Thursday, June 21, 2018

Grandparenting – 101

A quote attributed to Charles and Ann Morse says “The history of our grandparents is remembered not with rose petals but in the laughter and tears of their children and their children’s children. It is into us that the lives of grandparents have gone. It is in us that their history becomes a future.”

This blog has nothing to do with cars but everything to do with life!  Joe and I became grandparents for the first time to twin baby girls last week.  We’ve run through a gamut of emotions from uncertainty to pure love and joy.  Wow!  We have a new role in life and it feels completely different from when we became parents.  It is crazy how much love we feel for these tiny little girls.  I feel that I would do anything possible for their safety and well-being.

When we were younger, my whole family took beach vacations together each summer.   There were four families staying in one house.  Each morning, my dad cooked big breakfasts for everyone.  One year, when our son was about 2 or so, he woke up late in the morning.   Since it was so late, everything was cleaned up and put away.   Our son was crying that he wanted pancakes and I told him no, he had to eat cereal.   Of course, he started acting like a 2 year-old and I saw my mother get up and start rooting in the cupboard.  I asked her what she was doing and she said I’m getting a pan to make my baby pancakes.  I was not happy and insisted he should just eat cereal.   I cannot remember if my son ate cereal or pancakes that day but, at the time, I didn’t understand why she would give in to him.   Well, the tables have turned and I totally get it now!

Being a grandparent means absolute joy, that we are no longer in charge and can come and go as we please, we’ll learn from our grand-babies and them from us, we have free reign to be as silly as we want and can burst out singing the wheels on the bus go round and round anytime we want, we‘ll take in the love these girls receive from others around them and we get to see a pure and perfect love in their eyes.

Our wish for these little girls is that they grow up to be as happy as possible.  Our time on this earth may be short and we want every minute we spend with them to be precious.  We want them to treasure the memories of times they will be with us.  We are determined to impart as much wisdom as we can upon them and let them know they are loved, no matter what.  We look forward to learning from them and seeing the world again through a child's eyes.  And last, but not least, Joe ad I are embracing our new roles in life as Gam Gam and Grandpa!  What a week it has been and, as my Dad always said, "The best is yet to come!"

Keep checking our blog for the latest news and tips from Holzhauser’s Auto!

Thursday, May 17, 2018


What is a timing belt and why is it important to change it at suggested intervals?

A timing belt is a toothed belt that keeps the engine in sync, or keeps the engine “in time.” Your engine has 2 halves, an upper half and a lower half.  The lower half consists of the crankshaft.  A crankshaft is known as a rotating assembly and has pistons connected to it.  The upper half is the cylinder head and contains the camshaft or multiple camshafts. 
While the engine is running, the pistons are forced downward causing the crankshaft to rotate. The crankshaft has a toothed gear on the front that the timing belt rides on. This rotation causes the belt to move and spin the other half of the engine containing the camshaft. The camshaft also has a toothed gear attached. This camshaft pushes on the valves against the springs to make them open. This lets air and fuel in on the intake side, and also lets burned exhaust gasses out through the exhaust side. Obviously, it is important for those things to happen at the precise time.
When the timing belt ages, the teeth begin to crack on the inside and can break off.  This break in the belt will allow the upper end of the engine to stop moving and the lower end to spin but not spin the timing belt.
In some engines there could be a valve or two that are still open when the piston comes up which in turn allows the piston to hit and possibly bend the valve. This is engine failure and will require engine disassembly.  Replacing the timing belt is a far less costly service and will prevent engine damage.
The timing belt also drives the water pump in a lot of engines.  Holzhauser's Auto Service recommends replacing the water pump and tensioner at the same time as the timing belt.  At this juncture you are just paying for parts and no additional labor, as we are working in this area anyway.
During the month of May, 2018 we are offering a Free Oil Change (Up to $50) when you have your timing belt replaced.  Call us at (410) 272-1170 to schedule your appointment today.  
Holzhauser’s Auto is your one-stop auto shop in Harford County, MD.
 Keep checking our blog for the latest news and tips from Holzhauser’s Auto!

Monday, February 5, 2018

FIXD - Does This New DIY Diagnostic Device Really Fix Car Problems?
There is a new product on the market called FIXD.   I have seen it numerous times advertised on social media.   What is FIXD you ask?   They claim it is “a device you can carry with you in your car to tell you exactly what is wrong with it!”   WHAT????  Sign us up!

