The Key to It

Recently I lost both keys to my Jeep. I know, don’t ask, it’s embarrassing to admit and subsequently I found one of them. Before I found that one though I had to have a key fob programmed by a locksmith. As soon as I lost the first one I went on ebay and purchased a blank fob so I could have a second one made. When I lost the 2nd one a couple of days later I was prepared with my blank fob to have it programmed by the locksmith. The process for that is to have the dealer issue you the codes that are specific to your vehicle by giving them your VIN number, once you have that code a blank fob can be programmed. The fee for that will start at around $150 depending on your location, so it isn’t cheap. BTW, the whole process from the dealer was $420 so this is a significant savings.

Of course with one key in hand I’m still at a disadvantage so I ordered 2 more blank key fobs on ebay to make 2 more. Now this is where it gets interesting because IF you have 2 working fobs (and this is for most new cars) you can program the 3rd one on your own in about 30 seconds.  Now remember I had one made, ordered 2 more blanks and then found one of the originals giving me 2 working and 2 blanks. It was going to cost me an additional $150 to have the 2nd one made had I not found it. The process is so simple a child could literally do it.




You take working key 1, put it in the ignition and turn the key to on (not starting it, just on) and wait 10 secs and turn off. Insert 2nd working key do the same, after 10 secs a bing will sound and you remove the key (on my dashboard it said Programming in Process). Now you enter the blank key, do the same and wait 20 secs until it bings again and your key is programmed. Couldn’t be easier and I highly recommend that if you now have 2 working fobs immediately get a third (I paid $15) and do this process yourself so you don’t have to spend all that money if you lose one. Remember the object is to have 2 keys and if you only have one that works then you’ll have to spend big bucks to make a second. For a mere $15 you have a third backup. Of course I now have 4, but hey, it’s better than 1. When ordering the blank fob just be very careful about ordering the correct one, some may look similar but can be different.

I know this is the type of thing you will read and think “I better get on that”, and you’re right, do it NOW!


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Maintenance Cost :- The Real Denominator

A guest blog from my friend Lisa Coffey.



Finding the right car that fits in your budget can really be about lot more than just MPG and MSRP.The maintenance of the car is a huge expense that will be there as long as you have the vehicle, it starts to pinch even more once the factory warranty is over. Maintenance cost is a must to know thing to make a fairly educative decision. we compare two hot selling cars which carry more than one similarities but can be a lot different when it comes to repair costs.

Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla are both the best-selling compact sedans in North America. Whereas in the United States of America, the civic is considered to be the second-longest running nameplate. But both the cars are highly reliable and the decision while comparing both comes down to the buyer’s selections or may be to the discounts that dealer offers.

So, here is a detailed view of the respective cars on the basis of their maintenance services:

Toyota Corolla Vs Honda Civic

Both Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic have long battled for primacy in the compact sedan class. Whereas there are some similarities between the models, the Civic somehow finds its way to create an alcove, pulling itself apart from the Toyota car. The Civic and Corolla both come with the 1.8 Liter Inline four cylinder engines, which cannot be equated identical to the performance. The 2015 Civic is competent of 143 horsepower and 129 pound-feet of the torque at about 4300 RPM. This represents the real picture of outputs when compared with the capabilities of Toyota Corolla. The latest Corolla comes with the ability in order to achieve 132 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque at 4400 RPM. Here the Civic puts its engine for the better usage and it undoubtedly makes a significant difference.


General Specs: Honda Civic 2015 Toyota Corolla 2015




ENGINE TYPE Turbocharged and intercooled inline-4,

aluminum block and head


DOHC 16-valve inline-4,

aluminum block and head, direct injection


FUEL ECONOMY EPA city/highway driving (C/D est): 32/42 mpg

C/D observed: 28 mpg

EPA city/highway driving: 29/37 mpg

C/D observed: 24 mpg


So the now question is, which one provides you with a better ownership cost? Which one will cost you the least when talking about the expenses involved in maintenance services?

Let’s now compare Some common maintenance services that almost every car goes through:

How much does it cost for replacing the Side View Mirror?

The estimated cost for replacing the Side View Mirror which was accidentally swiped off by the truck that made a surprise move into the lane you were moving into, will cost approximately $150-$200 for the ones who owns Honda Civic 2015 and $250-$300 for those driving Toyota Corolla.

How much Does it cost for replacing the Bumpers?

The estimated cost for replacing the front or the back bumper of Honda Civic 2015 is $117-$225, whereas it will cost $300-$400 for the ones who own Toyota Corolla 2015.

What is the average cost of the Windshield Replacement?

