38-Ford Announces Predictions for New Vehicle Technology

Ford Experts predict that sensor fusion, machine learning and “big data” will be among the next wave of technology in Ford vehicles—advancements that have significant implications for repairers.  New Ford models are becoming increasingly equipped with multiple sensors that heighten driver awareness, according to Ford.  For example, the 2013 Fusion has 145 actuators, 4,716 signals, and 74 sensors that monitor radar, sonar, cameras, accelerometers, temperature and rain. The sensors generate over 25 gigabytes of memory per hour that is processed by more than 70 computers.  Paul Mascarenas, Ford’s Chief Technology Officer, said in a prepared statement that the Fusion represents the future of Ford’s technological research and advancement.

From Ratchet & Wrench.com

37-Special Offer for PacBrake Products

Sturken Automotive & RV

 A proud re-seller and installation facility for PacBrake Products www.pacbrake.com.

Purchase a Pacbrake PRXB exhaust brake or a LoadLeash engine brake and receive 10% off the purchase price! 

Contact your  Service Advisor at Sturken’s RV to schedule your installation.

You will be glad you did!


Offer valid until June 1, 2013

36- Are Factory Parts Always the Best Options for my Car?

The answer is no. There are times when they are and times when they aren’t. The parts
supplied by the car companies while of good quality, are often more expensive than what they could be if supplied by other manufactures (aftermarket).

Many times the new car makers contract with the aftermarket to make their new car products.  But, when they do so, they stamp them with the original equipment (O.E.) stamp.  The ultimate seller of these parts, the new car dealers, has to mark up the prices substantially to make their margins.  This of course makes the parts more expensive to the end user.

If that same part if sold by the same supplier without the O.E. stamp and without the dealer mark-up, to the local parts store the end cost is substantially lower.  This is the
identical part at a much lower cost.  This usually happens with faster moving and popular parts such as brakes, water pumps and radiators.

In another scenario such as the case of shock absorbers, the factory part is almost always a balance of comfort and performance.  If the vehicle owner wants his or her car to feel or handle differently then factory parts are never the answer.

The last scenario usually has to do with cost and/or quality.  There are companies all over the world that produce automotive parts of all varying degrees of quality and function.  If the consumer has a newer car and can afford it, the dealer part or a high end substitute might be best for the situation.  On the other hand if the car is older, perhaps near end of service, or the owner is on a strict budget, then lower tier aftermarket parts might be a better option.  These parts often are not built as well and often don’t offer much in the name of a warranty, but if money is an object then
these parts my suit the purpose.

Each repair scenario requires a question to the owner about his or her intention with the car and of course their budget.  This is where a good car care professional can help to make the right decision for the case at hand.  You can always depend on Sturken Auto to help you make the right repair.

Why guess when it comes to repairing
your car?

For a complete analysis of your car,
truck or RV, call Sturken Auto today.

(408) 285-7195

35-Insurance Companies Using Spy Devices

Insurance companies keep finding new ways to make us pay. Now some are giving you an incentive to let them hook up a spy-device to your car.  They obviously are going to charge you more if you drive more miles.  But some monitor how often and for how long, you exceed 80 mph. They can even monitor how aggressively you drive including how fast you take corners and brake to a stop.  When they get more sophisticated, I can see them determining your location by GPS to see if you are exceeding the posted speed limits.  State Farm says that people who have signed up for their program get
about 10 percent off their bill.

My question is:  Can this data be used against you in an accident?  If they monitor your speed and turning data, can’t this be used against you?  The airbag computers already store some incriminating evidence of what was going on just before they deploy and
the courts are having to sort out when this data can be used.  Is it worth 10 percent to give up your privacy?  Maybe a better alternative is to find a cheaper insurance company.

–Jerry Spradlin

Reprinted with permission-Import Automotive Parts & Accessories Magazine, October/November


34- Class C Motor Home Wheel Alignment

We have been doing a lot of wheel alignment work on Ford (www.ford.com) E-350 & 450 chassis.  When our technicians are doing their inspections we are noticing that many of these coaches have feathered wear on the inside of the front tires.  This happens because of how the load is distributed on the chassis.  When Ford sends a chassis to the coach manufacturer the wheels are aligned.  When the body of the coach is built, thousands of pounds of weight are added. Most of this weight ends up over the rear wheels.

When the coach enters service, the owners add fuel, water, accessories, personal gear and their families.  This causes more weight to go to the rear of the vehicle. More weight in rear means less weight on the front axle. Because wheel alignment is
predicated on weight distribution, it is important that the alignment is done after
all the weight has been added.

In reality, this is not taken into consideration.  So in many cases a coach is out of alignment the day it enters service.  Some RV manufacturers add additional springs or air bags (www.pacbrake.com)   to balance things out but this is not always the case.  Vehicles that are out of alignment won’t necessarily pull or drift to one side of the road. But, they will wear tires prematurely. This improper wear can be corrected thereby saving hundreds in unnecessary tire replacement costs.

Please give Sturken Auto & RV a call to have
your wheel alignment inspected and tires checked for uneven wear. (408)

33-How Much Does It Cost…?

