Modern Technology Tracks Teenagers
parent’s nightmare can be a teen that is getting his or her driver’s permit
or license. Now the worries start: Where are they going and how fast? How
far away are they and are they headed home? Concerned parents can finally
breathe a sigh of relief with a new service that provides a combination of
global positioning and cell phone technology.
The Teen Arrive Alive Service allows parents to monitor their teens by using
a Nextel phone equipped with a Global Positioning System (GPS). As long as
the phone is on standby it will transmit location signals that parents can
access on line via the Internet. The system is so accurate that it can track
the speed of the person if they are in a moving vehicle. Already Teen Arrive
Alive customers are checking in on their teens location and if necessary
calling them or the driver to slow their car’s speed. In addition, parents
can check on the whereabouts of their teen at any time of the day or night,
(providing the teen has taken the phone with them).
Teen Arrive Alive (www.teenarrivealive.com) costs $15.00 per month after
a $50.00 activation fee. The GPS Nextel phone is free, but you must sign
on with Nextel for their cell phone service.
Ulocate offers a similar tracking service. Their system also requires a Nextel
phone service and one of 5 Motorola GPS phones. Subscribers can watch a drivers’
progress and receive reports of vehicle speed, direction and location at
2-minute intervals. Ulocate (www.ulocate.com) is $11.00 per month. Phones
can range between $80.00 and $150.00 before optional discounts.
Car Care Inspection Lanes Reveal Pattern Of Overdue Services
Source: Under Hood Digest
National Car Care Month, a nationwide effort to focus motorists’ attention
on the importance of vehicle care and maintenance, is now in April.
The Car Care Month check lane inspections can include volunteers checking
fluid levels, tires, lights and other system components. After the inspection
is completed, volunteers review any discrepancies with the motorist and provide
information about proper vehicle maintenance and repair. The nationwide results
of check lanes underscore the continuing need for vehicle maintenance education.
Statistics show that 77% of vehicles brought to the check lanes are found
in need of repair or maintenance. Failures noted in the check lanes over
the past five years include:
* · 27% had low or dirty engine oil
* · 26% had inadequate cooling protection
* · 23% had low tire pressure
* · 21% needed new belts
* · 17% had dirty air filters
* · 11% had low or contaminated brake fluid
For more information about National Car Care Month, visit the Car Care Council website at www.carcare.org.
Is Your Vehicle’s Battery Ready For Winter?
One of the best ways to protect against winter car trouble is to be certain
your battery is fully charged and in proper working condition, according
to AAA Southern New England.
"When the temperature drops to near zero, the number of calls AAA receives
from stranded motorists soars," said AAA Auto Repair Manager Alfred Ruggiero.
"The most common cause of these cold-weather breakdowns is a weak or dead
AAA recommends motorists have a load test to closely monitor the condition
of the vehicle’s battery, especially batteries more than two years old. "Although
batteries can carry warranties of four years or more, a warranty is no guarantee
an older battery will continue to work in severe weather," Mr. Ruggiero said.
The most common sign of a weak battery is an unusual sound coming from the
starter motor when the ignition key is turned, indicating difficulty in starting
If the vehicle is difficult to start, check that the battery connections
are tight and no corrosion is present on the battery terminal. To remove
corrosion, use an old toothbrush to clean the cable connectors and terminals
with a solution of baking soda and water. Next, inspect the tension of all
drive belts. They should flex no more than one-half inch. If the battery’s
fluid level can be checked, make certain the fluid covers the battery plates.
If no problems are found and the vehicle is still difficult to start, drive
to a service station to have the battery and charging system tested.
In addition to weak or dead batteries, starting problems can be caused by
malfunctioning alternators or starter motors. If the vehicle will not start,
use caution and follow instructions in the owner’s manual when attempting
a jump start. If unsure about the proper procedure, call a qualified professional
To help avoid winter breakdowns, AAA recommends motorists have their cars
and trucks thoroughly inspected before cold weather arrives. In addition
to the battery, fluids, belts, hoses, filters and tires should all be checked.
Stop by our service department the next time your in the area and ask to
have your vehicle’s battery, starter and charging system tested.
Back in the mid 90’s, auto manufacturers started building
cars with daytime running lamps, (DRL). DRL is a system in which the car’s
front headlamps or park lamps are automatically turned on during the daytime.
