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Tech Stuff


Oils and Filters: Selecting the Correct Lubrication and Filtration

As we all know, the diversity and selection of engine oils available today can seem mind-boggling. We have choices of “conventional” oil (petroleum based), high-mileage oil, synthetic blends and full synthetics. Trying to make sense of it all, or should I say, advising customers with regard to selecting an oil, can sometimes seem frustrating.


Brake System NVH Woes: Addressing and Avoiding Noise, Vibration and Harshness Issues

The usual complaint after performing a brake service is typically going to involve noises — squeaks, squeals, squawks or vibrations. You name it, brake noise under moderate to light applications is a common complaint, but what causes it? And why don’t they make noise under a hard application?


The Importance of Being Auto Centric: Repair Facility Is on a Quest for Excellence

Tom and Deb Ham’s Auto Centric repair facility is located in Grand Rapids, Mich., a state bordered by four of the Great Lakes. Since opening in 1978, this upper-tier repair business exemplifies the definition of both grand and great.


Battery Testing 2.0: That Clicking Sound Doesn’t Always Mean a Bad Battery

Sometimes diagnosing a no-crank/no-start problem can be more difficult than diagnosing a driveability problem. The average passenger car or light truck has at least two dozen electronic control units on-board, and luxury vehicles can have three times that many. Some of those tiny electronic brains can make a decision that will drain the battery almost overnight.


Make Shop Safety a Top Priority

Shop safety is one of those topics that must be reviewed on a regular basis. It is also as enjoyable to discuss as sitting down to buy life insurance. I just hope my column reminds everyone to stop and take note of this important topic today.


Tool Review: Sonic Strut Spring Compressor

I’ve owned many coil spring compressor tools designed for use on MacPherson struts, some of which I like and some that I despise. Sonic Tools USA’s model 120001 (made for them by Scangrip Canvic) is now my favorite.


HFO 1234yf Refrigerant and Coolant Mapping

When I look at the new vehicles that are rolling into the showrooms and being advertised on TV, the focus seems to be on customer comfort, convenience and fuel economy. This is definitely the focus of most manufacturers, and they continue to roll out products that achieve those goals.


Failure in Spec: What Happens When a Mass Airflow Sensor Lies

Sometimes the hardest part of chasing driveability problems is knowing where to start. It’s tough enough when the trouble codes indicate something vague like “random misfire” or “system too lean,” but it can be even worse when there are no codes at all, with only a driver’s complaint about stalling or sluggish performance. What do you look at first?


Rust Never Sleeps

For those of us who reside in a “snowbelt” area of the country, city and county road crews have different approaches in their attempt to keep road surfaces clear and free of the slippery stuff (ice and snow).


Tool Review: Sonic CV Boot Clamp Tool

Sonic Tools is a manufacturer based in the Netherlands, with a U.S. headquarters in Alabama. I admit that I only recently became aware of the firm. The width and breadth of their line rivals any of the major tool providers that you may have dealt with. From screwdrivers to pneumatics to tool storage and everything in-between, they make it. Their catalog is absolutely mind-blowing.

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