Help bring back the safety portion of the Inspection Program in New Jersey
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Breaker, Breaker… In my many years of repairing cars I’ve helped out a countless number of other shops with their electrical problems. Some shops I would see a few times a month, and others only once in awhile. This was years before the internet was around, and cell phones were only a fad and way to expensive to have. So, most everything was done by a land line or over the CB radio. Back in the mid 80’s and 90’s I had one shop that I talked with nearly every day. Great guys, but not so great as mechanics. The owners name was Joe. His shop was small and seemed to be a place for wayward towed vehicles and obscure customers looking for dirt cheap repairs. His main business was his tow service, and the repair shop seemed to be there just to fill in the gaps on those slow days. One afternoon I got a call from Joe about a car his crew had given up on. They threw the parts cannon at it, but couldn’t get this car to come back to life. Joe was with tows, and needed the mechanics he had to drive the other tow trucks. This particular car had been in his shop for quite some time and I don't think the customer was too happy about it. So, to speed things up a bit, he dropped it off at my shop. “I’ll be on the road all day. I've got to get back out there. I've got tows lined up all day. If you get it going, could ya run it back to my shop,” Joe said, as he made a dash for his tow truck. “No problem Joe, I’ll get right on it,” I said, just as he drove off. The car was an 80’s GM. I could see all kinds of shiny new components under the hood, and could tell they put a lot of effort into swapping parts to find out what was going on. The symptom was; if you flipped the key to the crank position it would immediately start, but die just as quickly. The parts they changed were the predictable parts cannon fodder that the typical parts slapper would try. Tune-up parts, an IAC, TPS, MAP, ECM, etc… etc… all of which might, could, should’ve, probably, maybe, and of course, eventually with enough darts thrown at it, could have hit the target and fixed it. But it didn’t. I wasn’t about to go that route. Time for some real diagnostics and not just shoot from the hip. Why not start with the basics- fuel, air, and fire. Spark was good, timing looked good, and the intake had a good air pull. I gave it a shot of carb. cleaner, and as long as I kept spraying… it kept running. Ok, time to check the fuel pressure. Interesting... there was pressure. Hmmm, now what to do? The next obvious thing (to me) was to check fuel volume. I disconnected a fuel line and gave the key a flick into start. The fuel shot out into the drainage bucket, but then trickled to a stop. I did it a second time. Not as much fuel made it out this time, but the scenario was basically the same. It was always a quick burst followed by a trickle. Maybe I should look at that gas gauge. Well, wouldn’t ya know it, the gauge is ready E. It had just enough in the tank to pressurize the fuel lines but not enough to keep it going. Might as well grab a gas can, and put some in the tank. I’ll try it again… vroom, vroom, vroom, alright! It’s running great! Looks to me as if the entire problem was that it was out of gas. However, with all the new parts they installed, I couldn’t be sure if this was the 'only' problem or an after affect of having the car in the shop so long while trying to solve another problem. It could have been any one of the other components (within reason) they changed that really 'did' need to be changed. Later that day I drove the car back to Joe’s shop. He wasn’t there, but his dispatcher was in the office sorting out tow tickets and monitoring the CB with the volume up full blast. In the background you could hear the CB chatter from all the area’s tow companies. About then I heard Joe’s voice over the CB, “Did Gonzo call yet? Need to check in on him, we need to get that car back to the owner.” “He just walked in Joe, over,” the dispatcher told him. “So what was wrong with it,” Joe asked between the squelch of the CB radio and all the other chatter from the other tow companies. The dispatcher turned to me and pointed at the mic. So, I told him . The dispatcher, with a stunned look on his face, said, “I can’t tell him that. He is going to be so pissed.” “I don’t think you should either. At least not until he gets back,” I said, while breaking into an ear to ear smile. The CB comes back to life with Joe’s voice again; “So what did he find out, over,” Joe's frustration was showing through as his voice barked out of the CB speaker. The dispatcher said to me, " Old Joe sounds pretty pissed." I don’t know whether it was the way his day was going or how much time and money he's spent on this car. Either way, he’s not going to like this answer. “Go ahead… tell him,” I said to the dispatcher, still sitting there hold the mic button, “He wants the answer, so let him have it.” “Alright, Joe, are ya ready for this, over?" the dispatcher said, then waited for a response from Joe. "Yea, go ahead, over." "It was out of gas.” A dead silence came over the CB. No chatter, nothing, not another sound for what seemed to be an eternity. Then, all hell broke loose. Tow drivers from all over the city were razing poor Joe. The CB was full of laughter and goof ball comments, but not a word from Joe. Poor Joe, you asked for it, and now you got it. “Tell Joe to stop by the shop, he can settle up with me then,” I said, while trying to hold back the laughter. As I walked out the door, the CB chatter could be heard all the way to the parking lot, and the comments were still flying. It was one of the funniest moments I’ve ever had for doing nothing more than putting gas in a car. When Joe came up to pay the bill I told him I had a little something for him. I handed him a little tiny gas can on a key chain. I figured it might be a good reminder for him to always check the basics before loading up the parts cannon again. After all these years I’m sure he hasn’t forgotten about it, and I’ll bet he doesn’t tell too many people where he got that little gas can key chain from… but now, it wouldn't be so much on the CB, but over the internet.
