A nice Los Angeles listener called us wanting to use my car buying system, but it was quite a distance in heavy traffic. She didn’t mind the drive to get a new car, but servicing was going to be a real problem. Besides helping people with auto advice on Car Pro Radio Show, I also recommend good dealerships from which to purchase. I handpick these, and I only have one or two dealers per brand, per market. That means that often, my listeners have to drive to get a great deal and have a good experience.
The truth is that dealers make a lot of money servicing vehicles. In fact, their service departments are way more profitable than their new vehicle departments in a huge majority of dealerships. Dealers don’t advertise their service departments often, commissions and salaries are much less than sales commissions, and overall, the expenses in a service department are much lower than on the sales side. That means that for every dollar of sales in service, or in warranty revenue, much more of the sales dollar goes to the bottom line of the dealership. Read More
If one thing in life is certain, it’s that at some point your check engine light will come on. Probably at an inopportune time, too. But whenever it is, we caution you not to ignore it. Especially in the age of Covid. According to CarMD, a provider of automotive diagnostic and business solutions, 2020 led to financial challenges for many, which means some people held on to older vehicles longer than ever before. CarMD says these changes impacted the age of vehicles and types of repairs needed. Read More
If you haven’t been maintaining your vehicle by the book during the pandemic, you’re not alone. A recent Hankook Tire survey found that a lot of people aren’t, even as more and more people venture out as Covid cases decline.
The Hankook Tire Gauge Index found that:
70% of drivers across the U.S. had not checked their tire pressure in the 30 days prior, despite the industry recommendation to do so at least once a month.
People who listen to my radio show know that I am a huge believer in doing maintenance to a vehicle. When I talk to Car Pro Show listeners who have unusually high mileage cars, there is always one common denominator, and that is they are diligent with their maintenance habits.
Every April, the Car Care Council brings attention to the importance of routine vehicle maintenance on your vehicle. A previously published Car Care Council study looked at cars all across the country, and an astounding number of them needed service or repairs. Some of those were minor like windshield wiper blades, but others were more serious and alarming. Read More
It seems to sneak up on us every year, and yes, it was just a few weeks ago when I was in the midst of a rare arctic blast, but suddenly we look up and for many, the thermometer is hitting triple digits. For some people, depending on locale, that first 100-degree day is the start of a string of hot days that lasts for months. This is a tough time of year for your car, but there are things you can do to help your car get through the summer season.
1. Check A/C Have your air conditioning system checked, many repair shops do this at no charge or a very nominal fee. It is not uncommon for some freon to leak out during the winter, which will cause your compressor to overwork itself. Read More
[Editor’s Note: This article has been updated for comprehensiveness since it’s original posting in October 2015.] I get multiple calls weekly asking how long a car will last. While it is always just a guess, I base my answers on listener feedback and personal experience. Not all that long ago, people targeted 100,000 miles as their goal to drive their car because that is about the mileage you could expect before having a major failure. However, cars have gotten much better, technology has Read More
The average age of cars on the road today is higher than ever — nearly 11 years old, according to research firm R.L. Polk. That’s partially a function of a slow economy, but also, Polk says, because vehicles are “more durable and more reliable than their predecessors.”
With the average car adding more than 15,000 miles to the odometer each year, it’s practically a given that you’ll hit the once-notable milestone of 100,000 miles. In fact, you might even triple that without needing a Read More
When gas prices escalate, like the past few weeks, people always start to ask the question, do I REALLY have to put premium fuel in my car? It is a legitimate question, especially when you look in the owner’s manual or open your gas flap and it says in large letters, PREMIUM FUEL ONLY, what should you do?
For most people, burning premium gas is not required, but recommended. There is a reason your carmaker recommends premium, and it’s not because they are in cahoots with ExxonMobil. The Read More
A New Year is upon us and we hope the road ahead in 2021 does not include a check engine light for you. It’s happened to most of us of course, due to what could be a number of potential issues, some more costly than others. (You can find a list of the most common ones here.)
