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Babcock Auto Care

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Let’s Take Back Thanksgiving

Do you remember the days when no store (except gas stations) were opening on the holidays—especially Thanksgiving and Christmas? Where have they gone? Why have decided to not only open but to encroach upon our time to be Thankful? Why are we losing the feeling of the holidays and allowing sales at the stores invade?

But maybe, just maybe, this is about to change with the announcement from the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN*—the largest shopping mall in the country. You see, they are going against the grain, they are taking Thanksgiving back! The Mall of America is allowing their employees to take all of Thanksgiving off to spend with their family and friends. Bravo, *Mall of America! I am sure that the sales can be had on Black Friday and you will surely be blessed for your decision to keep our day of thanks!

Auto Repair Shops in Rochester, MN and all over the country also close on Thanksgiving … though I am sure there are some in need of auto repair when they are traveling. In order to avoid this to the best of you ability, I encourage you to get all repairs and maintenance needed well before the holidays. Most people procrastinate so that means, if you wait like them, your local automotive repair facility, even in Rochester, MN, a smaller town compared to some, will be very busy taking care of all the procrastinators. Don’t get me wrong—I can be a procrastinator too! But it sure does pay to take care of vehicle repairs and maintenance as soon as they are needed—saving you valuable time needed to get other things ready.

Remember, safety is important but so are maintenance and timely repairs, so make sure these things in are in good working order as you travel the roadways locally in Rochester, MN, to the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN for Black Friday, or going to visit relatives in a different state:



Tires, tire rotations, balance


Wheel Alignments

Check Engine Light Diagnostics

Electrical Diagnostics

Oil changes

Fluid flushes


Transmission issue

Engine problems

And everything else under the car or under the hood.

May you have a joyous Thanksgiving as you prepare your vehicle right and keep the whole day to be thankful!
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As we roll into the colder temps, our service advisors at Babcock Auto Care often hear our customers call saying “my car won’t start” and “what do you think is wrong or how much will it cost to fix”? This is a question other auto repair shops in Rochester, MN and surrounding areas hear as well. Even the best auto repair shop with the best mechanics cannot give you a definitive diagnosis over the phone. The problem can be as simple as a dead battery or as difficult as failure of the camshaft sensor. It could be a problem due to cold weather or just wear on components that just happen to fail on a really cold day.
Because auto repair shops in Rochester, MN don’t want to guess why your car won’t start it is imperative that you bring it to the shop for diagnosis. Most auto repair facilities begin with starting/charging diagnostic testing. This series of tests usually costs around $50. The technician will perform a series of test to narrow the problem down. Obvious problems like an old battery or poor battery connections or terminals can be the problem—or it can contribute to the problem. If the battery is tested and is below specs, a new battery replacement will be recommended. If the battery is performing well, there is no corrosion on the terminals, etc, the technician will move on to other testing. Depending on the symptoms your car is having, possible reasons for the no-start diagnosis could be: parts failure within the ignition system, alternator, spark plugs (a tune up or regular maintenance can prevent these from failing completely), camshaft sensor, fuel pump, starter, etc.
What is important when you are trying to figuring out why your “car won’t start” is to answer a series of questions so that you can have the information readily available when you call your preferred auto repair facility in Rochester, MN._ Have you had work performed on your vehicle recently? Is the vehicle cranking? Do dash lights come on? Is the Check Engine Light on? Is it or has the check engine light been flashing? Do the lights seem as bright as normal? Is this the first time you have experienced your car not starting? Have you had to jump start the vehicle or charge the battery? Have any lights come on recently or has the security light been flashing? Has your vehicle been difficult to start recently and now it is not starting at all? Has the fuel gauge been working correctly?_
Do you know what the different warning lights on your vehicle’s dash mean? If you are confused at all, I recommend taking a picture! This way when your auto mechanic asks, you can just show them the picture and not have to decipher the lights on your dash yourself.
Our professional and certified mechanics have the testing equipment, knowledge and knowhow to diagnosis why your “car won’t start”. Not only do we take care of your car’s no start problem, we perform Complete Auto Repair*—meaning, no matter if it’s under your hood or under your car, no matter the make/model vehicle you drive—Honda, Ford, Toyota, Saturn, BMW, Lexus, Acura, Audi, Chrysler, Subaru, Volvo, Jeep, Volkswagen or any other make, our expert mechanics will completely take care of all auto repair and maintenance your vehicle requires. Babcock Auto Care is your one-stop shop … *Complete Auto Repair with digital inspections and total transparency in the work we do.
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Are you ready for the colder temps in Rochester, MN? It looks like winter is coming early—is your vehicle ready for the wintry months ahead? Does the heat in your car, truck or SUV blow hot or "cold air"? Do you need car battery replacement before winter? Are your brakes ready for the slippery and snowy Minnesota roads to come? How about the tires on your car? Is the tread sufficient? When was your last tire rotation? Is the tire wear uneven? It might be time for a wheel alignment. Our team of professionals at Babcock Auto Care are ready to help you prepare your car, truck or SUV for winter!
What service can we help you with in Rochester, Byron, Zumbrota, Stewartville or Owatonna, MN?
Wheel alignment is essential for proper road contact and will save your new tires from wearing too quickly. If you are looking for a wheel alignment “near me” while visiting or even when you live in SE Minnesota, Babcock Auto Care is conveniently located to service your vehicle.
A proper braking system—including brake pads, rotors, calipers, brake lines and brake fluid is imperative for your safety on our roads this season. When searching “brake replacement near me”, don’t hesitate to call Babcock Auto Care for a digital brake inspection today!
When is the last time your car battery or truck battery was replaced? Are you confident it will work well for you in the frigid temperatures? Or is it time to get your battery replaced or serviced? We will test your battery so give you a picture of its health or replace it needs.
Tires are important to best take you on your errands as you go black Friday shopping, travel to relatives for the holidays, take your children to sports or even just get you to and from work every day. When is the last time you assessed the condition of your tires? Make sure the tread depth is safe, get a tire rotation regularly, make sure the proper amount of air is in each tire and make sure your tires are balanced properly. If you need help with any of these services, call or schedule an appointment online!

