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SPRING AUTO CARE

MARCH 27, 2009

Consumers will get to see eco-friendly Yokohama orange oil tires on the race track and in stores this summer.

This spring, orange is the new green

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pring has arrived in East County. Flowering trees are blooming, meadows are fragrant with wildflowers, birds are chirping – and roads are nice and dry. It’s time to take a drive, which means paying attention to what you’re driving on – which, in the near future, could be tires

made from orange oil. That’s right. A new eco-friendly product is about to hit the marketplace and could change the way Americans view one of the most underappreciated yet technologically-advanced parts of a car. “An orange oil tire,” says Mark Chung see Orange page 4B


MARCH 27, 2009

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Stretching those car maintenance dollars vehicle. The typical vehicle on American roads is now a record nine years old, according to a recent report by R.L. Polk & Co. As any vehicle ages, routine maintenance and upkeep become increasingly important not only for a vehicle’s longevity, but for its efficiency and safety. Next to their homes, most Americans’ largest financial investment is their vehicle, so helping it stay in good working order for as long as possible should be a top priority. But because money is tight, many motorists today are reluctant to spend money on services or maintenance they assume can be put off in the short term. That delay, however, could shorten the life of a vehicle, decrease its fuel efficiency or even put drivers and their families at risk. To help you prepare for the changing weather and road conditions of spring, here’s a simple checklist of tips you should perform to help keep your vehicle running longer, safer

meet your new neighbors!

6836 Lone Tree Way • Brentwood

(925) 634-8404 monday-friday 7:00 am-7:00 pm saturday 7:00 am-6:00 pm, sunday 8:00 am-4:00 pm Empire Ave

poning or canceling plans to buy a new

N One Tree Way

Fairview Ave

financial decisions, including post-

Country Hills Rd

many consumers are making tough

and more cost-effectively: Breathe free Replacing a dirty air filter can increase a vehicle’s life expectancy and fuel efficiency by reducing the strain on the engine, especially during warmer months. Over the winter months, salt, sand and other impurities can build up in a vehicle’s air filtration system and rob it of as much as 10 percent in fuel efficiency. Keep it clean Your car, truck or SUV has likely just weathered the harsh conditions and corrosive elements associated with winter. Keeping it clean will help protect your investment. Be sure to use quality cleaners and waxes specifically designed for handling a car’s finish, as regular dish soap will break down your wax and might harm the underlying paint. Keep it flowing Oil is the lifeblood of your engine, keeping it running efficiently and effectively. Over the winter, you or your mechanic might have changed the viscosity of the oil in your car (especially in colder climates), but in the warmer weather, you’ll get less protection as things heat up. Not sure what oil to use? Defer to a professional or use the grade of motor oil recommended by the vehicle manufacturer to achieve optimum engine protection and fuel efficiency. – Courtesy of ARAcontent

standard oil change special new filter, refill up to 5 quarts Synthetic Blend motor oil

21

$

99

Most vehicles. Price includes oil filter recycling fee.

See store for complete service description and details. Redeem this coupon at your participating Firestone Complete Auto Care store. Not to be combined with another offer on same product or service and not to be used to reduce outstanding debt. No cash value. Offer void where prohibited. OFFER EXPIRES 4/4/09

brake service special install new brake pads and resurface rotors

50 OFF

$

Save off regular price. Most vehicles. Front wheel disc.

See store for complete service description and details. Redeem this coupon at your participating Firestone Complete Auto Care store. Not to be combined with another offer on same product or service and not to be used to reduce outstanding debt. No cash value. Offer void where prohibited. OFFER EXPIRES 4/4/09

wheel alignment special inspect and align vehicle to manufacturer’s specifications

15 OFF

$ Save off regular price. Redeem this coupon at your participating Firestone Complete Auto Care store. Not to be combined with another offer on same product or service and not to be used to reduce outstanding debt. No cash value. Offer void where prohibited. OFFER EXPIRES 4/4/09

Save off regular price. Most vehicles.

See store for complete service description and details. Redeem this coupon at your participating Firestone Complete Auto Care store. Not to be combined with another offer on same product or service and not to be used to reduce outstanding debt. No cash value. Offer void where prohibited. OFFER EXPIRES 4/4/09

90 days interest free!

Minimum monthly payments required. See store for complete terms and details.

savings at all area locations! call toll-free:

1-800-LOCATE-US (1-800-562-2838)

www.FirestoneCompleteAutoCare.com MEDA L LD AWARD

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n our challenging economic climate,

