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Take Charge of Your Car With BlueDriver

I am always amazed at new technology that can help you keep up with your automobile’s repairs, and monitor its every move. For example, staying abreast with trouble codes as they happen, clearing trouble codes with one click, diagnosing problems even before heading off to your repair shop, sharing your car’s data with your mechanic from miles away, receiving live data from all your car’s computers, and even knowing if your car is ready for its smog test.

Here is a device that can do all that and more. BlueDriver, by Lemur Technologies, has developed a plug-in OBD-II that can take much of the worry out of car repairs. When a sensor goes out of range and trips that pesky check engine light, you will be notified via your cell phone. It will tell you which sensor has tripped the check engine light, and even suggest possible fixes. When you head to the repair shop, you will have knowledge of where the problem is and no longer need to rely on the Service Adviser to tell you the bad news.

Lemur’s BlueDriver, at, is a very sophisticated scan tool that can take the guess work out of costly repairs and keep you informed as you drive. It links to your smart phone or tablet by downloading a free app that connects to your car’s computer. Click on the link to learn how to purchase a BlueDriver, and you are on your way to Happy Motoring.

Dan McGee reviews Teresa’s Garage Radio Show

Dan McGee, owner and publisher of, interviews Teresa Aquila, owner of Teresa’ Garage after her weekly radio show on February 17, 2015.

RENO (Feb. 17) — It not often a child’s dreams come true. But for Teresa Aquila, that’s exactly what happened to her.

“When I was very, very young, I’m going to say 5- or 6-years old I wanted to play with tools and wanted to be a mechanic ever since I was a little kid,” she said. “In my first grade an officer actually came to the school and I thought, ‘that’s what I need to be.’ So I wanted to be two things, a cop and a mechanic.”

Teresa Aquila stands with a vintage car and with the symbol for her radio show.
Photo courtesy – Teresa’s Garage

It wasn’t easy as back then society had definite ideas about the careers open to girls and women.

“In my fourth grade school the teacher asked all the students to put down on a piece of paper what you wanted to be when you grew up then they would put it up on the wall for open house,” she said. “Mine said I wanted to be a cop and a mechanic and she pulled me aside after class and said, ‘you got to change this. She said girls don’t do this, this is not what girls can do.’”

teresa and windy head phones

Teresa Aquila stands with a vintage car and with the symbol for her radio show. Photo courtesy – Teresa’s Garage

After being threatened with an “F” she changed her goal to secretary. But at the open house Aquila stood by that sign and told everyone that wasn’t her dream.

“The teacher went to my mom and said that I was pretty defiant,” she said. “My mother said, ‘no she’s focused.’”

While growing up in Petaluma, California an art teacher found she wanted to go into mechanics. So he suggested a drafting class would be good since she would eventually have to be able to read schematics.

Unfortunately the drafting teacher was old school and rejected her application. So her art teacher went to the principle, got the decision reversed but in the class she wasn’t treated very well.

“At the end of the class I was probably about a B or B+ student and when I got my final grade it was a D-,” she said.

Faced with this and knowing the teacher wanted her to get angry, she chose a different response.

“I told him that I learned everything everyone else did. And I said that a grade is just an opinion and walked out of the class,” she said.

Later she started teaching herself mechanics.

“I got my first car when I was 18, it was a ’63 Chevy which I still own today and restored it years ago,” she said. “That was my everyday driver and I paid $300 for it.”

She needed to paint the car and a friend of her stepfather’s, who was a professional painter, taught her how to paint the car.

“He was a great Samoan, very knowledgeable in mechanics and he sat me down and said, ‘you’re doing everything, I’m just going to stand by and you’re actually going to turn those nuts and bolts,’” she said.

Even today Teresa Aquila works on cars like this one at her business, Teresa’s Garage. Photo courtesy – Teresa’s Garage.

Even today Teresa Aquila works on cars like this one at her business, Teresa’s Garage.
Photo courtesy – Teresa’s Garage.

At that time mechanics was a male dominated field and women weren’t really welcome. Still undeterred Aquila kept chasing her dreams.

After starting at Ralston Purina in the office she learned about an opening in their maintenance department. It was a struggle but she finally got accepted for the position.

“My first day on the job was comical in one respect but insulting in another because they actually had you build your own bottom toolbox,” she said.

Knowing how to weld she used the materials they gave her and built the box, built the top box, bought all new tools and her co-workers painted the bottom box white with pink polka dots and a bow on it.

