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PACE Certification Embraces Sustainability in Boulder County

green earth image -- PACE Certification Boulder Colorado

Independent Motors just received PACE Certification. This certification, locally based, is similar to LEED and Energy Star. It is a way of expressing a commitment to sustainability and an alignment with Boulder’s values. This article looks at PACE, as well as LEED and Energy Star, with which it shares core principles and objectives.

What is PACE?

PACE (Partners for a Clean Environment) is a Boulder County program that promotes and advises on sustainability. Its PACE Partners are organizations in the area that have been certified by Boulder County, demonstrating their environmental responsibility and waste diversion (see below). Along with the other organizations within PACE, Independent Motors has become one of hundreds of organizations that:

  • have dedicated themselves to helping build the local economy by adopting more environmentally friendly methods in various aspects of their business.
  • are committed to the local area and community
  • are concerned about the people and businesses who purchase their products
  • are geared generally toward the implementation of methods that are helpful to the local area’s economy, environment, and public health.

Applying for and receiving PACE Certification is a way for us to let you know that we have taken an initiative in deploying many key sustainability practices. According to Boulder County, the guidelines it uses for certification are “based upon and consistent with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) criteria as well as Energy Star Building certification.

What is waste diversion?

Waste diversion is defined within legal resource Defined Term as “the sum of your recycled, composted, and donated/reused materials.” In turn, the waste diversion rate is the proportion of all waste that gets donated, reused, composted, or recycled. For instance, if your business creates 1000 pounds of waste and 500 pounds is either donated, composted, reused, or recycled, that gives you a waste diversion rate of 50%.

The diversion rate can typically be improved by increasing the number of items that are recycled. Organizations can find new ways to recycle through a waste stream audit, a standardized process that can also sometimes reveal revenue opportunities, according to facilities management resource Buildings.

Notably, waste diversion is especially critical for the construction industry, as indicated by these statistics:

  • As the largest source within the waste stream at 30% of the total, the waste from construction and demolition (C &D) adds up to 135.5 million tons.
  • The average amount of waste per square foot of a newly constructed building is 3.9 pounds.
  • Waste per square foot for the average demolition is 155 pounds.

While construction may create more waste than other industries, every organization can improve its waste diversion, resource conservation, and other sustainability policies.

What is LEED?

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Created and developed by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), it is a set of green construction guidelines that are used to certify facilities as having met accepted sustainability standards. Like EnergyStar and PACE, LEED gives companies and other entities a way to present evidence that they used environmentally sound construction supplies and methods, based on the perspective of an objective outside organization. The range of LEED is broad, covering the extent to which the facility conserves resources, allows for high indoor environmental quality, is efficient with water, limits carbon dioxide emissions, and saves on electricity usage, among other concerns. Again meeting a similar need to other certification methods such as PACE and EnergyStar, LEED gives the managers and owners of any building a way to determine and initiate pragmatic steps to improve the environmental friendliness of their properties – in terms of how it is architected and constructed, but also in how it is maintained.

The USGBC was created in 1993 by a group of people within the American Institute of Architects (a professional organization that is headquartered in Washington, DC, and has 90,000 members, promoting the value of architecture and providing architects with helpful resources). The initial USGBC members represented approximately five dozen for-profit companies and a few nonprofit organizations. The intention of this group was to advance sustainability within construction. The USGBC first introduced the LEED certification program in 2000.

What is Energy Star?

Energy Star is a certification program that was created and is maintained in collaboration between the US Department of Energy (DOE) and US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It is used to allow companies and individuals to cut their emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by being able to choose electronics, appliances, office equipment, and manufacturing plants that have committed to strong efficiency standards and protocols. While that describes the initial Energy Star focus, other types of industrial buildings, as well as commercial and residential buildings, can now go through the certification and rating process as well.

Originally released in 1992, Energy Star was used in a modified version to assess all members of the European Union in 2007. New Zealand and Australia also now use a similar version of these standards to gauge their own governmental practices, as well as to provide certification for for-profit and nonprofit organizations throughout their nations. Because of these high-profile adoptions and use beyond the borders of the United States, the certification program is taken very seriously.

Energy Star program to end?

Energy Star was in the political headlines recently because it would have ended with Trump’s budget as he attempted to redirect an additional $54 billion annually into military spending. However, his efforts to terminate Energy Star did not succeed.

As Grist noted, the program had helped organizations develop efficiency that had huge financial gains, amounting to a reduction of $430 billion on energy spending. Meanwhile, the program only (relative to its benefits) cost taxpayers $50 million annually.

Congress was not completely onboard with Trump’s efforts. In fact, there was substantial funding for innovations within the clean energy sector in the spending bill. According to the nonprofit National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the bill “clears the way for the Department of Energy (DOE) to carry out an effective operation while guarding against many harmful anti-environment policy ‘riders’ that have no place in a spending bill.”

When Congress passed the bill on March 23, they did so without including (as wanted by the Trump administration) the removal of the Advanced Research Projects Agency –Energy (ARPA-E), the division of the EPA that oversees the government’s efforts toward clean energy innovation. It also did so without removing a large amount of money from the budget for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE); in fact, the budget expanded the EERE’s budget by 11% over 2017. Finally, the EPA’s Energy Star program was taken off the chopping block as well.

Trump may not like the Energy Star program because he reportedly once received a 1 out of 100 rating – the lowest possible score – for energy efficiency at the Mayfair Hotel in Manhattan (since converted into condos).

Supporting PACE-certified businesses

Are you interested in supporting Boulder area businesses that have committed to sustainability practices? You can look through PACE Partners here. You will see that Independent Motors is one of the Certified Partners listed. At Independent Motors, an honest mechanic committed to broad sustainability efforts, 90% of the auto repair we do is repeat business. Meet our staff.

Jeep Repair: How to Change Your Cherokee Ignition Switch

Jeep logo - Jeep Cherokee ignition switch repair

It is important that the ignition switch on a Jeep Cherokee continue to work well if you want to maintain safety on the road. If the switch ever begins to malfunction, you could end up stuck somewhere with the car stalled. You might not even be able to start it. You will get the first hint that this problem has arisen when you have difficulty starting the vehicle, perhaps having to retry a couple times. These warning signs are not always present though; you may just lose the ignition suddenly. No matter how the part fails, this article describes how you would go about removing and replacing it.

This Jeep repair is basically in three phases, as you remove the lower dashboard trim, remove the old ignition switch, and install the new ignition switch.

Tools needed:

  • Wrench
  • Screwdriver

Lower dashboard trim removal

  1. Open the hood of the car and secure it.
  2. Take your wrench and detach the car battery from the negative cable terminal (black).
  3. Grab your screwdriver and take out the 10 screws that are holding in the lower dashboard trim panel. Note that you will typically need to look inside the ashtray container for one of the screws.
  4. Make sure all electrical connectors are also detached, after which you can take off the panel. Put the panel someplace that is easy to remember when you need to reinstall it.

Ignition switch removal

  1. Turn your key lock to “Off-Lock.”
  2. Take out the pair of retaining screws that attach the steering column and switch, using the screwdriver. You can now detach your actuating rod.
  3. Disconnect the white electrical connector from the black wire harness connector.
  4. Take the switch out of your steering column.

