Importance Of Oil Change – The topic of today’s article is the importance of an oil change. A week ago we received a customer’s call about their vehicle not starting. This customer towed their vehicle to our shop for a diagnostic. During the diagnose process, our technician removed the valve cover and noticed the engine was filled with sludge.
This often occurs when people are not consistent with changing their vehicle’s oil. One of the brands such as BMW recommends changing the vehicle’s oil every 10,000 miles or 12 months whichever occurs first. However, not many follow the regulations and end up waiting until they’ve reached their 12,000 miles or more. After you’ve reached certain miles, in this case, 12,000 miles, without changing the oil, the engine will create sludge until it starts to fail.
Here at Prestige Auto Tech, we like to take it up a notch and recommend our customers to change their vehicle’s oil every 6,000 miles. That way, the engine is well maintained, clean, and prevents future internal failures which could end up costing a fortune in the long run.
Every brand such as Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and many other European brands have their own service manuals. At the end of the day, your vehicle will be safer with less risk of malfunctions if you change your oil earlier than expected. That is why we recommend our customers to schedule their oil change every 6,000 miles instead of 10,000 miles.
European Vehicle Service – We at Prestige Auto Tech specialize in European vehicles.
The majority of the brands that we work here are Mercedes-Benz and BMW. There are many European vehicles in Miami, FL. Currently, in the market, one of the European that is rising in sales is the Maserati Ghibli. We’ve noticed a high demand for maintenance service and minor repairs for Maserati Ghibli, it’s an economic vehicle from the brand Maserati and accessible to the middle class.
We’re focusing and making efforts to aim our shop into becoming a one-stop-shop. If a customer is seeking bodywork, we offer it. If a customer is seeking an interior repair, we offer it. The only exception is if we were requested to do any type of performance.
We are a certified Bosch Center which means it allows us to offer benefits. One of the benefits is offering a line of credit with six months free of interest.
Prestige Auto Tech has been affected by the COVID-19 but that doesn’t mean it stops us from providing and helping our community. Just recently we made a campaign statement “If you or someone you know works as a First Responder or Medical Staff, Prestige Auto Tech is offering free car wash as a gratitude gesture for risking your lives to care and help for others during this COVID-19 crisis”.
We also offered and provided free towing services to pick up the customer’s vehicle from their house and bring it in for repairs and maintenance. Once the job was done, we would drop it off at the customer’s house free of charge.
We continue to work on new ways to help our community and provide European Vehicle Service. In such times as this, we want to make sure we’re doing everything within our reach to support our community.
Courtesy Car Wash – In this article, I want to talk about the extra services we provide to our customers that could benefit your shop. As an owner, we thrive to give our customers the best, and to be the best in doing so.
We specialize in European vehicles such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Porsche, and so forth. A good 80% of our intake vehicles are brands we specialize in but we too, take in Asian and domestic vehicles.
One of the many extra services we automatically include for our customers is a courtesy car wash. Every vehicle that drives in receives a car wash whether it be for a minimal job such as changing a headlight bulb. This technique alone has brought good feedback.
When you provide a free car wash to your customers, it gives a better impression of your shop. First of all, who likes or has the time to wash their own vehicle? very few. Therefore, allowing your shop to provide an extra hand to your customers as washing their vehicles is an added bonus. Another thing we have to keep in mind is that some jobs, unintentionally, can leave a messy area in the customer’s vehicle and be left as is. No customer likes to receive their vehicle worse than it was, I know I don’t. Therefore, we as professionals must think ahead and give beyond that. A happy customer is a returning customer and a returning customer reflects on the quality of our services.
The way we manage this; our shop has a dedicated person that handles the car washes, maintains, and cleans the lobby and offices. Here and there, will offer smaller extra jobs. With these tasks.
Having and maintaining a well organized and clean shop gives boldness and shows we mean business. If you were to walk into a restaurant with greasy floors, dirty tables, and moody waitresses, would you feel comfortable in staying? I doubt it. Appearance speaks louder than words, not all shops are meant to be dirty and unattractive.
To finalize, go the extra mile to provide extra services to your customers. make a budget to add a staff person to wash cars, or look around for a place that can make a simple car wash. The goal here is to leave the customer satisfied and go home with a cleaned vehicle.
