M. Toguchi Body Shop Featured on KHON 2, Business Matters
Proud to be featured in this article and video:
Proud to be featured in this article and video:
One thing that visitors often notice when visiting the islands is a high-population of abandoned vehicles on the roadside. As someone who has been to nearly every state, it seems Hawaii sees more abandoned cars than anywhere in the nation.
Why is it so common to see cars abandoned here? In this post, we are going to first talk about what other states are doing that Hawaii is not. Next, we will discuss what Hawaii is doing, that other states are not.
I lived in California for over 15 years. If a car was abandoned, for even a night most residents would call up the police to make sure the car isn’t stolen. This leads to the first reason why abandoned cars are common here on Maui.
No place in the country sees more people come and go than Hawaii. On Maui, nearly half of our population comes from tourism. Thus different cars are all over the place. It’s not unusual to see a car here you’ve never seen before on your street. People don’t typically call the police if a new car is parked overnight.
In Maui, registration cost roughly 200 dollars a year for a small car. This price increases for large vehicles and electric vehicles. If vehicle owners wish to sell their vehicle they are required to backpay expired registration to transfer a title. For a car with a three-year expired registration and the need for a duplicate title, the price of selling a car can become more than a thousand very quickly.
Safety Checks are unique in Hawaii. As a Hawaii driver, I’m not exactly sure what they are checking but I know to have all of the external lights working correctly. Safety checks can further complicate the process of registering a vehicle and obtaining a title. Safety Checks add an additional complication when trying to register an unregistered vehicle.
In California, even a six-month late registration will make the vehicle owner in danger of being impounded. Here in Maui, I’ve never heard of a person having their vehicle impounded due to registration. It may happen but it’s certainly rare. A ticket for late registration usually costs around 100 dollars. Comparatively the same ticket in California would cost 300 to 400 dollars.
Even if they stay for a long time, most people will leave eventually. Maui does not lend itself to a car-free lifestyle. Having a working vehicle is fairly important here. Many come to Maui and leave a vehicle behind.
We hope you enjoyed this discussion, feel free to read some of our other posts to get a local take on some of Maui’s lighter issues.
Header photo was used with permission from Intense Motorsports Maui.
Maui is the home of the Maui cruiser. The Maui cruiser is a term Maui residents use for cars that are usually bearly running. It’s not unusual for a Maui cruiser to be at the end of its life.
Because people on Maui often drive older cars, no-fault insurance is fairly popular here. In this article, we are going to talk about insurance and why full-coverage may be more valuable here on Maui when compared to the mainland United States.
As a disclaimer, the prices for insurance will vary from person to person. We are not legally liable if any choices influenced by this post have wrought adverse or undesirably results for blog readers. Now that we have gotten the legal business out of the way, let us talk about insurance.
While peace of mind is not exclusive to Hawaii’s vehicle owners, Hawaii offers many unexpected challenges to fixing an automobile without insurance. Accidents are stressful enough without the additional financial concerns that come with no-fault insurance. With full-coverage, price checking is less of a necessity and the vehicle owner can focus more on having quality work done.
M. Toguchi’s Body Shop has made extended efforts to repair existing auto body parts. We consistently implement procedural changes to not discard damaged auto body parts. Our mission is to be a sustainable business that responsibly considers environmentalist issues. We aim to be sustainable financially and environmentally. Because of the logistical issues, it’s generally easier to get the best technicians through insurance.
Auto repair in Hawaii and Alaska have unique challenges when compared to the rest of the United States. Why? Hawaii and Alaska require parts to be shipped thousands of miles.
According to Brent Toguchi, “freight often costs three times more than the part.” Brent is the Team Leader and Estimator here at M. Toguchi Body Shop. If a replacement hood costs only 100 dollars, it could easily cost an additional 400 dollars with shipping. Shipping auto body parts to Hawaii is expensive, especially if parts need to be rushed.
