Monday, January 21, 2019

How to Purchase a Used Vehicle


The saying, "haste makes waste" is alive and well in the purchase of a used vehicle. First, let me assure you that you don't have to fear in purchasing a used vehicle. Vehicle development for the last 20 years has progressed to the point that many of the components of an automobile are very reliable and may outlive the life of the vehicle, notwithstanding vehicles that have a reputation for unreliability. Speaking of the life of a vehicle, a vehicle can last indefinitely if it is maintained, doesn't rust out, or is totaled in an accident.

Surprisingly, some vehicles from 1998-2012 can be more trouble-free than current vehicles due to the fact that they do not have some of the sophisticated electrical equipment and are less expensive to repair and insure.

This is a tremendous benefit for car owners who desire to purchase affordable and dependable transportation to include Sports, Luxury, SUV, or Pick-up truck that otherwise may be cost prohibitive for some.

1. Determine the type of vehicle
There are questions that must be answered to match the vehicle you purchase with the purpose you intend.
The categories:
Sedan, Compact (Economy), Mid-size, Full-size, Luxury, Sport, SUV (Sport-Utility Vehicle),  Convertible, Crossover, Coupe, Hatchback, Van/Minivan, Wagon, Hybrid, Truck, and now Electric Vehicle (EV).
The Questions:
Is it an additional vehicle? Replacement vehicle? Utility? Renewal? Impulsive? Emotional? Appearance?

2. Research the vehicle
It is very important to take the time to research the type and specific vehicle you have decided to purchase. If your motivation is to quickly purchase a vehicle because your vehicle broke down on Friday and you need a vehicle for work on Monday, there are many sellers that will sell you a vehicle.
However, be prepared for Plan B if any unforeseen things come up that can lead to "Buyer's Remorse." If you can, rent a car to give you some time to do your research. If you borrow someone's vehicle, confirm you're covered by car insurance in case there is an accident.
Be aware that unless you have a warranty in writing, used cars are basically sold "as is" and a warranty is only as good as the dealer willing to honor it.

Identify vehicles to avoid
There are reputable organizations that have already done the work of identifying vehicles that should be avoided based on their history of reliability.
  • Consumer Reports is one of them that have provided a free source that will identify which years to avoid by an automaker:
  • is a website that provides car reliability complaints from vehicle owners and is organized by year, make, and model. In addition, information is provided for current defect trends and recall information.
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is a government agency that provides information on the safety rating of a vehicle from 2011 and later model years.

3. Locate the Vehicle
Once you have identified the vehicle(s) that you want to purchase; now you have to find the vehicle that is the year, make, model, mileage, color, options and value of your target vehicle.
Below are some sources to determine the value and to locate your vehicle:
4. Determine the history of the vehicle
Ideally, a vehicle that had only one previous owner is preferable to a vehicle that had multiple owners. One-owner vehicles are usually cared for much better and you can ask the owner concerning the history of the vehicle, possibly complete with maintenance receipts.

Nevertheless, to keep honest people honest, it's best to run a history report to learn of any mileage discrepancies, vehicle service, body repairs, airbag deployment, open recalls, identity fraud, multiple owners, and many other pertinent items.
  • Carfax - This is the leading vehicle history report provider that provides more detailed information, not the cheapest, but worth it.
  • AutoCheck - This is a competitor to Carfax for vehicle history reports and is priced more competitively that gives you more history reports for your money.
  • - This is a website to determine if the car or airbag has been recalled by the manufacturer and if the work was done. You'll need the 17 digit vehicle identification number (VIN) which is located on a label inside the driver's side door post and on the driver's side of the dashboard looking through the windshield. Check both locations to confirm that they match.
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration - This government agency will tell you the safety rating of your vehicle as well as additional safety information. You'll need to enter the year, make, and model into the search box under "Ratings"
  • National Insurance Crime Bureau - This is a not-for-profit organization to determine if a vehicle has been reported as stolen or involved in insurance fraud. You'll need the vehicle identification number (VIN) to access their database.
  • NOTE: If you unknowingly purchase a vehicle that is a stolen vehicle, the police will confiscate the vehicle from you without compensation and you could be arrested until you can prove yourself innocent. Furthermore, professional car thieves are so good at cloning vehicles that even some dealers may not know that they have a stolen vehicle. However, some due diligence before purchase will save you from this dilemma. 
5. Pre-purchase vehicle inspection
Have your target vehicle inspected by a trustworthy mechanic, dealer, or mobile vehicle inspection company, other than the seller. Even if a seller ensures you that they have performed a 150-point inspection backed by a warranty, it is still beneficial for you to have it inspected by someone without a vested interest in selling it. 

