Well, AAA has just confirmed what I have been trying to tell you guys for years. There is a difference between branded gasoline retailers and discount retailers. According to the AAA findings, the discounted brand of gasoline caused poorer performance mostly due to the, at least, 35% greater accumulation of carbon deposits on intake valves and combustion chambers.

     A case in point: Recently a good customer of ours came in for some routine maintenance on his 1992 Mercedes S320, a very heavy sedan with a six cylinder motor. We used to call this car the whale when I worked at the dealership. He made it a point to thank me for some advice I gave him a while back. About a year ago his car was running rather poorly. He was up to date on all of the services so I asked him what brand of gasoline he used. He proudly perked up and said that he used only the highest grade of the gas sold by the local warehouse store (which I will from here on call the "box"). I explained to him that all of the gasoline sold at any retailer comes from the same refinery. The difference between the retailers is the additive package that they use. I told him to try a couple of tankfuls of 91 octane Chevron to see if his performance imporves.

     The S320 he drives is solely his work commute car. He drives the same freeway route every day. He works the graveyard shift so traffic is mostly not an issue. He told me last week that after I told him to change his brand of gasoline he did a little experimenting. He ran two tankfuls of Chevron Supreme and the car's performance noticeably improved. Plus, he got 2.4 more miles per gallon and an extra 50 miles per tank of gas. He went back to box gasoline for a couple of tankfuls to test the theory and his mpg went back to where it was before the switch. He did the math and by using Chevron Supreme he was actually saving money over the box brand.

   I don't mean to be a spokesman for Chevron. I'm sure Union 76 would work just the same. You'll notice that I don't use any other brand as an example because, personally, I think Chevron and 76 are the best. Who knows, maybe someone from Chevron will read this and compensate me. Or, more likely, maybe I'll hear from some lawyer representing the box.

Bob....Camino Import Auto Service

A Random Act of Kindness


Well, here we are again. Thanksgiving is just around the corner and Christmas is right on it's heels. I would like to take this opportunity and thank all of my customers for a very gratifing year.

With the holiday season upon us I would also like to tell you about something that happened last year that touched my heart. I have a Mercedes customer, I'll call her Jane, who works for another one of my customers. Around July of last year Jane needed some maintenance and repair work on her car that was going to cost about $1500.00. Needless to say, she was a little distraught. She wanted to do the work but, with a new baby, she and her husband did not have that kind of money to spare. She asked if I would take payments and I said that I would. So, we did the work and agreed that I would charge her credit card $150.00 per month until the bill was paid off.

Just before Christmas of 2013 we had done some work on another customer's BMW, I'll call him Bill. When Bill was picking up his car we were talking about business and the conversation somehow included accounts receivable and I mentioned Jane's predicament and how I was helping her out. When Bill was paying his bill he asked me to tack on another $150.00 and apply it to Jane's tab. I asked if he were serious and he said that he and his wife like to annomously help people out financially from time to time. He asked that I not reveal his identity to Jane.

So, we completed the transaction and after he left I called Jane to tell her that her December payment had been taken care of. Needless to say she was extremely appreciative and I could tell she was crying and I have to admit my vision was getting a little blurry also.

The reason for this blog is to remind people of the true spirit of Christmas. We live in a world of vast uncertainties and it is human nature to concentrate on the well being of our immediate families but we must remember that there are those way less fortunate who can use a helping hand.

Bob Dallape......Camino Import Auto Service

The Importance of regular maintenance

I just bought a 2001 Volvo V70XC from a customer. She brought the car in because the "low oil pressure" warning light was coming on. The car had 224,000 miles on it.but looked as if it were a new car (externally well maintained). We hooked up a pressure gauge that we could read while driving and the oil pressure, which was normal at idle, would drop while driving. We tried the usual fixes for Volvo which included replacing the oil galley o ring seals in the oil pan but the oil pressure would still drop to zero within 2 minutes of driving. I checked her service history and she would always be a little late for her factory scheduled oil changes (Volvo recommends service every 7,500 miles). What we eventually found was that there was so much sludge build-up in the motor that the main bearings had worn due to the gritty sludge. The car was well taken care of other than the oil changes. I always recommend that the Volvo service interval recommendations be ignored and oil changes should be done at least at 5,000 mile intervals. Volvo does not recommend synthetic oil which, if they did, the changes can be pushed to about 8,000 miles.