The Windshield repair cost is not a fixed amount. It varies upon the type of the repair, type and severity of the damage and most importantly what auto glass service you go for.

So, the replacement or repair cost may be charged upto $507.69 to $571.99 for the ones who owns Honda Civic 2015 and $347.25- $479.80 for Toyota Corolla owners.


Other Maintenance Cost Comparison:


Maintenance Service Honda Civic 2015 (Cost) Toyota Corolla 2015 (Cost)
Battery Replacement $372 $497
Brake Pad Replacement $152 $149
AC Condenser $530 $429
Service Battery/ Cables $184 $150
Serpentine/ Drive Belt Replacement $110 $98




So although the repair cost does differ for both the vehicles but it is not big enough a difference that can change your decision. specially when the automobiles compared are both very established brands in themselves. we will be more than happy to know your considerations.

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A New Beginning

As some of you know I have closed my business, ZP Auto, Inc. There is a great article on Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York about it. I am going to be switching this blog up a bit to be more inclusive of other service industries because lets face it, we’re getting screwed over everywhere we go. Have you called a plumber, electrician or even bought anything new that lasts more than 2 years? It’s a nightmare out there and I ask you to send me stories about what is happening to you and lets see if we can come up with any viable strategies to get through the process.

I will start with my own recent situation of the non draining dishwasher I purchased only 1 year and 3 months ago. I didn’t even install it for a few months so it should be still under warranty, ha!


After calling the manufacturer, I unbelievably was able to secure what is called a concession. This means that they are not really warranting the item, they are merely allowing through their kind heartedness, the ability for me to get this job done mostly for free. Now concessions are meted out by item, so there is a parts concession and a labor concession. These can be given out on an individual basis so make sure you ask for both. The downside to concessions is that the repair company can charge you for a visit so make sure that doesn’t happen either.

Just getting through to the repair company that the manufacturer refers you to can be time consuming. After numerous unsuccessful tries I finally called the manufacturer back and requested they get them on the line and conference us to figure out when they were coming (somehow they never answered the phone for me but did so right away for them). Before they arrive, if you can, try to make sure that there isn’t any detritus stuck where it shouldn’t be, this can cause your concession to go bye bye (take that drain cover off and clean out the inside of the well). One last piece of advice and this is a weird one, make sure your home is not too dirty. My conversation with the repairman led us to the topic of how some people’s homes are so filthy that they will automatically reject concessions (of course they don’t openly admit this) because they can use the excuse that the owner’s negligence caused the issue.

As with all my advice, be nice but be firm, get them on your side. Losing it almost never helps (I say almost because sometimes you can’t help it and it somehow just works).

I’m in the first phase of this process which means someone showed up and diagnosed the issue and I am now waiting 2 weeks for parts. I shouldn’t complain because at least we’re on the right track so far.

Please let me know of your stories and hopefully we can all work through this together.



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Mechanic Advisor Survey

Love this survey by Mechanic Advisor.  Now if we could just get mechanic shops to read it and change their shoddy ways.

A survey analyzed over 900 visitor responses to determine customer behavior in relation to finding, using, and trusting automotive mechanic shops and the motivations for their choices.

BOSTON, MA (April 2014) – Nearly two-thirds of women searching for a mechanic say that reputation is the most important factor when making a decision on where to service their vehicle. In a survey conducted, a leading mechanic search engine, 62.1% of women named “reputation” as the most important thing they look for when choosing a mechanic.

Reputation was also the most important overall factor given by both men and women, with over 54% indicating it was the most important in their decision making process, followed by price (30.7%), communication (6%), speed of service (6%), cleanliness (2%), and honesty (0.7%).

However, when looking deeper into the data, there were some interesting results. 75% of people between the ages of 18-24 indicated “price” as the most important factor when choosing a mechanic, which was in stark contrast to people above the age of 65, of whom only 12.5% indicated “price” as the most important factor.

woman and mechanic


When it comes to trust, a common concern among prospective automotive repair customers, price was the most compelling factor. When asked “What is most likely to cause you to distrust a mechanic?” 40.7% of respondents indicated “higher than usual prices” as the leading factor. 22.7% of respondents named “negative online reviews” Among those above the age of 65, 35.7% said “negative online reviews” were the leading factor.

“Poor communication skills” and “Unclean shop and service area” tied for third place with 16.7% and 16% of respondents naming them as the most likely cause of distrust, respectively. And a “lack of an online presence” was named by 3.3% of respondents.