If a seller (dealer or private party) refuses to allow the vehicle to be inspected, it is a red flag that you would be wise to pass on that vehicle. A seller that has a good sound vehicle will welcome an inspection to confirm its integrity and maybe learn something they didn't know about their vehicle.    (Note: After I inspected a car at a dealership, I gave it a good report and the dealer raised the price on the vehicle. I inspected another vehicle for my customer.)

6. Legal Matters
There are a few legal matters that must be attended to that will ensure a proper transfer of ownership. Once you have paid your money for a vehicle, it's yours and you inherit any outstanding issues.
  • Title - The owner of the vehicle is the sole person who can legally sell the vehicle. If there are two person's names on the title, they must both sign the title transfer. Ask to see their driver's license to confirm their identities. People who flip cars often will "jump title" and not go through the process of registering it in their name and selling it to you. Car dealers will do the paperwork for you but follow up with them if you haven't received your title within 30 days or before the temporary registration expires.
  • Smog Certificate - In California, the seller must provide a smog certificate to the buyer that is not past 90 days old. If the seller does not provide this certificate, the buyer has the responsibility to have the vehicle smogged before it can be registered. If the vehicle fails the smog test, the buyer will have to pay to replace any part to allow it to pass. To replace a defective catalytic converter can easily cost over $1,000 each and some cars have 4.
  • Registration Fees - If the previous owner did not keep the vehicle registration current, the new owner will have to pay for the past due registration(s) and late fees. This can be an unpleasant surprise during registration, therefore, confirm that the seller has a current registration. Sometimes the past registration fees can cost more than the vehicle. If the registration is expired, call the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) with the VIN for any past due amounts.
  • Insurance - Be sure to purchase or add car insurance before you drive the vehicle from the seller's location. 
  • One Trip Permit - In California, you must obtain a One-Trip Permit to move your vehicle from the seller's location to your location. Otherwise, you could be cited or the vehicle impounded by law enforcement. Another possible option in lieu of this is to have the vehicle transported on a flatbed truck.
  • All of this paperwork (except for insurance) is submitted by a reputable car dealer. In the case of purchasing a vehicle from a private party, you're responsible for it.
  • California Car Buyer's Bill of Rights - If you purchase your vehicle from a licensed car dealer, you must be offered a two-day cancellation contract for a fee from $75- $250 (depending on the sale price) which allows to you return the vehicle within two days for a re-stocking fee of up to $500. See the Car Buyer's Rights for details

There are many benefits to purchasing a used vehicle, i.e. less expensive, serves the purpose and maybe no car note. Furthermore, there are many good solid vehicles available in the marketplace.
Do your own car research, work with an automotive consultant and have the vehicle inspected before purchasing will maximize your chances of success.

If you're in the Riverside/Orange County area of Southern California and desire for me to inspect a vehicle for you, send me an email.
If you desire to use me as an automotive consultant to assist you in making a decision in purchasing your vehicle, send me an email. Your location doesn't matter for this service.

