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A Publication of Sam Giammalvo's Auto Sales & Service
Vol. 13  No. 4         Fall 2007

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U.S. Lags Behind Europe In Protecting
Automotive Small Business & Competition

Source: Motor Age

The United States lags behind Europe in protecting small business and competition. General Motors, Daimler-Chrysler, Toyota and Fiat, have made a legally binding commitment with the European Commission that these four car manufacturers will provide technical information to independent repair shops in the European Union. Yet while major car manufacturers have committed to providing information to independent repair shops in Europe, they are still fighting the efforts in the U.S. 

“We applaud the European Commission for taking the initiative in obtaining the truth in order to protect the ability of independent businesses to compete on a level playing field. However, we find it disturbing that the EC is taking a more aggressive role in protecting consumers from a repair monopoly than the U.S. which has yet to pass Right to Repair legislation,” said Kathleen Schmatz, president and CEO of the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA).  

“We further are disappointed that the big car companies can reach a legally binding agreement with the independent repair shops in Europe, but do not seem to want to provide the same accommodations to their counterparts in the United States.  The car manufacturers’ lack of interest in pursuing a legally binding U.S. agreement has forced us to seek a legislative solution in the form of the Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act,” continued Schmatz.

In announcing the agreement, the European Commission stated “the commitments were given after a Commission investigation found that inadequate access to the full range of technical information could drive independent repairers from the market and the agreements between the carmakers and their authorized repairers would therefore infringe EC Treaty rules on restrictive business practices.  The resulting reduction in competition between car repairers could lead to less choice and higher prices for consumers: independent repairers are often cheaper than authorized outlets, sometimes by over 50%. In addition, if repairs were carried out without the right technical information, this could lead to vehicles being driven in an unsafe condition, and add to air pollution and wasted fuel.”

The European Commission agreement mandates that all technical information that is provided to authorized repair shops also must be made available to independent shops on a nondiscriminatory basis. It allows the car companies to withhold information on anti-theft or performance-limiting functions of on-board electronics, but requires that the manufacturers ensure that the absence of this information does not prevent independent shops from performing repairs not directly related to these systems. “Although the U.S. car manufacturers would have you believe otherwise, this issue has always been about motorists having the right to choose where they take their vehicle for service and the ability of independent repair shops in the United States to compete fairly in the marketplace,” stated Schmatz. “We hope that the U.S. car manufacturers will be willing and able to reach a legally binding agreement with us regarding the availability of repair tools and service information. In the meantime, we will continue to support the passage of the Right to Repair Act.”

About Right to Repair:

The Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act (HR 2694), which was introduced by Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-NY) and currently has 30 congressional sponsors, would require car companies to make the same service information and tools capabilities available to independent repair shops that they provide to there franchised dealer networks. The legislation further provides car companies with strong protections for their trade secrets unless that information is provided to the franchised new car dealers. The bill clarifies the responsibilities of the Federal Trade Commission in enforcing the bill’s requirements.  For more information about the Right to Repair Act, visit

 Con Man Caught On The Internet

Used Car News

Most car dealers are aware that knowing whom they do business with is important. So when Kevin and Susan Karlen had a suspicious customer buy a trailer and two Harley-Davidson motorcycles with cash from their Rockwall, Texas store, they decided to run an Internet search on the man’s name. What the owners of Karlens Kars discovered on the Web was an ad from a woman in Des Plaines, Ill., who claimed the man was a con artist who befriended her, and then stole her money and valuables.

When the suspect, identified as David Wooten, first walked into the Texas couple’s dealership, he seemed perfectly normal. He bought an enclosed trailer and paid for it in cash, saying he wanted the title in his nephew’s name. Then Wooten returned to buy two motorcycles, also paid for in cash and put in his nephew’s name. The couple grew suspicious when Wooten asked them for help in transferring the truck he was driving into his nephew’s name as well. Susan Karlen decided to Google “David Wooten.” “We just wanted to check him out to make sure nothing came up, and sure enough, it did,” said Kevin Karlen.

