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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

LG mentioned in the Wall Street Journal

I’ve always been a NYT type myself, but the Journal was a nice milestone at the end of an exciting 2008.

Squeezing more miles out of that hybrid via WSJ.com

“To be sure, demand for plug-ins has dropped along with gasoline prices in recent months, says Carolyn Coquillette, owner of Luscious Garage in San Francisco, another shop that does conversions.”


Carolyn's avatarPosted by Carolyn Permalink Categories: LG in the News »

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Prius Key Fob Transmitter

NOTE: For prices on key programming services, there is another post:

Full Service Prius Key Programming

The Prius doesn’t have a key in the traditional sense.  If the 12V battery is dead, there is a metal key to open the driver’s door, but only to gain access to the hood release, which allows access to the jumper points.  (The metal key is also necessary if the battery in the unlock remote is dead.)  To get anywhere (i.e. start the car, or “ready on” in mechanics’ speak) requires a wireless transmitter.

In fact most modern cars have a transmitter chip in their keys for deterring theft, but Toyota took the next step by removing the act of turning a key in an ignition cylinder altogether.  This new paradigm—of pushing a button to start a car—exemplifies the Prius’ departure from the status quo and its appeal to the next generation of drivers.

The Gen 2 Prius (model year 2004-2009) uses an integrated key “fob” that combines a lock/unlock remote with a chip to authorize driving.  The keys, like their corresponding cars, come in two flavors: “smart” and regular.  image The regular kind require physical effort by the driver to communicate, by pressing buttons on the remote (for lock/unlock) and inserting the key in a slot to start (for proximity to a tickler that electronically asks the key for its code).  This does not require a key battery or the car’s ability to detect a key outside the slot.  Thus regular keys (and non-smart vehicles) are less expensive. 

“Smart” keys transmit several feet and communicate with receivers implanted in various places about the car.  (Over the years Toyota has worked to remove “dead spots” where the Prius suddenly thinks the key is missing.)  A huge convenience, smart key allows total functionality while the fob stays in your pocket or bag. The act of unlocking a door simply by touching the handle supports the impression that the Prius is an intelligent car.  My mom once likened the feature to a loved one reaching across the seat and unlocking the door for you.

But, like all technology, increased sophistication entails higher cost and potential for trouble.  Without the magical fob, you are stranded and wishing for the days of other loved ones: classic cars, simple repairs, and locks that can be picked (or hot wired).  Worse still is the prospect of losing all keys and needing to reprogram the car to accept you again.

Prius keys vary slightly in price depending on functionality.  Each have dedicated onboard systems: computers, components, and modes for programming.  For reference, smart keys have a silver Toyota emblem on the back, the others have a black one.

Replacement fobs are not cheap.  New from the dealer exceeds $200; seekers are often tempted by eBay and fobs with no guaranteed history or functionality.  At LG, we clearly advocate for having at least two imagefobs at any one time—not on your person, necessarily, but known to exist somewhere.  The worst story is my own: I was down to one fob (the other turned up months later in the washing machine) and it got lost in the sands at Muir Beach.  Cell phone reception at the parking lot was poor, breaking into the car was embarrassing even in my mechanics’ uniform, and a tow up the narrow switchbacks of Route 1 would have cost hundreds of dollars.  I managed to extricate the vehicle, but it was a hard lesson to be sure.

Keys are needed for various reasons.  Loss is one, so is wear and tear, perhaps you have multiple users and needs.  Fortunately the parts departments of Toyota dealers are happy to sell a virgin fob with the functionality to match a vehicle, and this is the best way to go.  Initializing the keys, smart or no, is straightforward using a factory scan tool.  LG charges $30 for the service.  With tax, a new key costs approximately $260. 

This is a lot for a key, no doubt, but it’s less than a tow, a new fob (or two), and a complete reset of the theft deterrent system ($120 labor), let alone the feeling of rejection by a lovely, however high tech Prius.

Carolyn's avatarPosted by Carolyn Permalink Categories: Repair »

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Holiday Schedule

imageLG will be open Monday, December 22nd through Wednesday, December 24th.

Services are available by appointment on the following days:

Monday, December 29th
Tuesday, December 30th
Wednesday, December 31st
Monday, January 5th

To book an appointment, use our online contact page.  We will also be checking voice messages throughout the holiday period, so feel free to call if you prefer.  The “hybrid emergency” hotline is also listed on the voicemail message, so you can call the shop and get that number if you need.

We will resume normal business hours on Tuesday, January 6th.

Happy holidays everyone!

Carolyn's avatarPosted by Carolyn Permalink Categories:

Friday, December 12, 2008

LG in The Bay Area Reporter

Lesbian owned and operated, out in the media, and able to fix your car!

Hybrids and their non-hybrid siblings, we’re proud to support the LGBT community.
Book an appointment online!

Luscious Direct: 415-875-9030

Excerpts from the flattering story in the Bay Area Reporter:

“Located on a quiet South of Market side-street in San Francisco, artwork lines the walls of the garage and paper lanterns and plants hang above hybrid cars raised imagewhile the mechanics work on them; a piano waits to be played in the small sitting area at the front desk. The garage is eerily squeaky clean. Upstairs there is another waiting room filled with plush couches and bookshelf-lined walls.

But an auto shop it is – the garage of the future. When out lesbian Coquillette, 30, opened Luscious Garage it was the first hybrid-only maintenance shop in the Bay Area. Inspired by the hybrid car, she decided to depart from the typical garage culture.”

Read the whole story:
Hybrid auto shop has Luscious Story (via The Bay Area Reporter Online)

Carolyn's avatarPosted by Carolyn Permalink Categories: LG in the News »

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Home of Prius Repair

Luscious Garage is the home of Prius auto repair.  We pride ourselves on knowing the Prius better than anyone else and being able to leverage that expertise to bring you the fastest, least expensive, most reliable repairs. We service a fleet of high mileage Prius cabs, used and abused 24/7, all running strong.  Our regulars include both generation Prius with over 300k miles.

Electrical demons?  Salvage woes?  Warning lights?  Seized components?  High voltage codes?  No brakes?  Lost keys?  Dead battery? 

We’re here for you!

imageCheck out the current list of repair blogs:

Gen 1 Prius Common Failures
Gen 1 Prius Battery Failure
Prius Transmission Failure
Prius HID D4R Headlights
Prius Dead A/C Compressor
04-05 Prius Misfire Condition

These are a small selection of the work we perform on a regular basis.

For questions about your Prius or to book an appointment, simply use the contact page.

Carolyn's avatarPosted by Carolyn Permalink Categories: Repair »

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