Close

RepairPal Blog

I have worked in the California Smog and Emissions Testing program for over 22 years. I have worked in the Gold Shield Program, which helps to certify Gross Polluter vehicles (vehicles that fail their Emissions Inspection by a wide margin) since 1995.  Sometimes the Gold Shield Shops and Technicians that do this work do not get paid for all the time and work they put in when they are bringing an older vehicle, that may have high mileage, back into spec so it can pass an Emissions Test.  That said, there is a feeling of satisfaction in knowing that you are cleaning the air and helping someone who usually does not have a lot of money.

This is the latest in a series of blog posts that our Honda expert, Robert Isbell, is writing for RepairPal. Robert has worked at Honda dealerships for over 22 years as a technician, shop foreman and service manager. He has developed and led new owner clinics that educate new owners about their cars and he will be contributing to  our blog to educate our visitors about the methods for getting the most out of your service experience. Missed the preceding post? Click here.

The issue of trust and Automotive Repair Shops has been in the news for years.  I live in the SF Bay Area and about every 6 months one of the major, network-affiliated TV stations will do an undercover sting-like "expose" about Auto Repair Shops "ripping off" the public. AutoNation conducted a poll and found that for over 70% of the consumers called the number one complaint was a lack of trust in the process of having their vehicle serviced and repaired.  

This is the third in a series of blog posts that our Honda expert, Robert Isbell, is writing for RepairPal. Robert has worked at Honda dealerships for over 22 years as a technician, shop foreman and service manager. He has developed and led new owner clinics that educate new owners about their cars and he will be contributing to  our blog to educate our visitors about the methods for getting the most out of your service experience. Missed the preceding post? Click here.

This is the second in a series of blog posts that our Honda expert, Robert Isbell, is writing for RepairPal. Robert has worked at Honda dealerships for over 22 years as a technician, shop foreman and service manager. He has developed and led new owner clinics that educate new owners about their cars and he will be contributing to our blog to educate our visitors about the methods for getting the most out of your service experience. If you missed the preceding post about finding a shop, click here.

As of January 2, 2008 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is being sued by The State of California in the hope of overturning a denial for a waiver under The Clean Air Act to set stricter Emission Control standards.  There are potentially another 13-15 States ready to join California in this lawsuit.  What this means is that the Automakers, who are struggling to stay alive, will have to make several different Emission Control Systems for new vehicles so that they can be sold to the States that have adopted the new California Standards or the Federal Standards. For many years, there have been Federally Certified Emission Control vehicles and California Certified Emission Control vehicles.  In the 1980s there were some real differences in these Emission Controls, but as time has passed, the Federal Vehicles became much less common and the real differences in their Emission Control Systems are basically zero. (For more, see our Check Engine Light article.)

This is the first in a series of blog posts that our Honda expert, Robert Isbell, will be writing for RepairPal. Robert has worked at Honda dealerships for over 22 years as a technician, shop foreman and service manager. He has developed and led new owner clinics that educate new owners about their cars and he will be contributing to our blog to educate our visitors about the methods for getting the most out of your service experience. What you should do before you make your first service appointment

It's a big job to pick up decoys and that's why you call in the big guns, AKA "The Max Amphibious Six Wheel Drive". When you're talking 500 to 600 duck decoys, it takes all day to pick them up but that doesn't even include towing a jon boat behind this amphibious vehicle. So far I haven't found any terrain that can stop this thing. Unfortunately this is one vehicle we don't plan to list on RepairPal anytime soon.

For years I have taken it for granted that there had to be different grades of gasoline at the pump in order for your vehicle to run properly.  I used to drive a very high performance Camaro that required the highest octane fuel available because this vehicle had over 300 horsepower after it had been modified and Dynamometer tuned by a well known speed shop.  It was one of the original 1967 Z28 Camaros with the famous 302 cubic inch engine.  For years I have been filling up my vehicles with middle-grade, 89 octane fuel, even though it costs more than the basic 87 octane gasoline.  No more, and I will tell you why. I began following work from Bill Wattenburg, a well-known radio personality and scientist who has worked at the Lawrence Livermore Research Labs and at UC Berkeley teaching both Physics and Electrical Engineering.  He began speaking about the fact that the modern vehicles, especially the ones with Direct Ignition Systems and without Distributors, are required to pass a very stringent EPA-conducted test in order to be sold in the US.

What's a Wheel Alignment and When Do I Need One?When we notice our vehicle begins to pull to the right or left while in motion, things are no doubt starting to get out of whack – or for a better term - "out of alignment."  To correct the problem, a wheel alignment requires attention from a certified mechanic who will perform the necessary maintenance and see to it that all the wheels are parallel and the rubber can once again firmly meet the road.