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  • Jim Wilder

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    On the Cover - Annual Shop Survey

    Annual Shop Survey. With the new year upon us, Undercar Digest salutes all the shops and their team members for their diagnostics and repair expertise that keeps vehicles rolling down the highway.

    (Cover design by Undercar Digest Creative Director Elise Haverstick)

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  • "Bullitt" Mustang Goes on Display
    Wednesday, January 2, 2019 2:47 PM
    One of the most iconic movie cars of all time, a 1968 Ford Mustang GT 390 Fastback – the “Bullitt” Mustang – has found a new temporary home. It will be on display through April 25 at America’s Car Museum (ACM) in Tacoma, Wash.
  • Be More, Do More, and Give More
    Thursday, January 3, 2019 2:10 PM
    I was asked by many of my friends, “What are you going to do with yourself if you retire?” This question was presented to me years before my retirement. I never really thought I would retire from a trade that I loved, but I still started to prepare, just in case.
  • R&R Tech: The Jeep Patriot with a really bad rolling surge
    Thursday, January 3, 2019 2:04 PM
    Sometimes despite your best efforts you can still manage to shoot yourself in the foot. The following account is a prime example: While this happened on one specific vehicle, it could happen on any number of vehicles where the cause is the same, but could have different end results.
    One of our shop locations had a 2011 Jeep Patriot that came in on the back of a tow truck. The customer stated that it started making noise and then quit moving. This one was an easy checkout; the vehicle didn’t move in any direction, had metallic-looking fluid, a horrendous bearing noise, and had a P0777 (secondary pressure control solenoid stuck on) code stored. Even though this one was pretty much a slam dunk in the way of diagnosis, we still needed to go through our complete evaluation procedure.
  • Reflashing – Explain it to the Customer
    Thursday, January 3, 2019 1:59 PM
    Computer reflashing is a process that some shops do, some shops shy away from at all cost and some shops have outside-service specialist vendors who have vans come by to reflash as needed. The first step in computer reflashing is to determine whether the customer’s car and what system on it might need reflashing.
  • Photo Tech: In-Car Battery Testing – Including Hybrids
    Thursday, January 3, 2019 1:54 PM
    In-car battery testing is the way it is done today. Various test instruments attach to the battery themselves or to the diagnostic connector and can give you a state of charge of the vehicle, both while it is being driven and while it is sitting statically in your shop.
  • Your Management Consultant: Look – A Squirrel!
    Thursday, January 3, 2019 3:10 PM
    Life as a shop owner or manager can be very demanding. We face a constant barrage of distractions. Think about a typical day. A tech needs a minute to show you some marginal ball joints and then an equipment representative needs just five minutes to pitch you something that is the latest and greatest. Next, is your service adviser asking if it’s OK to take an out-of-town check from one of our best customers’ brother? Suddenly you hear a gut-wrenching crash in the shop. It turns out to be nothing after all but it sounded awful. Being the reactive problem solver is like a drug. It makes you feel good in the moment. The long-term effect is we spend all of our time in this mode and almost no time in the proactive mode of eliminating these distractions so we can plan the future and work on our business in the right way.
  • Management Matters: Where & How You Work Can Affect Your Health
    Saturday, December 1, 2018 12:00 AM
    You all asked for it! It started with what should have been a simple note. It was from a reader who wondered what impact the various chemicals in the shop had on a tech’s personal health. Having just completed an overview for a local newsletter regarding the value of organic vegetables and the impact of food chemicals one would think I would have been warned. But not me.
  • Social Media Marketing The new ‘word of mouth’
    Saturday, December 1, 2018 12:00 AM
    The best type of marketing has always been word of mouth. If a friend recommends a business to me, I am all ears because my friend has credibility. They know me and they have no ulterior motive. Think of social media as a place where people hang out and chat. It is the online equivalent of a group of neighbors congregating at the end of your driveway on a Saturday afternoon. It is that simple. We all have busy lives and that sometimes means we don’t have as much time for actual visiting, but we do have time to stay in touch on social media.
  • Buying Property for a New or Added Shop Without Tears!
    Thursday, November 1, 2018 12:00 AM
    A real life story. In 1997 I considered the purchase of a commercial building to house my businesses. To make it doable, I was looking at a large building in partnership with another business owner who had a towing and RV business. It was a perfect match.
  • Quality Plus Automotive Service: Mechanic Becomes Businessman Too
    Saturday, December 1, 2018 12:00 AM
    Randy Bunn, owner of Quality-Plus Automotive Service, Raleigh, N.C., grew up fixing things, but it wasn’t until he became a businessman that he turned his shop around to be profitable. Today, his business specializes in Honda, Toyota, Acura and Lexus – and his service bays stay full.
  • Sunsong: Made for Technicians
    Saturday, December 1, 2018 12:00 AM
    Four years ago when Don Keeling walked into various warehouse distributors’ offices and explained that he worked for Sunsong North America Inc., it wasn’t uncommon to see blank looks on their faces. “They were like a deer in the headlights for those first sales calls,” he said. Keeling explained that Sunsong aftermarket brake-hose assemblies are sold under the Sunsong brand, but also by a wide variety of brands through various channels of the aftermarket including warehouse distributors and retail outlets.
  • Finding the Mother Lode of Vehicles
    Thursday, November 1, 2018 12:00 AM
    Chip Broemmer’s career educating the next generation of technicians has been sandwiched between two hitches in automotive repair, a long early span with Toyota and a recent venture, Advanced Car Care Center in Strafford, Mo.
  • Continental Commercial Vehicles & Aftermarket
    Thursday, November 1, 2018 12:00 AM
    Leaders at Continental Commercial Vehicles & Aftermarket consider their company being more than one that just offers replacement parts. In a world where some aftermarket parts producers compete mainly on price, many distributors and shops are turning to Continental because true OE product eliminates warranty issues, costly comebacks and dissatisfied motorists.


Undercar Digest serves automotive-repair facilities involved in undercar services that include brake, exhaust and chassis diagnostics and repairs. It also covers a variety of other repairs including drivability. In addition to shops, our readers include manufacturers, warehouse distributors and parts stores that serve them.

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