The technicians at Northern Liberties Auto Repair LLC—an official Pennsylvania inspection station—repair and reinvigorate foreign and domestic vehicles with steady hands and automotive acumen. The sounds of jovial engine revving and ribbing between cars about balding tires reverberate throughout the shop as the techs unburden engines of spent motor oil. During brake services, staff members ensure that the car’s stoppers are in healthy shape and outfit wheels with fresh rubber during in-shop tire installations. They’ll also reward cars with new stickers after assessing their health during state inspections, confirming that vehicles aren't emitting excessive amounts of pollutants, toxins, or unearned bravado.
The second annual Philly F/M Festival culls hordes of independent films and live music, emphasizing the interplay of the two media. Thursday night hosts the event's kick-off party as Philadelphia Slick douses the crowd with waves of toe-tapping beats and games of Simon Says. The neighborhood's lights dim on Friday as the film screenings begin at 7 p.m. with Sound It Out, a phonetically precise documentary that chronicles the last vinyl record shop in Teesside, England. Meet Me on South Street, The Story of JC Dobbs (September 24 at 6:30 p.m.) delves into Philadelphia's artistic subculture and underground crocheting scene from the 1970s to 1996 through the lens of one of its signature and now defunct musical establishments.
The Goldstein family taps into three generations worth of experience and a crew of Automotive Service Excellence–certified mechanics to pamper steely steeds at Rapco Automotive. In the comprehensive winterization package, chassis-chewing ice trolls get a sound trouncing with an all-over inspection covering tires, belts, hoses, lighting, and heater operation. Technicians swap out oil filters and drain grubby oil and replace it with up to 5 quarts of synthetic blend. An examination, cleaning, and adjustment of brakes ready vehicles to stop suddenly for icy obstacles, and a test of the battery, alternator, and starter helps stave off stalling and reliance on inconvenient potato power. Cars are ready for retrieval after the 2–3 hour process is completed.
The showroom at Vespa of Philadelphia is a scooter enthusiast's dream. Classic and modern Vespa models sit alongside Piaggio scooters and motorbikes. Some are for rent. Some are for sale. Some just rolled in to visit their friends. The friendly staffers help guests select the right model, though not before they pour some complimentary espresso. As further evidence of their scooter knowledge, Vespa of Philadelphia's team also runs a Vespa- and Piaggo- certified service center. Here, techs change oil, make repairs, and prep scooters for winter.
Since 1933, three generations of Blatts have kept area cars running smoothly and safely. Today, the business has gown to encompass three Blatt Tire locations, each of which keeps a large stock of tires on hand from leading brands such as Michelin, Goodyear, and Bridgestone. When it comes to replacements, each location employs well-trained technicians who install new tires and maintain existing ones with wheel repairs, tire rotations, and computerized balancing. Mechanical issues are no sweat for the team either, whether they're performing brake repairs or steering and suspension services. Oil changes and preventive maintenance are also at the top of the Blatt list, helping make sure cars don't end up on the side of the road or being sent off to the junkyard before their time.
The staff at High End Car Stereo are masters at sound and video installation. Working closely with their clients, they design custom media systems for all kinds of vehicles, from mini-vans that need home theater set-ups to sports cars in need of subwoofers powerful enough to communicate with pets.
With a large number of vehicle bays inside the shop, the installation team is able to perform even more custom work, including installing security systems, GPS navigation, and wireless entry. They also specialize in wheel rims, letting clients preview their choices on a computer that show any rim on nearly any vehicle model.