Mercedes Working on AI

One of the more interesting announcements at the 2024 Consumer Electronics Show was that Nvidia and Mercedes are working on AI in the Mercedes-Benz automobiles.   While Mercedes is researching self-driving cars, in the meantime they offer AI enhancements to the overall automobile use experience. Mercedes announced that it will offer a Virtual Assistant which is supposed to offer a mix of proactive and empathetic interactions. It is supposed to model four emotions and adapt them to the needs, preferences and moods of the humans. While personally I don’t want my car chatting me up, it might come in handy when kids are riding in the back – let the AI handle “Are we there yet?” questions. Mercedes will, supposedly, train large language model (artificial intelligence) to know the history of Mercedes vehicles, but also the know the manual/handbook for a particular model, as well as status of the vehicle information.  Drivers will be able to have a conversa ... read more


Cars in the news

Hertz to Sell off Its EV Fleet

Hertz car rental company is selling about 20,000 electric vehicles, including Teslas. Apparently the cost of collision damage for EVs is causing Hertz to rethink their commitment to convert 25% of their rental fleet to electric vehicles by the end of 2024 - clearly this will not happen. Sine a number of customers driving EVs were involved in collisions, Hertz decided to lessen the chance of future collisions involving EVs, by limiting the torque and speed of their EVs. It has not been widely reported, but collision shop owners are thrilled with the EVs, as their high acceleration results in increased probability of a collision, at least until drivers get used to driving EVs. So while there are headwinds facing the EV industry, as individuals we may benefit from Hertz's sale. You can check out their website, apparently in addition to Tesla's Model 3, they also have BMW's i3 and Chevrolet's Bolt for sale. Naturally when you consider used EV purchase, you should keep in ... read more

Electric Delivery Vans Are Not Ready for Prime Time

Tesla’s problems with the Tesla truck are well documented. But what about other automakers? Well, I recently talked to a delivery guy. The company he works for uses a fleet of Ford ETransit  (yes, that’s “electric” Ford Transit) and Rivian trucks.  His enthusiasm was muted. The biggest problem, of course, is the range.  He said that Ford ETransit was giving him about 100 mile range. Rivian vans were better, at 140 miles, but it was not because of super efficiency – they just have a bigger battery pack. The bane of the electric cars – limited range – will continue to impact electric vans for years to come. Imagine crawling in Bay Area traffic, and your electric van is running low on power. Are you close to a charging station? Is it a fast charging station? How about 15 minutes to get 45 mile range at a fast charging station. But at the Level 2 Ford Connected Charge Station, it will take almost 3 hrs. to recharge, so you can go a ... read more

Toyota Invests $8 Billion in a Battery Manufacturing Facility – It’s Good to be the King!

Toyota will invest over $8 billion in North Carolina, expanding its battery manufacturing capability. It will create additional 3,000 jobs and allow Toyota to significantly expand its production of batteries for EVs and for Plug-in Hybrid vehicles. Estimates are that by 2030 that plant will be able to manufacture around 600,000 EV battery packs every year. Considering that Toyota has made large bets on hydrogen powered vehicles, and that it continues to improve hydrogen technology, it speaks to its financial prowess that it can invest billions into EV technology that it plans to make obsolete with its hydrogen cars. But then, given Toyota’s position in the automotive industry, it is not surprising that it can invest in two very different technologies simultaneously. It projects yearly profits at 26 billion dollars. Even though Toyota currently offers only two purely electric vehicles - bZ4X SUV and its twin, the Lexus RZ, it also offers plenty of hybrids and plug-in hybrids tha ... read more


Automotive News

Tesla Service at Independent Auto Repair Shops

Yes, you heard it right, Tesla service at independent auto repair shops. We can now provide Tesla owners not only with new OE tires, but also wheel alignment, brake pads replacement, and suspension work. Tesla finally recognized that the long wait times at the Tesla service centers are not going away, particularly when they are ramping up production at the Texas Giga Factory. So for the first time independent auto repair shops are getting access to Tesla OE parts, and we are also getting more technical information flow. Naturally independent shops  can also provide Michelin OE Tesla tires, as well as Tesla tires from Continental and other well-known brand names. These tires have the special foam inserts to keep the ride quiet. Naturally along with new tires we can provide wheel alignment for Tesla vehicles. We anticipate that over time Tesla will provide more technical information, more parts, and will rely on independent auto repair shops to provide the services that Tesla vehi ... read more

