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Archive for June, 2018

This will be my 2nd post this weekend and I’m combining a few of different topics starting with brand loyalty and my disdain for those who hate particular car makers for no particular reason. I’ve got a lot to say so make some popcorn or something.

Brand loyalty and the unwarranted hate for American cars.

Ive noticed many people are only Ford fanatics others GM, while others are Toyota only and so forth. I’m okay with liking a particular car maker im a GM person myself while i do have a particular set of favorites  (in order of course) with Chevrolet, Ford, Honda and lastly Dodge. Most of my favorite car makers are of American, considering that well i was born and raised as an American, besides the fact my grandfather was a Chevy only guy.

The fact remains however that some really go out of their way to hate a particular brand of car. One of them being Pontiac. It seems like since i took this job in the auto industry that uses old machines that Ford automaker originally had that we now use and possibly other automaker machines from the 70s that still get the job done. Anyway i have had several people i should get rid of my Grand Am because its junk? Except the fact that it runs beautifully and i wouldn’t trade it for anything else. I was planning on keeping the car running and considering they don’t make Pontiac any more im sure eventually someone might want to pay more money than it’s worth. I am saving money for another car, just in case i need that money for a new vehicle, because the Grand Am is over 20 years old. Driving over 60miles a day certainly will one day take its toll but if people were at all concerned about reliablity of Pontiacs and American cars in general, they are just as reliable as any other car provided that they are well cared for.

This one guy i work with trades his car in every 6 years. Then tells me i need to get a new car. Funny thing considering switching cars can be just as unreliable as buying a used car with little care.

Besides the Ford jokes being funny the feud is often between Dodge, GM and Ford. Some people hate American cars all together. That certainly doesn’t make any other automaker any better and while there are differences they are all using the same or similar technology. And every automaker has its defects. While certain cars are more reliable than others, it all comes down to defective parts. A lot goes into building a car and therefore a lot could go wrong.

Even my car has some defects or issues. The windows for an example has plastic and often break if you try to open them in cold weather. BCM or Body Control Module malfunctioned, a gasket leak which was under warranty at the time the hazard switch was not soldered correctly and a few other small things. But they were inexpensive to fix and i stuck through them and now the Grand Am is doing well, which it always has done well.

But had i bought a new car every 5 years or so i may not be so lucky. And its always a gamble. But people can and should have the right to drive what car they feel most comfortable with without prejudice. And its sad that some people call a car, junk based on what the name says on the outside.

Driving reckless, road rage.

This seems to be getting worse as when i first had drove, people seemed to be less in a hurry and didnt speed all the time but with accidents becoming worse and people staring at their cellphones instead of driving the highway has become a dangerous place to be. I drive to Chicago via 290 and you have people doing 90+ swerving in between lanes just so they don’t have to slow down in order to get to their destination 2 minutes faster. I take about half an hour. I used to drive 65-70 with bursts of 80 to pass in the left lane but after seeing driving only 60 im saving 1-2mpg. Driving back and forth i saved about 3-4mpg and in some cases 5! That ends up being a lot and instead of using 1.3gallon of gas per drive im only doing 1 gallon per drive. That translates to bigger savings and im only taking an extra 2-3 minutes out of my day.

However impatient drivers can’t see this logic the faster you go the more gas you consume. And i have to figure out my mileage by dividing the mileage trip counter and how much gas i have to put back in. Most current cars you can see this in real time. So theres no reason they can’t see their dimished mileage capacity on the dash. Or maybe its because they don’t care. However some of us do and wasting gas to get to your destination a couple of minutes faster is just ridiculous. Of course people do what they want and they probably never get pulled ovet for it.

Cities tried to put in speed cameras but that was removed. People got upset that they were breaking the law by speeding. But their speeding is causing problems on the highway because for one you got people racing one another to work and another,

WHAT IS THE SPEED LIMIT?

Seriously, the fact you got someone doing 45, another 60 and then 65, 70, 80 (you get the idea) so it makes driving on the highway that much more dangerous not to mention you have someone lingering in the passing lane going slower than the middle lanes. So this makes driving hazardous and people die on the highway because of this.