“So I actually pushed that cart around Ralston-Purina for weeks until they got so upset,” she said. “It was also a learning process.”

Aquila explained that she wasn’t trying to blaze a trail for women but just work in the field she wanted to be in. And in 1977, same year she went to work for Ralston Purina, she joined the Sheriff’s Department as a reserve deputy where she still serves.

And that led her to other opportunities.

“One of the captains came to me and said, ‘you know Teresa you’re really good at mechanics’ as I was working on his car on the side,” she said. “And he said why don’t you go get a business license and we’ll see if the county commissioners will hire you as an outside vendor. I went, ‘wow,’ I’m game for that so I got a business license and that’s when Teresa’s Garage started in 1977.”

For the next two or three years she worked as an outside vendor maintaining patrol cars. And she switched day jobs and hired on as a technician with Porsche Cars of North America.

Eventually the Sheriff’s Office created a maintenance section and she took the test to qualify.

“There were 400 people applying for this one position,” she said.

Unfortunately she scored seventh in the four and a half hour test so wasn’t offered the job.

That was the same time where she got a new boss at Porsche, who felt that women had no place there as technicians. After getting written up for almost anything plus the stress and getting injured on the job she left about a year and a half later.

Looking back at that time she said, ““The worst of it in my career has been the negativity in my younger years trying to get to where I am today and having to focus because I am a woman. There were some days that throwing in the towel seemed so much better than having to go back he next day and fight for my space in this industry. But then that’s the easy way out and I’m not one for giving up so it hasn’t been an easy road to travel but the end result has been awesome.”

Oddly enough things were better in law enforcement.

“You know the cop side was a lot easier and I think it was because of the mechanics side,” she said. “That’s because the guys and I could talk nuts and bolts as we’ll be in a patrol car, we’ll be talking cars, or they have a problem with their car or we see some cool cars on the road while we’re driving around. And too it would also come into play when we had to do an investigation so it kind of worked in my favor in several ways.”

Today the automotive field has changed and Aquila is glad for that. Now the technical schools like UTI and Wyotech accept women and many are going into the field.

She mentioned Cambria Robin, a guest on her radio show, who attended both Wyotech and NASCAR Institute where she graduated at the top of her class.

“It was easier for her to actually register, for me back then they wouldn’t even let you get near the door. So it’s so much easier today but still if you have a focus and something you want to be you need to go and do it,” she said. “And if you find it’s not for you, at least you tried.”

With the massive changes going on in the automotive field Aquila stressed the need for education and continuing education for anyone entering the field.

“The technology is changing day by day so like I was saying on my radio show, mechanics are doctors of the automobile,” she said. “So we’re always having to learn, always practicing.”

But she’s found there is a downside as new technicians are problem solvers and many don’t have a full grasp of the mechanics involved in a vehicle.

“I think those mechanics of the future are going to be limited in what they know,” she said. “We’re a dying breed, the mechanics of my era, because if you ask a new technician today how to set points in a classic vehicle they are going to look at you, scratch their head and go, ‘what the heck is a set of points?’”

This past November she found a new way to share her knowledge as well as that of others. And it all started when a friend, who participates in open mike sessions at America Matters media called her.

Teresa Aquila behind the mike at her radio show that airs on America Matters Media

Teresa Aquila behind the mike at her radio show Teresa’s Garage that airs on America Matters Media


“She called up because Eddie Floy said they wanted to branch into other programs and one of them was automotive,” she said. “So I asked her what she had in mind and she said, ‘how would like to have your own radio show?’ So she put Eddie on the phone, we discussed it and he said, ‘come down and meet me on Tuesday.”

Well it started out very different than she thought.


Teresa Aquila offers some water to a recent guest. Brett Shore manager of Les Schwab at 9500 So. Virginia St.

Teresa Aquila offers some water to a recent guest. Brett Shore manager of Les Schwab at 9500 So. Virginia St.

Teresa Aquila offers some water to a recent guest, Brett Shore, manager of the Les Schwab store at 9500 South Virginia.

“I came down here on a Tuesday thinking I was going to have a sit down interview with just Eddie. When I got here he said, ‘sit down, put those headphones on, your show starts in five.’ So I flew by the seat of my pants for the first couple of shows, kicked out on my own,” she said.

While Teresa Aquila and guest Brett Shore from Les Swhwab discuss brakes and their upkeep, America Matters engineer Craig Moss keeps track of the time and makes sure commercial breaks are handled.

