A VIEW FROM THE PUMPS – JULY 2021

ADAS- WHAT’S THAT? (PART 1)

Welcome to the world of automotive acronyms! The industry has progressed to what used to be straightforward and easily understood wording to the world of deep espionage as convoluted as our own security organizations. You know NSA, FBI, CIA, DEP, EPA, etc. In the industry, we live with MAF, MAP, TPS, TPMS, STFT, LTFT, ECM, BCM, EBCM and the list goes on. I’m sure that these acronyms have appeared in conversations or on repair invoices and while some folks question them; most do not.

Me, I’m all about spelling it all out and using the full names of these sensors. In today’s rush for all-electric and autonomous vehicles to roam the highways of the land, the alphabet soup will just get even more jumbled.

Just so you know anytime you see an article about an electric vehicle it soon becomes an EV and when they talk about the demise of the internal combustion engine it will be called ICE. Autonomous refers to a self-driving vehicle like the new Domino’s Pizza delivery vehicle. They are out there and functioning, just not quite perfected yet. Believe me, I will be hard-pressed to step inside an UBER that has no driver.

ADAS technology

ADAS which stands for ADVANCED DRIVER ASSISTANCE SYSTEM, is already here and in the bridge to autonomy. First and foremost, you must understand that there are two distinct types of ADAS, passive and active. Passive ADAS has sensors that will see if the vehicle is drifting in or out of its lane or encroaching upon a vehicle in front of you and alert you, the driver, that things are not as they should be and send you warning signals. These signals are lights on your dash that turn from green to yellow to red, or vibrations in your seat on either the left or right side depending on which side of the lane you are on.

Active ADAS will do the same but at the same time will take corrective action as it seems fit. The first type of active ADAS was dubbed as Intelligent Cruise Control. If you were gaining on the vehicle in front of you while driving with the cruise control on, the intelligent cruise control would slow you down as to keep a safe distance between you without disabling the cruise control system. We all know what a bother it was to have to hit the brakes and then actually reset the cruise control. By the way, it is no longer called Intelligent Cruise Control but has been renamed Adaptive Cruise Control. I guess that people didn’t want to appear as Un-Intelligent. The upside of this is that using the very same technology in reverse became COLLISION AVOIDANCE.

Think about every car commercial that you see on television, think about a mom looking at her child in the back seat and the fool texting and walking in front of the car and it magically stops. The texting fool doesn’t even lookup. In my very humble opinion if more fools got hit the world would be less foolish.

In some vehicles, high beams will turn on automatically when the level of darkness reached a point. I always thought that that little lever on the right side of the column was really easy to do that same thing. Now the new rage is active adaptive headlights that turn with the curves of the road always keeping the headlights where they were supposed to be on the road. What seems to have been forgotten was in the mid-1940s a young engineer named Tucker designed and built a car that did just that.

I write this article with tongue in cheek, I love technology, it can be fascinating but, it has to work with the loose nut behind the wheel not against him or her. Next week I will be a little less cynical and more informative.

REMEMBER MAINTENANCE STARTS AT MILE 000001

LACK OF COMMON SENSE WILL ALWAYS COST YOU DOLLARS AND CENTS!

A VIEW FROM THE PUMPS – JUNE 2021

VISION AND SAFETY

Vision and safety; a strange combination of words probably only used in the automotive industry. Exactly what does that entail?  Well in my eye any part of an automobile that inhibits or does not protect the operator from the natural resources of their area is part of the vision and safety aspect of the vehicle.  The vision part of this statement is pretty much self-explanatory but the safety part is a double edge sword.  Safety not only pertains to the safety of the operator and the passengers but also the safety of on-coming traffic and above all the safety of pedestrians and motorcyclists.