When deciding rather go with full coverage or no-fault insurance, consider the price of repair. In California for example, bodywork is much more competitive and inexpensive. While Hawaii insurance is usually more expensive than most states, it may be a better value and peace of mind to carry full coverage insurance here in Hawaii. As stated earlier, your insurance purchase is your choice. We just wanted to give you something to think about. I hope you benefit from what we had to say.
Currently electric and hybrid vehicles make up about 2% of the auto market in the United States. Vehicle registration prices are always increasing. Gas prices are not decreasing. Hawaii is a challenging place to live financially and additional living expenses are always relevant.
One of the greatest advantages of living in Hawaii is the continued access to sunlight. Sunlight can be harnessed as solar power. Solar power is more prevalent in Hawai than most states. It’s reasonable for Hawaii residents to have the highest rates of electric car ownership.
Because of the prominence of electric cars, a new problem has arisen over the last decade. From county to federal, the government is trying to find a way to create a fair equilibrium between electric and non-electric cars. The conversation has two sides. One side postulates the need for renewable energy. The other side says, we all use roads and all should pay for them. To highlight the above discussion, Maui based moped owners are also required to pay registration fees as of this year.
As of the first day of 2020, in Hawaii, the charge is $50. In Kansas, $100. In Alabama and Ohio, $200.
“I think states are still trying to determine what is a fair or equitable fee on these electric vehicle owners,” said Kristy Hartman, energy program director at the National Conference of State Legislatures.
“It’s kind of a blanket penalty for anyone who chooses to go electric,” said Neda Deylami, a Tesla owner who founded Chicago for EVs, a group that advocates for electric vehicles.
The fee is designed to bring “more than just a fairness relative to maintenance and construction of infrastructure,” said Alabama state Rep. Bill Poole, a Republican, who sponsored the legislation. “I think it went further in terms of planning for the future.”
Other states with new or higher electric vehicle fees taking effect in 2020 include Iowa, Oregon, and Utah. California, which accounts for nearly half of all-electric vehicle sales in the U.S., is to collect a $100 fee on new “zero-emission” vehicles starting July 1.
This is the issue is so amorphous. Choices will be made from a perspective of values. Our last post was about Tesla’s Cybertruck. If you are considering purchasing an electric vehicle, make sure to check what current incentives and fees will affect your purchase. Perhaps a combustion engine may be the best financial choice. Perhaps not. Let us know what you think! Aloha.
Hawaii, and Maui specifically, have one of the highest rates of electric vehicle adoption in the United States, if not the world. According to Wikipedia, California is a bit ahead of Hawaii in the the electric car ownership rate. However, Maui has a significantly higher truck owner percentage that almost anywhere in the country. Thus, when actually looking at cars vs cars, Maui easily has the highest percentages of electric car ownership in the nation.
On November 21st, Elon Musk demo’d the new Tesla Cybertruck. We will not be covering most of the new features of the Cybertruck in this post. We will speak to our areas of expertise: auto body repair and Maui.
Being that electric cars and gasoline powered trucks are both very popular here in Maui it seems likely that the Cybertruck will be favorite vehicle here. Furthermore, the Cybertruck starts at prices below 40-thousand dollars, which will be within budget for many Hawaii families.
The stainless steel look of the Cybertruck is very similar to the DeLorean, which was featured in the popular Back to the Future, movies of the late-80s and early-90s. Like the Cybertruck, the Delorean featured a stainless steel body. While everyone agrees that Deloreans are great, the Delorean didn’t achieve commercial success after it’s release.
It is fair to be skeptical of the Cybertruck’s stainless steel body choice. Stainless steel is difficult to keep clean, not being flattered by wax applications. Also, if the stainless steel were to be nicked or scratched, it’s difficult and time-consuming to repair when compared to repainting or paint touch-ups.
