Episode 828 – DOT Attacks Driver Distraction, Porsche Macan, Tesla-Mercedes-Renault Swap Meet

February 17th, 2012 at 12:21pm

Runtime: 9:03

The U.S. Department of Transportation proposes new rules to curb distracted driving. Porsche’s gumbo-evoking, not-yet-unveiled SUV gets a new name. Tesla and Mercedes and Mercedes and Renault are partnering up and swapping parts. All that and more, plus Seamus McElroy has the latest details about the new Hyundai Azera and Genesis Coupe.

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This is Autoline daily for February 17, and now, the news.

The U.S. Department of Transportation is proposing new guidelines to limit driver distraction. It wants to reduce the complexity, length and amounts of inputs, limit them to one hand only, and not require a driver to glance away for more than two seconds. It also wants to disable certain devices unless the vehicle is in park including text messaging, internet browsing, navigation entry and 10-digit phone dialing. Hallelujah!  Maybe this means we won’t have to go through a three-step process to go from AM to FM like on the Mercedes E-Class I’m test driving this week.

As we reported yesterday, GM posted record earnings, and that will translate into a bonanza for its UAW workers. Each one will get a $7,000 profit-sharing check. And that is going to provide a big economic stimulus for the communities where those workers work.

Fiat already announced that it’s going to sell the Doblo commercial van in the U.S. Fred Diaz, the CEO of the RAM brand, told us they’re also considering bringing in the Daily and Ducato as well. But it sure looks like more than just a consideration for the Ducato. One of our loyal Autoline Daily viewers snapped these pictures of a Ducato that FedEx is already test driving in Michigan. Keep an eye out, people, and send us any pictures of unusual vehicles that you see out on the road.

Porsche is getting ready to launch another SUV. We’ve known about the Cajun for some time now, but the company just released a few more details about it. Most importantly, it’s dropping that working title in favor of a name that doesn’t conjure up the image of Louisiana hillbilly. The Cajun is now officially called the Macan, and rumors suggest it will share the same architecture — and other major parts — with the Audi Q5. Not a bad thing. The Macan will be built in Leipzig, Germany, and we’ll report more details on the car when they become available.

Tesla is already supplying Daimler with battery packs for the electric smart car, and in another vote of confidence, Mercedes-Benz will use a Tesla-built powertrain for an upcoming EV. According to technology blog Gigaom.com, the deal includes the whole shootin’ match – the battery back, electric motor, gearbox and software. As for which Benz model gets the electric guts . . . your guess is as good as ours.

In related news, Mercedes and Renault are going to swap platforms. We’ve known for some time that the next smart will be on a Renault platform, but now Renault will get the Mercedes architecture to develop a luxury car. Between Renault, Mercedes and Tesla, this shows how difficult it is for one automaker to go it alone anymore.

Three years ago as the American auto industry was plummeting into its worst sales decline in history many people said it would never recover. But on Autoline This Week I have three chief economists who beg to differ. Here’s Mustafa Mohatarem, Chief Economist with General Motors commenting on this topic.

Also joining me on this week’s show are Ellen Hughes-Cromwick, the chief economist at Ford, and Charlie Chesbrough from IHS Automotive. They say we’ll see record sales in the American market by the middle of this decade, and you can watch that entire interview right now at Autoline.tv.

Manufacturers have a lot of new product coming this calendar year and Seamus McElroy is out west right now driving some of it. Here’s a first look at a couple new models from a hot brand.

It’s Friday and you know that means: another episode of RoundAbout on Autoline.tv. Here’s host Craig Cole.

Tonight we’ll tell you about the latest Chinese fad that allows the People’s Republic to skirt annoying seatbelt alarms. Plus, we’ve got a look at what it was like to drive around New York City in 1928 with our RoundAbout Rearview segment. Check all that out as well as a new game of Dungeons & Dealers at 6:30PM Eastern Time at Autoline.tv.

