The Truth About Cars » OEM http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 11 Sep 2014 23:24:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » OEM http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Dealership Wheel Thefts Spotlight Security Risks http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/dealership-wheel-thefts-spotlight-security-risks/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/dealership-wheel-thefts-spotlight-security-risks/#comments Tue, 11 Feb 2014 05:10:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=739025     In an era where even mundane family cars are shod with 18-inch-plus rims direct from the factory, dealers are prime targets for mass thefts. One Texas Chevy dealer took a big hit on Sunday, when 22 new cars were shorn of their wheels and tires by a gang of thieves. Houston CBS affiliate […]

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In an era where even mundane family cars are shod with 18-inch-plus rims direct from the factory, dealers are prime targets for mass thefts. One Texas Chevy dealer took a big hit on Sunday, when 22 new cars were shorn of their wheels and tires by a gang of thieves.

Houston CBS affiliate KHOU reports that DeMontrond Chevrolet in Texas City suffered the loss sometime late Saturday or early Sunday. 88 tires and wheels went missing, as thieves pulled all the rims off the vehicles they hit. Photos from the scene show cars held up by bricks, jack stands, and other assorted junk. Unfortunately for the dealer, some of these cars fell off their precarious foundations. The resulting frame and body damage will add tens of thousands of dollars to the already steep replacement cost of the wheels. Insurance will probably pick up the tab for the direct financial losses, but the indirect costs of time and storage are likely to be significant.

From the pictures, it appears that new Camaros, Impalas, and a few trucks were targeted by the thieves. It’s easy to see why: a brand new set of Camaro takeoff wheels sells for around two grand  online. Neither the Camaro nor the Impala have wheel locks as standard equipment. GM does offer a set of locking lug nuts for both models as a $90 accessory. Such locks won’t foil the most determined thieves, who can pick or drill out the nuts. Even so, they may deter the street-level thief looking for an easy opportunity, if not the sophisticated dealership bandit.

This wasn’t the first time a Texas dealership targeted for a mass wheel theft. Back in May of last year, Mac Haik Ford in Georgetown lost nearly 200 wheels off of 48 vehicles in another overnight theft. Row after row of shiny new cars and trucks with wheels worth several hundred dollars apiece are an irresistible plum to thieves. Given the trend towards larger, more expensive rims on mass-market vehicles, OEMs owe it to their dealers and their customers to start taking wheel thefts seriously. Standard locking lug nuts will help, but it may be time to start exploring alternative technologies.

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You Thought That Car Was Expensive? Wait Until You Get Fleeced By The Shop http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/you-thought-that-car-was-expensive-wait-until-you-get-fleeced-by-the-shop/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/you-thought-that-car-was-expensive-wait-until-you-get-fleeced-by-the-shop/#comments Fri, 30 Mar 2012 18:17:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=437214 Selling overpriced “Original” parts can be like printing money. I know carmakers that generate 30 percent of their profits out of parts sales. How do you drive parts sales? By forcing customers to stay as long as possible with your dealer, a money pit the customer tries to flee as early and as quickly as […]

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Selling overpriced “Original” parts can be like printing money. I know carmakers that generate 30 percent of their profits out of parts sales. How do you drive parts sales? By forcing customers to stay as long as possible with your dealer, a money pit the customer tries to flee as early and as quickly as possible. The golden fleece in the business are repairs only an authorized dealer can perform, using overpriced parts only the authorized dealer has. Countless attempts have been made to break this monopoly. Another attempt is on the way.

For decades, there has been a cat and mouse game between manufacturers and the law. In the U.S. and in Europe, repair information must be made available to independents. But there is always some special information for authorized dealers only. The computerization of cars swung the pendulum towards auto manufacturers and their dealers. Why does a car key sometimes cost hundreds of dollars? Because it can.

OEMs face off with independent workshops, and especially with parts suppliers. Suppliers typically don’t make much money selling part to OEMs, but make a lot selling to independents, even at prices much lower than those of OEMs. Mark-ups between 10 and 100 times the ex-factory cost are not unheard of.

