Author: ADAMM

Don’t overlook your wiper blades

By DAVID THOME Special to ADAMM Tech Tip – Don’t overlook your wiper blades Your car can have a rocket engine and a suspension tuned like a Formula One racer’s, but your performance will definitely suffer if you can’t see out the windshield. Investing 30 bucks and maybe half as many minutes on a new set of wiper blades, though, will keep you safer and make the ride more enjoyable no matter what you drive. “You don’t want to wait until you can’t see where you’re going,” said Al Arthur, parts manager for AMATO Hyundai of Milwaukee. “When you start getting streaks on the windshield, that’s when you should replace your wipers.” Being abused by winter ice, snow and salt is tough on the rubber inserts, he said, but warm, sunny weather doesn’t do them any favors either. In warm weather, they get covered with a grimy film, and sun and heat dry them out to where they develop little cracks. Arthur said that keeping wipers clean by wiping them with a dab of rubbing alcohol, or even just your fingers, won’t eliminate cracks, but will help clear the glass until you have the time to stop at a dealership to pick up a new pair. Car maintenance experts at Autoweek.com recommend you replace both wiper blades at the same time, which not only makes it easier to keep track, but...

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Service advisers link customers, techs

By DAVID THOME Special to ADAMM Don’t know the difference between a rocker panel and a rocker arm, or why you hear something like a punk rocker’s death shriek coming from under the hood of your car? Don’t fret. Every new-car dealership’s repair shop has people on staff who can translate from Customerian to Technicianese and vice versa. These people are called service advisers. They may or may not be handy with a wrench, but they are very good at getting to the heart of your concerns even before you drop off your vehicle for repairs. “In a nutshell, I’m the communication liaison between the guest and the tech,” said Joe Weil, a service adviser at RUSS DARROW Kia in Wauwatosa. “The adviser needs to understand what the guest is experiencing to be able to tell the tech what needs to be addressed.” Craig Prochaska, a service adviser for HOLZ Chevrolet, said that advisers need to be able to do a lot more as well — from making sure the dealership has the parts needed for the job to arranging for rental cars, and from explaining warranties to following up to see if the customer is satisfied. Tech training is not a requirement for the job, said Chris Niemiec, service department manager at WILDE Subaru in Waukesha, but “great people skills” are a must. “The most important aspect of...

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Clean that winter salt

Sour vinegar a sweet way to clean salt By DAVID THOME Special to ADAMM Salt helps keep your car on the road all winter, but you do not want to keep what dripped onto your floor mats and carpet in your car all summer. Fortunately, there’s a quick, easy — and environmentally friendly — way to remove salt stains. “Vinegar and water is the best way to handle that,” said Mark Czerwinski, service director at NEWMAN Chevrolet in Cedarburg. “You don’t need any professional products. Our detailers even use vinegar and water.” A 4-DYIers video on You Tube suggests vacuuming the affected area first, then using a spray bottle to apply a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water to the white, crusty stains that build up on mats and in the carpet surrounding the mat. After waiting a few minutes to soak, dab the area with a damp cloth. If some salt remains after one application, repeat. 4-DIYers recommends scrubbing lightly with a toothbrush, but Czerwinski said any clean nylon brush will loosen hardpacked salt. “If it’s really crusty, you can’t just wipe it out,” he explained. WikiHow.com also suggests that you avoid pressing on the stain, which can push salt farther in to the carpet pile. Czerwinski said you can’t harm your vehicle by using vinegar and water. The only aftereffect may be a vinegary smell, but that’s nothing to worry about: “If you want to remove the salt, you’re going to have to put up...

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Concours ownership changes but high standards remain

By DAVID THOME Special to ADAMM A familiar name exited the Milwaukee-area automotive market recently when the Wuesthoff family sold Concours Motors, but the new owners built a name for themselves by scoring a string of national honors in their hometown of Memphis, Tenn. The Umansky Automotive Group LLC, headed by Dan Umansky, has taken ownership of Concours in Glendale. Umansky’s dealership in Memphis has received the Acura’s “Dealership of Distinction” award and has been one of the automaker’s “Precision Team Award” winners for 16 years. Ken Girard, Umansky’s Milwaukee platform manager, said the awards only go to the top 15% of Acura dealers. Founded in 1955 by champion racecar driver Bill Wuestoff, Concours sold a variety of import vehicles under one roof at 1400 W. Silver Spring Dr., Glendale, and BMWs at 5990 N. Green Bay Road. Umansky Motor Cars will sell Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Volkswagen on Silver Spring and BMWs at the Green Bay Road location. Girard said Wuestoff and his son Karl, who succeeded Bill as head of Concours, set a high bar among generations of import car lovers, but Umansky has a track record of meeting similar expectations. “One thing we do is, we don’t just consider top managers as ‘the closers’,” Girard said. “Managers get out of the office and make sure the clients have all their questions answered completely so they can make...

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Previously leased cars a certified deal

By DAVID THOME Special to ADAMM Industry in good position to meet new fuel mandates Americans leased 4.4 million vehicles in 2013, about three-fourths of which will find their way into the pre-owned sections of new-car dealerships over the course of 2016 — creating a bonanza for frugal consumers who put low-mileage, original warranty coverage and dependability on the top of their must-have lists. That’s because previously leased, or “off-lease,” vehicles often qualify for manufacturers’ certified pre-owned vehicle programs. “Vehicles that come back from leases tend to hold their value, but they’re also just three years old and have 30,000 miles or so on them,” said Jim Slayton, sales manager for SCHMIT Ford in Thiensville. “That’s a used car you can expect to have for a long time when you consider that cars are now staying on the road for a quarter of a million miles.” Certified pre-owned vehicles are subjected to intense inspections — often covering nearly 200 items — before a manufacturer will agree to extend the full original new-car warranty or, in some cases, even add time or miles to the original. Furthermore, any problems that are found — including recall fixes — have to be addressed. Some manufacturers also offer certified pre-owned buyers perks such as free roadside assistance and navigation and satellite radio services for a few years. “With a certified vehicle, the buyer has...

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