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Throttle Related Symptoms

Throttle Related Symptoms

When the Engine Lacks Throttle Response

When the customer complaint is poor or no acceleration, or the engine has lost power, where would you start with the diagnosis? Most would assume something major and expensive to repair. Read below for some basic checks to consider before getting too deep into the diagnostics.

Cabin Air Filters

Cabin Air Filters

Are You Recommending a Filter Replacement

Two lungs filled to capacity with air contaminated with rotting bugs, molded leaves, dust, pollens, mold spores, mildew and other pollutants doesn’t sound healthy. With a contaminated cabin air filter that is exactly what the customer is breathing.

From Key to Keyless Ignition

From Key to Keyless Ignition

Both Customer and Technician Can Be At Risk!

The transition from a key to an electronic code (Keyless Push Button Start) comes with a new set of challenges and safety measures that must be considered to prevent injury to the vehicle operator or the technician. Most view the fob as a key and that is not the case. It allows keyless entry to the vehicle and provides starting capability, but it does not play a role in shutting the vehicle down...

Electronic Parking Brakes

Electronic Parking Brakes

Practice Safety When Servicing the System

When servicing the rear brakes on a vehicle equipped with an electronic parking brake, are you taking the required safety steps to prevent personal injury? Failure to take the precautionary safety measures may result in severe damage to the hands and fingers.

Air Filter and Housing Inspection

Air Filter and Housing Inspection

Damaged Housing or Filter Seal Prompts Low Efficiency Catalyst Codes

When low-efficiency catalyst codes PO420 and PO430 appear, the last place that most technicians would consider would be a defective air filter seal or damaged/distorted airbox, allowing air filter by-pass. Often, the mentioned codes result in oxygen sensors and the catalytic converter getting replaced, which may be a short term expensive fix, especially when the condition recurs. Considerations for the stored codes normally include engine misfires, excessive oil consumption, lean fuel mixture, rich fuel mixture, weak ignition, damaged or defective oxygen sensors, any of which could result in the aforementioned codes. Contaminated air is seldom considered.

Accessory and Suspension Modifications

Accessory and Suspension Modifications

These Can Present Diagnostic Challenges

Accessory components and suspension modifications that enhance the cosmetics or performance of a vehicle are readily available for most vehicle makes and models. technicians must consider these components and modifications when performing their diagnostics. When modifications are made to steering, suspension, or tire and wheel assemblies, they can have an effect on the handling characteristics of the vehicle, illuminate fault lamps and display failure messages. These additions must be considered in the diagnostic process and how they may affect the performance and life of other system components.

Engine Coolant Leaks

Engine Coolant Leaks

Corrosion…Electrolysis…or Excessive Thermocycles?

When most think of engine coolant (antifreeze) it is in relation to its freeze-point protection with little consideration of its ability to provide lubrication and protection from system corrosion. Unfortunately, engine coolant normally does not receive any attention until one of the following scenarios occurs: 1) The engine overheats. 2) Freezepoint protection for winter is not sufficient. 3) Coolant is spilling, weeping or seeping from the engine or cooling system components. 4) A water pump or hose is replaced.

Active Fuel Managment

Active Fuel Managment

It Can Pose Some Challenging Diagnostics

Customer complaints of chirping, ticking, squealing or squeaking sounds accompanied with misfire codes stored may be the result of valve lifter or camshaft failures on vehicles equipped with Active Fuel Management (AFM), sometimes referred to as Displacement on Demand (DOD). Pinpointing the source of the noise can be a challenge for the technician and the repairs can be costly. Diagnosing any engine related noise can be a challenge even for the most experienced technician. Some noises can be identified and resolved...

Oil Pressure...Filtration...and Viscosity

Oil Pressure...Filtration...and Viscosity

Vehicle Manufacturer Specifications Really Matter

With an oil pressure reading of 5 PSI at idle, the customer was certain that some major engine repairs would be necessary. Fortunately, some research prevented a lot of unnecessary repairs, as that was normal oil pressure for the vehicle at idle. Today’s engines have different lubrication and filtration requirements and adhering to those specifications are critical for the life of the engine...

