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  • Hub Cleaning: It’s More than that!
    The term “hub cleaning” is a bit of a misnomer in that we are not removing grease or dirt from the hub. Instead, we are descaling it or removing rust and particle buildup that has become embedded, or through corrosion become part of the hub face. Before entering a discussion of this subject you must clearly understand why this area is of concern.
  • Road Testing – Make it Happen
    Road testing is a skill, or at least it should be. As with almost any other task in the automotive aftermarket, some people are better at road testing than others. Many perceive road testing to be an overall simple no-brainer type of operation, so it’s something that is often skipped. You should really give it its due.
  • Technically Speaking: Washing Rotors
    Occasionally opportunities present themselves unexpectedly. As I was preparing to start this month’s Technically Speaking article, I received a phone call asking if I would be interested in some input or assistance from a acknowledge industry expert in the brake field. I’m never one to turn down an opportunity to listen to another’s point of view, especially when it’s an experienced professional opinion. So, I put these questions to Bob Peters, chief engineer, friction material engineering of Akebono Brake Corporation.
  • Technically Speaking: Training – What’s Best for Your Shop & Technicians
    Training today is radically different from what it was even a few years ago. In the old days, technicians would wrap up work early and head for a training class sponsored by someone at a local parts store or technical school. Those days, although not gone, are very rare indeed.
  • Bulbs & Wiper Blades – Can You Afford Free Installation?
    This edition of Technically Speaking® is going to make people hate me more or love me more than they do normally. Realize that many retail auto parts stores today offer free installation of wiper blades if you buy the blades from the auto parts store. Is this a good deal? The answer in some situations is, “Yes.” Is this a removing-frustration deal? The answer in almost all cases is, “Yes.” Customers hate installing wiper blades.
  • The Need for New Alignment Systems
    There are many shops across the U.S. that still use bubble gauges and drive-on racks for the front of the vehicles, but no rear slip plates, and other older methods for doing alignment. It is true that you can do an alignment this way, but it is very difficult and somewhat limited in its range of accuracy if your equipment isn’t working perfectly. These older methods are time-consuming and, in many cases, not profitable for your shop.
  • 5-Gas Analyzers – Still an Important Tool
    Our editorial calendar called for an article on five-gas analyzers, but because I’m primarily a brake, alignment, chassis and an undercar electronics guy, I immediately sought out an authoritative source. My good friend at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Tim Janello, recommended that I meet Alina Piton, who is a senior in the Automotive Technology Program and is very experienced with five-gas analyzers.
  • Stay in the Aftermarket – You Don’t Have to Turn a Wrench
    Being involved in the automotive aftermarket doesn’t necessarily point to a technician in the service bays. That’s only one part of the picture and in fact, not even in some cases, the dominant part.
  • Excessive Chassis Movement
    Vehicle owners today have become very accustomed to not repairing their cars until they get what is commonly referred to as catastrophic failure. Catastrophic failure may be defined as a disabled vehicle with its wheels or some other component not looking like it should parked on the side of the road. You may find suspension components that have popped apart, struts that have broken or body components that have literally rusted away and no longer support the parts they are attached to.
  • Muffler & Pipe Advice - Mission Impossible: Pancake Problems
    Some years ago, California had some emissions rules that did not make much sense. I am not talking about emissions systems, such as catalytic converters, but it applies to the catalytic converters and rules that were set up.
  • Muffler & Pipe Advice - Just a ‘Muffler Guy’
    So, I am sitting in a management program with Bob Spitz as our instructor. My wife Marilyn and I are the only automotive exhaust shop owners who have attended his training class, so Bob, with his sense of humor, referred to me as the “muffler guy.”
  • Muffler & Pipe Advice: Building a quarter-wave tuner
    First off: What is a quarter-wave tuner?  All of us in the exhaust industry have either experienced that harmful drone in the cabin of our vehicle, or the cabin of our customer’s vehicle, especially if the vehicle has an aftermarket exhaust system. A quarter-wave tuner, or as some call it a quarter-wave resonator, is a device that helps eliminate that nasty interior sound that we call a drone.
  • Drivers, Start your Engines!
    Many of us are waiting for next month’s Undercar Digest to see all the hard toil that techs have put into their project vehicles for the “Magic Machines” section. Most of these vehicles are in pristine shape and only venture outside the garage on warm, sunny days.
  • Say ‘NO’ to Crack!
    Crystal lite, fine; Diet Coke, that’s OK as well; but crack, absolutely not. How many times have we heard the saying “No to crack.”
     
    Of course, I am not giving a lecture, but talking about those darn cracks near our catalytic converters and oxygen sensors. Getting those trouble codes directing you to a lean condition, may be a little misleading in some cases.
  • Exhaust & Emission Controls Source

    Receive the leatest information on automotive exhaust-system & catalytic-converter technology from industry experts. Click here: The Exhaust & Emission Controls Source.

    Also, don't forget: Alignment/Chassis Source and Brake Source.

    See the Latest State-by-State Listing of Warehouse Distributors & The Products They Supply!

  • Management Matters: Already Feeling the Winter Doldrums?
    Here in the great state of Wisconsin, we already have snow and we’re changing oil in our snow blowers, checking the shovel inventory and buying the bags of salt. And, the winter race is on!
  • Management Matters: Too Small To Worry? Hardly!
    The attorney across the desk said we had three options when my grandfather died:
     
    1. Figure out how much money we owed for the shops, auto inventory and the rest in estate taxes and write a check. It wasn’t happening, there was not enough money.
    More...
  • Management Matters: Making Money On Performance

    This month we learn how to make money with high-performance services. After all, high-performance work is enjoyable as a rule, and we sure all like the vehicles. However, we can’t operate as charities for very long and keep our businesses afloat.

ABOUT US
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.

All rights reserved. No part of these publications may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, contact MD Publications, Inc., PO Box 2210, Springfield, M0 65810-2210
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