…to fix my (fill in the blank)?  This is a question we get all too frequently in the automotive repair business.

The first question that any competent service writer would ask is, “How do you know that is the problem?” The answer to that question can vary quite a bit but it usually involves a friend or family member’s opinion. Or, sometimes it’s “that’s what the guy at the parts store said it was,” or my favorite is, “that’s what the tow truck driver said.”

How do these folks know these things?  Are they highly skilled, trained automotive technicians?  Perhaps they just moonlight as tow truck drivers or counter
salesmen.  Modern automobiles have so many systems and sub-systems that even problems that seem simple, aren’t.

The modern technician needs to have as much input from the vehicle’s daily driver as
possible.  This conversation can last from 5-15 minutes and then add on a test drive.
And, this is before anyone lays a hand on the car.  From there the car has to be inspected on a lift or in a service bay.   Next it needs to be analyzed for where things (conditions) are currently, and then we try to duplicate or replicate the
issues.  Then and only then can we figure out what is wrong and what course of action might be necessary to fix it.

So how much does it cost?  Still don’t know yet.  Now we may need to ask you a few more questions confirming our findings and perhaps getting some more information
regarding previous repairs at other shops. At this point we can finally do all of the remaining research and quote you a price.

“How do other shops quote prices,” you ask?  My response is always the same.  I don’t
know.  And how could they?  They know nothing about your car’s condition or history.  Think about it.  Do you want to know what’s wrong with your car or do you want to guess or hope?  I don’t know about you, but my money, time, and my family’s safety is far more important than getting a cheap price for a repair or replacement of a part on
my car.

Think about it like this.  If you call three places and ask for a price you will get three different answers (or if the shops are smart, no answer).  What do the prices mean? Absolutely nothing!  Because none of these shops know anything about your car’s specific condition.  They just throw a price out there hoping that you will bite and they get the job.  But what happens when you actually get there? The price almost always changes.  You probably didn’t tell them the right things or they may say,  “the parts cost
more than we thought”.  At that point you are in for a ride, as we call it in the industry.  You took the low price and now you are hooked.

So what are your options?  First, find a repair shop that you can trust.  Explain the symptoms or problems as best you can.  Go for a test drive if possible to duplicate the issues. Don’t be in a hurry if it is an intermittent issue.  It often takes time to duplicate problems and even longer to find the causes.  And, by all means, respect the professional shops time and be prepared to pay a reasonable inspection fee in addition to the repair cost. (At times the diagnosis is harder than the repairs.)

In regards to the aforementioned “How much does it cost?” the answer from the repairman’s side should always be, “Not a penny more than it should.”  If we schedule an appointment to inspect the car, more than likely we will be able to give you an accurate quote.  Until that time, it’s anyone’s guess as to how much “it” costs.

For a complete analysis of your car,
truck or RV, call Sturken Auto today.

Why guess when it comes to repairing your car?

31-Sturken Automotive Is Thankful

We at Sturken Automotive are grateful for our clients that have allowed us to service
or repair their most precious wheeled possession, their cars.  For well over fifty years, tens of thousands of individuals and families have entrusted us to take care of their
vehicles.  Let it be known that we at Sturken’s do not take this honor for granted!

There are literally hundreds of places in the Santa Clara Valley to get your car or truck
repaired.  Yet, you chose us. We thank you for that. We pride ourselves in creating a great repair experience.  This means not only repairing vehicles properly and professionally but also treating our clients with respect and empathy. How do we know if we’re doing a good job?  We ask! And, we have a company attempt to call or contact all of our clients after their visit.  We do this because we care about your experience.

With today’s social networking sites and customer experience sites such as-Yelp, Demandforce, Google Places, Sure Critic and the like, a good or bad experience could spread like wildfire.  We do everything we can to make every experience at Sturken Automotive, a good experience.  Our motto says it all-making the best out of a bad situation.

Folks come to us because they need help, want to be treated well, and want to feel good about their decision to repair with us. We get it.  It is our goal to be
even more grateful this coming year.  So please continue to use our services and
tell a friend about us too!  We thank all of you for allowing us to serve you for the last five decades.

Sturken Automotive  408-295-7195.

30-How Much is a Brake Job?

How long is a stick? That really is how ambiguous that question is!  There are no legal definitions of a “brake job”.  So anyone that uses that term can define it any way they want. Professional automotive organizations such as the ASCCA www.ascca.com have been working for years to develop legal definitions.  You see there are numerous factors that come into play when working on the brakes of a modern automobile.  Without a thorough brake inspection there is no way anyone is going to tell you what your car needs unless they already know your car, its condition, mileage, and how you drive it.

The better question might be, “I want my car to stop like it did when it was new.  What needs to be done to get to that condition?”  After all, isn’t that what you want?  A car that stops?  A set of brake pads or shoes can be replaced on your car or truck.  But it may not stop any better than it did before.  In some shops (especially those that advertise one size fits all for brake service work) simply putting on new parts in place of the old ones, is considered a brake job.  A truly professional automotive repair shop
would not do that.  A professional repairer would talk to you first to assess how and where you drive, who drives the car, and what you do while you drive. (tow, race, etc.)  Also he would ask how long it has been since your last brake job.   What do you like
or not like about how the vehicle stops. Do you hear strange noises, vibrations, shuddering, pulsations or pulling.  And last but certainly not least the technician will drive your car to see how it currently performs.  After that, then the brake inspection can begin.