While Teresa Aquila and guest Brett Shore from Les Swhwab discuss brakes and their upkeep, America Matters engineer Craig Moss keeps track of the time and makes sure commercial breaks are handled.

While Teresa Aquila and guest Brett Shore from Les Swhwab discuss brakes and their upkeep, America Matters engineer Craig Moss keeps track of the time and makes sure commercial breaks are handled.

Aquila is indebted to the staff at America Matters and to Kelly Rush for their mentoring and guidance. Her live show is aired every Tuesday from 2 p.m. until 3 p.m. on KRNG 101.3 FM or 1060 A.M.


   Banner for Teresa’s radio show on America Matters Media.

Teresa’s Garage Car Care Seminar

Seminar 2015

Coming May 16, 2015, from 10-2 PM, approximately Teresa’s Garage will host a seminar on automobile car care to be held at the Reno Town Mall on So. Virginia Street, Reno, Nevada. During this seminar you will become more familiar with how to check your battery and charging system to insure it is at its peak performance. You will also learn how to change a tire, what to do in emergency, and what are all those scary things under your car’s hood, and much more.

Teresa Aquila, owner of Teresa’s Garage, will give you an insider’s view of how to talk to repair shops when you are confronted with questions you are unfamiliar with, like brakes, suspension, or tires. By having knowledge of your automobile, you can take charge of your vehicle and help save on costly repairs by being prepared.

Learn why preventative maintenance really does save you money in the long run, and the information your owner’s manual really offers. Sign up today by sending an email to

The Class is open to the first 10 students, and the cost is $20.00. You will need to wear old clothes and comfortable shoes. There will be 75 minutes of class room training, and then practical experience.

Included in the class is a Teresa’s Garage tote bag, stickers, and class plaque. So hurry and sign up. Spots are limited. Happy Motoring.

Mark your Calendar. Hope to see you there.



How Much Should I Expect To Pay For A Brake Repair?

How Much Should I Expect To Pay For A Brake Job?

Asking this question may seem simple, but in fact, with the huge variety of car makes and models, it is almost impossible to calculate. The brakes are a very important part of your car. Maintaining a good braking system should be a top priority.

In order to determine the cost of an average brake repair, you should first do research on your year, make and model, and know what repairs are needed on the front brakes, rear brakes or both. Do just the pads need replacing or the whole brakes? If you need to replace the discs or calipers, your cost will rise considerably.

Sample of front pads

Sample of front pads

In today’s technical world, research information is readily available and it is as close as your computer. But not so fast. With many people trying to jump on the bandwagon offering advice or low cost products via the internet, what is really the correct approach? For me, I do my homework when performing a repair on a customer’s vehicle to insure that I am giving them the best bang for their buck.
Shopping locally has advantages; customer service, quicker return policy without return shipping charges, and many auto parts stores will price match some online retailers.
In your case, you need to do the same. Begin by researching to find the exact parts for your year, make and model. Many cars may look identical, when actually their parts could be very different. In my shop, I prefer to remove the old parts and bring them with me to my local parts house to make sure I am receiving like for like. Sometimes the parts look perfect, only to find out when I return to the shop, there is a small difference. If you plan to do the repairs yourself, be sure, before you leave the store.

What actually goes into a complete brake repair? Most shops will advise replacing everything: calipers, rotors, brake pads and hardware, including a complete brake fluid flush. Brake fluid like all other fluids in your vehicle, breaks down and needs replacing in order to perform at its best. Why? The most important reason is lives. If you cannot stop when the brake pedal is pressed, that could mean serious injuries to you or other drivers, or even death.

It’s not always necessary to replace all the components, but purchasing quality parts is crucial; after all, your life depends on it. Some of the less expensive brands are not the highest in quality, meaning that you will be replacing them sooner than later. I am not a fan of brake parts made in China. They indicate that their metal quality is within the United States’ specifications, but I am not convinced. I have experienced some returns when using parts made in China. This, of course, is a personal choice.