If these people feel they need to speed across the highway unsafely, then they really should evaluate their schedules. Leave earlier, move to a different location whatever the case is there is ni need to endanger yourself and others. The speed limit is there to avoid this sort of problem but without it being enforced there is little hope that this will change.

On a side note, i sometimes get rocks thrown at me due to the fact trucks do not clean their cars off and already its damaged my windshield, but not to the point where its cracked, just irritating. Something should be done about this.

Car preventative maintenance for maximum life.

Engine oil. Most people know to get the oil changed and there is still controversy on when that should be done. It used to be every 3 months or every 3,000 miles but automakers and oil companies claim you can go longer. Some new cars mainly Ford and GM have oil life percentage monitors that tells you when you are in need of changing the oil in your car. People claim this is accurate however i always err on the side of caution and when it gets past 6,000 miles, 6 months or 30% of oil life remaining to get the oil changed. Some might be bothered by it but for those who want to maximize engine longevity this is the way. I personally change my oil after 4,500 miles  (its an older car) which is about every 3-4 months. I always try to change it during summer and winter as the changes in temp could affect the oil. May not be completely necessary but i sometimes would then change it early or extend it to 5,200 miles depending on climate history. City driving with lots of stop and go traffic requires more frequent oil changes as early as 3,000 miles. Especially when driven hard.

Other fluids need changing and lifetime fluid is false.  No matter what anyone tells you those fluids in your car break down over time just like oil so while fluid change is different for every car its best to follow your trusted mechanics advice. No fluid is lifetime especially transmission fluid, people were told this and then 100,000 miles or so later the transmission locks up and  like your stuck in neutral. Get that changed every 30,000 miles. Or if your mechanic can’t work on it, get rid of it and post negative reviews. Cheaply made cars without the means to change the fluid is bad. Not that I’ve heard of this but auto makers are making fluid changes more difficult.

Fix any problems or noises right away.  Sometimes a problem might creep up, sometimes it’s normal but other times a small problem can turn into a big one. If it sounds odd or you have a smell or a leak have someone check it out. Note the AC unit will produce water when ran during the summer especially in humid areas so dont panic. If you want to be sure stick a finger and look at it, you might have to smell it too but if you dont want to do that, run the car without the AC in the morning. Check all the fluids, make sure you are not losing anything.

If you do have a leak get it checked out. If it looks like an oil leak, find out if the oil plug bolt needs replacing, sometimes the oil filter is not tight enough or something is wrong with the seal.

Some problems like windows won’t function might not need attention right away but if you plan on keeping the car for life, may be a good idea to get it replaced provided you have the money.  Other problems may creep up that’ll cause a chain reaction of “oh that doesn’t need fixing” to this car is junk now.

Clean undercarriage and body, if possible keep the car out of direct sunlight.  Keeping the car clean is just as important as keeping the engine in proper working order. Washing and waxing will help prevent sun fade and using touch up paint will help prevent rusting. However that’s only half the battle. Cleaning the undercarriage is just as important and will prevent rotting. I’ve made this mistake and can be costly to repair. And people will then say its not worth to fix. If you want to go the extra step and get additional protection which is highly recommended is to have an autobody shop put a protective oil underneath. The autobody shop owner i spoke to uses Fluid Film (you can look it up) and it costs about  $300. It may be different elsewhere but if i do this every couple of years my car won’t fall apart rusting.

It works best with a new car with very little rust but its important to check up on this and is easily done by looking under the car.

If you live in a snowy/salty place this oil should protect your car. Its recommended to follow what your autobody guy tells you but its important to verify they are doing the correct way.

Even if you don’t plan on keeping your car the resale value of your car will remain well due to little or no rusting, especially in snowy climates.

