Tag: Repairs

By on November 5, 2019

In reading this website, you’ve no doubt come across paranoid rants about automotive companies vacuuming up your personal data as connected cars become the norm — often written by yours truly. Frequently bleak, they address a multitude of concerns we believe will only get worse before they can get better.

A large part of that has to do with automakers seeing the potential of leveraging customer data, like so many tech companies have before them. But elected (and unelected) officials also seem to have a loose grasp of the technology and its potential ramifications. When the Department of Transportation initially approved self-driving vehicles for public testing, the guidelines were loose and largely dependent upon self-reporting — few wanted to stand in the way of developing systems that might someday save lives.

However, manufacturers are now beginning to issue over-the-air updates, perpetual internet connectivity, gamification, and in-car marketplaces (complete with advertisements). While the new technology has opened up new doors for customer experiences and corporate revenue, it’s accelerating at a pace that’s difficult to track. As a result, lawmakers in Massachusetts and California are starting to get antsy. The former hopes to address how data will be handled in accordance with the state’s right-to-repair laws. The latter is more directly concerned with privacy.  (Read More…)

By on October 17, 2019

As the most-successful manufacturer of electric vehicles, Tesla is often at the forefront of new challenges relating to advanced automotive technologies. While the brunt of this has revolved around its software, mainly Autopilot, it’s also going to be among the first automakers to confront widespread battery recycling ⁠— something it’s already planning for at its Nevada Gigafactory.

Nothing last forever and, like every internal combustion vehicle, EVs have parts that go bad. Over the last six months, there’s been a growing number of reports of customers claiming their Teslas are bricking out like old phones. Displays are going dark, accessories are… inaccessible, and charging is often not an option. The culprit appears to be the embedded Multi-Media Controller (eMMC) embedded on MCUv1 units, which logs data using flash memory.

Apparently, Tesla is overworking these systems (at least on some models) to a point where they can’t take it anymore. It’s basically the same thing that would happen if you filled and wiped a USB drive hundreds of times everyday. One morning you’d plug it in and find that it’s no longer functional due to being burnt out from overuse.  (Read More…)

By on May 21, 2019

As ride-hailing services utilize the personal vehicles of contractors, rather than a commercial fleet of their own, repairs and recalls have to be handled by individual drivers. While it shouldn’t be a revelation that some recalls fall through the cracks, Consumer Reports is concerned that the ratio of unaddressed safety issues are unbecoming of companies pushing multibillion-dollar IPOs.

“Uber and Lyft are letting down their customers and jeopardizing their trust,” suggested William Wallace, products policy manager for Consumer Reports. “Uber’s website says people can ‘ride with confidence,’ while Lyft promises ‘peace of mind,’ yet both companies fail to ensure that rideshare cars are free from safety defects that could put passengers at risk.”  (Read More…)

By on March 1, 2019

Expanding by leaps and bounds in the new millennium, Subaru effectively quadrupled its share of the U.S. market in the process. However, most of its production growth occurred in the last decade — leading to quality control problems unbefitting for a company that prides itself in sharing the same love as its customers.

Recalls are to be expected. No automaker can escape faulty components forever. But the frequency and scope of Subaru’s recalls (and scandals) over the past few years are especially bothersome, as they hint at an inability to catch mistakes, or perhaps a willingness to cut corners, as the company’s production volume targets the stratosphere. A new recall looming on the horizon will probably be the company’s largest to date.  (Read More…)

By on September 11, 2017

zip ties, Image: NorGal/Bigstock

Most of us reading — and writing for — this site have found themselves in possession of a complete and utter beater car at some point in their lives. Whether through necessity (young kid with no money) or choice (strange attractions to unreliable British machinery), roadside repairs often figure into our past in some form or another.

The most versatile of all roadside repair items? Zip ties, of course.

(Read More…)

By on December 7, 2015

PepBoysLogo_PressRelease

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn disclosed a 12-percent ownership stake in Pep Boys and said that Auto Plus, a competitor which he owns, should consider buying the retail parts giant, Bloomberg reported.

In October, Bridgestone offered to purchase Pep Boys’ 800 company-owned stores for $835 million to add to its portfolio of 2,200 stores including Tires Plus, Firestone Complete Auto Care, Hibdon Tires Plus and Wheel Works. The acquisition would create the largest chain of automotive service centers, yet many analysts say Bridgestone may be preparing Pep Boys for a potential sale already.

That tender offer from Bridgestone will expire Jan. 4, according to the report.

(Read More…)

By on June 8, 2015

MyrtleBeach

That moment you realize the oldest car in the parking lot is yours.

Yeah, I just had that moment.

The car in question is a 2001 Honda Accord EX. Four-door. Five-speed. A dodo bird of a used car stuck in today’s finance driven market. I walked around the parking lot you see above trying to find one vehicle, any vehicle, that’s as old as mine.

The blue ’05-ish Caravan on the bottom left came a bit close, but it didn’t happen. Instead, everything else seemed to be on the younger side of the curve, the overwhelming majority of vehicles sold new at a later time in history.

(Read More…)

By on June 17, 2014

GM-building-US-Flag

In today’s digest: General Motors issues another ignition-related recall; has fixed a handful of those affected by the original ignition recall; and unveils plans for three new compacts to be sold in emerging markets.

(Read More…)

By on December 26, 2013

TTAC commentator AMC_CJ writes:

Sajeev,

My retired mother has come to the conclusion that she needs a 2nd car. Currently she has a 06′ Trailblazer that she keeps in mint condition, and despite having issues with the headlights going out automatically, and a lengthy dealing with GM, it’s been a good vehicle (and to GM’s credit, we think they finally found and fixed the problem with little expense to her). She loves her Trailblazer and it’s perfect for running up to our homestead in WV. But it’s the only car she has, and when it was in the shop recently it left her with a sub-par loaner she couldn’t drive very far. When I lived at home, I lent my parents a vehicle out of my own fleet when they needed. (Read More…)

By on March 25, 2013

 

A couple of years ago, my car died in the middle of the night while at a friend’s house. The tow fees to my house and then to my mechanic ended up costing more than the alternator replacement itself. I still cringe to this day when I think about the final sum, and a service like YourMechanic.com would have made things a lot easier on my wallet and my sanity.

(Read More…)

By on August 28, 2012

Whether you drive a $30,000 or a $1,500 a car, one variable in life stays constant.

You want to minimize your costs.

(Read More…)

By on March 30, 2012

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. (Read More…)

By on February 15, 2010

In case you missed it, Paul Niedermeyer’s excellent overview of Lincolns greatest hits and misses is worth a second look, considering the “firsts” attributed to the Lincoln brand: halogen lights and clear coat paint (Versailles), gas charged shocks and auto dimming rear view mirrors (Fox Continental), composite headlamps (Mark VII) and the industry’s first use of High Intensity Discharge (HID) lights in the Lincoln Mark VIII. And while some innovations quickly spread elsewhere, Lincoln’s HID system was outdated and orphaned in less than a decade. If you are crazy enough to drive an HID-equipped Mark today, finding a new bulb for less than $600 is impossible. And a used bulb fetches $100 or more on eBay. Such is life when you live on the bleeding edge far beyond anyone’s expectation.

(Read More…)

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