windshield and wipers

As we talk about vision, of course, the first part of a vehicle that comes to mind is the windshield.  Proper care of the windshield is the first step in keeping your line of vision clear and unobstructed.  What is the proper care of your windshield; first of all, it means keeping it clean on both the inside and out.  That means cleaning it with a good foaming type glass cleaner and buffing it with a good polishing towel or cloth, the ultimate trick is to rub the outside of the windshield down with a clay bar, and then re-polish it with a good foaming cleaner.  It is highly advisable to install a protective treatment such as Rain X to help eliminate pests and debris from sticking to the glass.  Keeping the inside of the windshield clean is just as important as most vehicles in the sunbelt always have the windows closed and the  A/C on recirculate, which means that the same air and its contaminates are always in the passenger compartment.  This creates a film on the inside of the interior glass that is conducive to glare, especially during sunrises and sunsets.  Most people in S.W Florida live to watch our beautiful sunrises and sunsets yet that is the most dangerous time to be behind the wheel. Dusk is approaching and when do the headlights need to be turned on.  At sunrise, the sun is so bright and low on the horizon so that it is directly in the driver’s eyes especially if you are traveling due east.  Of course, everything we discuss about the windshield also pertains to all of the other windows in your vehicle except for the Rain X application, which should only be used on the windshield.  Cleaning the inside of your windshield with a Mr. Clean eraser sponge and then polishing it with a good foaming cleaner and a new microfiber towel is the best cleaning procedure. By using quality glass wax on the remainder of your glass should be protection enough.

The most detrimental damage done to windshields is done by the wiper blades that are being used.  Windshield wipers are one of those automotive enigmas that make shop owners like me crazy.  As a shop owner, I maintain that any part that is installed on a vehicle should be of the highest quality at the best price.  Unfortunately, sometimes trying to convince a client that the blades that we recommend are $30.00 apiece when the owner can run down to a discount store and buy the “SAME” thing for $4.00 a pair.

Take this with a grain of salt.  We just explained how to care for your windshield which by the way can run as high as $1000.00 to replace, and now you want to run a cheap rubber knife across its surface in order to save a couple of bucks.  A windshield wiper blade is a miniature squeegee.  Their efficiency depends on the material the blade is made of, which needs to be soft and pliable especially when it is exposed to the extreme heat in Florida.  It is also dependent on the contact points and pressures that are exerted on the windshield while the wipers are in use.  Today’s windshields are aerodynamic and have a different contour than the windshields of the past.

That means that the wiper blade must be able to conform to the shape of the windshield and provide even and constant pressure across the viewing area when in use, during different types of conditions.  When was the last time that you turned on the wipers and they hesitated to wipe right away or did you have to break them loose from the windshield, and when they did eventually work there was this huge area that either didn’t wipe or just plain smeared in your optimal viewing area?

That my friends are the difference between blades that retail for $4.95 a pair and $30.00 each.   With every service that we perform at Gregg’s, we monitor the condition of the blades, the condition of the rubber, and we install a glass treatment on the windshield, as your safety is our top priority.

Which wiper blade is the best?  Actually, that is a question that cannot be answered easily.  It depends on your budget, your vehicle, and how your vehicle is stored.  I can promise you this if you stay with name brands such as Anco, Trico, Rain X, Bosch, etc., and buy your blade by your vehicle’s specifics and not “universal” fits chances are you will not have any real issues.  We used ANCO’s contour blades as they seem to be the best of all worlds.  However, they have since been discontinued and we now recommend either Rain X or the new Bosch line. If you happen to be the proud owner of certain European vehicle’s we recommend OEM blades because we know that they work.

As usual, our concerns are for the safety of our clients, their families, and the thousands of others that share our roadways.

  • MAINTENANCE STARTS AT MILE 0001.
  • SAFETY STARTS WHEN YOU OPEN THE CAR DOOR.
  • LACK OF COMMON SENSE WILL COST YOU DOLLARS AND CENTS.

A VIEW FROM THE PUMPS – DEATH BY AUTO

One night while I was working late, at about 10:00pm an ambulance screamed up Route 41, past the shop.  Being in such close proximately to Bayfront Hospital, this is not an odd occurrence.  What was odd was that very shortly after, the same or another ambulance made the right off of Olympia onto 41 with lights on but without a siren.  Usually that rig would continue down Olympia towards the hospital, not up 41.  I’m sure that we have all had that “feeling” when something was off.  Because of my past when I was not only a “first aider” but also a first responder with my wrecker for all “suspicious” accidents and all death by auto calls, I’ve learned to pay  close attention to those “off” feelings.  Watching a rig pass by with lights and no siren can be good or bad news.  The injured are either stable or not with us anymore.  The next thing that I heard was the wop wop wop of a helicopter main rotor, except this time there was a queer echo until I realized that there were two choppers that had landed in the empty lot that used to be the City Market Place.  Being inquisitive I had to follow these sounds and found myself watching a team transfer a patient from one rig to the copter.  Everything was so slow and controlled that I really thought that this was a training exercise.  Imagine my shock and surprise when I passed a destroyed vehicle on the top of the bridge, and I knew why there was no rush anymore.

