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156

AOL's Bunko Patrol at work: Devices that promise to save you money and gas are hawked everywhere.

With gas prices above $3.50 a gallon, companies which manufacture "fuel saving" devices are thriving. These companies are vying for the motoring public's dollars and preying on their ignorance.

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Ants, Raccoons, Porcupines, Oh My! Critters Can Foul Up Your Ride

Problems facing your car or truck usually range from a hesitating engine to a "thunking" sound you can't identify. Or maybe your minivan door sticks. But some car owners have problems with ants, raccoons, red squirrels and even porcupines. They can be tricky to get rid of, but easier to prevent if you know how.

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Harsh winter plus strained state and local budgets mean one of the worst pot hole seasons in memory

Roadways across America are mostly thawed out and revealing their scars and wheel busting craters. Whether you are buying a new car, about to get new tires or trying to avoid big repair bills, we have some advice for you.

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Some services are unnecessary, or better left to dealers and more sophisticated repair shops

Have you ever gone to a quick-lube place for an oil change and, while you're waiting in the lobby for your car, the service bay/sales person informs you that a certain service(s) "must" be performed on the vehicle immediately to avert a disaster of immense proportion?

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The 3,000-mile oil change has gone the way of the dinosaur. What do I base this statement on given my staunch support of the 3,000-mile oil change for so many years? Today oils and lubricants are so much better compared to several years ago. Under normal driving conditions, viscosity breakdown (viscosity is the oil's ability to flow and lubricate) usually occurred at about 3,000 miles. The elements that cause deterioration of oil are heat, friction, chemical contamination, and oxidation. In rece

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Should You Take Your Car to a Dealer, an Independent Facility, or a Specialty Shop?

Often during my radio show I get the question, "Should I take my vehicle to a dealer, a local independent shop, or a specialist?" It's a good question, but the answer depends on various factors.

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Be Early, Be Bold, Be Thorough

When is the best time to look for a high quality auto repair shop? Answer: before you need one. Because making a sound decision is difficult when you are faced with a car problem and time restraints, finding a shop takes time and patience; you want to research and evaluate the facts in a relaxed fashion. Emergencies create an emotional climate that thwarts a clear and objective evaluation. So find a repair facility before you need one.

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Explaining The Technical Service Bulletin or TSB

While everybody understands what a recall is, not many car owners have heard of the Technical Service Bulletin. TSB's are sometimes confused with recalls, but they are not the same thing.

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Understanding What Goes Into An Estimate

People ask me all the time how the price of an auto repair is determined, usually phrased something like, "Why does my car repair cost so much?" This is a question worth asking, especially if you've been given a repair quote that runs into the hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

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Follow Your Carmaker's Instructions

Nobody in their right mind would want to void their car warranty. Yet, there are thousands (perhaps millions) who worry that one small thing will crumple their precious warranty up and throw it into the waste basket. A portion of those people have written to me lamenting the fact that they did something that voided it. So what are the most common actions that result in a voided car warranty?

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Don't Let These Candlepower Killers Darken Your Path

Headlights are crucial safety equipment, yet beyond the fact that they light up when your turn them on, you probably don't give them another thought. But ask yourself, just how effective are they at lighting up your nocturnal travels?

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New Tires Only Solve Part Of A Problem

During my years at the service counter costumers who purchased tires often asked me, “Do I have to have them balanced?” followed by, “Does it need an alignment too?” I understand why consumers ask these questions. Tire balancing coupled with wheel alignment can be expensive. So let’s look at why balancing new tires and performing a wheel alignment are necessary. Tire

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Snow Belt Drivers Shouldnt Delay

Do you live in the “Snow Belt,” that part of the U.S. where a few inches of overnight white stuff is considered a light snowfall? Then it’s time to buy your snow tires. What’s that? You don’t use snow tires? Then let’s bone up on why these specialized tires should find a place on the wheels of your vehicle. Who Needs Snow Tires? You Perhaps you drive a vehicle t

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When Is It Okay To Put Off Service?

Over the years folks have come to me with car problems that, though they were truly problems, did not need immediate attention. I know I always harp on getting the job done as soon as possible and having it done correctly by someone who knows what they are doing. However, sometimes it’s just not in the budget or it isn’t timely for a different reason. Here’s a list of five repair

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Automotive Alchemy Is A Fool's Errand

The word “alchemy” is defined as “medieval chemistry.” A survey of synonyms reveals terms like allurement, conjuring, enchantment, hocus-pocus and abracadabra -- all references to magic. But the belief in fantastic fixes for your automotive woes can only lead to one unpleasantly real trick, and that’s making your money disappear. As the economy has plummeted and the r

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Part Two Of Our Hard Drivin Series

Have you ever tried to actually read your owner's manual, especially the part about maintenance and service? As if this kind of stuff isn't confusing enough, there are always two schedules listed, one for a vehicle driven under "normal" conditions and another for "severe." But what exactly does this mean? I have yet to see an automaker that actually explains, in

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Part Three Of Our Hard Drivin Series

Have you ever tried to actually read your owner’s manual, especially the part about maintenance and service? As if this kind of stuff isn’t confusing enough, there are always two schedules listed, one for a vehicle driven under “normal” conditions and another for “severe.” But what exactly does this mean? I have yet to see an automaker that actually explains, in

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Choosing The Right Parts For Your Repair

In the first part of this story we talked about the pitfalls of using the cheapest replacement parts. Our overriding message was “Don’t!” But that’s not the end of the story. Today’s article will help make more sense out of the various grades of replacement parts on the market and how to select the appropriate ones for your vehicle. But we acknowledge that sometimes i

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Cheap Parts Are Cheap, And Should Be Avoided

The world of auto parts is a murky one. There are so many manufacturers and quite a range of costs that one can easily be misled, and it is a situation that is only getting worse. Back in 2008 attendance by traditional vendors at the SEMA show, the big aftermarket parts trade show, was down over 30 percent, a result of the economic downturn. This made me especially surprised by the number of newco

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Part One Of Our Hard Drivin Series

Have you ever tried to actually read your owner’s manual, especially the part about maintenance and service? As if this kind of stuff isn’t confusing enough, there are always two schedules listed, one for a vehicle driven under “normal” conditions and another for “severe.” But what exactly does this mean? I have yet to see an automaker that actually explains, in

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Dont Get Taken For A Ride

Buying a used car at a dealership can be an intimidating experience even for the most experienced car shopper. Price-gouging, title-washing, hidden mechanical problems, bogus back-end deals, and extended warranty programs are just some of the hazards that consumers face when buying a used car from less reputable car dealers. Let's take a look at the common nefarious practices and what you ca

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