Distorted and Damaged Air Filters

Distorted and Damaged Air Filters

The Condition May Be Water Induced

While performing a routine lube service on a 2015 Ford Transit, the lube service technician identified a severely damaged air filter. The filter was distorted and damaged to the point that foreign debris could be drawn into the engine, in addition to fragments of the filter media, which could result in major damage. The technician assumed it was a defective filter, replaced it, and sent the customer on their way. Weeks later and from a different shop, a second filter complaint comes in involving a like vehicle...

Battery Testing

Battery Testing

Make It a Part of Your Vehicle Inspection

If testing the battery is not a part of your vehicle inspection…it should be. A heads-up notice on a failing battery can save your customer a lot of grief. During a recent oil and filter change, the technician performed a vehicle inspection that included a complimentary battery check. The test reflected a battery that had met its useful life and was in need of replacement. When the lady contacted her husband, accompanied by a printout reflecting the condition of the battery, he challenged the need to have it replaced. The vehicle had been starting perfectly, so he made the decision not to have it replaced...

Battery Protection System: Creates New Challenges for Electrical System Diagnostics

The technician was challenged with two vehicles with major electrical concerns.  Late in the diagnosis, it would be determined that both vehicles were functioning as designed.

Battery Management System

The first vehicle involved a 2013 Ford F150 with no power to several electrical systems/devices.  The failed systems included:  No  A/C  fan action;  the  audio  system, navigation, heated  and  cooled seats, heated  steer- ing wheel and rear defrost were all non-functional. Late in the  diagnosis it was determined  that  the system was functioning  as it was designed, as it was  responding  to a discharged  battery...

Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon

Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon

They Can Be a Lube Service Nightmare!

The 2018 Chevrolet Colorado with a 3.6L engine had received a routine oil and filter change. Days later a low oil pressure indicator and some serious engine noises plagued the vehicle. Warranty repair at the dealership was denied.

Servicing Fuel Filters

Servicing Fuel Filters

Neglecting a Filter Replacement Can Be Costly

While much emphasis is placed on servicing filters during routine vehicle maintenance, little attention is given to the fuel filter until an engine performance issue occurs. Neglecting the fuel filter can result in damage to some expensive components such as an electric fuel pump or some costly fuel injectors.

For Your Share of the Repair Business

For Your Share of the Repair Business

Focus on Customer Relations and Retention

With an aging fleet that is currently approaching 12 years, this translates into a lot of needed repairs to keep these vehicles operational. The independents are not the only service providers that have an interest in this market. New car dealers are taking steps to secure their fair share of this business. With the service department...

Gum and Carbon Deposits

Gum and Carbon Deposits

Create Engine Performance Challenges

It was a busy morning with multiple vehicles arriving on roll-backs with no-start symptoms. The vehicles ran perfectly the previous day, only to encounter a no-start condition the following morning. The symptoms were that of loss of compression. Each vehicle...

Lube Service Intervals

Lube Service Intervals

Are You Making the Right Service Recommendation?

For those accustomed to 2,500-mile lubrication schedules, extended service intervals are a concern. Tripling that mileage service interval (sometimes more) just doesn’t seem right for the health of the engine. Due to high warranty repairs, some vehicle manufacturers are...


Gasoline Direct Injection And New Service Opportunities

Gasoline Direct Injection comes with a new set of challenges and service opportunities that the technician must be familiar with. Many of today's vehicles are fited with a relatively new fuel system technology for the automobile, referred to as Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI). While this technology has been around for 100 years, it has just become widely...

Dealing with Oil Pressure

Dealing with Oil Pressure

It's a Matter of Regulation

The vehicle owner had his oil and filter changed, and days later, oil deposits in his driveway revealed a leaking oil filter as the culprit. The filter was replaced, but the leaking symptoms recurred within days, and this time the filter gasket was protruding from its mounted position. Installing two defective filters in a row on the same vehicle is highly unlikely, and installing...


Brake System Failures: Dealing with Brake Line Corrosion

I had just read with interest an article published by The Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) concerning a brake line investigation and how it had been closed without identifying a defect that would initiate a recall order on GM trucks and SUVs built in model years 1999-2003. More than four years was spent investigating corrosion...