And that wraps up this week of reports on the latest developments in the global automotive industry, thanks for watching, we’ll see you next week.

Thanks to our Partners for embedding Autoline Daily on their websites: Autoblog and WardsAuto.com

94 Comments to “Episode 828 – DOT Attacks Driver Distraction, Porsche Macan, Tesla-Mercedes-Renault Swap Meet”

  1. Kit Gerhart Says:

    New laws are unlikely to keep people from talking and texting on their mobile devices, but the DOT could force auto makers to have less distracting controls from the factory, like the E-Class you mention, MyFord Touch, and the rest. I’m all for it. Driving a new car should be like learning to use a Windows computer, after using only a Mac for 10 years.

  2. Kit Gerhart Says:

    That’s, Driving a new car should NOT be like learning to use a Windows computer, after using only a Mac for 10 years.

  3. Al Says:

    Maybe GM ought to give the taxpayers that saved their butt a bonus – of at least pay BACK the loan?

  4. pedro fernandez Says:

    Simple, when you want to go online, you use your PC, smartphone or laptop, when you need to go somewhere, you get in your car.

  5. Kit Gerhart Says:

    If Daimler is going to Tesla for stuff, it sounds like Tesla has viable technology. Maybe they should just develop, and sell EV power trains, and leave the car building to others.

  6. Doug Says:

    Not too many hillbillies in the bayous of Acadiana. For that matter, not many hills either.

  7. Kit Gerhart Says:


  8. Kit Gerhart Says:

    You mean the Mississippi Delta isn’t hilly?

  9. MJB Says:

    Well, it only took three generations, but that Genesis coupe is finally starting to look appealing to me. The first two body styles were abominations imho.

  10. MJB Says:



  11. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Kudos to GM for using profit sharing as opposed to salary adjustments (upward); tie the bonuses to production and keep the UAW (somewhat at bay). In the past salary increases were bargained for, and once increased, they just aren’t going to go down (so there goes the incentive to produce better product).

    Agreeing with all (that it’s time to turn that durn thing off) and drive the vehicle.

    Hey Al, #3, just to play devils advocate; hey, us taxpayers haven’t paid back the money either.

  12. pedro fernandez Says:

    Did you notice the artist’s rendering of that Porsche? BIG freaking wheels/tires which are only available at the most expensive option package, I hate when they do that! I always thought they named it Cajun because it was HOT, not to attract hillbilly buyers who would be out of their cotton-pickin’ minds to trade in their 1980′s monster trucks

  13. HtG Says:

    Wasn’t Ray LaHood talking about it not taking more than 2 seconds to execute a command on one of these digital systems? Imagine going 60mph, now close your eyes for two seconds.

    That’s a very long skid mark.

    But seriously, I notice younger people at stop lights looking right down at their laps.

  14. HtG Says:

    It’s interesting that the relationship between Tesla and MB made news today. Elon Musk spoke about it in the Revenge of the EV premiere night, panel discussion. He’s also benn talking about getting their tech into trucks.

    Obviously a wily PR supergenius.

  15. Buzzerd Says:

    I continually hear some people complain about the money the Canadian and US governments loaned/gave to GM and Chrysler to which I always ask why that is so wrong but it seems to be OK to GIVE the imports money to build plants or how about Fisker and Tesla? not to mention all the other billion dollar industries that you GIVE money to. What is the difference?

  16. pedro fernandez Says:

    I notice young people texting with both arms atop the steering wheel alternating their vision between the device and the road ahead, if I knew they had good insurance, I’d cut them off and get hit so I can call 411-pain and get some some moolah from their insurance company!

  17. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Those Ducato vans would seem to make a lot of sense for Fed Ex and UPS local delivery. It never made sense that they use those huge trucks, which never seem to be even 1/4 full, even at the beginning of a delivery day. I suppose at certain times of year, like Christmas holidays, they are more full, but still…

  18. pedro fernandez Says:

    Tesla does a lot of talking, that is about all, if they were in the talking business, they’d be really, really rich.

