10 – What Makes Sturken Auto & RV Different From A New Car Dealer?

VALUE! We offer a far more personal experience. Our goal is NOT to make the cash register ring and rake up as much profit as possible. Our goal is to repair your vehicle properly using parts appropriate for the job necessary. And, to do so in a respectful manner while educating you as to the “why” we need to do “that”

There are often many options when repairing your car.  We try to give you a choice when there is one so you can make an informed decision as to what might work for you at any given time.  No scare tactics here; just the facts and observations.

We encourage you to do your homework.  See what others say about Sturken’s. The reviews are out there. We have been repairing cars for over 50 years and chances are if you ask a few folks about us they will have heard of us.

If you have a accident the team members at Sturken’s will do everything they can to make the best of a bad situation.  If you need repair or maintenance on your car, truck or RV, we will be glad to help.  Without happy clients that refer us to friends and family, we wouldn’t have a business. And we never forget that!

Make it safe and reliable…. Make it Sturken’s!

9 – Update: NHTSA’s August RV-Related Recall List

Print September 22, 2011 by RV Business  Leave a Comment

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued the latest recalls related to the RV industry:

• Cummins is recalling certain ISB6.7, ISC8.3, ISL9, ISX11.9, and ISX15 engines shipped from September 2010 through December 2010 to various vehicle manufacturers. These engines were installed in recreational vehicles, emergency vehicles, buses, and certain truck applications. The V-band clamp assembly, part numbers Q187684, Q187685, AND Q187686, used to connect the inlet and outlet cone sections to the Diesel Oxidation Catalyst (DOC)/Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) include a T-bolt which can fracture and fail when subjected to stress or load. A fracture or failure of the T-bolt may cause the clamp to loosen and the inlet or outlet sections attached to the DOC/DPF housing to disconnect. Cummins is working with the vehicle manufacturers to identify and notify owners. The safety recall is expected to begin during September 2011.

• Fleetwood RV is recalling certain model year 2010 American Eagle, American Tradition, Discovery, Revolution LE, and Model Year 2011 American Eagle, American Heritage, American Tradition, Bounder, Bounder Classic, Discovery, Expedition, Providence, Revolution LE, and Southwind Class A motorhomes equipped with Murray or Siemens brand circuit breakers. These circuit breakers have a non-conforming “spring clip” plug-in assembly that breaks or fails to provide sufficient force to maintain a proper electrical connection in the panel board. The safety recall began on August 25, 2011.

• Winnebago is recalling certain model year 2012 ERA motorhomes manufactured from November 11, 2010, through July 13, 2011, for failing to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 120, “Tire Selection and Rims for Motor Vehicles other than Passenger Cars.” These vehicles are equipped with the wrong vehicle weight label. Owners will be provided with new labels and installation instructions. At the customer’s option, a dealer can perform the installation for them. This service will be performed free of charge. The safety recall began on August 19, 2011.

• Airstream is recalling certain model year 2011-2012 Avenue coaches manufactured from May 10, 2010, through July 29, 2011. The driver’s and passenger’s seat swivel mechanism locking pin could loosen and become disengaged from the swivel mechanism allowing the seat to swivel back and forth going down the road. Airstream will notify owners, and dealers will repair the coaches free of charge. The safety recall began on August 19, 2011.

• Tiffin is recalling certain model year 2010-2012 Phaeton motorhomes with floorplans QBH, QKH, and QTH that are built with 2010 EPA-certified engines on Powerglide chassis. The exhaust pipe is mounted too close to the underside of the floor. Melting of the insulation can occur, possibly resulting in a fire. Tiffin will notify owners, and dealers will attach a heat shield to the bottom of the floor and an insulating sock or blanket will be wrapped around the exhaust pipe. These repairs will be performed free of charge. The recall is expected to begin during September 2011

• Spartan is recalling certain model year 2010, 2011, and 2012 recreational vehicles, models MM, K2, K3, Bus, Furion, Gladiator, and Metro Star, manufactured from September 29, 2010, through June 20, 2011, equipped with a Cummins ISB, ISC, ISL, or ISX diesel engine. The V-band clamp assembly, part numbers Q187684, Q187685, and Q187686, used to connect the inlet and outlet cone sections to the Diesel Oxidation Catalyst (DOC)/Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) include a T-bolt which can fracture and fail when subjected to stress or load. Spartan is working with Cummins to identify and notify owners of the recall campaign. Repairs will be performed by authorized Cummins dealers free of charge. The safety recall began on September 12, 2011.

