Your New Car Subscriptions Could Cost You More Than The Car In The Long Run

When you purchase a new car, you are also sold a whole host of free trial subscriptions for services for everything from phone pairing to SatRad, roadside assistance, and driver assist technology. If you look at the cost of these subscriptions, over the years they can quickly add up to more than the cost of an inexpensive car.

Let’s look at one really easy way to max out your yearly subscription costs. Driver Assist Technology is probably the “best” way to rack up those subscription charges. To upgrade from basic Autopilot to FSD, Tesla charges $2,388 per year. GM’s Super Cruise is a brand new service. Its $300 annual subscription cost activates after the trial period ends. Ford’s BlueCruise is expected to cost $200 per year ($600 for a three-year subscription.) Of course, these prices are almost certainly going to rise in the not too distant future.

Another big ticket subscription are the Extended Warranties. These are a massive business in the U.S. Automakers, and third-party providers charge either up-front, on a payment plan, or in the case of CarShield, by monthly subscription. If you go to the Car Shield website, the monthly cost for their service ranges from $99 to $129.

There are so many more! From music services to AudioBooks to In-Vehicle WiFi. When you get that new car. Look very closely at what subscriptions you are being signed up for – and which ones you may want to purchase on your own. If you live in Essex, Burlington, South Burlington, Colchester, Winooski, Williston, Shelburne and anywhere in the State of Vermont be sure to contact Handy’s Service Center for all your auto repair needs!

MPG On The Sticker Vs. Real World

So, you buy a new car that says you are supposed to get 29 MPG on the sticker, yet your car’s “calculator” says you are only getting 24 MPG. What the heck?

Remember that, on all of those MPG stickers, there is small pring, and that small print says “your mileage may vary.”

The Environmental Protection Agency requires that car manufacturers test each model using very specific instructions. The vehicle is put on a dynamometer. What’s that? It’s the automotive equivalent of an exercise bicycle. The car sits still, and the driven wheels turn a roller, to simulate driving. Then the driver follows a very specific set of instructions to simulate a bunch of “trips.” He or she will try to match the car’s speed to the exact speeds on a screen, as it leads them through a “course” of stop and go trips. And as long as the test driver stays within 2 mph of the specified speeds, the test is valid, and the automaker has an EPA mileage number.

The city test reportedly covers 11 miles of driving in about 31 minutes and has a maximum acceleration rate of 18 seconds for a 0-60 time.

The problem is, nobody drives exactly like that. Therefore, use the EPA mileage numbers for comparison shopping, rather than as-promised, real-world results. If you live in Essex, Burlington, South Burlington, Colchester, Winooski, Williston, Shelburne and anywhere in the State of Vermont be sure to contact Handy’s Service Center for your auto repair needs!

Will Electric Cars Eliminate Traffic Noise?

With all the efforts for Green Energy and a clean Earth becoming ever more important, driving a fully electric vehicle is going to be part of that attaining those goals, for all of us. By mid-century, electric cars will be the standard and we will slowly see gas powered cars go the way of the cart and buggy.

But, many people assume that once this occurs, the roads will suddenly be silent as there will be no more gas motors revving along. This is not completely the case. Sound energy doubles for every 10 mph or so of speed. So road noise from traffic at 70 mph is going to be a lot louder than road noise from 30 mph traffic.

Electric cars are more likely to help with noise on slower and residential streets, where acceleration can make as much noise as tires. And they’ll be particularly helpful in reducing noise when large trucks go electric. That’ll help the situation. But electric drivetrains, on their own, won’t solve the highway noise problem.

The good news is there are other technologies that may help. Lots of places are using rubberized asphalt to pave roads now. That’s asphalt mixed with bits of old tires. Kind of a homeopathic approach. Tire vs. tire.

If your engine is making too much noise, or your tires are wearing thin, come in and see us. We can get whatever you drive into safe highway shape, regardless of how much sound the motor makes. If you live in Essex, Burlington, South Burlington, Colchester, Winooski, Williston, Shelburne and anywhere in the State of Vermont be sure to contact Handy’s Service Center for all your auto repair needs!

My Car “Stutters” Sometimes Going Up A Steep Incline. What Causes This?

