Category: Maintenance

By on January 3, 2019

2019 Ford Ranger

Ever swapped out the battery in a cloud-car Chrysler, or maybe an old Sebring or PT Cruiser? You’ll be reminded of that when the time comes to change your new-generation Ford Ranger’s oil, assuming you’re a proud member of the DIY crowd.

Job One for those looking to freshen the Ranger’s internal lubricant, besides heading to the store for a couple of jugs of synthetic and a filter, is to break out the jack. You’ll need to remove a wheel.

(Editor’s Note: Ford has reached out to us to inform us that the service procedure we referenced below is incorrect, and that the wheel does not need to be removed. We regret the error, and we have further addressed it here.)

Read More >

By on November 1, 2018

National Automobile Dealers Association chairman Wes Lutz doesn’t have much time for critics who claim traditional car dealers don’t want to sell you an electric vehicle. As EVs boast fewer moving parts and lower running costs, green car advocates often say dealerships view the vehicles as a threat to a business model that relies heavily on service visits for profit.

Not so, says Lutz. The parts that do move are the ones they profit from. Read More >

By on May 17, 2018

Shortly after the dawn of new millennium, automakers started implementing bio-plastics made from corn starch, genetically engineered bacteria, or vegetable fats and oils. The rationale for this was that sustainably sourced materials were better for the environment and lowered dependency on petrochemicals. Unsurprisingly, bio-plastics gained in popularity at roughly the same time as ethanol.

Since at least 2010, soy-based bio-plastics have been a popular alternative for wiring insulation in automobiles. But there’s a problem — rodents love how it tastes. This has allegedly resulted in a surprisingly high number of owners reporting that rats chewed through the wiring inside their automobile.

While the problem isn’t entirely new, the frequency of the incidents appears to have been spurred by automakers using more palatable materials. In fact, the issue has grown so bad in recent years, numerous lawsuits have cropped up demanding manufacturers pay for damages. Honda was named in a suit from two years ago involving 2012 to 2015 model year vehicles, and Toyota was hit with one for cars produced between 2012 to 2016.  Read More >

By on April 25, 2017

Repair Auto Mechanic Car Automobile Service

Nothing lasts forever, as Axl Rose once said. After flatlining for a couple of years, during which time car owners — on average — saw no increases in repair costs stemming from “check engine” lights, bills are headed back up.

A study looking at average repair costs in 2016 has found that the price of discovering the cause of that dreaded light rose 2.7 percent between last year and 2015. That brings the average repair bill for this type of garage visit to $398. However, not every region of America took a hit. Read More >

By on April 4, 2017

Auto Repair

According to the American Automobile Association, one third of drivers in the U.S. cannot pay for an unforeseen vehicle repair without going into debt.

AAA says the average trip to the shop will set you back between $500 and $600. So, what does that mean for the 64 million American drivers who can’t afford an unexpected repair bill? Read More >

By on March 27, 2017

tdiengine

Volkswagen’s U.S. diesel woes have consumed most of the oxygen in the room for the past year and a half, but Europe has its own issues with the automaker’s emissions-spewing powerplants.

While owners on the continent haven’t had to hand their vehicle over in exchange for cash, the region’s less-stringent environmental laws still require that VW offer a fix for its rigged diesel engines. Good news for air quality, but bad news — apparently — for drivers. Many owners have discovered the fix turns a perfectly fine (though illegal) vehicle into a nightmare. Read More >

By on September 12, 2016

Front Side Pose oF 2009 Ford F-150 Platinum In Black

Just because your vehicle is the most popular model in the world doesn’t mean there’s spare parts stashed in every storage room and broom closet.

The owner of one 2009 F-150 crew cab found this out the hard way, forcing him to turn to the media and consumer rights groups to keep his truck driveable after an extensive search for a replacement part turned up dry. Read More >

By on July 13, 2016

2017 Ford GT

The 500 Ford GT supercars that will reach customers in 2017 and 2018 sold for more than $400,000, but the privilege of working on them comes at a premium, too.