Ignition switch installation

  1. Position your replacement ignition switch at the edge of your steering column so it is prepared to install.
  2. Change the switch’s slider so that it is set on “Accessory.”
  3. Attach the slider hole and actuating rod. Connect the switch. Use your fingers to get the pair of retaining screws tight but not stuck.
  4. Keeping your key lock set on “Accessory,” barely adjust the switch so that it is at the column’s base. Make sure the actuating rod is free of any slack. Use your screwdriver to complete the tightening of your retaining screws.
  5. Reestablish the connection between the white and black electrical connectors.
  6. Take the lower dashboard trim and reinstall it, using your screwdriver to reattach the screws.
  7. Connect the car battery to the negative battery cable, using your wrench to get it tight. Shut your hood.

Jeep News & Information

With this Jeep repair complete, we can turn to some lighter fare – some current news and information that might interest you as a Jeep owner:

  • Jeep Cherokee gets a redesign for 2019
  • Record number of redesigned Wranglers sold
  • Jeep driver goes off cliff in effort to avoid wasp

Jeep Cherokee gets a redesign for 2019

As small and midsize SUVs flood the market, Jeep is giving a refresher to its Cherokee with the 2019 edition.

The styling of the front of the Cherokee now has a greater resemblance to the front of the Compass or Grand Cherokee. The lights are the main difference, but the grille is also positioned more vertically than horizontally. The Cherokee’s taillights are also redesigned.

A previous design of the Cherokee created separation between the headlights and LED running lights. Now those lights are all included within a narrow, streamlined lens. The additional updates that are most notable are the composite tailgate, lightweight aluminum hood, and five new wheel designs.

The weight is lighter by 200 pounds vs. the 2018 version of the Cherokee. This change, which enhances the riding for occupants, is getting some positive attention, with Detroit Free Press car critic Mark Phelan saying in his review that the weight reduction was very impressive for a car that currently exists and is getting a midcycle refresh.

There is a new engine in the 2019 Cherokee. It offers 270 horsepower through a 2-liter 4-cylinder design. Phelan suggested that the engine is key to making this car a standout, saying that the 2-liter turbo was the first strong 4-cylinder engine that Chrysler had produced “since before DaimlerChrysler was penny wise and pound foolish in developing an uncompetitive family of bargain-basement engines more than a decade ago.”

This engine, which you can get in mid-range and high-end Cherokees, has the strong torque at low engine speeds and strong fuel economy to make it the best engine for the Cherokee.

Record number of redesigned Wranglers sold

With a strong resemblance to military vehicles, the Jeep Wrangler is a durable SUV and is intended for people who would want to go after rocky or muddy terrain.

With automotive consumers in the United States becoming increasingly attracted to SUVs and trucks, the Wrangler just hit the highest point in the model’s history.

Incredibly, the rise was 70% year-over-year (YOY) from March 2017 to March 2018, according to the numbers released by Fiat Chrysler. The figure made the Wrangler the top-selling model in the Jeep catalog. It even bested the Cherokee, which also had a huge rise of 63 percent YOY but achieved a lower total of 23,764 units sold.

The total for March of 98,382 Jeep cars was also a new record for total cars by the automaker.

The way in which the market is evolving right now is suited well for Jeep since it is a brand completely focused on sport utility vehicles.

Jeff Schuster, who assesses and projects sales of cars as the forecasting VP of LMC Automotive, commented that the numbers for Jeep were remarkable. Noting that the SUV focus is the expertise at Jeep, Schuster said that the brand is currently “really well aligned with the market.”

To clarify, the 2018 Wrangler is a different organism. It is not the historic, stripped-down version of the Wrangler but instead offers a stronger focus on comfort. There are locking differentials, a roll cage, and other all-terrain components. However, from the comfort end, this Wrangler includes Chrysler’s Uconnect infotainment platform and a push-button ignition.

Comfort is critical since off-roading is not a part of Wrangler ownership for all people. The design of the car and its amenities are important to other owners of the model.

Schuster noted that a Wrangler will often see no off-roading at all.

Jeep driver goes off cliff in effort to avoid wasp

A Jeep went off a cliff into Lake Pleasant in Arizona on April 6 when its driver attempted to swat a wasp in the cabin.

The wasp flew into the car as the man was driving, according to a the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. The driver did not know that he was approaching the cliff since he was so distracted by the wasp. Luckily, the driver did look up just before his Jeep sped off the cliff and leapt from the car to the ground. The car kept going off the cliff and down into the lake.

There were no injuries to the driver or anyone else. The Sheriff’s Office clarified that the driver was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Honest Jeep mechanic in Boulder

The Jeep brand continues to excite, with refreshes of its popular models continuing to draw eyes and new drivers – as indicated by sales of the Wrangler and the Cherokee redesign in the 2019 model. If you wish, you can follow the above steps to replace your ignition switch. If you need a mechanic for this repair or any other, we can help. At Independent Motors, 90% of the auto repair we do is repeat business. See our Jeep repair philosophy.

Toyota Repair: How to Change the Door Lock Mode

Toyota Repair - How to Change the Door Lock Mode

If you own any recent Toyota model that has power locks and an automatic transmission, you have the ability to change the sequence for the locking and unlocking of the doors – as determined by the current mode.


This adjustment is not really a repair but will help you to “fix” the issue if the car is set in a mode that you do not like.


Your choice is between four modes that are preprogrammed into the vehicle:


  • Mode 1 – This mode connects the shift position with automatic door locking – but notably not unlocking. When the key is in the ignition and in the “On” position, and when all doors are shut, they will automatically lock when you move the shift lever out of “Park.”
  • Mode 2 – This mode simply turns off the feature. Automatic locking and unlocking will be nonoperational.
  • Mode 3 – Similarly to Mode 1, this mode ties both locking and unlocking of doors with the shift position. With the key in the “On” position and with all doors shut, you will auto-lock them whenever you move the shift lever from “Park.” In turn, the doors will auto-unlock whenever you bring the shift lever back to “Park.”
  • Mode 4 – This mode connects not just the shift position but also the key position to the automatic locking and unlocking system. With the key set to “On” and all of the doors shut, you will auto-lock the doors when you move out of “Park” with the shift lever. In turn, all the doors will auto-unlock when you turn the key to “Off” while the shift lever is in “Park.”


Switching between modes


Now that you know what your options are, how do you change from one to another? Here are the six steps:


  1. Look at the control knob for the dome light. Change the position to “Door.”


  1. Make sure all the doors are shut and that your shift lever is set to “Park.”


  1. Put the key in the ignition, and turn it so it is set to “On.”


  1. Once you are in the “On” position, and before 5 seconds has passed, push down the door lock switch on the driver’s side, keeping it down for 5 seconds.


  1. The number of flashes that come from the dome light will tell you the mode to which the automatic locking system is currently set. One flash tells you that you are in mode 1, while two, three, and four flashes signal that you are in modes 2-4, respectively.


  1. Push the switch to change to a different mode. It will flash to let you know the new mode. Keep pushing the switch until you get to the one you want.


You now know how to switch your Toyota car into any of the four different modes for automatic locking and unlocking – one of which (Mode 2) shuts it off completely, if that is your preference. Again, although not a Toyota repair, this project will allow you to have better control of the car and to fix the situation if you are frustrated by the way that this automatic feature is currently configured.


Note that your choice of auto-locking and auto-unlocking mode will be forgotten by the car computer if the car battery dies or becomes disconnected. If that occurs, the vehicle will be reset to Mode 1.


Toyota News & Information


Now you know how to switch your mode so that you are in control of how your automatic system is set to lock and unlock your doors. With that tutorial complete, we can turn to recent news stories that may be of interest to you as the owner of a Toyota:


  • Toyota wins 4 crowns in 2018 Consumer Reports list
  • Toyota develops more sustainable EV magnet


Toyota wins 4 crowns in 2018 Consumer Reports list


Each year Consumer Reports ranks the best cars, and the 2018 list amounts to an impressive display for Japanese carmaker Toyota.


