How the Recession Has Shifted People to Have Their Possessions Repaired Rather Than Buying New

Many Americans were happy to say good riddance to the year 2009 and look forward to a better one economically and financially in the year 2010. With the difficulties of losing jobs, receiving lower pay, and difficulties paying the bills during this recession, a lot of people have had to learn how to live more frugally and differently than they were used to living before the economy took a turn for the worse. One way they have chosen to be more resourceful is by using things longer and having certain items repaired like their computer from a computer repair shop rather than buying a new item when something breaks. This article will look into some of the things people are choosing to get repaired in this tough economy.

Some of the things that people are choosing to get fixed are the large items that typically they would have gotten fixed first, rather than purchasing new just like before the recession. This would include a lot of high priced appliances such as a furnace or home air conditioner, refrigerator or clothing washer and dryer. Because these items cost thousands of dollars, typically to buy new, many people are willing to pay the service fee to have it fixed to avoid having to put down all of the money it would cost to replace it.

Another category where people are choosing to get things repaired are with electronics. There are so many high tech electronics available now and many of them are multi-faceted, that they are sure to have problems at some point. Because the majority of people are not very technically capable themselves to figure out when something does not work correctly, they need to find the help of someone who deals with repairing those kind of items. For example, you may have an expensive touch screen laptop computer that all of the sudden goes blank. Instead of paying a couple of thousand dollars to get a new one, many people now seek out a computer repairman to fix it.

Because of the economy, even smaller electronics are finding themselves at repair shops whereas as the younger generation in the past would have just thrown it out when it broke and got the newer, latest gadget. Things like I-pods and video game components are now being taken to professionals that know how to fix them for a much smaller fee than it would have been to replace it. Resale shops for small electronics are also seeing an increased business as are the people that repair these smaller items.

The automobile industry has also seen a shift with people and their cars. Americans are hanging on to their cars longer and maintaining them and fixing them instead of getting the newest vehicle on the lot. This has hurt the car industry incredibly but has increased business for automotive shops that do repairs and maintenance of cars. They are also keeping things on their cars longer too, like tires and having them rotated instead of purchasing new ones.

Finding Automotive Wiring Diagrams

As an owner of a car, I find myself becoming educated on the subject of automotive wiring. Since I am just about the last person who should be playing with anything that has electrical current running through it, I was hesitant to attempt to tackle the issue of automotive wiring.

However my vehicle decided otherwise when it started to randomly select electrical systems that it wanted to me tamper with. When the electric seat belts started to slide back and forth without reason as I drove down the highway, I decided I better figure out how to tamper with the electric systems, considering the exuberant rate of automotive repair.

I found myself with a decision to either, break down and spend $100 an hour for a so-called expert to look at it and try to repair it, or I could learn how the electrical system of my car worked. Considering my level of ignorance I probably was going to try to conquer the impossible. After all the only thing I knew about electrical systems is that AC/DC was a rock band and that dummies and wiring usually did not get along.

However despite my reluctance, I set out to learn what I could about automotive wiring. I quickly learned that there is a huge supply of information available on the subject of automotive wiring. A quick search on Google provided me with an array of information. There are many different levels of sites offering information.

Some sites provided a basic overview of the average electrical system of most cars. A company named Long Island Customs offered some great basic information. They stated that their information was simply for a basic understanding and not for a detailed explanation of particular models. However they actually provide some thorough information on basic systems such as AC and lighting. They also provide some great trouble shooting information.

Another site for general information on electrical systems is TBud.com. This educational website offered general programs on electrical systems in their integrated publishing section.

AllDetailDIY.com considers itself the leading source of professional diagnostic information. They offer full diagnostic flow charts of automotive electrical systems. Their charts offer both system and component perspectives.

I found a great site for individual systems that covered all American made cars from 1985 to 2009.

Wiringdiagram.com breaks it down by system, such as headlights, computer data lines and AC systems. Their individualized charts start at $5.99. They also offer information on 1960-1984 models starting at $6.99. They print the information into an Adobe PDF document and offer rushed service guaranteed to provide you with the diagrams for your particular car in less than 24 hours.

Bulldog.com offers a basic explanation of electrical information in an MS Word document; however they do not supply charts or schematics.

Two other sites that I found to offer great information were Freeauto.com and 12voltresource.com. Freeauto.com provides complete color diagnostics for most makes and models. What I found interesting(?) is freeauto will provide you these color automotive electrical charts and all the other information on their informative website for $11.99. They also assist you with basic electrical theory, electrical harnesses and test equipment.

12voltresource.com offers a CD-ROM that contains wiring systems for every car from 1979 to 2009, for only $17.98. They also offer CD-ROMs and instant downloads for specific models of cars. They only charge $14.98 for this information.

