Motor Age Garage

  • How many times have we had a vehicle in for what the customer thought was a charging system problem? We hook a voltmeter to the electrical system and find low charging voltage and possibly excessive voltage ripple. We replace the generator, only to f
  • Fluids transmit movement by their incompressibility, but they also can facilitate heat transfer by convection. They absorb it from a hot component and, when moved by a compressor or pump, carry it to an exchanger, as in the case of coolant or refrige
  • Now I'll grant the fact that some shop manuals, even the factory ones, aren't laid out well, and finding the simplest information can be an extremely annoying egg hunt. Technical service bulletins (TSBs) and recall archives go beyond shop manuals and
  • The Secret Service was established as a law enforcement agency in 1865, and while most people associate that agency with presidential protection, its original mandate was to investigate the counterfeiting of U.S. currency. Further, agents aren't trai
  • I recently encountered an interesting electrical problem on a 2001 Dodge Grand Caravan with 3.3L engine and equipped with a Teves Mark 20 ABS system. A local repair shop had tried to determine why the dash's amber Antilock Brake System (ABS) and red
  • Last July, I received a call from an upset owner of a 2003 Chevrolet Corvette convertible. He explained that he had just purchased the 50th Anniversary Edition 'Vette with only 7,500 miles on it and was not happy with the ride or handling. In his wor
  • It was a hot, end of summer September day and we'll call the customer "Everett Sinsyou." I can't tell you how many times I've battled problems on that guy's car. We've all had the same customer in our shop. You know him – just say his name slow
  • For those of us who can troubleshoot, it's very satisfying to be able to figure out what to do when everybody else is at a loss. In a word, those of us who diagnose, pull steel and chase sparks are accustomed to solving problems for those people who
  • Faulty parts and tools have disappointed everyone who has worked in the business of fixing vehicles. When we place our trust in bad tools and parts, the people who manufactured those tools and parts sometimes seem fairly callous to the fact that our
  • I spent one day recently at a clean little garage in the country. The owner, Donnie, and I have known each other for more than 20 years, and we use each other for sounding boards on tough diagnostics. Today was one of those days.
  • Technicians, particularly those who work at dealerships, tend to develop a skewed view of certain vehicles because almost all of the ones they see are the ones with problems. Also, wise vehicle owners will be willing to spend money on scheduled maint
  • Some customers will have vehicles we wouldn't give $100 for, but they think they can't live without them, and trading or selling the old bomb is the last thing on their minds. These folks will sometimes spend obscene amounts of money on repairs.
  • This month's article revolves around an Acura we tangled with at my shop. While there are other vehicles out there with vaguely similar powertrain configurations (Eldorados and Quantums), this one turned out to be a very interesting study and a nasty
  • The first time we saw this 1997 F150 was nearly six years ago, and it was a high mileage vehicle even then. The owner originally took it to an independent shop because it had lost oil pressure, and that shop removed the engine, replaced the rod and m
  • Whether it's dealing with customers who for anything short of free will not do, to teaching students how to be technicians, gumption is a necessary tool in our toolboxes to get today's vehicles repaired and back on the road. Two vehicles recently gav
  • Upsell is the name of the game in any service or retail related industry. And in an after-the-work rundown, those systems analysts who specialize in automotive service always can poke around on a car and find something a technician could have sold th
  • Cars and wires are inseparable. Remove wires and nothing works. Just about every machine we use in our daily lives depends on metal fibers protected by colorful nonconductive sheathing. Networking in new vehicles has reduced the amount of wiring some
  • Today's transversely mounted V6 engines are stuffed in really tight engine compartments, particularly in minivans, and handling heat on those platforms is always a serious concern. A healthy emission-friendly engine generally needs to run no cooler t
  • The e-mail explained a repair gone wrong, and it was not a good situation. It served as a reminder that repairs done wrong can be devastatings, and some of these situations happen because some shops tend to hire people that haven't been properly trai
  • The Dodge Stratus came to us with three primary concerns, and Ethan tackled the MIL concern first. But there was a PO128 code, and we found that the thermostat had literally broken. But other vehicles were not as easy to fix.