Not all news has been positive for Toyota lately. It no longer has the planet’s leading volume of sales, eclipsed by Volkswagen and Nissan/Renault/Mitsubishi. Nonetheless, this Consumer Reports ranking shows that the carmaker is a strong choice for buyers, with critical assessments (drawing on many thousands of perspectives) that do not consider where a car stands in the popularity contest.


Consumer Reports is taken very seriously because it does not allow any potential bias to be introduced either by advertisements or by getting cars from automakers – instead purchasing cars directly from dealerships. Related to performance, that information is gathered from its subscribers, so that all its information is as scientific as possible (both objective and derived from a large sample).


Within the magazine’s 2018 Top Picks, 4 of the 10 categories saw Toyota at the helm. The categories and victors were:


  • compact car – Corolla
  • midsize car – Camry
  • midsize SUV – Highlander
  • minivan – Sienna.


The basic reasons that the carmaker was successful with this 2018 list, according to Consumer Reports, were threefold: reliability of the car; the focus on safety features; and the accessible, mainstream design.


The magazine’s director of automotive testing, Jake Fisher, stressed that “really impressive reliability across the board” was essential in setting the brand apart from its competition.


Fisher also mentioned that the automaker was excelling in applying safety technologies – particularly forward-collision warning systems and automatic emergency braking – standardly throughout its lineup.


Toyota develops more sustainable EV magnet


Electric vehicles (EVs) are embraced as a way to cut down our reliance on fossil fuels, at least creating a new format of automobile for which fueling at the pump is unnecessary. One key issue with zero-emission electric cars, though, is that they require a rare-earth element (REE), neodymium. Toyota has become concerned that we are mining this mineral too quickly to supply the growing demand. It is currently developing magnets for its motors that cut in half the amount of neodymium needed to build one of its hybrid or electric models.


This decision is exciting news for environmentalism, both because of Toyota’s scope and because it has announced it will offer an electric version of all its cars within seven years. To reduce the amount of neodymium, the carmaker has turned to lanthanum and cerium, both more affordable and currently in more abundant supply.


The reason magnet engineers have typically used neodymium is that it can maintain magnetization to an incredible degree and also has extraordinary heat-tolerance. The simple act of including more cerium and lanthanum instead of the neodymium would have been insufficient, since the important magnetic capabilities would be reduced. Because the project was not a simple task, Toyota invested substantially to innovate breakthrough technology that would allow the motor to perform just as well with only 50% of the neodymium.


Perhaps the most compelling aspect of this new magnet technology is that it can be applied to electronics beyond automobiles. Appliances, robots, and any other objects that might have use for an affordable, sustainable high-temperature motor could utilize this new technology. These more environmentally friendly motors will be used in production cars starting in approximately 2020.


Honest Toyota repair in Boulder


Toyota cars are owner-friendly, as suggested by the ease of switching between locking modes and the great ratings from Consumer Reports. Plus, the brand is easy to like, with its sustainability strides. Nonetheless, Toyota repair and routine maintenance is sometimes needed. For those tasks, you want a mechanic who is credible and straightforward. At Independent Motors, Boulder’s neighborhood auto repair shop for 35 years, 90% of the work we do is repeat business. See our Toyota repair philosophy.


Subaru Repair: How to Change Your Water Pump

Subaru Repair - How to Change Your Subaru Water Pump

To control internal temperature, the engine of a Subaru car utilizes coolant, pressurizing and pumping it within a water channel and radiator setup. Most automobiles have a block and head design. The Subaru, on the other hand, cycles coolant through the engine via water jacks surrounding a primary crankcase. The main pump is positioned at the front of the motor.


For this Subaru repair, you should need about 2 hours. Here are the steps to replace your water pump:


Step 1 – Before proceeding make sure the engine is completely cool (hasn’t run for four hours or more). Gather a socket set, pliers, screwdrivers, a drain pan, and coolant.


Step 2 – Unhook the lower radiator hose so that the coolant can flow out into the drain pan. To release the hose, squeeze together the pinch/crimp hose clamp arms or unscrew the clamps.


Step 3 – Disconnect the upper hose from the radiator. Also unscrew the bolts that stabilize it. Now pull it out of your Subaru by sliding it in the direction of the motor’s top. Remove the radiator with the fans attached.


Step 4 – Release the tension from the air conditioner belt tensioner pulley. Repeat the same for the alternator & power steering drive belt. You can then remove them from the car by pulling them in the direction of the motor’s front.


Step 5 – Before proceeding make sure the crank pulley’s 0* mark is lined up with the index mark on the timing cover! Remove the crank pulley and timing belt covers. Remove timing belt tensioner and the timing belt. Make sure the engine crank shaft and cam shafts do not rotate at all while the timing belt is off. If reusing the belt mark timing marks on the belt with the pulley.


Step 6 – You will see the water pump bolted into place at the lower left of the engine. Use counterclockwise turning on the five or six bolts to disconnect the pump. Pull it in the direction of the car’s front. You may see a little leftover coolant drip out as you move it; if so, wipe it away. Finally (for removal), check the mount location of the pump to see if its rubber gasket is stuck there; if so, remove it and make sure both surfaces are completely clean of any debris.


Step 7 – Put the gasket into the new water pump and place it back at the center of the engine. Turn the bolts clockwise to stabilize its position. You should have a strong seal between the motor and the pump. The bolts should be firmly in position.


Step 8 – Replace the timing belt and tensioner, making sure it is in time (exactly as it came off). Replace the timing belt cover, crank pulley. Make sure the crank pulley is tightened to the proper torque specification. Replace all remaining parts in the reverse order from taking them off. Reconnect the radiator’s lower and upper hoses.


Step 9 – Pour coolant into the radiator, being aware that distilled water will help safeguard your vehicle again corrosion, debris, and rust. Start the car. Keep pouring in fluid until your Subaru cannot take anymore. Place the radiator cap back onto the car. Pour coolant into the overflow tank until it is at the correct level.


Step 10 – Test drive then turn off engine and let cool down and check for leaks. It’s best to use pressure test the coolant system to see if there are any leaks.

Note: Properly gather and dispose of your coolant to safeguard the local Boulder environment.


Your Subaru repair is complete. You should now have a new water pump in your car, and your car’s system should be ready to go.


Subaru News & Information


Now that you are complete with the replacement of your water pump, we can review some recent news stories that may be of interest to you as a Subaru owner:


  • Subaru Outback safety system rated “superior”
  • A 1996 decision that fueled Subaru’s US success


Subaru Outback safety system rated “superior”


A study was created to lower the number of reverse low-speed crashes by analyzing rear crash prevention systems in various vehicles. The research, released on Tuesday, February 20, used a classification system that placed rear safety systems within three categories: basic, advanced, and superior. Six cars were assessed, each of them from a different automaker, all 2017 models with strong sales. The results were as follows:



  • BMW 5 series sedan
  • Infiniti QX60 SUV
  • Jeep Cherokee SUV
  • Toyota Prius hatchback.



  • Cadillac XT5 SUV
  • Subaru Outback wagon.


Various technologies are incorporated into rear crash prevention systems. When a vehicle with one of these systems installed is backing up and gets near another car, sensors either cause the seat to vibrate or caution beeps to sound. Cross-traffic warnings let the driver know about cars approaching from either side as they move backward. Automatic emergency braking systems sense when an object is too close, causing the car to brake if the driver does not do so first (in response to the warning beeps).


