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TOPIC : editorial

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Taming Alignment in Winter

Proper wheel alignment is obviously important in terms of preventing premature tire wear, and to maintain predictable and controllable handling and braking. But in winter weather, where the customer encounters slippery conditions, wheel angles become much more critical. The effect of improper toe, camber and/or caster angles becomes more pronounced and are compounded as the coefficient of friction between the tires and the road are reduced.

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Autonomous Vehicles: They’re Coming, and We Should Embrace Them

When I was a kid and obtained my first driving license, I realized that it was my responsibility to learn to operate a vehicle. The thought of punching in a street address and having the car deliver me there would never, ever cross my mind.

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Emergency Ignored?

It should be standard practice to perform an overall inspection of every customer’s vehicle when it enters the shop, regardless of what specific repair prompted the visit. Inspections such as checking fluid levels, tire wear, belt condition, a visual inspection for leaks, loose or badly worn steering and suspension parts, a brake pad and rotor check, etc., should be included, as a pre-emptive strike to alert the customer to any issues that require immediate or not-too-distant attention.

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Where’s the Respect for ‘Parts Changers’?

The knowledge and skill of technicians who diagnose and service today’s vehicles is critical to the success of any shop. Whether the required component replacement or system assembly is performed by the same specialized technician who performed the diagnosis or by a general service tech, the proper installation of a part is far from simple. So when someone makes a comment such as “he’s just a parts changer,” it makes my blood boil.

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Professionalism Trumps Stupid

This is a tale of stupidity and frustration, followed by eventual success, thanks to a few heroes of the automotive service industry.

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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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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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Never assume anything: (i.e.: you get what you pay for)

One of the frustrating aspects of performing automotive service work is occasionally dealing with a faulty new part. Leading parts manufacturers have an excellent track record of quality control, but sometimes a bad part slips by and ends up in a box that’s sitting on your local supplier’s shelf.

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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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Best of times, worst of times

This winter has been brutal for northern and northeastern states, with record snowfall and record temperatures, and with abnormal icy conditions even in southern states such as Georgia.

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