Shop supply charges in the amount of 6% of labor charges will be added to invoices greater than $30. These charges will not exceed $25 and represent costs and profits. Shop supply charges not applicable in CA or NY. Non-mandated disposal or recycling charges, if any are disclosed above, may also represent costs and profits. Specific product offerings and tread designs may vary. Prices, warranties, car service, credit plans and other offers available at Firestone Complete Auto Care; see affiliated dealers listed for their competitive offers and warranties. *If you do not achieve guaranteed mileage, your Firestone retailer will replace your tires on a pro-rated basis. Actual tread life may vary. All warranties apply only to original owner on originally installed vehicle. See retailer for details, restrictions and copy of each limited warranty. †Finance charges waived on qualifying Promotional Credit Plan purchases that are paid in full within 90 days. MINIMUM MONTHLY PAYMENTS REQUIRED. Regular Rate: 21.84% APR. Delinquency Rate: 24.84% APR. Minimum Finance charge $1.00. CFNA reserves the right to change APR, fees and other terms unilaterally. V1005


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Gumaro’s Auto Repair & Muffler Imports • Domestics Smog • Tire Repair • Computer Repairs • Air Conditioning Brakes • Maintenance and Repairs • Brake & Lamp Inspections

(925) 779-0398 1705 Somersville Rd., Antioch, CA 94509

Se Habla Español • Smog while you wait!

U.S.G. Custom Screen Printing, Graphics & Signs

(925) 584-2499

SPRING AUTO CARE

10% Off

on Repairs

$10 Off Smog

w/this coupon.

Orange from page 4B of Yokohama Tire Corporation, “mixes rubber with orange oil and helps the environment because they are 80-percent petroleum free.” Chung says the orange oil used in Yokohama’s dB Super E-spec, the world’s first orange oil passenger tire, comes from a juicing plant in Japan. “The tires use more natural rubber (a renewable resource) and are lighter, which conserves gasoline by reducing rolling resistance up to 20 percent. Low rolling-resistance tires improve fuel efficiency by minimizing the energy wasted (as heat) as the tire rolls down the road.” In non-tech terms, this means fewer trips to gas pump (money-saver) and less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (Earth-saver). The thought of orange oil tires conjures up some fun, interesting notions, but Chung says, “the tires really aren’t orange colored and don’t smell like fruit. However, by using citrus instead of petroleum, it’s one way Yokohama can utilize technology to make better tires for consumers and the environment.” The tires have been so successful, racers will be burning orange, er, rubber on the race track this season in the 2009 Patrón GT3 Challenge by Yokohama. It’s the first race series in the world where every car on the track – in this case, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars – will be screaming down the track on environmen-

MARCH 27, 2009

tally-friendly orange oil tires. Chung was quick to point out that orange oil tires are just a part of the solution to help the environment. “When it comes to tires, there are many ways consumers can be more eco-friendly and save some money on gas, too. The real key is keeping your tires properly inflated.” Chung offers these tire tips: ♦ Once a month, when the tires are cold – at least three to four hours after the vehicle has been driven – check tire pressure with a reliable tire gauge. Be sure that the valve stems have a plastic or metal cap to keep dirt out and seal against leakage. ♦ Tires should be rotated at least every 6,000 to 8,000 miles and the alignment should be checked once a year. Misaligned tires can cause the car to scrub, which lowers mileage and causes unnecessary tire wear. ♦ An over-inflated tire increases wear on the center of the tread. A tire is designed to run with the vehicle’s weight spread correctly in the road contact zone. For additional tire care and safety tips, visit www.yokohamatire.com, the Rubber Manufacturers Association at www.rma. org and AAA Club at www.aaa.com. Yokahama Tires can be found at Big O Tires in Brentwood at 8040 Brentwood Blvd. (925-634-4344) and at Wheel Works West in Antioch at 2024 A St. (925-9781900). Check out www.bigotires.com. – Courtesy ARAcontent


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Hot Rods from page 1B This is the home of Red Barn Hot Rods, a custom car restoration business situated along the S-curve of the Byron Highway, just a short hop from Munkelt’s Brentwood home and a million miles from his former life. “I spent over 20 years in the retail business, and it was good, but this has always been in the back of my mind,” said Munkelt, 42. “And we finally just decided to take the plunge.” Open just a year and a half, Red Barn Hot Rods, “Because everyone knows the best cars are always found in the barn,” says Munkelt, referring to the oft-heard stories of classic cars discovered abandoned under bales of hay in country barns, Munkelt and business partner, wife Pam, have recently moved to the 7,500 square foot building in Byron from Brentwood. The larger digs give Munkelt a little more elbowroom to create, restore and breathe new life into the chassis of long-forgotten autos. Or, in some cases, build new ones from the ground up. “We do it all,” he said. “Restorations, rebuilds, concourse cars (such as talk-show host Jay Leno owns) and cars that will be driven

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MARCH 27, 2009 everyday. I prefer to build cars that people drive. I like to bring the owner’s personality and vision to the car. That’s part of what makes this all so much fun.” And speaking of fun, Munkelt is currently working on a number of cars, including a 65’ Impala, a 55’ T-bird and a 69’ Camero. Years, makes and models are the language of hot rods, and while terms like Media Blasting, Roll Over and Frame Off may not be familiar to most, the enthusiasm Munkelt exudes is universal. “Everyone likes to be around hot rods, and I’m no exception,” said Munkelt. “I understand the attachment people have to their cars. To me, cars are like paintings; what makes one car great to me might not be the same for someone else, so our goal is to get inside the head of the customer and give them what they want.” Munkelt comes by his fervor honestly. With no formal training, Munkelt says he learned the trade from his father and stepfather. Drag racing Volkswagen Bugs at 14 “Yep, 14,” he says with a smile, Munkelt, who was see Hot Rods page 7B