If you notice something like this happening, normally your Check Engine light would turn on and you would know to bring your ride into us to have a look.

This is what we call a “miss.” A miss is an engine misfire. It’s most likely to be noticed when the engine is under load, like when you’re climbing a hill. It’s often electrical in nature and usually easy to fix, once you can find and identify the cause.

As I said, normally a miss would turn on your Check Engine light and store a fault code in the computer. We would then to check that code, which would tell us what part has malfunctioned.

But if a problem is intermittent and of short duration, your vehicle’s computer might consider it a “phantom” event, and not store a code or turn on the check engine light.

In that case, it may store the information as a “pending code.” That’s information about something that went wrong, but it hasn’t happened regularly enough to become a pattern yet. So ask your mechanic to check for pending codes.

Misfires are most often caused by bad spark plugs, bad plug wires or bad ignition coils. Those all are part of what we call the secondary ignition system. Fortunately we fix these issues all the time and they won’t break your bank!

If you live in Essex, Burlington, South Burlington, Colchester, Winooski, Williston, Shelburne and anywhere in the State of Vermont be sure to contact Handy’s Service Center for all your auto repair needs!

Have You Noticed New Cars Don’t Have Gas Caps?

If yo have purchsed a vehicle recently, you may have noticed that there are no longer any gas caps on the tank when you open the door to fill your vehicle up.

This is kinda an illusion. Because the gas tank is not really capless. The cap is just on the inside now. It’s a spring-loaded flap located just inside the nozzle opening. When you insert the fuel nozzle, it pushes the cap out of the way and allows you to tank up. When you remove the nozzle, the “internal” cap springs back into place. It has a rubber O-Ring around it to seal the nozzle opening and keep both gasoline and vapors from escaping. So it works exactly like a gas cap used to, except you never have to remove it, replace it, tighten it or go back to the gas station because you accidentally left it on top of the pump and drove away. =)

If you notice any fuel vapors when your gas tank is sealed, however it is sealed, come in and see us. There may be a problem with your fuel line.

If you live in Essex, Burlington, South Burlington, Colchester, Winooski, Williston, Shelburne and anywhere in the State of Vermont be sure to contact Handy’s Service Center for all your auto repair needs!

What Does It Mean If I Get A “Ping” Instead Of An Engine Turnover When I Turn On The Car?

This is an interesting problem. Many peope experience it and wonder what the cause is. Sometimes you turn on the car and you just get a “ping” or a “click.” No engine turnover. Sometimes this happens several times in a row. Sometimes you turn the car on one more time and “boom!” it starts right up.

So, what exactly is going on here? It is most likely an issue with your starting system.

If you are in luck, hopefully it just a bad starter. Normally, a starter that’s failing will make a clicking sound. If you are hearing a “ping” it is probably something else.

A “ping” may indicate an issue with the starter’s pinion drive – a small gear that pops out of the starter to mesh with the larger flywheel – if that is sticking and not popping out all the way, you can get a quick, metallic “brrrrring” or “zzzhhhiiing” sound. If you’re lucky, that’s the “ping” you would be hearing.

If you’re not lucky, there’s a worn or broken tooth on your flywheel. And replacing a flywheel is a big, expensive job. If your flywheel is damaged, some of the time, when that pinion gear pops out of the starter, it’ll try to mesh with a missing or worn-down flywheel tooth. And failing to engage with a gear, it’ll spin and make that metallic “ping” sound.

If you are experiencing any issues with your starter, or anything else with your ride, come in and see us. If you live in Essex, Burlington, South Burlington, Colchester, Winooski, Williston, Shelburne and anywhere in the State of Vermont be sure to contact Handy’s Service Center for all your auto repair needs!

Should I Replace My Transmission Or Buy Another Car?

Someone had a 2007 Dodge Nitro with 197k miles on it. No rust, engine in great shape, and it is an AWD. The tranny went. Needs replacing. Should it be replaced?

This is a question we all have to face when we own a car. At some point, we will be faced with a major repair, unless we can afford to buy a new car every five years or so before high mileage and wear sets in. We could probably replace a transmission on a car like that for between three and four thousand dollars. Given that, is it worth it?