Any dealer looking to become an authorized Ford GT service center will need to spend at least $30,000 to upgrade their operations, according to a document obtained by All Ford Mustangs. Read More >

By on July 7, 2016

AAA Fuel Test

AAA hired an independent lab to complete 4,000 miles of simulated driving to compare Top Tier gasoline with the cheaper blends. Their findings show that the additive packages in Top Tier gas resulted in fewer carbon deposits than those found in the non-Top Tier gasoline test.

The study also found that there were some secondary benefits to the better additive packages, including slightly better fuel economy and better drivability. The benefits are apparent, but do consumers really care? Read More >

By on June 22, 2016

traffic

Statistics show that, as a whole, teen drivers are unsafe, and could easily saddle you with a huge repair bill.

So, what’s the best state to live in if you’re planning to hand your keys to someone aged 15 to 24? A new study by WalletHub maps it out, ranking each state based on three categories — safety conditions, driving laws and economic environment.
Read More >

By on May 23, 2016

2015 Honda Odyssey EX

8,000 trouble-free miles ended in early April when our 2015 Honda Odyssey EX began squeaking, squawking, and groaning.

An intermittent rattle in the glovebox this was not. The noise was growing worse by the day. Sounding like a flexing structure when turning into an uneven parking lot entry, like a handful of golf balls bouncing around together when traversing a rougher section of road at very low speed, and like a dying crow in nearly every other circumstance, our Odyssey went from refined to cacophonous in a matter of days.

All blame was laid at the feet of our minivan’s power sliding doors, large apparatuses responsible for shuttering two vast orifices in the sides of a 17-foot-long pod that lacks the inherent structural rigidity of a traditional three-box saloon car. Read More >

By on April 15, 2016

coke dealership

A pissed-off motorist wants the world to know that a service technician working at a dealership that might take rolled-up bills as a downpayment took his car on an alleged powder-fueled joyride. And he has dashcam video of the whole thing.

A revealing video posted to Youtube yesterday by user “Carrera Chris” documents the April 12 point-of-view journey of his vehicle as it leaves a Palo Alto Audi dealership with the technician behind the wheel. Read More >

By on March 31, 2016

Auto Repair

Your vehicle’s hidden flaws and most shocking (mechanical) secrets will soon be just a click away.

The Department of Transportation is ending the clandestine relationship between your car’s dealer and the manufacturer by posting all Technical Service Bulletins (TSB) online, according to Consumer Reports.

TSBs, which outline the recommended procedure for repairing vehicles, will be posted in PDF form on the safercar.gov website.

Read More >

By on March 9, 2016

Smart car snowmobile Image: Autobahn Tuning Inc./Facebook)

Let’s face it: when it comes to modern cars, no model is as maligned as the diminutive two-seat Smart Fortwo. Well, maybe the Mitsubishi Mirage.

Measuring just 8-feet-10-inches in length, the rear-engined Smart looks less like a car than a rolling phone booth, or perhaps the bubble that would take Patrick McGoohan back to The Village in the TV show “The Prisoner.”

Jokes and instances of car-tipping aside, the Smart harbors a secret ability that sets it apart from its larger peers — and it took an Ontario mechanic to find it.

Read More >

By on January 8, 2016

Photo courtesy of Washington State DOT: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov

Suppose you have a front-wheel-drive vehicle and you’re looking to fit a set of winter tires. Also, let’s assume that two of those tires have much more tread depth than the other two. On which end of the car do you install the better rubber?

According to the CBC, a woman in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada (that’s my town!) ran into just this problem, complete with conflicting advice from two repair shops: One said putting the fresher rubber up front is safer as the vehicle is front-wheel drive, while the other said giving the rear more grip is the best course of action to reduce the chance of a spin out.

Which one is correct?

Read More >

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