Washington D.C. car owners pay most for repairs

If your Check Engine light comes on during a road trip this summer, avoid getting it fixed in Washington D.C. According to automotive diagnostic company CarMD's annual survey of repair costs, the nation's capital is the most expensive place for automotive work in the country, and the Northeast in general is a rather pricey region. Nationwide, the average charge for this baseline checkup and repair is $390.38.

CarMD's study collects state-by-state data for the previous year on the cost of a Check-Engine-light-related repair for 98,051 vehicles from between the 1996 and 2014 model years. Thanks in part to the highest average parts price in the country, Washington D.C. led the latest ranking at an average of $467.11 in 2014, including components and labor. Delaware was second at $451.03, then New Jersey at $447.19, California at $437.97, and Connecticut rounded out the top five at $436.98. Eleventh place North Dakota had the highest labor rates at $185.92 but a combined charge of $424.18.

Despite being at the top of the ranking in 2012's list, Wyoming is now the least expensive state in the US to get these repairs done at an average $308.76. It's a significant savings over even Montana as the second cheapest at $333.13.

As the study points out, the average cost of parts and labor aren't the only factors to consider in these costs. "CarMD's data finds that the least expensive states have a higher percentage of 'quick fix' repairs that can be addressed in minutes versus major repairs that require days in the shop, indicating drivers were likely more vigilant with addressing repair needs quickly," the company's technical director David Rich said in the announcement of the research. You can check out where your state falls in the ranking in the PDF of the results, here.

Article courtesy of: http://www.autoblog.com/2015/06/18/washington-dc-most-expensive-car-repairs/

McLaren uses 20-year-old laptops on its first supercar

Article courtesy of Engadget

Article courtesy of Engadget

You've no doubt heard of organizations clinging to ancient technology to keep their businesses running, but probably nothing like this. A Jalopnik tour has shown that McLaren relies on a roughly 20-year-old laptop, a variant of Compaq's LTE 5280, to maintain its classic F1 supercar.

Simply put, the automaker made the mistake of chaining itself to very specific technology: it needs a custom card in the computer to interface with the F1 and find out what's wrong. That's crucial to buyers who may have spent millions and would rather not see their vehicular pride and joy become a giant paperweight.

The good news is that McLaren won't have to search auction sites and garage sales for decades-old tech. It's working on an updated interface that will work with PCs released this century, so you should see F1s on the roads for years to come. Let's just hope that the company's newer rides are a little more future-proof – you don't want a beast like the P1 to have a limited shelf life because of its diagnostic tools.

Article courtesy of: http://www.autoblog.com/2016/05/04/mclaren-20-year-old-laptop-supercar/

Tesla tweaks repair-agreement clause

Tesla tweaks repair-agreement clause amid NHTSA concern

Automaker also says its Model S has no suspension-safety issues.

Image Credit: Drew Phillips

Image Credit: Drew Phillips

Late last week, Tesla Motors revised a nondisclosure clause in its customer-repair agreements for customers after a US regulator took issue with its language, Automotive News says. Tesla says it has at times paid for repairs on vehicles that weren't necessarily caused by vehicle defects and is denying that it has ever placed a gag order on customers whose repairs are paid for by Tesla. The company also says its Model S doesn't have any safety issues related to the sedan's suspension.

The issue stemmed from a Pennsylvania owner of a Model S who complained of suspension problems and said Tesla agreed to pay half of a $3,100 repair bill as long as the owner kept quiet about the agreement. Last week, the Daily Kanban ran a detailed account of the situation, which involved suspension arms that rusted out on the vehicle in question.

The NHTSA called the non-disclosure agreement "troublesome."

The US National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) reviewed the issue and subsequently said it couldn't find any safety issues with the Model S's suspension, but also called the non-disclosure agreement with the vehicle owner "troublesome," according to Reuters. Tesla then adjusted the language in the agreement to NHTSA's satisfaction.

"Tesla has never and would never ask a customer to sign a document to prevent them from talking to NHTSA or any other government agency. That is preposterous," the company wrote on a June 9 blog post. "When our customers tell us something went wrong with their car, we often cover it even if we find that the problem was not caused by the car and that we therefore have no obligations under the warranty." Tesla added that, in the case of a repair funded in part by Tesla, it asks for a "goodwill agreement" signature "to ensure that Tesla doesn't do a good deed, only to have that used against us in court for further gain."

Additionally, Tesla chief Elon Musk characteristically took to Twitter last week to reveal his take on the issue. Musk tweeted on June 10 that NHTSA confirmed that it didn't find safety issues with the Model S's suspension, and that "37 of 40 suspension complaints to NHTSA were fraudulent, i.e. false location or vehicle identification numbers were used."

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