Maintenance auto news

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Ford announces free brake pad offer if customers stop by dealers

08/04/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Maintenance, Ford, Lincoln, Mercury

Ford Motorcraft Brake Pad Guarantee

These days, when you buy a new car, it's not unreasonable to expect a certain period of free maintenance to come along as well. Sometimes this is through the life of the warranty, in other cases a little less. But Ford Motor Company is going beyond those deals for at least one part of its cars. As of now, if you buy a set of Motorcraft brake pads for a Ford, Lincoln or Mercury model, you get free replacements for as long as you own the vehicle. The offer is good at Ford or Lincoln dealers and Quick Lane Tire & Auto Centers.

"We will replace the pads for as long as you own the vehicle," said Elizabeth Weigandt to Autoblog. She did clarify that the Motorcraft pads are generally for models from the '90s or newer. Also, to take advantage of this program, a person must return to the same dealer each time to get the free parts.

Of course, Ford isn't just handing out brake pads to anyone who walks by; there are certain stipulations. First, the components have to be worn down to less than three millimeters to be eligible, and the buyer still has to pay for the labor to install them. If the model is used as a fleet vehicle for commercial purposes like as a taxi or limousine, this offer also doesn't apply; the same thing for racecars. On the plus side, if you recently bought a set of pads from one of the participating locations, you're still in luck. The deal covers parts purchased as of July 1.

"This program reflects our commitment to providing customers with an excellent ownership experience regardless of the age of their vehicle," said Frederiek Toney, President of Ford Customer Service, in the company's announcement of the offer. Scroll down to read the all the details.

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Edmunds' long-term Tesla Model S has been wonderful, woeful

08/01/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Maintenance, Hatchbacks, Tesla, Electric

Tesla Model S

We generally don't report on other outlets' long-term model tests, but Edmunds just completed a 17-month ownership experience with a 2013 Tesla Model S. It's just too interesting not to share.

The site bought a 2013 Model S Performance model for the added range of its 85-kilowatt-hour battery and tossed on a good variety of options for a total price of $105,005, including a wall charger. In terms of driving the electric hatchback, the folks there seemed to love it. There were a few minor gripes, but for the most part it offered sufficient driving range, plenty of space and generally good quality.

However, the ownership experience was hardly flawless. The journalists there were never quite able to hit the Model S' promised range of 265 miles, with a best real-world result of 230.4 miles during their ownership. Also, while they had it, the Model S had a rash of unscheduled trips for service - seven times - and their Tesla left them stranded by the side of the road once.

These weren't just some minor quibbles, either. The drive unit was replaced three times and the main battery once. That massive center info screen had to be manually reset nine times and was completely replaced once, as well. Edmunds writers forgave some of the faults, though. Their Tesla was an early production model, and some of the fixes were a result of technical service bulletins. They never had to pay for any of it, other than buying a new set of tires.

While this is all anecdotal evidence based on just a single Model S, it doesn't make the Model S sound like an easy car to live with all the time. You can get the full skinny on the love/loathe affair directly from Edmunds by clicking here.

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The List Shorts #0255: Change a Tire

06/28/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Maintenance, Videos, The List

The List's Jessi Combs changes a flat tire

Our list of "1,001 Car Things To Do Before You Die" includes countless aspirational, once-in-a-lifetime challenges, but that doesn't mean we're going to ignore the basics. "The List: Shorts" is a new subsection of The List that focuses on repairs, maintenance and attainable automotive fun - things every budding auto enthusiast can do without dropping a lot of cash.

For our first installment, host Jessi Combs demonstrates something every driver should know how to do: change a tire. Whether you're met with an unexpected flat or need to swap your summer tires for winter wheels, knowing how to change a tire is essential automotive knowledge. Scroll down to see how it's done.

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Daily U-Turn: What you missed on 7.16.09

07/17/2009   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Maintenance, Trends, Hybrids/Alternative, Lifestyle

First Drive: 2010 Buick LaCrosse looks to breathe life into old brand

GM CEO Fritz Henderson says that the new breed of Buicks new must be more than competitive - they must be superb. So does the 2010 LaCrosse have the goods to take on Acura and Lexus? We find out.

STUDY: More Americans planning to keep their cars longer... are you? [w/POLL]

Automakers looking for a quick turnaround in the new car market aren't going to like a new survey that says consumers plan to hold onto their vehicles longer than ever before.

Pics Aplenty: Double-size gallery of 2010 Jaguar XJ images

For any of you looking to get an even better look - or perhaps just additional looks - at the 2010 Jaguar XJ, we've added about 40 new photos to our gallery.

Other news of import

  • Ford poised to overtake GM as America's top-selling automaker

  • NHTSA: Drunk driving is down, but 16.3% of nighttime drivers are on drugs

  • Discovery Channel's HD Theater bringing WRC coverage back to U.S.