The test drive will allow the technician or service writer to begin his assessment on stopping performance.  Next the vehicle will be put on a lift to allow the wheels to be removed.  (This is when the true inspection begins)  The technician will then check brake pad thickness, wear patterns, rotor condition and thickness.   Then he will inspect for lateral run-out and look for fluid leak/seepage. Next he will check for excessive caliper wear or rust.  Finally he will check the condition of the brake fluid, the caliper mounting surfaces and the surrounding suspension components.   In older cars and some trucks, he would inspect the wheel bearings and grease seals for wear.  After all of those inspections are completed, a true estimate of cost for your “brake job” can be written.  If you get a quote before your vehicle brake system is inspected in this manner, it’s nothing but a guess.

I don’t know about you, but when it comes to my safety and the safety of everyone else on the road, I don’t want to hope or guess that my car is going to stop.  So the next time you need brakes (or think you do), do the right thing and have your brakes
professionally inspected by a shop you trust.

In an emergency situation you want brakes to stop!

For a comprehensive
brake inspection, call Sturken Automotive at 408-295-7195.

29-Fall is the Time for Car Care

As autumn comes we should focus some of our Fall thoughts on
the weather that is about to visit us.Typically October brings a change of the seasons-virtually always rain,and in some areas snow and ice.

This means that drivers should pay extra attention to the
parts of the car that are affected by changes in conditions.  Things such as wiper blades, coolant/antifreeze, heater and defrost operation, and perhaps tire-tread depth
and rubber conditions, should be inspected before the winter is upon us.

Any or all of these parts or systems can wreak havoc on yourwallet or your family’s safety if they fail at the wrong time.  Believe it or not, as the operator of a motor vehicle, it is possible to almost ensure that your safety and well-being are guaranteed with proactive maintenance. By simply having the various systems and parts of your vehicle inspected proactively, you are helping to keep repairs as well as the chance of an
accident to a minimum.

A lot of folks balk at spending money to do things to their cars when everything appears to be working just fine.  But, that it the secret to automobile longevity and cost minimization. If you do routine and preventative maintenance on a regular basis, chances are you won’t have big repair bills.  Believe itor not, it is cheaper for you to have preventative maintenance performedconsistently than to fix or repair things as they break. And, as your mechanical shop, I can assure you that we prefer it that way.  We get no pleasure in handling you a large repair bill instead of a small maintenance bill.  You will feel better because you are making the choice on how and when to perform maintenance. Versus your car breaking down when, where and how it wants to. And the cost being whatever they turn out to be.

So the message here is to take control of the situation so
the situation (expensive car repair) does not take control of your wallet.  October is National Car Care Month.  Sturken Auto is offering free preventative
maintenance inspections all month. Please give us a call to get your vehicles inspected soon.

Sturken Auto Inc.  408-295-7195

28- How often should I have the A/C charged in my car?

The short answer is: when the vent air goes from feeling cold to feeling cool.

Often times in moderate climates, such as we have in the Bay Area, one can go for several months without using the air conditioning in the car. Meaning, if there is a problem at the end of summer or fall, we may not notice it until the first warm day of spring, when we turn it on for the first time of the year and not too much happens.

The air conditioning system in a car is a closed loop system filled with Freon. The Freon is pumped throughout the car’s a/c system of various pipes, hoses, condensers, and various other devices at high pressures.  Over time some of the seals and hoses may develop small leaks.

If enough Freon leaks out, the system will not be as efficient at cooling or it may stop working altogether. Unless you develop a large leak or blow a hose out altogether, the first notice you will get is the feeling that it’s just not as cold as it used to be. Now this can happen for a sundry of reasons that are not always related to low Freon.  So, you can’t assume Freon or lack thereof is the problem.

A professional technician, such as those at Sturken Automotive can run a battery of tests to see if low Freon is the problem, or if some other issues are stopping the system from providing maximum cooling.

Just how cold should my a/c get? Well, that is a good question without a solid answer because it depends on a number of variables. Suffice it to say that if it is a reasonably warm day in the 70’s, the duct temperature at the coldest vent in your car (usually the center dash) should be reading about 25-30 degrees cooler. If you are not getting close to that range, then it is time to have the system inspected.

Running the air conditioner when it is not in optimum condition costs money in fuel as the engine has to turn the a/c pump longer. The longer the pump runs, the harder everything associated with it has to work; consequently more fuel is used.

If your car, truck, or RV is over 5 years old chances are it could use an a/c checkup. Schedule an appointment with us at Sturken Automotive and we will check all of the air conditioning components such as the: fans, belts, a/c pump, Freon, duct work, vacuum lines, controllers, a/c relays, cabin air filers, hoses, evaporators, radiators and the air temperature to make sure you stay cool in your car, truck, or RV.

Don’t lose your cool- call Sturken Automotive at 408 295-7195 today!