• Navistar is recalling certain model year 2011 Monaco Vesta and Holiday Rambler Trip recreational vehicles manufactured from May 28, 2010, through May 18, 2011. The fuse in the high beam headlight electrical circuit may blow under normal operating conditions disabling the headlights without warning, possibly resulting in reduced driver visibility. Navistar intends to send out an interim notice to owners if parts will not be available before October 14, 2011.

• Dutchmen is recalling certain model year 2011-2012 Rubicon travel trailers manufactured from December 8, 2010, through July 15, 2011. These vehicles may have been manufactured with the exterior furnace vent not installed in the sidewall of the trailer. The furnace can run without the proper exhaust ventilation and release carbon monoxide to the interior of the unit. Dealers will inspect the trailer to verify the furnace exhaust is present and install one if necessary free of charge. The safety recall began on August 26, 2011.

• Winnebago is recalling certain model year 2009-2012 Winnebago Access, Access Premier, Chalet and Model Year 2011 Itasca Impulse, and Impulse Silver motorhomes manufactured from March 5, 2008, through April 28, 2011. These vehicles may have the potential for the propane supply hose to make contact with the metal door frame. Dealers will check to make sure the propane supply hose is not damaged and replace it if necessary and add a clamp to route hose away from any unfriendly surfaces. This service will be performed free of charge. The safety recall began on August 19, 2011.

• Jayco is recalling certain model year 2011 Seneca Class C motorhomes, series 36FK and 37FS, manufactured from May 18, 2011, through July 13, 2011. These vehicles may have insufficiently torqued bolts attaching the trailer hitch to the motorhome frame. Loose hitch bolts could result in the hitch separating from the frame. The safety recall is expected to begin during September 2011.

• Carriage is recalling certain model year 2009-2011 Cameo, Carri-Lite, model year 2010-2011 Royals, and model year 2009 Domani fifth-wheel trailers with generator transfer switches. The generator transfer switch may not be manufactured or installed to the proper specification causing a potential for excessive heat build up inside the switch. Dealers will inspect the generator transfer switches and replace them as necessary, free of charge. The safety recall is expected to begin during September 2011.

• Thor Motor Coach (TMC) is recalling certain model year 2010 and 2011 Damon Tuscany, Astoria, and Essence recreational vehicles and model year 2011 and 2012 TMC Tuscany and Astoria recreational vehicles manufactured from May 7, 2009, through August 12, 2011. The circuit breaker for the windshield wiper motor is insufficient for the load. The breaker should have a 15-amp rating, however the vehicle was built with one rated at 10 amps. The windshield wiper will stop operating if the breaker trips due to a circuit overload. TMC will notify owners, and dealers will exchange the breaker with a 15-amp one, free of charge. TMC has not provided an expected start date for the recall.

• Thor motor coach (TMC) is recalling certain model year 2011-2012 Windsport and Hurricane motorhomes manufactured from September 3, 2010, through August 18, 2011.on these vehicles, the exhaust system is close to a vehicle storage compartment. Heat can build up in this area. TMC will notify owners, and dealers will install a heat shield to protect the storage compartment from the heat generated by the exhaust. This service will be performed free of charge. The safety recall is expected to begin during September 2011.

• Motor Coach Industries, Inc. (MCI) is recalling certain model year 2011 E4500 and J4500 motor coaches manufactured from December 2010 through January 2011, equipped with a Cummins ISX 11.9 diesel engine. The V-band clamp assembly, part numbers Q187684, Q187685, and Q187686, used to connect the inlet and outlet cone sections to the Diesel Oxidation Catalyst (DOC)/Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) include a T-bolt which can fracture and fail when subjected to stress or load. A fracture or failure of the T-bolt may cause the clamp to loosen and the inlet or outlet sections attached to the DOC/DPF housing to disconnect. MCI will notify owners, and repairs will be performed by authorized Cummins dealers free of charge. The safety recall is expected to begin during September 2011.


• Tiffin motorhomes is recalling certain model year 2007-2011 Phaeton, MY 2008-2010 Bus, and MY 2010 Allegro motorhomes equipped with Kongsberg automotive adjustable brake pedals. The adjustable brake pedal arm may loosen allowing the arm to rotate around its shaft and swing in front of the accelerator pedal, reducing braking function. Daimler Trucks (DTNA), the manufacturer of the chassis, is performing recall repairs and notification to owners. The owners were initially notified by DTNA on December 22, 2009, and a follow up notice was mailed to owners on July 20, 2011.