Margie McCurry’s as on came up warning people about Wooten, also called “Jack Ozee.” The Karlens contacted McCurry and the authorities. The Rockwall County Sheriff’s Department discovered Wooten had a warrant for his arrest in connection to the burglary of McCurry’s home, with a bail amount of $5 million. Des Plaines Police Det. Mike Holdman was surprised to hear how Wooten was caught. “I wouldn’t expect someone to turn in a customer paying $20,000 cash,” he said. Kevin Karlen said the lost business was never a concern. “My reaction was to get something done about it,” he said.

McCurry claims the man told her he was a firefighter who was injured on Sept. 11, 2001. McCurry said she couldn’t sleep for three weeks as she tried to track him down. Eventually, she decided to place the ad. McCurry, 76, had taken a senior citizens’ class on using the Internet. “I didn’t even know how to do it, but I got it up,” she said. “I was so proud of myself for catching him.”

Behind The Wheel

By: Sam Giammalvo

Increase Efficiency, Lower Fuel Costs:

Vehicle owners should be aware that there are factors within their control that can help them save money at the pump. For instance, misaligned front wheels can increase fuel consumption by 2 percent, and under-inflated tires can increase fuel consumption by 5 percent. Moreover, a malfunctioning thermostat in the cooling system can increase fuel consumption by 7 percent. And, worn spark plugs and other ignition components (as well as clogged air filters) can increase fuel consumption by 11 percent. Taken together, these problems have the potential to increase fuel costs by about 25 percent. By paying attention to these matters, vehicle owners have it within their power to make their automobiles run cleaner, more smoothly, and less expensively.

Solving The Mystery Of Overdrive

        By: Mark Giammalvo

“When should I use overdrive?” “When should overdrive not be used?” These are probably two of the most frequently asked questions in our service department, even more so if a customer has just purchased another car. 

A little transmission history is in order first: Almost all vehicles today, that are equipped with automatic transmissions, have a feature known as “overdrive”. Overdrive is nothing more than a sales marketing term for the highest gear in an automatic transmission. Most automatic transmission vehicles have a 4-speed transmission, and in such, overdrive is another name for the fourth gear. Some vehicles today now have 5-speed automatic transmissions, and therefore, gear five is considered overdrive.

For some vehicles, overdrive is selected by simply placing the car’s shifter in drive. Some manufacturers will have a large O or parenthesis around the D, similar to this:  (D)   to signify overdrive. Other manufacturers will simply show a D for drive indicating gear 4 if the vehicle is a 4 speed automatic or a D for gear 5 in the case of a five speed automatic. There are some manufacturers that will have a button on the shifter for overdrive. On those vehicles, the transmission is shifted to D and is normally always in overdrive.  Pushing the button in, shuts the overdrive feature off and activates a yellow light on the instrument panel that states: “Overdrive Off”. Regardless, shifting to Drive or the highest listed number, is generally considered overdrive. Most drivers place their cars in overdrive without even giving it a second thought.

Different design issues aside, when should overdrive be used and why turn it on or off? Generally speaking, you will get the best fuel economy if the vehicle is driven in overdrive. Using overdrive, (again the highest transmission gear), causes the engine’s speed, (RPM), to be reduced, therefore, saving on fuel costs.

Here in southeastern Massachusetts, using overdrive all the time is acceptable. If you were to travel to a hilly area, like western Massachusetts or northern New England, you might want to consider not using overdrive. If your driving in hilly terrain with overdrive on, you will find that the transmission will frequently shift in an out of overdrive as the car climbs and descends hills. This frequent transmission shifting is known in the service industry as: “hunting”. In essence, the transmission is hunting for the best gear to use and this keeps changing as the car goes up and down hills. On long hilly trips, this hunting sensation can be felt as a constant “bumping” and may be bothersome to the driver and passengers. Some people have even reported this as being similar to the sensation of seasickness.

There is one other, flat road, scenario that drivers will sometimes find the transmission is hunting. This can occur when you are on fairly level road but your speed keeps going above and below the Target Over Drive Shift Speed, (TODSS). When this happens, you will again feel the hunting sensation. TODSS is a MPH figure that your car’s computer system is using to determine the threshold speed for which overdrive should engage. TODSS will vary with vehicle speed, accelerator pedal position, engine load, and other sensor factors. On some flat long roads, you might find this will occur between 30-40 MPH. Again, if this hunting is a concern, you can always take the vehicle out of overdrive.

