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The passenger cabin on modern cars is sealed pretty tight. Ever notice how, on some cars, it takes a little extra effort to close that last door? You can almost feel the seal. That makes cabin air quality a prime concern for many manufacturers, and why most modern cars use a separate cabin air filter to filter out outside contaminants. In addition, these filters prevent the build up of debris on the evaporator core that would otherwise lead to mold development, with its resulting “musty” odor and possible health risks.
Clogged cabin filters have also been linked to A/C compressor damage. When the filter restricts airflow across the evaporator, liquid refrigerant that would otherwise change state to a vapor remains liquid. Compressors aren’t designed to compress liquid. The reduced airflow from a restricted filter can affect the cooling of the cabin, resulting in complaints like “It just doesn’t blow as cold as it should”.
Most OEMs recommend replacing this filter annually or every 15,000 miles. But, as is the case with the air filter, customer use and driving habits can affect this interval. When it’s dirty, it should be replaced.
Cabin filters are typically accessed either near the cowl or from behind the glove box. And while some filters require more work to access than others, it is a win-win situation for you and your customer. With average labor times of ½ hour for replacement and your normal mark-up on the filter, it is an easy add-on sale that can make those loss leader oil changes a little more profitable. At the same time, you’re providing your customer with a healthy cabin and helping them avoid a possible failure of an expensive component.
Take the time to inspect the cabin air filters on those cars you service that have them, and improve your customer satisfaction while also improving your bottom line!
LAS VEGAS — As the vehicle population continues to age, more manufacturers and repair shops are finding new ways to tackle new problems in getting vehicles into the shops for service.
One of the newest technologies that the aftermarket is facing is the oil change indicator light, says Mark Seng, vice president, sales and client services, Aftermarket & Commercial Vehicle Solutions, Global Aftermarket Practice Leader at R.L. Polk & Co. While consumers have been trained for decades on time and mileage markers to have their oil change, these lights are changing the game.
In a meeting at AAPEX, Seng says that 2.4 percent of 2002 models had the indicator light, compared to 56 percent of 2011 models. He notes that the OEMs are using this paired with telematics to drive a further wedge between the consumer and independent repair shop. He explains that a dealerships now can use telematics to say to consumers, “We see you’re in need of an oil change, and we have this special this week. We’ll see you Friday.”
To be prepared for this, Seng says the aftermarket needs to be aware that the trend is changing, and second, stop looking at telematics as an OEM technology. He adds that he feels more manufacturers are becoming aware of this. As technologies become available more, the next step will be to determine business models.
He also says the Car Care Council’s Be Car Care Aware campaign is one way to leverage this knowledge with the consumer in efforts to continue to get a piece of the $67 billion in unperformed maintenance.
In the end, Seng says it will be as important for the aftermarket to understand 4G as it is four cylinder engines.
Often overlooked and often abused, tire condition can make the difference between “safe” and “unsafe”.
Tire-related accidents made national headlines in the ‘90s when Firestone announced a massive recall in the wake of rollover accidents involving SUVs riding on their rubber. Arguably, there was more to the problem than a defective batch of tires and if you’ve been in this business for even a little while, you know what one contributing factor was already.
I’m willing to bet that nearly every car you’ve ever worked on has had at least one tire that was significantly low (more than 10%). Tires that are low on air run hotter than normal and increase the risk of failure. One element of the TREAD Act of 2000 was the requirement that manufacturers develop a means to warn drivers when their tires were dangerously low and TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) was born.
Underinflated tires also have more rolling resistance than those that are properly inflated, impacting emissions and fuel economy. The state of California’s Air Resource Board considered it a cause for increased green house gas emissions and enacted a regulation back in September, 2010 requiring shops to check and adjust the pressure on every tire of every vehicle (GVWR of 10,000 pounds or less) they performed any type of work on.
And while under inflation is likely the most common issue you’ll find when inspecting your customers tires, there are others you should be aware of. Has the tire been repaired and if so, has the repair been done properly? Are there any visual signs of damage and if so, what caused them? Does the age of the tire make a difference? These topics and more are the subject of January's “The Trainer”!
Federal-Mogul offers to below task sheet as recommended procedures for disc brake service.
Disc Brake Service Recommended Procedures
1. Inspect rotor for lateral run-out, parallelism and minimum thickness specification. Compare to manufacturers specification.
