Tech to Tech

Makeover of a Plug-In

Redesigned Chevy Volt undergoes inspection. Is the second generation better than the first? There have been no redesigns of any plug-in cars except the Chevy Volt. The Nissan Leaf did get a larger capacity battery pack and the motor/inverter underwent changes, but the body and chassis stayed the same. Tesla has new models but not […]

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Serviceability Report: Honda CR-V

Which model year is easier to service: the 2011 or the 2016? I started my career as a motorcycle mechanic in the late 1960s. The local Honda shop needed a helper. After a day, I was hooked. I worked for peanuts and loved every day at Sportsman’s Cycle Sales in Holden, Mass. Today, I still […]

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Data Driven Decisions

Armed with smartphones, Google and Amazon.com, customers are repairing their own rides. Sometimes, experience-based information systems can help diagnose a vehicle. I said sometimes because these systems can lead a technician down the wrong diagnostic path. As independent repair professionals, we have an array of information systems to choose from – OEM to aftermarket – […]

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Chew on This

Curious tech sinks his teeth into a start-stop problem with a Prius hybrid. My check engine light came on in my Prius,” one of my customers told me. “Is it OK to drive it home?” “Is it running OK?” I asked her. “It seems to be running fine. I just need to get home. Then […]

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Serviceability Report: Toyota Prius Gas/Electric Hybrid

How easy, or hard, is it to service the Gen III vehicle? For more than 15 years, Prius has been known as the quintessential hybrid. Sales have been so strong that at one time there was a waiting list, and almost 50 percent of hybrids on the road were Prii (plural for Prius). Comedians have […]

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DIYs or Bunnies?

When fuses get “smoked,” don’t go bonkers. Instead, do a deep diagnostic dig. With vehicles staying on the roads longer than ever before, we’re seeing more age-related issues with our customers’ cars. With age comes the increasing probability for human intervention in the form of aftermarket alarms, stereos and exterior lighting. A recent multi-hour, hide-and-seek […]

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Perplexing Puzzle: Grand Cherokee – Something ‘crazy’ causes systems to quit.

The speedometer drops off,” my friend Lee told me when he brought in a Jeep Grand Cherokee he wanted fixed. “Then the gauges quit and all the warning lights come on. This thing has been acting crazy on and off for a couple of years. Nobody can figure it out.” The Jeep belonged to a […]

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Serviceability Report: Kia Soul

Let’s take a look at Kia. Is it easy to service? Kia was a poorly made car when this Korean car company brought its 1994 Sephia to America. Kia made cars for Ford/Mazda prior to 1994, but most people had no idea where they came from. Remember the Aspire from Ford? That was a Kia. […]

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Age-Related Issues – Call for Alternative Measures

More issues call for more diagnostic ‘what-ifs’ With the average age of vehicles on the road hitting an all-time high of 11.4 years, I continue to revise my path of diagnostic “what ifs?” The preponderance of age-related issues creates the need for me to consider alternative pathways to identify the root cause, especially when diagnosing […]

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Serviceability Report: Honda Fit

Honda makes great small cars. How does the new Fit stack up? Hondas are a favorite of mine. So being critical of Honda is not easy for me. This month, we will examine the 2015 Honda Fit and see what happened when it was redesigned recently. The Fit went on sale in the U.S. on […]

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