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Virtual Auto Mechanic Library Can Help Consumers Avoid Automotive Repair Rip-Offs

WEST FARGO, N.D., June 28 -- Having been taken to the cleaners to the tune of $2,300 by disreputable auto repair shops, Mike Smith of West Fargo, North Dakota decided it was time to put the power of the Web to work for other consumers who may have had similar experiences.

The new Web-based Virtual Auto Mechanic ( video library takes consumers inside an auto repair shop through a series of educational clips that educate them about automotive parts, maintenance and repairs. Through viewing the videos, consumers learn about specific parts and repair issues for themselves; thus enabling them to make educated decisions about repair solutions recommended by auto mechanics and repair shops before authorizing any repair work. The cost to access the program is $39.97 per user. Customers who purchase Version 1.0 will receive free unlimited upgrades.

Virtual Auto Mechanic received official notification of USPTO registration June 25, 2004, confirmation #60654022.

To produce the VAM programs, Mr. Smith enlisted the help of ASE certified master mechanic, Noel Shirek of Wherley Vehicle Maintenance in East Grand Forks, Minnesota.

"I traveled about 100 miles to find a shop willing to work with me on this project," said Mr. Smith. "The most difficult aspect of this project was finding a shop willing to help consumers."

The VAM videos are segmented into four main categories:

The "Engine and Transmission Repair" category covering radiator leaks, air conditioning condensers, valve covers, timing covers, exhaust hangers, exhaust leaks, serpentine belts, coolant leaks, and bearings.

The "Brakes and Front End Repair" category covering bad wheel bearings, break pads, strut towers, struts and springs, torn CV boots, brake hoses, leaking shocks, power steering noises, loose ball joints, ball joint play and broken sway bars.

The "Maintenance and Drivability" category covering bad serpentine belts, what various fluid colors mean, fuse box connector information, distributor caps, air flow sensors, fuel pressure regulators, belts tension and V-Belt comparisons, various diagnostic tools.

And, the "Tires" category covering maintenance and repairs related to flat spots, tire pressure, tire wear and tread issues including tire ratings definitions.

An additional video covering gas conservation is also included in the library.

This release was issued through The Xpress Press News Service, merging e-mail

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