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FTC Consumer Alert

Federal Trade Commission Bureau of Consumer Protection Division of Consumer & Business Education

Auto Warranties, Routine Maintenance, and Repairs: Is Using the Dealer a Must?

If you own a car, you know how important it is to keep up with routine maintenance and repairs. But can a dealer refuse to honor the warranty that came with your new car if someone else does the routine maintenance or repairs?

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nationís consumer protection agency, says no. In fact, itís illegal for a dealer to deny your warranty coverage simply because you had routine maintenance or repairs performed by someone else. Routine maintenance often includes oil changes, tire rotations, belt replacement, fluid checks and flushes, new brake pads, and inspections. Maintenance schedules vary by vehicle make, model and year; the best source of information about routine scheduled maintenance is your ownerís manual.

What is a warranty?

A warranty is a promise, often made by a manufacturer, to stand behind its product or to fix certain defects or malfunctions over a period of time. The warranty pays for Read More→

Future Green Cars

The Next Wave Of Green Vehicles To Hit Showrooms
The first mass-market electric vehicles are about to go on sale in selected cities, kicking off the beginning of a wave of new green vehicles hitting showrooms over the coming year.

The Chevrolet Volt, from General Motors, and the Leaf, from Nissan, both launching in December, are just the beginning of the electrification trend. At least eight hybrids and 12 plug-in electric cars in every price range are planned for 2011, with another batch of electric vehicles (EVs) expected in 2012.

The rollout of these vehicles will be regional, starting with California and a handful of other states, including New York, Texas, Washington, Oregon, Arizona and Tennessee, among others. It could be several years before EVs are readily available across America. Each employs different powertrain technologies, so it pays to do your research at sites like www.hybridcars.com or pluginamerica.org.

But here are the basics:

A hybrid, as the name suggests, uses both a gasoline engine and electric motor to power the car, switching back and forth as necessary. A plug-in hybrid is similar, but comes with a larger battery that allows the vehicle to travel solely on electric power for short hops, but not for long stretches. An extended-range electric vehicle, like the Volt, can go up to 40 or so miles on electricity, after which a small gasoline motor kicks in to recharge the battery and keep driving. A pure EV, like the Leaf, runs solely on electricity and needs to be recharged every 100 miles or so.

When it comes to hybrids, Toyota’s Prius is the only one anyone ever really talks about, so it might surprise you that there are 27 other hybrid models already on the market today, including hybrid versions of the BMW 7-series, Mercedes S-class and Lexus LS.

Many more are coming. They include luxury cars like the recently introduced Porsche Cayenne S hybrid SUV, which, at $67,700, sells for about $4,000 more than the gasoline version of Porsche’s bestselling vehicle, and the Lexus CT 200h compact, due in early 2011, which is aimed at a younger, Gen-X crowd, and will likely be priced under $32,000.

German carmakers, which had been trying to steer more Americans to clean diesels, are now making a big push on hybrids and plug-ins, too. A hybrid version of the Volkswagen Touareg SUV comes out next month, followed by a hybrid VW Jetta small car in 2012.

Meanwhile, virtually every carmaker, including many industry newcomers, is working on some sort of electric plug-in car, though not every company is ready to take them into the mass market. They’re rolling them out slowly, to utilities and government fleets, until there’s a charging network that can support them.

Some exceptions: The Coda sedan is an electric vehicle assembled in California with parts imported from China that will sell for $44,900. A federal tax rebate will bring the cost down to $37,400, and buyers could be eligible for additional state and local incentives. The car will be marketed through a unique network of retail stores and delivered to customers in person. The first deliveries are expected before the end of the year, and Coda says it plans to produce 14,000 by the end of 2011.

Another small company with big plans is Think, based in the Netherlands. It’s building its tiny Think City at a factory in Indianapolis, which is expected to sell for about $34,000 when it goes on sale next year. Think plans to sell 2,000 to 3,000 of the cars in 2011.