  19. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit really? don’t you want your packages to get to you and not be stuck in a broken down Ducato van somewhere?

  20. HtG Says:

    15 Buzzerd, it is the weirdest thing. I don’t see people fulminating because the payroll tax reduction was extended. But you’ll hear lots of anger about bailing out the banks, if not about the sop to money market accounts. One explanation I like is that people have been burned over the years with their cars, and unions are detested in some corners.

  21. 012345 Says:

    Mr. McElroy, I’m trying to understand this..
    Renault is giving Mercedes the platform for their next gen. of smart cars (which is a failure) & in exchange Mercedes is giving Renault one of their luxury platforms (most probably the C-class).

    1. What is Nissan doing in all this? Because I doubt Renault is providing the platform of the Nissa Leaf to Mercedes.

    and 2. Is Mercedes becoming the manufacturer that I would love to sell the Brooklyn bridge to?

  22. HtG Says:

    John, paisan, how could you miss the ‘cry on your amici’s shoulder’ news that for the first time since 1970 there will not be an Italian driver on the Formula 1 grid? Jarno Trulli lost his seat at Caterham to Vitaly Petrov of Russia.

    You wonder how big the check was. Basta, I cannot go on.

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I might have to allow an extra day or two for delivery.

  24. Lex Says:

    @ #3 Al

    I agree you! I have to tell people I work with that you are lucky you still have a job. However if your company gets bailed out by the Federal Government you can expect a $7,000 profit-sharing check. What about some economic stimulus for the communities where I and my co-workers work!

  25. pedro fernandez Says:

    I have a feeling we’ll never see that GM loan paid back at all!

  26. Lex Says:

    I believe Elon Musk is concentrating on selling batteries and powertrains to keep Tesla afloat. The New Tesla Models are just window dressing to show the Government and Consumers that they are really working on EV’s. Tesla will never have the momentum necessary to become a full Automotive OEM in any sense of the word. Tesla will make more money suppling technology as does Delphi and the other First Tier Suppliers.

    The Tesla Model X and it’s Falcon Doors will go the way of the Delorean.

    GM needs to figure out how to reduce the cost of the Voltronic Powertrain in able to get it into a more affordable commuter vehicle. A voltronic vehicle at a $20-25K price point will sell very well if the government continues to offer substantial EV subsidies.

  27. HtG Says:

    25 I think the reference point for getting the money back should be the state of the economy after both GM and Chrysler collapsed. Think what that mess would have cost.

    Like I said yesterday, all those people who kept their jobs have been adding to the economy and the Feds’ coffers, too. Oh wait, a birdie just told me that we’d have seen more than a few dealerships go icky side up if the OEM’s went down, and the govt hadn’t stepped in to keep the loan money coming when GM credit/Ally blew up, and people around the country got a big ol’ DC kick in the keester of cash for their clunker. That’s a pretty nice wide distribution of capital if you ask me.

    Some of these criticisms of the bailouts remind me of people having hurricane parties in 1969 as Camille came in.

  28. Chuck Grenci Says:

    While I’ll admit that GM still owes the Federal Government some money (billions), with each worker that didn’t lose his job (and now getting these $7000 average bonuses) they are taxpayers, not unemployment recipients (and that’s a good thing). I hope we get the loan money back but I’m even happier that GM and Chrysler survived.

  29. C-Tech Says:

    Lincoln, Lexus, Jaguar, Porsche, and Toyota. J.D. Power top depeendability by nameplate from their study of 2008 model year vehicles. The most often replaced part for 3 year old vehicles? – batteries, 5.8% of respondents had their batteries replaced. Thank’s for the link John and company.

