Let's Talk Wheels

Mike Herzing stresses the importance of using correct parts

It's worth getting OEM.

Photo by Mila Araujo / EyeEm

When you are having repair work done on your car, it's always better to use original replacement parts instead of aftermarket replacements. OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts are built to a much higher specification and return your vehicle to the way it was when it was new. This rule applies to body parts or mechanical parts.

To save money on body repairs, some insurance companies like to use aftermarket (aka cheap-o) body parts. This is a touchy subject, because aftermarket body parts are usually inferior in terms of strength and rust prevention. Of course, they didn't mention this when they said they could save you hundreds on your insurance!

One of the biggest reasons that people shy away from buying a car that has been wrecked is that it's not the same as it was when it was new. However, with the correct parts and repair expertise, that doesn't have to be true. Don't avoid buying a car just because it has been in an accident. However, I still recommend taking it by your shop to have them check out the repairs to see if they are quality or not.

If you are having mechanical repairs, once again, OEM is the best way to go. Many aftermarket sensors aren't calibrated exactly the same as the originals and could make a difference in performance.

This is where you should rely on your shop's expertise to make recommendations. One of the best ways to measure your shop's commitment to quality is the weather or not they employ ASE Certified Technicians.

There are many ways to save a few dollars on car repairs, but using shoddy parts definitely shouldn't be one of them.

For more tips from Mike, visit LetsTalkWheels.com. Be sure to subscribe to the new Let's Talk Wheels podcast on iTunes, Spotify, or Google Play.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

Now's the time to buy.

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On his show "Let's Talk Wheels," Mike Herzing answers questions from listeners who write in. While their specific situation might not match yours exactly, there's still plenty to be learned from their experiences — and his expertise.

Daphne writes: I heard you mention last week that new car deals are terrific right now. I am in the market for a new compact hatchback or SUV for commuting 60 miles a day in traffic. Since you always say there are no bad cars on the market these days, what would you choose if you had a budget of $20,000?

Mike Herzing: Indeed, new car deals with zero percent financing, rebates, and even deferred payments have been announced by several dealerships. My first pick would be the Hyundai Kona (priced from $20,300) followed by the Jeep Renegade, (priced from $22,375) and the Mazda CX30 (priced from $21,300).

My next choices would be the Nissan Kicks (from $18,870) and, finally, the Hyundai Venue (from $17,350). These prices are list prices. It's important to remember that dealerships are in the business of making deals. Also, to curb the spread of COVID-19, many dealers are selling cars without physical contact with the customer. This service includes delivering your new vehicle free of charge.

Les writes: I just bought a 2020 Wrangler and love it! But when should I change the oil? I have heard people saying 3,000 miles and also those saying 7,000. I live in Dacula, Georgia, outside of Atlanta and my mileage is mostly highway and some off-roading.

MH: If it were mine, I would change the oil at 5,000 miles and use at least a synthetic blend oil. Using a full synthetic would be even better. You'll also want to take that opportunity to rotate the tires at the same time.

The 2020 Jeep Wrangler owner's manual says to change your oil every 3,500-4,000 miles and no less than once every 12 months. The change oil message will illuminate when it's been 3,500 miles since your last oil change.

For more tips from Mike, visit LetsTalkWheels.com. Be sure to subscribe to the new "Let's Talk Wheels" podcast on iTunes, Spotify, or Google Play.

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Taillights that don't work can be a sign of a larger issue.

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On his show "Let's Talk Wheels," Mike Herzing answers questions from listeners who write in. While their specific situation might not match yours exactly, there's still plenty to be learned from their experiences — and his expertise.

Trevor writes: I have a 2008 GMC Yukon that has a taillight out. I replaced the bulb, and it didn't help. The fuses are ok. What is the next step?

Mike Herzing: Your Yukon, like many newer vehicles, has a taillight circuit board that the bulbs and wiring harness plug into. Vibration, moisture, and age sometimes cause the circuit board to fail. If you replace a brake or taillight bulb and it still doesn't work, this is where I would look first. Luckily, they are usually less than $15 and are relatively easy to replace.

Ed writes: I have a 2004 Subaru WRX-STI, and I love it. I am the original owner, and it is in pristine condition. Do you think this is a future classic?

MH: It is absolutely a future classic, so hold onto it. The STI (which stands for Subaru Technica International) models are great to drive. Keeping it stock (no modifications) may add value. If you do make any changes such as wheels or exhaust, keep your stock parts! That is very important to a collector to be all original.

Liam writes: I own a 2010 Chevy Colorado (and I'm in Colorado), which has what my shop calls an "intermittent no start." When it does this, I can go back later (or have it towed in), and it starts wonderfully! The problem is that it runs fine for days or weeks until it does it again. It has been tuned up and also had a new fuel pump put in last year.

MH: While I am not there to diagnose the problem, let me give you my best guess. GM used an anti-theft feature called Passlock for several years. Passlock utilizes a special lock cylinder that stops the engine from getting fuel (and running) until the proper chipped key is detected. Sometimes, the Passlock feature activates without any reason, making you sit and wait out a 10-minute delay. I have many friends that have gone on YouTube and found the exact procedure to bypass the system.

For more tips from Mike, visit LetsTalkWheels.com. Be sure to subscribe to the new "Let's Talk Wheels" podcast on iTunes, Spotify, or Google Play.

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