5 Secrets Your Auto Mechanic Won’t Divulge

Most vehicles are likely to need some routine maintenance or minor repair work during any given year…unless it’s still under warranty and/or fresh off the dealer’s lot…stuff that might range from regular oil changes to replacing a leaky rear main transmission seal.

Most car mechanics operate under the philosophy of:  Don’t wait for a small problem to becomes a big problem?

The consummate mechanic will tell you what absolutely needs to be fixed now,  what could wait…and sometimes even be ignored. A mechanic like that is pretty rare. So the best thing you can do is educate yourself.  Here are several tips that even the best mechanic might not tell you:

1. Change your oil yourself…yes you can

Oil changes are about the most common routine maintenance need for cars. You can probably DIY for less than $45…or have a mechanic do it for you for around $75 …and they’re easy money for repair shops and dealers. But if you don’t mind getting dirty and having to deal with disposing of the used oil, an oil change twice a year is the classic DIY option.

2. You can probably ignore that check engine light for now (unless it’s flashing)

This is a real panic creator for many inexperienced owners, but it usually just indicates a non-serious problem with the vehicle’s exhaust system. Unless you have a really old car with emission components that could be wearing out.  So for many cases, you can ignore it…with one exception: if it’s flashing, get your mechanic to look at it ASAP.  And you can’t ignore it forever either. But you car isn’t going to blow up if you wait.

3. Buff that out yourself.

This is more of a body shop issue than a mechanic issue. Minor scratches and dings can be handled with a color coded paint pen from the auto parts store.

4. Buying a new car is sometimes your best option

The truth is that there are times when a new car is the best choice. A new car rarely has serious issues…and if something does go wrong, the dealer will usually fix it under warranty.  But seasoned mechanics hate this because they want you to buy a good used car and employ them to repair it.

5. Don’t keep your car forever.

[See #4 above].  Any bona-fide hard core mechanic will tell you to drive your car until the wheels fall off — which they won’t let happen…because you keep them in business.

Takeaways from this post:

  • A genuinely trustworthy auto mechanic…with all the required professional certifications…is a vital asset.
  • But most mechanics avoid telling customers some things.
  • Self education when dealing with car mechanics is always prudent.

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Distracted Driving Awareness Month 2019

Distracted Driving Awareness Month 2019

Distracted driving up 10% compared to 2018, study says – CNET Roadshow

by Jake Holmes

Yet another study shows drivers can’t stop looking at their phones.

Does it seem like you’re seeing increasing numbers of drivers paying more attention to their phones than the road? The data agrees, with a new study released Tuesday by driving behavior analytics company Zendrive reporting that drivers are 10% more distracted now than in 2018 — in every city, in every state that Zendrive analyzed.

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Texting while driving is more dangerous than drunk driving: Study – Fox

Zendrive CEO Jonathan Matus says that distracted driving is on the rise in the U.S. and that phone addicts are more dangerous than drunk drivers.

Distracted driving is killing us. These cities are the worst offenders – FastCompany

by Melissa Locker

We’ve all done it: You’re driving along, a text comes in, and even though you know you shouldn’t do it, you take a quick peek. Distracted driving is common and, according to a new report from Zendrive, the distracted driving epidemic is getting worse all the time. Even if you don’t text while driving, smartphones offer plenty of other distractions, like following your GPS directions or choosing the perfect playlist for your drive.

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California’s New Exhaust Noise Law – Fact & Fiction

In February 2019, some California drivers experienced the unpleasant reality of receiving a traffic citation (fined) for having an exhaust system that was “too loud”.  Amidst the controversy and rumor mill on the new law that took effect… the Special Equipment Market Association (SEMA) has taken action to mitigate some of the public concerns.

By The original uploader was Steevven1 at English Wikipedia. – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1806737

A SEMA news release, stated that  the law concerning exhaust noise louder than 95 decibels was actually enacted in May of 1998…20 years ago.

Beginning January 1, 2019, a motorist cited for violating the current California exhaust noise law can receive an immediate fine. Previously, motorists received what is known as a “fix-it” ticket, which allowed for 30 days to correct the violation. ~ SEMA

What changed recently was the passage of California Assembly Bill 1824. The bill, signed into law last year by then-Gov. Jerry Brown, requires police officers issue an immediate fine for a violation instead of a 30-day notice to correct the issue.  SEMA further clarified  that the base fine for a first-time conviction is much lower than commonly believed: $25 with a total fee of $193.

Christian Robinson, SEMA’s political action committee, said motorists have the right to fight the fine in court if they can prove the exhaust is under the 95-decibel mark.