  • Officially Official: Mercedes to produce electric SLS gullwing
  • BMW trademarks "Countryman" for Mini crossover name?

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STUDY: Despite insurance breaks, hybrids driven more, cost more to fix, and get more tickets

07/17/2009   [Original: Quality Planning via Marketwire via Autoblog]
Category: Maintenance, Trends, Hybrids/Alternative, Lifestyle

2010 Honda Insight EX - Click above for high-res image gallery

Conventional wisdom is that hybrid vehicles reduce our dependence on foreign oil and emit fewer environment hurting CO2 emissions. When comparing a hybrid to a conventional gasoline-powered model on a mile-by-mile basis, there's some logic to this argument provided the pricing disparity between the two models isn't too broad. However, a new study by Quality Planning shows that hybrid owners drive much more than non-hybrid owners, potentially negating the benefits of the added battery pack and electric motor.

Quality Planning studied nearly 360,000 vehicles throughout 2007 and 2008 to analyze driving habits, and some of the study's findings are pretty surprising. According to the survey, hybrid and non-hybrid drivers have statistically similar commutes, but hybrid owners drive their vehicles 25% more (2,000 miles) in non-commuting scenarios.

Dr. Raj Bhat, president of Quality Planning, thinks part of the reason for these findings has something to do with the fact that high mileage drivers are typically more interested in hybrids than infrequent drivers.

"What we don't know is whether owning a hybrid vehicle encourages people to drive more miles each day or take more pleasure trips. High-mileage drivers appear to be attracted to these vehicles, so insurers should take steps to verify the intended use of hybrids and validate actual miles driven wherever possible."

The study also shows that hybrid owners are significantly more likely to receive traffic tickets. According to the survey, Toyota Prius owners received .38 tickets per 100,000 miles driven, versus a non-hybrid average of .23 tickets per 100,000 miles. That's a 65% differential. One possible explanation for the ticket disparity has to do with where hybrid owners live. Quality Planning found that hybrid owners are more likely to live in an urban setting, where tickets are more frequently issued.

If you really want a hybrid and you don't want to hear any more bad news, you should stop reading. QP also found that repair costs are significantly higher for hybrid owners. The Ford Escape Hybrid, for example, costs 31% more to repair than the gasoline-only model, while repairing the Toyota Highlander Hybrid will reportedly add 45% more cost. A recent report by IntelliChoice that found that, in the long-term, hybrids and diesels are actually cheaper than gasoline-only vehicles.

The text below illustrates how much on a per dollar basis hybrid repair costs for collision and comprehensive coverage versus one dollar for a non-hybrid. The disparity is shrinking every year, but according to QP, hybrids still cost more to fix. Hit the jump to view the Quality Planning press release.

Collision Comprehensive

Coverage Coverage

2006 Hybrid Models $1.16 $1.75

2007 Hybrid Models $1.09 $1.35

2008 Hybrid Models $1.13 $1.17

Continue reading STUDY: Despite insurance breaks, hybrids driven more, cost more to fix, and get more tickets

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Does brake dust affect a car's quality? J.D. Power thinks so (w/POLL)

07/14/2009   [Original: NY Times Wheels Blog via Autoblog]
Category: Maintenance, Etc.

When wheels are covered with brake dust, the entire car looks dirty and in many cases, a basic wash will do little to rectify the problem. Most associate brake dust as a mere nuisance, but others actually see the sight of pad particles as a fundamental problem with the functionality of a vehicle's brakes. That may sound a bit strange to some, but J.D. Power seems to agree that brake dust is indeed a quality problem.

The long-running quality survey added brake dust as one of its 228 quality concerns back in 2006 in response to several survey-takers filling in "brake dust" as a write-in complaint. David Sargent, vice president for automotive research at J.D. Power, told The New York Times that brake dust is given the same weight as serious mechanical malfunctions. The reason, says Sargent, is that customers don't feel that brake dust is "trivial," and while malfunctions can be repaired, brake dust lingers for a very long time.

When asked by The Times why brake dust is even on a quality survey, Sargent mentioned that the survey gauges consumer perception, adding "the purpose of the study is to report back problems as defined by consumers."

Conversely, Consumer Reports does not use brake dust as a quality issue. Vehicle testing head Mark Champion admitted to the Times that cleaning brake dust is annoying, "but it is not actually a failure of the brakes." What say you? Hit the jump to take part in our poll.

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Daily U-Turn: What you missed on 7.13.09

07/14/2009   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Maintenance, Coupes, Recalls/TSBs, Safety, Chevrolet

Hot or Not? 2010 Chevy Camaro RS with factory accessories [w/POLL]

When we came across this 2010 Camaro 2LT RS with an OEM ground effects kit and 21-inch two-tone wheels, we knew we had to take it for a spin. But is it a looker? Weigh-in by voting in our poll.

