Articles by Mike Mavrigian

I hate thieves

I hate thieves

Anyone who works for a living to support themselves and their family, pays their taxes and abides by the law hates a thief. Low-life criminals who take advantage of honest folks are the scum of the earth.
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Engine sealing tips: How to avoid problems from annoying leaks to devastating damage

Engine sealing tips: How to avoid problems from annoying leaks to devastating damage

Sealing an engine involves several concerns, including the containment of combustion pressure, preventing coolant and oil from entering the combustion process, and preventing oil, coolant and vacuum from leaking out of the engine. Theoretically this should be a straightforward process, but if performed incorrectly without attention to detail, problems can range from annoying leaks to devastating internal engine damage.
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Tool review: Innova 4400 coil and module tester

Tool review: Innova 4400 coil and module tester

Is the coil good or bad? During the recent Automotive Aftermarket Parts Expo (AAPEX) Show in Las Vegas, Innova debuted its 4400 Coil and Control Module Tester, a counter-top diagnostic unit ideal for both shops and parts stores. The bench-top tester is designed to safely and easily test the circuitry of conventional ignition coils, coil-on-plug coils (COP), distributorless ignition systems (DIS) and electronic ignition modules (EIM).
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What to look for in outside contractors

What to look for in outside contractors

Your shop may service just about anything under the sun, or you may specialize in specific types of service or certain vehicle makes. Regardless of your shop’s capabilities, there may be times when you need to farm out work to an outside vendor. A good example is engine repair or rebuilding.
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Engine pre-oiling: A critical procedure for any fresh engine

Engine pre-oiling: A critical procedure for any fresh engine

A customer’s engine represents a major investment. Regardless of whether the engine is new (a factory replacement engine), a freshly rebuilt engine, or an engine that has been stored for an extended period, it can be quickly damaged if the bearings and friction related components are not properly lubricated prior to firing the engine for the first time.
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Thread chasing: Restoring male or female fastener threads

Thread chasing: Restoring male or female fastener threads

Whenever you’re faced with dirty or slightly burred female threads (cylinder head threaded holes in a block, spark plug holes in a head, etc.), you may be tempted to grab an appropriate size cutting tap to clean up the threads. The correct choice is to use a “chaser” tap. A cutting tap is designed to create new threads, whereas a chaser tap is designed to clean, re-form and restore existing threads.
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The value of photos

The value of photos

Since it seems as though just about everyone these days has a “smart” phone glued to their head or stashed in their pocket 24 hours a day, we may as well take advantage of the camera feature of these phones while inspecting, diagnosing and repairing customer vehicles.
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Today’s key fobs/smart keys provide convenience -- and cause problems

Today’s key fobs/smart keys provide convenience -- and cause problems

In these days of vehicle owner expectations for their vehicles to perform tasks that would previously require a minor physical or mental effort on their part, the remote “key” has become a mainstay of late model design. Rather than inserting a metal key into a tumbler lock (obviously a task that requires far too much effort and manual dexterity), we now expect to press a button on a wireless transmitter to perform this arduous chore of locking or unlocking the vehicle doors.
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Oil change intervals revisited

Oil change intervals revisited

There has been quite a bit of discussion among both the public and within the industry regarding engine oil change intervals. My opinion is that any engine’s oil and oil filter should be changed at a frequency of about 3,000 to 5,000 miles.
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The beauty of tools

The beauty of tools

One of the few things on this planet that is sure to always catch my eye is a clean, well organized selection of professional tools. A tidy tool drawer is one of those things that I can stare at and appreciate, much like a normal person might drool over a photo of a Victoria Secret ad (hey, nobody ever accused me of being normal
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Ball joint service: Insights and replacement tips for a variety of vehicle applications

Ball joint service: Insights and replacement tips for a variety of vehicle applications

Ball joint service isn’t always as straightforward as we’d like. Certain vehicles are prone to premature wear, some ball joints are not available separately from the OEM, theoretically requiring replacement of an entire control arm or steering knuckle assembly, and some are just downright difficult to access. In this article we provide insight and replacement tips for a variety of vehicle-specific examples.
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Tire pressure monitoring systems

Tire pressure monitoring systems

We've discussed the subject of TPMS (tire pressure monitoring systems) in the past, but this is a topic that can always benefit from an update. Considering the proliferation of TPMS in today’s market, it’s vital that we gain as much understanding of these systems as possible.
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