What's the Hubbub with Wheel Bearings? Know This Multi-Function Component

With the early model vehicles, packing wheel bearings was a required routine service, or a service performed during a brake job. Theinspection involved removing the bearings and washing them in a solvent, including the race, and performing a visual inspection. Ths form of inspection is not possible with the current sealed hub bearing assemblies, which may contain...


Factory Solutions For Excessive Oil Consumption

New engine technology poses many challenges. Smaller displacement engines producing more horsepower with lower emission output, while achieving better fuel economy, comes with its own set of challenges once the vehicle has been put into service. During the initial break-in of an engine...


Gasoline Direct Injection: Identifying Normal System Characteristics

In the last On the Line article titled "Gasoline Direct Injection And New Service Opportunities," we addressed the benefits of the direct injection system in improved performance and fuel efficiency...


Air Intake Restrictions: Due To Inclement Weather Conditions

The Chevrolet Silverado equipped with a 6.6L Turbo Diesel was down on power, the malfunction indicator lamp (MIL) was illuminated and a PO101 mass air flow sensor (MAF) performance code was set in the current failure and history file, and the Power Reduced Message was displayed on the instrument cluster. Running the diagnostics on the trouble code had been futile. Deleting the trouble code would restore engine performance, but that was not the long term solution...


Establishing Labor Charges And Making Legitimate Service Recommendations

Never let a customer feel as if they have been overcharged or taken advantage of.  A courtesy service/inspection can make you money and generate a lot of goodwill and referrals...


Diesel Fuel Filters And the Challenge of Fuel System Aeration

You just serviced the customer's Duramax diesel and installed a new fuel filter.  You followed the proper bleeding procedure to remove the air, and the vehicle started and ran perfectly. To your surprise, the customer calls the next morning with a no-start condition...


Lube Service Challenges: New Technology Requires New Level of Service

In the past, most powertrains were forgiving when it came to lubricants, oil, viscosities and engine deposits.  Many lube shops consolidated and took the approach that one oil viscosity was suitable for all applications...


Diesel Applications Can Pose Some Challenging Symptoms

The majority of the questions and concerns tha we receive regarding fuel filter installations involve diesel applications. The diesel power plants can offer some challenging experiences...


Driveline Bump: It Feels Like a Brake Related Problem

The symptoms are that of the vehicle being bumped in the rear by another vehicle immediately following a stop or when accelerating from a stop, which is often referred to as launch. When the condition first occurred, the customer thought they had been hit in the rear by another vehicle...


Excessive Oil Consumption...and Your Shop Has Serviced the Vehicle Since New!

Trust me, this is not going to be a pleasant exercise.  Have you ever provided services or made a repair on a vehicle and had the customer return, complaining of a problem or a condition that supposedly was not present until you serviced the vehicle...


Diesel Service Tips That Can Save a Lube Service Tech Much Frustration

Diesel applications often present the most challenges for lube service technicians.  Unfortunately, most do not get the opportunity to service many diesels, and therefore do not establish a pattern of normal characteristics of the engine...


A Simple Diagnostic Solution For Some Frustrating Engine Performance Symptoms

Difficult to diagnose symptoms often have a simple diagnostic solution.  It is important that you perform some basic tests concerning the overall health of the engine before you dive too deep into the diagnostics...


Between a Rock and a Hard Place: The Occasional Dilemma May Require Some Concessions

If you have been in this business for a few years, you will appreciate the following sequence of events, as you have probably been there.  Those who haven't should take heed, because eventually you will have the experience...


Performing Inspections: How to Make Service Recommendations

Perform a throrough inspection prior to making a service recommendation.  It is easy to fall into a pattern of just performing those service requested by the vehicle owner...


Aftermarket Oil Filters And the Factory Warranty

A misinterpreted factory service bulletin has stirred so much controversy and confusion.  The message from the vehicle manufacturer is clear and any reputable filter supplier/manufacturer should be comfortable with information contained in the bulletin...


Disturbing the Air Flow: Turbulent Airway Promotes Check Engine Lamp and Trouble Codes

Imagine servicing a vehicle that induces an air filter inspection or replacement.  The customer returns the next morning with an illuminated Check Engine lamp, convinced that the problem was related to your services...


