Women: Use Your Five Senses for Vehicle Maintenance
GRAND BLANC, MICH. — Mothers teach their children that the five senses – hearing, sight, smell, taste and touch – are important for learning about the world around them. These same senses can also help moms – and women in general – with vehicle maintenance.
According to the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), women now represent 65 percent of the customers who take their vehicles in for service and repair. Women also influence more than 89 percent of vehicle service purchase decisions, and oversee the spending of more than $300 billion annually on used vehicles, maintenance, service and repair.
Because more women than ever are not only buying their own cars, but taking care of their families’ vehicles as well, what can women do to make more informed choices regarding their vehicle service?
Lea George, marketing analyst for ACDelco, a global leader in automotive replacement parts and services, urges women to use their various senses to help detect problems with their vehicles. This includes: Feeling or sensing any vibrations, lurching or shimmying while driving; smelling gasoline or coolant; looking at the floor of the garage for any fluid leaks emanating from the vehicle; and listening for squeaks, clunks, hisses and other abnormal sounds and noting from where they are coming.
“The more knowledgeable the customer, the more accurately she can describe what is wrong with the vehicle,” George says. “That helps the service writer draft a more specific work order, which enables the technician to zero in on that problem and increases the chances he will fix the vehicle right the first time.”
George adds the following tips for vehicle owners to further assist service consultants and technicians, and to help better their service center experience:
- Write down the symptoms. Take detailed notes on any problems, and include if the condition is weather-related or if the engine was warm or cold. These written clues will help allow the technician to understand intermittent problems.
- Describe, don’t diagnose. Similar to going to the doctor, you want to relate the symptoms but you wouldn’t prescribe treatment.
Tape notes to the steering wheel. The service writer to whom you describe the problems may not be the technician who actually works on your vehicle. But whoever does will likely sit in the driver’s seat at some point.
- Understand the service performed. After the diagnosis, expect to receive a thorough explanation of the maintenance or repairs performed on your vehicle. Be sure to get a hard copy of a signed estimate for parts and labor so there are no surprises at vehicle pick up time.
- Look into purchasing a vehicle service contract. It can provide coverage for your vehicle in the event of mechanical failure beyond the manufacturer’s warranty.
I know how many women out there are interested in pickup trucks. I get a tremendous amount of e-mail from women wanting advice on which truck they need. I’m going to try and track what’s new for you.
I know manufactures spend millions on focus groups about minivans, but what about trucks? The earlier hydraulic clutches behind the diesel helped women handle pickups easier. If you look at the “over the road rigs,” you will see a lot of women. I know women can handle trucks very well.
This month’s stand out for making pickup trucks easier for all of us, focus’s on Ford. Ford came out with the “adjustable pedals” a couple of years ago. The adjustable pedals are the brake pedal and accelerator pedal. They both move about 3 inches. So now you can adjust the tilt of the steering wheel, the seat and the floor pedals. The idea is to have the controls come to you and get your best position as far away from the air bag as possible. None of us are the same size. Shorter folks had a disadvantage of being too close to the air bag. The adjustable pedals are an option on the Ford Windstar, Taurus, 2002 Explorer, F150 Lariat and standard on Ford Expedition and F150 Super Crew. Good job Ford!
I think the general consensus is that women are taken advantage of at car dealerships. I use to think that. What I see now is determined women armed with knowledge and persistence getting the deals they want. Women in general will do more research than men on autos, they read more, ask more questions and put up with less baloney. I wish more women would stay in the auto business. They usually do very well, saleswomen are more believable, less confrontational, pay better attention to detail and do better follow up.
For the article “Pickups get women’s touch Click Here for the rest of the story.
2004 Ford F150 spring loaded tailgate making lifting the tailgate easier and power windows in the Super Cab doors
Truck terminology for loads and pulling
Base Curb Weight: the empty weight of a vehicle including all standard equipment and a full tank of fuel. Does not include cargo, options or passengers.
Base Curb Weight plus Cargo Weight plus Passenger Weight equals Gross Vehicle Weight.
Cargo Weight: includes all weight added to the Base Curb Weight. When towing , trailer tongue weight is included in Cargo Weight.
Payload: the combined maximum allowable weight of cargo and passengers that the truck is designed to carry.
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating minus the Curb Weight equals Payload.
GVW: Gross Vehicle Weight – the actual loaded weight of your vehicle, the Base Curb Weight plus actual Cargo Weight plus passengers.
Gross Vehicle Weight plus Loaded Trailer Weight equals Gross Combination Weight, GCW must not exceed GCWR.
GVWR: Gross Vehicle Weight Rating – the maximum allowable weight of the fully-loaded vehicle with axles (including passengers and cargo).
The GVW must never exceed the GVWR.
GAW: Gross Axle Weight- the total weight placed on each axle, (front and rear.) The easiest way to get this number is to drive just the front axle of the loaded truck with the loaded trailer on a scales and then drive the all the loaded truck’s tires on the scale with the loaded trailer still connected but not on the scale. Subtract the front axle weight from the total loaded truck weight and you have the rear axle weight.