“You have to think big to be big.”
Coronavirus Small Business Update – Hi my name is Ramiro and I’m currently the owner of Prestige Auto Tech located in Miami, FL.
During this pandemic phase with COVID-19, I’ve had time to give thought of how the world is currently processing. A good population of small businesses were required by law to shut down if it’s services and products were not considered essential, because of this; other businesses were also affected due to decrease in customers and resulted in shutting down as well. Over the years in the line of business, we have seen great moral support and network spread for restaurants, retail stores, real estate etc., however, very few reach out within the mechanical side. I believe a business in a mechanical repair shop is just as important as a restaurant, retail, and any other business.
That being said, I want to share with my readers how we’re managing to keep our heads just above the waters in Prestige Auto Tech during this hard time. Now don’t get me wrong, we too have been affected by the changes leading us to let go of multiple employees and left standing with no more than 10 staff. Instead of giving in, we’ve decided to look at the bigger picture. Now that we are slow, have more time on our hands to think outside the box for creative measures to reach out to the public for our services. One of the ideas we came up with as a group was to offer pickup and drop off for mechanical repairs but didn’t have much of a success. This led us to the works of social media.
As the owner of Prestige Auto Tech, I’ve come to the understanding that we live in the 21st century whether it’s for you or not. We live in a generation where everything is moved and done through the internet. To think that you can survive with techniques from the past such as referrals, word of mouth and not putting your money to use for expansion is not sufficient enough to stay on top of the game. For that very reason, many businesses closed down. We have to keep up with the now and that is through your mobile devices. Mobile devices have become a major necessity, through it we order, shop, monitor and many things. We lose our phones and all hell breaks loose.
To succeed, we have to think big and be enthusiastic. Believe that your business is at the top of its game and work with that mindset. Our mind is our biggest battle if you can change your state of mind; you can do anything.
This is my 1st article of our series Coronavirus Small Business Update. I will continue to write about the changes we’ve applied to our shop and how we’re making it work. New projects are in stand by as we speak. I strongly believe that every shop is different in their own way and what might work for us does not always work for you. We have to consider all the factors but it’s important to at least try and not give up than to be left with the “could of, should of, would of”.
Radiator Replacement Cost – Contemporary internal combustion engine cooling is one of the world’s current engineering marvels. While an engine’s cooling system was originally conceived as a method to extend vehicle operating time by essentially dissipating excessive heat from the engine. Nowadays though, a properly developed engine cooling system is capable of bringing an engine up to operating temperature quickly, maintain it at its peak efficiency.
A popular misconception is the notion that an engine is better off running cool than hot. While that keeps your engine running, it’s not exactly what one calls efficient. With emissions becoming increasingly stringent, an engine should be at just the right temperature for optimal efficiency.
What keeps the coolant circulating throughout your entire engine is the coolant pump, but what actually cools the coolant is the radiator. Somewhat akin to a house heating radiator, a radiator for your engine exchanges heat with its surroundings. Quite astonishingly, a well-designed high-performance radiator can efficaciously quell coolant temperature in engines that runs hard for hours at a time.
If you’re looking to save on your radiator replacement cost, it’d be important for you to understand how a radiator works beforehand. This will help you troubleshoot engine cooling debacles, concurrently saving you from a potentially flawed diagnosis that necessitates a complete radiator replacement. Obviously, a radiator is an all-mechanical component that can predominantly be located at the front of your vehicle. At its core, the radiator has a multitude of hollow channels surrounded by paper-fine fins. It’s capped off at each end by radiator tanks, which have flow paths leading off towards different directions.
What makes the radiator so efficient are those numerous heat fins that facilitate rapid heat exchange between the coolant and ambient air – convection. Also due to this, there’s no need for your radiator to physically pump coolant throughout. Cold coolant is denser than hot coolant, so chilled coolant naturally flows downwards to be recirculated again. At the back of the radiator is a radiator fan, which forces air to flow through whenever air movement is insufficient.
There are two types of radiators in the market nowadays. There’s the down-flow radiator and cross-flow radiator. One flows from above to below, while the latter goes from one side to the other side. The application is really more towards specific car application and design, as the advantages in cooling on either is quite negligible. Typically, cross-flow radiators are more expensive, as they’re designed to be used in premium cars that need the lower, wider structure to preserve sleek and sporty lines.
