RepairPal Blog

According to The New York Times, selling gas just isn’t what it used to be.  With profit margins disappearing due to factors such as state environmental requirements requiring costly upgrades to equipment, it simply no longer makes sense to sell gas.  While some gas stations have diversified to highly profitable offerings (repairs, emissions testing, and selling candy), many have stopped selling gas altogether. They’re simply shutting off the pumps.

Porsche increased its stake in Volkswagen to nearly 43%, driving up Volkswagen's stock price and causing billions to be lost by hedge funds. With so many automotive mergers, don't you wonder what sort of influence Porsche may have on the "People's Car"? While these companies have very different markets, there may be some unusual economies of scale. Here is our take at what may be the 2010 Porsche Beetle 911.

I read this morning (on Autoblog) that while overall new car and truck sales have taken an absolute bruising in recent months, the share of those sales going to new SUVs and trucks has actually increased.  The article notes that this gain coincides with a slide in gas prices over the same time period: "Truck sales fell below 10% of overall vehicle sales back in May and June, but the price of gas falling from an average of $4.11 per gallon to $2.78 has helped the share of trucks rise to 14.1% of the overall market for September."  This would also mean that trucks and SUVs should be making big gains right now, with oil prices plummeting.

The huge incentives that auto makers have lobbed at these slow-sellers also probably plays a part.  In fact, a friend of RepairPal recently brought in an ad from a Vegas newspaper that showed a still-hard-to-believe offer: buy a Dodge Ram, and they'll throw in a Dodge Caliber for a penny.

There’s a lot of chatter going on about the new 2009 Smart Car models and pricing, which are now in production in Hambach, France.  While I see an increasing number of Smart Cars on the road, especially popular in a challenging parking city like San Francisco, I haven’t yet gone behind the wheel.  I have to say, the Smart Car is one cute little car!  And good news, the 2009 Smart Car will come out in two additional exterior colors – making for a total of 8 delicious hues to select from.  You can read more about the Smart Car on the official website at:

So, with all the discussion about Smart Car prices, I decided to do some research for myself.  Well, first of all, there are two models, the base “Pure” and the fully loaded “Passion” (which also comes in a fancy cabriolet version).  The MSRP for the “Pure” starts at $11.9K and goes all the way up to $16.9K for the cabriolet version of the “Passion”.  Both cars have a 1.0L, 3 cylinder engine, side airbags, and the strangest thing of all, child seat anchors (child seats can only be used in a rear seat, which there is none on the Smart Car, right?)

There's been a lot of talk about what cars the presidential candidates drive over the past few months.  In fact, Newsweek recently featured an investigative article on this subject.  The results are entertaining.

Quantity.  First of all, Barack Obama owns just one car.  John McCain owns thirteen.  That's right - 13!

I expect this to be a once in a lifetime post. One of our advisors, Mort Schwartz, was inducted last week into the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn Michigan. He was joined by Paul & Robert Galvin of Motorola fame, early Formula 1 driver Phil Hill, legendary automotive journalist Bob Irvin, and 3 others. Mort's 40-year career has included directorships and chairmanships of several major industry organizations, including the AAIA (Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association), ASE (National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence), and the GAAS (Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium), to name a few. He served as CEO of several aftermarket companies and is a current director at WORLDPAC, a major aftermarket parts distributor.

Mort has been a true friend and advocate for RepairPal, and we couldn't be happier about his receiving the highest level of recognition one can achieve within the industry.

Are you a fan of RepairPal? Tell the world by using a RepairPal sticker on your car -- or wherever else comes to mind!  Let repair shops know that you’re armed with the right pricing and repair information. The RepairPal sticker is made of the highest quality laminated vinyl and fade-resistant ink — and it’s the perfect size for your rear window.

How do you get a RepairPal sticker?  Simply send a self-addressed stamped envelope to:  RepairPal, 5900 Hollis St, Suite G, Emeryville, CA  94608.  We’ll pop a sticker in the envelope and send it back to you lickety split.

This week's trivia question:

"What was the name of the Japanese version of the Datsun 240z?"  

The word about RepairPal is getting out, and consumer advocates everywhere are taking notice.  Check out the great spot that appeared yesterday on Phoenix's KNXV ABC 15 News.  We caught the attention of their "Smart Shopper" columnist, Daphne Munro.

You love that new car smell! You're so freaked out about your new baby getting its first scratch that you somehow manage to take up 3 parking spaces trying to keep it safe. You adore the fact that your ride has never had a problem. But you know it's inevitable: your car will have its first "event"—hopefully later rather than sooner.

To help you prepare you for that first issue, check out RepairPal's Common Problems With Your Car section. Select the make, model, and year of your car, and our exclusive database will tell you if there are any problems that commonly crop up on your specific vehicle. These can include issues with the brakes, drive train, electrical system, lights, engine, exhaust system, heating, AC, suspension, or steering. If there are common issues, some may be avoidable by a preventive visit to your mechanic (Repairpal can even help you find one).