The program for assessment of these safety systems was created by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), a nonprofit, independent research and informational body that is committed to minimizing fatalities, bodily harm, and property damage that results from car collisions. To be clear, this test looked specifically at damage-prevention without taking into account injury-prevention.


To get a rating of “superior” from the IIHS, a car must have rear autobraking that fares well in numerous test runs at 4 mph – either completely stopping impact or getting the speed down to 1 mph or less (i.e. impact but without damage).


The Cadillac, like the Subaru, received this high rating with all three of the above optional systems – rear cross-traffic alert, parking sensors, and rear autobrake –implemented. The Toyota, Jeep BMW, and Infiniti have those same three systems optionally available; however, when the IIHS tested those cars, they did not respond as well as the Subaru and Cadillac did.


The IIHS performed previous research that determined there are 78% fewer accidents, according to the number of police reports, when rear autobrake, parking sensors, and a rearview camera are in place.


The nonprofit noted that the most critical feature is rear autobrake, since its studies suggest it is most effective in crash-prevention. However, the organization has also found that there are fewer collisions when parking sensors and rear cross-traffic alerts are present, as indicated by insurer and police reports, respectively.


A 1996 decision that fueled Subaru’s US success


Subaru of America, the New Jersey-based US wing of the Japanese carmaker, has seen its sales figures rise for ten years in a row. The numbers have not always been positive in the United States, though. A 1996 decision was central to the success Subaru is seeing today.


In fact, the early days here were challenging for Subaru, to say the least – particularly when Consumer Reports called the Subaru 360 “the most unsafe car on the market.”


Harvey Lamm, cofounder of the automaker, decided to build the brand in places where Consumer Reports did not have many subscribers: rural areas of western Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Washington state, Minnesota, and Vermont. In these sparsely populated areas, Ford Broncos, Jeeps, and pickups were the only four-wheel-drive vehicles available. Subaru entered the fray.


The key moment for the carmaker, though, came two decades later, in 1996. Then, the parent company of Subaru, Fuji Heavy Industries, decided to build in Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive as a standard feature on almost all of its models.


The decision to transition to cars that were only available as AWD was an important differentiating move; after all, Japanese automobiles were known for being front-wheel-drive cars centered on fuel-efficiency. The carmaker created a niche for itself by including 4WD as part of the basic notion of what a Subaru is.


Now, the strongest car segment in the United States is pickups, SUVs, and CUVs. Subaru is in the best possible position, thanks in large part to a strategic 1996 decision.


An honest Boulder mechanic


With strong safety ratings and the ability to take on any snow or terrain, Subaru cars are popular here in Boulder. Despite their durability, sometimes repairs and routine maintenance are needed. When your Subaru must be fixed, you need an honest mechanic. At Independent Motors, 90% of the work we do is repeat business. See our Subaru repair philosophy.

Subaru Repair: How to Change Your Transmission

Subaru Repair: How to Change Your Transmission

One of the most common Subaru repair needs is to replace the transmission. The first step of replacement, removal, is also necessary when you want to rebuild the transmission or need to switch out your clutch – so keep in mind those additional applications as you walk through the steps to change the part.


The full process to replace the transmission is simple and proceeds in the same general manner as with other cars. However, since the transmission from this carmaker weighs more than average, it is wise to work with a second person for this Subaru repair, allowing you to safely raise it in and out of the vehicle.


Steps to remove & replace your Subaru transmission


1.) Use the jack to raise your Subaru, and keep it propped up on jack stands.


2.) Before you move the component, let all the transmission gear oil drain out of it. Insert a 1/2-inch drive ratchet into the drain plug of your transmission. Take out the plug. You do not want transmission fluid to get all over the place when you remove the component.


3.) Neither the exhaust pipe nor the drive shaft should be connected when making a Subaru repair that involves transmission removal. Four bolts, used to connect the component to the drive shaft, can easily be removed with a wrench. A ratchet and extensions can be used to disconnect the exhaust.


4.) A ratchet or wrench can be used to disconnect the transmission mount. Located at the top of the transmission, this mount is bolted to the firewall.


5.) Take off any wires that lead into the transmission, taking note of where they are located.


6.) Separate the transmission from the two drive axles. The transmission and axles will be connected together with pins. To disconnect the axles, you will need to drive out the pins with a punch and hammer.


7.) Take out the seven or eight bolts connecting the transmission and engine block, using your ratchet. To keep your transmission from falling, put a transmission lift beneath your transmission and bring it down. (A jack with a transmission attachment can also work if you are conducting this Subaru repair without a transmission lift.)


8.) Move the transmission back and forth to test it, and you should be able to bring it straight down to the jack. Bring the part back so that the input shaft does not experience undue force. Bring your transmission all the way to the floor.


9.) Bring the new transmission into position with the jack.


10.) Guide the input shaft through the flywheel hole. Use bolts to secure the connection.


11.) Using your hands, push the axles into the transmission to install them. Also, manually put in the pins, driving them into the axle with a punch and hammer.


12.) Doing the opposite of the steps you used to take out the component, hook back up the wiring, exhaust, and drive shaft.


13.) Reconnect the transmission mount (on the firewall) and the transmission with your ratchet.


14.) Take a breather. You are finished.


One pointer for this Subaru repair job comes from Sayrgo Barazi of It Still Runs. Barazi explains that it can be tricky to achieve proper alignment of the shaft splines within the clutch. If you are having that difficulty, “spin the output shaft with your hand,” he says. “This will reposition the input shaft and allow you to inset it into the clutch.”


Notes of caution: First, your Subaru transmission weighs approximately 150 pounds; so it it not a good idea to lift one if you are not very physically fit. Second, be sure that you protect your eyes with safety goggles.


Subaru News & Information


Now that you know how to fix your car (or what your mechanic needs to do), here are a few other items of general interest in the news related to Subaru:


  • Subaru Ascent 3-row SUV is a top 2018 tech car
  • First North American RA the costliest Subaru ever


Subaru Ascent 3-row SUV is a top 2018 tech car


Technology news blog ExtremeTech released its top 10 list of tech cars for 2018. One of the vehicles to make the list was the Subaru Ascent. There has not been a midsize SUV/crossover of at least 190 inches, and with the capacity to hold passengers in three rows, in the Subaru lineup since the Tribeca was pulled in 2014. A midsize sedan measuring 199 inches, the 2019 Subaru Ascent is very close in length to the Ford Explorer and new Volkswagen Atlas.


If you buy an Ascent, you have the option to seat seven or eight people. As is typical with the Subaru brand, all-wheel-drive comes standard. The engine is a turbocharged boxer (a flat-lying V4 engine). This model, only available to US consumers, is manufactured in Indiana. The demand for Subaru repair will assumedly rise in the coming years with growth of the brand; sales will eclipse 700,000 if the Ascent meets expectations, particularly since the carmaker also comes out with a new compact crossover in 2018.


First North American RA the costliest Subaru ever


The 2018 Subaru WRX STI Type RA does not cost $50,000; it’s $145 shy. At $49,855, the car is the most expensive one that the carmaker has on the market. Since that’s the case, the central premise of Jonny Lieberman’s test-drive for Motor Trend is rather simple: a determination of whether the car is worth its price-tag, top within the Subaru catalog.


The RA is a car based on the automaker’s efforts to outdo a global speed record. It actually stands for Record Attempt. Using the FIA World Speed Endurance Record as its goal, Subaru initially produced the 1989 Legacy RA; that car did successfully establish a new FIA record. The tradition continues, with pro rally driver Mark Higgins recently setting a new Nürburgring Nordschleife record for a four-door production car behind the wheel of a modified STI Type RA.