Because the radiator has such a simple and brilliant construction, it’s scarcely the cause of your cooling woes. However, when a radiator leaks it can swiftly pin your coolant gauge needle to the red. If you’re smelling something sweet and asphyxiating coming through your climate control vents, it’s a significant indicator that your car is leaking coolant. The big question is whether if it’s your radiator leaking or not. A leaking coolant sounds simple to diagnose, but it could be such a subtle leak that only surfaces at excessive coolant pressure.
If you’ve pinpointed the leak to your radiator, ascertain where exactly the coolant is leaking out of. A pressure tester is irreplaceable here. What commonly occurs are big cracks at the radiator tanks, as those are commonly plastic and sustains extended high-temperature operation. These plastic tanks are generally crimped onto the radiator core and thus are separately replaceable by a competent radiator serviceman, in which case it may be more affordable. Aftermarket performance radiators often have welded metal tanks though.
If you have a car with an ATF cooler, then your radiator may be leaking coolant without you even knowing. Some manufacturers integrate the ATF cooler into the car’s primary coolant radiator, and when the built-in ATF cooler cracks coolant can begin to leak into the ATF system. This can really wreak havoc in your automatic transmission, other than potentially resulting in an overheat. Coolant and automatic transmissions are miscible, and the results are catastrophic transmission failure. If you feel your transmission slipping, stop and take a gander at your ATF dipstick, see whether if it’s milky. Catch this problem in time, and you may get away with just a radiator replacement and ATF system flush. Major savings on your radiator replacement cost.
In lieu of a big crack with coolant spewing out of it, you may also have a hairline, barely noticeable crack. A controversial solution to this is to rely on a radiator stop leak product. You might’ve heard of the classic method of adding an egg to a leaky radiator. What you do is crack an egg into the radiator, and heat from the coolant will cook the egg, and the egg white will cork up the leak. What a stop leak product does is essentially that, but it’s designed specifically to harden and plug up leaks. This is a stopgap measure at best, but it might just be good enough for a cheap runaround. It’s also invaluable in an emergency when you need to get to the shop though.
Admittedly, there really isn’t much you can do to really save on your radiator replacement cost. What you can attempt though is to carry the job out yourself. It’s model-dependent, but a radiator replacement isn’t all too difficult. You just have to prepare sufficient coolant to refill your system and remember to bleed it afterward.
Here’s the truth, if you want to avoid issues with your cooling system, frequent monitoring of your coolant level and regular maintenance is crucial. Depending on the coolant used, manufacturers may recommend intervals between 30,000 miles to 100,000 miles, over a time period of 2-3 years upwards to 10 (!) years. Adhere to this schedule, but as the saying goes be earlier rather than later. It’s also imperative that you use the proper recommended mixture of antifreeze to distilled water otherwise you’re causing more harm than good. Excessive water content leads to boils and corrosion, while too much antifreeze means that your cooling system won’t function at all. Typically, a 50/50 mix is recommended, but it varies due to climate.
Regular cooling system upkeep will save you money in the long run. More importantly, it’ll save you from that phone call you have to make when you’re stranded on the roadside. Never drive an overheating car, as it’ll develop further complications that lead to a hefty bill. Always stock up on spare coolant in your car just in case. If you want to save on radiator replacement cost, prevention is the best measure after all.
Bad Catalytic Converter – Modern-day commuting is all about emissions and efficiency. Nowadays, the single top priority for any car-maker is improving emissions, beyond performance, comfort and refinement. The simple fact is that the world is moving towards a greener landscape, and the internal combustion engine is a prime contributor to gas emissions. Without the proper electrification infrastructure in place just yet, stifling and improving gas emissions from the internal combustion process is crucial. And thanks to catalytic converters, internal combustion engine nowadays are mustering impressive emissions without choking power.
Therefore, if you have a failed catalytic converter, in most major places throughout the world your car would fail car inspection. That said, a bad catalytic converter is certainly not a common failure point considering it’s ingeniously simple and functional. However, there are signs that you should be able to identify before your next inspection to tell whether if your catalytic converter is functioning normally.