I’ve been in this business for over 48 years, and in those 48 years I’ve had first-hand experiences with broken vehicles. Vehicles that were so UN-SAFE that they should have been taken off of the road!  Accidents are caused by so many contributing factors, some resulted with bruised pride and some resulted in horrific deaths.  Like anyone else that is in contact with carnage, our minds automatically protect us by surrounding us with a kind of force field.  The outside world thinks that we are insensitive or hard, but take it from me those images never leave us.  But as they say in the movies “life goes on”.

While researching for this article the most recent facts that were available were already four years old.  This is not the first time I have written on this subject, and while the numbers have changed the results are always the same.

In 2018 there were 2915 fatal accidents in Florida.  3133 people lost their lives in those accidents.  Amazingly to most folks only 687 of those fatalities were alcohol related.  487 of those deaths were pedestrians.  The breakdown of these accidents were as follows:  1512 were multi-vehicular collisions, 1621 were single vehicle collisions.  You must take into consideration that these numbers only represent fatal accidents, not all accidents.

Information from various sites which were state sites, attorney’s sites and general informative sites rated the cause of all accidents as such:

  1. Speeding
  2. Cell phones and texting
  3. Other distractions  radio’s, talking, general inattention
  4. Fatigue
  5. Alcohol
  6. Rubber-necking
  7. DEFECTIVE AUTOMOBILES
  8. Defective roadways
  9. Weather
  10. Improper coning

If you pay attention to the bold information it means this.  That in the year 2018 at many  fatal accidents were caused by poorly maintained vehicles.  According to AA1CAR.com 13% of all accidents are caused by defective and/or poorly maintained vehicles.  Most cited as major points of failures were brakes (22%) , tires (35%) steering(3%) and suspension and roadway design.  I would like to add another two categories, belts and hoses and heating and air conditioning.  Tire issues are pretty much self-explanatory, and any tire with less than 2/32 of tread left is unsafe and needs to be replaced.   Any time an insistent wobble or vibration  appears in the steering wheel with a hard pull usually means that a tire in beginning to fail internally.  Brakes are sometimes a little harder to “feel”.  Sticking calipers or partially blocked brake hoses can cause a drag that can actually boil your brake fluid causing a sort of embolism in the hydraulics which can result in the total loss of your brake pedal without warning.  So can ignoring that annoying squeaking or vibration when stopping.  This is a sign of things that are not right.  Not having your suspension checked at least once a year can find faults with tie rod ends and ball joints.  If you have ever passed a vehicle with one wheel facing left and the other facing right rest assured that a bad tie rod was the culprit.  Breaking a ball joint looks like a vehicle trying to drive on the inside of its tire.

As most vehicles have already switched over to single serpentine belts, losing a belt not only will kill your battery or overheat your engine but consider driving at 75 mph on Rte. 75 and suddenly losing your power steering.   Or consider this, driving along when all of a sudden this violent down pour happens and your entire windshield just totally fogs up and distorts your vision.  A vehicle that has faulty air conditioning and defrosting capabilities reduces you to drive one handed and wipe the inside of the windshield with your free hand.  Not entirely having complete control of your vehicle, is it?

So to be completely blunt and to the point I say this:  Not maintaining your vehicle will cause you to spend more in repairs, cost you for rental vehicles and loss of time for fun or work, and it may cost you or someone else their life!

MAINTENANCE STARTS AT MILE 00001

LACK OF COMMON SENSE WILL ALWAYS COST YOU DOLLARS AND CENTS

See us about providing you with your Factory Maintenance  Schedule as our gift to you.

GREGG MARRAPODI

PAYING THE PIPER

When writing these stories, it’s sometimes hard not to preach or sell. The true purpose of these articles is to educate you, the driving public about the most technologically advanced industry in the world.

Yes, we can hurtle through space on jets and rockets and the social media platforms are evolving by the second, however few of these industries touch every person in the world as much as the automotive industry.