RA limited-edition models have typically been exclusive to Japan; this model pivots to an exclusive North American release. Just 500 of the car will be made for United States customers, while only 75 will be produced for sale in Canada; that is the total global number that will be made. This VIP, exclusive aspect to the car is underscored by a plaque in front of the shifter that gives you your manufacturing number. There are three colors; black is the rarest, with blue and white more common.


In Lieberman’s test-drive of the car, he notes that this version of the Subaru WRX is an advancement to a truly superior car, with its additional horsepower, enhancement of the steering, and modified suspension. The reviewer realized that the car was “great” while on a professional test track (the Thermal Club’s 1.4-mile Desert Circuit) and while driving it on the open road. The biggest critique was that extreme curves in the road made an issue that the STI has with understeer more apparent. Despite that flaw, the performance was high-grade.


Lieberman set out in his review to answer the question, Is this car worth the asking price of nearly $50k? The critic’s final answer is yes – noting that he would probably buy it if he were shopping for a new sports car. After pondering how he would consider the car in that scenario, he adds, “[t]he combination of its rarity and how much better it drives than the standard STI would be enough for me to pull the trigger.”


Moving forward with Subaru repair


The Subaru brand continues to impress, but sometimes you need a fix – and often repairs are best left to experienced professionals.


Are you seeking an honest Subaru transmission mechanic in Boulder? We started Independent Motors because we felt our city needed an auto repair shop that was more in line with our local community’s values – and we have expert skills at maintaining Subaru cars. See our Subaru repair philosophy.

Consumer Reports Survey: Most & Least Reliable Cars

Consumer Reports Survey - Most & Least Reliable Cars

Both for car owners and carmakers, probably one of the most important pieces of media that comes out each year is the Consumer Reports Guide to Car Reliability. This study is critical for a couple of reasons: one is the Consumer Reports model (taking no advertising funds to maintain total objectivity). The other is the issue of reliability as a key factor in an automobile. Everyone who owns a motor vehicle should care about its reliability so that they are better protected from getting stuck out somewhere on the side of the road. Plus, you do not want your car to keep returning to the shop even if your mechanic is honest and experienced; you need it to commute, run errands, and get to social events. Since reliability is such a paramount concern of car owners, it is a factor that will have a huge influence on long-term general satisfaction; plus, it helps boost the resale value of a car.


The most recent version of the CR guide was released on October 19, 2017. This article summarizes the findings of the survey, providing the methods used for study; a general overview and highlights; and the cars that landed in the top 10 and bottom 10.


Nearly two-thirds of a million cars assessed


We often hear “factoids” on the news stated out of context. When something is reported in the newspaper, on a commentary TV show, or on the Internet, it is often a statement that is cited in the absence of a strong foundation (which may exist but is given little coverage). When Consumer Reports says a certain model is reliable or unreliable, what is it using as its information for these scores?


This annual poll is based on information of nearly two-thirds of a million cars – 640,000 of them. The advantage of this massive number of cars is that it means there are usually hundreds of samples of each car, with the magazine estimating there are usually “about 200 to 400 samples for each model year.” This survey is released once a year but is actually the result of about 6 months of data collection and analysis. The reliability information used for the guide comes directly from Consumer Reports consumers.


The Annual Questionnaire is sent out in the spring of each year (so the 2018 one is already nearly underway). The questionnaire asks about any issues people have had with their vehicles during the previous year. The researchers request that readers respond with major car problems that led to significant expense, danger, downtime, or malfunction. The magazine asks that owners mention car challenges regardless of warranty inclusion; however, it also asks that drivers omit issues that arose from a recall or a collision – so that day-to-day operability remains the point of focus. The data is collected via checkboxes but also through open-ended short answers.


The data is 100% new for each annual report, with previous reports used only for comparison purposes with the new results. After starting the collection process in the spring, the research team is able to get all the data organized by the end of the summer. At that point, analysis begins, leading up to the late-October publication.


Why are new cars suspect?


You have probably heard plenty of people suggest how much value a new car loses the moment you drive it off the sales lot. If that steep and immediate reduction in value is unconvincing by itself, this report could tip the balance in favor of a used car. Both entirely new models and newly updated existing versions of models have something frustrating in common: both these types of models (the latest but not-so-greatest?) have a higher rate of engine and transmission issues, as well as a greater incidence of failure of innovative tech components.


That’s right: the technology that we hear praised so much in media coverage may not be your reliability partner. A key example is the technology that underscores your transmission, which has been a primary point of focus for engineers wanting to enhance a car’s fuel-efficiency. Bad shifting and total failure have been reported among owners of the many continuously variable, eight-speed, and nine-speed models that were released in recent years. These transmission types are not always problematic; however, many have issues when they are initially incorporated into cars. “[M]any owners have reported issues with them breaking down or shifting badly,” notes Anita Lam, the magazine’s associate director of data integration.


Rough shifting (leading to lurching of the car) was a typical issue reported in the 2017 Buick LaCrosse, for example; the 2016 Hyundai Tucson and 2015 Acura TLX have similar problems. The analysis of 2017 redesign issues by the magazine focuses on the GMC Acadia and Subaru Impreza as having issues as well.


You also may have problems with infotainment systems in newly released cars (or model years in which those technologies are first introduced). An infotainment system has various capabilities, including allowing you to stream your music playlists, call people, and get directions as you drive. People who were driving cars that had the first-year releases of these systems experienced more than 100% as many issues with technologies as those who owned models that did not have major tech updates.


A key example model with this type of infotainment issue is the 2017 Jaguar F-Pace, which both has problems with its InControl system and a leaking differential. The 2015 Jeep Renegade has issues with its drive system, power equipment, electronics, and transmission. The Tesla Model X has problems related to its trim and paint, as well as its falcon-wing doors. The 2016 Volvo XC90 may come with leaks and noises, brake problems, breakdowns in power equipment, or failure of the electronic systems.


These issues may not be apparent right at the beginning of your ownership of the car. The Chevrolet Cruze performed excellently during its first year, based on the Consumer Reports data for its year out of the gates. Nonetheless, both the 2016 and 2017 versions received poor ratings for reliability: transmission, engine, fuel/emission, and power equipment problems have all emerged in both model years.


It may be confusing why carmakers are unable to fix more of these issues prior to a car’s release. The real issue is that it can be difficult to know what will happen with the machine in every type of real-world setting, especially over the long term, notes the magazine. The Consumer Reports director of auto testing, Jake Fisher, advises that “mass production and a wide range of real-life driving scenarios multiply the number and nature of problems that can arise in a new model.”


Car reliability: best & worst 10 lists


Here are the most and least reliable models, according to the poll.


Least reliable cars:


Chevrolet Camaro

Mercedes-Benz GLC

Jaguar F-Pace

GMC Acadia

Fiat 500

Ford Focus

Ford Fiesta

Volvo XC90

Cadillac Escalade

Tesla Model X.


Most reliable cars:


Kia Niro

Subaru BRZ / Toyota 86

Lexus ES

Lexus GS

Audi Q3

Toyota RAV4

Lexus IS

Toyota Prius V

Toyota Prius C

Infiniti Q70.


An honest Boulder mechanic


You want a reliable car, of course. The above information should help you narrow down your options when making a purchase. The other major piece that you want is a trustworthy and experienced mechanic for those times when your car does become unreliable or otherwise needs a fix.