Right now the used car market is really going crazy. The price you can get for used cars is skyrocketing, as new car inventories are tight. Also, used car loan rates are pretty good right now.

It’s up to each individual, of course, but if your car is in pretty decent shape and you get one major repair, it may be worth making it, especially if you can get a few more years of use out of your vehicle. If your transmission is slipping, or you notice any other issues with your vehicle, come in and see us. If you live in Essex, Burlington, South Burlington, Colchester, Winooski, Williston, Shelburne and anywhere in the State of Vermont be sure to contact Handy’s Service Center for all your auto repair needs!

Where Do I Go For Car Insurance?

This is something all of us should have. Good car insurance. Of course, in many states, Vermont included, it is a legal requirement to have car insurance to legally operate your vehicle. And with good reason. If you are broke and accidentally (or worse) damage property or injure someone, there is no way for the injured/damaged party to be compensated. You could be strapped to a judgement for life or the party may never have compensation. So, we all pool our money together in the form of an insurance company and cover each other’s losses. Ideally, this is something you should never have to use, but it is very important to have this protection.

I think one thing is certain. Given how tightly regulated the auto insurance market is, no matter where you go, as long as it is from a recognized, national or local company, you are going to get the protection you need. Pricing is very, very similar between companies. What you may not realize is that your credit rating actually affects your auto insurance rates. So, shop around. If it has been awhile since you switched carriers, see if your credit rating has improved. You could get a much better deal and use it as a bargaining chip with your current provider.

If you live in Essex, Burlington, South Burlington, Colchester, Winooski, Williston, Shelburne and anywhere in the State of Vermont be sure to contact Handy’s Service Center for all your auto repair needs!

The Sordid Check Engine Light

Many of us have had cars long enough to be able to “see the light.” Unfortunately the light we will be discussing is not the light of heaven or the light of enlightenment. It is the dashboard Check Engine Light – the herald of failed vehicle inspections!

In most states, including Vermont, if your car’s check engine light is on, your car will not pass inspection. Many times people will take their cars to a local parts shop, where they will gladly let you use their diagnostic code checker to figure out what the problems is. Of course, the reason for this “free” service is to get you to buy whatever part comes up on the code as being defective.

The most common code that appears is the one for the O2 sensors, these are the oxygen sensors and have to do with the mix of oxygen and fuel, which determine, ultimately, how much pollution your car is emitting.

We have had several people come in who have replaced their O2 sensors only to have the light remain on or come back on quickly, again. This is because most auto part stores diagnostic tools are very basic. You need trained mechanics who will find out what actually is tripping that check engine light. Maybe it is the O2 sensor. It could very well be something else, related.

Come in and see us, if your check engine light is on and we will accurately diagnose the problem and repair it for you. If you live in Essex, Burlington, South Burlington, Colchester, Winooski, Williston, Shelburne and anywhere in the State of Vermont be sure to contact Handy’s Service Center for all your auto repair needs!

I Have A Classic Car. Should I Install Fuel Injection?

If you have a classic care, you will undoubtedly need to rebuild its engine sometime. When you get around to doing that, you will probably think about whether or not to install fuel injection into the rebuild. What are the benefits? The car will absolutely run better and it will be much better for the environment. What are the costs? Fuel injection systems run on a much higher line pressure than carburetors do. This means, you will have to get a new fuel pump and related equipment to install a fuel injection system into your classic car.

A carburetor keeps the simplicity of the classic car. You can just use a screwdriver to tune it and you don’t need fancy computers. Which, you will need to use if you install a fuel injection system. The cost for installing a fuel injection system will run you between one and three thousand dollars. However, if you get one correctly installed and enjoy having the new technology around, ultimately you will have a car that runs better with more power AND better fuel economy. More power is always appealing to car people and fuel economy is always a good thing. So are the old timers wrong? Should they get rid of their carburetors and get with the times? If your classic car is being used as a daily driver, it’s probably a good idea. Easier starting, less warm up time and fewer fuel stops are all good things in a daily driver.

But if your classic car is an occasional weekend driver for short cruises and car shows, $1,000 to $3,000 in parts alone is probably too much to spend.