RepairPal Blog:

 General Interest

Gas prices? The future of hybrids? Find out what's in the news today!

Parking in San Francisco sucks—there are no two ways about it. Parking is limited, expensive, and frustrating, and then we have to contend with street sweeping, people who double park, and people who take up two precious spots. Parking can be so stressful that, when I get a good spot, I try to keep it for as long as I can.

The year is 1911 and the Ford Model T is manufactured with front doors for the first time, including an opening door for the driver. Also included was a stronger rear end assembly and tapered axles to secure the wheels. Produced in factory standard dark blue, Model Ts now came with tops, windshields, and head lamps as standard equipment. Approximately 40,000 Model T Fords were built and assembled during the 1911 model year and cost around $680.

The other day, my neighbor, Kyle, needed to take his car to the shop because his engine was overheating. He asked me to come along so I could give him a ride home. I was also curious to see what shop he went to. I love the shop that I go to (Luscious Garage), but I haven’t really compared it to other shops in San Francisco, and I wanted to see why he picked the shop that he did.

Where I grew up, in the South, it was pretty common for folks not to wear seat belts. As for myself, I can’t remember not wearing one, and as I grew up and began to notice more things about the world around me, I began to wonder why people didn’t. It seemed to me, at least in the South, that not wearing a seat belt was an act of rebellion, a sort of last-ditch, post Civil War revolt against the powers that be. Southerners are a proud people—myself included—but we can take that pride too far, and the seat belt thing seemed like just another example of misguided disobedience.

Many of us have had the unpleasant experience of innocently driving along when an errant piece of gravel or other mysterious road debris suddenly puts a dent in our vehicle's windshield. And many of us have had the even more unpleasant surprise of the little nick becoming a five-inch jagged crack a mere few hours or days later.

I think I have mentioned before that I am a worrywart. And now that the rain has started again in the Bay Area after lying dormant for eight months, I am worried about my tires, especially after doing an unintentional little squealy at a light the other day. How do I know when it’s time for me to change my tires? Can I look at the tread and know? Do I replace them after a certain time? After a certain amount of mileage? Does it depend on where I live? I wanted to tackle this subject before it rains again, which might be as early as this weekend. Here’s what I came up with.

When most of us heard about the recent death of celebrity plastic surgeon Dr. Frank Ryan due to texting while driving, we were saddened, but not surprised. Many of us thought that Twittering about a dog while navigating the sharp curves of a Malibu highway was an unfortunate way to go, but few of us could judge him considering how often we do it ourselves. A recent study revealed that 81 percent of drivers admit to texting while driving—and that’s just those who admit it. Here are the facts:

When I first started driving, I was worried about everything. What if I have to parallel park? What if I hit something when driving through a tollbooth? What if I get stuck on a big hill with a manual transmission? What if I start to skid on black ice? Do I turn into the skid? Away from it? I have mentioned before that I am a worrywart, but luckily, most of those car-related fears have gone away in my nearly twenty-year driving career.

The constant and erratic rise and fall of gas prices over the last few years has always bothered me. During this time, we have never experienced gas shortages like we saw in the 1970s, yet “supply and demand” has always been blamed for the rise and fall of oil prices. I find it hard to believe that simple “supply and demand” can cause oil prices to change so quickly and dramatically, especially when the available supply of gasoline has remained steady.Common sense suggests there is more to this than just supply and demand. It is my belief that speculation in the oil futures market is what has caused the dramatic rise and fall of gas prices over the last few years.

Even after all of the discounts for being a good driver, having home owner’s insurance, and being a long-time customer, Americans still pay an average of $1,000 a year for auto insurance and rates have been climbing even faster than inflation in the past few years. So, how do we keep up? What discounts are on the horizon? Apparently, the next big step in reducing the cost of auto insurance will be the installation of new driving monitoring systems, such as in-car video cameras. Various systems, including GM’s OnStar, have already been checking up on drivers, including how many miles they have driven, but the new technologies will go further—much further—by gathering data on how people drive.