MPG Reality

Had a conversation with a co-worker who had the fuel pump fail on her car last week. Called 2 Ford dealers and was told that they were both 1-2 weeks out to get her car in to be repaired! Are you kidding me? It's a fuel pump, really!This is a problem issue in the industry, as there are not enough qualified auto mechanics to fill positions, and this will only get worse. The technical complexity in vehicles today does not suit the backyard mechanic or learn as you go technician. 

A New Car, Keep or Flip??

Our VW Beetle Turbo S was totalled in the last big hail storm, so I replaced it with an 2007 Audi A4 Quattro, 87,000 miles and 2 owners. The CarFax shows an accident one month after it was delivered to the new owner. A big reason I purchased it was because an accident at that point was probably repaired at an Audi dealership, and the service records since were done primarily at an Audi dealer, and they are really extensive. It has been 10 years since, so any issues with that would have shown up before then.It needed some improvements, primarily tires, servicing, new brake pads in front, and some cosmetic issues that were pretty easy to fix on my own. A fair number of parts are really cheap, (like $20) which makes a lot of sense to update them, plus I can do most of them in a few hours at most. As I progress through the car, I am finding myself wondering if I should fix everything that appears to be imperfect---(talking about cosmetic issues, not mechanical), or should I bypass some of them in favor of spending less, while still having a nice car. It drives really well, the paint is very good, and the AWD will be great this winter in our Colorado weather. If I go all out, I will need some paint work on the rear bumper and a minor dent on the hood, which would cost up to a grand. Probably won't do that much, no matter if I keep it or not. It's a lot like fixing up a house--how much should (or can) one do without spending more than necessary to make it look presentable. It all depends on the budget, right? What upgrades make a difference and which ones can buyers overlook?  It's no different with a car, right? Replace floor mats? Repaint the rear bumper? Fix the scratched seat? Lots of choices = lots of $$!!All of this begs the question--flip or keep? I like the way it drives, and have found some great bargains on slightly used parts (tires, floor mats, leather seats,), some new parts, too--(brakes pads, power window switches, hood release).  It has had a checkout at a reputable repair shop, so I know what all the issues (presumably) are. The good news is that the car is eligible for a 36/36 extensive warranty for about $2000. So I could spend that instead of fixing stuff myself!! What would YOU choose to do??Happy Moving Parts!

A Master Mechanic?

I love cars, in part because I grew up working on them in high school when my brother and I would buy one out of the newspaper, fix them up and sell them to make some additional spending money. We didn't know a lot about how to fix them, but knew enough to diagnose most problems and how to repair them. We got good enough that we could pull a tranny in a couple of hours to replace a clutch or slave cylinder and turn the car for a few bucks, easily. The precursor to car flipping!!You know what's better than that? YOUTUBE tutorials!! I have found all kinds of fix-it topics for nearly any car  that are easy and inexpensive to take on, even if you are a half-assed mechanic like me! (I do have a pretty extensive set of tools, but still need to visit my friendly auto parts store for those specific tools not in my collection).Example: the power window switches in the Audi were not always working, so I fould a video from a reputable parts/repair shop on YouTube that was really easy to follow. I spent $20 on E-bay for the part and installed it in about 1/2 hour! The dealership quoted me $200 to do the same job!Brakes: Our Porsche Cayenne needed front brakes, and after finding a video on Youtube, I was able to buy the brakes and rotors for under $200 and replace them in less than 2 hours. Dealership: $400+. I also upgraded the seats in the Audi using the same method: I found a pair of leather power seats and installed them in less than an hour using a YouTube video. Could I rebuild an engine? Probably not, but I am sure the how-to video is out there, which means if I really HAD TO, I could accomplish it. Stuff that is a straight forward replacement of a part, I would take on.Does this mean I am a master mechanic? Hell no! Can I save some $$ by upgrading simple worn out pieces in my cars, absolutely! As long as you have a reasonable set of tools, have a basic understanding of how things work, it's something you can do, too!!If nothing else, looking at a YouTube video before taking your car to a mechanic to repair the problem can give you a better understanding of what is involved and may avoid the shady  mechanic trying to take advantage! As always, I am happy to help research issues with your car or recommend a quality repair shop to visit!! Check me out on