2. Replace or Machine Rotor
Ensure tool bits are sharp and brake lathe is in good operating
3. Wash all rotors with soap and hot water and a scrub brush.
4. To provide long, quiet, brake service life, we recommend;
Note: Molybdenum Disulfide is effective in wet or corrosive environments over a wide range of temperatures.
Vehicle I.D.# ____________________________________________
Date Completed ____________________________________________
Brake Caliper – Cleaning/Lubrication Tech Tips
Failure to clean rust buildup and properly lubricate caliper brackets during brake service is proven to be a major cause of brake noise, premature wear and increased stopping distance. Federal-Mogul’s Technical Education Center recommends a meticulous cleaning and lubricating of all caliper brackets and mounting points. This will allow proper caliper/pad movement to ensure maximum brake performance and customer satisfaction.
To provide long, quiet, brake service life, we recommend;
Note: Molybdenum Disulfide is effective in wet or corrosive environments over a wide range of temperatures.
Additional information is available at www.federalmogul.com/training and click on “Training Videos”.
Prevent Brake Noise – Proper Rotor Preparation
Many service technicians are experiencing comebacks on disc brake pads sooner than they expect due to noise. Proper rotor surface and cleaning are critical to overall braking performance. The Federal-Mogul Technical Education Center and the St. Louis rotor & drum engineering facility have teamed up to provide the following information and recommendations.
Rotor Surface’s Impact on Brake Noise
The smoother the rotor, the better. When dragging a fingernail over the rotor surface, it should feel glass smooth. The proper rotor surface is critical in reducing or eliminating brake noise comebacks. Many New rotors are machined to a mirror-like finish, requiring no additional machining prior to installation.
When reusing existing brake rotors that have been inspected, measured and compared against specifications, machining may be required. Final preparation following machining procedures using most shop lathes will require A secondary finish procedure to break off the "mountain peaks" that are produced when the rotor is turned using a shop lathe. Block sanding with 120 grit followed by 150 grit sand paper or applying a non-directional finish with a ball hone will obtain the proper rotor surface or Ra. If not performed, These fragments break off during initial brake application and end up trapped in the “valleys”. Eventually the fragments end up embedded in the pad, causing noise.
The secondary finish will also reduce the phonograph record type grooves, which can cause a clicking noise. The grooves prevent the proper rotor surface area from contacting the disc pad. As a result, the rotor’s contact points will overheat, hardening the contact points setting up the potential for vibration and noise.
A Note Regarding Brake Lathes
Many technicians have reported very good results using the newer, more expensive round Bits over traditional three point bits. Older lathes should be inspected for wear in the bearings, which will prevent the rotor being held true during machining. Adaptors should be inspected for damage and machined true to prevent run-out.
Cleaning the Rotor and Its Impact on Brake Noise
Proper cleaning of resurfaced rotors must be done. This is one of the most overlooked areas. The proper way to clean a resurfaced rotor prior to installation is to use soap and hot water and a scrub brush. This will clean the particles out of the "valleys." Brake cleaner spray may not clean fragments from the “valleys”. Subsequently, the fragments become embedded in the pads, eventually causing noise. Try the two methods (brake cleaner spray vs. soap and water). Using the "white paper towel test", you’ll discover the soap and water method is the most effective.
Refer to the examples found in the “Rotor Machining and Preparation” PowerPoint Program
The following steps are also important to reduce the vibration that causes brake noise
• Inspect and replace worn brake hardware and guide pins
• Be certain to use the proper lubricants. Molybdenum (Moly-lube) or silicone brake lube. Properly clean and lubricate all caliper mountings and disc pad mounting points.
Finally, check for proper wheel bearing adjustment and wheel nut torque.
In my November feature on vehicle inspections, I made the statement that tires over 5 years of age (regardless of tread wear) should be replaced. This statement was based on a technical bulletin issued by one of the tire manufacturers several years ago. One of our readers wrote me not long after that issue hit the streets with this comment:
“Your comment regarding tire aging…was a very broad statement not shared by the whole industry. (One manufacturer) states that tires should be replaced at 10 years from the date of manufacture regardless of tread depth. And quite frankly, there are no studies showing that tires even that old are failing at increased levels.”
