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Category Archives: Articles

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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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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Get your vehicle prepared for summer driving

In the upcoming summer months, fuel prices are predicted to be at the lowest level in 6 years, it’s a great time to travel and see our wonderful country. National parks, state parks and theme parks are a great family vacation without the hassle of airports, airport security and cramped airplane seating. Some sites are reachable even in a day or two drive. As the summer season nears, keep a few things in mind before traveling long distances. Nothing is worse to disrupt a vacation or any travel than an unplanned breakdown. On a day to day base, getting into a hot vehicle is uncomfortable. The inside can reach over 140 degrees. To cool the vehicle inside quickly, roll down the window for the first minute or two of driving to get some of the very hot air out. The complete interior can be as high as 140 degrees and to get it to the comfortable temperature of  70 degrees will often take 20 minutes so be patient. On this note, never leave children or animals inside a vehicle wit ... read more

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Smarter, smoother traffic systems

Smarter, smoother traffic systems

As I’m driving, I have explored routes in Eugene that the traffic lights are synchronized. I even know that if I miss a certain traffic light, I can turn and follow another route to get to my destination quicker, safer and with less wear and tear on the vehicle. Every time you stop, you use more brake material and waste fuel and time. The good news about Eugene is the city has spent much time and money in traffic light controls. They are “smart” controls, knowing the time of day and “counting” vehicles on the road. How? There are two ways of counting vehicles I know of, the most common is in ground loop detectors. These are put into the payment and detect metal. There may be one to four loops in a lane at a stop light, counting vehicles. The more vehicles detected, the longer the light will stay green. If there’s a low traffic count, the lights change quickly. The other type is an infrared motion detector. The most visible one locally is the camera ... read more

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Keep Cool In Hot Summer Cars

Keep Cool In Hot Summer Cars

When it’s hot outside, one of the last places you want to be is sitting in traffic without a properly functioning A/C system. To help avoid this uncomfortable situation, having your A/C system checked annually to make sure it is functioning at its peak performance level when those temperatures are rising.           “Making sure your A/C system is working properly will give you the peace of mind knowing that your vehicle will keep you cool and safe when you hit the road this summer,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Not only are high temperatures harmful to the body with prolonged exposure, but they can provide unnecessary wear and tear on a vehicle.”                                                     A vehicle’s heating, ventilating and air conditionin ... read more

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