Sandpiper Import Service FAQ's

How do I drop off my car after hours?

We have a slot in the garage door next to the office labeled "key drop." Just put your name on the key (we have envelopes on hand), and put it through the slot. If you have a remote clicker (key fob) for your alarm system or keyless entry, please include it with your key.

Why do you need my key fob (remote clicker)?

If you have an alarm system or keyless entry operated by a remote clicker (technically known as a key fob, which comes from the name for an ornament hanging from an old-fashioned men's pocket-watch), we would like to have it while working on your car. If we need to disconnect your car's battery for any reason, which we often need to do in the course of routine maintenance,often the alarm will sound when we reconnect the battery and we can't turn it off without the key fob. Some cars won't start after a battery has been reconnected until you turn off the alarm anti-theft device with the remote.

Why do I need a code for my radio on my Honda or Acura?

Many Honda and Acura vehicles have an anti-theft stereo, which is disabled after you disconnect the car's battery, which we often need to do in the course of routine maintenance (see previous FAQ). The only way to get your radio to work again in this case is to enter a 5-digit code. If you were not provided with this code when you bought the car, we will need to remove your radio to get a serial number and call it in to Honda, who maintains a product registry and can provide the code.The additional expense incurred in this proceedure is your responsibility.

What's involved in doing a timing belt job?

Here at Sandpiper, when we do a timing belt replacement, we deal with more than just the timing belt. The water pump is located under the timing cover with the belt (often the pump is driven by the timing belt). If the water pump starts to leak before the next timing belt is due, we have to go back in and remove the timing belt again in order to access the pump, thereby costing you extra money in labor time, as well as a potential overheated engine and a need to tow the car in. As a result, we always replace the water pump when we replace the timing belt.

Also, the outer drive belts (AC, alternator, and power steering belts) need to come off to do a timing belt job, so unless they have been recently replaced, we replace them along with the timing belt. While we're in there, we check the camshaft and crankshaft seals for oil leakage (they are behind the timing belt, so again, the timing belt must be removed to access these parts). If the seals are leaking we replace them while we're in there.

Our estimates may be a bit higher than other shops, but we try to give you a realistic estimate of what it will really cost to have a timing belt job done in the most reliable and cost-effective way. Please note that we use OEM parts (see below "What kind of parts do you use...").

Where are you located?

Sandpiper is located on the corner of 13th and Lincoln near downtown Eugene. We're only a little over 2 blocks from LTD's main Eugene station and a bus shelter is located right in front of our shop on 13th street.If you're from out of town here's a map.

What kind of parts do you use and why is that important?

We use mainly OEM parts (Original Equipment Manufacturer). In other words, if you own a Toyota, we use Toyota brand parts. If you own a Honda, we use Honda brand parts. This is important because OEM parts fit your car exactly, and are high quality. Aftermarket (made by another company) parts may not fit properly, and are often of lower quality. Our prices may be a little higher due to using OEM parts, but we believe you will be happier in the long run, because your car will be fixed faster and the parts will last longer and be less likely to cause an unexpected breakdown. Occasionally we use non-OEM parts in certain cases where the OEM part is not available or the price is sky high, but the part still needs to meet our high standards.

Why do you recommend oil changes every 3,000 miles? What if my owner's manual says I can do it less often?

We look at the inside of engines routinely, and there is a big difference between one that has had frequent oil changes and one that hasn't. Stretching the oil change interval causes a build-up of gunk on the inside of your engine, and eventually can cause oil passageways to get clogged. We have seen engines need major repairs or replacement due to infrequent oil changes.

A light on my dashboard came on - what should I do?

It depends which light came on. Check your owner's manual to identify the light. If it's an amber-colored picture of an engine, it's your Check Engine Light. If the car is running normally, it's not an emergency, just call us to schedule an appointment within a week or so. If the car is running rough or has an obvious symptom, try to limit your driving as much as possible and bring it in as soon as possible.

What does a red oil light on my dash mean?

It means you are dangerously low on oil pressure. Pull over immediately, and check your engine oil level. If it's low, add the correct amount to fill it up (ask us if you're not sure how to do this). If it's not low, you have some other problem with oil pressure. In either case, you can do serious damage the engine if you drive with the oil light on.

What does it mean if my temperature gauge gets up near or into the red zone?

It means your engine is overheating. Pull over immediately and let it cool off. You can try turning on the heater while driving, which may bring the temperature down, but if it doesn't you need to pull over right away. Driving the car while "in the red" can cause serious permanent damage to the engine. After the engine is cool (after sitting AT LEAST half an hour), you can CAREFULLY open the radiator cap and add water - opening the raditor with a hot engine can cause coolant to spew out of the radiator and give you severe burns!!! If you don't want to deal with checking the coolant you can just call a tow truck.

What does a red battery light on my dash mean?

It probably means you have a failing alternator, or some type of problem with your charging system. Turn off as many accessories you can (lights, wipers, heater, etc.), and get it into a shop within an hour's worth of driving or less.

Why are your oil changes more expensive than a quick lube-type place?

We employ only skilled, experienced mechanics, and we pay them a good living wage, with health insurance and paid vacations. We also use higher quality oil filters than you find at your average quick lube place.

Do you do pre-sale checks on used vehicles?

Yes, we can check out used vehicles before you buy them. It costs $100. We check fluids, belts, hoses, brakes, tires, etc. We take it for a test drive, and we check the body for signs of collision damage or poor-quality body repairs. We do our pre-sale checks in the afternoon, and we need the car from at least noon to 2pm (longer is even better). We ask that you, the buyer, bring in the car and pick it up if possible. If the seller must bring the car in, please let them know that they cannot wait here while we look at the car, and that we cannot discuss our findings with them. You are paying us to look at the car, so we give the information to you, not the seller. We want to make sure you get a good car, so feel free to call for advice during your car search.