At Independent Motors, we believe great service starts with open, honest communication. Meet our staff.

Why Support Locally Owned Businesses?

Why Support Locally Owned Businesses?

A study highlighted by the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) assessed two independent, locally owned businesses in Austin, Texas (record store Waterloo Records and book store Book People), finding that they recirculated over 200% more money into the local economy than the estimate of what a Borders Books and Music location would have given back to the city.


The return of money to the local Boulder economy is a major reason to support locally owned, independent businesses. It is just one of many though. Let’s look at these reasons, explore a concept called the multiplier effect, and specifically review the satisfaction advantage of locally owned auto repair shops.


11 reasons to support your locally owned businesses


The Boulder County Independent Business Alliance (BIBA) notes that corporate franchises have become the standard for a huge range of products and services, such as coffee, groceries, and hardware. Big box stores often drive independent local businesspeople into having to shut down their shops. In turn, towns around the United States “are becoming marked by stark uniformity and lack of human scale,” says BIBA.


Here are 11 reasons to shop local, from BIBA and the nonprofit Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR):


  1. The money stays in the local area.

The entire local area will be boosted when people are buying more products and services from their neighbors rather than from corporate chains because a significantly larger chunk of the revenue from local businesses is reinvested locally (as indicated above).

  1. It enhances the sense of local community.

A business that is owned and run locally strengthens the community by giving to local charities and creating a more cohesive sense of place, creating a fabric of interconnected relationships between consumers and businesses, both economic and personal. Town centers are often revitalized by local entrepreneurs too.

  1. It gives your area a unique character.

When business and life are increasingly dominated by sameness and the overhyped supposed predictability advantage of large brands, being distinctive offers an advantage.

  1. Keep control at the local level.

The people in the local community will be most impacted by decisions that are made regarding the local area. By supporting businesses that are independent, you also support the independence of the area’s decision-making. As corporations accrue more power every day, they increasingly are able to control policies in local communities, explains BIBA. Think about companies that are absentee-owned being able to increasingly pressure and control local governments. In that sense, these companies threaten the democracy of the local area, according to BIBA. One example is subsidies and tax breaks that may be available to corporations to choose a certain place for a new store. Beyond that, huge companies can use their global presence and incredible funding to sidestep environmental and human rights laws through physical or financial transition to nations, states, and cities that do not have as many rules in place.

  1. Get access to a broader range of products and services.

A cookie-cutter model within a national franchise is expected. Within local businesses, though, you can find more diversity of offerings. When there are more small businesses, the needs of local people are the point of focus, leading to better access to a larger number of items locally.

  1. You have more competition, which cuts down the price.

Most people know that competition is a fundamental precept of a thriving capitalist economy. You both keep down the costs and see more innovation when there are hundreds or thousands of small businesses. When Walmart was studied in Iowa, the researchers found that 84% of its business was taken from local merchants. Box stores and other corporate chains mean less competition; prices may start low but gradually will rise over time.

  1. Buying local is a commitment to sustainability.

Independent shops often have agreements with local companies, reducing the need for shipping. There are fewer executive plane flights. Plus, independent local companies improve walkability – minimizing pollution (emissions), habitat loss, and sprawl.

  1. It increases pay and improves employment rates.

A typical local business generates more jobs locally than a corporate chain does. Pay and benefits are also often preferable to what is offered by chain stores.

  1. Your tax dollars are better utilized.

Everyone wants their tax dollars to be used as intelligently as possible. The costs and advantages of an independent company are both better; these businesses utilize public services more efficiently and do not have as much need for infrastructure as strip malls and box stores do.

  1. Buying independently is an investment in entrepreneurship.

Upward social mobility is central to the American dream. The entrepreneurship that is built into an independent business provides opportunities for people to move more solidly into the middle class. It also enhances innovation.

  1. It reduces costs for anyone local who wants to start a business.

Large Wall Street corporations force everyone in the area to pay more for their leases, since these heavily funded organizations can pay for huge amounts of space.


Multiplier effect


In the above list of reasons, we noted how local businesses tend to reinvest in the local economy. The extent to which independent shops reinvest locally is incredible. The impact of the difference between locally owned franchises and absentee-owned businesses can be described in three ways, through the multiplier effect, as indicated by AMIBA:


  • Direct impact – Directly, a local small business often spends locally for business operations costs such as wages, equipment, inventory, and utilities.
  • Indirect impact – This effect is seen as the money that an independent company uses for purchases locally is recycled within the community.
  • Induced impact – This form of impact occurs as the owners, staff, and affiliates make purchases locally.


Better satisfaction ratings at independent auto shops


One way to alleviate some of the frustration of taking your car in for a repair or maintenance, says nonprofit consumer research publication Consumer Reports, is to choose an independent shop over a new-car dealership franchise. (We have reviewed this study in this blog previously, but we will provide a bit more detail here.)


The service of 121,000 cars was included within the survey. 41,000 of the vehicles were repaired at independent, local mechanics, while the remainder were fixed at chain new-car dealerships. The locally owned, independent auto shops received better scores from car owners for a broad range of factors, including the accuracy of time estimates, friendliness of personnel, quality of work performed, cost, and general satisfaction. Nearly all the independent shops reviewed by the magazine had high scores from its customers for all those categories. Dealerships did not typically have high scores.


The only dealer that had strong satisfaction was Tesla. However, Consumer Reports noted that Tesla was a new entry to the market at the time (2015), and that it did not have nearly as large a pool of customers to keep happy as the more widespread luxury automakers. As Tesla continues to manufacture more and more automobiles, the magazine suggested, quality would likely decline. In fact, the Tesla Model X has been a dud in the dependability department, making the magazine’s most recent list of 10 Least Reliable Cars.


Setting aside the possible exception of Tesla, though, independent is clearly the way to go, according to the report’s findings.


Getting your car repair from an independent shop


As you can see, there are many reasons local outperforms corporate chains and should be considered when you make purchases in Boulder.


Would you like to start supporting the local community with car repair? We originally started Independent Motors because we felt our city needed an auto repair shop that was in line with Boulder’s values — Community, Loyalty and Honesty. Meet our staff.

11 Reasons You Should Be More Independent

11 Reasons You Should Be More Independent

The ability to become independent has changed during the digital era. Yes, we can find the answers to many of our problems and advice on how to accomplish tasks, directly from, well, anywhere – so we certainly don’t need to ask other people as many questions if we don’t want to. True independence goes beyond rooting around on the Internet, though. Independence also requires a certain amount of thoughtfulness and mental acuity, along with a personal belief in yourself that you will be OK even if there isn’t someone there to support you.


Independence is not always entirely positive: it can lead to isolation and lack of understanding the ways in which we are part of the broader fabric. However, there are many reasons why independence is beneficial. Here are 11 of the most prominent ones:


#1 – Self-assurance


People who are independent will tend to have a greater belief that they can approach any situation with positive results, notes Joel Brown of Addicted2Success. That is probably because they do not feel that they have to wait for someone’s approval in order to move forward. Strengthening your independence will allow you to explore new terrain that is outside your comfort zone without feeling afraid that you are in waters no one has fully explained to you and that feel unpredictable. When someone has less of a sense of independence, their breadth of experience should be narrower than it is for someone who is not tied up in the specific avenues and activities that have been presented to them by an outside party or by society as a whole. What’s more, as you continue to achieve things that are widely various and require a diverse skillset to accomplish, you will increasingly feel that you can take on any challenge by yourself, taking full responsibility for your success or failure (and using failures as fuel to improve).