Goodyear’s 90 Percent Sustainable Ingredients Tires

Goodyear is known for its tire innovations including using dandelion latex instead of tree harvested latex (when you break dandelion stem, the white stuff that comes out contains latex). So it’s not a surprise that recently Goodyear announced they were able to produce a 90% sustainable tire. The tire materials include not just recycled polyester, but also plant-based materials, like soybean oil, rice husk waste, and pine resin. Steel used in the tires has high recycled content. According to Goodyear, the tires have passed regulatory testing, as well as Goodyear’s internal durability and performance testing. Naturally Goodyear will need to line up suppliers and create a reliable supply chain in order to scale production, so it will take some time before you can buy 90% sustainable tires at your local tire dealer. The stated goal of Goodyear is to eventually produce tires that are made of 100% sustainable-materials. At present, there is no estimate on when this tire will b ... read more


Tire News

Subaru Transmission Fluid Change in Valley Springs, CA

Your Subaru has a transmission system that enables the smooth transfer of power from the engine to the wheels. Because the system consists of several moving components, it uses the transmission fluid to ensure proper lubrication to prevent friction, wear and tear, and overheating. Overtime, the transmission fluid will begin to break down and lose its effectiveness. When this happens, it exposes your transmission to risks. Flushing old transmission fluid and adding new fluid is the only way to keep your transmission in great condition. At Toole’s Garage in Valley Springs we offer Subaru transmission fluid replacement as one of the hundreds of Subaru maintenance and repair services we perform.   Signs your Subaru needs transmission fluid change As the transmission fluid gets older, it picks up grit and grime. These are the signs your Subaru will express when the transmission fluid is old and dirty. Grinding noises When the transmission sys ... read more

Subaru Engine Tune Up in San Carlos, CA

Your Subaru’s proper functioning is determined by the combined efforts of different components in your vehicle. The engine is the one of the most important components in your Subaru. While your vehicle may continue moving if some components are faulty, any problem with your engine may get you stranded on the side of the road. Even though most modern vehicles are self-tuning, we still recommend bringing your Subaru for a tune-up from time to time. Toole’s Garage in San Carlos can provide Subaru tune-up services, along with hundreds of other services your vehicle may require. Even though computers watch over most of the functions that used to be performed during tune-ups, and adjust parameters in real time, sometimes things will get so far out of the normal range that the computer cannot compensate, and a tune up service becomes a necessity. Signs your Subaru is overdue for an engine tune up ... read more

Subaru Timing Belt Replacement in Albany, CA

The timing belt might seem unimportant, but it plays a crucial role in the mechanics of your Subaru. It enables your engine to operate by rotating the cam and crankshaft in sync to ensure that each cylinder fires at the right time. It controls the timing of the valves and pistons. Over time, age, heat and possible oil leaks will cause timing belt deterioration and it will need to be replaced. Timing belt replacement is a major undertaking, and you should take your Subaru to a trusted auto repair shop. At Adams Autoworx Albany we have extensive Subaru service and repair experience, and our nationally ASE certified technicians can perform even the most complex Subaru maintenance services and repairs. As the timing belt ages, if not replaced, it will at some point break ( most often one of the teeth will sheer off – it’s still called a “brake”). This can cause serious engine damage that will cost thousands to repair, assuming repairs are advisable. If the worst ca ... read more

Toyota Prius Catalytic Converter Replacement in Stockton, CA

Catalytic converters rarely fail, since they have no moving parts. Thus catalytic converter replacement used to be a once-in-a-while repair. If your Toyota’s catalytic converter failed, we could order a replacement, and have the repair done in a day. But for the last 3 years or so, catalytic converter theft has resulted in a vast increase in catalytic converter replacements at our Stockton auto care facility.  Often we also have to repair damage done by thieves that extends to other components. In particular, oxygen sensors often get damaged during catalytic converter theft. Unfortunately for Toyota owners, Toyota Prius is the most frequent victim of the catalytic converter theft. It takes a professional thief less than 2 minutes to steal the catalytic converter, yet he can sell it for hundreds of dollars. We recommend keeping your vehicles inside the garage at night. If you have to park outside, try to find an area that is near a street light – it deters thieves. An ... read more

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