18 de Ago de 2022


Panama motorist strikes lucky

Although I am busy preparing for an extended book tour in Canada, I want readers to know that in this wonderful age of the internet, I w...

Although I am busy preparing for an extended book tour in Canada, I want readers to know that in this wonderful age of the internet, I will still be in available to answer your questions. Answers to many of your queries, especially concerning warranties you can find in my latest Lemon-Aid book, but if you can’t find the answer there, send me an e-mail, and I will make time to reply. Meanwhile I wish you trouble free driving, at least until I return.

Consumer Mailbag. Phil: Have you had any reports of fuel pump failures on diesel-equipped 2006 Hyundai Terracan SUVs operating here in Panama? I have one with less than 60,000 km on it and the dealer wanted me to pay over $3,000 for the part and labor. We finally agreed that my warranty was just under the wire and the repair was done for free.

I was first told that the part alone was a $2,000 item. Upon checking with independent suppliers, I found the part could be shipped in for half that price. What do you think?

Dear reader: I think you are one lucky Terracan owner, in spite of the fuel pump failure. I understand the problem was fixed for free under your warranty after you asked the dealer to check your warranty status, again. I think you were also wise to question the cost of the replaced part.

Fuel system failures are a common glitch with Terracans, says, http://www.hyundai-forums.com/t13840-starting-problems-terracan.htm.

It turns out some starting problems with diesels can be caused by defective camshaft sensors. Other hard-starting fixes involve replacing the temperature sensor or putting in an extra fuel pump between the diesel tank and the main fuel pump.

Panama and UK car sales plummeting. Sales of new cars in Panama have declined by about 28 percent so far this year, while sales in the UK have slumped to a 12-year-low. Panama dealers predict the buying downturn will be of a short duration.

Of course, would they be anything but upbeat? On the other hand, the European Union’s Industry Commissioner has warned that the long-term outlook for the European car industry is 'brutal' and predicted not all European manufacturers would survive the recession.

GM’s still burning through billions of bucks. Is there ever going to be any good news coming from the battered domestic and foreign auto industry?

Not if you were counting on GM’ annual results. 2008 was GM’s fourth straight year without a profit and it is the reason why the automaker has asked U.S. Treasury officials for as much as $16.6 billion in additional aid. GM, which has received $13.4 billion so far, said the request reflected a market that was deteriorating more rapidly than anticipated.

The net loss of $9.6 billion in GM’s fourth quarter compares with a loss of $1.5 billion in 2007 and represents the company’s sixth straight quarterly loss. In its last quarterly report in early November, GM said it could turn itself around and successfully lobbied lame-duck President George Bush to bail the company out. That’s the money GM is burning through now. No wonder Sweden (Saab) and Germany (Opel) have turned down GM’s bailout plea and the automaker’s own auditors hint the company can’t survive and would welcome a pre-packaged bankruptcy. Where were they three months or $13 billion ago?

Fiat: “Fix it again, Tony”. Automotive News, the auto industry bible says a Chrysler merger with the Italians could be a good thing: “Since Chrysler's quality and reliability reputation tends to be a little shabby right now, selling Fiat vehicles with a Dodge or Chrysler badge could immediately improve the image of those brands.”

WHAT? Merging Chrysler with Fiat would be like two drunks propping each other up. TIMBER!!!

Fat is unsafe at any speed. Here’s another reason to lose weight. Obese car occupants are more at risk in auto crashes than their lean counterparts. Researchers says there are two reasons for this: heavier mass and a risk-taking attitude.

"Crash Injury Risks for Obese Occupants," authors David Viano and Chantal Parenteau examined crash data from 1994 to 2003 and concluded that the risk of death in a crash increases with weight. What about attitude?

It was found that the obese are less likely to use seat belts because belts are too short or uncomfortable. Yet, belt use, cuts everyone’s injury risk by more than 60 percent.