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A Publication of Sam Giammalvo's Auto Sales & Service
Vol. 11  No. 2         Spring 2005

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Global Mercedes Recall Affects 1.3 Million Cars

    Source: Associated Press

    FRANKFURT, Germany — Daimler Chrysler AG said recently that it is recalling some 1.3 million Mercedes-Benz cars worldwide to fix problems with their alternators and batteries.

    There is no word on how many cars in the United States will be affected, or whether repairs will rise to the level of a recall under U.S. regulations. The company said the recall was part of its renewed effort to improve quality in its cars, and is notifying its customers in writing of the recall.

    The German-U.S. automaker said it will check the voltage regulator in the alternator on six- and eight-cylinder models and replace the regulator if needed.

    It said it would install battery control software on E-class and CLS-class models built from January 2002 - January 2005. The company also said the braking system on E-, SL- and CLS-class models made since June 2001 would be updated.

    The company has set up a hot line for U.S. customers to call: 1-800-FOR-MERC.  

Fill It Up With Regular

Source: Mark Solheim of Kiplinger’s Magazine

Gas prices are spiking again. Nationwide, the average cost of a gallon of regular is back above $2, according to AAA, and a gallon of premium is $2.21.

So let's say you drive a Cadillac SRX with a V8 engine and, per the owner's manual, you spring for premium gas each time you need a fill-up. If your 20-gallon tank is almost empty, each time you fill up, you spend $44. In the course of a year, assuming you drive 15,000 miles, you're likely to spend $1,950 just on gasoline.

Now let's say you filled it up with regular instead of high-test. You just saved yourself $200 a year. And except in rare cases, you're not going to hurt your engine by being thrifty at the gas pump. It seems the more expensive the car, the more it costs to maintain. Of the thousand-plus 2005 models listed in the EPA's latest fuel-economy guide, about a third -- most of them luxury or sports cars -- recommend premium. In fact, most expensive cars are designed to run on premium gas -- fuel with an octane rating of 91 or more -- to maximize their performance. That's because high-performance engines have a higher compression ratio.

Translation: Gasoline and air are drawn into the cylinders and compressed as the piston pushes up. As the spark plug ignites, the mixture expands, which drives the pistons back down and produces power. If the mixture sparks too soon, it leads to uncontrolled burning in the combustion chambers, which you hear as engine knock.

Engines with a high compression ratio are more susceptible to uncontrolled burning with lower-octane gasoline. High-octane gasoline is more resistant to knocking because it's harder to ignite.

Most cars can adjust to regular fuel because engines are now equipped with knock sensors, which adjust the engine's timing automatically when they detect uncontrolled burning. You may experience a slight decrease in power, but no damage to the engine.

One caveat: Supercharged engines often do need a higher octane gasoline because such engines boost pressure too fast for the knock sensors to work properly. For example, for its 390-horsepower, supercharged engine, Jaguar recommends 95-octane gasoline (though you're unlikely to find higher than 93 or 94).

Also, you could lose some fuel economy if your engine is designed for premium and you use regular instead. It's probably not enough to pay the premium for premium gas, but do your own tests with both grades of gasoline to be sure.

One thing's for sure -- if your owner's manual doesn't recommend premium, you're wasting your money if you use it. You simply can't buy extra performance.

In fact, because it's harder to ignite, the higher-octane gas could make your car harder to start and run less smoothly, especially as the weather turns colder.

NHTSA Imposes Civil  Penalties For Violations

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has obtained civil penalties in 2004 totaling almost $10.2 million, the agency announced today. The fines cover a variety of violations by manufacturers, equipment suppliers, registered importers and vehicle customizers.

Two manufacturers – Porsche and Ferrari – paid civil penalties totaling more than $9 million for failing to meet Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) limits.

General Motors paid a civil penalty of $1 million to settle charges that it failed to conduct a timely recall to correct a safety defect. The problem involved windshield wiper failure in 581,344 Trailblazers, Bravadas, Envoys and Isuzu Ascenders manufactured in 2002 and 2003.