Understanding how a catalytic converter works help with diagnosing emission woes. To begin with, at its very core, the catalytic converter is designed as an emissions control device that minimises pollutants emanated during the internal combustion process. It functions through a chemical redox process, in which both oxidation and reduction occur. Essentially, it converts harmful gases to relatively harmless gases. During the combustion process, an engine produces carbon monoxide, unburned hydrocarbons which are then converted to carbon dioxide and water. Modern three-way catalytic converters also reduce especially deadly nitrogen oxides into nitrogen gas.
This process is made possible thanks to a combination of precious metals, such as platinum, palladium and rhodium. They’re catalysts coated onto a honeycomb ceramic support structure via a carrier that maximizes the surface area to allow better red-ox efficiency. In a sense, a catalytic converter can be thought of as an oxygen storage with catalysts that readily promotes oxidation and in turn, reduction, to happen. Because it’s a chemical process, catalytic converters naturally function optimally during operating temperature. Hence manufacturers deftly utilize different strategies to achieve the wanted result.
Therefore, from this description, it can be understood that there really is very little to fail in a catalytic converter. What may happen though is carbon clogging, where excess soot that has failed to react deposit onto the surfaces of the catalysts. Over time, this will cripple the efficacy of a catalytic converter. To mitigate this issue, and thus extend the service life of a catalytic converter, manufacturers incorporate a regeneration process. Raising exhaust temperatures to burn off exhaust soot and promote reaction rate as well. In modern cars, this process happens whenever the oxygen storage capability of a catalytic converter is compromised. Typically, this is done through lambda monitoring, where the combustion process is intentionally altered in a controlled manner and lambda rate of change is gauged by the ECU.
That said, failure is a problem for everything, even the seemingly very well optimized catalytic converter. When your converter fails in a normal car, this is quickly ascertained by your engine control unit which then notifies you via a check engine light. In some cars, there’s also a dedicated catalytic converter warning light to tell you that your catalytic converter isn’t working properly or is overheating.
You don’t necessarily need an active indication to tell you your catalytic converter is malfunctioning though. Since a catalytic converter is only good at processing gas, any sort of contaminate such as coolant or oil can still clog one quickly. If left remedied, this will result in an asphyxiated engine which will manifest as poor engine performance and sluggish acceleration. You may even notice an excess of dark exhaust as you accelerate, a clear indication that your catalytic converter isn’t doing its job anymore.
Another clear determiner of a failed catalytic converter is if you start smelling a rotten odor from your exhaust. This actually originates from the hydrogen sulfide, which comes from the minute sulfur content from your fuel being burnt. Normally this will be converted into sulfur dioxide by the catalytic converter.
In especially grievous cases, you may be able to physically tell a bad catalytic converter. Take a peek underneath your car and look for a big, round cylinder close to your exhaust manifold. If it’s warped or even discolored, chances are the construction of the converter has been damaged and it needs to be replaced. This only happens due to egregious exhaust overheating, which can be caused by a multitude of mechanical malfunctions from misfires, engine knock and even leaking exhaust valves. Normally though, what causes this is unmonitored engine modifications that induce uncontrolled exhaust after burning. Anti-lag is one such example that quickly undermines a catalytic converter. It may also just happen due to prolonged high-load operation though.
Obviously, the easiest and most direct method to tell a bad catalytic converter is via an emissions test. This requires specialist tools that more often than not most people would not have. This tool extensively gauges what constituents are being exhausted from your vehicle, and it’s what inspection tests use.
More often than not though, a faulty converter is actually a result of another failure point in your vehicle that has been left unchecked. In fact, a catalytic converter’s performance is a good indicator of how well your car is running. If you can’t put a converter in your car without it going bad within a month or so, there’s a good chance that the problem lies elsewhere within your car that you must get resolved first. A prime candidate is the oxygen sensors or lambda sensors that provide valuable feedback to the ECU to optimize converter performance. If one goes bad, then your car’s computer would just end up chasing itself in an endless circle attempting to correct things off from faulty data.
Something you may not realize though is that leaded gas, rare nowadays, will destroy catalytic converters very quickly. Catalytic converters are not built to handle any sort of leaded gas. It’s scarce nowadays, but attempting to use leaded gas, even just a few gallons, is highly detrimental to a catalytic converter’s lifespan.