Here's a link to a news article that was written about my vehicle inspection service:

My eBook, "How to Own a Car on the Cheap (without sacrificing quality)" has some automotive information that can help save you a lot of money and the web links to all automakers technical resources (Factory Repair Manuals, Owner's Manuals, New Model Information, Computer Interfaces, and more) that are available for a 2-3 day rental period for a small fee that is made available to the public by law but is not advertised. This is the same information that the dealership technicians use without having to purchase the physical manual. The links are in my eBook.  ($10.99)

I can be reached at:

Alston Gray

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Economics, Efficiency, and Simplicity will Drive Increased Electric Vehicle Production

The internal combustion engine has served society very well for over 100 years. Many people who worked for automakers, oil companies, dealerships, parts suppliers, and a host of other supportive companies have earned sufficient income to move into the middle class and higher.
It has been very profitable for the status quo of this aging technology. Nevertheless, moving into the future, vehicles using the internal combustion engine does not lend itself to manufacturing vehicles as economical as electric vehicles.
Manufacturing Economics
How can building vehicles using traditional methods compare with building vehicles using current new technology and automated processes? Craftsmanship has its place in a niche market; however, producing vehicles in mass numbers profitably will require doing so with the least amount of workers while maintaining design tolerances and production goals. Automated manufacturing combined with fewer moving parts in the vehicle makes electric vehicles attractive to the reduced cost of manufacturing a vehicle.
Research and Development Economics
The engineering expenses required to meet federally mandated emissions and fuel economy standards for the internal combustion engine are enormous. Many labor hours and expensive equipment are necessary to meet these goals of which electric vehicles do not have because they are zero emission vehicles and have no fuel economy standards to meet. This reality can inspire automakers to produce more electric vehicles to reduce manufacturing cost-per-vehicle. Eliminating the research and development costs of the internal combustion engine can increase profitability.
Internal Combustion Engines vs. Electric Vehicles
In addition to the savings from research and development and manufacturing costs, electric vehicles are more efficient in utilizing their source of energy and related components.
Let’s take a look at comparing the efficiencies and carbon footprints of the internal combustion engine and electric vehicles.
Internal Combustion Engine efficiency –
When an engine takes in fuel, it is converted into usable energy through the combustion process which turns it into mechanical energy. However, less than 30% of the potential energy from the fuel is used for the operation of the vehicle, 70% or more is wasted as heat energy which the vehicle has to get rid of through the cooling system.
It is noteworthy to note that diesel engines are more efficient than gasoline engines.
Nevertheless, additional losses for both gasoline and diesel engines are through certain components of the engine, transmission, driveline, differential, etc. As a result of these losses, the overall vehicle efficiency drops to less than 20% from the fuel to actually turning the wheels.
Furthermore, internal combustion engines require the use of fuel, oil, coolant, belts, hoses, filters, tubes, exhaust pipes, and a host of other engine parts combined with periodic maintenance.
Last but not least are the processes required for oil companies to locate oil deposits, extraction, refining, storage, and transportation to retail fuel outlets.
Electrically operated vehicle efficiency – 
The only physical parts required to turn the wheels of an electric vehicle is a battery pack, an electric motor which operates at all speeds over 90% efficiency and related electrical control parts. In addition, a liquid may be used to cool the batteries.
To be fair, there are some small losses in efficiency during the charging process which uses AC current to charge DC batteries which must be converted back into AC current for the motor. Even still, efficiency is over 70%.
From a carbon footprint perspective, current materials for lead-acid batteries are already used and in the case of lithium ion batteries, rare earth materials must be mined. Nevertheless, the risk of hazardous waste spills is minimized compared to petroleum, notwithstanding waste spills from accidents. 
Electric utility companies already produce electricity; therefore, electric vehicles’ charging needs do not require the building of new facilities.
The virtues of electric vehicles are many, some of which has been previously stated. However, some of the negative aspects cannot be ignored such as the lack of charging infrastructure, range limitation, initial costs, etc. 
Concerning charging infrastructure, there are government agencies, automakers, electrical utility companies and others that are committed to developing the charging infrastructure. Automakers are improving driving range and reducing initial vehicle costs.
The future for electric vehicles is promising and it does not mean the end of vehicles that use the internal combustion engine. It simply means that economics, efficiency, and simplicity will drive increased electric vehicle production. As a consumer interested in owning a car on the cheap, electric vehicles are something you may want to consider in your next vehicle purchase if it can meet your transportation needs.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Automotive Reference Information

