& Clack Talk Cars
By Tom & Ray Magliozzi
Dear Tom and Ray:
We purchased a new
2005 Jeep Liberty for our daughter last year and
have faithfully taken it in to the dealership
where we bought it for routine maintenance. At
the time of the last maintenance checkup (11,784
miles), the repair shop performed rear and front
differential service, at a cost of $240. They
said it should be performed every 12,000 miles.
Is this legitimate? - Federico
TOM: Hmm. How to
put this gently, Federico? Did the manager have
binoculars hanging around his neck? Because he
definitely saw you coming.
RAY: Most cars
never need differential service. Thats a
component that, under normal driving conditions,
should last for the life of the car without
needing any attention.
TOM: If you do
what manufacturers call "severe duty
driving," then Jeep does recommend changing
the fluid in both differentials every 12,000
miles. But severe duty means youre doing
extensive off-road driving, using the vehicle as
a taxi, driving mostly in extreme temperatures,
or regularly towing around a couple of Angus
RAY: If that
describes your daughters driving, then the
dealer is doing the service that Jeep recommends.
But if your daughter is like 99 percent of
Americas drivers and uses the liberty to go
to school or work, or take road trips with her
friends, then the dealer took you for a ride. And
you should go back and ask for some money back.
TOM: If you look
in the back of your owners manual, the
recommended services for each mileage interval
are listed there. So you can see for yourself
what the manufacturer actually recommends at
12,000 miles. Look under Schedule A, which for
Jeep is normal use.
By Greg Zyla
Sponsored by Curry Automotive
Car of Tomorrow
Q: Now that the
Car of Tomorrow will race in 16 Cup events this
year, what is your opinion of the move by NASCAR?
Why dont they run on the superspeedways? --
David P., Florida.
A: David, the
numerous tests that NASCAR ran with its drivers
during 2006 were done to help develop the Car of
Tomorrow for all tracks, not just the short
tracks they will appear on in 2007. I feel the
reason NASCAR didnt institute a full
36-race schedule is two-fold: First, so extra
high-speed handling and development work can go
into the car before letting it run wide-open on
200-mph superspeedways; and, second, to allow
team owners to phase out the hundreds of team
cars that will become obsolete when NASCAR
institutes a full-time Car of Tomorrow schedule.
Of course, the
opposite side of the coin is that teams now have
to have two different stables of cars ready to
run, although I dont feel this is as big of
a "problem" as some make it out to be.
The fact is that all teams already have different
short-track and superspeedway cars, so it really
shouldnt be that big of a burden for the
multimillion dollar-sponsored teams to acclimate
Q: Greg, what does
it cost to run big-time, first-class,
major-league teams in the major series of racing?
-- Andy K., Wisconsin.
A: No problem,
Andy. Here are the latest numbers I came up with,
per front-running team, thanks to my sources:
Formula 1, $100 million minimum to $300 million;
NASCAR Nextel Cup, up to $18 million; NASCAR
Busch Series, $5 million to $6 million; IRL, $4
million to $6 million; ALMS $4 million to $5
million; Champ Car $3 million to $5 million;
NASCAR Craftsman Truck, $3 million to $5 million;
NHRA Pro Team, $3 million to $4 million; and
Grand Am Series $3 million to $4 million.