AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
After one of the harshest winters in memory, America’s northern extremities are finally starting to thaw out. Along with chirping birds and sunshine, spring has brought warmer temperatures. But just because nice weather has arrived doesn’t mean you should ignore vehicle maintenance.
Stroll down the oil aisle of a typical auto-parts store and you’ll be confronted with a literal wall of lubricant.
Car owners nationwide are taking advantage of complimentary or prepaid maintenance programs.
After a 13-year legal battle over access to manufacturer repair tools, 23 automakers and thousands of independent repair shops have signed a memorandum agreeing to a “Right to Repair.”
Every week Ask AutoGuide provides iron-clad vehicle-shopping advice to distressed, confused or otherwise bewildered consumers. Whether they’re in the market for a family-friendly crossover or something that’s good in winter weather, the Oracles of all things automotive have been there to lend some helping hands. But this week they’re taking a slightly different approach.
Unfortunately, new cars don’t stay new and it comes a time when parts need to be replaced. If you’ve just bought a new set of wheels and are curious what might go wrong first, the team at J.D. Power and Associates has compiled a top 10 list of the most commonly replaced vehicle components after three years of ownership.
Based on data gathered from its 2013 Vehicle Dependability Study, the following components were replaced by the highest percentage of owners in the 12 months leading up to when the survey was conducted.
Coming in 10th place were fuses, requiring replacement by 0.8 percent of those participating in the survey. Compared to last year, that’s a 0.4 percent improvement. Most fuses used in automobiles are blade fuses, also known as spade or plug-in fuses. They feature a plastic body with two prongs that fit into the sockets. At least the good news is, most fuses are cheap – it’s finding the one that needs to be replaced that could be troublesome.
Last week we explained the basics of motor oil, from viscosity to additives and everything in between. Now it’s time to tackle a much more contentious issue: synthetic versus conventional. Which lubricant should you use in your vehicle? Is the extra protection afforded by man-made oil worth the added expense?
It’s a cliché analogy, but oil really is the lifeblood of a vehicle’s powertrain. Without its friction-cutting properties engines would literally grind to a halt, failing in spectacular fashion. Connecting rods would punch holes in blocks, camshafts would pulverize themselves and bearing inserts would spin like the blades of a jet turbine.
Depending on where you live, the price for car repairs and maintenance will vary according to information in a new study.
This probably doesn’t come to as a surprise to many – since we’re all guilty of it – but Consumer Reports has taken a poll that reveals 40-percent of American car owners will delay the maintenance of their vehicle due to finances.
More eye-opening is the fact that younger drivers, 18-34 years of age, tend to ignore tires and brake pads. In fact, 21-percent of them admitted to not even paying attention to those items. Of those polled, 22-percent admitted to delaying the manufacturer-recommended minor services, 17-percent postponed replacing wear items while 15-percent could live with dents and other body damage.
The vast majority involved in the poll agreed that a repair bill of $2,000 is considered a serious financial burden and that 25-percent of Americans couldn’t even afford the repair bill. Considering a car is probably the second largest investment an individual makes, it’s surprising to see how low-ranked it is in terms of priority when it comes to maintenance. 44-percent even admitted that delaying the service of their vehicle has degraded the value, safety and reliability of their car.
And the most absurd part of the entire poll? 83-percent said they were confident that their repair shop would do the work properly and for the right price. Oh boy.
Car owners are more satisfied with independent shops for maintenance, according to a latest Consumer Reports Annual Survey. The survey was based on more than 92,000 reports on service visits to independent mechanics and 230,000 service visits to new car dealerships.
Buick and Lincoln were among the leaders with a score of 93, on a scale from 0 to 100, including service experience. Independent shops received 93 and 94 points for maintenance. Cadillac, Land Rover and BMW followed closely, each earning 92 points for dealership service experience.
The overall consensus was that respondents were more satisfied with service from independent mechanics compared to service from new car dealerships for maintenance-only service.
[Source: Consumer Reports]
Ferrari‘s complimentary service plan, already available in some world markets, will also be offered in the United States, on vehicles like the FF, 458 Italia and California.
“We are currently working out the terms and details to adapt this plan to the U.S. market, which is the largest one for Ferrari,” said Enzo Francesconi, the man responsible for after-sales matters for Ferrari North America. Ferrari’s plan covers one scheduled visit per year, some parts, fluids and labor, but does not cover high-wear items like brake pads. On the other hand, the program is transferable, so used buyers will be able to use what’s left of the program.
Ferrari’s older models are notorious for outrageous service costs, with many requiring hours of labor to remove the engine even for simple tasks. Newer models have been designed for easier servicing, but an oil change can still cost around $500. Another interesting factor is that Ferraris in the snow belt states tend to rarely ever require a 3000 mile comprehensive service, but often get an annual tune-up at their owners request. With the free maintenance program valued at around $15,000, it’s a nice touch for prospective owners, albeit an inconsequential amount if you’re in the Ferrari demographic.
[Source: Car and Driver]