Continue Reading

THE ART OF SPEAKING HORN

Horns and cars are like peanut butter and jelly, and like armpits. Correlation; you don’t think of peanut butter without jelly and everyone has at least one armpit, as do all vehicles. Some interesting facts, when cars were simple and a technician had a no crank it was second nature to just bump the horn and turn on the lights to see if the battery was dead. Not so easy today, but back then it was a simple test.

Continue Reading

MYTHS AND TRUTHS

Myths and truths have been around since the car has been rolling, so here are some questions, lets see how good you are.

Will driving with your windows down cause you to use more fuel than with the windows up and the A/C on?

Depending on the aerodynamics of the vehicle and the speed of which you are driving, having the window open without a way for it to escape can cause enough extra drag to make your engine have to work harder. Today’s vehicles A/C are so efficient now and the fuel trim so regulated that if you are driving at speeds over 55mph it would be more efficient to use the A/C.

Running with the blower motor at its highest speed is good to keep the A/C working best

Actually, by running with the fan speed at its highest speed you are causing a higher load on the engine thus making the charging system work harder to maintain the demand. Also by keeping the blower speed at it’s lowest level can actually gain you an additional 8-9 degrees of coldness from the center vent by allowing the air to stay in the evaporator case for a longer period of time to remove the heat from the air passing through it.

Vacuum leaks in early fuel injected engines make the engines race because of the extra air in the combustion chambers

Todays newer and more controlled engines can compensate for the extra or unmetered air that enters the combustion chambers via the oxygen sensors and the fuel trim. They allow the injectors to add extra fuel to keep the engine running as smooth as possible and bring the idle down to its normal spot via the idle air control motors. Many times, the owners do not even know that the vehicle is running lean except for the check engine light that will show a lean code.

Synthetic oil is actually mineral oil that has been reengineered and synthesized with additives

True synthetic oil such as Mobil 1, Amsoil, Redline, and Royal Purple are truly synthetic. They are made from refined hydrocarbons such as animal fat, rapeseed oil methane and biomass by products. Because these molecules are combined and reengineered to be exactly the same size and identical in their lubricating qualities. Imagine that the molecules of oil are like little ball bearings chained together. Also because these molecules are identical and synthesized they have less of chance to join together and thicken the oil or turn to sludge. That doesn’t mean forever oil, just so you understand.

You should never let the pressure in your tires exceed the number stamped on the side of the tire no matter how hot that tire may be

The number stamped on the side of the tire is rated for a cold tire, meaning that it has sat for between 4 and 8 hours before being moved. Most new vehicles have the exact tire pressures posted on the front left door pillar. These are the pressures that the tires should be set at , once again cold. Expect those pressures to increase by up to 3 psi after the vehicle has been driven for even a short distance. This means that if you drove to a gas station that has a air compressor, lots of luck with that, armed with your credit card insert your card in the machine , read the tire pressure placard on the door panel, if it says 32 psi, inflate your tires to 35psi and you should be close. Or come to Gregg’s Automotive where we still do for you and it’s free.

ALWAYS REMEMBER LACK OF COMMON SENSE WILL COST YOU DOLLARS AND CENTS.

MAINTENANCE BEGINS WITH MILE 000001

WHO’S DRIVING THIS THING ANYWAY?

If you have been listening or watching the news in the last couple of weeks, you have been deluged by the problems with Boeing’s 737. Three crashes in the last month and an emergency landing just today.

The real questions here are simple, who is really flying these mammoth planes, the on-board computers or the pilots? Secondly, whose job is it to train said pilots, the manufacturer or the airline that purchases these planes. It is horrific to hear pilots state that they have had only 2-3 hours of training on an I-Pad.

Are they really pilots or just passengers hoping that the computers can make all the right decisions?

In two instances in which the planes had crashed with no survivors, except the now infamous “black box”, both issues happened just after takeoff. Both on board computers showed evidence of a “stall” condition. If any airplane is in a stall condition the proper response is to drop the nose, which the auto pilot did. The problem was is the stall did not exist, it was a faulty sensor. As with anything computer related, “garbage in-garbage out” is a fact of life. The real horror was that these pilots were never trained to override the auto pilot or didn’t have enough training to shut it down and actually fly the damn plane. Hundreds of lives lost, because of who, the manufacturer or the air line. We all want cheaper flights, less training or lesser qualified pilots cost less. Is it worth the price?