  30. tj Martin Says:

    Here’s a couple o quickies while waiting ……

    @ Buzzerd – Review your facts there matey . NO Foreign manufacture has EVER received a Dime of US Tax Payers money’s for anything . Tax Breaks and some subsidies ( usually in the form of property grants for the factory ) have been given by State and Local Governments . But again NOT ONE DIME OF US TAX PAYERS MONIES

    GM, Chrysler , Fisker and TESLA are the ones on US Government life support .



    All comes down to Daimler Benz NOT believing in the Future of E/V’s and or Hybrids and therefore not willing to WASTE their time or money developing it .



    Benz needed a new baby platform for the new SMART and Renault is Desperate for a new luxury platform and has nary a € to pay for it ….. so ….. Win Win

    Gee though I’ll bet Chisler is getting might envious , now having to share with Renault


    @ HtG – Saw the Trulli news myself and its a travesty , Why any team would hire Petrov is beyond me . Oh wait . He brings the big bucks with him as a Pay to Drive F1 Pilot . Wanna place a guess on who’s footing a lot of Petrov’s bill ? Hint – Begins with a ‘ P’ and use to be KGB

    The only other recent F1 news thats PO’d me this much so far has been little Senna losing his drive and the whole Bahrain debacle


    Johnny Mac – Tried changing between AM and FM in one of PDL’s beloved Caddy’s lately ?


    @ pedro – #25 – As if they had anything to pay it back with ( hint hint hint ) ;-)

    Hasta La Tuesday gentlemen . Planes arriving !

  31. Darren Says:

    I wonder why Mercedes did not use a Fisker hybrid or battery pack.
    Think they know better as they will be gone as soon as Obama/Biden/Gore money runs out.
    Some photos of the Boxwood GM plant they were taking over to make US jobs.

  32. HtG Says:

    30 I thought Bruno Senna got his ride this year courtesy of the Brazilian people, tj.

    Bring back chocolate

  33. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I, too, am very glad that GM and Chrysler survived, not the least because their survival save about 5000 jobs in my home town in Indiana. The local economy would have been devastated, had the jobs gone away, and the same scenario would have occurred many other places. Had GM and Chrysler disappeared, the facilities would not have just been taken over by Hyundai, Toyota, etc. They would have been closed for years, and more likely, forever.

    I hope the Feds get their money back, but even if the don’t, the economy, and the tax coffers, are much better off than if the two companies had shut down.

  34. C-Tech Says:

    With all this intermingling among manufacturers, the future is going to be veery interesting. Renault-Nissan building engines for Mercedes, Renault getting a platform for a luxury car from M-B, what next? Who will BMW pair up with?

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Bruno has a ride with Williams. I guess time will tell if that was a step up, or down, from Renault/Lotus.

  36. C-Tech Says:

    A question for those who are more interested in this than me – Did GM and Chrysler get loans from the Feds or is it a direct investment where the Feds actually hold shares in these companies?

  37. HtG Says:

    F1. I hope this year’s cars are closer in capability so the racing is tight among this 6 world champion driver field.

    Iceman fan here. Who’s with me?

  38. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Whether MB likes it or not, hybrids will be part of the future. Hybrids may not be a big part of the NEAR future for a mostly luxury car brand like MB, but any technology that gives the huge fuel economy improvements of properly done hybrids will be part of every auto makers future before long.

    Actually MB is soon going to have a very serious hybrid, an E-Class hybrid with a 4 cylinder diesel as its ICE. That should be a fantastic car.

  39. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I hope he does well, and hope the new car does well. It will be an interesting season.

  40. Chuck Grenci Says:

    The Feds have GM stock but currently the stock is approximately half the price (it would need to be) in order for the government to get back all that it is owed. Don’t know about Chrysler.

    I root for Ferrari; whichever driver. Kimi is a little too iceman (for me).

  41. HtG Says:

    Bloomberg has this piece on the bailouts and the upcoming primary in Michigan. Warning, numbers ahead.


  42. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Here’s some info about the Benz diesel hybrid that “may” make it to the U.S.