  1.                  (Purchase new cars)
  2.               (Kelly Blue Book™ new/used car prices)
  3.       (Used car prices, research)
  4.               (Used car classified ads)
  5.          (National used car franchise)
  6.   (Online car auction)
  7.      (National used car classified)
  8.              (Used car prices, research)
  9.       (Overall Automotive Resources)
10.   (Used car multiple sites in one site)
11.       (Buy/sell new & used cars)
12.          (Used cars, free classified ads)
  1.                          (Car complaints database)
  2.        (Car repair videos)
  3.                                            (Car knowledge database)
  4.                                   (Staffed by 45 master techs)
  5.                  (Used repair/owner’s manuals)
  6.                                    (Repair/owner’s manuals)
  7.                                      (Automotive radio talk program)
  8.                    (Automotive repair library)
  9.                            (Repair cost estimator)
(Location of Check Engine light connector to connect code reader to vehicle)

1. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)    (Variety of vehicle information, statistics, laws)

2. (Recalls, Technical Service Bulletins, complaints, crash test ratings, child car seats, safety technologies.)
Once there, go to vehicle owners, select your model year, make, model, click Go then select the tab you want (eg. Recalls, Investigations, Complaints.)

3. (TSB’s)
NOTE:  A very good free source of vehicle repair information, recalls, and technical service bulletins (TSB) is your local city or county online library.

D. Vehicle History/Title Info/Vehicle Quality

1.                     (Vehicle history)
2.               (Vehicle history)
3.          (Title history)
4.         (Quality, durability, reliability reports)
5.            (Fuel economy guide)
6.                      (Check engine light resource)
E. Manufacturer Main Websites

  1. Acura         
  2. Aston Martin
  3. Audi           
  4. Bentley      
  5. BMW         
  6. Buick         
  7. Cadillac      
  8. Chevrolet   
  9. Chrysler     
10. Dodge        
11. Fiat                 
12. Ford           
13. Honda        
14. Hyundai     
15. Infiniti        
16. Isuzu Cars  
17. Jaguar        
18. Jeep           
19. Kia             
20. Land Rover
21. Lexus         
22. Lincoln       
23. Maserati     
24. Mazda        
25. Mercedes Benz
26. Mini Copper
27. Mitsubishi  
28. Nissan        
29. Porsche      
30. Rolls-Royce
31. Saturn         
32. Scion          
33. Smart         
34. Subaru       
35. Suzuki       
36. Toyota       
37. Volkswagen
38. Volvo         

The cost of genuine factory repair manuals often comes in multiple volumes and is not cheap. These are the books the professional technician use in a service environment.
The genuine factory manuals are ideal to have if you intend to do significant work. However, new factory repair manuals are expensive; therefore, you can purchase them used on or™

You can also obtain specifications and repair procedures free from your local library online e-resources automotive section (a very good deal.)
You can also obtain temporary access to the digital repair manuals from the manufacturer. Below is the web address for all of the car manufacturers that sell vehicles in the United States.

Digital Repair Manuals, Wiring Diagrams, and Owner’s Manuals
Access Cost: $10.00-$30.00 for 1-3 days at various manufacturer websites.

  1. Acura      
  3. Audi        
  4. Bentley   
  5. BMW      
  6. Buick      
  7. Cadillac   
  8. Chevrolet 
  9. Chrysler   
10. Dodge      
11. Eagle        
12. Fiat           
13. Ford          
14. GM           
15. Honda       
16. Hyundai    
17. Infiniti       
18. Isuzu Cars 
19. Jaguar        
20. Jeep           
            21. Kia             
22. Land Rover
23. Lexus         
24. Lincoln      
25. Maserati     
26. Mazda        
27. Mercedes Benz
28. Mercury     
29. Mini           
30. Mitsubishi  
31. Nissan        
32. Plymouth   
33. Pontiac       
34. Porsche      
35. Rolls-Royce
36. Saab          
37. Saturn        
38. Scion          
39. Smart         
40. Subaru       
41. Suzuki       
42. Toyota       
43. Volkswagen
44. Volvo         

G. Additional Repair Information

2. Motor Auto Repair Manual - on (,
3. Haynes™ - 
5. Car clubs, automotive forums,  the internet, and the online section of your city/county library.


