In a world where we have more electronic and automated devices than ever, it seems like part of our life goes on hold when one breaks. How long can you go without your cell phone, for example? It may be pretty tough – you’ll miss phone calls from your boss or spouse, you can’t check social media for entertainment, etc. But what if when something broke, your only option was to take it to the manufacturer and pay whatever they demanded to get it fixed?
In a world of no right-to-repair laws, that’s exactly what you’d be living in, and it wouldn’t be cheap.
The basic concept behind right-to-repair is that you, the buyer of a product, own the device you purchased and should be able to access information and parts to repair it. The manufacturer has no right to have a monopoly on parts or service because once they sell the device, it isn’t theirs anymore. In the automotive world, this is huge.
Up until a landmark case in 2013, automakers were legally free to keep things like schematics, diagnostic tools, and specialty tools out of the hands of John Q. Everyman… and at the same time, out of the hands of independent repair shops and even the national chains. This meant that for major repairs, especially electronic ones, you had to go to the dealer to get your car repaired.
In 2013, Massachusetts passed the first major right to repair law for automobiles. The Massachusetts Right to Repair Initiative, as it was known, said that all people from regular owners to full on repair shops had a right to information and tools already available to dealers.
Shortly after, most automakers agreed to follow the ruleset of Massachusetts nationwide. By doing this, everyone everywhere now had access to technical information and tools on their cars.
This is not the first time laws like these have been passed. The Magnuson Moss Warranty Act, for example, states that using aftermarket repair parts on your vehicle – things you may find at NAPA or Advance Auto Parts, for example – cannot and will not void your warranty. This is also good for the original equipment manufacturers or “OEMs” – the companies that built the original parts installed as your car was being assembled – as this creates a second market for them to sell in. Companies like Denso, ACDelco, and even tire companies like Michelin don’t have to sell just to Chevrolet or Toyota. They can sell directly to consumers and auto shops too. On top of all of this, aftermarket parts are required to be of equal quality of the original parts installed.
So if the parts you can find at an auto parts store are cheaper, just as good, and available to you and your favorite local mechanic, why should you have to go to the dealer?
You shouldn’t. That’s why right-to-repair laws are so important for you, the consumer. They protect the fundamental concept of capitalism – competition makes for better and cheaper options.
As the technology world grows, you’re likely to see this happen in the cell phone and computer world too. 18 states already have laws about this as of March 2018, according to The Verge.
To recap, right-to-laws are designed to keep manufacturers from creating a monopoly on the upkeep of devices, including cars. These allow places like independent auto shops and parts stores to exist, and also help keep costs down. Overall, right-to-repair laws are designed with the consumer in mind.
Have any questions about these laws and how they impact you? Feel free to call Manchester Auto and Tire of Mint Hill at 704-545-4597, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or check us out on Facebook at facebook.com/ManchesterAutoAndTireOfMintHill
Cars, much like people, tend to slow down as they get older. The more miles parts and systems accumulate, the more they underperform. While sometimes this loss of power is minimal, horsepower loss can be very noticeable when tune-ups and factory recommended maintenance haven’t been done. The one thing cars can do that people can’t, however, is get some of their energy back with a little TLC. Listed below are a few things your shop may recommend if your car needs some pep in it’s step. As with any list, remember this is not all inclusive and depending on your vehicle’s age and maintenance history, you may need more than what we’ve listed here, or none of it at all. Check with a professional technician before spending your hard earned money!
While Fuel Additives can sometimes be a bit scammy, many fuel cleaners are actually worth it. Fuel additives that clean, such as products from Lucas Oil, help remove deposits from the fuel tank resulting in a better flow of gasoline to the engine. Generally, a fuel tank cleaning or replacement does this job better than an additive, but additives are considerably cheaper and still do an acceptable job.
A Throttle Body Service is a cleaning of a device called the Throttle Body – the device that you’re controlling when you press the gas pedal. The throttle body can get filled with carbon buildup and over time can result in loss of power and in severe cases, stalling. A cleaning of this device, especially if it has never been done before on a high mileage car, can be a huge help.
Spark Plugs are what ignite the air/fuel mixture in order to power the motor. When spark plugs get old, they have telltale signs of underperformance including extra fuel consumption, poor idling, and lack of power. A fresh set of plugs can make a world of difference.
As we discussed under Spark Plugs, the engine needs a mixture of both fuel and air to run. If the air the engine gets is not filtered properly, performance issues occur. A cleaning or replacing of an air filter is easy, relatively cheap, and very beneficial.
No matter what oil you use, a consistent replacement schedule is important. The older oil is, the dirtier it gets, and dirty oil is underperforming oil. Depending on what oil you use, you can go anywhere between 3,000-20,000 miles before it is time to replace, but going longer than that causes loss of performance. Check what your owner’s manual recommends and follow it religiously.
As with any list, we haven’t covered everything you can do for engine performance. If you’d like to know more, feel free to call Manchester Auto & Tire of Mint Hill, LLC at 704-545-4597, email us at email@example.com, or message us on Facebook at facebook.com/ManchesterAutoandTireofMintHill
The average vehicle on the road today weighs about 4,000 pounds. That’s two tons! Cars today weigh much more than their classic counterparts for two main reasons – more efficient engines and cabin comfort. To wheel such a beast is no easy task. Early cars were so hard to drive that when power steering first came out, it was almost overpowered – some companies advertised cars that could be steered with only a pinky finger. Today, we know how to balance power steering properly – not too much but not too little. Achieving such a balance requires a very accurate positioning and maintenance of the power steering system. One of the most important parts, the lifeblood, of most modern power steering is called power steering fluid.
What is power steering fluid?
Power steering fluid is essentially what makes power steering possible. When you steer, power steering fluid applies pressure to a system called the rack-and-pinion. For example, if you steer to the left, fluid is used to apply pressure to the left side of a piston, mounted to the rack. Think of it as a crane helping you lift something no human has the strength to lift – you are the brain, the input, the control center – the fluid is the brawn, the workhorse, the crane.
Why do cars need their fluid flushed?
Power steering fluid, much like oil, will get dirty over time. Deteriorating rubber, bits and pieces of dirt and grime, and a slew of other things can get into the fluid. When the fluid has debris in it, it is harder to be pushed around to help you steer – causing premature wear.
When should I get my power steering fluid flushed?
This is usually a case-to-case event. Some cars actually give out a certain milage when it should be replaced in the owner’s manual, while some cars do not. The most obvious of signs include having a harder time steering the car or if when you turn the steering wheel you hear noises.
Manchester Auto and Tire of Mint Hill, LLC has the latest equipment and experienced technicians who can flush your power steering fluid with peak efficiency. If you feel its time to flush your power steering fluid, call us at 704-545-4597