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Hybrids come with great curiosity. For the countless discussion points that continually arise, LG has a dedicated blog. But there is a higher tier of inquery, shared across large portions of the population. To the Question Hall of Fame, Carolyn answers in her own words:

What’s the difference between Maintenance and Warranty?

Maintenance is regular upkeep of a vehicle to prevent more costly (and inconvenient) trouble later on.  Though it’s less expensive than a breakdown, it still costs money.  imageEven with a pre-paid Maintenance Plan from a dealership, you are paying for the service (just in advance).  With that financial duty comes the freedom to have the service performed anywhere you like, including by yourself in your own garage, without any impact on your new vehicle warranty.

Warranty applies when a part of the car goes bad within a certain term of time and/or mileage.  With a few exceptions, Maintenance is unnoticable (the car continues to operate without trouble) versus Warranty issues, which are noticable (“check engine” light on, loud noise, inoperation, etc.).  Assuming you are within towable distance to a dealership, only the dealer service department can receive credit for warranty work from the manufacturer and therefore provide the service to the customer for free.

The confusion surrounding Maintenance versus Warranty comes from the dealership.  On the one hand, the dealer is the only agent with direct access the manufacturer, with corresponding influence over the new vehicle warranty.  It is also in the dealer’s best interest to cultivate a relationship with original owners, to encourage loyalty and continued sales.  But any work that costs money—be it maintenance or repair—can be performed anywhere without impact on warranty, so long as it is done properly.  This fact is clearly stated in the Owner’s Manual of every car.

Can LG perform work covered under warranty?

Yes, but not for free. Assuming the dealer is cooperative, they are the best place to get a new car repaired under warranty. Maintenance is another thing. Unless you’ve already paid for the work in an extended maintenance plan, maintenance will cost additional money no matter where it gets performed. See “What’s the difference between Maintenance and Warranty” above.

When should I go to the dealer?

It makes sense to go to the dealer when the service is free. It’s assumed that the dealer will also preserve your warranty - if something goes wrong, the same people who made the mistake will provide a fix without question.

The downsides are various (why should something go wrong in the first place?) but the risk is ultimately yours to choose: go to the dealer and surrender the car to the bureaucracy, or go to an independent shop and surrender the car to an individual you know. Often it’s a cost comparison that pushes the decision. In my opinion it comes down to service and compentency. Our equipment, training, and personal attention make the total experience at LG far exceed that at the dealer, for you and for your car. 

Why specialize in hybrids?

The foundation of a specialty shop is the market to support it. We are fortunate to have a high concentration of hybrids in the SF Bay Area - not only for LG but for everyone. imageWe Californians care about the environment, and we embrace new technology. Besides the mild climate and stunning geography, these two qualities are the source of our national leadership: in global sustainability, economic prosperity, and higher quality of life.

But LG’s focus isn’t the power of suggestion. Circa 2003, hybrids were curious to me; by 2006, they were a paradigm shift. It seemed a waste of time to perpetuate the status quo. The hybrid was my inspiration, proof of a new driver as well as a new car. LG is the manifestation: cutting-edge technology, green consciousness, and a genuine alternative to conventional service and repair. Once we started brainstorming, we knew this was the right thing to do.

Can anyone work on a hybrid?

Yes and no. The truth is that all new cars are complicated; the question is whether the person knows what they are doing. Frankly this applies to technicians as well as DIYers.

Should I buy a hybrid?

If you currently operate a well-maintained car that meets your needs, I would say no. Hybrids can be tricky to find second-hand, and new cars entail significant consumption of natural resources. Remember that the best thing for the environment (and public health) is to leave the car at home, hybrid or no.

If you’re firmly committed to buying a car, I would definitely test drive some hybrids. I don’t endorse any particular make or model. HybridCars.com is a good start for online research. If you’re hoping for a plug-in conversion, your best bet is the second generation Prius (04-present). For those strictly looking for high fuel economy, there is nothing wrong with the regular econo-boxes (Toyota Corolla et al.). They offer competitive mileage and are painless to own.

Can auto repair really be green?

Absolutely, and by “green” I don’t just mean compliance with local laws. This may seem obvious but, in fact, San Francisco’s first “Clean and Green” program meant imageexactly that: compliance. You were “green” if you didn’t pour antifreeze down the drain.

The Bay Area has since graduated to a Green Business program that recognizes efforts that exceed compliance in the interest of the environment and public health. For auto repair, some things are easier than others: lowered water usage, easy; lowered energy consumption, a little more difficult. The good news is that many shops have applied and been recognized.

Truly everyone who’s trying to be green, in business or in personal life, knows there is room for improvement. Of course this is true for auto repair. At LG, everything we do is considered for its impact on the environment. The difference is obvious when you step in the door.

Can LG convert my car into a plug-in hybrid?

Yes.  Luscious Garage is proud to offer conversions from Plug-In Conversions Corporation out of Poway, CA.  For more information, see:

PICC Certified Prius Plug-In Installer

Plug-in conversions are a major investment.  Serious inqueries contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Demonstrations available by appointment

Installation Time: 2 days
Current Price: $13,500

Is LG really closed on Mondays?

Luscious Garage happily subscribes to the 4/10 work week.  Not only is it more efficient, it allows us to bookend the 8-hour workday for convenient drop-off and pickup.  For those who simply cannot make it within this window, we do provide services on Monday upon request, and on weekends if you’re exceptionally persuasive.  Send an .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with your service needs and suggested appointment time.

Does LG provide its own warranty?

Luscious Garage stands behind all of its work.  There is no set timeframe or mileage when this honor expires.  Our relationship with you and your car is individual; any concern for the durability of our services will be handled on a personal, case-by-case basis.

Does LG fix non-hybrid cars?

Yes. We support environmentalists, no matter how they get around. Our regular checkup, The Vitals, is available to all. Due to our size, we entertain additional services on a case-by-case basis. Send an .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with your car (year, make, model), the service needed, and why you’d like us to do it. We can also recommend other shops for non-hybrid needs.

For lots more discussion, stay tuned on the Luscious Blog

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