Tag: Repair

By on May 6, 2019

Ford Sierra and Merkur XR4ti, Image: Sajeev Mehta

Most of the gearheads in this audience turn a wrench or three. It’s part of what makes the community at TTAC such a great one: authors and readers alike enjoy (and understand!) wrenching on cars as much as they enjoy driving them. Those attributes aren’t a requirement for hanging around these digital pages but it sure does help.

You author spent a leisurely few minutes changing over the tires on his trusty Dodge Charger from winter to all-season rubber. While spinning lug nuts, I started thinking: what is the first tool bought by most gearheads?

(Read More…)

By on September 10, 2018

There’s a good reason why insurance premiums are rising like your author’s blood pressure while scanning his Twitter feed, and it’s not just because providers really, really like making money. (They do, of course.) Average repair bills in the U.S. rose by about a third in the past three years, mainly due to the proliferation of safety technology, and insurance premiums followed. Country-wide, premiums rose 7.9 percent in 2017.

Cameras, ultrasonic sensors, and radar sensors tend to be located in areas of the vehicle most prone to damage, even in even low-speed collisions, and sturdy, exposed 5 mph bumpers are unfortunately a thing of the past. Many would prefer to see all automakers design their cars with repairs in mind, thus lowering future costs and premiums.

As an example of the headache of repairing technology-festooned vehicles, behold the average front-corner collision repair cost of one rare Korean sedan. (Read More…)

By on July 10, 2018

Image: David B. Gleason/Flickr

Old, beloved cars can easily consume every last minute of our spare time while draining every last cent from our wallets, but not everyone is as fastidious as you might be. Often when a little thing goes wrong, we just let it slide. Sometimes the vehicle’s age, mileage, and accumulated repair costs mean our intervention’s no longer worthwhile. It’s time to throw our hands up in the air and say, “Screw it, I’ll just live with it.”

Yes, it wouldn’t take much to pull that dent or buff out those scuffs, but it there really any point anymore?

Usually, when car/owner relationships reach this point, the vehicle in question is not long for this world. Like a horse that’s run its last race, the glue factory beckons. And yet a friend of mind once spend countless hours applying endless layers of filler and primer and paint and clearcoat to his ’03 Altima’s bumpers to eliminate a number of stubborn scratches. Meanwhile, the sedan’s undercarriage resembled the Titanic (circa 2017) and the engine and transmission had clearly used up their borrowed time. For some, the quest for outward perfection never ends.

What’s the biggest nuisance you let slide? (Read More…)

By on July 9, 2018

Image: Matthew Guy/TTAC

If you’re expending bandwidth on this site, chances are you’re a bit of a gearhead. In addition to eating, breathing, and talking cars, I’m willing to wager more than a few of us turn a wrench on our own vehicles when the need arises.

Such a need popped up in our house this week.

(Read More…)

By on May 11, 2018

Principal Skinner KIA, Image: IMCDB.orgLou writes:

Hi, Sajeev:

Over the past 15 years or so, I’ve bounced between leasing/buying cars in my two-car family. Because of a severe case of always wanting what I don’t have (thankfully, this only happens with cars and bicycles), I’ve owned quite a few cars over this time period. Sometimes I think I want to own long-term and take pride in my ride of choice (2006 Mazda 6 wagon, for example), and other times I get fed up with issues, such as a $4,000 transmission replacement bill for said wagon, and I then decide I want the security and added features of a newer ride (just finished a three-year lease of a 2015 Outback 2.5 Limited).

So, with my car shopping neurosis briefly explained, what type of car should I be looking for, and what type of preventative maintenance should I undertake, if I decide to buy and keep? I don’t necessarily mean a specific make and model. What I mean is, since I do make quite a few short trips of about a mile throughout the day (I live and work in the same town), and the car barely has a chance to warm up in the morning, is there a specific engine specification I should look for? Whether the car was purchased or leased, I’ve always taken it easy in the bitter cold, and I’d even drive a bit out of my way to get the car closer to operating temperature before reaching my school.

Also, before the B&B tells me to ride my bicycle or walk, I’m a K-5 Principal with other duties that can take me away from my school at any moment, so I don’t want to ride my bike around town when I have to see the Superintendent, or when I visit the high school to conduct bullying investigations. I also pick up my kids’ friends in the morning, and their parents reciprocate as well, so any car I have for the foreseeable future will have to perform many short trips.

Many thanks, and keep up the good work! (Read More…)

By on March 9, 2018

2011 Ford Flex Titanium, Image: FordJay writes:

Sajeev,

I’ve been enjoying your work on TTAC for several years and (unfortunately) have run into a situation where I think I need your help.

After reading Mark’s review of the Ford Flex several years ago, I test drove and fell in love with one — a 2012 Titanium Ecoboost model, to be precise. Fast forward to last month, and I am driving down I-395 when the car starts to lurch; $1,900 later, I have a new fuel injector and a picture of a leaky turbo (rrg). In hopes that Ford would have some type of pity on a 5.5-year-old car with only 53K miles on it, I took it to the dealership. $167 later, we’ve added a transmission seal issue to the running list and they’re asking more than $5,000 to square everything away.