“You still have due process under the law in California to demonstrate you’re in compliance with the law using an objective test,” Christian Robinson – SEMA

Motorists accused of violating the noise law can get a certificate of compliance from the SEMA-sponsored California Bureau of Automotive Repair that shows the exhaust is not louder than 95 decibels and use it to fight the fine in court. The exhaust test costs $108.

Bottom line…

“The sale and installation of an aftermarket exhaust system remains legal in California so long as it does not exceed a sound level of 95 decibels,” SEMA said in the release.

 

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7 Vehicles Buyers Regretted Buying

Is you new-car honeymoon over?   ConsumerReports does their Annual Owner Satisfaction Survey…and tallies responses on 300,000 vehicles. Something to watch out for!

Most people know that buying a new car is an “emotional” experience.  The old saying goes…”when it comes to buying a new car, people generally make a choice based on emotion (i.e. how the car will make you feel when you own it)…then back up that emotional choice with a “logical” justification (i.e. I’ll save money because it gets great gas mileage).  Sometimes though, one or both of those components go awry…and buyers remorse sets in.Consumer Reports recent survey of new car purchasers focused on asking owners of 2014-2017 model-year cars if they had it to do all over again…would they buy the same car again. The good news is that 70 percent of the survey respondents essentially said “yes”…they’re happy.  That leaves many people however, that were something less than satisfied.

The following list of vehicles from the most most unsatisfied buyers are what you might call…the bottom of the barrel.

Least-Satisfying Overall: Acura ILX

The Acura ILX is a swing and a miss, in both CR testing and when judged by owners. It falls 10 percentage points below the Mercedes-Benz CLA in the same category, itself a disappointing entry. Across all car types, the ILX has the lowest satisfaction, followed closely by the Dodge Dart and Jeep Compass. The ILX was challenged from the start as a pricey, dressed-up Honda Civic. Acura made several key updates for the 2016 model year, but even when looking at ratings on just those freshened sedans, they are no different than older model years.

Owners say:

  • “Lacks acceleration, noisy, poor quality paint, shaky ride… very expensive for the poor quality offered.”
  • “It shifts too soon into higher gear, making acceleration feel sluggish unless under hard acceleration.”
  • “Road noise is very pronounced. I will be trading the ILX in as soon as I can on something quieter.”

Small SUV: Jeep Compass

Lackluster performance, a cramped and austere cabin, narrow front seats, and difficult rearward views are just some of the faults we found with Jeep’s small SUV entry. The Compass has lost its way with owners, too. Our survey found that just 42 percent of respondents said they would definitely buy one again. Complaints included feeble acceleration and too much road noise, and it was rated uncommonly poor in overall comfort.

Owners say:

  • “Doesn’t have any power; the gas mileage could be better.”
  • “The driver’s seat cannot be raised, and it is hard for a short person to see over a bulky dash.”
  • “The air conditioning indicator for on or off is very difficult to see.”

Midsized SUV: Nissan Pathfinder

The Pathfinder name conjures memories of rugged, truck-based forebears, but this latest softer, gentler iteration is more minivan-like. Frankly, it lacks off-road ruggedness and is boring to drive. Even owners are nonplussed, with the survey showing that they didn’t rate any areas of the vehicle highly. Just 50 percent of owners were very satisfied with its value. To make matters worse, reliability remains an ongoing concern.

Owners say:

  • “It had quite a few issues when it was new which the dealer had to handle.”
  • “I’m just very disappointed with the car. Sideboard popped off. Trim on front bumper keeps popping out. Gas mileage is severely lower than what was advertised.”
  • “Seats are very uncomfortable. Four of us did a road trip, and all four drivers could not get the seat adjusted so your back didn’t hurt.”

Click Read More for details on these models too:

  • Small Car: Dodge Dart
  • Midsized Sedan: Chrysler 200
  • Minivan: Dodge Grand Caravan
  • Pickup Truck: Nissan Frontier

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Smart Airbags…Lifesaving?

Ever get fascinated by crash-test videos but wonder about the different ways airbags deploy in various cars…even when subjected to the exact same crash.  The brain of the airbag holds the answer key.

The Airbag Control Module is a hardened computer in your car with a single purpose: Decide when airbags need to be fired and get that signal to them.

The Airbag Control Module, or ACM, is the airbag’s brain…a hardened computer in each car that keeps communicating with airbags even when the car around them is disintegrating. It gets constant motion data from a series of accelerometers around the vehicle and must decide if and when airbags should be deployed. If the answer is yes, it must be done during the key 20 milliseconds of what is only about a 100 millisecond impact. Talk about threading the eye of a needle.