As the technical editor of Motor Age, it is my responsibility to insure the accuracy of the content we print. And I try very hard to do just that. So when a reader raises an issue with something they saw in the magazine, and especially if I’m the one that wrote it, I want to get to the bottom of the problem and issue any necessary corrections as soon as I can. So I went to the Tire Industry Association and asked them what the industry’s position was on tire aging and replacement. Kevin Rohlwing, Senior VP of Training for the TIA, pointed me to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration site to read up on the “official” view. Here’s what the NHTSA has to say:
“What is meant by “tire aging”?
The structural integrity of a tire can degrade over an extended period of time. When that occurs, tires are more prone to catastrophic failure, which could, at best, cause an inconvenience, or, at worst, lead to a crash. The degradation of a tire occurs over time, mostly the result of a chemical reaction within the rubber components. That aging process can be accelerated by heat and sunlight.
NHTSA research suggests that tires age faster in warmer climates. Exposure to high ambient temperatures can accelerate the tire aging process, which could contribute to tire failures, including tread separations. Environmental conditions like exposure to sunlight and coastal climates, as well as poor storage and infrequent use can hasten the aging process.
Tire aging is generally not an issue with vehicles that are driven regularly. Tires will wear out and need to be replaced before aging becomes a safety concern. But those with occasional use - like recreational vehicles or collector cars, for example - could be susceptible. The spares on all vehicles also are prone to aging problems because they seldom get used or replaced. In those instances, the structural integrity of the tire may be weakened - and potentially hazardous - even though the tire still has a great deal of remaining tread.
The effects of aging may not be visibly detectable. Since there is no standard test to assess the serviceability of a tire, even an inspection performed by an expert may not always reveal the extent of tire deterioration. Vehicle owners are therefore encouraged to have their tires checked after five years of use, then annually thereafter.
The age of the tire can be determined by checking the tire identification number on the sidewall of the tire, which begins with the letters "DOT". The last four digits represent the week and year the tire was manufactured. On newer model tires, the tire identification number is on the outside sidewall; older models will have the identification information on the inner sidewall.
While tire life will ultimately depend on the tires’ service conditions and the environment in which they operate, there are some general guidelines. Some vehicle manufacturers recommend that tires be replaced every six years regardless of use. In addition, a number of tire manufacturers cite 10 years as the maximum service life for tires. Check the owner’s manual for specific recommendations for your vehicle. Remember, it is always wise to err on the side of caution if you suspect your vehicle has tires that are over six years of age.
Yes. Poor maintenance is often cited as a cause of failure. While maintenance is important for good wear and safety performance of tires, many other factors contribute to their failure. Tire failures can be caused by a number of factors such as under- or over-inflation of tires, overloading of vehicles, road hazards, improper maintenance, structural defects, and improper installation, in addition to tire aging.
Is it a significant safety problem?
Most failures result in nothing more serious than minor property damage. For more serious crashes, NHTSA estimates that about 400 fatalities annually may have been attributed to tire failures.”
What conclusions did you draw from all that? Here’s what stood out for me:
· “Tire aging is generally not an issue with vehicles that are driven regularly”
Now that makes sense. Tires that are installed on vehicles that are stored for long periods of time can certainly develop problems in addition to the ravages of time. And consider the poor spare tire, hiding deep in the trunk or underneath the body? Those that are used daily will likely wear out before they “age” out.
· “There is no standard test to assess the serviceability of a tire, even an inspection performed by an expert may not always reveal the extent of the deterioration. Vehicle owners are encouraged to have their tires checked after five years of use, then annually thereafter.”
“Aging” of the rubber itself would certainly be next to impossible to see on a visual inspection. Cracks in the sidewall or tread block may provide visual clues to aging problems. Again, consider the use. Other factors can produce similar issues and are a lot more common causes of tire failure. Over- and under-inflation, overloading, and misuse are just a few examples.
According to Rohlwing, “Unfortunately, there are a lot of different positions on the subject. Consumers are being led to believe that tires expire like food products. But there is no data that supports a mandatory “pull date”.
So, what position should you take? “The condition of a tire depends on a wide variety of factors and the physical age is simply one of those factors”, says Rohlwing. Perform a thorough inspection of every tire that enters your service bay, including the spare. Check the date of manufacture, sure, but that alone should not be the reason you recommend replacement. Rather, base your recommendations on the results of your total inspection, erring on the side of your customer’s safety.
HFO1234yf (or R1234yf) is the current “replacement of choice” for R134a, a change mandated for cars offered for sale in the European Union. This is not a requirement here in the United States, so the word on the street a year ago was that it would be a while before any of us had to deal with it.
