Return to 'Giammalvo Quarterly' News Letter 'Page'
A Publication of Sam Giammalvo's Auto Sales & Service
Vol. 2 No. 2 SPRING 1996
CONTENTS:sam-gsm.gif (12149 bytes)

New Enhanced Safety 
Why You Should Never Lease a Car
Is Your Windshield Cracked or Chipped?
Giammalvo's Signs On With The Automotive Information Service
A Special Relationship 
Technicians Meet With Japanese Car Specialist. 
Did You Know?


Our E-mail Address:

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 Chipped?

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 said! 

Giammalvo's Signs On With 
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. 

In Passing 

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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Sam Giammalvo's Auto Sales, Inc.
1476 Purchase Street
New Bedford, MA 02740
Phone: (508) 999-3213
FAX: (508) 999-1343
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