RepairPal Blog

This is the first in a series of blog posts that our emissions and diagnostics expert, Daniel Dillon, will be writing for RepairPal.  Dan has 22 years of experience as a licensed Smog Technician in California. He helped write test questions for the California Smog Technician Exam, and has performed Consumer Assistance Program and gold shield diagnostic work for the State. He also was an instructor for SnapOn Tool Corporation.

Dan's posts will address important events or trends he encounters in his shop.

Chinese Automaker BYD (Build Your Dreams) has entered the Hybrid vehicle market. For the equivalent of $22,000 U.S.D., Chinese citizens can now purchase the first Chinese built, plug-in Hybrid! Named the F3 DM, (DM stands for Dual Mode) the automaker hopes to make it available in the U.S. in 2011. This is quite ambitious for a company that sold its first vehicle in 2003!

The F3 DM is powered by a ferrous battery that BYD claims propels the vehicle from 0 to 60 mph in 10.5 seconds and will travel over 60 miles on a full charge. This technology, says BYD general manager Henry Li, "is superior to the nickel metal hydride (Ni-MH) battery used in current Hybrids". The battery can deliver twice the voltage of a Ni-MH battery, costs less and is eco friendly as it contains no pollutants!  learn more

You may have simply had it with your old car and the repairs are costing more than you’d like. (Hopefully you’ve checked the RepairPal Price Estimator). If that’s the case, you may want to consider donating your car to a charity.  And…with 2009 rapidly approaching, you may need a tax write-off for 2008.

There are two big things to consider when donating your car:

What happens when you cross a 1972 Datsun with an electric motor and 60 lithium batteries? The quickest accelerating street legal electric car! Besides the stickers that cover the car, you'd never think that this car had 300hp and can smoke Corvettes at the dragstrip. The White Zombie is now running at world record pace with 11.5 second quarter mile. Check out the video below!

The folks over at CAR Online delivered a great article today showing a variety of creative concepts to upgrade Santa's ride. Bentley, Ford, Nissan and Rolls-Royce provided design ideas to the article. 

The slick Bentley is my personal favorite. 

According to the AAA, the depressed economy is keeping more people closer to home this holiday season. The number of Americans who plan to travel this season dropped 2.1% over last year. In fact, the U.S. hasn’t seen a drop in holiday travel plans since 2002.

What’s interesting is that the average price of gas in the U.S. is $1.81 – that’s $1.39 LESS than this time last year.  Wouldn’t one assume that such a significant drop in gas prices would actually encourage more folks to travel?

After Congress failed to pass a bill to help the US auto industry, today President Bush approved $13.4 billion in immediate relief to GM and Chrysler and another $4 billion in February. This is a very big deal for the automakers - many analysts believe them to be days away from running out of money. The tricky part about this loan is that they need to pay it back in the next 3 months. That means there will be massive cuts at both GM and Chrysler to the tune of $13.4 billion to settle up with Uncle Sam come the end of March.

It will be up to the Obama administration to decide if additional government support is warranted and deserved. The much talked about "Car Czar" will be Treasury Secretary Paulson for the time being. This massive chunk of change will come from the $700 billion set aside for the financial industry bailout. Stay tuned as there will be major changes in the coming weeks and months to the face of the American car industry.

In response to the ongoing economic downturn, Chrysler announced that it will close all of their U.S. automobile factories for one month. Although they were scheduled to close for a two week holiday, the extra closure time comes as other U.S. and Foreign auto makers are planning extended production cuts.

Chrysler plans to keep their plants closed until January 19th, but even that date is in question. Unless vehicles start moving from the current inventory, the closures may last even longer. General Motors announced cut production and temporarily close 20 factories. Ford has said it will extend their closures by one week and even Honda and Toyota are cutting production.

Irv, one of our expert technicians, recently sent this along to us.

Apparently, this driver ran over a mattress with his truck and decided to keep on driving.  You can see the results.  Our techs see some pretty crazy things in the shop, but it's not common to see a mattress wrapped around a driveshaft!!

It was just six weeks ago that Honda Motors gave a profit forecast of $5.5 billion for 2008. As of today that forecast is being cut 62% to $2.1 billion. Honda's announcement of the sudden change in forecast and future prospects demonstrates that not even Honda is immune from the global financial troubles.

Honda plans to not renew contracts with temporary workers as well as halting development on diesel engines, the successor to the NSX sportscar and it's Formula One sponsorship all in an effort to curb expendatures. They also plan to delay opening its new flagship production facility in Tokyo and cutting executive pay.