There you have it, information at the click of a mouse. In addition, I would like to invite you to purchase and download a copy of my eBook ($7.99) entitled: "How to Own a Car on the Cheap (without sacrificing quality)" which is well worth the money to give you additional information.
Here's the purchase link:

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

How Car Repair Labor Charges are Determined


No one likes surprises when it comes time to pay for automotive repair service. There are things a consumer can do to avoid these surprises. The first thing is to educate yourself in how repair charges are established beforehand and then make a decision of where to have your repair work done. The basis of the repair charge to repair your vehicle includes the following:

1. Diagnostic Charge – To diagnose the root cause of an electrical or driveability complaint will require the automotive technician or mechanic to diagnose the issue. Because it takes some time to conduct this activity, there usually is a diagnostic charge to do so according to the labor charge of the shop.
Note: An automotive technician and an automotive mechanic are not necessarily one and the same. An automotive technician is generally one who is factory trained for diagnosis on a specific area(s) of the vehicle and is usually the same brand.
An automotive mechanic is one who knows the mechanics of an automobile and can repair multiple brands (makes). The person may or may not be knowledgeable of the diagnostic procedures of the automotive computer systems. Someone can have the skills to be an automotive technician and mechanic. A master tech or master mechanic is a very knowledgeable person.

2. Flat Rate Charge – The method for determining the labor charge of dealers and many other independent shops is based on the Flat Rate Labor Guide that says how long a specific repair job should take. Depending on what the shop labor rate is, multiplied by the flat rate hours will give you the charge for the labor alone to repair the vehicle. For example, if the Flat Rate Labor Guide says it takes 2 hours to replace a water pump @ $90.00 per flat rate hour, and then the labor charge would be $180.00 (not including any diagnostic charge and charges for the water pump.)
However, if the mechanic can replace the water pump in 1 hour, the charge under the flat rate system would still be $180.00. The benefit of replacing the water pump in one hour instead of two hours goes to the mechanic. Check your local library for a Chilton or Motor Labor Flat Rate Guide (for the year of your vehicle) and look up the flat rate time to see what the amount of time it should take for doing the job you’re interested in.
With this information, you can calculate the flat rate time with the shop’s flat rate charge plus the parts and diagnostic charges. This amount will put you somewhere in the ballpark as far as the price you reasonable should be charged. However, if the repair estimate of a shop is in the stratosphere, find out why or go to another shop BEFORE any work is started. You should be informed along the way before additional work is performed with an estimate of what is the expected cost to complete the job.

3. Parts Charge – The parts cost will usually be at a retail price and higher than what you can purchase by price shopping. Many repair shops will not install parts that you bring to them unless you have a good relationship with the shop. They can also quote you the best price from their suppliers. This is a benefit to having a specific shop that you deal with consistently where they may reward you for your loyalty. Be sure to sign up for any rewards program the shop may have.

Labor charges are not cheap, especially with the sophisticated nature of today's vehicles. However, by having knowledge of what comprises a repair estimate, you can determine what the hourly labor rate is for a particular shop and by using a Flat Rate Labor Guide you can learn how much time a repair take. Combined with the labor rate you can come somewhere in the ballpark of the repair cost.
If the estimate of a particular shop far exceeds what you have researched, then you'll have the knowledge to know to find another shop.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

How to Find a Good Automotive Repair Shop and Good Technician


Preparation is the key to developing a successful relationship with a good repair facility and technician. This involves identifying if you intend to have a dealership to maintain your vehicle or if you want to have a combination of a dealership and independent repair shop or to have all of your automotive work done by an independent repair shop.

Locating a Good Repair Facility
·         Seek word-of-mouth references, read online reviews such as,, Google reviews, etc.
·         Contact the Better Business Bureau™ for complaints – (Note: Discern the validity of all reviews and use your discernment.)
·         Call the shop and assess how the person greeted you. Locate a shop that employs ASE technicians.
·          Verify if their mechanics are ASE (Institute for Automotive Service Excellence) certified, a Master certification is preferable. Ask to see their certifications.
·         It is not a legal requirement for a technician to be ASE certified, they can be factory certified or not certified at all (pending the requirement of your state.) Competency is the key.
·         If a shop is replacing multiple parts in hopes of replacing the faulty one, the question is, “at whose expense” if a part is replaced but didn’t correct the problem?”