Not so fast.
At this past November’s AAPEX trade show in Las Vegas, I saw recovery/recycle/recharge (RRR) and refrigerant identification equipment (see our video, AAPEX 2011: Neutronics, in the AutoPro Workshop) for HFO1234yf on display. While none that I found was yet offered for sale in the U.S., it is overseas. Word on the street now says we’ll see HFO1234yf in cars for sale here by spring, with at least one domestic adding it to their model line.
Really, it comes as no surprise that some manufacturers were not going to make two different systems for one model. It is also comes as no surprise that at least one domestic manufacturer planned on taking advantage of the credits it could earn by using the more environmentally friendly refrigerant. So if you’re a collision shop owner, salvage operator, or a shop that helps out their local dealers, it could be a good idea to start shopping for some new equipment.
Look for online updates in the AutoPro Workshop during our coverage of this month’s Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) convention and trade show.
Multiple Choice: Is our trade agreement with Japan…
A. A. Goofy
B. B. Questionable
C. C. Obscene
D. D. All of the above.
Congratulations, you’re a genius if you answered “D.”
Seems as though Japan is spitting in our eye…again. Here’s the crux of the abuse. Japan is running a “Cash for Clunkers” program which excludes most imports from a significant tax benefit, regardless of a vehicle’s fuel efficiency. Translation: no U.S. vehicles are eligible for Japan’s program while almost 90 percent of Japanese vehicles are eligible.
On the flip side, the Japanese car manufacturers made out like bandits when it comes to the U.S. Clunkers program (Car Allowance Rebate System). Specifically, Japan racked up a disproportionate amount of sales compared to the American manufacturers and others. To the point, it rang up nearly half of the new car sales by selling 319,300 out of the 677,000 vehicles sold.
In all of its let’s-go-through-the motions ire, the Detroit 3 have cried discrimination in a letter they sent to the deputy U.S. trade representative. They may have well just have said, “Dagnabit, the Japanese won’t let us play. That hurts our feelings.”
As effective as the Detroit 3 have been in righting the trade imbalance between the U.S. and Japan, I’m surprised they bother with covering the same old ground.
Although the Detroit 3 wouldn’t mind selling a larger number of cars in Japan, the Detroit 3 know deep down that the Japanese aren’t all that interested in American cars. The major reason for this, I believe, is that the Japanese government has made sure of that by supporting its own car manufacturers and limiting its market to others.
And what do we do here? Working under the guise of a free market, we not only allow entry to our market, we encourage and finance foreign carmakers with U.S. taxpayers money for them to build their cars on U.S. soil.
Well, that provides jobs, right? Well, it does but what is often lost in the discussion is that the foreign carmakers were enticed by our politicians with the promise of cheap labor with no fear of union representation. And since most of these plants have been built in Southern states where their residents are hungry for jobs, the politicians are pretty much regarded as hometown heroes for bringing them jobs.
Meanwhile, Detroit has moved closer to economic collapse and the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression. The rank-and-file, who still have jobs, have lesser jobs, that is, same labor but lower pay and fewer benefits.
As I said…goofy, questionable and obscene. But whose fault is that?
Sometimes comments posted at the end of articles on SearchAutoParts.com are more interesting than the article itself. And they are frequently more controversial.
That was the case with an article posted to our Web site last week that’s bad news for car manufacturers and repairers. The article discusses how new cars aren’t selling and the average vehicle on the road is getting older.
The article is “Half million new car shoppers steered to used cars” http://www.abrn.com/abrn/article/articleDetail.jsp?id=583687 It’s based on an Edmunds.com report that says more than 500,000 used cars sold in the past three months would have been new car sales in a more normal economy. That’s bad news for repairers who want to see the newest car fleet possible on the road. After all, those are the vehicles most likely to be insured and repaired after a wreck.
The real jewels are a couple of thought-provoking reader comments at the end of the article.
One is from industry veteran Chuck Sulkala who draws a parallel from the article to the “Cash for Clunkers” proposal that was offered and then withdrawn from the recent stimulus package. He makes some great points and would like to see the repair industry rally around a new effort to revive the “Cash for Clunkers” proposal.
