This trip has been in the making for over a year. One of my journalist friends went over to Cuba and immediately made me jealous! If he can do it so can I. I just had to figure a way how. Thank you President Obama for opening relations with Cuba again. With President Trump it's been harder to take excursions into Cuba. I found that the easiest and safest ways to come to know Cuba is through the Cruise vacations. ( If you want to see Cuba, and my advice leave a message. I'm planning my own website and blogs in the future.)
So I got into Cuba, as you can see. My wife enjoyed it so much we're planning to do it again next year! What I found is the love of these old American cars transcends politics, and differences. I knew my Tri-Five Chevy's really well and saw many of them. I must admit my knowledge of other brands of the era needs work.
The Cuban owners of these cars are friendly and VERY knowledgeable. As I was posting pictures of the family with these cars , my sister asked to recreate a picture of mom and dad with one of dad's old cars. So I approached the different owners of the cars and they were all very friendly.
When I asked some of the owners to see under the hood of the cars, they said why, or it's nothing special. Then when I tell them I'm a mechanic back at home they open the hoods , and we talk!
I had found this oldsmobile to recreate the picture with. Then I was speaking with one of the Cuban car owners, and he said no this car was not the right year. We spoke and he said he knew a guy that owned a car like the one in the picture we had.
Sadly to say we did not have enough time to find the right car to recreate the picture exactly 55 plus years later. We did try to recreate the picture with a different car for my sister.
On a side note; I did some research to find what car he owned in this picture and it's a 1954 Buick Roadmaster Riviera 2-Door Hardtop! It wasn't a Oldsmobile to begin with.
So here are some pictures of under the hood of some of the cars I got to see in Cuba. Some were converted to diesels, many were upgraded to power brakes.
As the Thanksgiving Holiday approaches we get the usual holiday trip surge of work. Let's change the oil and have the fluids checked before we take off for " Grandma's Place" ! In our service of your vehicle we also check minor things like Windshield wiper blades. Here in California the usually long spells of warm weather, dries out the rubber in the windshield blades. Then when we go to use them in the winter rains and snows, they streak, chatter, or don't even clear the water off the windshield. This is the time to be putting on new wiper blades on your car to deal with our rainy season.
We also test your car's battery. Why would we want to test your battery at this time? Car batteries tend to fail at extreme temperatures, whether it be too hot, or too cold. We test your battery to make sure it won't leave you stranded.
Checking the tire pressures before you take off on the trip helps to ensure a trouble free trip. The correct tire pressures should also help in your fuel mileage. Checking your tire tread depth here in the winter time is also very important. The deeper the tread depth the less likely you will hydroplane in the rain. You can stop at any tire shop and they should be able to measure the Tread depth for you. The reason being the displaced water on the road needs to go somewhere and the tread gives it a place to go.
We would also like to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving! We have much to be thankful for this year. Many of our friends and patrons have been devastated by the Napa and Sonoma wild fires. We know of a couple of our patrons who have lost their homes. Friends that escaped from the fire with just the clothes on their backs and the car they drove off in. We are thankful that they are still with us, and wish them and their families the best during these trying times.
Just the other day I had a customer call and asked me to install a battery in a vehicle. Usually a battery install is pretty simple. This one was not the case. The car had been sitting for a few months and the battery had gone stone dead. So the electric door locks were not going to work. So how do you get in the car?
Today's modern cars that have keyless entry and no key start on cars you just need to have the key fob with you; how do you get in? The guy or gal who sold you the car probably didn't explain to you how to get in in case of failure. I had a difficult time explaining to my customer over the phone , what I will explain to you with pictures here.
Inside your key fob for your car is hidden a mechanical key to your car. On the driver's door of your car there is a place where you can put the mechanical key in the door and turn it to unlock the door. That's the SECRET! Now vehicle manufacturer's have gotten sneaky over the years and have hidden the place where the key hole is. The key hole on the driver's door is usually around the door handle. It may be hidden under the handle, or you may have to pull on the handle to expose the key hole; but it will definitely be in the vicinity of the door handle on the drivers door.
As you can see in the picture above the key is hidden as part of the key fob. To remove the key from the key fob (remote) , usually there is a button or a catch that has to be pushed or slid to allow the key to be released from the key fob.
Seen here ; you can see the button that has to be slid to release the hidden key from the key fob. Not all buttons to release the key are on the key. Some times the release button is located on the key fob and not the key.
Now you have learned how the design engineers planed to get you back into your car when the remote stops working; or when the car battery is dead and won't open the electric doors. You have a way to get back into your car!
Here are some of the sights of the 2017 SEMA and AAPEX shows in LAS Vegas. What is the SEMA and AAPEX shows? IT is the largest Automotive Aftermarket trade show. Only people in the automotive trades and media are allowed to attend.
I have been going for the last 9 years. If your interested in seeing pictures from previous shows check out my Instagram profile VJEONG28 . I attend more to find out about the latest technology and to speak with my vendors about parts and supplies, because usually during the day I don't have the time to speak with them.
