RepairPal Blog

Today, Jim Taddei (our expert mechanic) and I took to the parking lot so he could help me install new wiper blades.

Car problems of any kind can be frustrating, but the one that seems to annoy people the most is when their car won’t start. People then get doubly annoyed when they call the shop and ask, “Why won’t my car start?” and we tell them, “It could be one of several reasons.” I thought I would go over some of the causes just in case you experience a no start in the near future.

Where I live, in the San Francisco Bay Area, traffic jams are as common as the fog. A few weeks ago, I drove up to Sebastopol from San Francisco and before I knew it, my leisurely drive had turned into stop-and-go traffic. The traffic was so bad, I had to turn around to head back to the city before I had reached my destination so I wouldn’t be late for another appointment.

Anytime the fuel gauge gets less than a quarter full, my mind starts to race. What if I run out of gas? Is this hurting my engine? Can I really “run on fumes”?

Ahh … driver’s ed. I remember meeting my high school basketball coach and one other kid in the school parking lot at 8am on a few Saturday mornings when I was fifteen. I had already been taught the basics of driving by my cousin, but driver’s ed with Ms. Wallace was mandatory and I couldn’t wait to get my license.

While most shops have always had a certain amount of difficulty finding and keeping good quality technicians, the problem seems to be getting worse. It looks like this trend will continue for the foreseeable future.

Skilled automotive technicians are becoming harder and harder to find. I am not talking about technicians who change your oil and perform other minor repairs. I am talking about the highly skilled technicians who diagnose and repair the most difficult problems. 

At the beginning of 2012, gas prices averaged $3.30 and peaked in April at $4.00. Taking a dip to $3.36 in July, gas prices are currently 50¢ above what they were in January. If this trend of higher prices continues, which it is expected to, the average price of gas for 2012 will set a new annual record. 

I have teenage children and my shop is very close to Grand Canyon University so keeping teens safe on the road is a subject dear to my heart. I’m often asked what parents should look for in a car for their teen driver. Of course, all teens dream of the fancy souped up sports car, but that certainly isn’t the safe choice for young, inexperienced drivers.

The other night, I saw a TV commercial from the new Jiffy Lube “Leave Worry Behind” campaign. In the commercial, a car on the roadway happens to drive by a repair shop. Once the technicians see this car, they get on a piece of equipment that has wheels (a rolling tool chest, a creeper, and an engine hoist) and launch themselves after the vehicle, tools in hand, trying to catch up with the car so they can repair it.