A new 2020 CarMD Vehicle Health Index Make and Model Reliability Rankings gives us some more data. It looks at the frequency of engine light repairs among makes of 1996 to 2020 model-year vehicles. Read More
If you have purchased a new car or crossover SUV in the past few years and assumed it had a spare tire and wheel, you could be in for a surprise. Unfortunately, you may not know for sure until you are on the side of the road somewhere. Those who find out they have no spare tire in an emergency situation are, shall we say, less than pleased. Read More
As we head into the final weeks of the year, COVID-19 cases are again spiking across the nation as the “third wave” hits the U.S. It’s just as important now as it was in March and over the summer to take precautions to prevent its spread. A big difference between now and last spring, is that when the pandemic started, many people were staying home and off the roads and had postponed travel plans. But now, many people are venturing out more in their communities. Plus, as we head into the holiday season, some families may be planning to travel -- especially by car. According to AAA’s latest estimate -- 47.8 million Americans are planning road trips for Thanksgiving. That’s a drop of 4.5% over last year - but still, folks, 47.8 million is a lot of people hitting the road. Road trips are not a risk-free activity. It’s pretty hard to social distance 6-feet in the confines of a vehicle.
Whether you’re staying around town or one of those who is planning to travel by car this year, let’s again go through some tips on how to clean and sanitize your vehicle. Although no amount of cleaning is a guarantee of preventing the spread of COVID among passengers in your vehicle, there are things you can do to help minimize the risk. Read More
Many of you will be traveling over the holidays, and nobody wants to find himself or herself stuck on the side of the road for any reason, but if you drive in major metro areas, odds are good you see it on a daily basis. I am a sucker for people who look like they need help and have stopped many times to see if I could assist. The last time I did this, the driver had been in a hurry and ran out of gas in a fairly new car. He asked if I could give him a lift to a gas station and I asked him if he’d called roadside assistance? His reply was “I don’t think I have that”. He was driving a two-year-old Camry, and a quick Google search revealed the phone number. He called and the ETA of the service provider was less than 10 minutes. Read More
We’ve all had our check engine light come on and likely wondered what it means and just how quickly it should be attended to. Check engine lights can mean different things and should never be ignored.
When your check engine light comes on, it is a signal that the onboard diagnostics system (or OBD II) has detected a malfunction in the vehicle's emissions, ignition or fuel systems. It could be something as simple as a loose gas cap or something as severe Read More
If you live in California, you probably already suspect this. But we can confirm you’re paying the most when it comes to check engine light-related repair costs. That’s according to CarMD’s 10th Annual State Ranking of Car Repair Costs.
The study found that California drivers incurred the highest average repair cost ($414.24), followed by the District of Columbia, Georgia, New Jersey and Virginia. (Texas places 18th on the list.) If you’re in Vermont, you Read More
A Texas Car Pro Show listener got in touch with me, totally frustrated with her dealership. She loves the dealership overall, loves her salesperson, and loves her vehicle. However, she gets irritated when she calls the dealership to make an appointment, and the first available time is two weeks away.
Welcome to summer temperatures and the problems it causes for dealerships and customers.
Summer Car Service Challenges All the years I owned car dealerships, I dreaded the summer heat. Read More
If you’re like many Americans you’re likely using your vehicle a lot less frequently during COVID-19 with all the stay at home orders around the country. We’ve provided some car care tips here for when your car is parked for longer than normal. Ford is also offering up some tips on how to specifically care for electric vehicles that may not be in regular use right now.
The automaker says owners of battery-powered vehicles might wonder how much charge they should keep in their Read More
Have questions about your car? Well, forget finding them the old fashioned way, in an owner’s manual tucked away in your glovebox. These days you’ll need to go online. In the digital age, automakers are posting them on their websites and some, like Hyundai’s, even include augmented reality features. Many brands are also now allowing you to reference them through the vehicle’s infotainment system.
The move to digital manuals is due in part to cutting weight, since paper adds up. In fact, if Read More
We’re not the only ones staying home these days. So, too, are our cars. As Americans are being asked if at all possible to stay home, many cars are sitting parked on the street, in the driveway or garage for days, and those days are turning into weeks. Unfortunately, parking your car even short-term for a few weeks can pose some potential problems for your vehicle. The best way to prevent many of them is to drive your car. Once a week if you Read More