Also, Did you know that if you get your new tires at Discount Tire in Rochester, MN, we work with their team of professionals as their chosen referral for wheel alignments after your tires are installed!

As you are planning for the upcoming months, make sure you check out Rochester’s new Airglow at the peace plaza this week--can you imagine, a 40 foot igloo? This is a must see in Rochester MN! The program is an eight day cold weather event perfect to fill your evenings or weekends every day this week. Are you looking for times and dates of the Airglow event? Or contact information for the Silent Disco at Airglow? We can help:
When: November 4th – 11th, 2017
Time: 5pm – 10pm daily
Where: Peace Plaza, Downtown Rochester
Cost: FREE
As a Veteran’s Day Extra, on November 10 and 11, the Silent Disco at Airglow will take place—where you can dance to music (wirelessly with headphones)! Price ranging from $15-30

Babcock Auto Care, voted best auto repair in Rochester, is here to help you drive safely on our roadways as you head downtown with your families to check out all events in the Peace Plaza this season!

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It takes approximately three jars of John Hardee’s BBQ sauce to fill a big Sam’s Club-sized ketchup bottle. This is likely a piece of trivia that is probably useless to you, but let me tell you why it’s important to me.

My oldest son Jake is in the US Marines. He is going on his seventh year serving and his third on US Embassy Special Security duty. He spent his first year in Mongolia, freezing his bum off and breathing in the polluted air – but donning a pollution mask if he was outside longer than five minutes. As his mom, I was thrilled to hear of this requirement after finding out that the particulate matter there is 80 times the recommended safety level set by the World Health Organization.

Jake was of the mindset that the first country he would be stationed at would be the worst – and this held true in year two when he was whisked off to one of the most beautiful places on earth: Croatia. This expectation became a disappointment when he discovered his third post, Turkmenistan, where he currently serves. It’s nestled right in the middle of Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and the Caspian Sea.

The food, according to Jake, is absolutely horrible. And thus, the BBQ sauce. I send ketchup bottles full of sauce to him so he can slather it on his food to make it somewhat palatable.

Now let me share some useful trivia with you as we head into colder weather.

Recent mild winters in Minnesota, along with conservative hunting regulations, have increased deer numbers across our state by about 20 percent, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. We have an estimated white-tailed deer population of one million in our lovely state. This, coupled with our slick icy roadways, make Minnesota No. 7 among all 50 states in how likely drivers are to hit a deer. Based on the increased population of deer and history of claims, State Farm calculates 1-in-74 drivers will hit a deer this year in comparison to 1-in-80 in 2016.

With this increased prediction of deer-related accidents, what can we be aware of, how can we drive more cautiously, and what should we address on our vehicles to ensure they are as safe as possible going into winter as these sweet creatures bound across our roadways?