Mercedes and BMW, who do insist on synthetic oil, recommend the services be done at 10,000 to 15,000 miles which I still think is a bit crazy. I often see cars that follow that regimen and when I take off the oil cap there is black flaky material on the underside of the cap. If it is on the cap it is in the crankcase. So, I recommend to all of my MB and BMW customers who drive newer models that they go no longer than 8,000 miles between oil changes.

This customer did not want to fork over about $5,000.00 to repair the motor so I bought it from her for $600.00. I put a used motor in the car (I was told that the used motor only had 80,000 miles on it). I repaired a few sundry items and bought new tires. The car is now perfect and is now driven in the snow of Flagstaff Arizona where my daughter goes to school (Northern Arizona University).

The bottom line here is; if you want your car to last, regular frequent servicing is the way to do it. For example, I own a 1985 Mercedes 300SD (diesel) with over 420,000 miles on the original engine. All I have ever done, aside from fixing a few things here and there, is change the oil and filter every 5,000 miles and major maintenance every 15,000 miles. One more thing, avoid the "quickie lube" places. I have seen their work and it is not pretty, wrong oil filters, cheap oil, incorrect amount of oil, etc. Remember, you get what you pay for......Bob...Camino Import Auto Service

Finding Competant Mercedes, BMW and Volvo Repair

Since 1979 Camino Import Auto Service has relied mostly on word of mouth to attract new customers. It is well known that the best advertising is a satisfied, loyal customer singing your praises. I am bombarded daily by telephone marketers trying to get my merchant account and also to boost my ranking on the search engines like Google and Yelp for example. I would like to talk about Yelp specifically. I have some new clients that have found me on the web and specifically by searching on I checked it out and found that Camino Import Auto Service was near the top spot when searching for Mercedes, BMW or Volvo repair in South Orange County and that I had two favorable reviews. Recently Camino Import Auto Service  has fallen down the list and the reviews (33 as of this writing) have been filtered by Yelp's automated filtering program. I don't know if there is any correlation but it was not long before that I received a call from a Yelp representative asking if I wanted to place a paid ad on Yelp. I declined the solicitation with a polite "maybe some other time". The reviews can still be found on Yelp by clicking on the "view filtered reviews" button. I contacted Yelp and asked why my reviews have been filtered while other like businesses still had theirs. I was told that it is impossible for any business to have 100% favorable reviews (like ours) and that the program filters out suspect reviews like those that look like they had been solicited or written by the same person or written by someone who has never written a review before or since. Granted, there was a little solicitation on my part. I sent a Christmas letter to each one of the people in my customer data base basically thanking them for their loyalty and support and I touched a little on the search engine aspect of modern business marketing and how reviews can help (and sometimes hurt) the growth of a business. I sent this letter to each and everyone of my clients and every one of my reviews are very positive. I am sure that if there were disgruntled customers in my data base (and I can't imagine that there are any) that their voice would also have been heard. I urge you to go to, find Camino Import Auto Service and find and read the filtered reviews. I assure you that each and every one is legitimate. We have transcribed a few of them on our "testimonials" page............Bob

Customer Testimonial

We have been customers of Bobs for over 15 years! Bob is honest, fairly priced, hardworking, kind, friendly, and a MASTER mechanic. He has serviced many of our cars. We would go nowhere other than to Camino Imports :0) don't waste your time searching for a good mechanic, there is only one place: Camino Imports :0)
Chana W. Huntington Beach

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