Monthly Archives: May 2016

Trust matters when things do go as planned

Trust matters when things do go as planned

Occasionally I like to write about an oddball scenario that we come across in the shop and how it turned out. Recently we had a Buick come in and the owner complained about a coolant leak and overheating. After filling the coolant level and putting the system under pressure, our technician noted two fairly significant coolant leaks. One of the leaks was coming from the water pump and the other from the intake manifold gasket. These are two fairly common problem areas and, at this point, it seemed like a fairly straightforward repair scenario, especially after confirming the vehicle did not overheat when it was full of coolant. With the work approved and the parts located, we set out to perform the recommended repairs. The repairs went as expected and the car was back up and running in the allotted time. After testing the vehicle in the shop, it was taken for a lengthy test drive. With all systems go, the car was then delivered to the owner. Another successful repair, or so we though ... read more

HID headlights

HID headlights

Q. I read your column weekly in the Daily Herald and have learned some interesting information about automobiles, but I have a question on headlights. I was wondering if there is an industry standard for brightness of automobile headlights? I have noticed lately that some of the headlights are so bright that I am blinded by them. It used to be they were just normal brightness and it did not interfere with your driving ability but sometimes I have to squint to stay on course. Any thoughts on this? A. Thanks for your question. It could be that the lights that appear extra bright to you are actually the bright lights that someone inadvertently left on or maladjusted headlights. If a headlight is adjusted too high it will appear very bright to an oncoming driver. I suspect however that you are referring to HID (high-intensity discharge) lights that are more and more common on cars today. It used to be they were reserved for the expensive luxury import market but now they are becoming ve ... read more

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Headlights

Check your tires before any road trip!

Check your tires before any road trip!

Good tires are important all the time, but if you’re planning a summer road trip, they become even more essential. How do you know if yours need to be replaced? The rules have changed, said McAllister. “We used to say a tire down to 2/32 of tread was considered bald, and wouldn’t pass a safety test,” McAllister said. An old rule of thumb was if you placed a penny upside down into the tread and saw the top of Lincoln’s head, it was time for new. “Now, If you use a quarter and see the top of Washington's head you’re at 4/32nds of tread,” McAllister said. “That’s kind of the new standard.” Road tests have proven that even that small difference can lead your car to lead 180 feet more to stop. Worn tires also are more prone to injuries. “And who wants to be bothered on vacation getting a tire repaired or replaced?” McAllister said. McAllister recommends a good all-season tire for wet weather traction, but ... read more

Categories:

Tires

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Tires

Air blender motor fails

Air blender motor fails

Q. I have a 2005 Grand Marquis with 61,000 miles (out of warranty, of course). I recently had to have the blender motor replaced because the old one stopped working. The cost: $864! Six hours labor at $114 per hour to remove the instrument panel, plus the part. This is a part inside the car, infrequently used to change air flow from warm to cool and not exposed to the elements. I complained to Ford and got a computerized letter saying "sorry." I complained to the car dealer from whom I have purchased three Grand Marquis since 1993 and been a regular customer and he gave me a $200 service credit, which was very nice but a long way from $864 for a seldom-used part that really should last forever. In my complaint I pointed out that I had been involved with Ford for 26 years as a supplier, and they were a frequently unreasonable and demanding customer, which was OK as long as they make a product that is reliable. But this part had to be borderline defective when assembled into ... read more

Categories:

Engine
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