A second comment, posted anonymously, says “Cash for Clunkers” won’t save automakers cause it will take too long to reap benefits. Instead, the writer proposed to give automakers design patent protection on certain manufactured parts. The automakers wouldn’t need to sell so many cars because they’d be making a killing on parts. The writer claims it would not drive up OE price parts, but I don’t see how this would help the repair industry. This controversial opinion is likely why the writer omitted his or her name from the comment.
Most scan tools have a record function that allows you to record the PIDs (Parameter Identifiers) you select. Depending on the tool, that recording may last a few minutes or indefinitely...limited only by the size of your hard drive. Ever use this feature?
You probably have...but only when the car wasn't working right. My question is, How do you know what those PIDs are supposed to look like normally? How do you know what PIDs you want to record?
Try this...make a habit of hooking up your scan tool every time you take a test drive, even with a customer, and record data under different driving conditions. And not just when test driving a drivability issue. I mean, take a recording when test driving a brake noise, or steering complaint. Gather data from KNOWN GOOD cars to get a feel for what NORMAL is. This is especially helpful if you work on numerous makes. You already know that some manufacturers just do things, well, differently. And I suggest you start with Global OBDII PIDs at first...shorter list.
Learning how to read secondary ignition scope patterns starts with knowing what NORMAL is. Understanding scope patterns of other components starts with knowing what NORMAL is. Should learning how to read scan tool data be any different? Yes, it is a time consuming undertaking...at first. But it will save you time...and make you more money...in the long run.<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/970262468/?value=0&amp;label=r_iXCIyw1lEQxI_UzgM&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0"/> </div>
Diesel emission control regulations have been getting progressively tighter over the past 20 years. However, the standards enacted for the 2010 model year required a “quantum leap” in emissions performance, specifically in terms of NOx output. In order to meet these standards, diesel engine manufacturers had to utilize fuel injection systems that operated with greater accuracy than ever before. Certainly, the engine itself requires highly accurate fuel metering to keep performance levels high and its emissions low. However, diesel exhaust aftertreatment systems also require this level of accuracy. The days of “close enough for government work” are officially over; it is either right on the money or it won’t make it.
Most current diesel engines use high-pressure common rail (HPCR) fuel injection systems. HPCR systems feed high-pressure fuel from a common rail to the injectors (one for each cylinder), and these are controlled electronically by the PCM or a separate driver module. The key is to design the system so the injectors all flow the same amount of fuel for a given amount of pressure and pulse width. The idea of manufacturing all the injectors to a super-tight production tolerance is not practical, as this is prohibitively expensive. A better approach is to allow a somewhat looser injector production tolerance to lower costs, and then compensate for varying flow rates electronically.
The Dodge/Cummins 6.7 liter turbodiesel uses injectors that are marked with a correction code. This code is generated at the factory and is a rating of the flow characteristics of the injector. When the injector is installed in the engine, its correction code is programmed into the PCM using a scan tool. Each cylinder is programmed with the correction code of the injector that has been installed in it, and the PCM adjusts its signals to that injector based on this code. Anytime an injector is replaced or moved to another cylinder, the PCM must be programmed so it knows the correction code of the injector in each cylinder. Skipping this step will result in a poorly performing engine, and may cause a no-start.
Ford is doing the same thing with their 6.7 liter PowerStroke diesel, but they call them injector quantity adjustment (IQA) codes. The IQA codes are printed on a factory label that is located on the engine. Anytime an injector is replaced or moved, the PCM must be programmed with the new IQA code(s) and a new IQA label is installed next to the old one.
In the near future, the collision repair community could be thanking Domenic Nigro, co-owner of Philadelphia-based Nigro's Auto Body Repair for fewer vehicle collisions. "Thank someone for fewer work opportunities," you may ask? In this case, yes.
Nigro's shop is marketing two Smartphone apps designed to keep young drivers safer by stopping them from texting and driving and helping mom and pop monitor their speed. While efforts like these may seem like community service efforts that shops work on when they can, they're at the heart of what makes this business a Top Shop.
Much about Nigro's is unusual. The shop actually traces its origins to Italy and the European method of repairing vehicles, which Nigro says outpaces much of the technology used in America. Co-owner and father of Domenic, Aniello Nigro trained and worked in Florence, Italy, before coming to Philadelphia to open the shop in 1984.
Domenic took over much of the business end of the operation in 1996. He is the shop's sole estimator and oversees a business where he, his father and the shop's other employees (two additional techs and one painter) hold a number of certifications and have received every kind of training. Nigro's is an I-CAR Gold Shop and is certified to buy parts from BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Nigro notes that the two manufacturers will only sell certain structural parts to certified buyers.