·         Determine if the problem is common for your vehicle model and year. Surfing the web is helpful in this regard, just type in the search box your problem with year/make/model. If you’re not computer savvy have someone do it for you such as a family member or your local librarian at the reference desk. Avoid “throwing good money after bad” which means beware of spending money on top of money by approving additional work. Cut your losses early if you feel the shop is incompetent.


Businesses are in business to make money and to do so as quickly as possible. Reputable businesses are built on being paid a reasonable amount in exchange for the services they provide.
If you’re short on cash to repair your vehicle, humble yourself with the service provider, explain your situation and work out something to get the job done within your budget or ask them what they can recommend for you. Use your discernment if it’s good advice.
I’ve been there before and found that some shops will work with you to help you out. Ask to speak to the service manager and negotiate any price adjustment with that person because they have the authority to adjust the price. The main thing is to not worry yourself about your car; you can own it on the cheap and still take care of it. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Breaking News: New eBook Published- Titled: "How to Own a Car on the Cheap (without sacrificing quality)"

The ebook entitled:
"How to Own a Car on the Cheap (without sacrificing quality)" is now available for purchase.
Here is the purchase link:
Price: $5.99 
Length is 45 pages in PDF Format 
To view the first 5 pages, click on the link, then click preview

Table of Contents:

The Truth about Vehicle Tune-ups
The Secret of Vehicle Longevity - Part 1
The Secret of Vehicle Longevity - Part 2
The Check Engine Light
When to Repair Your Vehicle
How Labor and Repair Charges are Determined
Is Buying a Certified Used Vehicle Cost Effective?
Factory or Aftermarket Parts?
Do and Don't List 
Do It Yourself Section
Automobile Resources Websites
Manufacturer Main Websites
Manufacturer Technical Websites
Additional Repair Information
Real Life Scenarios
Questions and Answer Section
Recurring Vehicle Issues
The Lemon Law
Safety Advice
Concluding Thoughts
About the Author                             
This book is written for the layperson who may know little about a car but want to obtain sufficient knowledge to save literally hundreds to thousands of dollars by making informed automotive decisions.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

How to repair a vehicle when it hasn't been repaired by repair shops

A. Introduction:
To resolve any automotive problem that is elusive to resolve, there are some facts that must be established.
You’ll have to put on your analytical hat and play the role of Colombo to assist in the repair of your vehicle.
B. General Facts:
1. Design intent-
Components and their systems are designed to perform a certain task, either by themselves or work in conjunction with another system.  Therefore a failure in one system can also manifest itself in another system.
2. Cause and Effect-
‘Cause and effect’ dictates that when there is a component or system abnormality, there will be corresponding evidence of this condition.
For example, if your car’s alternator regulator is allowing the alternator to charge excessively (cause), your car’s battery top surface will have a lot of wetness and the battery posts may be covered with a powdery substance (effect).
3. Questions-
Many questions must be asked concerning the nature of the problem and the status of relating items during the time before, during, and after the occurrence of the abnormality.
Note: Intermittent problems are the most difficult to resolve. Often it is better for a component to fail completely (except for components effecting safety) than to operate periodically.

