Frequently Asked Questions
What makes us different from the other shops in town?

We’re a team here at Fat City, and we are your friends, neighbors, and community members. We take great pride in addressing your needs. We employ some of the brightest and best technicians in town, we use quality parts, and have the best resources to get a job done right.

As an example - It's our practice to view cars as a whole. What's this mean to you? In the extreme case, when we see a client’s car failing, we would rather be upfront and tell our client that their car’s needs are greater than it’s street value so they are able to get out of the car. Instead of string our clients along down a path of multiple repairs.

In this extreme circumstance we lose sales on a repair, however it's the right thing to do, and it's what we firmly believe in. We prefer to cultivate long standing relationships of honesty and trust with our clients, and this is why our clients have come back to us year after year, car after car.


Do I need an appointment?

Yes. We require an appointment for same day services, give us a call and check on availability. If it’s simple like a light is out we usually can take you in same day. Most full service items you will be able to get an appointment 1-3 days out. However, if your car is having trouble you’re more than welcome to bring in your car at any point, and we will get your car in queue quickly as possible to be looked at by one of our Master Technicians.



Can I wait for my car?

Oil changes take approximately one hour to one and a half hours depending on the vehicle. You’re more than welcome to wait, go grab a cup of coffee or run errands while your car is serviced. If you’d like a complimentary car wash with your oil change your car must be left for the day.

Diagnostics, full maintenance or repairs we like to have our customers drop off their cars first thing in the morning so that our technicians can evaluate your concerns, get parts ordered and have your car finish up afternoon so that it’s all in and out in one day. Very rarely do cars require multiple days unless the component needed for your vehicle isn’t available locally.



Do we have loaner cars?

We do not. However, if you need a car to use while your car is in the shop, let us know and we can assist with setting up a rental car through Enterprise Rental Car for you.


What are our hours?

Monday – Friday 7:30 am to 5:00 pm



Do we have after-hours drop off?

Yes we do! Envelopes are available at our front door, and the drop slot is in our main bay door. Remember to take your extra keys with you when leaving us your car key!


Can I arrange to pick my car up after-hours?

Yes, if you have a second key for your car we can plan to park your car out secured and ready for you to pick up at your connivence.



Do we have a shuttle?

Yes, we have a shuttle that can take you to your work, home, or other destination of your choice. We cover Downtown Seattle, Capitol Hill, Queen Anne, Ballard, Fremont, University District, Madison Beach, First Hill, and Beacon Hill. If your destination is elsewhere within reason, let us know in advance and we will attempt to accommodate you.



How often should I change my oil?

Here in Seattle for the average driver we recommend every 5,000 miles or once a year for full synthetic oil. Many European auto manufacturer’s recommendations are minimal requirements. Keep in mind that when an engine idles for an hour, it equals 25 miles of driving, so even if you aren't racking up the miles driving in the city and just sitting in stop and go traffic, you're still putting miles on the motor and oil. Failing to change your oil often enough or with oil and filters sub grade to what’s required by manufacturer can lead to early engine wear and potential failure. Changing your fluids on your car is one of the best ways to keep your car in top shape and keeping repair costs down.



What is covered with an oil change?

While a car is with us for an oil change, it’s the perfect-time to visually inspect the vehicle for any obvious concerns, we check fluids, tire pressures are set to recommended levels, and if your car is left with us for the day, your car will receive a complimentary car wash.

This is all performed by one of our Master Technicians, ensuring that you’ve got an experienced technician on your side.

All oil changes receive factory recommended oils certified for use with your car and a premium filter to greatly reduce chances of unexpected wear on your engine compared to using lesser oils and filters at quick lube stations. If you’ve been told that all filters are the same, you’ve been told a half-truth. A screen door keeps out the bugs but not the dust; a HEPA filter keeps out dust and the bugs. The same goes for engine oil filters. They all filter, just to different levels. With longer interval times between services on modern cars, it’s very important to assure you use quality oil and filters.



Do we provide towing?

No, we do not. However we do work with several towing companies available locally. Keep in mind if you are in a parking garage downtown that often there is a tow-truck company that takes care of the garage you are parked in and can get into the low clearance ceilings to access your car and safely get it out.



What do we charge?

Our rates vary depending on difficulty of the job and the time it takes. We pride ourselves on being very fair on prices and majority of the time meet or beat most other service and repair shops of our caliber (dealers included) in the downtown area all while getting the best possible quality with our Master Technician team.


Can you supply an estimate over the phone?

For factory-scheduled maintenance: Yes, we can give estimates for over the phone.

Current customers: Just let us know the last name the car is under.

New customers: Please have the following ready to supply you with accurate estimates; the Make, Model, engine type (or the V.I.N.), transmission type, options such as sport package, if the vehicle is 2 or 4 wheel drive, if the car has been upgraded with any aftermarket components, and familiarize yourself with the previous service records for your vehicle incase we have questions.

For repairs: If you’re a current customer and we’ve seen the car before we can supply most estimates. If we haven’t seen the car before we like to see the car first-hand to verify, you get an accurate estimate from us. We're happy to have you bring your car in and we'll give you 5 minutes of our time to rack and inspect what needs to be repaired.

What one shops sees and recommends might not be what our experienced team of Master Technicians would recommend. So before we go down the road of pricing, we like to check validity and severity of the repair first.


Can I bring my car to an independent repair shop while still under factory warranty?

Yes, you can have an independent service repair shop work on your vehicle while it still has factory warranty. Maintenance services, oil changes, brakes, tires, are all types of services we are happy to provide. Having these services done at Fat City will not void warranty on your vehicle. For more information on your warranty rights as a consumer, visit here to read about Magnuson-Moss warranty act.



Are you able to access my car's computer diagnostic abilities like the dealer?

Yes, We are equipped with the top of the line scan tools that are available for independent service shops and diagnostic equipment to assess your cars systems and diagnose the cause of a problem.

However, the tools we use are only part of the solution when diagnosing your car. We believe in having the brightest and best team working for us here at Fat City, we choose to have a team of Master technicians work for us who have trained hard and spent the time to raise themselves above the rest. A tool can tell the tech what sensor is reporting an error; however, it is still up to the technician to understand how the systems work and pinpoint the cause of why the car is saying there is an error.

With cars we don't think of in the same regards to as other technology in our lives, just as the speed of consumer computers doubles approximately every 18 months, the on-board computer capabilities that are being installed into the cars are doing the same, frequently creating new system designs and continual learning. We establish our technicians are equipped not only with the best tools, but also the best resources and receive continuing education top keep their skills sharp.



Can you pull fault codes on my car for free?

We're happy to take a look at what faults are showing for free on your car and tell you what diagnostic path will need to follow.

If you are strictly after scan-tool fault code print-outs or code clearing for your own repairs we do charge this.


Do we accept extended/aftermarket warranties?

Yes, accept aftermarket warranties. If you're going to be using an aftermarket warranty to fix your vehicle, please bring the warranty contract and contact information for the company with you. Also be prepared that some warranty companies cause the repair to take longer than normal so be prepared for possibly leaving the car for a few days as they may potentially have to send an inspector. Also be aware that your warranty may not cover the cost of repair(s) and you will need to cover the difference. If this is the case, we will inform you before proceeding with the repair(s).



What's your warranty?

Parts and labor are covered with 12 months or 12,000 miles whichever comes first. We stand behind our work 100%. If for any reason you have a concern with a repair, we've done please let us know promptly, and we will be more than happy to address the concern.



Are we insured?

Yes most definitely we are insured, we value your possessions!

© 2014 Fat City