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A Publication of Sam Giammalvo's Auto Sales & Service
Vol.6 No.1.........Winter 2000

Check Engine Lamp On?  
GM Purchases 20% of Subaru. 
Continuing Education. 
83 % Of Vehicles In Need Of Service. 
Giammalvo's' Featured In Motor Age Magazine. 
In Passing  

Our E-mail Address: 

Our Phone Number Is 508-999-3213 

    Check Engine Lamp On?
Believe it or not your gas cap may be loose. As strange as that sounds, if your vehicle is a 1995 or newer model, a loose gas cap can cause the check engine light on the dash to illuminate. The check engine lamp has been on all vehicles since 1981. The lamp is illuminated by a computer when a fault is detected by the vehicles electronic on board computer system. There can be upwards of 300 different codes that can be logged when the check engine lamp is on. Often times a customer will call us reporting the light is on and ask us what the cause is. Until we hook up our lap top computer we do not know which code is stored. On 1995 and newer model vehicles the federal government has mandated that the vehicles on board electronics monitor the integrity of the fuel supply system. If the fuel tank or several other fuel related components do not hold vacuum,  code PO440  for "evaporative emissions leak" will be stored. At that moment the computer in the car will command the check engine lamp to illuminate. The EPA does not want fuel evaporating from the fuel tank and venting into the atmosphere. This is known as evaporative emissions. (Remember a few years back when all the small gas station hoses were changed over to larger nozzles with a boot? That boot pulls the gas vapor from your fuel tank into an underground storage tank when you are refueling the car. Likewise the EPA does not want fuel vapors leaking past a loose fuel cap). 

While your driving your vehicle, many tests are being performed by the on board computer in your car. The computer performs specific tests to check the integrity of the vehicles sensors and electronics. When the evaporative emission test is run the computer tries to apply vacuum to the fuel tank. If the test passes the light is not turned on. Some times we will connect our lap top computer to a car and find an evaporative emission code and a subsequent inspection will reveal a loose gas cap. Often a customer will say that they gassed up several days ago and they don't understand why the light was not on right after refueling. This is due to the computers strategy, ( the program that determines when the evaporative emission test will run). The evaporative leak detection strategy is based on applying vacuum to the fuel system and monitoring vacuum decay. The evaporative emission test does not run during every trip you take. Lets use a 1996 Buick Lesabre V6 as an example. The 96 Lesabre repair manual states that the evaporative emission test will only run if the following "enable criteria" are met: 

1). Engine temperature at start up is between 40F and 86F. 
2). Engine temperature at startup is not more than 14F greater than start up intake air temperature. 
3). Intake air temperature at startup is between 40F and 86F. 
4). Intake air temperature at startup is not more than 4F greater than startup engine coolant temperature. 
5). The fuel level reported at the fuel gauge is between 15% and 85%. 
6). Barometric pressure is greater than 75kpa. 
7). The vehicle has been driven at least 11 miles. 
8). No codes are stored in the computers memory for: throttle position sensor, output driver module, intake air temperature sensor or manifold absolute pressure sensor. 

When all these criteria are met, the computer will apply vacuum to the fuel system. If the system fails to hold vacuum, code PO440 is stored for evaporative emissions and the check engine lamp is illuminated. 

Wow! That's a lot of criteria to meet before that test is run on the fuel system. Due to criteria #5 alone we can see that the test will never run with a full tank (100%) of fuel. This means that even if the cap is loose or missing after a fill up, the test won't run (so the light won't come on) until the fuel tank is down to 85% full. This is the reason why the light will not come on right away if the fuel cap is loose or missing. 

Keep in mind that although a loose fuel cap is the most likely cause of this code, the following items will cause the test to also fail: 

Disconnected or faulty fuel tank pressure sensor, disconnected or damaged evaporative purge line, disconnected or damaged evaporative vent hose, disconnected or damaged fuel tank vapor line, disconnected or damaged purge solenoid or vent solenoid, open ignition feed circuit to the vent or purge solenoid, damaged evaporative emission canister, leaking fuel sender assembly o-ring, leaking fuel tank or filler neck. 

Repair facilities charge a small fee to connect a lap top computer to read and clear the code and turn off the check engine light. The computer itself can turn the light off if the evaporative test is run and the test passes. The light will then be off but the code will store in memory as a "history code" until 40 consecutive engine warm-up cycles have occurred without fault. 