Oil Leaks Can Be Challenging: Take Time to Make an Accurate Diagnosis

Looking for the quick fix almost always results in a return, and is sometimes accompanied by a customer whose patience is wearing thin...


Servicing Ford's Power Stroke Dealing with Aerated Fuel

Major performance symptoms occur when a diesel fuel system becomes aerated.  With some systems these conditions are due to problems inherent in the system by design...


Throttle Body Cleaning: It May Require Some Computer Relearning

Throttle body cleaning may require some computer learning and possibly a little training for the servie technician...


Gasoline Direct vs. Port Fuel Injection

Often, in our diagnostics we identify intake valve deposits as the cause of an engine performance related symptom.  The vehicle owner may assure us that they only purchase Top Tier fuel and they supplement with fuel system additives...


Troubleshooting Systems that Share Similar Symptoms

The complaint documented on the repair order was simple...  "I have a problem with my brakes...


Imroving Your Battery Knowledge: A Dischared Battery May Cause More Problems Than a No-Start Condition

When performing vehicle inspections are you checking the battery or just waiting until the customer complains of a no-start condition?  In addition to a slow crank, a low battery voltage condition can create some major challenges with the vehicle’s electronics and accessories...


Low Voltage and Electrical Interference: They Can Play Havoc with the Vehicle's Electronics

In a recent OTL article titled:  IMPROVING YOUR BATTERY KNOWLEDGE, we illustrate the importance of good battery maintenance.  In addition to a no-start condition, we cautioned that low voltage conditions and electrical interference could create some major challenges with the vehicle's electronics and electrical accessories... 

Troubleshooting Oil Filter Housing Leakage: What to Know About Chryslers's 3.6L Pentastar Engine

The shop had just performed a lube service on the 2014 Jeep Wrangler equipped with a 3.6L Pentastar engine. Days later, the customer returned with an oil leakage complaint. When parked on an incline, oil would pool beneath the vehicle and a foul odor was emitted due to the oil coming in contact with the hot engine and exhaust components. When it was determined the oil filter housing was the culprit, the vehicle owner returned to the dealer for warranty repairs.

Maintenance Really Matters: The Technician is the Maintenance Reminder Light

You are the maintenance reminder light and it’s not a job to be taken lightly. Your customers trust you with their second most expensive investment. The instrument cluster is filled with gauges and lights that reflect the operating conditions of the engine. Unfortunately, many vehicle owners have become accustomed to relying on these instruments or warning lights as the sole informer of any necessary services.

By-Passing the Oil Filter: It's Sometimes Necessary to Ensure Sufficient Lubrication

Oil filter by-pass valves come in many different arrangements. Some are buried out-of-sight within the oil filter and others may be mounted in the filter housing or oil filter cap and are clearly visible. For those applications, inspect and replace any damaged components or assemblies, as required.

Elusive Electrical Challenges: The Condition Could Be A Matter of Where the Vehicle Was When

A brief stop at a fast food restaurant resulted in a no start condition and a No Fob Detected message displayed on the Corvette’s dash. A roll-back was summoned and the vehicle started perfectly when arriving at the dealership. Lengthy testing failed to identify a reason for the mentioned symptoms. Two weeks later, parked at the same restaurant and parking spot, the no start symptom/message was repeated. Better prepared this time, the driver places the fob...

The Dynamics of Automotive Service: Veteran Technicians Adapt Well to New Technology

While visiting a shop, I listened as a young technician rambled on about the new technology and jokingly added how the older techs needed to retire. He claimed they were not as receptive to new technology and change; therefore they couldn’t keep up. My thoughts were considerably different. This tech-savvy newcomer cannot appreciate the changes the seasoned techs have had to deal with in their automotive careers...

Working Smarter, Not Harder: Doing More With Less

While some shops focus on increased car counts, others enjoy steady growth with fewer vehicles. It’s not magic…it is just a matter of performing inspections and making the needed service recommendations...

Engine Noise Complaints: They Could Be A Normal Characteristic

While engine diagnostics may not be your specialty, you may have to deal with engine noise complaints, especially if the customer is convinced the noise symptoms occurred following your lube service. Nothing is more frustrating than having to deal with an engine noise related symptom when you know the condition had nothing to do with your service or the parts and lubricant installed during the service...

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