8 – Improving the ride on your R4R or RR4R Roadmaster RV Chassis

If you are looking to improve the ride on your Class A – Roadmaster motor home, look no further then Source Engineering.

Source Engineering has designed several suspension upgrades that not only enhance the comfort of your ride but they also give you tremendous peace of mind.  When a complete suspension upgrade is installed one the first things you notice is less stress behind the wheel.   It almost doesn’t matter which proprietary components you purchase for your coach, the result is always an improved ride.

If your Class A motor home does not give you a Class A ride, go to www.rvchassis.com (Source Engineering website) to see if it can be improved.

As a dealer and installer of the outstanding Source Engineering products we can vouch for a few things.  The parts are well engineered for their intended purpose, well made and they work!

Our clients are always pleased with their “new coach” ride and improved handling.

Take it from us, upgrading your suspension will be the best investment you can make.

Give us a call to review the ride improvements that may be right for you.  We’ll be happy to speak to you about any improvement possibilities.

Why not make the investment to drive your dream in comfort, as hundreds already have?

Sturken Auto & RV Repair (408) 295-7195

San Jose 95133

7 – What is Paint Blending?

Paint blending is a special process that involves spraying new paint in a gradual pattern so that at the human eye cannot detect color variance or a start and stop point.

That sounds pretty straight forward but in the real world, it really is a work of art.

There are literally dozens and dozens of factors that can ultimately affect the colors we see when looking at partially repainting an automobile.

Did you k now that there is no such thing as factory paint? That’s right, car factories don’t make paint, they buy it.  And a car factory in Kentucky does not use the same paint as a car factory in Detroit even though they are building the same car and painting it the same color.  Often times there are 4-6 variables for the same color!  This is just the start of the difficulties.  Then add in wear and tear and fading and you can imagine what a modem automotive paint technician is up against.

Suffice it to say that a good paint tech is an artist and illusionist.  At the end of the day no matter how good of a repair the body shop has done, if the paint does not match perfectly, we have let the customer down.

Fortunately the crew at Sturken Auto Body has a perfected this process. We buy the best paint and paint products, train our folks well and do everything we can to assure that your paint repair has a matching show room finish.  If color matching is one of your concerns after you’ve had an accident, rest comfortably in knowing that Sturken’s guarantees that the paint we spray will match.

Call today for a personal tour of our paint department (408) 285-7195


6 – How often should I wax my car and is there an easy way to do it?

Waxing your car should be done at least twice a year. If you are using a pure wax (versus an abrasive cleaner/wax) you can wax your car as often as you would like.

The easiest way to wax your car is to do it in sections.  Always wash, rinse, and wax your car when the surface is cool. When waxing work in sections perhaps a quarter of the car at a time.  Focus on the top surfaces since they get the most sun damage and never get a break from ultra violet radiation.  With all of the U.V’s it is easy to understand why these surfaces become dull, chalky, and flaky before the rest of the finish.

So why do you say work in sections? Well this is for several reasons, first and foremost if you look at the task of waxing as several small jobs instead of one big job you are more likely to get it done.  You don’t have to wax your entire car in one stop.  Wax one section at a time until you slowly make your way around your vehicle. If you do this each time you wash your car and on a regular basis you will end up waxing your car completely twice a year or so. Another reason to wax in sections – it won’t wear you out as much. If you waxed your entire car in one session it will wear you out, and discourage you from doing it the next time.

The final reason – it takes a really long time to wax your car properly front to back, top to bottom. By all means go for it if you have the time and energy.  With the way our lives are now days, most of us cant’ spend the hours it takes to get it all done at once. The important thing is that you do wax your paint.

Newer cars have sophisticated paint jobs that are very expensive to replace. You will be proud and your car and it will have more resale value if the paint has a showroom finish years after it leaves the dealership.  Just take some time to care for your paint.

If you don’t’ have the time or the energy to wax it yourself our detail crew would be happy to do it for you. Give Sturken Auto and RV Repair a call today to schedule an appointment. It doesn’t get any easier then that! (408) 295-7195

5 – Do I need to buy name brand gas?