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A new law in New Jersey forbids the sale of unsafe used tires. The legislation, signed by Gov. Chris Christie on Aug. 7, 2017, was supported by the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA), Tire Industry Association and the New Jersey Gas Station-C-Store Automotive Association.
The law fines businesses that sell tires that exhibit any of these unsafe conditions:
— tread depth of less than 1/16 inch measurable in any groove;
— damage exposing the reinforcing plies of the tire, including any cuts, cracks, bulges, punctures, scrapes or wear;
— improper repairs, including, but not limited to:
any repair to the sidewall or bead area of the tire; any repair made in the tread shoulder or belt edge area of the tire; any puncture that has not been sealed or patched on the inside and repaired with a cured rubber stem through the outside of the tire; any puncture repair of damage larger than 1/4 inch; — evidence of prior use of a temporary tire sealant without evidence of a subsequent proper repair;
defaced or missing tire identification number;
— inner liner or bead damage; or
— signs of internal separation, such as bulges or local areas of irregular tread wear.
Violators will be subject to a fine up to $500 for a first offense. A second offense will be considered a violation of the Consumer Fraud Act and subject to a penalty up to $10,000. Additional violations will be subject to a penalty of up to $20,000.
Anne Forristall Luke, CEO and president of the USTMA, said, “New Jersey has taken a bold step to protect motorists from high-risk used tires that have no business being put back into service on New Jersey roads."
The USTMA says its research shows more than 30 million used tires are available for sale nationally. The legislation does not ban all used tire sales. It targets used tires that have specific, well-established, unsafe conditions
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says worn-out tires are three times more likely to be involved in a crash than tires with sufficient tread depth. NHTSA crash statistics indicate about 200 fatalities and 6,000 injuries are attributed to tire-related causes annually.
The law was sponsored by Democrats Shavonda Sumter and Raj Mukherji.
Sumter said, "What initially seems like a good deal ultimately can be deadly in the market for tires. Retailers who sell damaged tires to consumers endanger not only their customers but also everyone else on the road. Banning the sale of damaged tires simply is a common-sense matter of public safety."
Mukherji said, "Drivers in New Jersey should be able to buy tires and rest assured that the items they've purchased are safe. The lower cost of used tires does not warrant putting lives across the state at risk. Damaged goods that put consumers in danger simply should not be on the market, especially when it comes to tires."
Those shops doing courtesy inspections how much time are you paying your tech's to do the inspection? I've read on some forums anywhere from .30-.50. I am attaching a link to one of our courtesy inspections to give you an idea of what we check during our inspection process. Also, what do you pay the technicians for oil change & rotations each?
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By Joe Marconi
Below is a link to a news video. It's about a mechanic that failed to do a proper inspection, and is now faced with manslaughter charges.
Investigators said Jalbert inspected Donald and Elizabeth Ibey's 1992 Chevrolet Corsica in May 2014, but didn’t inspect the car well enough before passing it. Elizabeth, 83, died in a car crash two months later. Her death could have been prevented, investigators said.