Articles:

Like father, like son (Part I)

Like father, like son (Part I)

My dad, Paul Rupp Sr., was one heck of a salesman. My favorite picture of him is on my mantel at home, where he is leaning on the front fender of a brand new early 30’s Chrysler next to the one-foot diameter headlight. He has a great big smile and is wearing what appears to be a modern set of Ray-Ban sunglasses. He looked great. The picture must have been taken when he and a friend were at lunch. In the background are the flat plains of western Kansas where he worked as a new car salesman for a large dealership in Hays. My dad was so good, he sold himself to the dealership owner who set him up in a Massey-Ferguson farm implement dealership in WaKeeney. The implement dealership was a successful business for nearly 40 years (until the dying farm economy took its toll in 1981). You should have seen him in action. Dad spent every morning at Helen’s Café having toast and coffee. As a 10-year-old I watched as he positioned himself at the counter in the middle of the local fa ... read more

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Customer Service

All in the family

All in the family

Kansas If you live in Overland Park close to the shop you should be receiving another beautiful New Concept Auto Service postcard in the mail this week. Polly’s creative juices were really flowing as she created the message for this card, centered on a fun “summer’s here” theme with a convertible 1965 Chevelle Super Sport as the centerpiece. The photo shoot on Mother’s Day in Shawnee Mission Park turned out to be a family affair. My sister, brother-in-law and nephew agreed to join us for the madness. Polly found the location, which was just a parking lot adjacent to the main drag through the park. She color coordinated our shirts and did my hair and makeup, selected props, and staged the photo. During the shoot there was a constant flow of people driving by on this beautiful Sunday. We got a few honks from several other classic cars out with their proud owners—an early ‘60s Caddy convertible, an early ‘70s Ford Torino, what I think was an old Studebaker, and what’s calle ... read more

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Team New Concept

Our classic ’60s project

Our classic ’60s project

If you are a Twitter or Facebook fan of New Concept Auto Service, you know that I took a little 2,880-mile road trip in my 1966 El Camino a few weeks ago. Here’s the story to go along with the photo album: Last year, I built a small block Chevy 383 Stroker engine for a customer’s 1968 Chevelle. This customer, Rich, actually drove this Chevelle during his high school years. He re-acquired it and it was partially restored in his garage in Durham, N.C. The frame had been cleaned and repainted and most of the lower hard-to-get-to body work had been done, like the floor pan and trunk. Rich cut out the rust and welded in new metal, ground it smooth and primed and painted it all. The body main shell had been cleaned and primed. The doors, fenders and rear quarter panels were yet to be completed. Rich planned on taking the final body and paint work (the parts you see) to a professional as one of the last steps in the restoration. I arrived late afternoon on a Wednesday ... read more

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Other

Small details make big mileage impact

Small details make big mileage impact

If you are one of our great Facebook fans, you may have noticed the “Classic ’60s project” photo album we put up in the last couple weeks. I rebuilt and tuned a 383 Stroker Chevy V8, delivered it to North Carolina in my 1966 El Camino, and installed it in a customer’s 1968 Chevelle. Along the way I made it a goal to get the best gas mileage possible. Just coincidentally, I ran across this list which validated the very steps I took to save gas. It was written by shop owner Pam Oakes of Pam’s Motor City in Florida. She is also the author of “The Lady Mechanic’s Total Car Care for the Clueless: A Manual for Car Owners.” 1.) Make a quarter tank your new “empty.” Fuel going below a quarter tank is not healthy for the fuel pump. Fuel pumps generate heat. Keeping your tank above one-quarter full keeps the pump submerged. Liquid fuel is better at transferring heat than air. Keep your fuel pump happy, your vehicle’s fuel economy happy, and your bank account happy by keeping fuel in ... read more

Categories:

Gas Mileage

To fix or not to fix, that is the question

In my last installment we began discussing what to tell a customer who wants to know if his or her vehicle is worth fixing. This was prompted by an excellent email exchange that went on between me and some of my independent car repair shop owner friends. Here’s a summary of that lively exchange: “How should I respond when a customer asks whether the vehicle is worth investing the money for repairs?” We began by agreeing that no technician can answer that question for a customer. It’s our job just to provide them with a thorough inspection, all the facts, and let them decide. The vehicle inspection sheet should include what looks great and what may be needed in a year or two, or in the next 20,000 miles. It’s especially important not to insult a customer who is driving something we would consider nearly worn out, as it may seem like a part of their family! Start by researching the current value of the vehicle on a website like kbb.com or edmunds.com. Would the needed r ... read more