Also, because the body style is so unique, it stands to reason that finding qualified and professional repair technicians would be difficult. As of the time of this article, M. Toguchi Body does not repair any Tesla vehicle model. One could get a Tesla repair at a dealership of course, but this tends to no come cheap (especially with no local competition).
In the Cybertruck demo, we saw a man hit the door of the Cybertruck with a sledge hammer. The Cybertruck appeared undamaged. While the durability of the truck is impressive, the force of a even the strongest human being is nothing compared to a collision with another vehicle or structure.
While the DeLorean did not achieve commercial success, the same cannot be said for the unreleased Cybertruck. The Cybertruck has already received nearly a quarter-million separate orders at the time of this post.
Perhaps the Cybertruck will come with painted options in addition to the polished stainless steel. We shall see. I personally think the truck would be an amazing tool and toy for Maui life. What do you think? Let us know! Aloha.
We all have that dreaded feeling of parking somewhere and returning to our vehicle with a fresh door ding. No note or a phone number left, just a transaction between two car doors saying hello. In today’s post, I will go over some of my techniques that have helped keep my car from getting beat up in parking lots. Here we go!
One way to avoid door dings is to pick the best spot for your vehicle. My favorite spot when entering a parking lot is the end spot. I like end spots because I can hug the curb or line as much as I can giving the most space available between my car and others. Be careful parking though because you do not want to scratch your wheels on the curb. Then you would have another issue to fix.
Another spot I look for is one that is further away from the destination. I know that means I have to walk a little farther, but I can shop or leave my car in peace knowing that it’ll be safe while I’m away.
One thing I absolutely won’t compromise on is parking in a ‘Compact’ spot. I’ll walk 5 extra minutes before parking in a compact spot. Unless you drive a Smart Car or Mini Cooper, you are almost guaranteeing that you’ll be greeted with a happy new friend on the side of your car.
The next type of spots I avoid is high foot traffic spots. These spots are the ones where a lot of people walk through to get to their destination quicker. For example, cars who park in spots right in front of business entrances are prone to get damaged. These do not necessarily door dings, but scratches from people walking by. These scratches could be from purses or handbags, bracelets, watches, or even buttons from people trying to squeeze between your car to get to their destination. Even though it may seem like a blessing that you got the closest spot to the store, that blessing could come with an unforeseen cost.
Besides considering the different types of spots or locations, one variable I take note of is the type of car I am parking next to. I ask myself these two questions: ‘Is this a tourist car? Or is this car a 2 door?’ The reason these questions are important is that Maui has a high volume of tourists cars at any time of year and these tourists might not be focused on taking care of their rental as much as they would their personal car. Also one of the most popular rental cars on Maui are Ford Mustang convertibles. These cars have two large opening doors. These large doors easily reach across the parking stalls and can easily nick or ding your car. I intentionally avoid parking next to all Mustangs, in general, to be safe.
As you can see, there are many ways to help keep your ride ding free and keeping your paint job fresh. If you need any paint restoration please don’t hesitate to contact us 808.244.5339.
One final variable that I consider when I look for a safe parking spot in the direction of the wind. With Maui’s north shore being deemed the Windsurf Capital of the World, the wind on Maui is quite gusty. So when I look for a spot, I determine which direction the wind is blowing and look for a barrier from the wind. This is important because the wind could swiftly push loose shopping carts around the parking lot and they could go straight into your ride. Instead, I make sure there’s at least a curb or another vehicle between my car and the direction of the wind.
I hope you appreciate this blurp. Feel free to check some of our other posts and don’t forget to comment on this one. Mahalo!
Who doesn’t love walking up to and driving a clean car? But are you washing your car in a way that is actually hurting it? In today’s post, I’ll be sharing 8 tips to keep your car looking new and fresh for as long as possible.
This article is the third and final article of a 3 part series. The first and second article can be found below.