  43. Buzzerd Says:

    @tJ NO Foreign manufacture has EVER received a Dime of US Tax Payers money’s for anything . Tax Breaks and some subsidies ( usually in the form of property grants for the factory ) have been given by State and Local Governments . But again NOT ONE DIME OF US TAX PAYERS MONIES” Yes I’m so mistaken, what was I thinking. They didn’t actually get tax dollars they got tax breaks which of course is totally different and it wasn’t from US tax payers it was from those other people who live in the states. Do you actually read what you write? Also would you call BP oil a foreign manufacturer? I don’t think I would call Monsanto a US company, they get huge farm subsidy dollars…..

  44. Chuck Says:

    Only #13 and 16 have any comment on texting/emailing/Internet shopping while driving?? To me that is the most outrageous thing a person can do, on par with drunk driving or drug-driving. It was such a big fricken’ deal about smoking cigarettes – where are the nannies now? Oh well they’re texting on their way to pick up little Tommy at nursery school in their Suburbans – GAAAAAA!!!

  45. pedro fernandez Says:

    #44 remember they’ve been telling us about the “electrification” of cars since 2 or 3 yrs ago? Well, most people welcomed it without considering the consequences of such stupidity, like I said before, the car is fro getting from one place to another, if you want to play with your smartphone, stay home or go to a wi-fi place, have a coffee and text away!!!!

  46. Chuck Says:

    Well #45, they are so important they need to multitask – at least until they kill or maim some poor innocent soul driving to the grocery store at the wrong time.

  47. pedro fernandez Says:

    Oh, that’s ok if they’re in good hands, know a gecko or they got a good neighbor to pay up!

  48. C-Tech Says:

    Their have already been a number (too many) accidents involving people texting or dialing while driving. Unfortunately I believe it will come down to chainging public attitudes about this as attitudes have changed about drunk driving. It may also take some stiffer laws and fines against this and possibly driven by the Federal Government withholding highway funds if certain laws are not passed in your state.

  49. HtG Says:

    47 You got that right, Pedro. I’m thinking right now about a 250,000 dollar suitcase filled with Geckos that compensated one phone call.

  50. pedro fernandez Says:

    Have any of you ever used Marvel Mystery oil? or have you heard of someone that has with satisfactory results, I’ve been reading up on it and I think it may help the old Vibrolla run better.

  51. HtG Says:

    Here’s your weekend YouTube; a series of files on the VW plant in Chattanooga.


  52. pedro fernandez Says:

    Such meticulous care to avoid errors and yet, reliability for VW stays well below industry avg year after year, it has to be a component issue, methinks.

  53. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Pedro, give MMO (Marvels…..) a try, it won’t hurt anything (might help). At about $3.50 a quart it’s not that expensive either. I’ve used it but can’t say it’s helped anything, but again, it’s not done any harm. I haven’t used it in my oil, just the gas (to maybe help lubricate the injectors).

  54. pedro fernandez Says:

    I read that it should b used before you get an oil change so you can drain out the gunk it removes and to add a bit to the gas tank as well, that is weird, a product that can be used both ways and even as a transmission additive as well.

  55. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’ve used Marvel Mystery Oil to keep things frum rusting, and for house door hinges, etc. I have not used in engines, and wouldn’t want to. It is very thin, and would make your oil lower viscosity than it should be. At least it would seem that way.

  56. Kit Gerhart Says:

    That makes some sense, to put some in the oil, run it a little, and drain it out. That might remove some deposits, or something. I don’t think I’d do it with my car, though. I just use what they say to use in the owner’s manual.

  57. Earl Says:

    That new Genesis coupe looks like a winner. Also,that made over Azera is what a few Sonato owners of 5 to 7 years will take a look at.
    Hyundai is on a roll and its factory’s are running full tilt. A tip of the hat to them

  58. Kit Gerhart Says:

    44,45, 48,
    I agree. As far as I’m concerned, texting and emailing while in the driver’s seat of a vehicle should be illegal, even though it would be hard to enforce. If few people were charged for violating the law and the penalties were severe, it would have an effect.