Technically no.  But, your engine and it’s components might be happier if you did. Quality fuel has better refinement than lesser refined fuel.  Like wine, if you start off with better grapes you’ll end up with better wine.  A higher grade of crude oil that has better refinement will end up as a better grade of fuel. (Regardless of octane ratings).

Refiners have a choice when producing fuel. Lower quality fuels have less refinement. Less refinement means undesirable compounds for your engine and fuel system.

Things like olefins and di-olefins any numbers of undesirable compounds are left in gasolines that are less refined. Your engine has to be able to rid itself of these or long term problems can arise.

Poor quality fuels can raise your vehicles emissions, lower fuel mileage cause stumbling, rough idle, clogs and deposits in places that wouldn’t have them. In short long term use of cheap fuel, will probably cause long term and costly repairs down the line.

So what should you do? By name brand fuel as often as you can. I’m not saying never buy cheap gas, but, if you do, do so in moderation. If you use quality fuels at least 50% of the time you’ll probably be okay. I say probably because there are dozens of variables that can change the outcome. Ultimately you need to pay attention to how your car runs, responds, and your fuel millage.

Regardless of what fuels you use it would still be a good idea to use a fuel system cleaner occasionally to make sure your fuel system and engine run at 100% efficiency all of the time.  Do so and you won’t run into any breakdown issues because of a clogged or dirty fuel system.

Sturken Automotive can help your car truck or RV fuel system run at optimum levels, ALL of the time. Ask us about it the next time you’re in for preventative maintenance.

4 – Treat your car like a plane and make it last

What is the difference between an aircraft that doesn’t get preventative maintenance and a car that doesn’t?  The car’s drivers can pull over if their car quits and call a tow truck. The plane’s pilot is going to die. Think that you might handle maintenance differently if your car was a plane?  You bet you would as death is not a good option.

Federal law requires aircraft maintenance every 100 hours or so.  If you don’t get your aircraft signed off by a certified mechanic the plane is “grounded” and you can’t use it.  If it were the same for automotive care, our experience is that 80% of the cars on the road would be “grounded”. That is a huge percentage! That means 8 in 10 of the cars on the road wouldn’t be on the road for lack of maintenance.

Twenty percent of the cars we see daily are in excellent mechanical condition and virtually all of those are less than 2 years old.  Take them out of the equation and almost 100% of our inspected vehicles need some type of service!

Do your best to take care of your car, truck, or RV. You may not kill yourself if your car quits but your wallet could suffer shock and death if you avoid regular maintenance.

See us at Sturken’s automotive at least twice a year to keep your vehicle “airworthy”.

3 – What does “AAA approved” mean to me?

It means our shop passed a rigorous set of standards. We are carefully reviewed by AAA each quarter to make sure that we are meeting AAA’s tough standards.  It means that our clients are consistently happy with the way that they are treated and the repairs that we perform, and we have the tools and the qualifications to do well on all counts.

We are reliable and fair. If there are ever complaints that can’t be resolved between us and our clients, then we agree to be bound by AAA’s resolution to make things right for our mutual customer. We guarantee our repairs for 24 month or 24,000 miles too.

The bottom line, we work to a higher standard because we choose to. If you are an AAA member make sure to let us know.  Show your AAA card and receive a labor discount up to $100.00 – (restrictions apply)

Sturken Automotive and RV, San Jose, CA 408-295-7195

2 – How To Stay Out Of A Body Shop

The number one rule (you guessed it): SLOWDOWN. No matter what the circumstances, heavy traffic, wet or icy roads, inattentive drivers, a blow-out, you name it, if you are driving slower you have more time to react and avoid bad things.

Be aware. My years of auto racing really highlighted this one. You should always know what going on around you and try to have an out. That means being proactive and not reactive. If a guy is tailgating you, move over. Let the maniac hit the next guy, not you. Don’t drive on the right side of anyone (real blind spot) for very long. Most folks drift to the right! And, in many of the newer cars it is real hard to see over your shoulder anyway.

Focus on the road. Sounds simple enough but with today’s lifestyles and technology, it is easier said than done. Cell phones, I Pods, the radio, CD’S, DVD players, GPS, makeup, shavers, not mention kids in the backseat. Is any of that more important than being safe? Pull over and stop if you really need to address any of that.

