Six months after the Federal Aviation Administration levied a fine against Southwest Airlines for safety violations related to airplane repairs, the agency announced it was investigating similar issues with American Airlines Group after mechanics filed a series of whistleblower complaints and a lawsuit alleging managers for the airline breached FAA rules in order to aid its merger and get planes on the tarmac. [More]
According to the consumer advice editor at Edmunds, if you bought a car in the last seven or eight years, you don’t have to change its oil every 3,000 miles. On these newer models, it’s fine to wait until 7,500 miles or more, although a Pennzoil employee tells the New York Times that you should stick with what your manual advises (which is still probably less frequent than every 3,000 miles). You can also check out this California State list of guidelines for different cars. [More]
Maybe I can’t play Plants vs. Zombies while I drive (or maybe I can!*), but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of useful apps for the average driver. In its August issue, Consumer Reports reviews a bunch of apps for motorists, both free and paid, that promise to help you remember maintenance dates, get the correct info after an accident, or find your car in a big parking lot. [More]
Are you planning on buying tires soon? According to this report from TireBusiness.com, Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. is planning on raising its prices for passenger and light truck tires by “up to 12 percent,” in response to an increase on tarrifs from China. They wouldn’t provide a hard date for the price increase, but said “soon.”
We were poking around the NYT archives when we stumbled across this gem, car maintenance budgeting advice for people interested in owning a car … in 1907. Some of the advice remains the same. Other parts, like how much to pay your driver and how much to budget for repainting the car once a year — not so much.
It doesn’t take 30,000 without an oil change to wreck an engine, here’s pictures of reader Eugene’s sister’s blown engine and turbo after just 10,000 miles without so much a dipstick getting exposed to the outside air. See how it’s covered in what looks like piles of dried BBQ sauce? That’s not a good look for an engine. Oily is good, black-oily is bad. “One big week long project, ” writes Eugene. More grisly photos, inside… UPDATE: Commenters suggest the bigger culprit may have been using non-synthetic oil in a turbo car. Looks like a VW 1.8 turbo- notorious engine for sludge buildup. A turbo engine, that one in particular, requires frequent oil changes and synthetic oil,” says anAdmetus.
This sludge-filled massacre is what happens to your engine if you don’t change the oil for 30,000 miles. The six photos depict abject carnage, a crime scene for cars. Good job, Enterprise-Rent-A-Car. Don’t let this happen to you. Checking and changing your oil is a good weekend project, here’s how to do it. [via Jalopnik]
In 2006, Jennifer—the co-founder of popular parenting/consumer advocacy site Z Recommends—took her two-and-a-half-year-old to the bathroom at the local Toys R Us store. What she didn’t know was that this particular store featured the awesome striking power of the Action Toilet Stall with Collapsible Mom Trap! As she closed the door, the entire partition fell over on top of her and her daughter. Jennifer managed to protect her daughter from harm, but in the two years since the event, she’s developed chronic pain from the accident—and the response from Toys R Us has been “don’t call us, we’ll call you.”
Save Hundreds On Auto Maintenance By Shopping Around When budgets get tight, many people are tempted to cut back on their regular car maintenance. Don’t do it! [CR]
Josh has been paying $30 extra to change out the air filter each time he brings his car to Jiffy Lube for an oil change. This time, to save money, he decided to do it himself—and that’s when he discovered that Jiffy Lube lied to him about the filter.
Consumer Reports has some tips for keeping your refrigerator happy and your utility bills low. Keeping the door shut as much as possible is apparently very important. As mom always said, “We’re not trying to refrigerate the entire State of Illinois, are we?”
Reader Brenden says:
A 44-year-old Brooklyn woman was returning from vacation in Haiti when she began to have trouble breathing. According to her cousin who was on the flight with her, she was refused help twice by the flight attendant, then she was brought two oxygen tanks with masks—but both were empty. Her cousin requested an emergency landing, but before they could touch down in Miami she was dead, so the plane continued to JFK. The airline isn’t commenting on why the emergency tanks were empty in the first place. “After the flight attendant refused to administer oxygen to Ms. Desir, she became distressed, pleading, ‘Don’t let me die,’ Mr. Oliver recalled.”
Save some money by re-using your existing strings of light this Christmas—even if they’re currently acting all wonky. Here are some handy guides on how to repair dark strings of Christmas lights, whether they’re LED or the classic incandescent type. They’re fairly detailed, with a sort of techy “how things work” vibe, but contain a lot of useful information. For example, just because a string of incandescents has an AC outlet at the end, that doesn’t make it an extension cord—the more power you pull through the cord, the greater the current and the higher the risk of shorting out bulbs.
How long does it take for United Airlines to get a maintenance crew over to your plane so that they can “fix” something with duct tape? The answer is 45 minutes, not including the time it took to “de-plane” the passengers.
The employees and their manager spent most the time spraying each other with air hoses and windshield fluid. 3 hours later, after seeing other folks come and go, we were told our vehicles were ready. We paid and left quickly, trying to avoid any other confrontation that would delay us even more. Flash forward to last week, my wife told me that her check engine light came on while going to work and the same on the way home.
We have to admit we didn’t know there was such a thing as a Walmart oil change before this letter.