New Enhanced Safety
Why You Should Never Lease a Car
Is Your Windshield Cracked or Chipped?
Giammalvo's Signs On With The Automotive Information
A Special Relationship
Technicians Meet With Japanese Car Specialist.
Did You Know?
Our E-mail Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Phone Number Is 508-999-3213
New Enhanced Safety
Inspection Program Called Off. As you may recall, in a past issue of
GQ, we announced that our technicians were training for a new automotive
inspection program to make our Massachusetts roads safer. The program,
dubbed ESI, was to be implemented in January of 1996. Unfortunately, Governor
Weld has decided to cancel the ESI program. This program was
originally planned to create safer roads by finding dangerously unsafe
vehicles with very serious brake and suspension problems. The Governor
has permanently canceled the program and will most likely make the current
inspection program even more dangerous for Mass. roads. His new program
would allow the inspection sticker on you're car, good, for as long as
you own the vehicle. That might sound ok if everyone drove late model cars,
or older cars that were regularly maintained, but imagine some of the unsafe
cars that are out there now, not getting inspected for years until that
person decides to trade the car in. In addition, the Governor's new program
will eliminate safety inspections for school buses. At this time,
the regular Mass. Inspection Program that we have been used to is continuing
as usual, for now. We will keep you informed if any more changes take place
regarding the Mass. Inspection Program.
Why You Should Never
Lease a Car
Unfortunately leasing is not as good a deal as it seems. And sizing
up a lease deal, is more difficult than negotiating to buy a car, mainly
because all the figures you'll need to make an informed decision, may not
be disclosed. Ralph Nader says "leasing firms are gouging consumers an
average of $2000.00 per car. The law hasn't kept up." As a result he said,"
leasing contracts are almost impossible for consumers to understand, don't
reveal costs, and are loaded with meticulously planed overcharges and gouges."
Buying or financing a car is still the best choice, Remember that leasing
is just a long term rental arrangement, at the end, you own nothing at
all. What's more, leasing carries risks. If you can't stick with the full
term, bailing out early could cost you a stiff penalty. And in many states,
lease cars aren't covered by "Lemon Laws." Also, if the car gets stolen,
your insurer will only pay you the car's market value, which in many cases
will not cover what is due on the lease. So you will have to pay the lease
company the extra, which could be substantial, or you can buy special insurance,
called "Gap Insurance," to cover the extra expense.
Other costs associated with leasing are:
(1). Excessive wear and tear charge.
(2). Excessive mileage charge.
(3). Lease transaction fee.
In the long run, buying a car, rather than leasing, is still the
most economical choice.
Is Your Windshield Cracked or
If your windshield has a "star" break or is cracked, remember, we now
do insurance authorized windshield replacements on the premises. Also,
remember, if you have insurance in MA, their is no deductible to have glass
replaced, so the whole job will cost you $0. Please call Mark if you have
any questions about glass replacement.
When we notice by inspection, or when you notice by increased noise,
that you need some exhaust work we will give you an estimate, if you like,
as to how much the repair will cost. The estimate will include the price
of any pipes, clamps, gaskets, and the muffler. If you've had us replace
the muffler in the past, and you need a new muffler, the muffler itself
will be free because all the mufflers we use are guaranteed for life.
Sometimes only one pipe will rot out. If we can replace that pipe alone,
without compromising the integrity of the rest of the exhaust system, we
will just replace that one item. Occasionally, the pipe is rusted so badly,
that replacing that pipe alone is not possible because the end of the pipe
that connects to the other pipe or muffler has formed a "weld" of rust.
Almost all automobiles are assembled at the factory with a, one piece,
welded exhaust assembly. In other words, the exhaust system is installed
on the car in one whole piece. This allows the assembly plant to save time
and money by working more efficiently. When you bring your car in for its
first exhaust work, we will remove your rusted exhaust system assembly,
and replace it with an exhaust system that is divided into sections.