But why airbags don’t just deploy liberally in every impact comes down to three factors:

  1. Prevent injuries and save lives: This is the main goal, of course, and airbags are said to prevent some 2,800 auto fatalities per year. But doing so requires the ACM software consider the nature of an impact, its direction and rotation, the crumple characteristics of the car its installed in, and the distance between each airbag and occupants. Its a highly sophisticated decision making process that takes place in a fraction of a second. But the answer isn’t merely “deploy airbags” or “don’t deploy”… because two more factors must be considered:
  2. Minimize airbag injuries: They are not completely benevolent devices and often cause their own fractures, bruises, and burns as they do their job. ACM programming is carefully tuned to only use them when the alternative is even worse.
  3. Minimize airbag replacement costs: Airbags cost roughly $1,000 apiece and can only be used once. In some cases, airbag replacement can make up the lion’s share of collision repair costs, so deploying them is not taken lightly otherwise a lot more cars would be totaled by insurers.

Many people are surprised that there isn’t a standard airbag scheme used in every car, but that’s because airbags are as smart as seat belts are dumb.

 

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Tweens – Never Give Up Till They Buckle Up

The holiday season can create an abundance of extra errands, shopping and rushing around special events.  Seat Belt Safety for Tweens can be a grey area that’s misunderstood or overlooked.

THE QUESTION: When Is My Child Ready for an Adult Seat Belt?

TWEENS – a child  between 8 and 12 years old…THIS is the time to transition your child out of a booster seat and into a seat belt.  Booster seat usage should continue until your kids outgrow the size limits of the booster seats or are big enough to fit properly in seat belts.

NOTE: All children under 13 ride in the back seat for maximum safety.

Why Parents & Caregivers Forget About or Overlook Seat Belt Safety

Parenting is full of distractions and often hectic… it’s easy to forget or forego buckling up altogether.  These excuses are often given for not buckling up.  Sound familiar?  Do whatever it takes to buckle up and make sure your kids do the same:

  1. Rushed and chaotic pre-travel routines
  2. Distractions
  3. Need to minimize conflict or keep the peace
  4. Seat belt discomfort or perceived nuisance when in a hurry
  5. Shorter distances, slower speeds and familiar roads falsely associated with lower risk
  6. Kids persistently asking to ride in the front seat

Never Negotiate with an Unbuckled Child…No Matter How Hurried or Chaotic!

As a parent, sometimes you let your kids have their way. But their safety should never be up for negotiation, no matter how much they push back on the seat belts being uncomfortable or unnecessary for just a “short drive.” Here are some tips to help you win the seat belt battle:

  • Consistently Model Seat Belt Safety
  • Never Give Up Until They Buckle Up
  • Never Assume Your Kids Are Buckled Up

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A #SmallThanks from All Pro Towing & Recovery to YOU!

A #SmallThanks from All Pro Towing & Recovery to YOU!

You made us feel really special for many months. Now we’re returning the favor. #SmallThanks

To support more small businesses you love, add photos and reviews on Google:

You can also write reviews from here:

Reviews – All Pro Towing & Recovery

 

Coming Soon to Google Maps…

…updates so it’s even easier for you to keep up with the places you care about and find out about places coming soon.

Those using Google Maps for Android can now follow places right from the app. Rolling out now, just search for that coffee shop you love or that clothing store you’ve been meaning to pop into and tap the “Follow” button. Once you’ve followed places, news from them—like events, offers and other updates—will appear in the For You tab.

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Acura RDX for 2019 – Reviews, News & Muse

2019 Acura RDX A-Spec is a sharp-dressed luxury crossover (4K) – CNET Roadshow

The 2019 Acura RDX A-Spec is the automaker’s third-generation crossover that is no longer just another face in the crowd.

THE GOOD: The new RDX is one of the more attractive vehicles in the small luxury SUV class, and it boasts one of the quietest, comfiest interiors, too.

THE BAD: The RDX’s dynamic quality isn’t as athletic as its German rivals.

THE BOTTOM LINE: While its European competitors might be a bit more buttoned-down on the road, Acura’s RDX is a compelling, competent package, and arguably the best value in the compact luxury SUV segment.