Don’t wide open throttle your car or do burnouts and other advice. This may sound like you can’t ever have fun  constantly flooring your gas pedal and doing burnouts can wear out your car quicker, requires additional and more frequent maintenance. If you want to extend the life of your vehicle, don’t do them all the time. Every so often though its not a bad idea to floor it every so often to get everything going. Just dont do it when the engine is not fully warmed up when the temp gauge hasn’t reached its normal peak spot (usually in the middle of cold and hot). Do it safely too and if you got a performance car it may be better to learn what not to do when hitting full acceleration. Safety first. Also Seafoam in the gas tank is good once in awhile (but research this first). I also use Shell V-Power premium gas, more expensive but my cars fuel system is happy.

 

Other tips like warming up your car, i had previously talked about this in an earlier post but it must be said, for safety reasons and for longevity warming up your car in winter for a couple of minutes is recommended.

Some people may claim that they never warm up their car and never have any issues but its most likely that they dont hold onto their cars for very long. Some auto experts may say its unnecessary and that you should drive slowly after a 30 sec warm-up. You should take it easy on the throttle during the first 5 minutes anyway but not to the point where you are going too slow.

Im right near the entrance to the highway so i have little time to allow my car to fully warm up but during winter i let the temp gauge move before taking off. And i try to increase speed on the ramp as early as i can to get up to speed. You have to time it right. On the way home though i got ample time to reach optimum temp. For some though its going to take a little more than 3 minutes of warm up time especially if you don’t have a garage and live near the highway.

Another tip if you got a garage, use it. I see many people that do have a garage but don’t use it for their car. I could understand people using it for projects and some don’t have the space but sometimes its better to have someplace to shelter your car from the cold and sunrays. The dash can warp, and can fade the paint.

Hopefully this was informative and sorry it was really long but i havent written a post (besides yesterday) but i wanted to talk about this.

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Its been a while since i written a post, since i only have internet on my phone i haven’t been in a writing mood. Call me old fashioned but i prefer writing using a keyboard and mouse. Smartphones are great but the keyboard is too small and flimsy so i don’t really do much. I might try to transfer a topic i could write from my PC to my phone but it would require me moving a SD card back and forth.

But thats not the topic at hand here. Reading some posts on Facebook on EV or electric vehicles has got my attention, particularly the ones that say there will be 2/3rd of all cars will be electric by 2025. Now before i continue, EVs are not a bad thing. Its a great alternative for those who can’t be bothered with gas cars and in the long haul could save you a bit of money if circumstances work in your favor. They certainly will save you trips to the mechanic.

Some of this information may be inaccurate so don’t get angry if i said something completely wrong.

But anytime i hear of EVs replacing gas cars, you can hear an audible groan. For very obvious reasons which i will list below.

1. Charging takes too long. It has been easy and quick to refuel a combustion engine car, you are at the gas station and it takes as little as 5 minutes to fill up a tank with gas. However even with fancy quick charging EVs it’ll take at least half an hour. Not good for those who forgot to charge their car earlier. People will forget. I forget that i need gas in my car and while usually its not bad where im driving on empty others do.

With gas cars you drive to the gas station to fill up. You don’t fill it up at home or work so to recharge your car, it would take having to remember each day to plug it in. Some people say, you can charge these cars overnight but it takes remembering to do this. And some people will not ever have access to a charging outlet for that they park on the street or in an apt complex. Sure there might be someway to add outlets throughout where people park but it would have to be waterproof, not to mention this creates additional hazards when dangerous weather conditions cause damage to the area. So for many this really isn’t an option and people will opt to continue using gas cars.

2. Batteries are quite unreliable. For the most part anyways batteries are unpredictable and while if constructed well, batteries can last a lot longer, however investing in a vehicle can be a gamble sometimes with the increasing recalls and other defects car manufactures are plagued with its easily concieved that you would be lucky to get 10 years out of an EV battery. Most people junk their gas car when the engine or transmisson goes dead but in many cases, well maintained cars will last 20+ years before that happens but ive seen many cars get junked within 10 years. The warranty is up and the car was most likely badly maintained to begin with. While people claim they are getting 200,000 miles or over 10 years out of their EV battery. Either they are trying to decieve people in the name of getting off gas or they are just lucky, as generally its new technology and car companies are trying really hard at making these cars recall proof but even Tesla had a few problems with their power steering and possibly othet defects.

