RepairPal Blog

Every year the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) brings a smile to my face. I remember in past years seeing 3D TVs and touch panel displays, just a few of the items I get all giddy about. This year, however, I got excited about a new technology that Audi is developing for the 2013 models.

I was driving on the entrance ramp to a highway yesterday when a huge crater suddenly presented itself before me. I was going about 55mph and the double lane was tapering into a single lane, so there was nothing I could do to avoid it. I braced myself and cringed when I went over the pothole, certain it would rip the entire suspension from my vehicle. It didn’t, but it sure sounded and felt like it.

Due to safety and fuel mileage concerns, in the early 2000s, the Federal government began to look into mandating on-board vehicle systems that would monitor tire pressure and alert the driver when one or more tires dropped 25 percent below the recommended inflation pressure. By 2008, this mandate went into full effect for all cars and light trucks.

We hear about recalls all of the time, but have you ever heard of a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) or a campaign? How do they differ from recalls? If a recall or TSB is issued for your car, do you have to pay for the repairs? 

Over the holiday break, I finally had enough time to do the little chores I’ve been putting off. My car was utterly filthy, and so cleaning it was on the top of the list. I generally use this one random brand of soap my father has in his garage, but this time I put my big boy shoes on and went to the store to purchase my own.  

I am a pretty sensitive person. I have allergies to animals and dust. My threshold for pain is low. I am the pickiest eater you will ever meet. My eyes can barely tolerate sunshine and a loud noise is enough to make me jump out of my seat. Because of this, you can understand why taking a trip to Denver over the holidays left me feeling a little apprehensive.

As we begin 2012, I am reminded how our cars have become more and more complicated with each passing year. This added complexity can make repairs very difficult for our service technicians. When I began working on cars in the 1970s, they were pretty basic. Each passing year has added a level of complexity and there seems to be no end in sight. This places a huge burden on entry level technicians and the schools that train them.

This week, AP writer, David Pitt, offered some tips on how to find a great mechanic in an article that appeared in the San Francisco Examiner and MSN Money, among other outlets. Pitt interviewed RepairPal CEO, Art Shaw, and the article speaks to many of the issues important to RepairPal, including fair estimate prices and finding quality shops.

Do our cars have too many warning lights? A lot of us may think so, but for years, warning lights were the best way vehicle designers had to inform the driver of a potential fault.

Let me assure you ladies and gentleman, this is America and we do have a choice when it comes to maintenance. If you look at your maintenance schedule—you know, that book buried underneath all of the junk in your glove box—you will know exactly what maintenance you need and when you need it.