Giammalvo Files
Mark Giammalvo

Mark Giammalvo specializes in driveability diagnostics at his family business, Sam Giammalvo's Auto Sales & Service, Inc. in New Bedford, MA.   

Mark, who has been with the business for over 20 years, is an ASE  Master Technician and Parts Specialist. He also holds the ASE L1 certification, and has an associates degree in business management.
Mark is also a writer for Motor Age Magazine and is the past secretary of the Alliance of Automotive Service Professionals, (AASP).


(Printed in the Journal of The Alliance of Automotive Service Providers, AASP) 

To recall or not to recall...that is the question.

Ever see a part failure resulting in a recall before it's a recall? How about this recent development: Last month we had a 1993 Sable owner towed in with a broken r/f coil spring. When we were turning the car into the service bay a sharp piece of the coil spring blew out the r/f tire.  We recommend that the customer change both front springs and the tire. The customer agreed. I called the dealer to ask if they had ever seen a 23,000 mile Sable with a broken spring before, since their were no service bulletins and we thought spring failure on such a young car was odd. The parts manager said he had seen a "few" in the past but "not a lot".

Well, just today the same customer comes in with a letter from Ford announcing recall 98S15/98M02. Guess what Ford is doing to correct the problem?  New springs right? Not! Well, only if they fail first. The letter reports that the coil springs can fracture if the vehicle is operated in high corrosion North American States. They will:
(1). Provide Additional Warranty for front spring replacement, regardless of mileage through Dec 31, 2001. Only if they fail.
(2). They will be installing special shields on the front springs so that if a spring does fail, it will not cause the tire to blow out. (So no one is killed). (Bad enough the owner will be scared out of his mind on the highway when the spring fails and the car does a nose dive.)

 I'd like to meet the person at Ford that negotiated that deal with NHTSA. Probably could sell an Eskimo a freezer. Talk about a Band-Aid. Why not just replace the faulty springs in the first place? (Bean counter at Ford: " No that would be to costly")  I notice in the letter from Ford that they only mention corrosion as being the cause. The NHTSA web site is more revealing with the statement: "The front coil springs can fracture as a result of corrosion in combination with small cracks in the springs.. the front tire could deflate due to a broken front coil spring contacting the tire, increasing the risk of vehicle crash". As Paul Harvey would say: "that's the rest of the story"