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Articles:

A Cautionary Tale from Grand Rapids Hybrid

I recently worked on a 2009 Toyota Prius. The complaint was the air bag light was on. Our customer had the Toyota Prius at a local Grand Rapids, MI dealer prior and was told it needed a wiring harness. This information was not helpful in the least. There are numerous harnesses involved and these can be very costly, depending on which one. As it turns out, the Toyota Prius had been totaled by the insurance company and had a salvage title. The car had been improperly repaired before being sold to our customer, and this was causing the air bag light issue. The entire roof had been replaced using another Toyota Prius roof. They had cut the support pillars, wiring and anything else in the way to swap the tops. The wiring reconstruction was poor and potentially dangerous. The air bags will not deploy in the event of an accident if there is an issue with this system. The point of this is: buying a vehicle with a salvage title is very risky. There is a very good reason the vehicle is to ... read more

Gas Prices Are About To Go Up

I’ll keep this short and not so sweet: In a couple of weeks we will be getting our RV out of storage. If you see gas prices jump up to $4.00 a gallon that means we just pulled it out of the storage facility. There is some obscure Murphy’s law that explains this correlation, but darned if I can find it. On a purely automotive note, it’s that time to make sure our vehicles are in good condition for the heat of summer. This past winter wasn’t much different from most of West Michigan winters, it beat the heck out of our vehicles. Please get yours checked over for proper air conditioning, cooling system, suspension and steering, at a minimum. Keep your wheels on the road, Eric

Are Used Vehicle Warranties Worth The Money?

We have all had sales people try to sell us extended warranties, typically on electronics or appliances. Some of our Grand Rapids customers bought used vehicles and received the same sales pitch. The automotive ‘extended warranty’ is nothing more than an insurance policy. An average on how much the auto insurance industry pays back on every dollar they collect, is roughly $.98, or 98% payback. The used car extended warranty policies that people have purchased have, by my own experience of dealing with them for almost 40 years, much lower. Used car extended warranties are some of the worst ways to spend your money, in my opinion. With an insurance company, there is some recourse if a consumer feels that he or she has not been fairly compensated in the event of a loss. With the used car extended warranty, the consumer has nothing but a 1-800 number to call and state the loss. If the company agrees the consumer has a claim, THEY decide how much is covered, what kind of parts ... read more

Winter Car Maintenance Advice from Eric

For those of you that would like another person telling you how to drive in Grand Rapids in the winter, read on. For those that choose to ignore my sage advice, proceed at your own peril. My number one bit of advice, have your tires checked. Both for tread depth and wear, but also inflation and age of the tire. Number two, the heating/cooling system needs to be in proper working order. Nothing worse than freezing your keester off and not being able to see out any windows due to frosting of the glass. This is a genuine safety issue. Number three, have the battery/starting/charging systems checked. The electrical system works much harder in the winter due to the increased load and the battery loses some of its effectiveness when the temp drops. Number four, do not wash your vehicle when the temperatures get too low. 25 degrees and below seem to cause all kinds of problems: doors stick, locks stop working, wiper mechanisms get frozen, etc. I know we want to have a shiny vehicle, but the ... read more

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