The European automotive supplier body CLEPA is tired of playing cat and mouse with manufacturers. CLEPA says will take at least one carmaker to court if manufacturers continue to withhold repair and maintenance information, Just-Auto writes.

Said CLEPA’s outgoing CEO Lars Holmqvist:

“We have come to the point where we are fed up. We have talked to the carmakers for one year and we have not reached an agreement which is satisfactory. When you buy a car you just don’t borrow it – you should have all the necessary information.”

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Piston Slap: Denso’d into Needless Markup? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/12/piston-slap-densod-into-needless-markup/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/12/piston-slap-densod-into-needless-markup/#comments Mon, 19 Dec 2011 19:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=422774 TTAC commentator/writer David Holzman writes:  Sajeev, My ’99 Accord 5speed with 200k on the clock needs a new gas tank. The fuel pump is inside the gas tank. Should I get a new fuel pump with that gas tank? Changing the tank will cost about $600; including a fuel pump will add $300. I’m planning […]

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TTAC commentator/writer David Holzman writes:

 Sajeev,

My ’99 Accord 5speed with 200k on the clock needs a new gas tank. The fuel pump is inside the gas tank. Should I get a new fuel pump with that gas tank? Changing the tank will cost about $600; including a fuel pump will add $300. I’m planning to keep this car another year and a half to two years, at which point it will have about 230k.

(I will replace it with whatever version of the Toyota FT86 reaches our shores provided the car does well repair-wise in its first year, and provided I like it as much as Bertel’s review suggested I would.)

PS: can you get this one up ASAP? I need to get the tank before I go on a road trip Dec. 24.

Sajeev Answers:

$300 for a fuel pump?  Please check the prices on Rockauto.com and verify your shop isn’t marking up their parts costs.

That said, I don’t know if the pump needs to be replaced, there’s a good chance it will last 2 years. Even if it fails, you don’t need to drop the tank to install a new one. Tough call.  A fuel pump should be more like $100-150 and labor should be nearly nothing considering the tank is dropped.

David replies:

Sajeev,

I suspect the $300 was for an OEM fuel pump. On Rockauto, they start at around $30, and a number of them are 100 and change. I guess one thing that makes me nervous is the thought of switching from my original to a non-OEM. I mean, it wouldn’t completely surprise me if the original went for a few more years and a non-OEM quit after a few years.

Sajeev Concludes:

I suspect that $300 was for the complete fuel pump assembly.  Wait no, I never suspect that. As a tireless cynic when it comes to random mechanics giving quotes to my readers, I always go for the worst.  That said, Rockauto sells the Denso fuel pump (OE part) for $118.00…and Denso stuff ain’t no joke, this is what you need.

Would a nameless, faceless shop charge over 200% markup for the same part you can buy online?  Perhaps. It wouldn’t be the first time, son! Wrap up: there’s no wrong answer, replace or no.  The only problem is the cost of said part.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com . Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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Piston Slap: Being On The Level With One’s Self http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/piston-slap-being-on-the-level-with-ones-self/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/piston-slap-being-on-the-level-with-ones-self/#comments Wed, 09 Nov 2011 15:41:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=416995   TTAC commenter jems86 writes: Dear Sajeev, I need your help again. I live in Colombia and, as you already know, I am the owner of a 2000 Subaru Forester (the 2.0 EDM model). This particular model has rear self leveling struts and recently they went bust. My dealership is asking 4 million pesos (about […]

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TTAC commenter jems86 writes:

Dear Sajeev,

I need your help again. I live in Colombia and, as you already know, I am the owner of a 2000 Subaru Forester (the 2.0 EDM model). This particular model has rear self leveling struts and recently they went bust. My dealership is asking 4 million pesos (about 2235 USD) for the replacements. I really think it’s a little bit steep so I’ve been searching online but haven’t been able to find the OEM parts. I read on a forum (http://www.subaruforester.org/) that you can put the non-self leveling struts. Is this a good idea? How much would the driving characteristics of my car change? If I go this way, what other components of the suspension should I replace? Thanks in advance for your help.