    I have a smart phone and play with it a lot, like right now, but not while driving. I rarely even talk on it while driving.

    C-Tech, I agree completely that attitudes need to change, but that will be hard to do, any time soon.

  59. pedro fernandez Says:

    Just read online that the Czech factory that builds the Toyota Aygo and other variants is cutting back production due to poor sales, and these cars are just about the cheapest cars available in Europe, yet we also read that the luxo brands are doing well, that just shows you where this world’s economy is heading.

  60. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The rich seem to be doing very well in Europe, like here, and everyone else less well, thus the luxo brands doing well.

    Also, it seems that Europeans like to buy Euro brands, and “legacy” transplants like Ford and Opel/Vauxhall. From the list I linked yesterday, there are no Asian brands in the top ten in Europe. There was only one Asian brand model in the top 10, nissan qashqai, as small “crossover,” which was number 10.

  61. Roger T Says:

    John, where is Hyundai finding these product managers, in grade school??? Shocking! Is that a trend with automakers, hiring very young people for these leadership roles??

  62. Jesse W. Henry Says:


    I agree with the severe penalty part. It would be hard to prove but it could be proven in many cases. I also feel it should apply to any distracted driving, cellphones are just the most common today.

    The problem with the current laws is they are punishing everyone. The bad offenders are not going to follow the new laws because there are no steep fines or license revocations as part of the penalty for being caught on any of the ones I know of. Even if they do they will just go back to distracting themselves other ways like reading the paper or balancing their checkbooks while driving.

  63. HtG Says:

    I’ve written this here before, but I went to court to protest a ticket, and watched as a score of people came up to answer for having been speaking on their cell phones while driving. They had no other charge against them. So at least in this town, on this court date, there was some evidence that law enforcement is happening. (NY state)

  64. HtG Says:

    Here’s are some quotes from NY state law as of July, 2011.

    “… no person shall operate a motor vehicle upon a public highway while using a mobile telephone to engage in a call while such vehicle is in motion.”

    “A person who holds a portable electronic device in a conspicuous manner while operating a motor vehicle is presumed to be using such device.”

    The fine is limited to $150, but in NY there are hefty surcharges, too.

    The link,

  65. Jon M. Says:

    The U.S. DOT is right on time I’d say with their proposed new guidelines, as some automakers try to appease certain segments of the market by turning vehicles into rolling entertainment systems. Until autonomous vehicles are the norm, the focus of everyone perched behind the proliferating remote control for entertainment systems, formerly known as a steering wheel, the focus should be on controlling one’s vehicle and keeping an eye on surrounding traffic.

  66. Jon M. Says:

    GM workers will get $7,000 profit sharing checks. Hey, at least some of the taxpayers are getting their bailout money back. Don’t the rest of us wish we could too!

  67. cwolf Says:

    pedro’s question about marvel mystery oil reminded me of a guy I met at my friends shop years ago. His car was’nt running well,yet admitted he only added oil to the car over its 150K miles. He thought a tune-up might be in order and made an appt. for the following week. Soon after leaving,he added “Rislone” to his oil.Days later the car returned.Sounded worse than a tin lizzie and a blue plume exited the exhaust. After the engine was dismantled the problem was easy to see. The internal build-up was so great,it actually became a gasket and lined the cyl. walls;And the Rislone removed it! Guess it did’nt work the way that guy wanted!

  68. cwolf Says:

    I saw the cutest lil’wagon on the way home. Looked like a late 60′s or early 70′s VW wagon. The engine was in the rear. Gosh!,I have’nt seen one of those since high school. Nice looking car. Last week I saw a Datson wagon from the same era.

  69. cwolf Says:

    Kit,I looked at the E300 diesel hybred you posted. Very nice,but there are two considerations:
    1) Not many can afford an E class,let alone this.
    2) Even if this car is affordable,why waste the money on that car?

