U.S. Lags Behind Europe In Protecting
Automotive Small Business & Competition
Source: Motor Age
The United States lags behind Europe in protecting small business and
competition. General Motors, Daimler-Chrysler, Toyota and Fiat, have
made a legally binding commitment with the European Commission that
these four car manufacturers will provide technical information to
independent repair shops in the European Union. Yet while major car
manufacturers have committed to providing information to independent
repair shops in Europe, they are still fighting the efforts in the
“We applaud the European Commission for taking the initiative in
obtaining the truth in order to protect the ability of independent
businesses to compete on a level playing field. However, we find it
disturbing that the EC is taking a more aggressive role in protecting
consumers from a repair monopoly than the U.S. which has yet to pass
Right to Repair legislation,” said Kathleen Schmatz, president and CEO
of the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA).
“We further are disappointed that the big car companies can reach a
legally binding agreement with the independent repair shops in Europe,
but do not seem to want to provide the same accommodations to their
counterparts in the United States. The car manufacturers’ lack of
interest in pursuing a legally binding U.S. agreement has forced us to
seek a legislative solution in the form of the Motor Vehicle Owners’
Right to Repair Act,” continued Schmatz.
In announcing the agreement, the European Commission stated “the
commitments were given after a Commission investigation found that
inadequate access to the full range of technical information could
drive independent repairers from the market and the agreements between
the carmakers and their authorized repairers would therefore infringe
EC Treaty rules on restrictive business practices. The resulting
reduction in competition between car repairers could lead to less
choice and higher prices for consumers: independent repairers are often
cheaper than authorized outlets, sometimes by over 50%. In addition, if
repairs were carried out without the right technical information, this
could lead to vehicles being driven in an unsafe condition, and add to
air pollution and wasted fuel.”
The European Commission agreement mandates that all technical
information that is provided to authorized repair shops also must be
made available to independent shops on a nondiscriminatory basis. It
allows the car companies to withhold information on anti-theft or
performance-limiting functions of on-board electronics, but requires
that the manufacturers ensure that the absence of this information does
not prevent independent shops from performing repairs not directly
related to these systems. “Although the U.S. car manufacturers would
have you believe otherwise, this issue has always been about motorists
having the right to choose where they take their vehicle for service
and the ability of independent repair shops in the United States to
compete fairly in the marketplace,” stated Schmatz. “We hope that the
U.S. car manufacturers will be willing and able to reach a legally
binding agreement with us regarding the availability of repair tools
and service information. In the meantime, we will continue to support
the passage of the Right to Repair Act.”
About Right to Repair:
The Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act (HR 2694), which was
introduced by Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-NY) and currently has 30
congressional sponsors, would require car companies to make the same
service information and tools capabilities available to independent
repair shops that they provide to there franchised dealer networks. The
legislation further provides car companies with strong protections for
their trade secrets unless that information is provided to the
franchised new car dealers. The bill clarifies the responsibilities of
the Federal Trade Commission in enforcing the bill’s
requirements. For more information about the Right to Repair Act,
Con Man Caught On The Internet
Used Car News
Most car dealers are aware that knowing whom they do business with is
important. So when Kevin and Susan Karlen had a suspicious customer buy
a trailer and two Harley-Davidson motorcycles with cash from their
Rockwall, Texas store, they decided to run an Internet search on the
man’s name. What the owners of Karlens Kars discovered on the Web was
an ad from a woman in Des Plaines, Ill., who claimed the man was a con
artist who befriended her, and then stole her money and valuables.
When the suspect, identified as David Wooten, first walked into the
Texas couple’s dealership, he seemed perfectly normal. He bought an
enclosed trailer and paid for it in cash, saying he wanted the title in
his nephew’s name. Then Wooten returned to buy two motorcycles, also
paid for in cash and put in his nephew’s name. The couple grew
suspicious when Wooten asked them for help in transferring the truck he
was driving into his nephew’s name as well. Susan Karlen decided to
Google “David Wooten.” “We just wanted to check him out to make sure
nothing came up, and sure enough, it did,” said Kevin Karlen.