GAWR: Gross Axle Weight Rating- the maximum weight to be carried by a single axle, (front or rear.)
The total load of each axle must never exceed its GAWR.
GCW: Gross Combination Weight- the weight of the loaded vehicle, (GVW) plus the weight of the fully loaded trailer.
GCWR: Gross Combination Weight Rating- the maximum allowable weight of the towing vehicle and the loaded trailer, including all cargo and passengers.
The Gross Combination Weight must never exceed the GCWR.
GTW: Gross Trailer Weight – the actual total weight of the loaded trailer. Trailer- Gross Vehicle Weight not to exceed the GVWR of the trailer.
TW: Tongue Weight – refers to the amount of the trailer’s weight that presses down on the trailer hitch, whether a bed mount hitch, (mini- fifthwheel or ball) or a receiver hitch attached at the rear of the truck.
Trailer and Receiver Hitches Classes and Types. Mounted to the trucks frame.
- Class I-Light Duty: 2000#’s maximum trailer weight. 200# tongue weight, 300 #’s with weight distributing hitch.
- Class II- Medium Duty: 3500#’s maximum trailer weight. 300# tongue weight, 500#’s with weight distributing hitch.
- Class III- Heavy Duty: 5000#’s maximum trailer weight. 7500#’s trailer weight with a weight distributing hitch. 300 – 500# tongue weight. Up to 750# tongue weight with weight distributing hitch.
- Class IV-Extra-Heavy-Duty: 10,000 to 12,000#’s and above maximum trailer weight depending on the manufacture. 1,000# tongue weight with a weight distributing hitch. Class V receiver hitch can be over 12,000#’s.
Caution: Always read the label on the hitch including factory equipped receivers. Some hitches are rated their maximum capacity only if you use a Weight Distribution Hitch.
Trailer brakes and cab controls are needed on trailers weighing over 1500#’s. Surge brakes used commonly on boats will not have a manual control in the cab, but rely on the movement of the tow vehicle to activate the trailer brakes.
Quadrasteer by Delphi was engineered to make pulling a trailer safer for women and men.
Below is a product with women in mind. I found it at the SEMA convention. And it makes sense.
Revolutionary Motorized Saddle Rack.
Finally you can stop wrestling your saddles in and out or your trailer and lifting them over your head. Saddlematic will bring your saddles to you. See the whole story and how they work.
Should you buy a used truck from a New Dealer or a used dealer?
There are several great used car lot’s, ones that have been in families for generations. And there are several that are high pressure, and target you for one big sale. I’ve known used lots that send buyers all over the country buying the last flood, hurricane, hail, tornado damage vehicles at auctions and ship them home for the repaint and rebuild. Ever wonder how used lots have the latest model year vehicles? Manufactures also sell the lemons they can’t fix at those auctions. Watch out for the newer models with low miles thinking there is still factory warranty left. They don’t all have it. If you live in a small town, usually the used lots can’t be too bad and have to stand behind what they sell or they get escorted out of town, either financially or otherwise.
I’ve known a lot of car salesman in my 10 years of being in the business. They make more money working for the used lots. The problem with new lots is, the big ones with the most inventory, have the most “new green pea salespeople”. Which naturally don’t know much about trucks. What do you do? I suggest you do your own homework. Go to the manufacture’s web sites. Go to my web site of course! New dealers have the manufacture behind them on new and usually on the used inventory also. With the factory certified mechanic’s close by, it’s easier to have the vehicle checked out and if the vehicle you are looking at is the same brand they sell new, it can be traced on the factory computer for recalls and repair history. AND you can find out if there really is factory warranty left! Used lots of ill repute will watch you drive away hoping to not see you again nor will they be your friends when the truck brakes down. If the New Dealer is well established, they have considerably more invested in their franchise than the used lot with a 2 year lease on their property. The better auctions that sell the factory program cars from the manufactories lease returns and executive cars usually sell these vehicles to the franchise dealers first at special monthly sales. Guess who the auctions sell the lemons and wore out trade-ins to? We know that there are good and bad dealers of both new and used. But since the prices are comparable between the two, which one wants your future sales and service business? And if you find unbelievable deals somewhere, what does common sense say? Good hunting!
“Love your web site and the article about women and trucks. I have an older vehicle, 1988 F-250 Diesel purchased in Tampa, Florida in 1995 (feel comfortable with it as I’m an older model myself…almost 70), along with a 1985 5th wheel RV. Miss Sadie is my German Shepherd and only companion, but we travel all over the western states now and still have a good time. I have been using Amsoil products in my vehicle since the week after I bought it, and am very happy with the results…wouldn’t use anything else. I was introduced to owning a diesel (and using Amsoil products), by a friend and Amsoil Dealer, Tom Gundecker of Tampa. I can’t thank him enough. I love my diesel and it’s performance. I bought the shop manuals after the truck purchase…and do the maintenance and most of the repair work myself…love learning about my truck. Thanks for a great web site…will ad it to my ‘favorites’. GA”
If you know of a good idea that a manufacture has come up with or should do about what women want in a pickup, please email me.