If you have any questions about the operation of overdrive on your particular vehicle, stop by our service department and we will go over the design of your particular model. As always, you should be familiar with the specific manufacturer recommendations in your owners’ manual.

Recent Recall

Source:  NHTSA

VW is recalling 34,358 MY 2003 Passat and Audi A4 and A6 vehicles equipped with 1.8L turbo, 2.8L V6, or 3.0L engines. A change in the electrical motor components in the fuel pump can lead to an inoperative fuel pump and, ultimately, stoppage of fuel supply to the engine causing it to stall. If fuel flow to the engine is interrupted, the vehicle could stall without warning and thus present a potential risk of crash. Dealers will install new fuel pumps. The recall is expected to begin during September 2007. This recall is a supplement to a previous campaign. Recall Campaign #’s are 06V017 & 07V-375. 

Life's Reflections

Promise Yourself…

To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet.
To make all your friends see that there is something special in them.
To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.
To think only of the best, to work only for the best and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.
To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large to worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

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.

Rev. Francis L. Mahoney age 72 retired Pastor of Holy Name Church in Fall River, MA. Sun. July 22, 2007 in Charlton Memorial Hospital. Born in New Bedford, son of the late Francis C. Mahoney and the late Lucy B. (Leonard) Mahoney. He was a graduate of Holy Family High School, where he was a star basketball player, and he enjoyed all sports. He attended Providence College before entering St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore. Fr. Mahoney was ordained to the priesthood on April 2, 1960 in St. Mary Cathedral by the late Bishop James L. Connolly. He received a masters in Education from Bridgewater State College in 1963. Father served at St. Margaret’s Parish in Buzzards Bay from 1960-1969, Immaculate Conception in Fall River from 1969-1978 and also served as co-director of the CYO, St. Mary’s in Seekonk 1978-1987, and Holy Name in Fall River 1987 until his retirement on June 29, 2005. Father also served in other capacities in the diocese, two different terms as Dean of the Fall River Area, Moderator of the Catholic Women’s Club, Vicar for the Clergy, Catholic Chaplain at Adams House, Chaplain at Mass. Maritime Academy and its Newman Club, and the Cape Cod Boy Scouts. He also held membership on the Diocesan Personnel Board, coordinator for the Campaign for Human Development, and coordinator for the annual Overseas Appeal of the American Bishops. Surviving: two sisters Marie Fitzgerald and her husband Neil of Dartmouth, MA. Louise Whelton and her husband Dr. James Whelton of Wayland, MA., niece Mary Louise Francis-Sylvia, nephews James Francis, James, David & Matthew Whelton, grandniece Erin Sylvia & grandnephews Adam Sylvia & Marcos & Santiago Whelton. Brother of the late Anne Francis.

James M. Harrington, 83, of New Bedford died Wednesday, September 19, 2007, at Sacred Heart Home. He was the husband of the late Doris L. (Caron) Harrington. Born in New Bedford, the son of the late Jeremiah and Ellen (Cronin) Harrington, he lived in New Bedford all his life. He was a communicant of Holy Name of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish. Mr. Harrington was formerly employed as a television serviceman for Folco Jewelers and ecclesiastical engineer at Holy Name Church until his retirement in 1986. He was a former member of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps in the Philippines. He is survived by many nieces and nephews. He was the brother of the late Patrick J., Edmund A., Francis B., and John P. Harrington.

Domingo Thimas , 90, of Carver, died September 6, 2007. Beloved husband of the late Irena Thimas. Loving father of Antone J. Ramos of Carver and Roy D. Thimas of New Bedford. Brother of Timothy Thimas of RI. Cherished grandfather of Nancy Giles of CA, Anjo Ramos of GA, Monique Ramos of Grafton, Shawn Thimas of New Bedford, Christopher Thimas of New Bedford and Delphina Thimas of New Bedford. Also survived by 3 great grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

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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