Chips Ahoy: Late-Year Stumble for Microchip Supply

We’ve spilled plenty of digital ink on these virtual pages about the so-called ‘chip shortage’, a conundrum of the world’s automakers that cropped up in the early days of the pandemic and has stubbornly caused headaches ever since. While the situation may be improving, recent numbers show production levels continue to be impacted – even at this late stage of the 2022 calendar year.

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Jerry Dias, Face of Canadian Automakers Union, Under Investigation

Readers may recall yesterday’s news about the retirement of Jerry Dias, head honcho for Unifor, which is the union outfit that represents many autoworkers in Canada. At the time, it was stated the man retired ahead of schedule due to health issues.

Now, less than 24 hours later, industry outlets are reporting that Dias has been under investigation by the union since January for “an alleged breach” of the organization’s constitution.

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Tips and Advice: The Case for OEM Replacement Tires

The first thing that many people do when their new car is ready for its first set of replacement tires is to ditch them for something else. Whether that’s a tire with a high tread mileage guarantee, an ultra-grippy tire, or the cheapest thing they can find, few people actively seek out the exact same tires that their vehicle came with from the factory.

If OEMs could have just selected the best-rated tire from the Tire Rack website, or asked people on a forum what they preferred, and called it a day, wouldn’t they have done that? If you think you’re smarter than an entire team of OEM engineers, then go ahead and slap on that 80,0000-mile-guaranteed set of tires. But, you will want to understand what you might be giving up in the process.

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Saying What's Popular: Suppliers Claim Automakers Are Overselling the Future of 'Mobility'

Suppliers have begun putting automotive companies on blast for overly ambitious mobility claims. While self-driving cars are definitely en route, manufacturers have ramped up their arrival time and omitted the necessary pit stops to win favor with investors or the general public. Meanwhile, parts suppliers have been frank on the matter — explaining they know when autonomous cars are really coming because they’ll be the ones providing the tidbits that make them work.

Don Walker, CEO of Magna International, one of the world’s largest OEM parts suppliers, suggests automakers may even be misleading their customers. “A full autonomous vehicle is a long way off for lots of reasons, because of legislation, class-action lawsuits, all the complexities and the costs associated with it,” the executive said.

Speaking Wednesday at the 2017 Center for Automotive Research Management Briefing Seminars, Walker also took umbrage with the popular claim that electric vehicles could comprise around 25 percent of the new market by 2025. Instead, he claims EVs will only account for 3 to 6 percent of the global market within that timeframe — a figure predominantly dependent on how swiftly the highly regulated Chinese market grows.

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Piston Slap: A Stern Talkin' to About OEM Headlamps (Part II)
TTAC Commenter flipper35 writes:

I thought I would give everyone an update on the lighting situation on the Durango. After considering the advice from both you and Mr. Stern, I decided that after all the expense of the new OEM lights, the better bulbs and the relay harness, I would just go with the more labor-intensive lights and less labor-intensive wiring from The Retrofit Source. I ended up spending a little over my budget but the lights are worlds better. They’re also an engineered solution that doesn’t blind other drivers.

I made an album with several pictures, before and after, with different settings. As you can see, on the new set there is a distinct cutoff on the “dims.” The low beams are currently adjusted a bit low and I haven’t taken the time to fix that yet, but on the road it is a major improvement. Other than a confused look from my wife when I had to bake the headlight buckets to remove the lenses and finding a place for the computer, ballast, and relay, it wasn’t too bad.

It was a little more work than I had planned, but the all-in price wasn’t much more than going the OEM route. It is a very significant improvement. I did get to adjust them a bit, and then followed my brother-in-law to see if they were blinding everyone. He said it was no different than other traffic, so I think I will leave the alignment right there. The beans line up on the door with the dims slightly higher than the other lights, but the old lights were sort of a blob on the top and I used a guess as to where the “cut” line was.

Thanks for all the help. I wanted to do it right and have them be able to align correctly. Even though I didn’t follow your exact advice, you gave me the push in the right direction. It still isn’t a bad looking truck for 190k miles!

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Piston Slap: A Stern Talkin' To About OEM Headlamps?

Sajeev writes:

I created Piston Slap as a way to bring the diverse knowledge base of your favorite car forum to the autoblogosphere with easy to digest weekly posts. The only problem is when a mistake gets published, the thread never comes back to page one with its correction.

I screwed up, so here I’ll do my best to fix it: I was mistaken about aftermarket DOT/SAE approved lights being just as good or better than original-equipment factory parts. Some of the aftermarket parts are promoted as being “CAPA certified” (Certified Automotive Parts Association), but as we shall see, that doesn’t mean what it sounds like, and it doesn’t help with our reader’s query that started the conversation in the first place. As seen elsewhere, parts not up to spec can have tragic consequences with little recourse for victims.

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Piston Slap: Cancelling Chrysler's Noise Cancellation?

Craig writes:

Hey Sanjeev, (*facepalm* –SM)

I have a 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT, and I’m bit of a music buff. One of the first things I dispensed with was the factory Harman Kardon speakers. I replaced the sub with a JL stealth box. Now I have a pretty big problem with the factory stereo and its the automatic noise cancellation.