This has been the industry standard for years. However, recently, we have
stumbled across some creative, to say the least, exhaust work, under some
of our customers cars. Occasionally we will give an estimate to a customer
for some type of exhaust replacement, but the customer will seek a less
costly repair at an exhaust franchise store, or at least, what appeared
to be a less costly repair. A closer examination of some of these
cars, now that they have been back in for other work, has revealed some
frightening exhaust repairs. It seems that some of these exhaust franchise
shops are custom bending pipes to fit the vehicles application. That is,
opposed to, installing exhaust that is pre-bent to fit the vehicle, right
out of the box, like we do. This causes a fit problem for all other repair
shops, the next time the car comes in for exhaust work. Let's explain further.
The four major exhaust suppliers in the Unites States try to mold their
exhaust pipes into the same shapes for each application. In other words,
lets suppose you have a Honda Accord. Regardless of which of the four exhaust
companies we buy from, the exhaust pipes for that model car will usually
be shaped exactly the same. This makes it less costly for the customer
in the long run. If you are out of town and need a certain pipe or muffler,
whatever shop you pick to do the repairs can easily get the correct part
for your car since the four exhaust companies make the parts exactly the
same size and shape. Not so, if one of these shops has installed
some of the custom bent exhaust pipes we have seen. It appears that
some of the franchise shops are taking straight pieces of exhaust pipe
and bending them to fit the cars application with a pipe bender. This conveniently
changes the original design and length of the pipes. This change means
that you will have to go back to the franchise store to get any future
work done. Why? Because the pipe bends are in slightly different locations
than the original design. This means that none of the exhaust that we have
access to, will fit the vehicle. Now the customer will have a hard choice;
return to the franchise store to get that new pipe custom bent and installed,
or have us install a complete exhaust system again which is the correct
size. This type of industry problem leaves us, exhausted, when trying to
explain this whole scenario to our customers. Reading it here, first,
will help save us, and you, our customers, a lot of time. So remember,
when looking for exhaust repairs, you get what you pay for. Or perhaps
this famous quotation from Ruskin: "There is hardly anything in the world
that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and
the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey." Enough
Giammalvo's Signs On
The Automotive Information Service
We are pleased to announce another big step for our service department
in automotive diagnostics. In very rare cases when you are experiencing
a problem with your car that is intermittent or very hard to find, we will
search our Alldata Database for technical service bulletins, (See
GQ Fall 1995, Secret Information). Very often we will find a service
bulletin that describes the exact symptoms you are reporting to us. Unfortunately,
their is not always a service bulletin available to deal with every possible
symptom that you report to us. If this happens, we will follow the
service manual's recommendations for your particular car to see the testing
that it recommends in order to solve your complaint. Occasionally, after
the testing is completed, all items may test ok and the result is inconclusive.
In situations like this you can either, wait until the problem is more
consistent , or if you like, we can start a consultation with Automotive
Information Systems (AIS). AIS is a consultation service of highly
trained and experienced automotive technicians. These technicians consult
with technicians in shops like ours, nationwide, who may have a vehicle
with a problem that published information currently cannot fix. They have
established a database of "field fixes" that are not published in any service
manuals or technical service bulletins. These "field fixes" are a result
of phone consultations with the technicians like us who are calling in
with a specific problem. This type of consultation is similar to
the consulting that two or more doctors may have when a patients symptoms
are not easily recognizable. The main difference here is that the patient,
is a car. If you decide that you want to try this consultation service,
we will call the hotline and give them the make, model and serial number
of your car as well as a brief description of the exact symptom and the
test results we have documented so far. The hotline will normally have
a technician who specializes in your cars make, call us back within thirty
minutes. When the AIS specialist calls back, our technician who is working
on the car, takes the call in a private office where all his relevant information,
wiring diagrams, voltage test results etc., are already laid out in front
of him, on a desk. Generally within the first 10-15 minuets of the call,
the AIS specialist will know if they have a field fix for the car or if
they will want us to do further testing to find the cause. Recently a customer
decided to try this route when normal diagnostic testing trouble charts
could not find a cause to his cars suspension problems. Within the first
13 minuets of the phone call with the AIS specialist, the cause was found.
After going over our test results the specialist asked us to very carefully
check the wiring to the right front shock actuator. The specialist told
us we would probably find the wires stretched and starting to break open.