I also decided to look around to see if I could find manufacturers’ manuals that offer automotive electrical diagrams for particular makes and models. What I found was that Haynes Auto Repair Manuals offer a repair manual for just about every major make and model of car. These thorough repair manuals explain every system on particular models in an easy to understand format. I found that these manuals offer electrical charts for their models. I found Haynes manuals available at several sources including their own website for $24.95 and Barnes and Nobles for $22.95 with a membership. The best deal I found on these manuals was Books-A-Million, who offers most Haynes manuals for only $16.45.

So whether you are like me and you don’t know the first thing about automotive electrical systems or even if you are educated in electrical systems you will find these sources to be of great help. If you still desire additional information you may want to contact your local car dealer or mechanic.

Automobile Dealers – Do You Really Have a Right to Refuse New Vehicles?

According to a recent article in the NY Times:

The Chrysler Group said Monday that it had not yet accounted for tens of thousands of cars in its inventory numbers, which are already considered high by industry standards. Chrysler said it had routinely excluded these vehicles, worth billions of dollars, from its tally of unsold cars and trucks because they had not yet been assigned to a specific dealer or ordered by a customer. (New York Times, October 24, 2006)

When I began learning about the automotive industry, dealers and manufacturers had a name for manufactured, but unordered vehicles. That name was: “sales bank.” The “sales bank” is a practice that the manufacturers allege they abandoned after being ravaged by the system during the oil crises of the 1970s.

By the early 1980s, when the dust settled, Automotive News was running stories like:

Ernest D’Agostino of Rhode Island filed suit, in the U.S. District Court against Chrysler Corporation, alleging Chrysler terminated his franchise because he refused to buy “gas guzzlers” — large cars with low gas mileage. A federal court jury found against Chrysler and Chrysler, in an unreported case, appealed. Chrysler agreed to drop its appeal and paid D’Agostino a settlement (Automotive News, October 1982); and

Fred Drendall, of Drendall Lincoln-Mercury/Pontiac sued Ford Motor Company alleging that when he attempted to cancel orders he was intimidated by Ford spokesmen and when he bowed to the pressure and ordered the vehicles, the high flooring costs forced him to refinance his dealership. He was eventually was terminated and suffered a heart attack. (Automotive News, December 1982).

Those were hard times in the car business.

Today, most Sales and Service Agreements have provisions such as the following:

2. (D) STOCKS. The dealer shall maintain stocks of current models of such lines or series of VEHICLES, of an assortment and in quantities as are in accordance with Company GUIDES therefor, or adequate to meet the Dealer’s share of current and anticipated demand for VEHICLES in the DEALER’S LOCALITY. The Dealer’s maintenance of VEHICLE stocks shall be subject to the Company’s filling the Dealer’s orders therefor. (Ford Motor Company, Mercury Sales and Service Agreement, Standard Provisions.)

Most states, however, have Dealer Day in Court Acts with provisions such as:

Art. 4413(36), SUBCHAPTER E. PROHIBITIONS. Sec 5.02. Manufacturers; Distributors; Representatives. (b) It is unlawful for any manufacturer, distributor, or representative to: (1) Require or attempt to require any dealer to order, accept delivery or pay anything of value, directly or indirectly, for any motor vehicle, appliance, part, accessory or any other commodity unless voluntarily ordered or contracted for by such dealer. (Texas Motor Vehicle Commission Code)

It shall be unlawful and a violation of this code for any manufacturer, manufacturer branch, distributor, or distributor branch licensed under this code to coerce or attempt to coerce any dealer in this state: (a) To order or accept delivery of any motor vehicle, part or accessory thereof, appliance, equipment or any other commodity not required by law which shall not have been voluntarily ordered by the dealer. (Section 11713.2 California Vehicle Code)

In addition to state laws, the National Dealer Day in Court Act also proscribes manufacturer and distributors from coercing a dealer into accepting “automobile, parts, accessories, or supplies which the dealer does not need, want or feel the market is able to absorb.” 1956 U.S.Code.Cong. & Admin.News, page 4603.

But, the law is always a two-edged sword and there is generally a fine line drawn between actions that are proper and actions that are improper. For example, it has long been settled that a dealer’s refusal to take all of the manufacturer’s line of vehicles, choosing instead to sell a competitor’s models, is grounds for termination. See, for example: Randy’s Studebaker Sales, Inc. v. Nissan Motor Corporation, 533 F.2d 510 (10th Cir. 1976), at 515.

Consequently, prior to deciding whether to accept or reject delivery of vehicles, a dealer should check with a competent automotive attorney, that is familiar with the laws in the jurisdiction where the vehicles are to be delivered, with respect to his or her particular circumstances.

Note: This article is not intended to provide legal advice, nor should it be interpreted as so doing.

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