The ad for FIXD talks about how “mechanics” knowingly and easily take advantage of people because of their lack of knowledge about car maintenance needs and that they also lie to you and charge you whatever they want because they are only in it for the $$$$.  This product, they claim, is so simple to use that you just plug it into your OBD-II port (on cars that are 1996 and newer).  You download an app on your smart phone and the system is able to identify 6,800 maladies affecting your car that may turn the check engine light on.  It also gives you the ability to clear dashboard lights, including TPMS, ABS, Airbag or Maintenance.

Here’s the thing.   This “tool” may tell you what area is causing your check engine light to be on but it does not tell you how to fix it.  Say a code comes up because the engine is not receiving enough fuel.   Ok, so how does FIXD tell you how to fix that?  Most folks wouldn’t know where to begin because they do not have automotive training to know how to properly repair this.  Our certified technicians have had schooling and continued education so they can read the codes and know exactly where to begin to fix this problem.  And if you just clear the dashboard light, that does not make the problem go away!

We have professional tools that plug into your engine’s computer that scans for codes.  It does not tell us how to fix the problem specifically, but points us to the area of which component is failing.  We then use our years of experience and equipment to determine what the best fix for your vehicle is.   We will scan your vehicle if you have acheck engine light for FREE!   Yep – we’ll do it for free and tell you what area of failure you have.  At that point, you have the option of repairing the vehicle yourself or having us do the work.

As far as the claim that auto repair shops are trying to rip people off, that is bunk!   We have consistently worked very hard to change this perception of automotive shops.  We believe it is our duty to educate you on your vehicle.   Knowledge is powerful and if you understand what we are doing, then you will have a better understanding of how your car works.
Maybe I am feeling a little cynical about this product.  I don’t know but I do know the old adage, “when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.”

Keep checking our blog for the latest news and tips from Holzhauser’s Auto!

Thursday, January 11, 2018


Most vehicles are required to undergo a safety inspection prior to obtaining vehicle plates in the State of Maryland.   Usually, the seller or the person transferring the vehicle is required to obtain the inspection certificate.  In some cases, a vehicle is sold privately and is not inspected.  In this case, it is the buyer’s responsibility to get the car inspected in order to tag the vehicle.

Holzhauser’s Auto Service is an authorized Maryland safety inspection station.   Our fee for Maryland State Inspection is $79.95.  We have been licensed by the Maryland State police and are authorized to inspect:

-          Passenger cars
-          Light trucks and SUVs with a gross vehicle weight of 10,000 lbs. or less, and
-          Trailers that are 20 feet in length or less, without air brakes.

The safety inspection takes about 1-1/2 hours to go through all the components, so it is best to schedule an appointment to drop your vehicle off.  The inspector will inspect your vehicle and prepare an inspection report showing the vehicle parts or systems examined and whether or not they have met Maryland’s standards.

If the vehicle meets the safety standards, the inspector will electronically transmit the e-inspection to the Motor Vehicle Administration.  You will receive the inspection number showing that the vehicle has passed that you can take with you to the MVA.

If your vehicle does not pass the safety standards, an inspection certificate cannot be issued.  It is your responsibility to have the problems that failed fixed and re-inspected at the same inspection station and by the same inspector.   

You have three options for fixing the repairs:  
(1) Get a quote from the inspection station to fix the repairs, 
(2) Take the vehicle to another facility for repairs or 
(3) Fix the problem yourself.

The vehicle must be re-inspected within 30 days of the original inspection date and you have driven it less than 1,000 miles.   The inspector will re-inspect the failed items from the initial inspection, however, if a new defect is visually observed during the re-inspection, the newly discovered defect must be repaired and re-inspected.  There is no charge for each re-inspection if the repair can be visually verified, such as a burned out light bulb.   However, if jacking, lifting, measuring or testing the vehicle is required, a re-inspection fee may be charged.

If you have any questions about the inspection process you can contact us directly at (410) 272-1170 or contact the Maryland State Police, Automotive Safety Enforcement Division at 1-800-950-1682.

Happy New Year!

Keep checking our blog for the latest news and tips from Holzhauser’s Auto!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Super Bowl and Cars!