*Deer are most frequently hit at dawn and dusk, so be especially cautious during these times. And as always, drive at safe speeds and wear your seatbelt.
If there is one deer, chances are a few friends or relatives are nearby – so if you see one, slow down and scan for others.
*Just like we enjoy a little salt on our food for fuller flavor, our antlered friends like a little salt too! Though we use salt to make our roadways safer in snowy and icy conditions, this flavorful condiment might entice more deer from the shelter of the woods for a lick or two.
*The yellow deer crossing signs indicate a higher possibility of deer in the area. Slow down and be more alert to their possible presence when you notice a sign.
*Even if there is no sign, we should all be scanning the roadways as we drive for anything out of the ordinary. Even though we may spot one off to the side of the road, they may get spooked when your vehicle approaches and decide the best way to escape is in front of you. So ?slow down and be loud_ – go ahead and honk your horn if no other vehicles are around so you may more accurately judge which way they might go before you or other motorists get to them.
*The incredible eyes of deer were designed to help them see in low-light conditions. Because of this, they seem to “glow” in the dark and you may see their eyes before you see them. Again, be cautious as you get closer and pay attention to which direction they might flee.
*When able, use your high beams as much as possible at night, especially in rural areas.
*Don’t veer when there’s deer! Meaning, our instinct when there is an obstacle in our path is to veer away to miss it. Swerving like this can cause loss of vehicle control and possibly traveling into oncoming traffic or off the roadway.

*With fewer daylight hours this time of year, pay extra attention to the parts of your vehicle that help you see. Make sure all of your lights illuminate as they should and replace headlight and taillight bulbs as soon as they burn out. When wiper blades no longer make proper contact with the windshield surface, it’s time for replacements.

All components of your *braking system should be assessed – pads, rotors, calipers, brake fluid and brake lines. A proper braking system is best for you, other motorists and our furry friends. It could make the difference between a deer hit or a deer miss!

Suspension components and tires need to be assessed for wear and safety (including proper tire balance, inflation, and vehicle alignment) so you are protected not only for *deer season, but for the wintry roads.

If *SRS (air bag), ABS (anti-lock brakes) or Traction Control lights are on, you must assume these safety features are disabled. Have the lights assessed as soon as they come on.

As always, it is best to address any illuminated *car, truck or SUV warning lights or vehicle repairs in a timely fashion in Rochester, MN. Staying current on all vehicle maintenance will keep your vehicle healthy so it can properly take care of you in any condition.

Go forth this season as safely as you can. If you do hit a deer, move your vehicle to a safe place, call the police, and document the incident. Stay away from the animal. Before leaving, make sure your vehicle is safe to drive.

And finally, here is a nugget of information you may not be aware of: Any Minnesota resident may claim a road-killed deer after obtaining an authorization permit from a police officer. If this happens, you’ll not only have some free meat for the season, but it’ll likely be tasty enough that you won’t need the sauce I send to my son in Turkmenistan!
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Roundabouts seem to be popping up all over Rochester, MN and surrounding areas, including where we live in Byron.

Every day as I drive into Rochester on County Road 4 (Valleyhigh Road), I get to try my skills at the new roundabout that was created last year. I also get to watch others as they try to understand it and maneuver through it. I have seen everything from an old truck driving on the pavers around the middle of the roundabout to traffic stopping for me when I am supposed to be yielding to them, to someone just this week coming into my lane on the dual lane roundabout.

Why have they started to become more popular? What is the purpose of the roundabout? Are you able to navigate them well--even the dual lane roundabouts? Why is there such confusion? Why do they seem to make motorists nervous?


The purpose of a roundabout, if maneuvered how they were designed, is to allow traffic to flow smoothly and quickly. Because you simply move in a circle to the right, after yielding to traffic coming from the left, there is no need to cut across traffic or stop abruptly as you do with a traffic light. This design has been found to decrease accidents and thereby, injuries and fatalities greatly. Simply put, roundabouts save lives.


Roundabouts are new to us. Anything new requires time for adjustment. Rather than be confused or nervous, read about roundabouts, how they are supposed to work and how to use them. As you approach the roundabout, plan ahead—watch other motorists within the circle and judge from afar what your role will be as you come to the yield sign. If there is nobody coming from the left side of your vehicle, you are free to proceed without stopping. Stopping and waiting when there are no cars, trucks or SUVs approaching, contradicts the purpose of the roundabout. The whole point is smooth traffic flow. So make sure you do your part to “go with the flow”.

Check out my blog for more driving tip: **
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Fall Back and Light Up!

Shorter days and early dark skies reminds me of the things we sometimes delay in auto repair ... headlights and other visual components of your vehicle! Are any of your vehicle's light bulbs burnt out? Do the lenses of your headlights look hazy? Do your brake lights work? Is it time to replace wiper blades? It's time to check all of the visual components of your vehicle so you can see and others can see you! Make sure all of your vehicle's lights are working. If one goes out, the one on the other side might not have much time left, so don't delay in getting them replaced. Also, did you know that hazy headlights can be clear again with a headlight restoration service?

