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North bound Jimmy Durante Boulevard is closed due to a landslide just south of our shop and it now appears that the work to stabilize the hillside may continue well into the summer.  The closure complicates traveling north out of Del Mar.  Alternative routes are either Camino Del Mar (Coast Hwy) with its many boulevard stops or accessing I-5 North at Del Mar Heights Road. Some say the road will be open by May 31st when the Del Mar Fair opens but, if so, repair work will have to slow down which means actual repairs and road closures could last until Thanksgiving or longer.  In any case, our customers are having difficulty getting in and out of our shop, especially in the afternoons when traffic gets heavy.  This will only get worse when the Fair opens.  The Fair will run from May 31st through Thursday, July 4th.  Then horse racing begins Wednesday, July 17th.  Both the fair and horse races will be closed Mondays & Tuesdays. In an attempt to bett ... read more


HISTORY OF COMPUTERS IN CARS Volkswagen first used a mini-computer in a car to control the fuel injection system in 1968.  Since then more computers have been added, then the ability for the computers to “talk” to one another, so that now we are essentially driving a computer system on wheels. DATA COLLECTION With the recent addition of wireless communications ability manufacturers are now collecting data from your late model car.  What data, you say?  Some estimates suggest that a car can generate up to 4,000 gigabytes of data per day, everything from the speeds you drive and where you go to the contact list downloaded from your cell phone.  The consulting firm McKinsey has estimated that by 2030 this data trove could be worth as much as $750 billion to car makers. WHO OWNS THE DATA? Consumer groups, aftermarket repair shops and privacy advocates say the data belongs to the car’s owners and the information should be subject to data privacy la ... read more


Recall notices have been going out to car owners for several years regarding the defective Takata air bags in their cars.  The repairs are done at no charge by auto dealers to replace the defective parts with good ones.  But government records indicate that fully one-third of repairs still have not been done. That means that more than 16 million people are driving around in cars that still have faulty air bags.  These are the silent killers referred to in the title.  And it gets worse. The Takata air bags work by using a volatile chemical to create a small explosion which inflates the air bag in a collision.  The defective air bags explode with too much force, potentially firing shrapnel at drivers and passengers.  As a result 23 people have been killed,15 in the U.S. To make matters worse, the air bags grow more dangerous as they age because the chemical deteriorates in high humidity ... read more


By Allen L Phillips The automatic transmission came into general use in the late 1940’s and in the late 1950’s racing enthusiasts began modifying the 4 speed GM Hydramatic transmission for drag racing.  There have been substantial advances from the early 2 speed transmissions like the Chevrolet Powerglide to the highly efficient six and nine speed transmissions found in newer cars today.  Another recent development is the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) which, as the name implies, does not shift but provides continuous torque to the wheels.  These transmissions remind me somewhat of the Chevrolet Turboglide transmission which showed up briefly in the 1950’s and, while very smooth because it didn’t shift, was horribly inefficient and had a failure rate that led to their quick disappearance.  Most of today’s CVT transmissions have overcome those problems, are very reliable and, as used in the Toyota Prius that I drive, contribu ... read more


BY ALLEN L PHILLIPS The lead acid battery has been a common component of cars since the introduction of starter motors early in the last century.  Early batteries were 6 volts with most manufacturers switching to 12 volt batteries in the 1950’s as electrical systems became more demanding (think radios). Since that time there has been occasional speculation about changing to 18 or 24 volt systems as manufacturers contemplated the potential electrical demands of future cars.  But today, cars are still being built with 12 volt systems using the tried and true lead acid batteries. Lead acid batteries contain a series of lead plates suspended in acid, hence the name “lead acid battery”.  An obvious and common problem with these batteries is leakage, usually around the battery posts, which can corrode the battery terminals leading to a reduction in available electrical power to start the car. Additionally, the power demands of newer cars with GPS, backup ... read more


DEL MAR AUTOMOTIVE     Del Mar Automotive will be closed both Mondays before Christmas and New Years as well as both those holidays and we will close at noon on Friday December 21st.   So we will be closed from noon on Friday, December 21st through December 25th. We will be open Wednesday, December 26th through Friday, December 28th. We will be closed Saturday, December 29th through Tuesday, January 1st. We will reopen on January 2nd, 2019.   Thank you all for our continued success as we move into our 27th year.We wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.Todd, Al, Steve, Joshua and Chris.



By Allen L Phillips The J.D. Power and Associates' U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study for 2014 included a surprise.  For the first time in 15 years the report, which surveys owners of three-year-old vehicles, found that vehicle dependability was suddenly getting worse. J.D. Power tracks overall dependability of vehicles through a measure called “PP100”, or “problems experienced per 100 vehicles.” In the 10 years from 2003 to 2013 that number had dropped from 200 down to 126.  But 2014 numbers went up to 133 PP100. And this year the numbers jumped again up to 152 PP100, up 20% from 2013. That increase comes as more technology is added to vehicles, such as collision avoidance, lane keeping, bluetooth, navigation and other driver aids like park assist and back up cameras. When you look behind the totals at just engine and transmission problems, dependability has continued to improve, going from 26 PP100 to 24 PP100 between 2015 and 2016. That increa ... read more


Click on the following link to read the details: https://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/Auto-Mechanic-Shortage-Leads-Cuyamaca-College-To-Add-New-Degree--492735481.html

Ford Recalls 2M F-150 Trucks to Fix Seat Belt Defect

Reprinted from RatchetandWrench.com September 6, 2018—Ford Motor is recalling nearly 2 million pickup trucks to fix a seat belt defect that could trigger vehicle fires, reported Detroit Free Press. The recall affects the crown jewel of Ford's lineup: the F-150 pickup. The F-series lineup is the best selling vehicle model in the U.S, according to the report. The move came after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched an investigation into the matter in early August after receiving reports of five fires due to the defect, including three that engulfed and destroyed the vehicle. The company said it had identified at least 23 "reports of smoke or fire" but no injuries or accidents connected to the defect. According to the report, the recall covers the 2015-18 model-year Ford F-150&nbs ... read more


Posted by Allen L Phillips Del Mar Automotive belongs to a statewide association, ASCCA, which maintains a chat room for shops to post information.  The following was posted by a shop in Richmond, CA (San Francisco bay area).  Another bay area shop also reported a similar incident.  It may move south.  Beware. I just wanted to report a very interesting phenomenon we have now seen on three occasions.  The first time we were baffled, the second time our antennas were up, and the third time we knew what we were looking at going in.  There is a scam going around that is so odd that I wanted to share it with you all. The first event occurred when a customer brought in a 2004 Camry that we had recently serviced in anticipation of the customer advertising it for sale.  After he listed it, a prospective purchaser came to look at it.  He test drove it, then popped the hood to check things out.  After a few minutes of poking around, he turned to th ... read more

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