Cadillac romance and other shop tales

Cadillac romance and other shop tales

In my last installment we began discussing what to tell a customer who wants to know if his or her vehicle is worth fixing. This was prompted by an excellent email exchange that went on between me and some of my independent car repair shop owner friends. Here’s a summary of that lively exchange: “How should I respond when a customer asks whether the vehicle is worth investing the money for repairs?” We began by agreeing that no technician can answer that question for a customer. It’s our job just to provide them with a thorough inspection, all the facts, and let them decide. The vehicle inspection sheet should include what looks great and what may be needed in a year or two, or in the next 20,000 miles. It’s especially important not to insult a customer who is driving something we would consider nearly worn out, as it may seem like a part of their family! Start by researching the current value of the vehicle on a website like kbb.com or edmunds.com. Would the needed re ... read more

A shameless plug (Part II)

When assessing the need for an oil plug or pan repair, we often offer to show the customer the situation in the shop. One time the customer wanted to pop the plug loose himself as he cussed a little. We let him, and he got a big grin on his face as it popped loose. At that point he was OK with us moving forward with the repair. Some customers want to go back to the previous oil change shop and have them fix the damage. I can say that nearly every time we have fixed the problem by simply chasing the threads and using a new drain plug. I can think of about five times in 10 years where we needed to replace a sheet metal drain pan and this happens mostly on older Hondas. In one case with an expensive aluminum pan we removed the pan, welded the aluminum back up and redrilled and threaded a new hole. In another case we acquired a used oil pan from a salvage yard. Due to issues with keeping the hole centered, we don’t recommend trying to cut bigger threads in place. That techniq ... read more

Categories:

Oil Change

A shameless plug (Part I)

Our AAA regional representative recently engaged New Concept Auto Service and some other local shops in a conversation about policies regarding cross-threaded oil pan drain plugs. A cross-threaded drain plug is when the threads on the plug and pan are not aligned, causing a bad fit. It just gets worse as it is tightened. It seems like such a minuscule part to create such a firestorm of policy, but keep in mind one tiny leaking plug can drain a whole pan of oil and create need for a multi-thousand-dollar engine repair or replacement. There are several scenarios for assessing a damaged oil pan or drain plug threads, including the rare instance of a drain plug cross-thread. Other times the drain plug is over-tightened and has pulled or damaged the threads on the plug and requires a new plug. In this instance, if the pan threads are only slightly damaged they may only need to be chased or rethreaded. Sometimes the pan has to be replaced or over-drilled if possible. And sometimes the head ... read more

Lending you our ear

Lending you our ear

I love noises and cars, so I drive as many as I can. The brain and its ability to recall information is amazing. Once you hear the same type of car noise three or four times, it gets registered in a database deep inside your head. Pretty soon you begin to recognize a familiar noise from a car as it drives by on the street. Suddenly you will find yourself standing on a sidewalk, mumbling “lower ball joint.” A good noise technician uses a combination of logic, common sense and experience. As Overland Park’s “go-to source for auto repair,” our New Concept techs have all three! Logic comes into play when you have to diagnose the noise by process of elimination. Common sense is required when you begin to over think the noise. Experience comes from driving lots of different cars under different conditions. We also have a secret weapon–an electronic device called a Mechanics Ear that does an incredible job locating the source of various car noises. The device consists of a tr ... read more

Categories:

Noise Diagnosis

Terrific transmission tips (Part II)

Transmission fluid does wear out. New fluid has a pink color to it and the old fluid will appear brown and emit a slight burnt smell. The color and smell are from the normal wear of the many clutch discs located in the heart of a transmission. Heat is the worst thing for transmission fluid—even the relatively mild temperatures here in good old Overland Park, Kansas, can cause problems. Elevated temperatures cause the fluid to lose its ability to withstand pressure when and where needed inside the transmission. This is why you find additional external coolers on many trucks and SUVs. Transmissions are mostly all built with the same fundamental concepts, and automatic transmission fluid (ATF) is manufactured by fewer petroleum companies than one would think. ATF base stock is much the same—it is the additives that make the final difference. With that in mind, we recommend flushing an automatic transmission every 30,000 miles for best life and performance. Many transmis ... read more

Categories:

Transmissions