NexL, a California company, agreed to pay a civil penalty of $100,000 for importing and selling motorcycle helmets that failed to meet U.S. Department of Transportation standards. The company also was charged with failing to conduct a timely recall.

Two vehicle customizing firms agreed to pay a total of $21,000 for removal of drivers’ side air bags. NHTSA charged both West Coast Customs of Inglewood, CA, and Unique Autosports of Uniondale, NY, with removal of air bags to install video monitors in the steering wheel. Federal law prohibits companies from removing mandated safety equipment.

G&K Automotive Conversion, a registered importer in California, agreed to pay $12,000 to settle allegations that it imported ineligible vehicles, submitted inaccurate certificates of conformity and improperly released vehicles for use on public roads.

Celluar Phone Use by Motorists Is On The Rise

More motorists than ever are using cellular phones while they drive, according to the latest survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

In 2004, at any given daylight moment, an estimated 8 percent of all motorists in the U.S., or about 1.2 million drivers, were using cellular phones (both hand-held and hands-free) while operating their vehicles. This compares to 6 percent in 2002 and 4 percent in 2000.

The survey also estimated that 5 percent of motorists in 2004, or about 800,000 drivers, were using hand-held cellular phones at any given daylight time, compared to 4 percent of drivers in 2002 and 3 percent in 2000.

The latest cellular phone use observations, conducted as part of the agency’s annual National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS), compared 2004 wireless phone use estimates with data collected in 2002 and 2000. The observational survey was conducted between June 7 and July 11, 2004, at 1,200 scientifically selected road sites across the country. In some instances, the roadside observational data were supplemented by NHTSA telephone surveys.

Among the latest findings:

    * Hand-held cellular phone use increased among drivers between the ages of 16 and 24, from 5 percent in 2002 to 8 percent in  2004.
    * For all age groups, hand-held cellular phone use increased among female drivers, from 4 percent in 2002 to 6 percent in 2004. Men using hand-held cellular phones remained steady at 4 percent from 2002 to 2004.
    * Motorists are more likely to use phones when driving alone. In 2004, 6 percent of drivers traveling alone were holding cellular phones, compared to 2 percent of drivers who had at least one passenger. However, drivers who had at least one child passenger (7 years old or younger) were as likely to use a hand-held cellular phone as were drivers with no children on board (both at 5 percent of observed drivers in 2004).

Complete results of the latest cellular phone observational survey are available on the agency’s website at

Email Compliments From Giammalvo Customer In South Carolina

Subject: No question, just a statement
Date: Saturday, February 05, 2005 8:33 AM
Hello staff at Giammalvo's!

I purchased a car from you in 1993. It was the oldest on the lot - a 1985 Honda Accord LX with only 25,000 miles. It was like new! Well it's 2005 - and I am STILL driving that car! Your staff kept it running in tip top shape for the 7 years I lived in New Bedford. I have moved to Myrtle Beach, SC and found an honest, quality, trustworthy mechanic here (my greatest fear was that I would not find an honest, quality, and trustworthy mechanic like you your staff!). He has kept that 1985 Honda running very well.

When I have to purchase another car, I will come BACK to New Bedford and see you folks again. My dad, Duke Cabral, always purchased his cars from you and I will keep up the tradition!
Just wanted to let you know that the car is still running well and is 20 years old this year!
Thanks,  Terri Cabral

The Man In The Glass

One of Sam’s favorite passages

When you get what you want in your struggle for self
And the world makes you king for a day,
Just go to a mirror and look at yourself,
And see what that man has to say.

For it isn't your father or mother or wife or husband
Whose judgment upon you must pass;
The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the one starring back from the glass.

Some people may think you're a straight-shootin' chum
And call you a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you're only a bum
If you can't look him straight in the eye.

He's the fellow to please, never mind all the rest,
For he's with you clear up to the end,
And you've passed your most dangerous test
If the man in the glass is your friend.

You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years,
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be heartaches and tears
If you've cheated the man in the glass

- - Author Unknown

In Passing.