The shop performs metal, fiberglass and aluminum work and spends much of its time renovating classic cars, including Bentleys, though it's comfortable working on Chevrolets, Hondas and Fords. Regardless of vehicle type, Nigro says each is given the same careful attention. So thorough is the shop with its work, says Nigro, that it's never had to redo any of its work. In almost 30 years, not one vehicle has had to come back, he said.
Despite these accomplishments, Nigro says the focus of his business is helping people. "I'm tired of cars. I don't like them anymore," he jokes. "I like people."
This is why he and the shop devote so much of their time to the Philadelphia community and why Nigro is working hard to change the repair community. To help their fellow Philadelphians, Nigro's sells AutoTex Pink windshield wiper blades and Paschal handbags with 10 percent of the revenue going to charity.
On the first Tuesday of every month, Nigro's, with the help of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, hosts a SAFE KIDS event where technicians properly install car seats (Nigro says he attended car seat installation training that required four, eight-hour days of training). The shop hosts Ladies Night events where it teaches female attendees how to change tires, check fluids, understand how brakes and other systems work, and what to do if they're ever in an accident.
At its events, Nigro's hosts a lemonade stand to raise money for Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation. The shop also installs vehicle hand controls for the handicapped, with a portion of the purchase and installation fees going to the Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis.
They're going high tech in their latest endeavors, which include marketing Smartphone apps. Available free of charge is Nigro's Auto Body Assistance for Droid, Blackberry and iPhone devices. This app, created by Summit Software Solutions, assists motorists who have been in an accident. It helps produce accident records (photos and recordings of witness accounts) and can contact emergency responders and contacts. It also contacts Nigro's so the shop can have a trusted towing company come to the scene.
Nigro says the app offers significant benefits in Philadelphia where busy police officers can take time to get to a scene and where accident chasers (disreputable towing companies) often prey upon accident victims by towing vehicles to shops where they are charged outrageous sums to have their vehicles stored, repaired or recovered.
The shop soon will begin marketing apps aimed at the parents of teenage drivers – Mobile Tattle Tale (MTT) and Teenage Speedster. Parents can download both apps to their children's phones where they can only be uninstalled with a password. Using MTT, parents can block cell phone texting functions when the user of the phone reaches a predetermined speed. The app offers additional features, including an automatic text response for inbound texts that lets the other party know that the teenager is unable to text at that time.
Teenage Speedster notifies parents when the user of the phone reaches a certain speed, predetermined by the parent. The app notifies how fast the vehicle was going and at what location. Both apps notify parents if the teen tries to disable the application or remove it from the phone.
Any profits Nigro's makes from these two apps will go to local schools. Currently, Nigro is looking for schools to work with him to promote the device and collect revenue from it.
If all that weren't enough, Nigro also is working with a company to install cutting-edge solar panels on his shop to provide electricity, heating and cooling. He's working with another small company that's developing technology that can eliminate VOCs. The technology doesn't filter them – it eliminates them before they can adversely affect employees or the community.
Nigro also is getting political – in a manner not common for most repairers. After two years of contacting members of Philadelphia's City Council, he's finally managed to arrange meetings with council members to discuss his concerns over the state of the industry in Philadelphia.
While such efforts may not seem significant in light of the challenges repairers face nationwide, don't discount what he may accomplish. Nigro's already has proven just how much one repairer and one small shop can do.
Top Shop Sponsors
Roberto Anguizola, assistant director, Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Division of Marketing Practices presented an update on the status of the review of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.
As a bit of background, the car companies and their franchised dealers have been pursuing an increasingly aggressive strategy aimed at growing the sales of their original equipment replacement parts and repair services. The FTC's role in ensuring consumers receive accurate information regarding their rights under new car warranties was called into question by AAIA and other aftermarket trade groups.
The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, enacted by Congress in 1975, prohibits the conditioning of consumer warranties by product manufacturers on the use of any original equipment part or service. Under the statute, a manufacturer can only deny warranty coverage if the manufacturer, not the consumer, can demonstrate that it was the use of a non-original equipment part or service that created the warranty-related defect.
In 2010, Honda issued a statement that "other parts — whether aftermarket, counterfeit or gray market — are not recommended. The quality, performance and safety of these parts and whether they are compatible with a particular Honda vehicle are unknown."
