Eugene Auto Repair

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George Rode Radio Show Segment May 17th, 2016

George Rode Radio Show Segment May 17th, 2016

                           

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All abuzz for hybrid, electric cars

All abuzz for hybrid, electric cars

The future of the automobile in the next few years is going to be very exciting - even incredible. As electronics, computers and great designs get more defined and less expensive, they enter the automotive world with more frequency. Electronics and electric motors are so very dependable now, cars are chock full of them. I still remember the cars of the 1960s, when many people avoided options like power windows because it meant just one more thing to break. That is mot the case anymore; just about all cars in the United States have power windows. The advanced electric technologies in modern automobiles are incredible, what with autopilot capabilities and electric motors that have landed both in hybrids and full-electric vehicles such as the Tesla and the Nissan Leaf. The result is more powerful vehicles with better fuel mileage and lower emissions; this is the best of all three worlds. For me, hybrids represent the best of these technologies. The easy definition o ... read more

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Saving money on automobile maintenance and repair

What is the right amount in vehicle maintenance? This is one of the questions that is always going through my mind is.  Too much and you’re wasting money; not enough the vehicle life and dependability of you vehicle flies out the window. The owner’s manual has great information on what to do and when. But-and this is a big but-is the manufacturer's recommendations  sufficient to ensure the vehicle will have a long life? On one end of the spectrum is the “up sell” of fluid changes (the oil or fluid wiped on a white rag showing how dirty it is, shocks that are seeping slightly or the air filter that is somewhat dirty. (Remember, a slightly dirty air filter will NOT affect your fuel mileage, advanced electronics engine controls compensate for this on vehicles 95 and newer. A real plugged air filter should be replaced because it will cut engine power)  The other end of the spectrum is oil services every 20,000 miles, no reco ... read more

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Automotive myths a waste of time and money

Automotive myths a waste of time and money

As a long term automotive shop owner, I work at giving my customers the proper guidance for longevity of their vehicle without over spending their money. It is a balance that I have worked diligently on. The one event that has stuck in my memory is when a customer wanted another “tune up” 15,000 after the last one was done. I very kindly and patiently explained that newer vehicles just didn’t need service that frequently. When I was done with my spiel, I was feeling good about what I had said, my integrity, and saving this good customer money. What his response was took me off my feet. He said that his dad told him (back in the 60’s) that a car should be tuned up every year. He told me it I had no place saying that his deceased father was incorrect and then hung up. I never did hear from this customer again. Times have changed many things. Vehicles of today are so much more advanced then vehicles of yesteryear, procedures are different. Ever since that day, I ... read more

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Cut long-term car ownership costs

Cut long-term car ownership costs

To minimize the cost of owner of vehicles, here are some ‘cradle to grave’ tips for buying and maintaining a vehicle. Check with Consumers Report when researching a new or used vehicle purchase. It is the most un-bias source for knowledge about vehicles - at a low price. The April edition is dedicated to new and used vehicles. Not only do they have tips on what to buy, but also how to buy and what “extras” to avoid buying with the vehicle.   I have followed Consumer Reports lead on the last 7 vehicles I have bought and have not been disappointed. Not all vehicles are created the same. An investment of buying the magazine or subscribing to Consumer Reports’ website, and spending several hours researching can save thousands of dollars down the road. Set a routine on how you’re going to get your vehicle serviced. The owner’s manual has great information about your vehicle and when services are due. Keep in mind that oil services are be ... read more

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Study up on your next vehicle purchase

Study up on your next vehicle purchase

A vehicle is one the greatest expenses a person ever incurs. Doing research on this major purchase, whether new or used, is very well advised. The first place I recommend you look is Consumer Reports; every year the April edition is dedicated to new and used vehicles. It is loaded with valuable information on the good, the bad and the ugly. For example, one vehicle can cost more than four times as much to own over five years than another. And some vehicles have very bad dependability while others have great handling. My cars both were Consumer Reports top picks. The publication also includes recommendations on which extras to buy and which to avoid with your purchase. Spending just two or three hours reading this issue can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your vehicle.  Before buying a used vehicle, it is very important to have it inspected by your favorite shop. We have had many folks bring in recently purchased cars that turned out to need major repairs ... read more

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Complex vehicles, complex problems

Complex vehicles, complex problems

Newer vehicles are getting more complex all the time - so much that they are the most sophisticated technological item in most people’s lives, and nothing else comes close. With all of its interconnected engine, transmission, suspension, brake, traction, safety, navigation and other controls, a modern vehicle is one of the most complex tech items in the world. New high-end cars operate on about 100 million lines of software code; only Google can top that at 2 billion! By contrast, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner has about 14 million lines of code, a F35 fighter jet about 24 million. A newer vehicle not only drives down the road, but stop safely, round corners precisely, accelerates smoothly, have very comfortable cabins, and are able to operate in temperatures from -30 to 130 degrees. They can drive down very bumpy roads, go from below sea level (Death Valley) and up to 13800 feet (Mauna Kea) and do this with incredible reliability. It just boggles my mind, but soon cars will ... read more

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Don't Shoot The Messenger

Don't Shoot The Messenger

One of the most difficult jobs in the automotive repair business is to call the customer with "the news." Much like in the medical, legal, accounting, even funeral professions, the news is often not good news. We share the facts, and by these facts we make our living. But still. Every time I call Bob the attorney(not his real name), I feel guilty about what his car needs, despite my having 30 years of experience sharing news with customers.  There is a joke in the business called the three B's: "I didn't build it, buy it, or break it." It was time to call Bob with a list of repairs. I had a cup of coffee and reviewed his records for the past five years. His BMW had been very good to him - with few repairs and mostly routine maintenance. Then, I called. Slightly distressed, Bob asked for details. I went over the list, including costs, and heard a big sigh. "How come every time I bring in my car," he asked, "you t ... read more

Internet auto parts and diagnosis

Internet auto parts The internet has brought such great information into the world. My businesses use it not only as a home for our web sites, but for accessing information, including logging into our paid reference websites. We use to buy thousands of dollars worth of books per year to get repair information; now we go to Mitchell or ALLDATA websites. We pay more than $1000 per month for the use of these and other sites. When repairing or servicing a vehicle, it is not only important to have access to the most current information, but to use high quality parts from reputable manufacturers. How do we identify parts? We use our experience through years of installing brand name parts and monitoring the results. All parts both rebuild (or remanufactured) and new parts are not created equal. A very wide of range of quality can be found. I once used a rebuilder of starters and alternators with a part return rate of greater than 50%. It took about 4 months before I reali ... read more

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In love with cars and all of their gadgets

In love with cars and all of their gadgets

I have loved gadgets every since I can remember. In the fourth grade, back before remote controls, I wired my TV and lights so I could turn them on from my bed. I also had speakers all over my room for that “surround sound” effect. It was my first introduction to gadgets and total living comfort. That was around the same time I fell in love with the automobiles, which were full of gadgets and mystery. Where else can you, from the “captain’s chair”, control so many devices? Think about what you control from the driver’s seat. From the earliest days of the automobile, there always have been the basics such as steering, throttle position (gas pedal), brakes, clutch, emergency brake, and the gears for the transmission. As automobiles evolved, more devices were added, such as headlights, taillights, turn signals, horn, roll-up windows, windshield wipers, window washers and doors that open and close easily. Then came the creature comforts: heati ... read more

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