When the transmission is in normal D mode and or eco mode is on, it uses the factory stereo to cancel out the drone of the engine. Unfortunately, the noise cancellation is calibrated for the weaksauce factory sub. Now it sounds like one of those bass CDs from the ’90s as I hold speed or decelerate. I’ve asked the dealer how to get rid of this thing, to which they said “you can’t.”

I’m not so convinced.

Any ideas?

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Piston Slap: The Cat's Meow for OEM or Aftermarket Parts? (Part II)

Sajeev writes:

It’s ironic that as the initial Jaguar story neared publication, I ordered an aftermarket part to complete the (somewhat) light restoration of my 1988 Mercury Cougar XR-7. I mentioned getting “a factory part when buying the aftermarket brand” and nobody had a problem with this assessment.

But you won’t believe what happens next in this shameful attempt at clickbait

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Piston Slap: The Cat's Meow for OEM or Aftermarket Parts?

John writes:

I recently had a local shop confirm the need for O2 sensors in my Jaguar S-Type. With 97,000 miles on them, it seems very likely they need replacement, and the mechanic wants to install factory sensors at the cost of some $650 for the parts. I can purchase Denso or Bosch from the local parts store for less than $200. As these parts were originally designed to last at least 80,000 miles (Federal warranty requirement), I figure that replacements from any reputable source will last quite a long time.

What is your opinion as to brand specific parts versus more generic replacement parts?

I suspect the original supplier was actually Bosch anyway so in my mind they are the same.

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BMW To Customer: Aftermarket Parts Cause Fires, Airbag Deployments

Last month, I shared the story of an unexpected double front airbag deployment in a BMW X5. In the twenty days since then, that car’s owner has been working with BMW NA, which conducted an independent examination of the car while it was in dealership custody. Yesterday he heard from a BMW consumer service representative, who told him that BMW has determined the reason for the deployment.

If this was Upworthy, or if we used the Upworthy Generator to create headlines, we’d have to title the article “What This BMW Representative Told A Father About His Airbag Deployment Will Break Your Heart. The Worst Part Is At 4:23 In The Call Record.”

But seriously, if you have a BMW you might want to click the jump, because there’s a good chance that BMW’s reason for the deployment applies to you as well.

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QOTD: What OEM Wheel Designs Make Their Respective Cars Look Cheap?

Regulation. It dictates the majority of modern car design. Whether it be for pedestrian safety, crash worthiness, economies of scale, or fuel efficiency, the basic building blocks of modern cars are decided well before pencil is met with freshly-bleached paper (or, these days, before stylus meets tablet).

That last item – fuel efficiency – is as much a matter of aerodynamics as it is what’s under the hood, and aerodynamic efficiency isn’t just about fenders and trunk lids.

Which brings me to wheels – specifically, OEM wheels – and how absolutely ugly they’ve gotten the last few years.

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Dealership Wheel Thefts Spotlight Security Risks

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.

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You Thought That Car Was Expensive? Wait Until You Get Fleeced By The Shop

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.

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Piston Slap: Denso'd Into Needless Markup?

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.

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Piston Slap: Being On The Level With One's Self

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.

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  • Jeff S I rented a 2012 Chrysler 200 with the 4 cylinder from Enterprise for business travel and it was not a bad car but I would not buy one. I would have picked a Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, or a Ford Fusion over a Chrysler 200. I have known people that bought Chrysler 200s that had nothing but problems with them. I appreciate these old reviews and miss the old TTAC before it became what it is now with many articles that are slanted toward politics. Don't have to agree with everything but it is good to read an honest review of a car.
  • Jeff S The Cybertruck was first unveiled and announced on Nov. 21, 2019. For over 3 years Tesla has been saying that this truck was going to be released soon. The mystique and surprise is no longer there. I think the Cybertruck is hideous but then I am not the target for this. Since its initial unveiling there has been the introduction of the Lightning, Hummer, and the Rivian truck. The anticipation of this truck and the mystique has faded. There will be a few that will buy this because they are hard core Tesla fans and some because it is different but Tesla should have been the first to market an EV pickup. GM is planning a compact EV pickup under the GMC brand starting at 25 MSRP. This should have been Tesla and Tesla could have downsized the Cybertruck to either a midsize or compact truck and been first. Tesla should have been first at the very least to release a smaller EV truck.
  • Bloke Wow, this should make a big difference, to those catalytic converter thieves who don't have tools like 'angle grinders' with them.
  • Carlson Fan The way the truck drops in the rear and the bed/tailgate become a ramp is genius! I'd buy it just for that alone!!! It would be awesome for loading snowmobiles and garden tractors in the back. However, my trucks need to be able to regularly tow heavy loads long distance, summer & winter. Sorry folks, current battery tech. isn't even close to what it needs to be for me to think even one second that a battery truck could replace my current ICE powered truck. An EV for a DD makes sense , but for truck you need a MUCH better battery.
  • Inside Looking Out For midsize sedan it is too small. It basically is a compact car.