Okay, let’s get back to earth. Look at today’s new vehicles. What’s the pitch? Our cars stop by themselves when there is an object in its way. Explain that to the family of the Tesla owner, who’s vehicles anti collision sensors were lower than the body of the trailer he drove under and emerged minus his head. What was he doing? Texting? Obviously, he wasn’t paying attention to the task at hand DRIVING. Every new car now has lane reminders to keep you in between those white lines. They have blind spot cameras so that you don’t have to take your eyes off your phone when changing lanes. Turn you head? Why? Mirrors? Oops! They’re there so you can put your make up on while the crash avoidance sensors and the intelligent cruise control doesn’t let you get too close to the guy in front of you. And you pedestrians aren’t off the hook either, you cross the streets watching your phone, you’re oblivious to the fact that the light may have turned. It has been such a problem that there is legislation to jam the phone signals at intersections so that you will have to look up.

The manufacturers are slowly developing an entire generation that will own cars and not know how to drive and this is scary, because my grandchildren will be on the road.

Do you know that certain manufacturers have installed little blue coffee cups on their instrument cluster that turn into large coffee cups when you as a driver are either too tired, or drunk or just driving poorly? Now to the average joe, this appears to be a wonderful credit to them for caring so much about little old you. Think again, the first place any insurance goes especially in a traffic fatality is that same little black box, except we call it an ECM, and the first place they will look at is the data files that will show them how fast you were going, or how many times you activate your ABS system or if that little coffee cup was illuminated because that claim will never be paid.

Just a little test; be honest, if you go into a skid do you turn into it or out of it?

Did you guess right? You turn into it in a millisecond you must make that call, it needs to be ingrained and an impulse. You can’t do that if you let your car do your driving for you.

Be smart, take control, and remember:
MAINTENANCE BEGINS AT MILE 000001 and lack of COMMON SENSE will always cost you DOLLARS AND CENTS.

 A VIEW FROM THE PUMPS – THE SKINNY ON LIGHT WEIGHT OILS

At the end of my last article, I promised you that I would try to make sense of the new “skinny” motor oils.  Their pros and cons and how they can make today’s vehicles run better and more efficiently.

Just a mere fifty or sixty years ago, when many of us were starting our driving careers, the mainstay lubricant for the era’s engines was a straight weight SAE 30 or 40 weight motor oil, or viscosity if you will. Viscosity refers to how smoothly oil flows at a specific temperature range.  If you lived up in the snow belt, around Michigan, Wisconsin or Wyoming, it was common practice to use the heavier oil during the two week summer season (just a little Florida humor) and then drop down to the lighter weight oils in the fall and winter. That was mainly so that the starters could turn the engines over in the frigid weather.  Block heaters patented in the late 1940s became popular in the fifties and are still used to this day.

Throughout the sixties, seventies, and most of the eighties, multi-weight oils became the norm.  These grades always had two numbers on the label with a “W” in between them.  That “W” stands for winter grade.  The flow rate at 0 degrees Celsius is 32 degrees Fahrenheit, for all you non-Canadians. Conversely, the higher number is rated at 100 degrees Celsius, which is 212 degrees Fahrenheit.  

The most confusing part of this is how can oil be thinner at lower temperatures and then thicken up at higher temperatures when the fundamental physics states that this is impossible.  What is happening is that the base oil structure is of a lower viscosity so that these engines can turn over in the winter, due to additives and some profound chemistry they can lubricate and protect these engines at higher temperatures and viscosity ranges demands.  

So that quart of 10w40 pours like a 10-weight oil but protects like a 40-weight oil.  Cool, end of the story, right?  That would be too easy!

First, enter General Motors, that stated that 10w40 should not be used in any of their vehicles as they felt that the standard of additives was too hard to guaranty that the oil would be as useful for longer drive intervals, because we ALL know that everyone always changes their oil every 3000 miles or 90 days.  10W30 became the standard for a long time until Ford Motor Company decided that only 5w30 should be used in their engines.

Not to be outdone enter the Federal Government and C.A.F.E., otherwise known as the corporate average fuel economy standards.  Which states the “if you want to sell cars in the US, and not be heavily penalized your corporate fuel economy must be?  The number for an average mid-sized car in the year 2018 according to C.A.F.E.should be about 34 mpg.