Margie McCurry’s as on Yahoo.com came up warning people about Wooten,
also called “Jack Ozee.” The Karlens contacted McCurry and the
authorities. The Rockwall County Sheriff’s Department discovered Wooten
had a warrant for his arrest in connection to the burglary of McCurry’s
home, with a bail amount of $5 million. Des Plaines Police Det. Mike
Holdman was surprised to hear how Wooten was caught. “I wouldn’t expect
someone to turn in a customer paying $20,000 cash,” he said. Kevin
Karlen said the lost business was never a concern. “My reaction was to
get something done about it,” he said.
McCurry claims the man told her he was a firefighter who was injured on
Sept. 11, 2001. McCurry said she couldn’t sleep for three weeks as she
tried to track him down. Eventually, she decided to place the ad.
McCurry, 76, had taken a senior citizens’ class on using the Internet.
“I didn’t even know how to do it, but I got it up,” she said. “I was so
proud of myself for catching him.”
Behind The Wheel
By: Sam Giammalvo
Increase Efficiency, Lower Fuel Costs:
Vehicle owners should be aware that there are factors within their
control that can help them save money at the pump. For instance,
misaligned front wheels can increase fuel consumption by 2 percent, and
under-inflated tires can increase fuel consumption by 5 percent.
Moreover, a malfunctioning thermostat in the cooling system can
increase fuel consumption by 7 percent. And, worn spark plugs and other
ignition components (as well as clogged air filters) can increase fuel
consumption by 11 percent. Taken together, these problems have the
potential to increase fuel costs by about 25 percent. By paying
attention to these matters, vehicle owners have it within their power
to make their automobiles run cleaner, more smoothly, and less
Solving The Mystery Of Overdrive
By: Mark Giammalvo
should I use overdrive?” “When should overdrive not be used?” These are
probably two of the most frequently asked questions in our service
department, even more so if a customer has just purchased another
A little transmission history is in order first: Almost all vehicles
today, that are equipped with automatic transmissions, have a feature
known as “overdrive”. Overdrive is nothing more than a sales marketing
term for the highest gear in an automatic transmission. Most automatic
transmission vehicles have a 4-speed transmission, and in such,
overdrive is another name for the fourth gear. Some vehicles today now
have 5-speed automatic transmissions, and therefore, gear five is
For some vehicles, overdrive is selected by simply placing the car’s
shifter in drive. Some manufacturers will have a large O or parenthesis
around the D, similar to this: (D) to signify
overdrive. Other manufacturers will simply show a D for drive
indicating gear 4 if the vehicle is a 4 speed automatic or a D for gear
5 in the case of a five speed automatic. There are some manufacturers
that will have a button on the shifter for overdrive. On those
vehicles, the transmission is shifted to D and is normally always in
overdrive. Pushing the button in, shuts the overdrive feature off
and activates a yellow light on the instrument panel that states:
“Overdrive Off”. Regardless, shifting to Drive or the highest listed
number, is generally considered overdrive. Most drivers place their
cars in overdrive without even giving it a second thought.
Different design issues aside, when should overdrive be used and why
turn it on or off? Generally speaking, you will get the best fuel
economy if the vehicle is driven in overdrive. Using overdrive, (again
the highest transmission gear), causes the engine’s speed, (RPM), to be
reduced, therefore, saving on fuel costs.
Here in southeastern Massachusetts, using overdrive all the time is
acceptable. If you were to travel to a hilly area, like western
Massachusetts or northern New England, you might want to consider not
using overdrive. If your driving in hilly terrain with overdrive on,
you will find that the transmission will frequently shift in an out of
overdrive as the car climbs and descends hills. This frequent
transmission shifting is known in the service industry as: “hunting”.
In essence, the transmission is hunting for the best gear to use and
this keeps changing as the car goes up and down hills. On long hilly
trips, this hunting sensation can be felt as a constant “bumping” and
may be bothersome to the driver and passengers. Some people have even
reported this as being similar to the sensation of seasickness.
There is one other, flat road, scenario that drivers will sometimes
find the transmission is hunting. This can occur when you are on fairly
level road but your speed keeps going above and below the Target Over
Drive Shift Speed, (TODSS). When this happens, you will again feel the
hunting sensation. TODSS is a MPH figure that your car’s computer
system is using to determine the threshold speed for which overdrive
should engage. TODSS will vary with vehicle speed, accelerator pedal
position, engine load, and other sensor factors. On some flat long
roads, you might find this will occur between 30-40 MPH. Again, if this
hunting is a concern, you can always take the vehicle out of overdrive.
