

How to tell if it’s Time to Replace Car Belts

Your car has different belts that keep the components running together. It’s important to know what kind of car belts you have and know when to replace them. Ask your local mechanic today about serpentine and timing belt replacement in Atascadero and Paso Robles.

Timing Belt

A timing belt ensures the components inside your engine move at the right time while the vehicle is on. A broken timing belt causes engine misfire and other related issues.

Timing Belt Replacement

Oil leakages often affect the timing belt before any other component in the vehicle. While timing belt breakage doesn’t cause oil leaks, it’s time to check the timing belt if any leakages occur.

belt repair

Have your belts checked with every oil change for belt maintenance.

Serpentine Belt

The word “serpentine” means snake. It is not, made of serpentine (an earthy mineral that looks like snake skin). This belt winds around 3 or 4 different pieces of the engine, including the power steering pump and the alternator. If the belt breaks, the components don’t synchronize, and could cause even further damage to your engine and other parts of the vehicle.

Serpentine Belt Replacement

The serpentine belt controls cooling components of the vehicle, overheating indicates belt failure. Engine overheating, A/C failure and loss of power steering could all be major indicators that the serpentine belt has failed.

Changing these belts during ownership of a vehicle is inevitable. Have your local mechanic check them with each oil change or maintenance visit. This prevents further damage to the rest of your vehicle.

Contact Us 

When you experience these symptoms, call the mechanics. Our experts at Rick’s German Auto work on a variety of cars. A serpentine or timing belt replacement in Atascadero and Paso Robles is our specialty. Call (805) 466-3236 for repairs today.

3 Signs Your Car Needs A Wheel Alignment ASAP

Many car owners can notice when something is different about their car. If you are noticing some unfamiliar changes in the way your car drives, sounds, or performs, it is important to have it checked out by a professional as quickly as possible. However, not all changes in your car are cause for alarm. When it comes to wheel alignment, if you can recognize these 3 symptoms, you can confidently ask for exactly what your car needs!


Does your car pull strongly to the left or the right when you’re driving? This is often an issue with wheel alignment. If you aren’t sure if your car is pulling, find a flat, even road to test on. If your car continues to pull in one direction when you are driving on the flat and even road, you likely need a wheel alignment service!


Does your steering wheel vibrate when you drive down the highway? This is a fairly common indication that your wheels need alignment. If you are experiencing this, slow down and look for a shop sooner rather than later!

Uneven Wear

Everyone knows that your tires are incredibly important to your safety when driving, so it is important tot check on their condition frequently.If you are noticing uneven wear and tear on your tires, you probably need a wheel alignment. Typically you will notice more wear towards the outside of your tires in this situation.


If you notice any of these 3 symptoms with your vehicle, bring your car in to be looked at by a professional mechanic. Though these are often indicative of a wheel alignment issue, they can also point to other problems at times. If you need a trusted mechanic in Atascadero, CA, call us at (805) 466-3236 today! Our professionals are happy to assist you with all of your vehicle care and repair needs!

wheel alignment services

Pay Close Attention To Your Car’s Performance With These Tips!



Get Your Car Ready for Summer

summer maintenance

Don’t get stranded this summer – review this checklist of summer maintenance.

The heat, dust, and traffic of summer will do a number on any vehicle. If significant time has passed since your last scheduled service, the season of fun could bring with it an unwanted breakdown. You can prevent against most vehicle disasters with regularly scheduled summer maintenance. To get your car ready for summer, prepare it against this checklist.

Air Conditioner

An air conditioning system that has never seen service could well meet failure at the hands of summer’s exertions. At the very least, you should replace your air conditioning filter. Otherwise, get your air conditioner serviced with a certified technician.

Cooling System

The vast majority of summer breakdowns occur as a result of overheating. Ideally, you should get your coolant system flushed and refilled once every two years. As with your air conditioning service, this is another job you should leave with the pros.

Oil and Tires

In preparation for any big road trips, go ahead and get your oil changed. As for your tires, you should have them rotated every 5,000 miles to prevent against unnecessary wear and blowouts.


The last thing any traveler wants is a dead battery in the middle of nowhere. Again, preventative maintenance can serve you well here. Get your battery fully inspected before you begin any long trips.

Emergency Kit

Since summer brings with it more travel, you should prepare a kit for any possible emergencies. Go ahead and pack a blanket, first aid kit, and strong flashlight in your trunk. You will definitely thank yourself should the situation arise where you need these things.

For summer maintenance on German-made automobiles, do not hesitate to contact us at (805) 466-3236. At Rick’s German Performance, we are the local experts for Atascadero and Paso Robles. 



3 Vehicle Maintenance Myths

Vehicle MaintenanceWhen it comes to doing what’s best for your vehicle, you can’t listen to everything you hear. We’re sure that you’ve heard the myths about vehicle maintenance, but the auto experts at Rick’s German Performance is here to shed some light on what’s real and what’s not.