How is that being accomplished?  Here’s how smaller and lighter vehicles, aluminum and plastic bodies, smaller and more efficient engines that have even tighter tolerances that DEMAND skinny oil, we’re talking 0 weights — variable valve timing which is running on the assumption that the proper weight oils are being used and serviced with the proper filters during the appropriate intervals.  Externally mounted performance enhancers (turbochargers) which depend on adequate oil services and intervals, as well as instructions on how to spool down, said turbos so that they don’t deconstruct themselves just out of the warranty periods. ( I bet the car salesman didn’t tell you that when he sold you that V6 truck that pulled like an eight-cylinder because  of the two extra turbos hanging on the side of the block).

The moral of this story is to read your owner’s manual, find out which weight oil you’ll need, use the best oil filter that you can buy and follow all of the SEVERE MAINTENANCE schedules. In the long run, it will keep more money in your pocket and out of mine, because you will use less fuel, protect the inner working of the engine by not replacing turbos, variable valve timing solenoids, and cam driven fuel pumps that are just outside of the warranty period.

REMEMBER MAINTENANCE STARTS AT MILE 000001!

HAPPY AND BLESSED HOLIDAYS FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILIES.  

GREGG MARRAPODI

A VIEW FROM THE PUMPS – MAINTAINING YOUR VEHICLE UNDER SEVERE CONDITIONS!

Do you know that every owner’s manual comes with a maintenance schedule in it?  There are two of them, one is for normal driving conditions, and the other is for severe driving conditions. Typically people think of harsh driving conditions as driving in sub-zero temperatures, and heavy snow conditions, such as in the northernmost part of the country and in the mountain ranges in the west.  That would be very true, but we are in the beauty of Southwest Florida, what could be severe about that?  

According to AAA and Valvoline here are the top 5 instances that describe severe driving conditions.

  1. Hot weather driving in an urban setting or stop and go traffic. 
  2. Short trips under 5 miles
  3. Regular towing. Including boats (any size), trailers or campers.
  4. Driving on non-pavement surfaces, such as dirt, gravel or off-road surfaces.
  5. Driving for long periods at speeds less than 50mph. And, while not included in this synopsis, driving for long distances at speeds greater the 70 mph.

This sounds like driving on Rte. 41 from Punta Gorda to North Port every day and then on the weekends hopping on I75 to go to Sarasota or Tampa.  And for the younger generation what weekend is complete without hooking up the boat trailer or the ATV trailer for a couple of days out on the water fishing or running through the woods with your four runners to blow off a little steam.

The point is, there is nothing wrong with this lifestyle, in fact, it can be a beautiful thing, but it will take its toll on your cars and trucks.  When cars and trucks breakdown prematurely it consumes an additional and sometimes a large part of your income.  

The difference between maintaining a vehicle for severe service versus regular service is minute in the whole scheme of things.

It means taking the time to check the air pressure in your tires once a week instead of when the low tire pressure light comes on.  It means having regular and scheduled services performed promptly.

We at Gregg’s Automotive spend a lot of time and money to keep you informed as to when these services need to be performed.  These come as e-mails to you to remind you of services that are essential to keep your vehicle running for hundreds of thousands of miles.  The monthly reminder letters that we mail out, these newspaper articles and our weekly radio show “A View From the Pumps “are such examples. 

But our most significant reason for doing this is to educate you so that you can get the most out of your vehicle for the smallest amount of money.

Right now the most significant amount of confusion is with the advent of using synthetic oils instead of mineral-based oils in today’s vehicles.  The very first time that most people have a synthetic oil service sends them into sticker shock.  How can an OIL CHANGE cost a hundred dollars?  My answer to that is twofold, first, why didn’t the salesman who sold you the car inform you that it REQUIRED synthetic oil that will range from $10.00-12.00 a quart?  And why were you not advised that most newer vehicles REQUIRE from 5 to sometimes 7 quarts of oil unless you own a diesel truck which will need up to 15 quarts of oil?

Interesting points, don’t you agree?