As a verdict, it’s plain to see that the catalytic converter is a critical component for any modern-day internal combustion engine. You may be able to ignore the telltale signs for a moment, but it is advisable to get your converter replaced. At the same time, be sure to give your engine a check through to ensure everything is functioning as intended.
How To Save On Transmission Replacement Cost – Car ownership can be thrilling at times. While one day your car can be seemingly completely fine, the next day you might be dealing with a catastrophic engine failure. This is one of the main reason why people would advise you to set aside an emergency sum of cash to brace yourself for such a possibility.
One such problem that poses a major headache is transmission failure. Automotive transmissions nowadays are such a complicated component with thousands of intricate parts that have to all work together flawlessly to deliver an optimal experience. Then again, it’s a monumental challenge to reduce the amount of moving parts in a transmission. And with many manufacturers phasing out the manual transmission, automatic is the way forward. Nowadays, to match stringent emissions law, manufacturers have to increase the number of gears available, from 7-speed to 9-speed, and eventually 10-speed.
With more moving parts, complex hydraulic circuitry and comprehensive electronics managing the transmission, there’s an even bigger concern for a transmission failure than ever before. A hefty bill comes should your transmission fail. In most cases, a transmission failure translates to a complete replacement. However, there are some ways one can save on transmission replacement cost.
The one way, and perhaps the only way for some to go on about their transmission failure is to get rid of their car. This means either you have to find someone willing to take your car or scrap it. The latter might be the way to go if you have a really tired, clapped-out banger. Here, replacing the transmission or attempting repairs often proves fruitless since it generally costs more than the car itself. When you combine the headache from sourcing the right transmission, labor and time spent parked, it’s just not worth it.
However, if you have something that’s a bit newer, with perhaps only a hundred thousand miles or so, then selling it off might be the better option. A car with a transmission issue isn’t worth all that much to dealers, but you can expect a thousand dollars or so for your trouble. This is all dependant on your mileage, model and year of course. If you wish to fetch a bit more cash, then you’d have to opt for selling it privately. This means posting it for sale and playing the long game.
Committed to getting your car repaired? Don’t fret, there are still methods you can take to help ease the pain on your bank account. Source a used transmission from either a local used parts store, online or junkyard. The quickest and easiest way is definitely getting one from a local spares dealer, but if you have a particularly exotic model it might prove tricky to find one nearby. Therefore you’d have to resort to online forums, used parts store or with a bit of luck, the local junkyard.
Of course, the good thing with finding one locally is that you can actually scrutinize the transmission in person. Additionally, any reputable used spare parts store would offer a warranty period, ranging from a month to half a year. While short, it’s better than nothing at all, something you have to deal with if you locate your transmission online or even from the junkyard. The junkyard is one of the most affordable ways to go, but junkyard stocks are inconsistent and you’d have to remove it yourself.
All three means of finding a replacement transmission though have one qualm, it’s not entirely reliable. With a local spares dealer, it’s not as blind. Nevertheless, you’re taking a risk whenever you buy something that’s pulled off from a half-cut or a scrapper. With something like a transmission unit, you’d only know whether if it’s working properly or not after getting it fitted, so that’s a lot of trouble to go through to face yet another failure. In some cases, it might be worse, where you encounter a failure down the road, rather than at the shop.
To avert that, you can have your current transmission sent to a transmission repair specialist to get it looked at. Be sure to stick with a dependable specialist, because transmission repair is a highly convoluted job that’s very time-consuming to do properly. Compared with transmission replacement cost, this can turn out to be much more expensive in the end, but done by an experienced specialist this will last you a long time. They often provide a warranty on their job as well. If you have a rare car, this is the way to go. Just be sure to find someone trustworthy to carry out this job.
However, getting a transmission rebuilt takes a long time. Therefore, if you can’t wait, you can try your luck at finding a rebuilt or remanufactured transmission. A transmission rebuild is carried out by a technician or specialist, where wear and tear parts and the problem root is fixed. A remanufactured transmission is a complete restoration, where every component is labouriously inspected against original specifications, where known failures are dealt with. The whole process is tedious, but local repair shops or even the remanufacturer may have your model on the shelf if its a common one. They will also offer a considerable warranty for their workmanship.