  • If you don’t hear or feel anything out of the ordinary, then everything is fine: This is one myth that proves to be the downfall of many vehicles. Just because there’s no apparent sign of distress, doesn’t mean that there’s not an underlying problem. Be sure to schedule appointments for regular vehicle maintenance to ensure that your vehicle remains in good condition for years to come.
  • Premium gas is better than regular gas: It depends on your vehicle. Premium gasoline is made for high compression engines and helps alleviate pre-ignition issues. Most people have vehicles that only need regular gas and wouldn’t necessarily benefit from using higher octane fuel. So although putting premium fuel in your vehicle wouldn’t do any harm, it would end up being a waste of money for most car owners.
  • You MUST get your oil changed once every 3,000 miles: Rewind a few decades back, this would be true. With modern engine designs, most vehicles can go for at least 7,000 miles before needing an oil change and some even more.

Trust the auto specialists at Rick’s German Performance to answer all of your vehicle questions and to debunk those crazy vehicle maintenance myths. Contact us today at (805) 466-3236.

3 Signs You Need to Change the Oil In Your Car

One of the easiest ways to maintain your car is by getting an oil change. While most cars don’t require an oil change very often, it still tends to be overlooked. In order to have a car that’s in great condition, changing the oil in your car at least every 3,000 to 5,000 miles will definitely help. If you’ve forgotten to change the oil or are unsure of when your oil was last changed, there are a few signs that will let you know when you need to change the oil in your car.

3 Signs You Need to Change the Oil In Your Car

Oil Change is Taking Place.

Oil Light Is On

Cars usually have a light that comes on your dash when you need an oil change. If you have an older vehicle, the check engine light might come on. When you are unsure of when you oil was last changed, having your oil light come is a great indicator.

Engine Noises

If your engine is making noises that are out of the ordinary or there are grinding noises, it might be time to change your oil. Engine oil is used to lubricate the engine, making it run easier. If your oil hasn’t been changed in a while, it will cause your engine to work harder, making it more susceptible to damages.

Color of Oil

Car oil that is new and fresh will have a really light consistency. If you check the oil on your dipstick and it’s a darker color, it’s time to get your oil changed.

If you need auto repair services in Atascadero, CA, give the experts at Rick’s German Performance a call at (805) 466-3236 today.

Suspension System Failure Warnings

Photo of suspensionWhen your car is rolling down the road, your suspension is there for you. This system keeps your car balanced and allows for stable driving. Without it, your car would not function. So, how can you tell when this system needs a little bit of TLC. When it comes to needing service, suspension systems have obvious signs that will tell you it is time to take your car to the shop. 

Signs Your Suspension Is Failing

Sign #1: Bottoming Out

When suspension springs wear, they allow for a lot of give in your vehicle’s handling. One of the most visible points of this is when you drive through a dip. Does your car bottom out? This means your springs are worn and need replacement.

Sign #2 Bouncing Down The Road

Similar to bottoming out, bouncing is another sign of spring wear. You’ve seen on TV and in movies when people bounce a car up and down. If your car continues to bounce after this is done, there is a good chance your springs are telling you it is time for service.

Sign #3 Tilting

Your suspension springs keep your car balanced and even as you drive down the road. When you get in do you notice your car leaning toward one side? This means your springs are wearing unevenly or you may even have a collapsed spring.

Sign #4 Tire Wear

We all know to replace our tires after a certain amount of wear, but what should you do when it is uneven? Have your local auto mechanic inspect it. Uneven wear on tires could indicate that there is a larger problem on hand with your suspension alignment.

Have more questions on your car’s suspension? Notice any of the above signs? Call Rick’s German Performance at (805) 466-3236 for your service today!

Improving Your Gas Mileage

If you travel a lot, it can be difficult to prevent having to constantly return to the gas station to fill up. These are a few ways you can improve on how much fuel your vehicle needs to run properly.

Highway Traffic

When was the last time you checked the pressure in your tires? Low tire pressure not only increases the chances of tire trouble leaving stranded, but it also makes the engine work harder in order to move your vehicle. Keeping your tires at the correct pressure will keep you safe on the road and save you money on fuel.

Replacing the air filter in your vehicle can make a difference too. A dirty air filter will reduce the amount of airflow that makes it into the engine. If your engine isn’t performing well, extra fuel will be used to help your vehicle run.

Stick with the speed limit to avoid tickets but also ensure your car is running at it’s best performance level. A lot of vehicles are built to operate efficiently between 45 – 60 mph. Speeding along the highway will increase engine use and use up more fuel too.

Taking your vehicle in for regular maintenance can improve engine performance as well. If you need automotive maintenance in Atascadero, CA or the surrounding area, contact Rick’s German Performance today. Our ASE certified automotive mechanics can ensure that your vehicle is running in the best condition possible. Call (805) 466-3236 to learn more.