Keeping your car clean in Hawaii: Part 1 | Part 2
This is a commonly neglected step, because people quickly glance in their buckets, give it a quick rinse, and start washing. I like to add an additional step: wipe down the inside of your bucket. I do this because there might be dirt or other debris stuck to the sides and/or bottom that water alone can’t free up. This will insure that you are set up for success and dirt from your bucket will not transfer to your washing cloth.
Avoid using Dawn or other dishwashing detergents to wash your car. These products are great at degreasing your dirty dishes, but you don’t want it to strip your car’s protective coating. Dishwashing detergent also accelerates the aging and oxidation process. Using Automotive soap is not only pH balanced, but they also get your car nice and foamy. This helps lubricate your car when you are wiping the dirt off.
Only use a soft microfiber cloth to wash your vehicle. Never use a sponge, paper towels, bathing towels, or old t-shirts, for they are rough and abrasive. Sponges are also really hard to clean; so you’ll inadvertently be adding dirt to your cleaning process.
After you’ve prepared your bucket with the right automotive soap and microfiber cloth, now it’s time to wet your vehicle. Be sure the vehicle is thoroughly wet. Before you begin washing, be sure that your washing cloth is also soaking wet with suds. If after a while, the water dried off, be sure to rinse the dried areas before you start washing. You never want to wash any part of the vehicle that isn’t wet. That dirt will cut right into your paint.
Start from the top of the vehicle and work your way to the bottom. Since most of the dirt is on the bottom half of our cars, this technique helps keep your cloth and bucket as clean as possible for most of your wash. Save the dirtiest part for last.
After you wash a section of your car, be sure to quickly rinse the area before moving onto the next section. You never want to allow the soap to dry.
When cleaning your wheels, use a dedicated cloth just for your wheels. Wheel dust is very acidic and gritty. If used on your car, it’ll easily scratch your paint.
After you’ve washed the entire vehicle, give it one final thorough rinse. Living in Hawaii, during high tides or high surf, there’s often salt water on the road. Be sure to rinse the undercarriage of the vehicle. After rinsing, use a soft microfiber cloth or a chamois and gently dry the car.
I hope you enjoyed the final installment of our Keeping Your Car Clean in Hawaii Series. If you practice these tips every time you wash your vehicle, your body, paint, and wheels will look new for many years to come. Now it’s time to go out and enjoy your clean ride on our beautiful island of Maui.
This article is the second article of a series. The first article can be found below.
For the interior of your
Using the appropriate parts when making a repair or modification to your vehicle will help to prevent damage. Tire rims
Waxing causes water to bead which can lead to too long term water spots. Water spots are less likely with rainwater but accelerated if water comes from sprinklers or a hose, especially if the water sources from ‘reclaimed water.’ If you prefer to wax your car, it must be done consistently to avoid water spot damage. I recommend sealant rather than standard car wax in most situations. A sealant will allow you to undergo the waxing process less frequently. It’s generally accepted among professional detailers that a Carnauba based wax will make a car shinier than most sealants. However, sealants tend to last roughly ten times longer per application.
While tire dressing can really make those tires shine, make sure your wheels are clean before applying a tire dressing. For muddier areas of the islands, I don’t recommend using tire dressings, as they will likely make your tires look worse in the long term. Tire dressings are highly acidic and melt dirt, but also bond that same dirt with your tires. Tire dressings make dirt impossible to remove from your tires.
A middle of the road solution would be to use Armorall interior cleaner on your tires for a nice shine. Armorall will not last as long as a tire dressing, but there will never be a long term disadvantage. Armorall is great at removing dirt without bonding dirt to your tires.
Clean rims are what really make a car appear clean. I use a degreaser called Purple Power to clean my rims. Any automotive degreaser will remove dirt from rims. However, be careful with this product is it may damage your rims. Degreaser overspray from a spray bottle can cause permanent damage to your paint. Always use a new product on a small and less visible part of the rim. After you are sure a new product doesn’t damage your rim, go ahead and use the product on the rest of the rim.