C. Root Cause Areas-
Now let’s get to the nitty gritty of identifying the source of the problem.
First, we’ll categorize which stage the problem originated.
For almost all problems they will likely originate in one or more of the following areas:
1. Poor design – If the design of a component or system is faulty, it is only a matter of time or condition that there may be a malfunction. In this case, if you search the internet, you will find many other vehicles with the same problem.
2. Inferior materials – If the design is good but the material is bad (to reduce costs), it is only a matter of time or condition that there may be a malfunction.  In this case, you’ll likely to find many others with the same problem.
3. Manufacturing errors – The hope is that at least the manufacturer did everything right and the source of the problem is elsewhere.  Well, things go wrong at the factory and the problem travels with the vehicle to the awaiting customer to experience the malfunction and return to the dealer.
Here are some problems that can occur at the factory:
·        Inexperience workers – When new employees are hired, they must be trained to perform their tasks to the level that is expected. There is a learning curve for the workers and unfortunately some of their parts may be sub-standard and find their way onto the vehicle.  Depending on the severity of the error, the result can range from being unnoticed by the customer to complete engine shutdown.
·        Meeting production numbers – Time is money.  If the production numbers are insufficient and upper management is applying pressure to increase the production numbers, the result may be some vehicles will just have to be shipped with the problem and let the dealer repair it under warranty.
·        Neglect of material storage conditions – Some materials must be kept at certain temperatures, humidity, lighting, etc. For example, steel will begin to oxidize (rust) in the presence of moisture (rain).
·        Contamination – In the above example, if a steel surface such as a hood has contaminates on it, there will be poor adhesion of the paint. In time, the paint will remove from the surface and start peeling away.  If certain chemicals are not mixed in the proper proportions, the end result will be a compromise in the integrity of the part, thus, possible premature failure.
·        Safety – Last but not least is the safety of the worker, if he/she is injured and continues to work, not only is the worker re-injuring themselves but also their attention is diverted to their injury and the task of the job may be compromised.
4.  Pre-shipping damage – After production, vehicles are sitting in the lot waiting to be loaded on a transport truck or train. During this time, there is the possibility of damage from hail, bird droppings (acidic), door dings, etc.
5. Shipping damage – There is significant potential of damage from the shipping process. For example, if the hold down chains is improperly fastened it can damage the suspension system.
6. Post shipping damage – After the vehicle has been safely transported to its destination, at this point damage can occur due to inappropriate handling such as being driven hard if it’s a sports car, accidents on the premises, or in extreme cases vandalism.
7. Installation damage – Installing non-factory equipment can be a source of problems. Equipment that wasn’t designed or approved by the manufacturer can present problems that ordinarily would not occur.  For example, replacing factory wheels with wheels that are over-sized can result in the tires rubbing the wheel well under certain road surfaces and can render the speedometer and odometer inaccurate.
Non-standard electrical equipment can cause increased amperage in circuits and effect the proper operation of other electrical components.
D. Putting it all together to solve your problem
1. Confirmation
Confirm that you have a problem and if it can or cannot be duplicated. Some “problems” can be attributed to operator error.  Be sure to read the owner’s manual relating to the appropriate component.
2. Duplication
An important aspect of resolving a problem is whether or not it can be duplicated. If it can be duplicated, great; now it’s just a matter of diagnosis to locate the root cause and repair the problem.
If it cannot be duplicated, you will have to “paint a picture” by keeping good records of when the problem occurs and the conditions surrounding the occurence such as: climatic conditions and which devices were working at the time(air conditioning on/off, lights on/off, during turning, etc.)
3. Before or after an installation or repair/service
If the problem started after an installation of something or the vehicle was in for repair or servicing, then possibly it may be the result of something being accidently disconnected (wire connector, vacuum hose, etc.)
Do a visual inspection and see if you can determine if something looks obviously disconnected.
4. Problem occurred after you did something
Sometimes problems occur that are directly related to something the owner or another person did. Question any other person who may also have driven the vehicle.
5. What is your ‘Gut feeling’ the problem is?
Just use your common sense and intuition about the problem and what it seems to be. Afterwards, communicate this information to your technician.
For every problem there is a solution, sometimes the solution is obvious such as a dead battery or not so obvious such as a lamp that stays on and goes undetected.
The solution is to put on your detective hat and observe carefully what is or is not happening. Your information given to a competent technician and repair shop should help to resolve your problem.
Be sure to investigate your problem by determining if others
experience the same problems using the internet as a source of information.
One last tip, be sure to keep an electronic ignition key away from any source of magnetism or electrical wires. Live electrical wires have a magnetic field around them. Magnets obviously have a magnetic field them which can corrupt the program in your electronic ignition key thus creating a weird operating or non-operating condition.
If you suspect this is the case with your electronic ignition key, have it reprogrammed at a dealer or a Locksmith shop equipped to reprogram ignition keys.
That’s it for now.
Next topic: How to find a good automotive repair shop and good technician?