Motor Age Garage

  • The vehicle arrived at the repair facility with an illuminated MIL for two failed tests (DTCs) and a P1000. The failed tests were: P0171 and a P1100 failed test.   
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  • That being said, we all have known of (or owned) vehicles that seem to survive for many decades, having been mollycoddled and maintained by gentle, loving owners until they become something of an oddity, like an aged person who is still living and functioning well for years after all of his or her children have died of old age.
  • For me, anyways, the hardest diagnostics are for the ones that another person created when fixing an original concern. 
  • No vehicle is immune from this kind of neglect. The amount of work we put into repairing them for their owners is what makes the difference.
  • When one of these vehicles comes to your shop, it could be for something as simple as a routine brake job or as complex as a Controller Area Network (CAN) communication problem. Regardless of the problem, you have to have several tools in place to repair these issues.
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  • Successful fault-finding — without swapping parts.
  • 2003 VW Golf 97,000 miles 2.0L (AVH) 01M (4 speed automatic) Complaint: Won’t go into fourth gear and has a lack of power at highway speeds when in cruise control after driving for 15 to 20 minutes. The speedometer seems funny at times, too. The used VW that was just bought and had a surge during cruise control. As a child, I used to love t
  • To the technician who wrenches on 30 or 40 cars a week, that car is just another machine in need of a field fix. But to the person whose fanny keeps the driver’s seat warm, that ride is their best friend.
  • How many times have we looked at a vehicle’s mileage and said to ourselves that this vehicle has not been driven enough to have anything wrong with it?
  • Driving a vehicle and expecting things to go well is one thing, but when repairs are necessary, the customer calls the shots. However, we have to guide them to make decisions that are right for them.
  • This week, I visited two country shops where I’ve placed grads, and both shops are well-equipped and busy. 
  • When we technicians employ a test procedure that works well, we don’t change it and we don’t expect different results when we use it. That would just be crazy, right? 
  • On the outside the vehicle of today is truly a global vehicle no matter where they are built but on the inside; things can be a lot different. 
  • Certainly, the most notable adventures we’ve braved in the past several years happened when I agreed to take on a 2001 VW Beetle with a start-and-die problem.
  • You know how it goes. One car comes in with a problem, and then several follow. We had a 2006 Nissan 350Z come in the lab with a simple, so we thought, cylinder 5 misfire Diagnostic Trouble Code (P0305 DTC).
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  • Were these two problems related? A problem in the antitheft system might cause the no-crank, but it wouldn’t cause the stalls while driving issue.
  • Thinking about a vehicle steering/suspension system, we must start where the tires contact the road. If this tire–to-road contact is not correct, then the ride quality suffers and the vehicle is hard to control.
  •   What do you tell somebody like that? In this consumer-driven world, folks tend to take their business elsewhere if they don’t like the merchandise or service.
  • We have to understand the code set criteria, and not just the inferred meaning of the code itself, when tackling drivability problems. We need to look at all available data instead of just focusing on one specific area.
  • 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