Think cars are getting too technical? We think so too, but this is the industry we have chosen to be in so we roll with the punches and stay up to date by constantly attending the latest training so we can continue to properly service your vehicle. 


 GM Purchases 20% of Subaru.

General Motors recently spent 1.4 billion dollars to acquire 20% ownership of Fuji Heavy Industries, the producer of Subaru cars and trucks. This ownership venture is expected to lead to joint development and production of vehicles and related technology. Fuji will remain a sole entity with GM as its largest shareholder. GM also owns 49% of Isuzu and 10% of Suzuki. In 1998, GM generated 161 billion dollars from all its business globally, which included sales of 8,165,000 vehicles. GM employees approximately 391,000 people worldwide. 

 Continuing Education.

Our service technicians will be attending night school during the months of April, May and June. The technicians will be taking the nationally recognized Aspire Curriculum. The Aspire course is being presented by Massachusetts Bay Community College. The course is difficult  and requires a large time commitment since the classes run 4 hours per night, two nights a week, for ten weeks.  We are glad that our technicians have taken the initiative to further their automotive education. The classes will end mid June. 


 83 % Of Vehicles In Need Of Service.

The National Car Care Council recently announced that 83% of all vehicles in the U.S. are in need of some kind of service work. The Car Care Council sponsors free Car Check Lanes every year in October. The lanes are often held in large mall parking lots. Motorist are encouraged to drive through the check lane where local automotive technicians volunteer to check your vehicle's fluids, tires, lights, drive belts, hoses, etc. After the lanes were held across the country in 1999, the council found that the vehicles most common failures were: 

Antifreeze-coolant (low or dirty)   45% 
Lights (one or more out)   27% 
Engine Oil (low or dirty)  27% 
Tire pressure incorrect     27% 
Drive Belts (cracked)    20% 
Air Filter (dirty)    20% 
Transmission Fluid (low or dirty)  17% 
Washer Fluid (low or empty)    15% 
Hoses (cracked or leaking)    13% 
Battery Terminals (corroded)   12% 
Windshield Wipers (ripped-worn)   10% 
Power Steering Fluid (low or dirty)    10% 
Brake Fluid (low dirty)   10% 
Tire Tread (worn out)     9% 

Does your car take care of you by taking you safely to work every day? Be sure to take Care of your car too. 


 Giammalvo's' Featured In Motor Age Magazine.

For the 5th Consecutive year now Mark and Glenn Giammalvo have been commissioned to write technical articles for the national automotive publication, Motor Age Magazine. Some of the articles planned for this year are: "Electrical Intermittents" and "Drive Axle Diagnosis and Service". Although the articles are technical in subject matter, it is interesting to read about some of the difficult service problems they have encountered. We will add each article to our web site as they are written. Be sure to check out the articles on our web site at: or ask to see a copy the next time you are in. Hats off to Glenn and Mark. 


In Passing 

  (Obituaries Courtesy The Standard Times)  

 We were saddened by the loss of former employee: Frank A. Queripal. Frank was employed by us as an automotive technician for 20 years. Prior to that time he worked for Elm Motors. He was a resident of Dartmouth for the past 35 years. Mr. Queripal attended New Bedford schools and served in the U.S. Army during World War II. He enjoyed working on cars in his spare time and was also a ham radio operator. 

We were also saddened by the loss of the following customers: 

Clement P. "Bob" Brodeur, born in New Bedford, he had lived 35 years in Rochester. Mr. Brodeur was the owner and operator of C.P.Brodeur Inc., a dealer of Caterpillar engines. He enjoyed boating and socializing with friends. 

David A. Loveridge lived in New Bedford most of his life. He was a communicant of St. Mary's Church. Mr. Loveridge owned and operated Dave Loveridge Plumbing and Heating for 25 years until he retired five years ago. He served with the Army during the Vietnam War. He was a member of American Legion Post 1, 
Veterans of Foreign Wars, Andrews-Dahill Post  1531 and Plumbers & Gas Fitters Union Local 77. He was an avid golfer and member of the New Bedford Country Club. He played Santa Claus at St. Mary's School and worked bingo at St. Mary's Church in the kitchen. 

