While most consumers fall in the do-it-for-me (DIFM) category, usually opting to have their car maintenance and repair work done by a trusted professional mechanic, we realize that some of you prefer to roll up your sleeves and jump in to do some of the work yourself. For those die-hard DIYers, CarMD is pleased to debut a new series of blogs written by our team of automotive service excellence (ASE)-certified technicians.
By Mike Allen, the Saturday Mechanic
I’ve just read CarMD’s latest Vehicle Health Index, and it’s fascinating.
How can it be that the costs, both in labor and parts, are so wildly different in different parts of the country? I attribute it to several things:
- Simple economics. These states are sparsely settled, at least over much of the real estate. That puts parts at the long end of a logistical chain. When a mechanic, when you can find one, needs a part for your car, it often has to come from many miles away, and from a smaller pool of auto parts distributors. In many cases, the only source for a part in any reasonable length of time is the dealer. Even if the part is available from an aftermarket source, availability probably plays a more important part in the acquisition than low price. It’s simple economies of scale.
By Mike Allen, the Saturday Mechanic
One question I’ve gotten with some regularity from readers for many years usually comes around this time of the year, as people begin to travel for the summer season: “Why does my car run so poorly in the mountains?”
Simple answer–it’s the air. Specifically, air gets thinner the higher you get. And your car runs on more than gasoline; it runs on air as well. For every pound of gasoline (about 21 liquid ounces) your engine burns, it needs to ingest 14.6 lbs of air, or nearly 1600 gallons. This air is pushed into the engine past the throttle by atmospheric pressure, which by coincidence is around 14.7 psi.
By: Mike Allen, The Saturday Mechanic
Q: I bought a CarMD device a year or so ago. I’ve used it on a couple of my cars, and last week my CHECK ENGINE light came on. I hooked up the CarMD, and got the trouble code off the computer in the car. CarMD’s website was very helpful. I took the printed-out diagnosis with me to the dealership for the repair. When the service writer saw the printout, he immediately informed me that any repairs to my car from that point on would no longer be covered by the warranty, as I had used an “unauthorized device,” and had potentially damaged my car’s computer system. I still have almost two years of the warranty in effect—what should I do?
by: Mike Allen, the Saturday Mechanic
Just released, the second annual CarMD® Vehicle Health Index™ draws its data from hundreds of thousands of real life repair scenarios to share trends and analytics about the most common “check engine”- related car problems, repairs and associated costs. This is the second Vehicle Health Index I’ve helped CarMD to edit and assemble, so I’ve spent a fair amount of time poring over the results and the conclusions we’ve drawn to it. It’s fascinating reading, and often defies conventional wisdom about the state of the car repair industry. Here are some thoughts about what the Index doesn’t necessarily say, but which can certainly be gleaned from it, and how we can all make better automotive decisions with the aid of the CarMD Index.
Written By: Kristin Brocoff
With gas prices going up and up, it seems like you need to be a lucky lottery winner to keep up with the rising costs. For everyone who hasn’t collected on lotto winnings, CarMD has put together some tips to help keep your car (and your wallet) a little greener this St. Patrick’s Day and year round.
- Avoid unnecessary driving by planning your trips wisely, making efficient routes and stops, and even bringing a cooler so you can keep lunchmeat, milk and other perishables fresh a little longer.
- Consider carpooling to work, school or even happy hour. It will save you on gas, wear and tear, and even provide a sensible designated driver should you choose to imbibe.