Electrical

  • When Cadillac introduced the world's first factory-installed electric headlights in 1912, driving at night was still rare and risky. Steady improvements in power and brightness have reduced the risk, and today's headlights can virtually turn night in
  • Modern scan tools, both OEM and aftermarket, have come a long way. More data parameters to use, faster refresh rates and better graphing all have played a role in making scan tool diagnostics easier. But there are still those occasions when I want to
  • To make power, automotive engines mix air and fuel, then add spark to ignite the mixture in a controlled burn. This burning of the mixture creates pressure and forces the piston down the bore, turning the crankshaft. Because engines are nothing more
  •   There is a new revenue stream in pursuing high voltage (HV) hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) battery packs diagnostics or service.
  • The most expensive fuses on the vehicle are any one of the several dozen computers found on a modern automobile. What happens when they replace the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) and the problem doesn’t go away?
  • Chasing down wiring faults can be considered one of the tougher tasks most technicians face. Let's see what we can do to make this one challenge a bit easier.
  • When I first started in this business, you could diagnose most running problems based on a generalized set of rules. Of course, this was in the day of carbureted engines and mechanical ignition systems. Today, the Engine Control Module (ECM) does a p
  • When the 4.6L first appeared under the hood of brand new Crown Victorias back in 1992 (Town Car got it a year earlier), those of us who pounded the concrete and pulled steel in Ford dealership service departments expected a host of new problems. You
  • Vehicles sitting on car lots can experience a lot of problems because they sit for long periods of time. Batteries aren't unhooked, and can drain. On this Dodge Caravan, the driver door lock was malfunctioning.
  • A window that won't roll back up is not the only power window complaint you may face. Other common faults are windows that only move partially through their travel before grinding to a halt, work in one direction only or no longer respond to their au
  • The Jeep Wrangler belongs to a fellow employee and just needed a routine oil change. A simple task, right? No matter what the customer complaint is, I always do a complete visual inspection so I can advise my customer on his or her car's current cond
  • There are hundreds of color-coded wires on every vehicle, some of them carrying loads, but many more conductors these days are carrying delicate signals that require almost no current at all through tiny little wires.
  • Refrigerant leaks are less common than they used to be. Fewer connecting points, lower refrigerant charges and better components are resulting in systems that leak less (as a total annual figure) than older systems used to from the compressor shaft s
  • A wiring schematic is a line diagram of an electrical circuit showing all the components needed to operate the circuit and the wiring paths that connect them. Back in the early days, a diagram including every circuit on the car would only take up a f
  • Tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) have been in common use for several years now, yet when I asked the technical support specialists of several aftermarket companies what the most common request for help is, they told me two things. First, many
  • One would think that, after running a successful automotive repair business for 22 years, the direction of the business would be pretty much written in stone. What then, would compel me, the owner of Taylor Automotive, to change course during one of
  • Not every shop can afford more than one scan tool, but a scope might fill the gap by evaluating combustion behavior at all driving conditions. With a scope, you won't be cliff hanging when your scan tool is not compatible with a specific vehicle. You
  • Air conditioning system service can be very profitable, but new technology will tend to throw a wrench in the works. One good example of this is hybrid-electric vehicle (HEV) A/C systems. While these have a great deal in common with conventional A/C
  • Diagnosing circuits operated by a control module is not as hard as many techs think. Like any diagnostic situation, it all comes down to understanding how the module operates. Control modules are computers programmed to carry out specific functions.
  • Most automotive repair professionals have a working knowledge of the operation of the basic oxygen sensor. However, newer wideband designs are more sophisticated and often misunderstood by even the most experienced technicians.