Synthetic oils are much more viable for lubrication properties and extended intervals between services.  They are also thinner than most owners realize.  The norm for motor oils in the fifties was a single viscosity oil that changed with the seasons, heavy in the summer and lighter in the winter.  In the sixties to the eighties, multi-viscosity oils became the norm, 10w40 was the most common in the early part of the sixties and as technology increased these weights dropped to 10w30 to 5w30, etc.

Most new engines and especially the upper-end engines now use oils that start with a 0.  That’s right most engines are using 0w20 and 0w40 engine oil.

What is and why use a zero-weight oil? 

Read our next article and learn all about it!

REMEMBER MAINTENANCE STARTS AT MILE 000001!

GREGG MARRAPODI

A VIEW FROM THE PUMPS – THE HISTORY OF FREE BRAKES

Thirteen years ago, I had a Grandfather and his grandsons in the shop office while they were picking up their vehicle. The grandchildren were aged 3 to 5 years old, and they were little boys. Kids are kids, and I am a big proponent of family and enjoy watching kids have fun. As they became a little rowdier, their grandfather told them to calm down and then apologized to me for their behavior. Frankly, being from a large family of mostly boys, and a father of 4 boys, I didn’t see them as doing anything wrong. The grandfather then looked at me and said, please forgive them my younger grandson is autistic. Well, it was such a shock, he might as well have told me that the boy was green, because I didn’t even know what that meant. Shortly after that, I had another client come in and pick up his car. Let’s call him Sam. Sam had been a client for some years and was very set in his ways. He had some unusual characteristics, and I just put that up to him being Sam. I was also friends with Sam’s sister, and during a conversation with her, she told me a pretty funny story about one of Sam’s exploits and then said: “of course that happened because of his Autism.” You could have knocked me over with a feather. There was a child and a grown man that both suffered from the same syndrome? Was it the same?

Both of these families have become as close to me as a family, and we have had many talks about Autism. I did a lot of research and learned so much about how severe the syndrome is to diagnose and treat, and many different forms it takes. I recently just found out that shortly after the incident with the young boys that, he called to his grandfather and called him his name for grandpa and then didn’t speak another word for two years. Today he is in high school, loves football, is an excellent student and has a career plan all set out. He towers over me and smiles a queer little smile when we talk.

The fact of the matter is when people hear the word Autism. Usually, the first thought that comes to mind is Dustin Hoffman, who portrayed a savant in the movie “Rainman.” Another newer movie that portrays an Autistic genius is “The Accountant,” starring Ben Affleck, which is a more action-based “shoot-em-up” type of film.

Autism became very important to me, I did a lot of research and met so many people that I have known forever that had Autism in their lives. The fact of the matter is that the odds of a mother bearing a son with some form of autism have increased to 1 in 57. This is 2018, odds like this are unheard of, yet they do exist.
I’m a very private person so this story may seem vague, but it is only to protect these family’s privacies. I’m also a person that needs to take a stand in certain instances, Cancer being one and Autism being a close second, amongst others.

This was the beginning of our Free Brakes Program, “Putting the Brakes on Autism.” It’s a straightforward program, but unfortunately, people get hung up with the word FREE and spend more time “looking for the catch” than understanding its simplicity.

Thanks to my sponsors and vendors over the years, our local NAPA stores, being my biggest supporter, (thank you Ernie and Henry) and sponsor at this time, we can donate to you the customer, a set of NAPA high-quality pads or shoes for FREE. The brake job is all of the same; there are no overselling or gimmicks, if you need brakes, then it is the same as usual EXCEPT that you do not have to pay for the brake pads or shoes. That’s a savings to you of $73.00 to $100.00 plus. Plus, you’ll receive a nifty bright yellow shirt that proclaims that you participated in this program.

At the end of the month, we tally up all of the brake work that we performed for the month and Gregg’s Automotive writes a check to Autism Awareness Foundation of Charlotte County for 10% of that number. My goal this year is to write at LEAST a $2000.00 check. This money stays in Charlotte County and goes directly to the classrooms that need supplies, build outs, etc. It doesn’t get co-mingled with the Board of Education etc. What other charity can boast that!

Just in case you know a family or individual that has Autism in it they’re in good company. Some other Autistic individuals were Thomas Jefferson, Hans Christian Anderson, Amadeus Mozart, Michelangelo, Nikola Tesla, and Albert Einstein.

Help me, help this foundation.

Thank you,
Gregg Marrapodi

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