Lola the 02 Toyota Corolla
This is a short story about my ex-girlfriend’s 2002 Toyota Corolla. Specifically what happened when she went in to the dealership for a routine oil change. But first a little background on the car she has named Lola Corolla.
Lola was purchased new in 02 and has celebrated her 10th birthday. I helped on most of the maintenance and repairs that Lola the 2002 Corolla has had performed over the years. The problems with this car have been few and far between. In fact the only repairs this vehicle needed that were not covered under warranty are two very common problems with this model Toyota.
The first one was the inside door handle on the driver side broke. We got the replacement part at the dealership and this was in the $25 range. We later learned these parts are available aftermarket cheaper. In fact you can get a set of 4 aftermarket handles for about half of what we paid for 1 factory part. A year later the passenger side door handle broke as well. This time instead of purchasing it from the dealership we went onto Amazon and bought them online with overnight shipping. I will make the door handle kits available below. Continue reading
My 2009 Cadillac SRX
I have written about my 2009 Cadillac SRX on several occasions here on the auto repair information blog. Although I haven’t had any problems with my particular crossover it’s getting hard to ignore the problems that others are having with identical cars.
The people that are screaming the loudest would be the ones that are having timing chain problems. Vehicles with a 3.6 L engine have a complicated set up when it comes to the variable valve timing and four overhead camshafts that are all chain driven by the crankshaft. If you pulled the timing cover off a 3.6 L engine I think you would be either impressed or sickened by the complexity. Continue reading
Actual Vanishing Point DVD
I continue to search for and hunt down car movies that I haven’t seen yet. This weekend I got my hands on the remake of an old classic known as vanishing point. Don’t miss the pictures and information about the Kowalski special edition 2011 Challenger SRT8 below.
The film was made in 1997 and stars Viggo Mortensen as James Kowalski an ex race car driver and former army ranger turned classic car transporter. The DVD disc is an exact replica of the speedometer from a 70 challenger RT pegged at over 150mph. Pretty cool bonus for people who like to collect muscle car films.
Of course like in the original the star of the show is a 1970 Challenger RT. True to the original this Mopar muscle car is in stark white with a black interior. A desirable four speed manual transmission with the famous pistol grip shifter. In today’s market a car like this would bring well over 100,000 dollars in decent condition. The sky’s the limit in pristine condition. Continue reading
Oil Drain Plug
After performing well over 2000 oil changes I think I have seen it all as far as things that can go wrong with this simple service. The focus of this article will be on oil drain plugs and how to solve some of the most common problems associated with them during oil changes.
At the very bottom I will include some of the tools and replacement parts that are mentioned. I have seen damaged oil drain plugs ever since I first got into the auto repair business in 1984. Although it was far less common in the old days due to better materials. Back then most of the damage would be taken by the softer drain plug instead of damage occurring to the threaded hole inside the heavy steel pan.
Even if there was damage to the threads in a metal oil pan you could usually chase them with the proper sized tap. But as time went on we started to see the quality of the steel oil pan start to tumble as auto companies used cheaper and thinner parts to save money and reduce weight. Then they took this a step further and started using stamped aluminum oil pans. This meant a whole new series of problems associated with a stripped oil drain plug. Now it was just as common to see a severely damaged hole in the oil pan as it was to come across damaged threads on the plug itself.
Simple preventative solutions for oil changes Continue reading
Tire warning message
This morning I was greeted by the tire pressure warning light on my 2009 Cadillac SRX. Although I am no stranger to the warning light and the monitoring system that turns it on this was the first time I’ve seen it on my own personal vehicle.
The Cadillac is equipped with a driver information center referred to in the owner’s manual has DIC. So I scrolled through the information that was available on the Dic to confirm the original message of check left rear tire. Lo and behold the left rear tire was the lowest one on the vehicle coming in at 24 psi
The first thing that crossed my mind was that yesterday there was no warning lights and everything was just fine, the tires where reading 25 psi across the board. But overnight we had low humidity and clear skies that allowed the temperature to drop into the upper 60s. This reduced the pressure just enough to trigger the dash warning light. What a difference a single psi of air can make. Continue reading
Me Fixing a Big Truck
Just because this article is about crooked mechanics doesn’t mean that I think all or even a majority of automotive technicians are crooked. Being a professional mechanic for about 27 years I have worked with and for many honest and talented people that cared about the consumer.
With that said there was often a bad apple in the bunch that did things that were selfish and harmful to the customers. Whenever I start telling stories about crooked mechanics the first one that pops into my head was a dealership mechanic I worked with in the 80′s that kept a squeeze bottle of used engine oil in his toolbox.
He would squirt it around Gasket surfaces and then claimed that they where leaking and needed repair. When we start talking about good mechanics and bad ones I think it is necessary to point out that any industry will have its share of good and bad people contained within that microcosm. In fact this is just my opinion but I have met more crooked Dentists and Doctors then I have professional automobile technicians.