SPOILER ALERT: Letting Loose the Dogs of War at the 2009 German Grand Prix

Every dog has his day and that's the unofficial theme of this year's Formula One season. You can ask any of a variety of players in this year's championship and they'll surely attest to the old axiom's veracity.

VIDEO: Mercedes-Benz E-Class commercial features malfunctioning car

The voiceover for Mercedes' "Ignite" commercial for the new E-Class starts with "It is, quite simply, the most advanced automobile we have every created." Too bad it's already throwing a warning light.

Other news of import

  • Honda confirms production of CR-Z, Fit Hybrid in 2010

  • GM working on dedicated hybrid sedan?

  • BMW M boss Segler says no M7 model is forthcoming

  • VIDEO: Ken Block Gymkhana spoof is criminally awesome
  • Want to be able to drop the top on your new Nissan 370Z? It's going to cost you

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BREAKING: Early Camaro SS manual transmission failures reported, factory hold issued

07/14/2009   [Original: via Autoblog]
Category: Maintenance, Coupes, Recalls/TSBs, Safety, Chevrolet

2010 Chevrolet Camaro - Click above for a high-res image gallery

Sporadic reports have begun popping up in the Camaro5 forums about issues with V8-powered SS models equipped with the manual transmission. It seems that doing a hard launch or using the launch control system occasionally results in a broken output shaft, a serious failure that will most likely leave the car immobile and in need of repair. We spoke with General Motors spokesman Adam Dennison about the problem and, as this is being written, a factory hold has been put on deliveries of manual transmission V8 Camaros while Chevrolet engineering teams investigate the problem.

Based on the reports, the transmission issues may not be related to the launch control system as the failures seem to happen whether or not launch control is engaged. The Camaro SS uses the Tremec 6060 six-speed gearbox - the same transmission fitted to the Dodge Viper, Mustang GT500, Corvette Z06 and other performance cars - so this is likely a manufacturing issue with a batch of gearboxes.

Dennison told Autoblog that an engineering meeting is being held this evening to identify the cause and establish a timing for the fix - and a recall seems likely. In the meantime, if you have a manual model Camaro SS, you might want to go easy on the launches for now - and if you have one ordered, you'll have to wait a bit longer. Thanks to Bailey and Derrick for the tips!

Gallery: One Night Stand: 2010 Chevrolet Camaro

Photos Copyright (C)2009 Alex Núñez / Weblogs, Inc.

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VIDEO: Mercedes-Benz E-Class commercial features malfunctioning car

07/14/2009   [Original: YouTube via Autoblog]
Category: Maintenance, Sedans/Saloons, Marketing/Advertising, Videos, Mercedes Benz

Mercedes wardrobe commercial malfunction -- Click above to watch video

The voiceover for Mercedes' "Ignite" commercial for the new E-Class starts with "It is, quite simply, the most advanced automobile we have every created." However, during the start-up sequence before that voiceover, the actual commercial begins with a warning light: when the driver turns the car on, the message "Front Right SRS Malfunction Service Required" appears in the dash - not the type of message you expect to see when your car fires up and does its system check. Still, knowing how these things work, we suspect this commercial was probably filmed early on in a pre-production prototype with an inactive airbag - a common enough occurence with these sorts of vehicles.

In any case, to watch the commercial and to check out Mercedes' official response to the flub, hit the jump. Hat tip to Wai.

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Daily U-Turn: What you missed on 7.7.09

07/08/2009   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Maintenance, Trucks/Pickups, Videos, Toyota, Carsumer Advocacy

First Drive: Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport

It began with an e-mail from Bugatti's PR firm: "Give me a call when you have a moment." And then, just like the last time, there came the question: "We have a Grand Sport. Can you do something with it?" Let. Me. See.

Spy Shots: Ferrari F450 prototype

Ferrari normally tests its future supercars wearing body panels from the prior version, and so earlier spy shots of the upcoming F450 have all been mules wearing F430 body panels. Today that ends with shots of an honest-to-goodness F450 prototype in its own skin.

Lear files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

The supplier filed for Chapter 11 today in U.S. bankruptcy court for the Southern District of New York. The company hopes to operate business-as-usual while it restructures and plans to emerge from bankruptcy within 60 days.

Other news of import

  • Hyundai to offer sporty hybrid by 2012

  • Inside Line pits Ford Taurus SHO against Infiniti G37

  • Found: Rare Michael Jackson commercials for Suzuki Love

  • Honda Accord Crosstour officially confirmed for Fall 2009
  • Volkswagen Routan recalled for owner's manual omission
  • BMW M3 GT4 may be offered to gentleman racers

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