All of the above are just options one can take to get sort their transmission issue out. Of course, these stand true for transmission replacement cost only. It’s entirely possible that your supposedly failed transmission is just down to a shift solenoid, or sheared selector lever. You can certainly save a lot more if either you or your friend is handy with a wrench. In most cases, replacing a transmission is more affordable than repairing internal faults.
Nowadays, getting a remanufactured transmission direct from a remanufacturer is an increasingly plausible and popular option. You save on the markup that’s incurred by your local transmission dealer or dealership. Furthermore, a remanufactured transmission is pretty much a brand new transmission, where everything is restored back to factory specifications.
Just be sure that whichever option you decide to opt for, you stick with big names. It’s not worth the trouble of saving some money just to be left stranded on the side of a road once again due to a bad transmission. Save on transmission replacement cost, but be smart about it.
Mobile Mechanic – Automobile dealerships nowadays have the entire after-sales process relatively streamlined to ensure a pleasing and convenient experience for their customers. Even car makers understand that most folks don’t want to deal with the hassle of keeping up with vehicle maintenance, hence the commonplace implementation of an integrated service reminder within instrument clusters.
That said, for a handful of people, even sending their car in for service might not be convenient, or possible at all. For those that can’t quite empty their schedule and find the time to drive to the dealer and wait for everything to be sorted out, there is a service that’s increasingly gaining traction as of late.
In fact, many automotive dealers today even offer this service – mobile mechanic. Or perhaps more colloquially referred to as door-to-door service. Basically, you book an appointment with your mobile mechanic service of choice, and they’ll send a technician to your designated location at a time that’s convenient for you. They will then perform whatever simple job that your car needs doing, from oil changes to no-start diagnostics. Of course, if it’s an exceedingly complex job they’ll then direct you to their associated workshops to carry out the job.
In terms of efficacy and convenience, having a mobile mechanic handy is unparalleled. It will especially appeal to those who yearn for hassle-free motoring since you don’t even have to leave your house to get whatever your car needs doing done for once and for all. You also skip the queue to get your car worked on. In most cases, these agencies will also keep track of your car’s maintenance and notify you whenever you should get something done.
From this point of view then, the advantages of a mobile mechanic over a conventional one is apparent. The biggest thing for most people is the fact that it’s a lot easier a process to go through, as you can get your car worked on in your driveway or even when you’re off at work. Since most people work strict office hours it’s tricky at times to empty out a few hours to spend at the dealer, and if they need to leave their car at the workshop it can cause an even bigger inconvenience.
Also, while this falls more on roadside assistance rather than mobile car repair, calling up a mobile mechanic can also save you in a pinch. Whether if you’ve run into a flat tire or failed alternator, calling up a mobile mechanic can generally help you get your car going long enough to drive to a workshop. Best case scenario, you can save on towing costs, worst case the mobile mechanic can sort you straight with getting a tow to a nearby workshop while offering a resolution for your transport issue.
That said, if that’s all there is to depend on a mobile mechanic, then there wouldn’t be a need for workshops to exist anymore. The disadvantages of a mobile mechanic are also rather eminent, and it will help you decide whether to ring up a mobile mechanic or just drive to a local workshop.
The main issue with mobile mechanics arises from the cost. Most dealers or workshops will charge an extra premium for their door-to-door service simply because of the overhead they have to bear, chiefly transportation of the mechanic. Also, because the mobile mechanic has to depend on hydraulic floor jacks and jack stands rather than a car lift, they may charge a bit more on labor costs.
Typically, a mobile repair vehicle also lacks the tools needed to carry out a complicated job, therefore you still have to visit a workshop. Moreover, since a mobile mechanic needs to emphasize on customer convenience above all, their solutions might not always be permanent. A flat tire, for example, needs replacing with tools that can’t be mobilized. They can, however, patch up your tire and fill it with air as a temporary measure, but you still have to go to a tire shop and get it changed sooner or later.