(Obituaries Courtesy The Standard Times)
Note: Due to recent requests, we will be adding family survivors to our customer’s obituaries as space allows.

Paul E. Marshall of New Bedford died Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2004, after a period of declining health. He was the husband of Florence C. (Vieira) Marshall; they were married 64 years. Born in New Bedford, he was the son of the late Edward and Virginia (Sylvia) Marshall. He was educated in Dartmouth and lived in New Bedford most of his life. He worked for the New Bedford Water Department for 34 years, the last 12 as water registrar. When he retired in 1972, The Standard-Times featured him in its "Hats Off" column for his "capacity for detailed accounting and skill in dealing with the public." In 1949, he became a director of the New Bedford Municipal Employees Credit Union, now the New Bedford Credit Union, which at the time occupied a small office upstairs at the New Bedford Fire Department headquarters. In 1966, he was elected president of the credit union; under his leadership it grew and moved to a larger office on Kempton Street. He was president of the Southeastern Massachusetts Chapter of the Credit Union League of Massachusetts. After he retired from his work with the city, he continued with the credit union as president and manager until he retired in 1977. He played brass instruments in local bands and was a member of the Cape Cod Organ Society. He was a former member of the Massachusetts Waterworks Association and the Old Dartmouth Historical Society. He was secretary of Local 851, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO. He enjoyed traveling, playing the organ, gardening and spending time with his family. He was a communicant of St. Lawrence Church. Survivors include his widow; three daughters, Joan M. Dean and her partner, Dawn Brocklehurst, both of New Bedford, Mary Ann Marshall, also of New Bedford, and Sheila V. Marshall of Fairhaven; two sisters, Helene Severs of East Freetown and Virginia "Jean" Taber of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.; seven grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and four nephews. He was the brother of the late Sylvia Marshall.

Ernest "Rocky" Rogers, 82, of Dartmouth died Sunday, March 20, 2005, at St. Luke's Hospital after a long illness. He was the husband of Dorothy (Dutra) Rogers. Born in New Bedford, he was the son of the late Antone and Edith (Perry) Rogers. He lived in Virginia 15 years before moving back to this area, where he resided most of his life. He was a communicant of St. Mary's Church in Dartmouth. He was an Army veteran of World War II. Mr. Rogers was a heavy-equipment operator. Besides his wife, he is survived by a son, Randall Rogers of Virginia; four brothers, George Rogers, Raymond Rogers and Robert Rogers, all of Dartmouth, and William Rogers of North Carolina; a sister, Judy DeSouza of Dartmouth; and a grandson. He is the brother of the late Edward Rogers.

Priscilla W. (Ashley) Lafferty, 71, of New Bedford died unexpectedly Monday, Jan. 24, 2005, at St. Luke's Hospital. She was the widow of Leo E. Lafferty. A lifelong New Bedford resident, she was the daughter of the late Allen C. and Ida (Snell) Ashley. Mrs. Lafferty was an office clerk at the Star Store for many years. She also was the office manager for Drs. Horan and Hickey until she retired 15 years ago. She was a member of the American Association of Retired Persons and the National Association of Retired Federal Employees. She enjoyed bingo, her dog Buffy and her cat Molly. She especially enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Survivors include her mother-in-law, Edith E. Lafferty of New Bedford; a daughter, Cynthia Nichols, and her husband, Bruce, of New Bedford; two stepdaughters, Colleen Walsh and Kelly Facinelli, both of Arizona; a son, David A. Gauthier, and his wife, Linda, of Rochester; a stepson, Timothy Lafferty of Arizona; a goddaughter, Joanne D'Augistano of Westport; a brother, Allen Ashley Jr. of Fairhaven; a brother-in-law, Alan Lafferty of New Bedford; three grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews. She was the sister of the late June Westgate and Elton Ashley.

We appreciate your business.
Please drive carefully.
Sam Giammalvo's Auto Sales, Inc.
1476 Purchase Street
New Bedford, MA 02740
Phone: (508) 999-3213

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