Sure enough, he was right! This wiring problem had reeked havoc with this
cars electronic suspension system. The AIS specialist knew the problem
quite well because he had documented rare cases of this in his past consultations
with other technicians around the country. In case your wondering, the
prices for consultation aren't cheap, but the results are usually positive.
Consultation prices are: $3.00 per minute. That's $180.00 per hour! But
fear not, the average call is generally only 15 minutes long.
A Special Relationship
We are all full blooded Americans, we eat, sleep, and dream automobiles.
Ever since they were introduced, automobiles and the freedom they provide
have been a strong piece of American culture. Most people do not even realize
how very strongly they feel about their own car. Automobiles, even though
they are quite costly, bring us great joy. What could compare with the
feeling of the first drive in your new car? How proud we are to be seen
behind the wheel, or to sit back after washing it to admire it. We all
know what the phrase "keeping up with the Joneses" refers to of course,
and who could deny the importance of cars to America's youth. Yes, nothing
can compare with the pride we feel towards our own automobile. If you were
to ask the owner of a new sports car about how it runs, what a story you
would hear of speed and exhilaration. Ask a friend or neighbor about their
late model four-wheel drive sport utility, and you will hear a tale of
a miraculous, go anywhere, do anything vehicle that is second to none.
But this love Americans have for their automobiles has a flip side, a dark
and gloomy side. As eager as we are to boast about our cars, we are just
as eager to condemn them when they give us trouble. After five years of
joyful ownership bliss, all good times will be forgotten as soon as the
technician explains the cost of a transmission overhaul. All of a sudden
that beloved vehicle becomes a terrible burden, and all new memories come
to mind. "This truck never shifted right since I bought it, sometimes it
makes a funny noise, and the gas mileage has always been lousy! I should
have never bought this over priced thing in the first place!" In America,
loyalty never seems to apply to the relationship we have with our cars.
We all have a love, hate, relationship with every vehicle we own. We guess,
human nature is responsible for some of our love, hate, relationship tendencies.
We all want to feel important, and proud. We can get that from spending
$15,000 for a new vehicle, but not at all from spending $2,000 on a new
transmission. Maybe the manufacturer is partially at fault for our
disloyalty. They advertise how great their latest vehicles are and what
they can do, but they never explain at what cost these conveniences come.
They never said their transmission was a computer controlled, electronically
shifted, hydraulic and mechanical wonder of modern technology that is far
more complex than an entire office computer system. They never said how
expensive and time consuming it would be to solve an intermittent driveability
problem. I guess it is not their fault, they gave us just what we wanted.
We just forgot to ask, at what cost?
Technicians Meet With
Japanese Car Specialist.
Recently, our technicians met with nationally known Asian specialist,
Dan Marinucci. Among his long list of credentials, Dan is a noted writer
for the automotive technical journal, Motor Magazine. In a comprehensive
two day seminar, Dan taught the technicians late developing technology
to diagnose common failures on mid 80's Honda, Nissan and Toyotas with
carburetor problems. Dan also brought to light many secret "field fixes"
known only by certain auto engineers. Our technicians will use this latest
information to help better diagnose what ails your Japanese car.
Did You Know?
Today's cars have as much computing power as the first Apollo lunar
capsule. (Source: American Automobile Manufacturers Association)
In 1990, just 18 percent of the functions in a typical Ford automobile
were computer-controlled. In 1994 the ratio was 82 percent. (Source: U.S.
Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, The Wall Street Journal, Feb. 2, 1994)
Today's automotive technicians must be able to interpret over 1,000,000
pages of service manuals in order to be able to repair any automobile on
the road. This is the equivalent of over 500 large city phone books.
State Farm Insurance has agreed to settle a class action law suit in which
they will pay for $75 million worth of repairs to 2.3 million cars in California.
For more than seven years, State Farm used cheaper, inferior parts without
disclosing their use to customers.
We are deeply saddened by the loss of our two long time customers, Hank
Oliveira and Ruth Evans.
Our condolences go out to the Oliveira and Evans Families.
Thanks for your business.
Please drive safely.
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