Read Full Review

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2019 Acura RDX Crossover: Return of the Turbocharged Four and Torque Vectoring – CARandDRIVER

Andrew Wendler

2019-Acura-RDX-Placement

-The Honda/Acura empire routinely previews upcoming models with nearly-ready-for-prime-time concept cars, so there is little surprise to see that the street-ready 2019 Acura RDX is a doppelgänger for the RDX prototype that debuted at the 2018 Detroit auto show. Look closely and you’ll see the usual production-ready tells: The mirrors are larger, the front fascia bears a few additional elements and a slightly different mesh design on the lower grille, and the rear bumper panel is a bit more prominent. But it’s essentially the same as the concept car, right down to the spoiler and the descending character-line creases.    READ MORE ››

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2019 Acura RDX First Look – Edmunds

Acura Reinvigorates the RDX for 2019

Acura debuts its all-new 2019 RDX with fresh styling, new technology, a new powertrain and available Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD).

At the core of the 2019 Acura RDX is a new body and chassis architecture, with more than 50 percent of the body structure composed of high-strength steel. The wheelbase has grown by 2.6 inches, increasing passenger room as well as cargo room behind the rear seats — up 3.4 cubic feet from last year’s model — with more underfloor trunk storage.
2019 Acura RDX

Powering the 2019 RDX is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, not unlike the one found in the Honda Accord. The V6 is no longer offered, but that doesn’t mean a drop in power since the four-cylinder engine makes 272 horsepower (down only 7 horses from the V6) and a stout 280 pound-feet of torque (up 28 lb-ft from the V6’s 252 lb-ft).

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2019 Acura RDX compact crossover goes into production in Ohio – Autoblog

by Sven Gustafson

Acura has kicked off production of the all-new 2019 RDX, capping a $54 million investment in new technologies and processes at its plant in East Liberty, Ohio, where the compact crossover will be built. It goes on sale starting in June, though prices are yet to be announced.

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Students Promote Stop Texts – Stop Wrecks

The Project Yellow Light scholarship competition is a contest that encourages students to create a TV, radio or billboard PSA (Public Service Advertisement) that educates their peers about the dangers of using mobile devices while driving a vehicle.  Winners of this 7th year event were announced on

 

The 2018 contest received more than 1,600 submissions from 49 states and Washington, DC. Winners were selected from two age categories: high school juniors and seniors, and college students.

Project Yellow Light was established in 2007 by Julie Garner, who works at The Martin Agency, and her family in memory of her teenage son, Hunter, who was killed in a car crash.

Grand prize scholarships of $5,000 were awarded to high school student Lia Senser (Louisville, NE) and college student Victoria Williams (Bristol, VA) and producing partner Sarah Ropple for their video submissions. The second-place scholarships of $2,000 were awarded to high school student Noah Anderson (Phoenix, AZ) and college student Katie Wilkerson (Savannah, GA) and producing partner Parker Parillo. The third-place video scholarships of $1,000 were awarded to high school student Andie Rugg (Longmont, CO) and college student Addison Reyes-Toney (Atlanta, GA).

“We’re so proud of this year’s winners and all Project Yellow Light participants. The work they do to encourage their peers not to text and drive is so important – we are incredibly thankful for them raising their voices in this important conversation,” ~ Julie Garner, Project Yellow Light

Check out the unique & interactive Multichannel News Release here:

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Summer Driving Hot Weather Hacks

Always looking for ways to beat the Summer heat while driving?  Here a a few of the classic tactics and one maybe you didn’t know…to help you maintain a cooler vehicle on those hot and humid summer days.

 

Block the Sun From Car Windows
Cars are notorious for trapping heat and causing interior temperatures to skyrocket…according to the National Weather Service.  According to one test, a parked car’s temperature rose from 80 degrees to more than 94 degrees in about two minutes, and reached 123 degrees within an hour.  Interior vehicle temperatures can reach up to 200 degrees…according to Consumer Reports.

Reducing the amount of heat entering through your windows may help keep your car cooler, making it more comfortable when it’s time to take a ride. Here are some tips to help keep your car cool in the summer:

  • Tinted windows:  Most costly, but most consistent way to block the sun, says Cars.com. But first check state’s laws, as some have restrictions on how much or which windows you can tint.
  • Sun shades: Less expensive way of blocking the direct rays coming into your vehicle, says Consumer Reports.  It keeps the temperature slightly lower, which can help your car cool down more quickly once the vehicle is started.
  • Covered parking: Consumer Reports suggests looking for a shady spot or parking your car so the sun is hitting the rear window instead of the windshield. This may help keep the steering wheel and front seats slightly cooler.
  • Slightly Opened Windows: Because windows hold in warm air, leaving them open slightly while parked will create slight airflow. If your vehicle has a sunroof, Cars.com says you can also crack that or use the vent feature if it’s not raining. Less than an inch…will to help minimize theft potential.

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