RepairPal Blog:

 Tips & Tricks

Helpful car maintenance advice and useful tips on all things car-related

There is very little people actually agree on these days, but it would be damn near impossible to find anybody who actually likes speed bumps. We wouldn't tolerate that kind of thing in any other area of our lives. Imagine surfing the Internet and coming across virtual bumps that thwarted your progress (well, maybe all of those unwanted, annoying ads serve that purpose). 

During my many years of working at a dealership service department, one trend I have observed is that whenever fuel prices go up, complaints about fuel economy also go up. The recent rise in fuel prices has also driven up sales of air filters, spark plugs, and routine maintenance. I must admit, OPEC is certainly getting more of my money these days. Twenty-two years ago, when my trusty Ford Ranger, affectionately named Betsy, was new, the fuel tank took less than 12 dollars to fill. Now, after a recent fill up, Betsy consumed 63 dollars worth—$63! My income has certainly not increased five times over the same period. The shock to my wallet makes me want to shriek.

Where I live, finding a parking spot is always an adventure. Sometimes I will find a spot right in front of my house—those are great days. Sometimes, like the other night when I got home at 11pm during a storm that no one was stupid to drive in except me, I will have a ten-minute walk straight uphill or downhill from the car to my house.But whether I score a sweet spot or one that feels like it's across town, the one thing I always have to contend with is parallel parking.

Over the past twenty years, I have worked with thousands of shop owners, so I know all too well what the bad, unethical shops do, as well as what the good guys do. If you want to make sure you are never ripped off by a repair shop, I can certainly help.  If you want to find the right repair shop, you need to ask the right questions. When you do, it is imperative not only to pay attention to the answers the service advisor or shop owner provides, but to pay careful attention to how they respond as well. If they seem unprepared or uncomfortable when you ask these questions, there is a good chance you are speaking to the wrong shop.

“Why are car repairs so expensive?” As a dealership shop foreman, I have been asked this question, in one form or another, many times. A 90-thousand mile service can run upwards of $800. A few add-on repairs, such as a Check Engine Light, could easily push it over a grand. Sometimes, you may drop off your vehicle for a simple oil change and get a call from the shop regarding some unexpected, but essential, repairs.

The thought of taking her car into a mechanic to have a repair or service performed is enough to make any woman nervous. What if she pays too much? What if she doesn't know what exactly is wrong with her car? What if the technician talks down to her and makes her feel stupid? All of the "what ifs" are enough to make her want to put off taking her car in until it's absolutely falling apart, which is never a good idea.But it doesn't have to be this way. With just a few simple tips, any woman can feel confident and secure when walking into the door and leave knowing she got the best service and will be safe on the road, all for a fair price. The "best price" is not always the "best." Remember, when you get a quote, pull out your cell phone, and use RepairPal's Estimator.

In a crash, a simple pen sitting harmlessly on the dashboard can be as dangerous as a knife. In a front-end collision, a can of beans stacked at the top of the grocery bag can be propelled forward with more force than a Nolan Ryan fastball. At 55 mph, a twenty-pound object can hit with a thousand pounds of force—so powerful that a suitcase can literally dismember the arm of a crash test dummy.  

Last week, we reviewed highway driving habits. This week, let’s review some city driving issues. City driving is generally done at a much slower pace due to traffic lights, stop signs, and crosswalks. Over the past twenty years, as city traffic has increased, we have all noticed that many people do not take these three traffic control measures as seriously as they have in the past. This has increased the danger for drivers and pedestrians alike. Here are some reminders for each …

When you're a parent, you tend to worry about anything and everything when it comes to your kids. It's hard enough watching Billy go to Kindergarten the first day or deciding if young Maggie is ready to date, but watching your teenager get behind the wheel and driving away has to be one of the most stressful moments of parenting. Here are some tips that will help both you and your teenager when he or she is ready to drive. 1. Come up with a contract

A recent weekend getaway got me to thinking—what makes a “good” driver? A good driver is not only a safe driver; he also does his part to help traffic flow smoothly, thus easing congestion. Are you a good driver? Here’s a little quiz; let’s see how you do.Do you slowly make your way up the acceleration lane when entering the freeway, forcing others to slow down or move over to the next lane to allow you in?