Marion Hogan,  lived in Fairhaven since 1946. She was a parishioner of St. Joseph Church. Mrs. Hogan was a member of the Third Order of St. Francis at Our Lady's Chapel, New Bedford. 
Irving L. Meade, born in Richmond, Va., Mr. Meade had lived in New Bedford for 51 years. He was employed by the U.S. Postal Service for 30 years until he retired in 1983. Mr. Meade was well-known along his downtown route, which he had for several years. A member of the Union Baptist Church, he was also a member of the sanctuary choir and chairman of the church trustee board, having also served as church moderator.  Mr. Meade was a member of the Union Lodge  No. 4 F&AM, where he served as assistant secretary, senior steward, senior deacon, junior and senior wardens, and past master. He served on the Building Fund Committee for the new lodge building, and had also served as district deputy grand master of the 4th Masonic District. Mr. Meade was a member and past worthy patron of J.W. Hood Chapter No. 12 Order of the Eastern Star, a member of African Lodge No. 459 and a member of St. Phillips Chapter No. 3 Holy Royal Arch Masons. He was a former member of the Louis Hayden Commandery No. 1 Knight Templars, and a member of the Lebanon Club. He was also a council captain for the Interchurch Council of Greater New Bedford Fund Drive (Melville Towers) and a member of the New Bedford Boys Club Building Fund Committee. A member of the New Bedford branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Mr. Meade was also a social/associate member of the Andrews-Dahill Post 1531 Veterans of Foreign Wars, and past president and charter member of the 20th Century Club. He served in the Army during World War II. 

Hemiterio G. "Emy" Souza, born in New Bedford, he lived in the area all his life. He was a communicant of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church. Mr. Souza was an office manager at John Alden Cash & Carry, a division of Laurans-Standard Grocery. He was a member of the Holy Name Society of Mount Carmel Church and the YMCA. Fond of playing golf and traveling, he was a 
volunteer for the New Bedford Council on Aging. 

Theodore F. Ring, born in Bridgeport, Conn., he lived in Fairhaven 50 years. Mr. Ring served in the Army Corps of Engineers amphibian command in New Guinea and the Philippines during World War II. He received the Good Conduct Medal, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Ribbon with two battle stars, American Theater of 
Operations Ribbon, Philippine Liberation Ribbon with one battle star, and the Victory Ribbon. He was an automobile salesman at Hiller Co. in  Marion until he retired in l991. He also was the New  England district manager for the Keystone division of the Pennwalt Co. of Philadelphia. Mr. Ring was a propeller adjuster at M.D. Thompson & Sons in Fairhaven, and he later worked in the industrial power transmission line for several local companies. He was a member of Acushnet-Wesley United Methodist Church and its Pastor Parish Committee; he was a former member of Center Methodist Church. He was a mason and a member of the George H. Taber Lodge A.F. & A.M. He was a former member of Fairhaven Town Meeting and the Finance Committee, and a former president of the Fairhaven Protection Society. 

George Wilfred Holden, born in New Bedford, he lived  in Acushnet since 1950 and wintered in Tampa, Fla. He was an Army veteran of World War II.  A 32nd-Degree Mason and Shriner, he was a  member of the Alpaca Club, a license plate collectors club, and the Scottish Rites. 

Charles Daignault, a lifelong New Bedford resident, He  was a communicant and usher at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church. He  received the Marian  Medal. Mr. Daignault was a machinist at J.C. Rhodes  until he retired. He was an Army veteran of World War II; he served in Northern France, the Rhineland, Ardennes  and Central Europe. He received the Purple Heart and European African Middle Eastern Theater  Campaign Ribbon. He was a member of the Holy Name Society, Our  Lady of Perpetual Help Seniors and Polish American Veterans. 

Pasquale  Angelini, born in Italy, he came to New Bedford as a baker in 1947 and opened Jerry's Bakery, which he operated for 17 years. Mr. Angelini was a Realtor for 15 years and the owner of Jerry's Salvage Store for 20 years. He was an avid cook who also enjoyed gardening. 

Dr. Robert E. Kelleher, born and raised in Lynn, he moved to the 
Greater New Bedford area in 1962 and was a communicant of St. Joseph's Church, Fairhaven. Dr. Kelleher established a practice in plastic and reconstructive surgery in New Bedford in 1962 until retiring 1988. He had been affiliated with hospitals in New Bedford, Fall River, Taunton, Attleboro and Wareham during his medical career. He was a 1949 graduate of Boston College and a 1953 graduate of Tufts University School of Medicine. He completed his residency at Mary Hitchcock Hospital, Hanover, N.H., and served his internship with the U.S. Navy during the Korean conflict. He was a member of the American Medical Association, the Massachusetts Medical Society, the American College of Surgeons and the Wamsutta Club. He enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren. 

We appreciate your business.
Please drive carefully.
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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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