Holzhauser's Auto Tips - Old vs. New

“Two old men in a retirement village were sitting in the reading room and one said to the other, ''How do you really feel? I mean, you're 82 years old, how do you honestly feel?''
''Honestly, I feel like a newborn baby. I've got no hair, no teeth, and I just wet myself.''

As I sit here watching Super Bowl 50 I can't help but think about old vs new. Peyton Manning is a seasoned quarterback at 39 years old playing on The Denver Broncos, a team that's been around since 1960. On the other side, there is Cam Newton at 26 years old playing for the Carolina Panthers who have only been around since 1993. Both teams are equally matched as each won their Division. 

How does this relate to cars you ask?  My question:   which is better -- an older car or a new car right off of the showroom floor?  Of course, the newer car will have all the latest bells and whistles but the older car, while not being up to date with the latest features, can still be just as reliable as the new car if it is well maintained. 

When customers are faced with the decision of making a costly repair or trading their vehicle in for a newer model it is our job to explain to them the vehicle’s condition so they can make the right decision for their budget. If a car has been properly maintained (oil changed regularly and scheduled maintenances done) then it may be worth doing the repair and keeping the car for several more years. If, however, the car has not been maintained on a regular basis then the repairs necessary to get it up to date may not be worth it.

We advise customers of the condition of their vehicle so that they can make an informed decision to repair or replace the vehicle. Of course we are always here to answer any questions you may have regarding your car, so please do not hesitate to stop in to see us. 

Keep checking our blog for the latest news and tips from Holzhauser’s Auto!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Celebrating 20 Years!

“Success is not the key to happiness.  Happiness is the key to success.  If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”
– Albert Schweitzer

Today I walked into the bank and was greeted with lots of congratulations and handshakes.  Our local paper ran a press release regarding Holzhauser’s Auto’s 20th Anniversary.  I never really gave it much thought as I am not the “pomp and circumstance” type so I was caught off guard at first.  After accepting the congratulations, it sank in what we have accomplished over the years. Twenty years in business is something to celebrate.  Joe and I have put out hearts and souls into our business, but a business isn’t just comprised of that.  Without all the folks who help us daily, especially our employees, we wouldn’t be where we are today.  Our employees are the best in the business and we consider them a part of our family.  Our parts vendors, drivers, uniform delivery service, tool trucks and everyone else who is involved with our business on a daily basis must be thanked for helping us reach this monumental milestone.  We are truly blessed to be celebrating our 20 year anniversary.  Most of all we are truly thankful for all of our wonderful customers who patronize us each and every day, some who have been with us since we opened our doors in 1995.  We have watched their families grow up throughout the years and some of their children are now our customers.  Likewise, they have watched our children grow up and begin families of their own.  Joe and I love doing what we do and still believe, “the best is yet to come!”

auto repair aberdeen
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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Why We Do What We Do

A German walks into a bar and asks for a martini. The bartender asks, “Dry?”
The German replies, “Nein, just one.”

(“Drei”—pronounced “dry”—is German for “three”. “Nein”—pronounced “nine”—is German for “No”. Yes … I know - “Dieser Witz stinkt” is German for “This joke stinks.”)

Many people don’t know why they are in business.   Yes, of course they know what they do in their business.   In our business, for example, we fix cars.   It’s what we do.

However, I’ve recently been asked, “Why did you start a business?   Why do you do what you do?”   That is a really good question and made me think long and hard.

We started our business because Joe and I felt like we could provide a quality of care and service for what we believe auto repair should be.  We are concerned about safety issues and to address that, we believe cars should be maintained to run properly and be dependable.   We also want our customers to receive the respect and individualized attention they deserve.

Yes we fix cars, but we’re also in the maintenance business – trying to keep your car on the road as long as possible.   Most importantly though, we are in the customer satisfaction business.  One of our goals is to have every customer leave our shop feeling satisfied that we fixed or maintained their car exactly the way they wanted it done.   We also, want customers to feel that they can call us anytime with questions concerning their vehicle.   This all ties in to quality of care, what we believe in.

We love providing top-notch auto repair as is expected.   Thank you for trusting in our service for the past 20 years.  We couldn’t have done it without you.

My question is, why is that German drinking martinis?   Shouldn’t he be having a big stein of beer, nein?

Keep checking our blog for the latest news and tips from Holzhauser’s Auto!