  70. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It would be a very nice car, and get grest fuel economy, but you’re right, it will be pricey, probably about $55K, with vinyl seats.

  71. pedro fernandez Says:

    cwolf, I am going to take your advise and NOT bother with this Marvel Oil thing, it may make things worse, I do change the oil regularly so I should not have much, if any, gunk. I do run the engine quite a bit and it does get pretty hot.

  72. Kit Gerhart Says:

    That is probably a good decision, of what I know.

  73. Chuck Grenci Says:

    #65 cwolf, #70 Kit,
    I’ve seen this before as well; the old oil had gunked up and was acting as a seal (for the valve seals/seats), after cleaning, compression was so bad that the engine would not start. I believe I would avoid Marvels’ from an old engine. Pedro, if your engine rattles pretty bad, you might consider a slightly heavier weight oil (maybe 15-40; Shell Rotella has been a highly recommended oil), but I wouldn’t put anything in that was any heavier than that.

  74. pedro fernandez Says:

    #71 That is what most techs tell me to use, but since I start the car so many times in a given day, I’m fearful of poor lubrication at start-up since a heavier oil does not get pumped as quickly as a lighter one. Just speculation on my part!

  75. cwolf Says:

    pedro Re72
    Most wear will occure during initial start. An oil film will exist afterwards with Rotella,as with other oils,except Rotella should cling to metal longer.

  76. pedro fernandez Says:

    cwolf: I was under the impression that Rotella was made for heavy trucks. If I’m not mistaken.

  77. pedro fernandez Says:

    Went to the Rotella website, only recommended for big truck engines, not wimpy 4 bangers.

  78. cwolf Says:

    The only thing special about diesel oils are the cleansers. A straight or 20W-50 is hard to find in some areas so a truck oil is substituted,but costs more and often only comes in one or five gal. jugs.

    I’m not sure what you want to accomplish by using any of the oils and additives you have considered in the past. You have a lot of miles on the Vibrolla because you HAVE taken care of the maint. I would’nt do anything more than to use Shell 20w-50 oil just to see if it helps make the engine feel a tad younger and happier. Rebuild is a better option. The other stuff are just band-aids.

  79. Chuck Grenci Says:

    pedro, aren’t you out of Florida (S.C., here); even your coldest won’t affect flow ability of 15 weight at your temperatures. Doesn’t have to be Shell’s Rotella; but maybe try someone’s 10W-40 or similar.

  80. pedro fernandez Says:

    I like using 10w40 but a lot of these oil change joints like to put the lighter stuff which is fine for low mileage, modern engines, but not for a worn-out one like mine.

  81. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I used Rotella synthetic in a Triumph motorcycle I had, a “new” Triumph, water cooled triple, not one of the old air cooled bikes. A lot of people were, and probably still are using Rotella in bikes.

    I agree with Chuck that 15W40 should be fine in south Florida. It would not be good in the winter, in places where is gets very cold.

  82. pedro fernandez Says:

    In the winter, I like the lighter stuff 10-40 just because of the occasional 50 degree overnights, in the summer, the thicker the better, there are no cool nights at all.

  83. HtG Says:

    Hey Pedro, here’s a trick I do with my 120K Miata. I take it to get oil changes at the dealer because I want the right oil and the right filter, but I check the dealer website for specials like this one;

    So I save a few bucks taking the car to the dealer, but they go over the car looking for other things to fix. They recently got my work when I found a leaking hose, because of this relationship.

  84. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit: when you get a chance can you check out a youtube review of a Mini done by a guy that goes by TheMediaMart and see if you agree with his evaluation? I had no idea the Mini was such a blast to drive!

  85. Kit Gerhart Says:

    That was an interesting review. The car was more “loaded up” than mine. It had leather, sun roof, and automatic transmission. Mine is a manual, with vinyl seats and solid roof. The test car is the color of mine, only I have a white roof and mirrors.

