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Category Archives: Blog

New car batteries are failing sooner - JD Powers

JD Powers did an annual survey of vehicle owners, and results were quite interesting - newer cars are having more problems with batteries. It turns out auxiliary car batteries are failing sooner. Normally you would expect a good quality battery to last 5 years or so but now they are failing at an increased rate after two or three of years of use. As it turns out the culprits are info systems, entertainment systems as well as the modern key fobs.  Info and entertainment systems are known power hogs because software updates and telemetry communications that occur while the car is parked create additional drain on the battery – not terribly surprising. But the key fob is an interesting story.  It turns out many fobs are part of a proximity key system (that allows an owner to unlock and start the car while keeping the key fob in his or her pocket or purse).  This function can also drain a car battery’s charge at an accelerated rate when the activating key fob ... read more

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Starting in 2019 Volvo will produce only hybrids and electric cars

Starting in 2019 Volvo will produce only hybrids and electric cars Volvo announced that starting in 2019 all new Volvos will either be electric or hybrid models. Volvo management wants to open a new chapter in auto history – after over 100 years of the internal combustion engine ruling the world. Actually, it’s a return to the early days of automobile industry – at the beginning of the 20th century, internal combustion engine was just one of the three contenders – the other two were steam engines and electric engines. With the modern technology increasing efficiency and improving power management, the electric engines are coming back strong. Volvo promises three Volvo models, and two high performance electric cars from Polestar, Volvo’s performance car division. They plan to sell over 1 million electric cars by 2025. At Berkeley Bob’s we are electric and hybrid specialists, so you can bring your new Volvo hybrids to us, knowing that your car is in ... read more

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Volkswagen Scandal Gets Bigger

Recently Volkswagen admitted to using special software to change diesel cars emissions during tests – for over 500,000 Volkswagen diesel cars sold in the United States. Worldwide, the number may be as high as 11 million cars. Thanks to special software supplied by Bosch, when tested, cars would show legal emission levels, but during regular driving, they would have much higher emissions, in some cases as much as 40 times the permissible level. Bosch says it warned Volkswagen not to use the software in production cars – that it was only meant for factory testing. United States Justice Department starteda criminalinvestigation, and Environmental Protection Agency has threatened to impose fines up to $18 billion – this was all BEFORE Volkswagen admitted to the shenanigans. Volkswagen initially denied it was trying to game the inspections, and claimed higher emissions where due to "various technical issues and unexpected in-use conditions” – or so say so ... read more

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Takata Airbag Recall

You might have heard about the Takata airbag recall - if you drive a Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru or a Toyota, there is a good chance you received a notice from the your dealer. As of summer 2015, recall of Takata airbags exceeds 34 million vehicles just in the US. Many dealers still have pretty long wait times, but if you got a recall notice, give them a call. Many have worked down their backlog, and may be able to schedule replacement within a few days, often less than a week. Given the severity of potential injuries, scheduling an airbag replacement sooner than later is a good idea. The problem with Takata airbags is that they sometimes deploy with too much force, sending shrapnel into the interior of the vehicle. Both deaths and injuries have occurred. Apparently, the culprit is moisture. Once it gets into the inflator, it destabilizes the chemical compound responsible for the explosion that inflates the airbags – due to moisture, the compound becomes more explo ... read more

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Free Hydrogen Fuel for Buyers of the New Toyota Mirai H2 Sedan

Free Hydrogen Fuel for Buyers of the New Toyota Mirai H2 Sedan

A car manufacturer so confident in their model’s fuel efficiency, Toyota just announced that for purchasers of their new Mirai sedan, the company is willing to pay for the first two years of hydrogen fuel. Mirai—which is the Japanese word for “future”—is the newest model by Toyota to roll off the assembly line and into showrooms. The car will be released in the U.S. in December 2015 in limited quantities and then next year production is scheduled to double. Toyota Mirai by Mariordo - Used Under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 Be the first on your block to own this smart looking, fun to drive vehicle, Toyota’s first foray into the fuel cell vehicle market. Only the second Japanese car manufacturer to bring hydrogen fuel cell technology to the US market, Toyota is hoping this new fuel efficient model will outsell the Prius over the next decade. Honda was the first ... read more

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What do you know about Fuel Octane and does it matter anyway?

What do you know about Fuel Octane and does it matter anyway?

Audi R8 V10 2016 by Mundo Velocidad, used under CC BY-SA 2.0 If you ask the average consumer what they know about octane their response would be something like higher octane is more money and not necessary; part truth and part myth. Let’s explore fuel octane and the variations. In California there are three levels of fuel octane most frequently available; 87, 89, 91. The octane rating scale began in 1926 when a guy named Graham Edgar experimented by adding two different components; heptane and isooctane to gasoline and discovered engine knocking stopped when more isooctane was added. So he created the rating scale which goes from zero (100% heptane) to 100 (100% isooctane). Therefore fuel with a rating of 91 has more isooctane then either 87 or 89. All car manufacturers issue a minimum octane rating for their car ... read more

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Topping Off - not a good idea.

Topping Off - not a good idea.

Audi RS3 in front of storm by Mike Mkiv, used under CC BY 2.0 Many car owners top off the tank after the gas pump automatically shuts off. We all want that extra ¼ gallon to extend the range of the car, but topping off is not a good idea. Living and working in Berkeley, we try to take good care of the environment. Topping off is definitely not an environmentally friendly practice. Here are the reasons why we recommend against topping off: There is a possibility tha ... read more

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Keep your tank at least ¼ full – be good to your fuel pump

Keep your tank at least ¼ full – be good to your fuel pump

Volvo V60 R-Design by Pål-Kristian Hamre, used under CC BY-SA 2.0 Nobody likes to run out of fuel, so we usually get to the gas station before the tank runs dry. But what the manufacturers don’t bother to tell us, is that running on empty is not good for the fuel pump. Whether you drive a Volvo, Audi, Lexus or a popular Volkswagen, they all have fuel pumps. And a fuel pump, like most mechanical devices, needs to be cooled. Cooling of a fuel pump is accomplished by f ... read more

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V60 diesel plug-in hybrid

V60 diesel plug-in hybrid

Latest spot featuring the 2014 Volvo V60 diesel plug-in hybrid. (Source: AutoBlog and Volvo Car News)

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2013 Prius – 4 New Versions

2013 Prius – 4 New Versions

Latest spot featuring the four new Prius 2013 edition – A Prius for Everyone. (Source: Toyota USA)

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