Timely replacement of bulbs, lights and wipers will help keep the roads illuminated and motors safer as they can best see you and know of your plans to stop or turn. Check out my blog on: HOW DO YOUR CAR’S “ACCESSORIES” LOOK?

#HeadlightRestoration #WiperbladeReplacement #FallBack2016
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Do I Need New Tires?

This is a question that is not only left up to you but is a matter of legality. Driving on tires less than 2/32" tread depth is illegal. When it comes to safety, it can be questioned with inclement weather if a tire of 4/32" to 6/32" tread depth are on your vehicle. Rain and especially snow affects the condition of the roads during travel. With your tires the only thing between your car and the road's surface, it is important to replace them in a timely fashion for your safety and other motorists.

With extreme weather conditions on the opposite ends of the spectrum in Rochester, MN from hot and humid in the summer to cold (and downright frigid) in the winter, tires need to be assessed before weather changes in all seasons. You'll want to ask your tire shop what kind of tires are best for your driving habits and your needs. An investment in snow tires for the winter months and switching them out for a tire more geared toward hot roads and rain in the summer months may be good idea for your car, truck or SUV.

The purchase of a new set of tires is a big investment. It is a good idea to do research and talk to experts in Rochester, MN in order to make the best decision for you. It is also important to have your tires rotated regularly and keep your vehicle properly aligned to protect the investment you make in new tires.

Are you unsure about the condition of your tires now? Do the penny or quarter test! That's right follow the example in the picture and allow Washington and Lincoln to help you in measuring your tire's tread depth.

To learn the benefits of new tires, read my whole article from November on our website entitled "Bald is not Beautiful":

#snowtires #newtires #TireTreadDepth
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How Long Will My Battery Last?

We all depend on our batteries every time we start our car, truck or SUV in Rochester, MN. We sometimes forget about them ... until they don't work. There are usually no precursor symptoms for a failing car battery. This is why it's important for us to think about them before they become a problem and hinder us from getting to where we need to go.

Due to the extreme conditions we experience in Rochester, MN, especially with the cold winters we have, our car batteries need to be checked periodically. The life of the car battery depends on several factors, but generally they need to be replaced every four years. It's important to check for corrosion and look at the connections to ensure your car battery is working at it's best.

Just this week a vehicle was towed to our facility because our customer's car would not start. The problem was found to be a loose cable on the battery. This was an easy fix for our auto technicians but greatly affected this customer's day.

For more tips in How to take care of your car battery, visit my blog:

#carbatteryreplacement #batterycorrosion #carbatterylife
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We'd like to thank our incredible team of Automotive Service Adivisors , ASE Master Certified Technicians and our Support Team and Customer Care Specialists, along with our _valued customers for voting Babcock Auto Care BEST Auto Repair Shop in Rochester, MN for four years in a row! What an honor and privilege it is to receive this! Thank you for allowing us to take care of you and your vehicle while Building Relationships One Vehicle At A Time!. We specialize in Automotive Repairs and Maintenance on any Make or Model vehicle!
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My Check Engine Light Is On!

When your Check Engine Light comes on, it can be a scary situation, especially if your car is making noise and acting funny. It can also make you hesitate to have it diagnosed because of the cost. But much more can happen if you choose to ignore it. If your Check Engine Light starts flashing, this is a symptom you absolutely need to address immediately. Have your vehicle towed to your favorite auto repair shop without delay.

You may wonder why even the best auto repair shops charge to diagnose your vehicle. Shouldn't they just plug their tool in and tell you what's wrong to fix it quickly? Have you ever stopped to consider how much scan tools and diagnostic equipment cost? Independent repair shops invest a considerable amount of money into their state of the art diagnostic equipment so that their ASE Master Certified Technicians can best diagnose the problem your vehicle is having as efficiently as possible. But their time is valuable and so is the equipment they use. Sometimes the problem is simple to pinpoint and other times the diagnostic tools will only give them a starting point. More tests may be needed to accurately figure the problem out.

Automobiles are sometimes complicated machines. As technology advances, so does the complexity of the vehicle you drive and rely on to get you places. It's important to have trust and confidence in who you choose for your vehicle's service. An honest repair shop that will not only be clear about charges but one that will do their best to deliver the best advice and offer the best repairs for your vehicle will serve you well.

In order for a repair shop to offer the best, they must purchase the best diagnostic tools, keep them up-to-date and employ mechanics with experience and know-how. Still, even at the best auto repair shops in Rochester, MN and around the country, the cure for your check engine light may take time and the cost may not be cheap. But remember the importance of having a reliable safe car that gets you and your family to places you need to be. For more information and to learn more specifics, read my article entitled "Diagnostics 101" on our website:
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