RepairPal Blog:

Industry News

Important info from government agencies and the automotive industry

Over the past week it has been hard to avoid the ongoing scandal surrounding Volkswagen’s attempts to circumvent EPA emissions tests. While the specifics warrant a full length book, here are the most relevant facts.

At the beginning of 2012, gas prices averaged $3.30 and peaked in April at $4.00. Taking a dip to $3.36 in July, gas prices are currently 50¢ above what they were in January. If this trend of higher prices continues, which it is expected to, the average price of gas for 2012 will set a new annual record. 

The other night, I saw a TV commercial from the new Jiffy Lube “Leave Worry Behind” campaign. In the commercial, a car on the roadway happens to drive by a repair shop. Once the technicians see this car, they get on a piece of equipment that has wheels (a rolling tool chest, a creeper, and an engine hoist) and launch themselves after the vehicle, tools in hand, trying to catch up with the car so they can repair it. 

Toyota has announced the recall of nearly 800,000 vehicles. 760,000 2006 to early 2011 RAV4 and 18,000 Lexus HS 250h models.

The state of Massachusetts has just thrown the latest salvo in the ongoing battle between the manufacturers and the aftermarket automotive repair industry over what is become known as “Right to Repair.” They have passed the first comprehensive Right to Repair legislation in the nation.

Each year, Consumer Reports publishes its Top Picks of cars. To qualify, a car must be assessed as follows. First, it must rank at or near the top of its category in its overall test scores. Also, according to the latest Annual Auto Survey given to Consumer Reports subscribers, the car must be average or better when it comes to reliability. Finally, if tested, all top picks must perform well in government or industry crash and rollover tests.

Goodyear has announced the recall of 40,000 light truck tires. In terms of total tires sold, this is a fairly small recall, but it is very important if you happen to own some of the recalled tires. The tires in question are the Wranger Silent Armor Light Truck (LT) series produced between March 1, 2009 and May 31, 2009. 

The Toyota Motor Corporation announced today that it will recall more than 1.7 million vehicles due to potentially faulty parts, including defective fuel devices. Though no injuries or accidents have been reported, the automaker is recalling 1.3 million Japanese vehicles and 421,000 vehicles from North American, Europe, and other markets, including 245,000 Lexus models sold in the United States. No Toyota models sold in the U.S. are involved in this recall at this time.

The recall was issued because the sensor that measures fuel pressure was installed incorrectly. Over time, engine vibration may loosen the sensor and cause a fuel leak, which is a potential fire hazard. Dealers will inspect the vehicles for fuel leakage and if a leak is discovered, dealers will replace the gasket between the sensor and the delivery pipe. If a leak is not found, they will tighten the fuel pressure sensor with the proper torque.

Last week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that they were considering a rule that would require trucks that weigh over 26,000 pounds to be limited to 68 miles per hour.

According to the proposal, all newly manufactured trucks will be equipped with an electronic control module (ECM) that would limit the speed and be tamper-resistant. Additionally, every class 7 and 8 commercial motor vehicle manufactured after 1990 will be outfitted with an electronic engine speed governor.

These days, if you purchase a product that comes with a decent warranty, you should consider yourself pretty lucky. Every piece of furniture I have ever bought at Macy’s has come with an ironclad warranty that I have had to use and every time they were polite and helpful. When something goes wrong, you don’t want to be hassled. You want it fixed—no questions asked—and for free.

Unfortunately, as with all legal documents, the wording in warranties can be very tricky. Sometimes, the writing is so dense and vague, it seems like companies don’t want you to really understand what you are entitled to.