When making right turns, don’t assume the guy in front of you already went. Most folks look over their shoulder to check traffic and start to go before double checking that the guy in front has really gone. We see this one every week. Goes back to number one, “don’t be in such a hurry.”

When backing up, remember that cars turn much faster when backing than when going forward. Folks that park in underground parking lots or under car ports pay special attention here. If you turn it too much while backing up, you are liable to leave a portion of your front end wrapped around a pole or structure. Make sure you’ve cleared the closest object before you crank the wheel all the way. Here’s an obvious one ( but it never hurts to review.) Don’t drink and drive. Not everyone has a horrible collision that kills people. Sometimes it’s just damage to you and your car or the fence or garage post. But the results are the same…unnecessary damage.

Tired drivers are liable for more damage then drunk drivers. Get some good rest before you drive and if you are on the road and you get tired, pull over and take a quick cat nap. It’s amazing what that can do to recharge your battery. Get directions before you leave and commit them to memory or pull over and read them again. Driving while reading a map or looking at a GPS is a no-no. Driving while calling for directions, then writing them down while driving and ultimately reading them again while driving; that’s a real bad idea.

I hope you heed these words of caution. If not, the crew at Sturken Auto Body will be here for you!

Auto Body Repair

1 – The Most Overlooked RV System

What do you think is the most overlooked system in or on a Recreational Vehicle? If you said “the Roof” you would be correct. The most probable reason – out of sight out of mind.

For the most part we are visual creatures. If we see it or hear it we respond accordingly. But if we have no interior questions we generally don’t pay attention. Besides the roof is way up “there” and one would need to be pretty nifty on a ladder just to see it.
So if you did manage to get on your RV roof would you know what to look for? My experience is, no. One in ten of our clients actually understand their roofing system and how to inspect it. That means 90% of RV owners don’t. Unfortunately for them, if no one inspects it for them, they are likely to have water leaks over time and possibly large problems later.

If your roof is over 3 years old and has not been serviced, chances are it has some leaks. And believe me, you need a zero leak tolerance in an RV.

You see RV roofs are not designed to last forever. (There is no answer as to how long your roof will last since there are numerous variables that come into play) If you own a modern RV it probably has a “membrane” type of roof. This is most cases is some type of manmade rubber. These membranes lay out nice and are flexible and waterproof when they are in good condition. The main problem is not in the membrane itself but in the holes that are cut into them to accommodate: vents, skylights, antennas and the like.

Whenever a roof penetration is made that area needs to be water tight yet flexible. Considering the large amount of expansion and contraction that can occur between the dog days of summer and the frigid winter, there can be up to a quarter inch of movement at each and every joint, seam or opening on the RV’s roof.

The average RV may have 5 or more different types of materials on its roof. Because each of these materials is of varying types and thicknesses, each has a different degree of reaction to the weather. This is the major reason why leaks happen. There are even more forces at work then I will detail here but it is safe to say that bouncing down the highway at 55-65 mph and the suns constant bombardment of ultra violet radiation or even a tree’s litter, don’t help things one bit.

Most leaks start small as either pinholes or small cracks. If you added all of the pinholes or tiny cracks together they might make up the diameter of a small pipe. If you turn on a water facet in your bathroom sink left it at a drip level and let it go unattended for months (like and RV sitting in winter storage) how long do you think it would take before the cabinets, carpet, sub floor and counter would be soaked, mildewed and rotten? (Maybe a couple of weeks at best.) So you can imagine the damage on RV can suffer if left with even the smallest leaks for months on end.

Unchecked water leaks can take the fun out of your RV in short order. Whether it is a soggy carpet, bed or, just the wet dark smell of mildew. It’s no fun.

Because the average motor home is stored more than 50% of its life, (and most folks store their RV somewhere other than in their driveway) It’s easy to understand why this type of damage is so prevalent.

So what can be done about preventing roof damage? Inspect, Inspect, Inspect. Then seal, seal, seal! There is no short cut about it. This just has to be done. If you have been trained on how to make things watertight then you might be able to do the inspections yourself. If not, then have your roof inspected by an RV professional.

Sturken’s RV & Auto recommends inspecting your roof twice a year at the minimum, once at the beginning of the season and once at the end. A bad roof on your RV is probably the most expensive replacement item that you can undertake in an RV. But, it does not have to be that way… Remember that Preventable maintenance is always cheaper then repairs.

Call us today to schedule your roof inspection (408)-295-7195