#2 – Self-discovery


When you have proven to yourself that you can be responsible for your own actions and success, rather than feeling that you are leaning on others in order to make progress, you will be able to become exactly the person that you want to be. Once you have determined that you are powerful and that you completely accept yourself, then you will be able to have better relationships (in your career, romantic life, and with your other loved ones).


#3 – Lightened load on those around you


When you can figure out how to approach your own problems and arrive at your own decisions, you do not need to introduce the stress to your personal relationships. You also are not poorly impacting the society by failing to be responsible for your own actions since you are essentially establishing ownership of your life.


#4 – Improved decision-making ability


It becomes quite a bit simpler and more straightforward to decide the direction you want to take when you have determined that you are the ultimate responsible party who will get the greatest benefit or damage from the choice you make. When you rely on others for support, whether financial or emotional, you may have trouble figuring out the best way to go since others’ funds and hearts will be impacted. While it is helpful to think about the perspectives of others when you are deciding what you want to do, it is not easy to decide which option makes sense when you are worried about how another person will feel about it – or will possibly be hurt by it.


#5 – Broader perspective


When you feel that you are just one in a large group of people, you may have trouble looking at things from different angles. Broad thinking becomes easier when you are out by yourself, letting your thoughts wander and coalesce. “It’s good to be yourself sometimes and just think,” notes personal improvement site Hello Beautiful. Of course, independent thought is not just about being in a different physical space. When you move around, whether physically or intellectually, you will find different types of solutions that might have been concealed to you if you were more stationary or dependent.


#6 – Better value of your assistance


Having to get help from another person is not always negative; for example, asking for help finding a product in the store can be much more efficient than wandering around trying to find it yourself. On the other hand, if you can solve problems on your own and choose to do that, it can allow you to both care for yourself and help out other people as well. “People learn to trust you as a beneficial resource and look to you for assistance,” explains Darin L. Hammond in Lifehack.


#7 – Creativity


When you are truly independent, you are able to allow yourself to move freely in your daily life, as well as within your mind. With your thoughts less conformist and reliant on what has already been said or accepted, creativity flows more freely. Creativity has different applications, but one of them is business innovation.


#8 – Self-improvement


When you can really start to leverage all of the different capabilities at your disposal, you can self-actuate. There is self-improvement in terms of your response to anything that happens. You will more easily manage your feelings when you feel anxious, frustrated, or dangerously impulsive. This better control of your emotions allows you to optimize yourself interpersonally too.


#9 – Freedom of motion


No one wants to feel that they are stuck within a specific group or city. When you are independent, you can better do the things and be in the places that you want. By being able to get outside social and geographical structures, you are better able to pursue your goals and build toward success that would not previously have been possible.


#10 – Boost in happiness and reduction in stress


You do not need other people’s help in order to process things emotionally if you are an independent person – so you will be less likely to dump your problems on those around you. Now keep in mind that independence is an ideal and not a pragmatic goal as a totality; however, while all of us do need others, it is not necessary to burden other people so substantially with our issues when we are more independent.


#11 – Greater financial stability


The skills and knowledge that you develop and gather through an independent perspective will allow you to pay for everything you need today and put away some for the years ahead.


Independence in the context of auto repair


To see how independence relates to the car repair industry, we can look to a 2015 survey from Consumer Reports. The magazine polled its readers on their satisfaction levels with work performed on their cars. The survey gathered data from owners of 121,000 cars, with 41,000 taken to independent shops and 80,000 taken to franchises. The results for the independent mechanics were much more impressive on numerous factors, including the key ones of the quality of the job and accuracy of the initial time estimate. People were also more pleased with the friendliness of the staff and how much they were charged at independent shops. Beyond all these specific factors, independent mechanics scored higher on general satisfaction ratings as well.


Would you like to become more independent? At Independent Motors, we certainly embrace that value – as well as honesty. We tell each of our customers exactly what we are doing and why we are doing it. See our history and beliefs.

Why Honesty is the #1 Business Priority

Why Honesty is the #1 Business Priority

Popularity, happiness, youthfulness, timeliness, reliability, niceness, comfort, friendliness, innovativeness, uniqueness, and quality are all values that could be used to describe a business. Companies or brands can choose to embrace whatever values they want, and some qualities are deeper than others (quality having greater substance than youthfulness, for example).


What value do people appreciate most in the businesses from which they attain products and services? As residents of Boulder, we will have our own expectations in terms of how businesses behave. For instance, sustainability or community focus might be a value we appreciate more than in some other geographical areas. However, looking internationally gives us a good sense of what consumers expect from or most prioritize in businesses generally.


Before we get into the international value of honesty within business, we take a look at truthfulness as a characteristic of businesspeople. Finally, after discussing the survey results, we look at an honest option for car repair in Boulder.


Characteristics of businesspeople with integrity


We can talk about brands all we want, but what about the people? Here are a couple of characteristics that are common to high-integrity professionals, based on ideas from public speaker Brian Tracy that he described in Entrepreneur:


  • They hold themselves to honesty as a nonnegotiable standard (regardless of any immediate or long-term profit motive); and
  • They keep promises (and, in so doing, prove themselves to have candor).


Tracy additionally calls honesty and integrity the #1 sign of a strong leader. “Integrity is a state of mind and is not situational,” says Tracy. “If you compromise your integrity in small situations with little consequence, then it becomes very easy to compromise on the [large] situations.” (Note that Tracy uses the notions of honesty and integrity interchangeably, whereas the poll creates distinction between these two concepts.)


#1 worldwide business value


Now let’s get to businesses and the notion of honesty as a value within them. The issue of the most highly prioritized values was the focus of a poll conducted by PR firm Cohn & Wolfe. The survey asked consumers worldwide what value was the most important to them, and the one that received the highest number of responses was honesty. The second and third highest listed values were reliability and integrity.


The PR company polled 12,000 individuals in 12 major world markets, one of which was the United States. One of the primary researchers behind this study was Geoff Beattie, a former TV news reporter. Writing about the study in Fast Company, Beattie notes that its results seems off in terms of what we understand about how people actually do buy. For instance, it does not seem that people are necessarily concerned about the integrity of their smartphone manufacturer. However, the fact that people are saying that trustworthiness really is the thing that they want most in those who provide them goods and services should be taken very seriously by businesses.


Beattie explains that after being a part of the same poll’s research team in 2012, 2013, and 2014, he had started to believe that the Great Recession was a gamechanger in people’s expectations toward businesses – that trust and transparency have become essential, with consumers being increasingly concerned that they are part of a respectful relationship. People are setting aside polish and charm in favor of something genuine, real, and authentic.


The two reasons that Beattie sees authenticity as on the rise are these two elements:


  • While people may disagree on the causes of the Great Recession of 2009, the result is that more people are distrusting the activities and intentions of corporations. Incredibly, the study from Cohn & Wolfe found that only 1 in 33 (3% of) people in the US, UK, Italy, Sweden, Spain, and France thought that large enterprises were very transparent and trustworthy. In Germany, just 1% of people think businesses should be trusted. This focus on honesty is especially high in Europe and the US – more than in China, India, and Indonesia.


  • Since the world is becoming more digital all the time, the likelihood that businesses are exposed for not having been forthright about certain information is rising every day. Beattie says that when he first began work as a journalist in the 1980s, it was challenging to get information related to businesses that was not their own self-published materials. When you did get something that was really eye-opening, the corporation might respond by 100% denying the allegation or not issuing a comment. Today, since everyone with a smartphone can be a journalist, and since data is distributed in vast troves across the earth, companies will no longer be insensitive to these concerns. A large company with many different international locations has to think that there is at least one person within its ranks who is failing to perform their job correctly, behavior that could be uploaded to social networks (becoming a viral hit and PR nightmare).