Finding a Mechanic

Unsurprisingly, the highest percentage of respondents found their last mechanic online, with over 32% indicating “online search” as the method they used to find their last mechanic. 50% of people between the ages of 35 and 44 found their mechanic through an online search.  A “referral from someone” was a close second with 30% answering as such, followed by “I drove by their shop and noticed it” (21.3%) and “print advertising” (12.6%) and “radio advertising” (3.3%) picking up the rest.

Frequency of Repair

Despite rapid advances in automotive technology, car owners still make frequent visits to mechanics for repairs. 70% of respondents say that they repair their car “2 or more times per year,” with slightly more than a quarter of respondents (28%) getting away with only “1 time per year.”

Interestingly enough, 17.3% of respondents answered “5 or more times per year” when asked for the frequency of repairs, although it’s unclear if this is a result of unreliable vehicles or poor preventative maintenance.

Types of Shops

When asked “What type of mechanic shop do you tend to trust most?” nearly half of respondents (46.7%) answered “Family-owned shops.” “Small one-owner shops” was a relatively close second with 30.7% of respondents. “Mobile (traveling) mechanics” got a 10% response with “Multi-shop chains” and “Nationwide corporate chains” garnering 6% and 4% respectively.

Most Influential

When asked “Which of the following would be most influential to you when deciding where to repair your vehicle?” the top overall results were “Recommendation from family/friend” (26%) and “Online shop reviews” (24%).

“Low price” (22.7%) and “Convenience of location”(18.7%) were followed by “Gut instinct” (5.3%) as the other most influential factors.

When looking deeper into the data, it’s revealed that 33% of women indicated “Online shop reviews” as their most influential criteria, and out of people aged 18-24, 42.9% responded with “Online shop reviews.”

Methodology analyzed data from a several month-long survey from over 900 visitor responses in order to determine customer behavior in relation to finding, using, and trusting automotive mechanic shops and the motivations for their choices.

About is the largest online mechanic database in the US. Founded in 2006, it has grown into a premier website for consumers to research and connect with reputable local mechanics for routine and specialty automotive repair. The website features customer reviews, articles, and detailed profiles of over 500,000 mechanics across the country. Mechanic Advisor is headquartered in Boston, MA.



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Look, Direct Capital listed this blog at #16 of the 50 Top Automotive blogs!!

16. Don’t Get Wrenched

Don’t Get Wrenched is a site designed to help auto repair customers know as much as possible about auto repair so that they can protect themselves from costly repair costs. Archives date back to January 2011 and feature the knowledge of Elayne Kling, owner of a downtown Manhattan auto repair shop for 20 years. She especially loves sharing her wisdom and helping women and men learn how to handle repair shops and become more informed customers.

Three posts we like from Don’t Get Wrenched:

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Hold on to your catalytic converters and I mean that literally. In the past month we have seen 4 vehicles that have had theirs cut off. Catalytic converters have platinum in them and therefore they are worth some money in the salvage market. Here in Brooklyn thieves are going around and cutting them off. Customers return to their cars after parking them overnight, start them up and are blasted by the cacophony of an exhaustless vehicle.

missing cat

Cats are expensive as well and insurance companies will pay a claim on this theft, minus your deductible, but they love to go online and get the cheapest price for the lowest quality and pay out that rate. In most cases I don’t recommend the cheap cats because they’ve been known to last for only a brief period and they are needed to pass state inspections so you’ll need one to last long term.

There isn’t even anything we can do to help customers mitigate this in the future, a pipe is easy to cut away with the right tools. So the best you can do is to be aware of where you are parking your vehicle. If it looks sketchy at all, move on.

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To Sell or Not

I’m constantly being asked this question and while I’ve addressed this before, I’m happy to rehash it again. “When should I get rid of my old car and buy a new one?” Now many websites love to go over this and they have a very technical view of the whole thing but mine is much simpler. WHEN YOU CAN AFFORD ONE.

If you haven’t guessed by now, I am a very practical person and not a very sentimental one. I’m not one of those people who names my cars or holds onto them because they have some sentimental value to me.
They are tools to be used to get me from one place to another and hopefully be comfortable while doing so, period.
To me a newer Jeep is better than an older one.


My advice is to do the math. If the amount of money you are spending on your car is starting to equal what you could spend on a newer one (don’t forget to factor in the amount you will gain by selling the old one), my advice would be to get a newer one. If you are so in love with your car that you can’t give it up (believe me there are plenty of you out there) then by all means, dump all your life savings into it, but don’t come crying to me when you’re broken down on the side of the road without a dime to your name. I know that sounds harsh but so many people endlessly spend money on “Edwina” because she’s a part of the family.  I’m sorry, NO. 

Oh and if you have a classic car then ignore all of the above. Go ahead and
dump some money into that, up to a point, we need to preserve as many of those
as possible.

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