While a mobile mechanic is more convenient than a conventional one, it’s a longer and perhaps even arduous process to get your car fixed on the go. The lack of access to some workshop specific tools, car lift, and even extra hands can mean that it takes longer to get your car fixed. Needless to say that mobile mechanic services aren’t quite ubiquitous yet if you get yourself into trouble somewhere distant from urban areas, the closest mobile service available to you may be an hour away, and if your car still needs to visit the shop it’s time wasted.
It’s controversial, but finding a dependable and trustworthy mobile mechanic maybe even harder than a conventional one. The thing is that with mobile repairs, typically the scope of work is quite limited. Therefore, a mobile mechanic might not have that much experience at performing troubleshooting work or more complicated jobs. This may translate to replacing parts that don’t need changing, or unnecessary time spent on chasing the root of the trouble. Since the time of experienced senior technicians is more valued in the workshop, door-to-door services are generally handled by junior or maintenance technicians.
Finally, this might be a non-issue for some, but calling up a mobile mechanic also means telling the other party where you reside or where you work. If you’re living somewhere particularly dubious, then the idea of revealing important private information might not be all too thrilling. It also means handing your keys over or granting access to your house to someone you might not know, and particularly unscrupulous individuals may take advantage of that. Of course, it’s a bit of a stretch, but I certainly won’t put it past a possibility.
As a verdict, there are certainly plenty of pros and cons worth plenty of time pondering over when it comes to mobile mechanics. The biggest advantage a mobile mechanic can offer is also the one that weighs the most – convenience. When it comes to simple oil changes or brake jobs, there’s nothing else out there quite as easy as calling over a mobile mechanic to deal with it. That said, there are also a few disadvantages that might outweigh the convenience factor. As repair shops nowadays even offer a drop-and-go service, where all you have to do is to book an appointment and hand over your keys, maybe opting for that option might be the better way to approach your next car repair.
If there’s something amidst the automotive landscape that can be described as ‘excessive’ and ‘extravagant’ that would definitely be the innumerable hyper cars and supercars. However, much like these supercars, the ubiquitous full-size luxury SUVs are also amongst the flagship for many manufacturers, and also priced accordingly. That said, I reckon the full-size luxury SUV that pioneered the entire segment especially over in the US is none other than the venerated Cadillac Escalade.
Perhaps the Cadillac Escalade is not so well known for being Cadillac’s finest automotive showcase, but more notorious for its role as a ‘gangster’ ride. However, before we can discover why though, it’d be prompt to take the time and look back at the Escalade’s history.
The Escalade isn’t exactly a model that has spanned for all that long. Since massive SUVs with their primary emphasis on luxury and comfort was actually a bit of a niche market. If you take a look back to the 80s and 90s, even Range Rovers weren’t exactly built with a luxurious intent, as it still had to be as capable as old Land Rovers were, yet maintain street drivability. Back then, genuine luxury automobiles were still revolved around the idea of a sedan or coupe.
Fast forward a few years to the late 90s though, and America is just beginning to see the surge of these big full-size SUVs with massive V8s in them. While the demand for luxury full-size SUVs is burgeoning, Cadillac didn’t have the appropriate answer to this. General Motors had to scurry around, scrounge for ideas before making the decision to rebadged the GMC Yukon Denali as the Escalade in the year 1999. It was more or less a stopgap measure though primarily manufactured as retaliation to the threat that was Lincoln.
It’s not until the year 2002 that the Escalade got its own identity as Cadillac’s own full-size luxury SUV. This time, GM has also decided to market the Escalade as Cadillac’s top-of-the-line, and it was as 2000s American luxury as you could get. It was massive, had a big V8 driving it with plenty of rather primitive convenience features, and it wasn’t exactly economical to run. Sounds rather uncouth, but it’s everything that has iconize the Escalade, and cemented its name as the full-size luxury SUV of America.
Moving on, we then received the third-generation Cadillac Escalade in the year 2007. It was still quintessentially Cadillac, really. It was big and cushiony, although intriguingly (and somewhat questionably) Cadillac decided to develop a hybrid variant of this generation. Admittedly, it definitely provided more instantaneous power, but it also added a lot more weight to a car that’s already considerably heavy to begin with.