As Beattie sees it, honesty is not an option for these large companies. They have to be transparent with people, or it will come back to haunt them.


Impact of Edward Snowden & related stories on perception


To continue exploring honesty as a worldwide concern, there is plenty of evidence to back up the idea that consumers will flee companies that hide critical data that they feel should be public. High for priorities in terms of transparency are the point of origin and other descriptors of foods, notes Beattie.


At the same time people want access, there has been a huge recent rise in the general public’s concern with information privacy and security, per the Cohn & Wolfe findings. Beattie notes that part of the reason that is the case is because of Edward Snowden and the basic truths about the invasiveness of the surveillance state that were put into the limelight by his whistleblowing.


Authenticity is increasingly a topic for the top technology providers, since they are having to adapt to meet the changing needs of their evolving customer bases. It is not easy to successfully approach this issue, since it can be confusing to summarize with proper highlighting and clarification of the specifics within a data privacy agreement (those long contracts we all sign when we get an update for our phones or software).


“We believe this is the moment for big brands to take the idea of authenticity seriously,” writes Beattie.


12,000 people: 4 characteristics of an honest, authentic company


When this group of people was asked what made a company authentic or honest, they listed what they expected from honest brands or companies in open-ended answers. The answers typically included a desire for these characteristics (among others):


  • values that do not change regardless of context
  • consistency in grounding actions within an overarching mission
  • transparent exposure of organizational policies and any major behind-the-scenes issues
  • the capacity to present mistakes while being clear about the need and intent for improvement, as applicable.


Honest Boulder mechanic


One industry for which consumers feel particularly concerned about honesty is car repair, since the automobile is such a resource-intensive and highly valued possession. At Independent Motors, we believe great service starts with open, honest communication. See our history and beliefs.

How to Budget for Car Maintenance

How to Budget for Car Maintenance

Thousands of car accidents that occur every year in the United States are due to a lack of proper auto maintenance. Even back in 2004, the nonprofit Car Care Council estimated the total cost of collisions resulting from unperformed maintenance was more than $2 billion.


Plus, as we all know, maintenance extends the life of your car.


You may understand as a car owner that maintaining your car is a good idea both from safety and investment perspectives. However, you may also have difficulty budgeting for upkeep costs if you do not have a large income. Here are a few ideas on budgeting for car maintenance. First, we review two options on budgeting. Then we discuss how the maintenance schedule within your owner’s manual is the centerpiece to better understand your maintenance costs years in advance.


Option 1 – Budget using your past payment records


You can build a strong budget using your past spending. You will create a clearer picture and more reasonable idea of how spending will occur by looking at your historical costs. Here is a four-step process to build your budget:


  1. Organize all your car maintenance documents from the past year. Gather your checkbook or credit card statements or receipts, whatever applies to your situation. Note that you are not concerned with payments toward insurance or the car itself but any upkeep (oil, tires, repairs, etc.).
  2. Get a sum of your maintenance costs. Now add up all your maintenance receipts. Then, to get the average monthly cost, divide the figure by 12. You may have spent $720 in the last twelve months on maintenance, in which case you would want to set aside $60 per month for maintenance moving forward (assuming no adjustments).
  3. Modify the budget to reflect the vehicle’s condition. When a car is older, you should expect that major repairs will be a likelier event. That is the tradeoff of an older car: by keeping it, you avoid purchasing a new one but also may incur sizable maintenance costs. If your car is older and you have not had any major replacements lately, add another $50 per month. However, if you had substantial work performed and expect this year to be lighter, you could reduce your per-month budget accordingly.
  4. Divide your car maintenance money from everything else. If you are afraid that you will spend the money that you would like to have saved for car issues, it is a good idea to have it in a different location, such as your savings account rather than checking. For this system to work, you need to transfer in the budgeted amount every month. Then when a big expense arises, you have the money on-hand.


Note that you may find it more helpful to have the money based on your pay cycle. If you are paid weekly or biweekly, divide by 52 or 26 instead of 12, respectively. Fitting the car maintenance amount to your paycheck means that it is simple to take out the amount set within your budget each time immediately after you get paid.


Finally, once the money is there, be aware that it is easy to remove it before it has served its purpose. Try to be religious about not touching this car-maintenance fund.


Option 2 – Budget using a standard monthly figure


If you have a new car for which you do not have a year of receipts, or if you otherwise do not want to put in the time for a specific budgeting amount, you could just use a standard average figure. Citing a mechanic named Sam, puts the approximate amount that should be allotted for a vehicle’s maintenance each year at $1200 – or $100 per month.


Maintenance schedule as a guide for budgeting


Finance advice writer Nicole Arata says that a key way to protect yourself and keep to your budget is to become familiar with your owner’s manual – and that really is true because it gives you guidelines that fit your car. Your manual will include a car maintenance schedule that gives you an idea when certain services should be performed. Standard services, with common mileage intervals, include:


  • Oil/filter change – 5000-7000 miles
  • Tire rotation – 3000-7000 miles
  • Multipoint inspection – Each visit


Car components will often have a very long life: they “are meant to last and last and last, and they typically don’t fail unless you’ve ignored something downstream,” says CarMD communications director Kristin Brocoff. Even though that’s the case, replacements will often still need to be made for the car to stay in proper working order. Other types of maintenance your car might need are:


  • Brake pad replacement – 30,000-50,000 miles
  • Engine air filter replacement – 20,000-60,000 miles
  • Tire replacement – Interval varies
  • Wiper blade replacement – 6-12 months


Become familiar with proper care of your vehicle


The easiest way to get a grasp of the proper maintenance treatment of your car is to look in the manual. The manual is helpful, as indicated above, because it will give you specific details for when certain services should be performed. For instance, the manual for a 2010 Toyota Corolla states that when you have owned the car for three years or have driven it for 30,000 miles, you should have the following tasks completed:


  • cabin air filter replacement
  • driver-side floor mat installation check
  • engine air filter replacement
  • fluid check and filling
  • oil filter & engine oil replacement
  • tire rotation


The extent to which you will need various replacements and adjustments are directly related to the way you drive your car. Expect to have to get maintenance more often if you live in an extremely hot or cold climate; use the car for towing; or idle regularly. Nonetheless, most car owners will be able to use the standard schedule that is described within the manual, per vehicle testing director Dan Edmunds.


Knowing the service schedule will help you be prepared for upcoming expenses, but it could also keep money in your pocket. When you are informed about your model’s service schedule, it will be harder for a less-than-transparent mechanic to sell you an automatic transmission flush or similar service that the car does not need.


When a mechanic says that they recommend something that you know is contrary to the standard schedule, you can just let them know you want to stay with the factory-advised schedule (unless there is a legitimate reason to make the replacement immediately).


As indicated above in the discussion of older cars, you should expect to pay more for vehicle maintenance if the car has more than 100,000 miles on it.


An honest mechanic to save on car maintenance


Keeping your budget for auto repair under control starts with making sure you are getting straight talk from your mechanic. According to surveys conducted by RepairTrust, nearly three quarters of car owners (70%) say that they are worried about being excessively charged for a car repair. In fact, two in five consumers (40%) said that they had experienced overcharging from a mechanic in the past!


Are you in need of honest auto repair in Boulder? At Independent Motors, we believe great service starts with open, honest communication. Then, we back up that line of communication with sheer expertise. See our history and beliefs.