I’m hoping you have a magic bullet for this one or, barring that, something snappy to say that will make me laugh. (Read More…)

By on January 22, 2018

Our roads are a mess. It doesn’t seem to matter where in America (or Canada) one travels, there stands a very good chance that one will find crumbling infrastructure. In fact, the United States ranks eighth in the world in national infrastructure quality, behind Germany and the U.K., but above France and Canada, according to one recent study. Some days, it sure seems worse than that.

Which leads us to today’s question: what’s the worst road in your neck of the woods?

(Read More…)

By on November 8, 2017

Acura has a tough job ahead of it. As the brand tries to grow volume and retain some of the clout it lost in past years, it finds itself with too many cars and two few SUVs in a market that demands more of the latter, not the former. Meanwhile, the impressive reborn NSX, now a hybrid, hasn’t captured the imagination of sports car fans in the same way as its long-lived predecessor.

Keeping up with — and in some cases, getting in front of — technological trends is part of Acura’s comeback plan. Naturally, in the interest of technological advancement and environmental appeasement, it was necessary to bring a multi-cog automatic transmission on board. However, a series of manufacturer service bulletin point to two potential weak points in the company’s nine-speed. (Read More…)

By on September 30, 2017

tdiengine

Twenty-seven billion seemed like an odd number, so Volkswagen upped the financial cost of its diesel emissions scandal to an even $30B. Actually, the extra expense comes entirely from the repair of older U.S.-market vehicles, which are proving less easy to fix than anticipated.

Because of this, VW has to rustle up some extra cash. The automaker set aside $26.7 billion to put the scandal behind it, and this latest price jump has the company pole vaulting over that marker.

This isn’t the only new grief facing VW, however. German media and The New York Times are reporting the arrest of the highest-ranking official so far — VW Group’s former powertrain chief. (Read More…)

By on September 15, 2017

20-2014-jeep-cherokee-chrome-grille

Lucky is the new car buyer who isn’t saddled with a trip to the dealer for recall work within the first few years of ownership. The modern age provides us with a great many wonderful things — avocadoes year-round, transmission cogs we can count on all 10 fingers, UberEATS — but it hasn’t turned the average vehicle into a paragon of reliability.

Last year, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles issued a recall for 323,400 2014 and 2015 Jeep Cherokees, as well as 2015 Renegades, Chrysler 200s, and Ram ProMasters. FCA threw the 2018 Fiat 500X in there for good measure. The problem stemmed from the automaker’s finicky nine-speed automatic transmission. Thanks to insufficient crimps in the transmission sensor cluster’s wire harness (and the subsequent trouble code sent to the vehicle’s diagnostic system), some owners suddenly found their Jeep, Chrysler or Ram coasting along in neutral — a default position — instead of drive. Can’t have that.

The recall — a minor fix — didn’t seem like a big deal. The vehicles would normally be drivable (for a time, anyway) after the engine was shut off and turned back on again, making a trip to the nearest certified FCA dealership relatively trouble-free. For one Cherokee owner, however, the repair work stood to cost him $2,000 more than what he paid for the vehicle. (Read More…)

By on June 7, 2017

2011 Volkswagen Jetta, Image: TTAC

A problem faced by many Volkswagen TDI owners over the past several years has become a thornier issue ever since the company’s diesel debacle.

North of the border, several owners of 2.0-liter diesel models have turned to the media after high-pressure fuel pump failures turned their vehicles into Teutonic paperweights. The problem facing the owners was unique: to have the automaker buy back their vehicles as part of the emissions scandal settlement, the cars needed to be in running order. No longer covered by warranty, the cost to repair a fuel system contaminated by metal fragments was potentially more than the owners would receive in the buyback.

The burning anger is enough to melt snow. (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 6, 2017

Image: Snowstorm/Tesla Motors Club forum]

Imagine you’ve just taken delivery of a car with a price tag of $127,100. You’re leasing it for a monthly sum that could pay for a nice two-bedroom apartment in most North American cities.

The A-pillar is torn. Split. Structurally compromised. And it was delivered that way from the factory.

According to one Toronto-area man, that’s the situation he’s facing with a brand-new Tesla Model S 90D. (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…)

Recent Comments

  • N8iveVA: The thought of having to look at that “gauge” cluster for years on end is a big NO from me.
  • N8iveVA: Seriously. I was thinking of how lazy of Honda to come up with this.
  • Lie2me: I don’t think every single car has visibility issues. I would suggest looking at taller glassier cars...
  • John R: @APaGttH I was responding to FreedMike’s comment, “A Charger with the basic V-8 isn’t going to be...
  • ToddAtlasF1: “That accident was due to a combination of bad engineering, bad politics, and bad judgment.”...

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