If you have any questions about the operation of overdrive on your
particular vehicle, stop by our service department and we will go over
the design of your particular model. As always, you should be familiar
with the specific manufacturer recommendations in your owners’ manual.
VW is recalling 34,358 MY 2003 Passat and Audi A4 and A6 vehicles
equipped with 1.8L turbo, 2.8L V6, or 3.0L engines. A change in the
electrical motor components in the fuel pump can lead to an inoperative
fuel pump and, ultimately, stoppage of fuel supply to the engine
causing it to stall. If fuel flow to the engine is interrupted, the
vehicle could stall without warning and thus present a potential risk
of crash. Dealers will install new fuel pumps. The recall is expected
to begin during September 2007. This recall is a supplement to a
previous campaign. Recall Campaign #’s are 06V017 & 07V-375.
To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet.
To make all your friends see that there is something special in them.
To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.
To think only of the best, to work only for the best and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.
To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large to worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.
(Obituaries Courtesy The Standard Times)
Note: Due to recent requests, we will be adding family survivors to our customer’s obituaries as space allows.
Rev. Francis L. Mahoney age
72 retired Pastor of Holy Name Church in Fall River, MA. Sun. July 22,
2007 in Charlton Memorial Hospital. Born in New Bedford, son of the
late Francis C. Mahoney and the late Lucy B. (Leonard) Mahoney. He was
a graduate of Holy Family High School, where he was a star basketball
player, and he enjoyed all sports. He attended Providence College
before entering St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore. Fr. Mahoney was
ordained to the priesthood on April 2, 1960 in St. Mary Cathedral by
the late Bishop James L. Connolly. He received a masters in Education
from Bridgewater State College in 1963. Father served at St. Margaret’s
Parish in Buzzards Bay from 1960-1969, Immaculate Conception in Fall
River from 1969-1978 and also served as co-director of the CYO, St.
Mary’s in Seekonk 1978-1987, and Holy Name in Fall River 1987 until his
retirement on June 29, 2005. Father also served in other capacities in
the diocese, two different terms as Dean of the Fall River Area,
Moderator of the Catholic Women’s Club, Vicar for the Clergy, Catholic
Chaplain at Adams House, Chaplain at Mass. Maritime Academy and its
Newman Club, and the Cape Cod Boy Scouts. He also held membership on
the Diocesan Personnel Board, coordinator for the Campaign for Human
Development, and coordinator for the annual Overseas Appeal of the
American Bishops. Surviving: two sisters Marie Fitzgerald and her
husband Neil of Dartmouth, MA. Louise Whelton and her husband Dr. James
Whelton of Wayland, MA., niece Mary Louise Francis-Sylvia, nephews
James Francis, James, David & Matthew Whelton, grandniece Erin
Sylvia & grandnephews Adam Sylvia & Marcos & Santiago
Whelton. Brother of the late Anne Francis.
James M. Harrington,
83, of New Bedford died Wednesday, September 19, 2007, at Sacred Heart
Home. He was the husband of the late Doris L. (Caron) Harrington. Born
in New Bedford, the son of the late Jeremiah and Ellen (Cronin)
Harrington, he lived in New Bedford all his life. He was a communicant
of Holy Name of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish. Mr. Harrington was
formerly employed as a television serviceman for Folco Jewelers and
ecclesiastical engineer at Holy Name Church until his retirement in
1986. He was a former member of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick.
During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps in the
Philippines. He is survived by many nieces and nephews. He was the
brother of the late Patrick J., Edmund A., Francis B., and John P.
Domingo Thimas ,
90, of Carver, died September 6, 2007. Beloved husband of the late
Irena Thimas. Loving father of Antone J. Ramos of Carver and Roy D.
Thimas of New Bedford. Brother of Timothy Thimas of RI. Cherished
grandfather of Nancy Giles of CA, Anjo Ramos of GA, Monique Ramos of
Grafton, Shawn Thimas of New Bedford, Christopher Thimas of New Bedford
and Delphina Thimas of New Bedford. Also survived by 3 great
grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.