I am pleased and honored to be working with the family at MD Publications and Undercar Digest Magazine. Since 1976, Muffler Digest and Undercar Digest have brought its readers some of the best technical articles on exhaust, chassis and brakes. The magazine is dedicated to shop owners and technicians who begin their vehicle inspections by looking underneath the vehicle before looking under the hood.

In time, all undercar shops have expanded their breadth of services, and so has Undercar Digest. You are just as likely to find an article on diagnosing the latest driver assistance technology as you are to find an article on brake noise elimination.

This is by design, not accident. Good shops and technicians fully understand that even the most technologically advanced safety systems still utilize the vehicle’s foundation brakes, steering and suspension systems to control the car faster and better than its human driver.

If the brakes, tires, steering or suspension are worn or incorrect, then the motorist cannot expect their vehicle’s stability control systems to operate as designed.

Brakes, exhaust, chassis and more all require both electronic scan tools and a deep understanding of fundamental mechanical knowledge to help keep more than 300 million cars safely on the road in the U.S. and Canada.

I began my personal career in the automotive repair market working in a muffler shop. On the table in the break room were well-thumbed copies of Muffler Digest. I read and learned about every nuance of the exhaust business – from welding and pipe bending tips to adding long and mean chrome tips – for every application. Soon, the magazine taught others and myself all about catalytic converters and emissions systems, just as my home state was implementing emission testing. As front wheel drive cars were flooding the marketplace, Undercar Digest was our best source of info for the learning curve between shocks and struts. By the time our shop got around to buying a new, electronic alignment system, the magazine was full of how-to articles regarding bushings, wheel bearings, set-back, thrust angles and steering axis inclination.

The OE-quality info regarding all the various types of anti-lock brake systems helped keep us up-to-date and our customers on the road.

Somewhere around that time, I began to notice the shop management articles in the magazine. I wanted to go back and see what I missed. There were articles on bay management, hiring and firing, customer retention, parts and labor pricing and on and on. Everything a shop owner or any tech who dreamed of being a shop owner needed was expertly communicated. And the information was always in tune with the changing marketplace.

So here we are decades later, and all the best parts and best features of Undercar Digest are still in place. CARB-compliant exhaust systems to Advanced Driver Assistance Systems; Diesel Exhaust Fluid to steering angle resets – from creating leaders in our industry to managing shop liability insurance, Undercar Digest is still delivering the goods – and more!

For my part as editor, I promise to uphold and maintain the standard that MD Publications has delivered for these past decades. The magazine has a full compliment of writers and contributors dedicated to sharing industry news and knowledge with you in a manner that helps your shop grow and profit.

You may find a few changes. For one, we would like to hear more from YOU. Let us know what topics you would like to discuss and what questions you would like to have answered. We promise to be responsive. We will solicit and share more information from manufacturers, vendors and technical schools so that shops can get the newest and most in-depth understanding of today’s landscape for automotive repair; and what it takes to thrive in the market. Look for more in-depth information on topics where appropriate. If there’s more information available, we’ll continue the article and further explore the topic in our Digital Update. You may just find a bit more humor in our pages, as well.

My own adventures in the automotive aftermarket have earned me the moniker, the “Standards Guy.” You can expect to see more information and commentary on how industry standards, along with Federal and State regulation affect technical, topical or management articles found in our magazine.

My goal in this industry has been to motivate all of us to Do the Right Thing, the Right Way, and for all the Right Reasons. Undercar Digest provides mission-critical, timely information allowing all of us in the automotive aftermarket to profit while accomplishing that goal.

I hope you enjoy all the information in this month’s issue of Undercar Digest, in our companion e-publication, Digital Update, as well as Brake Tech-Talk, Alignment Tech-Talk and, of course, Transmission Digest. And, we hope to hear from you as well.

Contact me at editor@undercardigest.com

Joseph M. Henmueller, Editor