When the DRL is on, customers should remember that all the rear lamps are
still off. Some vehicles dash lights come on when the DRL system is on. When
this happens, customers are lulled into thinking all their other rear lights
are on, when in reality, they are off. Make sure you understand the particular
system your vehicle has to prevent an accident caused by driving without
rear lighting. If you have any questions about your vehicle’s operation,
check the headlamps section of your owners manual or stop by our service
department so we can assist you.
Are You Sure Your Headlamps Are On?
How Important Are Your Wipers and Washers?
By: Mark Giammalvo
This January's negative degree weather brought out the typical battery and
starter problems we see year after year. A more frequent complaint that surprised
me was "inoperative windshield washers." We had several complaints of this
in a one-week period. One of the vehicles was found to have ice in the washer
bottle and another had ice in the washer nozzles. Being somewhat concerned
about this issue, I decided to do some research on the freeze point of washer
fluid. As typical with many things, I get involved with a "little research"
turned into a full-fledged investigation. I figured a starting point in my
research would be to test the freeze point of the washer fluid we were using.
The parts supplier we use generally alternates between two different brands
of washer fluid. Both brands bottle labels state they protect against freezing
to -20F. If the labels are correct, neither brand should be icing over
as our lowest temperatures here lately have only gone down to -2F. I decided
to test both brands with our refractometer. Surprisingly, the refractometer
showed that the two different brands had a freeze point of +10F and +18F.
If the refractometer readings were true, this would explain why several vehicles
were experiencing washer fluid icing. As an additional test, I left a new
bottle of washer fluid outside on an extremely cold night to see if it would
freeze or slush over. On the Internet, I was able to check the New Bedford
Airport’s electronic weather data center. The weather data center showed
that the coldest temperature that night was -7F. When I got to the shop I
checked the bottle of washer fluid. Much to my surprise, the washer fluid
had not frozen. Now I felt more comfortable that our fluid was not the cause
of the washer freeze-ups. Now we were left with only two possibilities. Perhaps
some of the cars had some watered down fluid in their washer bottles or the
water/snow on the hood froze inside the washer nozzles. Just out of curiosity,
I decided to do some research to see if there was any published baseline
rules for recommended washer fluid freeze point.
A check of the National Highway & Transportation Safety Administration's,
(NHTSA) web site linked me to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard, (FMVSS)
#104 for new vehicle "Windshield Wiping and Washing Systems". Although there
was no reference given to a mandated freeze point of washer fluid, I was
very surprised at the thoroughness of the governments test procedure for
wipers and washers. This test, which is required on all new cars, is designed
by The Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance, (OVSC). The OVSC hires independent
contractors to carry out the special test procedures. The test results are
used to determine if a specific vehicle, or item of equipment meets the minimum
performance requirements for the FMVSS. The OVSC will send a new vehicle
to the contractors test site. The contractor is responsible for many items
including: a secure facility, securing test procedure information, calibrating
test instruments, protecting test results, preventing unauthorized personnel
from witnessing any test procedures, and more. In addition, the contractor
must also supply the following:
1) A time keeping device that can record 0 to 60 minutes with an accuracy of + or - 2 seconds.
2) An engine tachometer ranging from 0 to 8,000 rpm.
3) Soft water with a "hardness" of 12 grains per gallon.
4) A water spray system with 2 nozzles that can spray water at 10 - 100 cubic inches per minute.
5) Non-abrasive windshield washing compound.
6) Wiper counting device that counts 0 - 1,000 cycles.
7) Oscillograph recorder at 10 ipm minimum chart speed.
8) Thermocouple sensing device ranging from 0 to 250f.
9) Anemometer that can show wind speeds of 0 to 20 mph.
10) Grease pencil.
12) Test dust, fine grade, as described in SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) code J726.
13) Measuring device for volume of test dust and water ranging from 0 - 32 fluid ozs.
14) Hand type atomizer.
15) Windshield washer fluid.
FMVSS 104 also calls for certain standard reporting definitions.
Some definitions are:
Ballooning - Un-wiped areas within the wiper pattern that are round and varying in size.
Chatter - Irregular movement of wiper blade usually accompanied by temporary visible radial lines and/or noise.
Growth - The additional windshield glazing surface cleaned as the wipers cycle at high speed.
Hazing - An aerated film spread by the blade and resulting in a transient trailing band on the windshield glazing surface.
Lace Curtain - A maze of fine individual water droplets which are formed after the blade passes over the windshield glazing surface.
Scalloping - Uneven wipe at the outer periphery of pattern.
Streaking - Fine actual lines of un-wiped moisture within the wipe pattern.
