Monthly Car Care Blog

July 11, 2019

What's your carbon footprint?

This can be a long drawn out discussion, but I will condense it so you get the idea of how a "carbon footprint" looks in reality.

Let's take two vehicles and see how they affect a "carbon footprint"; The Toyota Corolla, and the Toyota Prius. 

In a perfect world, if both drove their cars to 300,000 miles, and the vehicles got the fuel mileage they were supposed to according to the sticker, the one who owns the Prius will use 6250 gallons of fuel, and the one who owns the Corolla will use 10,000 gallons of fuel.  At today's prices that's $15,187.50 for the Prius, and $24,300 for the Corolla.  The Prius owner saves $9112.50 in 300,000 miles.

In the repair reality world.  The Corolla owner doesn't do much more than oil changes other than brakes, engine filters, tires, and changes his spark plugs two or three times.  Us shop owners don't make much money on Corollas.  They just don't need much.  On the other hand, the Prius owner will replace the main battery pack(a $3000+ repair depending which vendor you use), the catalytic converter(another $3000 repair), and other misc repairs to the hybrid operating system that break down because of the huge amount of electronics and electrical systems needed to control the energy system, and because the engine turns off and on so many more times than other vehicles.

So, according to the amount of monies needed for upkeep and maintenance, it appears to wash out.  Even though the Prius used less fuel from the hydrocarbon industry, it uses more resources from the manufacturing industry, which uses hydrocarbons. 

So, in the end, reality may not be what is perceived by promotional advertising, of the hybrid vehicle.

There is no escape from the fundamental laws of physics.

June 22, 2019

Overheating?

You are out on a summer drive.  It might be a vacation, or just cruising to the store in another town to pick up something, and the engine temperature gauge starts to slowly climb to the "H".

#1 Pull over right away and turn off the engine.  Don't wait to do this.

#2 Open the hood(bonnet) and let the engine cool off for 1/2 hour.

#3 Check to see if you have enough coolant in the engine.  Refer to your owner's manual.

#4 If low, add coolant slowly until full. Check for leaking coolant while doing this.

#5 If no leaks were visible(no coolant running onto the ground), start the engine.

#6 Let the engine warm up(A/C off).  If the temperature gauge does not go past the normal mark,
     start driving.

#7 If the temperature starts to rise again, and you turned on the air conditioner, turn it off and see if         the engine temperature stabilizes in the normal range.  If it goes back to normal, you can keep             driving as long as you don't turn the a/c back on.

#8 If the temperature keeps rising, even with the a/c off, turn on the heater to full hot and open the
     windows.  Note: If the temperature stabilizes you can keep driving but watch the gauge.

#9 With the a/c off, and the heater on full, if the temperature of the engine still does not stabilize,
     turn off the car and repeat from #2.  If you have lost a significant amount of coolant again, try
     to limp to a service shop without overheating it, or call a wrecker.

#10 Under no circumstances, do not drive, if the temperature gauge is in the hot zone.  However,
     if you are escaping from East Germany, to West Germany, it is permissible(an interesting
     story from a customer years ago).  Remind me to tell it sometime.