Ford Motor hasn’t even started selling its next-generation Focus compact (it goes on sale at the start of the year), but it’s already planning an electric version. The Focus EV will go on sale in late 2011, and will be manufactured alongside the gasoline version at a factory in Michigan. Chrysler, controlled by Italy’s Fiat, will sell the Fiat e500, a plug-in version of Fiat’s cute 500 city car, beginning in 2012.

Toyota, which sold an electric version of its Rav4 SUV a decade ago, is now working on the second generation with help from Tesla, the Silicon Valley startup that markets a $100,000 electric roadster. Tesla will build and supply the lithium-ion battery pack and other components. A small fleet of new Rav4 EVs will be tested in 2011, with the expected full-market launch expected in 2012.

Find Quality Used Auto Parts From Arizona

The Arizona Automotive Recyclers Association (AARA) is a group of automotive recyclers that know quality, value & service go hand in hand. Use this site to find the used auto parts or truck parts you are looking for by searching an online inventory or by sending a request to the members.

Rust free used auto parts are a few clicks away by using the† FREE ONLINE SEARCH AND PARTS REQUEST FORM you will not only be able to find rust free top quality Arizona auto parts, but with a few minutes time you will have auto recyclers competing for your business.

Our inventory has auto body parts, engine, transmission, drive line, brake, cooling, suspension, electrical & more. Why deal with one salvage yard when you can have many competing for your business?

We have over 55 members within the state of Arizona selling rust-free, quality automotive parts. All of our members offer a minimum 90 day warranty on their parts. You can search our members combined inventories or send our members a part request by clicking on the parts request and parts search buttons listed throughout the site.

The Arizona Automotive Recyclers Association is a select group of Arizona Auto and Truck Recyclers committed to serving Arizona and the World with quality recycled auto parts, to help our customers, our communities and our environment.

Positive Impact

How Recycling Has A Positive Impact On The Environment

Most of the products that humans manufacture are detrimental to ecosystems if left in nature when no longer serviceable. Automobiles are a prime example, given that they are composed of a large number of parts of varied composition.

Consider the space where an abandoned vehicle has been parked for many years. From side to side, bumper to bumper, little is growing in its footprint. There may some insects, worms, a small reptile or amphibian or two, but these forms of life are just as plentiful in adjacent spots that don’t have an old car sitting on them. Beneath the junked vehicle, plant life does not flourish as it would otherwise, and ultimately, these plants are vital for providing the base of animal food chains.

An obvious benefit to the environment comes from reducing the size of the footprint of a discarded automobile. While crushing a car can decrease its size and the space required, a far better solution is to salvage many of the materials from a junk car. Over 80 percent of each auto can be recovered, and efforts are underway to increase that ratio. This challenge is constantly evolving with the change in composition of auto parts. For example, today’s cars are built from far more plastic and less steel than their predecessors.

Of course, not all auto parts have an equal environmental impact. While some, such as the auto glass, are fairly inert, and the main problem presented is their longevity, other compounds are far more damaging. It is important to remove and contain all fluids such as fuel, lubricant, antifreeze, and hydraulic fluid so that they do not pollute the earth and ground water. The refrigerant from the air conditioning system must be recovered before it can escape into the atmosphere. Auto batteries contain harmful materials such as lead and sulfuric acid. Lead is also present in other auto parts like wheel weights. The mercury contained in automobile light switches is very toxic. Each of these forms of hazardous waste must be properly contained rather than being imposed on the environment.

Another benefit of recycling scrapped auto parts is the reduction in environmental impact needed to acquire new raw materials. Increasing the amount of recycled steel used lessens the volume of iron that must be mined and refined into steel, reducing need for not only iron ore but coal as well. More precious metals, such as copper, can also be salvaged from junk cars, again reducing the need for the environmental impact that comes with any mining industry. The platinum found in a catalytic converter is another example of a precious metal that can be reused.