Sajeev Answers:

Oh yes! This is the age-old query of removing a factory self-leveling system for something more mundane, quite affordable and probably adequate for anyone’s needs. In theory, these systems are entirely interchangeable with a conventional damper, as the self-leveling feature only comes into play when the rear of the vehicle is loaded down. In practice, there might be a different spring to go with the unique strut.

That said, don’t always trust what you read on the Internet. Look up the part numbers to make sure there aren’t two different springs for the Forester. Once that’s cleared up, go ahead and eliminate the self-leveling feature: while a great idea when new, it loses a lot of luster once the miles rack up, the complicated bits wear out and the vehicle depreciates to the point where spending thousands on a repair simply makes no sense.
And this isn’t a unique situation: people have eliminated air suspension systems for decades on depreciated iron. Switch using OEM Subaru parts and you will be just fine. Or maybe the correct Subaru spring with a new set of four aftermarket dampers from a sportier vendor like Bilstein, Koni, etc. Unless your roads are pretty rough, then stick with the stock shocks for minimum abuse over potholes.

And your wallet will appreciate it, with little to no detriment to the Forester’s performance. Perhaps the ride will gain a little harshness, but I have my doubts: fully-air suspended cars are more susceptible to this.  I would have no concerns whatsoever with this swap.

Unless you are a chronic “overloader” of rear storage compartments…then you might want to buy the self-leveling bits online and find a local mechanic to install them for you.

So now you know, good luck with your decision.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com . Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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Ford, Aftermarket Tangle Over Collision Replacement Parts http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/ford-aftermarket-tangle-over-collision-replacement-parts/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/ford-aftermarket-tangle-over-collision-replacement-parts/#comments Tue, 16 Aug 2011 19:03:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=407415 For some time now, there’s been something of a low-scale war going on between OEMs and aftermarket parts suppliers just below the national media radar. The issue: whether or not aftermarket structural parts are as good as OEM parts. Ford has been a major proponent of the OEM-only approach, making the video you see above […]

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For some time now, there’s been something of a low-scale war going on between OEMs and aftermarket parts suppliers just below the national media radar. The issue: whether or not aftermarket structural parts are as good as OEM parts. Ford has been a major proponent of the OEM-only approach, making the video you see above in hopes of proving that aftermarket parts aren’t up to the job. But the aftermarket is firing back, and they’ve made their own video in direct response to this one, which you can view after the jump.

The video above, made by the Automotive Body Parts Association, directly challenges the findings of Ford’s video experiments, arguing that they prove only that “motorists should avoid slowly driving into madmen wielding reciprocating saws.” In a press release, Co-Chair of the ABPA Legislation and Regulation Committee Eileen A. Sottile lays out her industry’s position

Time and again the aftermarket industry has demonstrated the safety and quality of its products, yet some car companies seem determined to counter scientific facts with fear-mongering. OEs cannot credibly argue that only their branded parts can provide safety, especially when it comes to components that play a very small role in crash energy management. If car company safety systems cannot handle a wide range of real world crash conditions and material differences in minor replacement parts then they are not robustly engineered and as such are a significant threat to the consumers.

You can read a compilation of material on the debate over at bodypartbusiness.com if you want to dive deeper into the argument, but it seems to me that the aftermarket is always going to face a single challenge again and again: branding. Whereas the OEMs can put their brands on their products, consumers will always be wary of parts made by different companies. Some consumers will always buy off-brand in hopes of a deal, but when safety is at stake, trust is of the utmost importance. Buyers trust brands, whereas the aftermarket’s myriad companies can’t all have the prominence of, say, a Ford… and they can’t all guarantee the exact same quality either. Still, that doesn’t mean the OEMs aren’t unnecessarily fearmongering…

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