2015 saw the introduction of the fourth-generation Escalade. It’s perhaps the one with the most drastic departure though, as all current model Cadillac’s are from their predecessors. While previous Escalades were ones that had dubious quirks that people found polarizing, the newest Escalade is one made to appease the crowd. Make no mistake, it’s still a big car, but it is now also a truthfully well-developed big luxury SUV, and one that many should also consider while looking into this market. The newest Escalade is as big as the one before, still powered by a big V8, plenty of useful amenities and novelties, but it’s also decidedly well-built with an even more imposing nose dare I say.
So, why should one choose the Escalade over its rivals? For one, the Escalade is rather iconic. No other marquees have produced a full-size SUV quite so well known, bar Range Rover, for its role. It’s very contentious, and the road presence it bears squares up against even a Rolls-Royce. The latest Escalade is also known to be a very nice car all around with respectable build quality and a big emphasis on NVH, exactly how a Cadillac should be. It also offers plenty of space all-round. If nothing, the Escalade offers you one of the biggest street drivable SUV out there that money can buy. For those that want to be seen and noticed, the Escalade is also one of the best in its segment.
Maserati GranTurismo – Talk about Italian super-car manufacturers and what comes into your mind might be one or the other: Ferrari or Lamborghini. Maserati is undoubtedly the estranged sibling in terms of Italian luxury automotive marque. Even under its parent, Fiat, is the venerable Ferrari and Alfa Romeo, which leaves Maserati in a bit of an awkward spot.
Back in the days though, Maserati was an adored automotive manufacturer with plenty of racing pedigree underneath its belt that, at one point, exclusively produced stunning coupes and the original Quattroporte. Now though, as Maserati switches owners multiple times over the years, they’ve slowly broadened their lineup to appeal to a wider audience.
However, a model that Maserati still produces to this day that does represent the Maserati ethos is the GranTurismo. A grand tourer has always been at the heart of Maserati, and the GranTurismo is a spiritual successor to the genesis, the gorgeous 1947 Maserati A6 1500. Since then a grand tourer Maserati has always been something special, from the 3500 GT to the classic Ghibli.
And now, the GranTurismo. Originally unveiled all the way back at the 2007 Geneva Motor Show, it is quite the suave looker and built to succeed the Maserati Coupe. Powered by a proper Ferrari-Maserati co-developed V8, it is the quintessential Maserati 2+2 grand tourer.
The intriguing thing is that while it is a grand tourer, Maserati has put plenty of emphasis on driver-engagement. Endowing it with the Maserati M139 platform, it utilized double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension with a nigh 50-50 weight distribution. While the engine initially had 4.2-liter to work with, afterwards it was revised and enlarged to 4.7-liter. Remaining naturally-aspirated, it produces 434 horsepower and 490 Nm of torque. Interestingly the engine is also shared with the scarce Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione.
That engine has since then enjoyed a modest bump in power, to 454 horsepower and 520 Nm of torque. Depending on the trim level, the powertrain is mated to a ZF 6-speed or a semi-automatic 6-speed also derived from Ferrari. In its quickest GranTurismo McStradale guise, it’ll manage the century sprint in 4.5 seconds, onto a top speed of over 300 km/h.
Of course, it’s not a cheap car. For someone who’s gauging needs based on the specs sheet, the GranTurismo might not be all that much of a car for a starting price of $130,000. Especially when you think about how the drivetrain is beginning to show its age, in a time where most other competitively-priced performance cars will easily trump the GranTurismo around the corners and in a straight line.
However, one thing that the GranTurismo has going for it that none other has is its elegant lines and stunning packaging. For a shape that originated over 10 years ago, the GranTurismo certainly touts a timeless bodyline. And it’s paired with an engine that does it justice as well, a classic naturally aspirated V8 that bellows a sonorous 8-cylinder crescendo all the way to redline. It is also something rather unique these days, which is a noteworthy point in its own.
Regardless, there’s no arguing that the Maserati GranTurismo is beginning to show its age, and Maserati’s reliability is dubious at best. The GranTurismo is still very much a ‘past-generation’ super-car, in a sense. But that’s part of the charm. With that said, as Maserati is beginning to expand its range in an effort to appeal to an eclectic audience, the GranTurismo might not remain as we know and understand it in the future. If you’re piqued by the idea of one, now might be good to look for one.