One year later, Mazda issued a release alleging "aftermarket parts are generally made to a lower standard in order to cut costs and lack the testing required to determine their effectiveness in vehicle performance and safety."
AAIA filed complaints with both releases with the FTC, and contends that the releases violate the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.
The status of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act? "We are in the middle of a rule review. Every 10 years the commission systematically reviews all of its rules and guides. Such a review is necessary because sometimes rules and guides become outdated. Are the issues is was designed to address still out there? What is the impact? What is the cost?" Anguizola says.
Last August, the FTC released a request for public comment on consumer product warranty interpretations. Written comments were due in the end of October 2011, and review is currently underway.
The FTC has tried to educate consumers on this issue by releasing consumer alerts. The FTC also authors a Business Center Blog, is on Twitter and Facebook, has information available at www.ftc.com and uses other methods of tradition outreach — attending conferences and speaking engagements — to further keep consumers educated and informed.
Serpentine belts used to be made of neoprene. Since the late 1990s, manufacturers have been phasing out neoprene in favor of a material called EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer). This new material still wears, but doen't always exhibit the same characteristics you may be used to when judging belt condition...that is, cracks running across the ribs and/or actual chunks missing from the ribbing.
Instead, these belts tend to wear the ribs down, making the spacing between them wider. Driven pulleys then ride deeper into the belt valleys and that can lead to lost tension, slip and belt noise.
Gates has made available a wear gauge you can easily use to help determine belt condition. It fits in the valley between the ribs, and if any of the gauge rides above the surface, the belt is OK. If the gauge is even with, or below, the surface, the belt is worn and should be replaced.
Mine came supplied by a local parts house, but you can get yours by logging on to the Gates website at www.gatesbeltwear.com. There is additional helpful information there as well...worth a few minutes of your time.
Heading into A/C season? The compressor is arguably the toughest customer the belt has. Make sure the belt is up to the task...
A technician friend of mine shared this posting by Autoland Scientech USA on Facebook. You can learn more about Autoland Scientech's offerings on their website and on their Facebook page. All of these are valid considerations when choosing any aftermarket scan tool.
There are two approaches for reducing diesel NOx emissions:
1. In-cylinder techniques – this includes any method that limits NOx formation by lowering combustion temperatures. Examples include retarded injection timing, charge air cooling (CAC), and exhaust gas recirculation (EGR).
2. Aftertreatment – anything that is done to treat exhaust gases after they leave the engine cylinders. Aftertreatment is an effective, but expensive approach for reducing diesel NOx.
Aftertreatment of diesel NOx is unavoidable now that the 2010 EPA diesel emission regulations are in place. The 2007 regulations focused on reduction of diesel particulate matter (PM), which most OEMs could meet through the use of diesel particulate filters and EGR. The 2010 standards are tough on NOx – leaving OEMs no choice but to use aftertreatment hardware for NOx reduction.
A NOx aftertreatment solution that is gaining momentum here in the U.S. is urea selective catalytic reduction (urea SCR). This involves injecting a urea-water solution (also known as diesel exhaust fluid or DEF) into the exhaust stream ahead of a special catalytic converter. As the urea solution makes contact with hot exhaust gases, ammonia (NH3) is released. With ammonia in the exhaust gases, the SCR catalyst is able to break apart NO and NO2 molecules and “reduce” them to nitrogen, oxygen, and water.
Urea is a type of nitrogen fertilizer that is produced using natural gas as a feedstock. Diesel Exhaust Fluid (32.5% urea, 67.5% water) is carried onboard the vehicle in a separate holding tank and would be refilled at varying intervals depending on the vehicle’s drive cycle. If the DEF tank goes dry, the vehicle’s operation would not ordinarily be affected but NOx emissions would increase. With little incentive for the driver to refill the tank (DEF is not free), the EPA insisted that vehicle manufacturers utilize strict measures to ensure that the DEF tank was not allowed to go dry, and that the correct fluid was installed.
In the case of the 2011 Ford 6.7 liter PowerStroke, the driver is given progressive warnings as the DEF tank approaches empty. If ignored long enough, the engine will derate to the point where it will not come off idle. BMW diesels that utilize urea SCR will not start if the DEF tank goes dry. A driver that has had this happen to them once is not likely to ignore the DEF tank refill reminders the next time around.
Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company
I barely lived to tell this story. OK, maybe I’m being melodramatic but getting stuck in traffic behind some of the 1970s diesel vehicles — in a car with no air conditioning — was unpleasant at best and cruel and unusual punishment at worst. It’s no secret that vehicle manufacturers of the era manufactured some of the most vile and disgusting diesel polluters ever made. If people were getting better mileage on the road driving diesels, they also were shortening the length of their lives breathing their dense, black smoke. Diesels? More accurately — die-souls.
Americans have short memories about most things, but the diesels made in the disco decade is not one of them. Their smokey memory lingered on until gasoline prices started their methodical march upward. As often was the behavior of the car companies, that is, only facing a problem after being run over by it, they started grasping for alternative technologies. And as odd as hybrids, EVs and fuel cells seemed to be, diesels were seen as the oddest choice given their previous performance.
We Americans pretty much wrote off diesels like we wrote off disco, not a second too soon for either anomaly. However, Europeans more than made up for our disinterest. The country with the least amount of diesel vehicles is Britain with 50 percent. This can be mostly explained by the fact that diesel fuel is taxed at a lower rate than gasoline. How European governments arrived at this point is much too complicated to get into here. Suffice it to say that this is unlikely to change any time soon.
In fact, we Americans are more likely to change our attitudes about diesel’s stigma. It’s not just about Audi, Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz anymore, although they are unleashing a number of new diesels for America. Now, in the same breath, we’re even talking about the Chevy Cruze, which is being positioned as the Jetta TDI fighter.
Combine the attributes of diesels — substantial fuel savings that is equal to hybrids — and bountiful torque, and you have a pretty good story. And “clean diesel fuel,” which was once thought of as an oxymoron, is now a fact with the development of Ultra-Low-Sulfur-Diesel. With this kind of turnaround, I hope it doesn’t mean disco will come back.
But I digress. The point is that as American service repairers, you are going to start seeing these vehicles in your shops, if you haven’t already. What you probably have already seen are heavy-duty diesel trucks because the trades need them to run their businesses. Due to the nature of the type of work performed, it’s a recognized fact that they ride them hard. The harder they ride them, the more often you’re going to see them.
If you’re looking for some expert diesel information that is easily understood and ready to use, I would recommend that you check out Advance Auto Parts’ MotoSKILL “Diesel Bundle”. If it is imperative to fix a motorist’s car right the first time, it is doubly important to fix a work vehicle right the first time, so take advantage of available expert training. You can’t afford to make mistakes when someone else’s business is at stake.
Many of you are prepared or are getting prepared to service hybrids and that’s a good thing, but you don’t want to overlook diesels, be they cars or trucks. It is predicted that a good share of consumers will opt for diesels over hybrids because they are thousands of dollars cheaper. Popular Mechanics went so far in a 2013 article to proclaim 2013 as the year of the diesel. Ditto that for the next several years.
Visit any school — technical or college — that offers automotive technology and you will find that there is a focus on diesel maintenance and repair. Your current technicians need to keep up with what the kids are learning, plus you might want to contact some of the schools to recruit some of their daring gunslingers to fill any holes you have in your diesel service.
Diesels represent an unbelievable opportunity for your shops if you are committed to having your technicians trained to service them. For those of you already committed to this endeavor, you know that I’m not just blowin’ smoke.
CRP Industries — which provides service and support to aftermarket parts manufacturers and the wholesale and retail outlets that carry these products — focuses more on delivering high-quality products, rather than cheap products, says Daniel Schildge, company president.
By Gary McCoy, Fairway Communications
In a recent presentation to the Spring Manufacturers Association (SMI), Joe Murray of First Financial Group reviewed six mistakes that can most commonly prove disastrous for family businesses. He provided attendees with a risk barometer to help assess the health of their business.
Murray said the most common mistakes that family business owners make are contained in these statements:
1. "I know what my business is worth."
2. "I'm too busy running the company."
3. "That'll never happen to me."
4. "There's plenty of time for that."
5. "My business is my retirement."
6. "You can't beat Uncle Sam."
Murray said every family business needs to have a succession plan and a team of advisors in place. Why? So there is a way to transition the business to the next generation. He said this is especially important because the odds of a family business surviving to the second or third generation are difficult without this.
CRP Industries — which provides service and support to aftermarket parts manufacturers and the wholesale and retail outlets that carry these products — helps companies to fully understand the North American aftermarket and what it takes to forge success, says Daniel Schildge, company president.