Motor Age Garage

  • 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.
  • The truck had a history of multiple electrical and drivability issues. The truck seemed fixed for a week or so then something would reoccur, forcing the truck back to the dealership. They were glad to let me take a stab at diagnosing it.
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  •   Problems like what I had with some spark plugs are the easy kind. But then there are the bait-and-switch problems that make us look like we’re incompetent, and those are the ones that bother some of us the most.
  • Vehicle inspections are a very common thing on all cars that come through our shops and are a great way to keep the shop bays filled with profitable work. Have you ever thought about using your scan tool as part of the inspection process?
  • We came across a 2006 Lexus IS 350 with a complaint of poor handling and unpredictable braking habits along with the occasional ABS light. It featured Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM), meaning it has more than just ABS.
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  • The first Dodge Grand Caravan came in a couple of weeks ago because the transmission had screwball shift patterns. It wasn’t slipping, but it didn’t shift gears consistently.
  • 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
  • This van is kicking me around, Donnie told me. I had been out of the field for a few years, having traded my toolbox for a grade book, an office and classroom, laser pointer and a lab full of automotive students. My old friend and fellow drivability
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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