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Hello Lou, I have two questions.

I have a 2011 Sienna Minivan with AWD and 235,000 kilometres. A few small spots of rust are appearing on the body underneath the fascia and a few other spots as well. I’d like to keep it for a few more years. Is this vehicle worth having the paint work done professionally, and will it last?

Also, a friend of mine who isn’t a licensed mechanic does his own brake repairs. He says it’s easy to do. My thinking is that if a non-licensed mechanic does the work and something happens, I won’t be covered by any insurance. Is it a risk worth taking?

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Thanks, Tim

Most body shops cringe when a potential customer puts the words rust repair and guarantee in the same sentence. The likelihood of corrosion returning are high when the body shop is being asked to do a minor repair like just grinding down the affected area, prepping and painting. In order for the body shop to be comfortable offering a corrosion guarantee, you have to let them perform the repairs in a manner they see fit. This usually entails replacing complete panels with brand-new or extensive sheet-metal cutting and patching. Get a couple of quotes and see if those estimates are in line with what you are thinking.

If any brake job, DIY or professional for that matter, is linked to an accident where someone is critically injured, then yes, things will get complicated with your insurance company. Everyone has their own risk threshold; the question is, where is yours?


Lou,

We are looking at e-vehicles as a second car and would like your opinion on the potential maintenance issues or actual reduction in maintenance costs compared to conventional cars. If electrical vehicles have less than 10 moving parts compared to more than 120 for conventional vehicles, it would seem to me things should much cheaper. In addition, what would those estimated savings be?

Thanks,

Ted, Godfrey, Ont.

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Your logic is sound, as the reduction in moving parts in battery electric vehicles (BEV) does equal less items to maintain. That being said, we are in the infancy of BEV sales and servicing. This leads to dealers retaining most of the maintenance dollars pre- and post-warranty. Essentially, a captive market, with pricing that reflects this. Tires, brakes and suspension work will still be required, which can be done by an outside service provider. However, as long as dealer visits are still required to service the battery and electric propulsion/brake regenerative systems, I suspect that the BEV vehicle owner won’t be bothered to stray far. The change will be slow, but as BEVs rise in popularity, more independent repair facilities will enter the marketplace and provide competition for dealers

I’ve read many reports detailing the cost savings offered by BEVs, and although I can’t nail down an exact amount, I have seen a common referral to $800 per year of maintenance dollars saved when compared to internal-combustion vehicles. Don’t forget to take into consideration the extra dollars you may spend purchasing that BEV or the costs associated with setting up a proper home charging station.

Lou Trottier is owner-operator of All About Imports in Mississauga. Have a question about maintenance and repair? E-mail globedrive@globeandmail.com, placing “Lou’s Garage” in the subject line.

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