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SPRING AUTO CARE

Hot Rods from page 6B raised in Orinda and later Orange County, grew up going to races and working on cars. Twenty-two years ago he met his wife Pam, a self-professed car chick with an affinity for drag racing and classic autos, and it seemed the Car Gods smiled down upon them. “I have always been into it, the racergirl thing, going to the races at Carlsbad, the whole bit,” said Pam, “So this (car business) has been a nice natural thing for us. We are so grateful that the community has been so supportive us. We feel very lucky.” A complete car restoration takes time and plenty of money. Munkelt estimates he puts in approximately 2,000 to 3,000 man-hours per car, garnering anywhere from $75,000 to $100,000 for a finished product. And while the hobby is an expensive one, most car owners says Munkel, don’t necessarily live the high life. “A lot of these guys, you go to their homes and expect to see these palatial places, but that’s not always the case,” he said. “This (restoring cars) is their passion and it’s what they spend their money on and what they save for. They don’t drink, they don’t smoke; this is their vice. Everyone has a hobby, this is just theirs.” And Munkelt’s. The hot rod business, even in this tepid economy, is good. Munkelt estimates he’s got approximately 12 cars on the books, and a growing waiting list as well. Plans are even in the works for he and Pam to eventually expand their business, but for now they are happy, content and pleased to be a part of the community. “There is a lot of satisfaction in what we

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Trevor’s Weekly Mortgage Matters By Trevor Frey

Q: Why is the Federal Government trying to eventually buy $1 trillion in Treasury bonds and U.S. mortgage backed securities?

Photo by Brandi Diamond

Mikey Johle grinds away on a 1934 Chrysler sedan being customized at the Red Barn Hot Rod shop. do,” said Munkelt. “You’re creating stuff from an idea and making it happen … Anyone can make a car go fast, but to make it handle well, and stop well is another thing. We take a lot of pride in what we do here, and I believe our work pretty much speaks for itself.” And for the record, what is the world’s hottest hot rod? “The AC Cobra hands down best car ever made,” said Munkelt. “There’s nothing in the world like it. I built a Cobra and sold it on EBay in two days. That gave us the money to finance our shop, so I guess you could say Cobras are why we’re here.” Red Barn Hot Rods is located at 14711 Byron Highway. For more information, call 925-634-4848 or visit the Web site at www. RedBarnHotrods.com.

A: Although the 10-year T-bond has no direct correlation with 30-year mortgage rates, it is the best tool out there when determining whether or not mortgage rates will rise or fall, and if the government can bring down the 10-year Treasury bond rates, it will in turn bring down all sorts of interest rates that are pegged to the 10-year rate – 30-year mortgages specifically. The currently low mortgage interest rates are a direct result of investors seeking shelter after sustaining a brutal decline in the stock market during 2008. Bad news for the American economy is good news for interest rates. When people are looking for a safe investment they flock to Treasury bonds as these bonds are guaranteed by the Federal Government, which give said investment the “full faith and credit” of the United States. Investors have a choice between buying U.S. Bonds and other types of income securities, including mortgage backed securities. However, while treasuries are 100% guaranteed by the government, mortgage-backed securities are not for reasons such as payment default and/or early repayment, thus MBSs carry more risk and must be priced higher to compensate the investor. It’s this widely publicized poor performance of many mortgages that has caused the lack of demand for mortgage-backed securities – bringing us back to the government stepping in. With the Fed’s bluntly stating their own goal, it is a little easier to understand the direc-

tion in which they’re headed “…the committee decided today to increase the size of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet further by purchasing up to an additional $750 billion of agency mortgage-backed securities, bringing its total purchases of these securities up to $1.25 trillion this year, and to increase its purchases of agency debt this year up to $100 billion to a total of up to $200 billion.” By aiming to “help improve conditions in the private money markets” the government hopes to guarantee the purchase of mortgage-backed securities in order to keep interest rates low while also increasing liquidity in the markets. Without this intervention, mortgage interest rates would be higher and the spread between the 10-year Treasury bonds and daily mortgage rates even greater. However, with the intervention taking place in hopes of stimulating the economy, 30year mortgage interest rates are currently at a 50 year historic low and should be taken advantage of by anyone looking to purchase or refinance their home. If you wish to help ensure you’re receiving the best rate out there, please send over an email and I will add you to my weekly rate update blast which will assist in offering peace of mind about exactly where rates stand. As always, I welcome all questions and or concerns pertaining to real estate lending on my cell phone, 510-798-0060, or via email, tfreymortgages@yahoo.com. PS…Happy Birthday Mom! – Advertisement


Auto Care Guide Spring 2009  

The Press special section for automotive care in far East Contra Costa

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