Wiper cycle frequency is carefully tested under a controlled water spray
pattern of 50-100 cubic inches per minute. Water temperature must be less
than 100F. The vehicle's transmission is placed in neutral. The wipers are
run at high speed for 6 minutes. During the first 3 test minutes the engine
is set at idle. During the last 3 test minutes the engine is set at 2,000
rpm. The frequency of sweeps is averaged between the 2 test periods. In a
second test, the wipers are set at low speed for 6 minutes. Again, the fist
3 minutes the engine is at idle and then set to 2,000 rpm for the last 3
minutes. The test results are again averaged.
Other tests include a water and dust spray combined with 75 degree air blown
at the windshield at a wind speed of 1 mph. While the wipers are on high
speed, a technician using a grease pencil outlines the cleaned area (including
growth) on the inside of the windshield. Upon completion, the wipers, water
and air are stopped and the windshield is cleaned. A piece of clear vellum
is placed on the outside of the windshield. The outline of the visible grease
pencil marking is traced onto the vellum. Then this test is repeated with
the vehicle's windshield washers and not the contractor's water spray system.
All test results are sent to the OVSC.
Although I did not find any base line rule for washer fluid freeze point,
I did learn how complex and thorough the government is regarding vehicle
safety and design. It is these FMVSS standards that make certain all
vehicles meet minimum safety standards in a variety of areas.
Checked Your Gas Gauge Lately?
Often times we are asked to diagnose vehicles
with strange intermittent noises or running problems. Unfortunately, the
amount of time testing your vehicle can be compounded by having to stop at
a gas station for more gas. Worse yet is running out of gas entirely, thus
requiring additional service expense by sending another employee out with
If you are bringing your car in for a procedure that will warrant a test-drive
by us, please try to have at least 1/4 to 1/2 a tank of fuel. Just a small
reminder like this can save time for the service technicians and also allow
you to get your car back repaired and without further delay.
(Obituaries Courtesy The Standard Times)
Note: Due to recent requests, we will be adding family survivors to our customer’s obituaries as space allows.
Henry A. Gardner, 96, of New Bedford
died Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2004, at St. Luke's Hospital after a brief illness.
He was the widower of Aurore (Michaud) Gardner. Born in New Bedford, he was
the son of the late Arthur and Marie (Bussiere) Gardner. He lived in New
Bedford most of his life and was a communicant of St. Joseph-St. Therese
Church. Mr. Gardner graduated from New Bedford High School and from Boston
University with a degree in business administration. He was a certified public
accountant. He was a Tech 4 in the Army during World War II. He fought in
the Rhineland and central Europe. He received the Good Conduct Medal, European
African Middle Eastern Theater Campaign ribbon and the Bronze Star. He enjoyed
traveling and loved to walk. Survivors include a son, Raymond A. Gardner,
and his wife, Diane, of Fairhaven; five grandchildren, Marc Duhamel, Michael
Duhamel, Matthew Duhamel, Peter Gardner and Stephanie Gardner; two great-grandchildren,
Cendrina Duhamel and Jacquelene Duhamel; and a son-in-law, Raymond Duhamel
of California. He was the father of the late Louise Duhamel, and the brother
of the late Daniel Gardner, Paul Gardner and Yvonne Gardner.
Roger Poitras, 75, of Fairhaven died Friday, Dec. 3,
2004, at St. Luke's Hospital after a brief illness. He was the husband of
Lorraine (Patnaude) Poitras; they were married 55 years. The son of the late
Joseph Henry and Lilllian (Lebrun) Poitras, he was born in New Bedford and
resided for 46 years in Fairhaven. He was a communicant of St. Joseph Church
in Fairhaven. Mr. Poitras was the owner of K.P. Electric Co. until his retirement.
He later worked part time, helping his son who took over the business. He
was a former member of the Master Electrical Association. He enjoyed flying,
working on model railroads, fishing and hunting. Most of all, he enjoyed
being with his family and coffee shop buddies. Survivors include his widow;
a son, Roger Poitras Jr., and his wife, Cheryl, of Rochester; three daughters,
Claire Lacourse and her husband, Robert, of Colchester, Conn., Vivian Coccia
and her husband, Anthony, of Gilbertsville, Pa., and Claudette Coutu and
her husband, Raymond, of Rochester; nine grandchildren; a great-granddaughter;
and several nieces and nephews. He was the brother of the late Roland Poitras
Sr. and Marcel Poitras.