Underhood

  • The term "tune-up" is becoming an endangered species among automotive technicians. As emission standards tighten, new vehicles require progressively less drivability-related maintenance. With today's cars, a technician might have to replace the spark
  • It is a simple equation ? the more air and fuel you pump through an automotive engine, the more power it can produce. Since the history of American automobile production has revolved around large displacement power plants that make gobs of torque and
  • Remember the old days when antifreeze was antifreeze? No matter which brand you chose, the color was green and the formula was glycol-based and contained silicates as corrosion inhibitors. You mixed the antifreeze 50/50 with water and poured it in th
  • Automotive engineers are developing new vehicle technologies at a rapid pace. Just as rapidly, legislators are adopting new laws that have a dramatic effect on the automotive service profession. As we step further and further away from the basic auto
  • Just the facts, please — even the ones that might not seem significant.
  • For many, the first days of spring mark the beginning of a new A/C service season. For those of us living in the South, A/C service is a year-round business. If we can diagnose A/C problems more efficiently, service them properly and reduce the chanc
  • Automotive technology never stands still, but it seems that every time we talk about air conditioning, the only thing to report is change. In recent years, mobile air conditioning has undergone some of the most dramatic changes in its 50-year history
  • Could you perform 15 to 20 oil changes per day and never once forget to tighten a drain plug, add oil or replace the filler cap despite the phone ringing, the parts guys showing up and all the other distractions that typically occur between opening a
  • One Friday morning, I left the house on my way to Dothan, the big town down the road where I worked for so many years. The Ford dealership parts manager had a brand new 7.3L engine block he needed to dump either on me or in the scrap iron bin. I'm te
  • When I was a teenager, I was happy to maneuver through the curves with my 1967 Camaro using a decidedly low-tech but effective manual steering box. Fast forward a few decades and a few years of driving experience, and suddenly enjoying the ride and k
  • Every tech knows you have to have three things for an engine to run: compression, spark and fuel. But that is a little simplistic. An engine can have good compression, but if it can't breathe, it won't run right. An ignition system can have good spar
  • Diesel has gotten a bad rap mostly due to the filthy smoke the engines belched back in the 1970s and '80s. But all that has changed thanks to tighter emissions regulations and improved technology. Today, diesel creates more power, is cleaner and more
  • It was going to happen eventually; closed-loop combustion control has finally been introduced to the diesel world. Since the first electronically controlled diesel engines appeared in the mid-80s, diesels have been required to operate in an open-loop
  • Valve stem seal problems are as old as overhead valves. Those puffy brown rock-hard deposits (that can look kind of like brown ice cream) on the spark plugs aren't always so noticeable on some engine platforms with leaking stem seals, but they blatan
  • It?s an exciting time to be a tech. Driven by the need to reduce emissions and improve our use of the planet?s natural resources, automotive technology is progressing at an exponential rate. And it?s not just in improving conventional powertrains. It
  • Unless your customer has a rotary engine under the hood, the power-producing mill that delivers power to the transmission or transaxle is outfitted with pistons and valves, and a spinning shaft with carefully indexed egg-shaped lobes operates those v
  • If you haven?t been watching for a while, it?s possible that almost everything you thought you knew about diesel technology has changed in the past few years. Of course, you already knew that diesel engines get better fuel economy than gasoline engin
  • The survival of a $5,000 engine rests on a 1-inch piece of colored plastic, a Chinese-made replacement part, and some painted marks. How crazy is that?
  • Onboard diagnostic (OBD) systems were pioneered and refined in gasoline engines, but now this technology has taken a firm hold in the diesel engine world as well. As of the 2007 model year, all diesel-powered vehicles rated at less than 14,000-pound
  • The 3,000-mile oil and filter change; it's as much a part of the American car culture as hot rods, car hops and white wall tires. Most of us can count this maintenance as our first automotive service experience. Whether we performed it ourselves in t