Again because of minerals in our water (hard water), sometimes residue on windows will be difficult to remove. Just make sure to dry the windows quickly after washing your car. Dry the body second.
I usually start off with Windex or an equivalent product. Use an old shirt or softer towels. Conventional towels will create more difficulty when trying to remove streaks. Fold the shirt so it’s a small rectangle about 4″x5″. Spray the window and spread the product around with one side of the shirt, then use the other side to dry and wipe off the product.
If you are unable to remove water spots after cleaning the window with Windex, use steel wool. I always recommend starting with very fine steel wool and simply rubbing the windows with it. No water is required. If steel wool does not work, It may be time to consult a professional. Auto detailing methods vary. Perhaps glass will need to be replaced or treated with acid. You may prefer to learn to live with your water spots.
While it may seem that Hawaii is not a safe place for cars. Every place has it’s fair share of challenges to vehicles. Many would consider vehicle maintenance in Hawaii to be a breeze when compaired to other states. Let us know if you have any questions or comments below. Aloha and mahalo!
I have lived in both California and Hawaii for the majority of my life. As a teenager I worked for a mobile detailing service, where we focused on luxury vehicles. As a young adult I detailed vehicles in California in my own business during college.
While auto detailing information exist in abundance, in Hawaii we deal with unique conditions compared to the rest of the United States. This article is great if you are from the mainland and want to be ready for Hawaii specific challenges to auto maintenance. Also, if you are from Hawaii, this post will serve to bring conditions to your attention that you may not be aware of.
This article focus’s on external conditions that will make it difficult to keep your car clean in Hawaii. This article is the first part of a two-part series. The second part of the series is a guide with specific methods and product recommendations for keeping your car clean in Hawaii’s specific conditions. Click the link below to view part two.
Some our water is extremely rich in mineral content. Mineral rich water is usually referred to as ‘hard water’. Most of Hawaii’s water sources have relatively short flowing paths, which usually keep their water from being hard. Much of Hawaii’s water using outdated infrastructure. Thus, from time to time, water can be hard.
Some of our water is extremely rich in mineral content. Mineral-rich water is often referred to as ‘hard water’. Most of Hawaii’s water sources have relatively short flowing paths, which usually keep their water from being hard. Much of Hawaii’s water systems are using outdated infrastructure, which creates hard water.
Unlike most tropical regions in the world, Hawaii boasts volcanos that are nearly 14,000 feet tall. The mountains serve to catch passing water vapors. Thus, Hawaii boasts some of the most rain heavy spots on the planet. Many cars were not designed for torrential rainfall.
The Hawaii winds are usually rather inconsequential but both tropical storms and
Humidity is both a blessing and a curse for the Hawaii car owner. One advantage of humidity is that your car will tend to try off less quickly when you are washing it, giving you more time to get all that car soap rinsed off.
The negative side of humidity is that you can accrue moisture on your car at a constant rate.
Surfers and ocean people, beware of salt. Make sure that salt water doesn’t lead to rust and damage to your vehicle. If salt is on the body of your vehicle, make sure to remove it as salt can easily eat away at your clear coat.
The best way to remove sand is to never get it into your car in the first place. On carpeted surfaces, sand from the beach is very difficult to remove. You can vacuum or brush it out, but I promise that you will never get all of it. In comparison to California, Hawai beach’s
During stormy conditions, roads will be damaged by rain within a week a week after being repaved. Rain and debris are constantly damaging roads in Hawaii. Occasionally, drivers will dodge a flooded or damage section of roads, driving off the road, which will get mud on your rims.
Our deep red, volcanic soil is like dye. Hawaii’s dirt can be more difficult to remove than dirt from many other places in the world.
Again, The next article in this series can be found here: https://mtoguchibodyshop.com/keeping-your-car-clean-in-hawaii-part-2/.
Let us know what you think below. If you have any questions as well, the comments are a great way to get additional feedback from us.