Tech to Tech

Give ’Em an Upgrade

Your customers expect authoritative advice. So check out these examples for making their cars better than new. Our customers rely on us for our wisdom and experience, and this is of upmost importance when we have a chance to make their vehicles better than new. Two recent examples illustrate opportunities that I had to improve […]

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Serviceability Report: Ford Fusion Hybrid

The 2017 118-hp, 2.0-liter model looks good, but is it? Ford Motor Co. saw the light in hybrid technology with the introduction of the model year (M/Y) 2005 Escape hybrid. Since then, they’ve made many improvements and gained market share. Fleets fell in love, as the Ford hybrids are reliable, fuel efficient and roomy. Bill […]

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A Hard-Start Mystery

This 26-year-old Jeep Cherokee requires a bit of investigation, but if you follow the clues you’ll reach a solution. If you’ve been working in an independent shop for a while, you’ve seen your share of Jeep Cherokees come through your door. Throngs of four-wheel-drive enthusiasts love them, and the vehicles come to us in all […]

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Cracking the Codes

In Colorado, two cars with failed (I/M) 240 tests suggest the vehicles’ owners must seek help. In Colorado – and elsewhere, I’m certain – P0442 codes can be counted on to bring cars into our service drives. But in Denver and other heavily populated, pollution-producing areas in the state, we have an additional layer of […]

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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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