So what type of pads should you purchase for your car: ceramic, semi-metallic or metallic? I always check to see what the manufacturer’s recommendations are, and use that as my guide. Ceramic pads will last longer, but they are more expensive, and can be a bit noisy. The main factor in long life for your brake pads depends on your driving habits and terrain. If you do quick stops, or drive in hilly terrain, then your pads will wear quicker than someone who drives all highways and does a gradual slow down.

brake caliper

Varies depending on vehicle make

What is the life expectancy of the brake calipers? You should not have to install new brake calipers very often. They are designed to last around 100,000 miles. When they do need replacing, there are some signs you will probably notice. If a caliper is sticking, the car will pull to one side when braking. If it is seriously sticking, or just completely frozen up, the brake rotor will be smoking and you will hear a grinding sound. You should have the calipers replaced immediately. If you notice leaking brake fluid, you should have the braking system checked out. It could be a problem with the calipers. Replacing brake calipers can be tricky work, so unless you are very comfortable working on your car, you should have the work done by a pro.

Caring For Your Car’s Upholstery

inside car In a state where dust and heat are a sure bet, the deck is stacked against your car. But the war against auto upholstery deterioration is worth waging.

For one, you’ll get more enjoyment out of your car for a longer period of time. Also, if your interior is in mint condition, it improves your odds of getting the top Blue Book price when it’s time to trade in or sell.
The first step in the battle plan is to know your adversaries. You’re already well acquainted with Enemy #1 – the sun. You know what it does to your skin. Think about your poor car and what it goes through every day.

You don’t think twice about moisturizing your skin to prevent wrinkles. Vinyl and leather need moisturizing too, but don’t reach for the Oil of Olay. There are a number of products that can do wonders for your car. Many professional car upholsterers use PB-2 for vinyl, leather, wood and plastic. It sells at most upholstery shops for about twelve dollars a bottle. Summit Racing or Adams Polishes is also a great place to purchase products from with a variety covering all the inside and outside needs.

Aside from protectants, there’s another simple way to keep the sun from attacking the interior. Get a cardboard or reflective sunshade found at most auto parts stores. They are only a few bucks, and they keep 80 percent of the sun’s rays out. Also, if you can afford it, tint your windows. Depending on how much you want to spend, tinting can block up to 35 percent of the sun’s rays and keep your car cooler and more comfortable.

Dashboard covers are another option. You can order them from most auto parts stores for about 35.00 dollars. They’re usually made from carpet and are custom designed for your car model. They fasten down with Velcro and look pretty sharp—not a bad way to cover cracks, or prevent new ones.

So far, we’ve talked a lot about Enemy #1, but Enemy #2—plain old dirt — really goes in for the kill. Again, think about your skin, and how dirt and grime clog the pores and really mess-up a good complexion. Well, dirt is also hard on vinyl, leather and fabric. But unlike your skin, they can’t repair themselves.

Never underestimate the power of even a small particle of dirt, especially when it works its way into the seams of your upholstery. Grit literally cuts away at the threads like tiny scissors, and the same holds true for your carpets.

Vacuuming the upholstery and carpet once a week will help tremendously. And while you’re at it, don’t forget those nooks and crannies. Use a nylon brush or even a toothbrush to get at them. As far as products go, many professional upholsterers use Malco Upholstery Cleaner and Conditioner. Adams Polishes also provides a professional Leather conditioner.

floor matFloor mats are also good for keeping dirt at bay. Just make sure you get the kind with soft rubber tips at the bottom. Hard plastic mats will wear the carpet away. And mats with slick bottoms will slip and slide, trapping dirt underneath.

Now if all of this sounds like too much trouble and you hate to wait in line at the car wash, there’s one other option. A few auto detailers across the country offer mobile service. In other words, they come to you —wherever you may be – with a van equipped with its own water supply, generator, vacuum cleaner, and spray wands — the whole nine yards. This service is really popular with professionals. So while dentists are drilling away, and lawyers are looking for loopholes, the detailer is right outside the office, working up a lather. Customers have even asked them to work on the cars while dinning at exclusive e restaurants. Depending on what city you live in, the price will vary. This might be more than you want to spend. Just remember – a clean car is a happy car, and even a small investment towards that end can end up paying big dividends. Happy Motoring!

Loctite, More Than Just An Adhesive!

Loctite is a great product and has been on the market since the 1950’s. From computers to automibles and everything in between, loctite is there bonding and continuing to advance to make all our lives easier and more productive. This video from Henkel demonstrates the advancements from glues to adhesives.

I have used this product for years and because of Henkel’s superior technology, it has proven time and time again to hold up to the toughest of jobs. Henkel has been a part of the adhesive industry since the 1950’s and it will continue to be a large part of the future. From Car repair to High Heels, Loctite has it all. Their product strenght is superb and covers just about any type of repair you might have. Don’t through it away, repair it with Loctite.