The shows are so big that you can walk non stop all day and still not see everything in a week. I was able to speak with the Enos representatives, and the Idemitsu reps. For those that don't know Enos and Idemimitsu are the Factory oils used in most Japanese vehicles. So to put the correct " Factory" fluids back in your car, I need to speak with these people.
I'll post more as i get time, it's getting pretty busy around here...
At least once a month I will get a phone call or email message from somebody that would like us to install parts they bought either from an Auto Parts Store or online. I understand you want to save a couple of bucks.
However asking a repair shop to do this is akin to walking into an Outback steakhouse, handing them a T-bone and telling them to cook it for you. Graphic but true. You buy groceries at the grocery store cheaper than if you bought them at a restaurant. Same goes for the auto parts store.
Why is it cheaper? It's cheaper because you are expected to prepare your groceries yourselves. Well it's the same with auto parts. When you purchase an auto part; it is assumed that you know how to install it. Have the tools to install the part, and the skill to install it. Therefore you get the parts cheaper than if you had a repair shop install the parts.
Making a profit on the parts we install on your vehicle is part of the equation of keeping a shop open and running. I have not gone into the logistics of also warranting your parts if it breaks. Who pays? who pays for the labor to replace the part again?
This is why most shops will not install customer supplied parts, and you will have a hard time finding somebody who will. Occasionally we will install customer supplied parts. Mostly because the parts are hard to find and we are working on a specialty car.
My 1998 BMW had a water pump failure on a Saturday evening. I was on the freeway slowed down to merge to another freeway and heard a ting , ting, ting, sound and thought was it my car, or the guy in the next lane over?
Well I soon lost the power in the power steering , so I'm thinking ok, I probably broke a belt. Not the end of the world, it's just going to be a little harder to steer. Then my temperature gauge started climbing, so uh oh, get off the freeway exit" stage right", now. Pulled off on to the city street, and stopped the car.
Now the wife is concerned. I open the hood and the serpentine belt is not where it should be and the car is loosing a little coolant. I pulled over soon enough, so no damage to the engine. So I pull the cell phone out and call AAA. Told them I needed to have my car towed, and why. First time I ever had the tow truck show up 5 minutes after I hung up the phone.
The car broke down in San Lorenzo, and I had to get it the shop here in Napa. Thank god we had purchased the extended 100 mile tow service from AAA. So the car dropped off to the shop, I get home about midnight. Not how I wanted to spend Saturday night.
Monday, I check out the car , and find that the water pump failed; not the belt liked I hoped. So I start ordering the parts. Water pump, upper and lower radiator hoses, serpentine belt, air conditioning belt, belt tensioner assembly for the serpentine belt, tensioner for the A/C belt, and A/C tensioner pulley.
Got to working on the car and found that the ting, ting ,ting, I heard was the water pump pulley bouncing off some part of the motor. BMW in their infinite wisdom decided that the pulley should be made out of plastic. So I stop and go order a new pulley. While I have the water pump out; I try to take off the fan clutch. The Fan Clutch is stuck to the water pump, so I go back to order a replacement fan clutch.
After getting all the parts, I have them installed and coolant flowing correctly. The car is now in tip top shape!
So to the point of this of this story. Cars break down. IT is inconvenient when they do break down. When the technician/shop goes to work on the car there is the possibility for the need of extra parts and or labor to fix the car properly. Breakdowns do happen to mechanics too; even though we do our best to keep the cars maintained so they don't leave us stranded; car parts will unexpectedly fail, and it will leave us stranded on the side of the road. We understand and empathize with you when your car has issues.
We try to get your cars up and back running as smoothly and painless as possible. Remember we want you in your car as much as you want to be driving your car down the road.
A common question is how expensive are we? The answer is it depends. We like to use quality parts and supplies. Quality is more expensive. " Our motto here is if we won't put it in our car we won't put it in yours.
I had a customer call the other day, had lost the gas cap to the car. I ordered the gas cap from the dealer, called the customer when we had it so they could come in to have it taken care of. The customer came in I installed the cap and plugged my scanner in to the car to check the cars Check Engine Light.
I cleared the check engine light as the error looked like it was caused by driving without a gas cap . The car was ready for them in ten minutes. In the course of our checkout conversation, the customer admitted going to another facility to have their oil changed because we were more expensive.
Yes our oil service was more expensive, but we take the time to do a quality job and use oem or equivalent oil filters. We take the time to do a light check and inspect it to be able to overall assessment of your vehicle.
Now a gas cap isn't that much, and the labor is free. IF I were at any other corporate type facility, anytime I hook up a scanner to look at your car I would have to charge anywhere from $150 to $200 dollars. So the replacement of the gas cap and scanning the car's computer , clearing the codes should of cost anywhere from $200 to $250. The cost for this service was less than $50. because we value our clients. So $20 to $40 more expensive in oil service is not worth $200 of great customer service?