    In most ways, I agreed with him. The car is fun and handles well, the interior is a little quirky, but attractive, and the front seats are comfortable. I also really like the looks of the car, and I think he did too. I am close to the tester’s size; I’m in inch taller, and skinny, maybe skinnier than he is.

    He seemed to exaggerate a couple things, though. He called the car a “rocketship,” not a term I would use for a car that is in the mid-high 8 seconds 0-60 with a manual, and his automatic rental would have been a little slower. A non-S MINI is about as much of a rocketship, in a straight line, as, say, a Corolla. Also, he made the rear seat appear roomier than it is. I cannot sit in the rear seat on the driver’s side with the seat as I normally adjust it, even though I put the driver’s seat farther forward than many people my height.

    All in all, an entertaining review by someone really enthused about the car.

    Did you recognize any landmarks in the video?

  86. pedro fernandez Says:

    No, he rented in Ft. Laud airport and I guess that is where he filmed the review,I’m down in So Dade county, looks like he was ready to sign on the dotted line and buy the car, I need to rent a car for a couple of days next spring, I may look into Budget and see how much it would cost to rent one, remember a car does not need 400 hp to be a fun ride, just the ability to be tossed around and being “light on it’s feet” can also be very rewarding. I’m even reading positive reviews on the “fun” factor of the new Prius C.

  87. pedro fernandez Says:

    HtG the last time I took the Vibrolla to the dealer with a coupon for an oil change, they called me in to the service manager’s office and I got the same sensation that I got when I got called into the Principal’s office in grad school: GLOOM AND DOOM. When they gave me a list of what they thought the car needed done “urgently” for the sake of safety, it amounted to about 3 times what the car was worth, so I said might as well use that money as a down payment, and I left with no oil change.

  88. pedro fernandez Says:

    Interesting article on TTAC about the high costs of used cars at auctions does not seem to have an end in sight.

  89. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Pedro, how much oil does your car use? I guess the engine has never been rebuilt. Is that the case?

  90. pedro fernandez Says:

    I have to use 1/3 pint every week, the lighter the oil, the more it uses, it does have a seal leakage between the transaxle and the engine, $15 part $300 labor, no rebuilt engine, rebuilt trans, however.

  91. Kit Gerhart Says:

    That sounds pretty good, for all those miles. With all the miles you have on the car, the 1/3 pint a week must equate to quite a few miles per quart, even though you are leaking some oil.

  92. pedro fernandez Says:

    Yeah, I guess it’s cheaper to put in some oil than to blow $300 to replace a gasket, BTW I had the same issue some 5 yrs ago, so this is common with these engines I guess, but then again, who keeps a car for 330k miles?

  93. Kit Gerhart Says:

    A leaking seal like yours is a lot more of a problem with a manual transmission, because the oil can get on the clutch. My experience with oil on a clutch is from my high school days, with a ’50 Plymouth. It was not good. The clutch was so grabby that you couldn’t start of smoothly, no matter what you did. I learned to drive a manual with that car, in that condition. Then, after my dad had it fixed, I couldn’t believe how easy it was to work a clutch and start off smoothly.

  94. oak cabin Says:


    I hope Chrysler/Ram watches your show, please pass this on to them. When they release the Daily and the Ducato to Ram dealers they should allow both to be sold at “all” Dodge/Ram dealers. I work for a Dodge/Ram dealer. When Diamler/Chrysler put out the Sprinter van, only commercial dealers where allowed to sell or service the van (it’s just a van not a spaceship). So a customer may pass 3-4 dealers to find a commercial dealer. Sprinter customers complained that so many dealers could not do any service/warranty work on their Sprinter van. So business men purchased a Chevy or Ford so they could have local parts and service to keep their service trucks rolling at all times.

    I hope Chysler does not do the same dump thing again with the Daily and the Ducato.