The other problem is heat. No battery can really survive under extreme heat and particularly areas where excessive heat lingers, makes it really difficult to believe you could get 10 years out of one of these EV cars before having to junk it due to the battery wearing out and no matter what they will wear out. If one cell dies in an EV battery, the whole car may not function as intended. Even if you could repair the damaged cell, it could get as costly as a gas engine rebuild. Over $1,500 and there is no guarantee that the battery will be good as new. At that point you may have to consider replacing a $3,000+ battery for a new one or to junk the car, which would increase waste as junked cars often sit in the junkyard for years deteriorating before a costly recycling process.

3.  If 2/3rd of vehicles on the road were electric, it would put tremendous strain on the electric grid.  We already have a high demand of electricity and while the cost currently is better than the insane gas prices that could change in a matter of years if we were to switch to EVs. In order for electric companies to meet these demands they would have to update the grid and more than likely would increase electric costs as a result. Its already a fragile setup as high energy demands during peak Air Conditioner usage, which is why its encouraged to only use the AC as little and and as low as possible. Otherwise if cost and electricity usage wasn’t a factor people like me would run the AC at 60F all summer. But instead so i can save money and the strain on the electric grid i keep it around 78F.

4. Mechanics loose, manufacturing loss and many jobs will be lost crippling the economy.  I don’t like visiting the mechanic as much as the next person, but in order to keep the economy running we need to give some money to others and while im not particularly fond of this way of thinking, i certainly would love to keep my job, my hours and while im only 38, i got to think of retirement. And i would like to retire sometime after 55 years. So i would like for the economy to thrive.

With EVs there are fewer engine comoonents but buying a gas engine will keep the mechanics working. Its planned obsolescence and a waste of resources but many people like myself are confined to one area to work. I am too tired to relearn a job and currently retail is a dying breed of jobs. So if you like the way the economy is, keep using gas cars.

5. Hydrogen cars are most likely a better bet. While true hydrogen cars are fully electric from little research, you could easily convert a gas car to hydrogen based and it may give mechanics a business boost for a short time. Maybe they will consider working on your broken down car a bit more (but the honest ones will most likely tell you to buy a new one if necessary). Hydrogen is basically water so instead of gas in the tank you can use water. In its hydrogen state however i don’t believe it can be stored for very long which is most likely why hydrogen cars never made it to use.

I think the oil companies wanted to have hydrogen at the ready instead of you refueling your car with a garden hose. So until our greedy friends finds a way to keep hydrogen or some other combustible source of energy, EVs are a stopgap.  The car industry loves this because they are hoping to kill most gas cars forcing people to buy EVs and then when another energy vehicle comes to fruition EVs will be obsolete so it would take more to convert.

Unfortunately this disposable way of thinking isn’t good for our future. By any means most cars should see 40+ years on the road but the average is 11 years making cars one of the biggest resource waste on this planet.  Recycling should only be necessary when the item is no longer sustainable.

EVs are not a bad thing and its good to reduce the dependance of oil however its trading one problem for another and creates new problems. While you can add smart meters to your home so you can monitor electric usage in real time and determine for yourself whether an electric car is right for you i can’t recommend buying an EV based on so many unknowns. The economy being a big factor, there really is not many options. As a hard worker in auto part manufacturing i don’t want to loose my hours or job,  because i have nowhere else to turn to. Im sure many mechanics agree. Im too tired to figure out another job field as i haven’t been in my current position for very long and it took a lot out of me to learn what i know now. Being in retail for 18 years took more life out of me than you can imagine. Mentally i feel like im 60 years old.. i can’t loose what i have gained recently and the million or so gas vehicles makes it possible for me to have a job i love so much and is sustainable for my future.

So consider this before buying an EV what impact it could have on the economy. But if you are looking for a job in auto mechanics or production, its wise to consider another field, especially if you are young. If possible take a few professions so you have a better future for yourself.

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