BRAKELIGHT: World War II (April 1944)
At the start of World War II, Japan occupied the rubber plantations in the Dutch East Indies. This cut U.S. manufacturers off from the largest sources of natural rubber to make tires and products for the war effort. The U.S. solved the problem using rationing, recycling and lowering the speed limit to 35 mph. Another
Get Inside The Mind Of A Modern Transmission
The transmission game has changed. Solenoids, sensors and computers have replaced vacuum lines, governors and kick down cables on modern automatic transmissions. The tools have also changed: Scan tools, scopes and meters have replaced pressure and vacuum gauges. Even with codes and datastream information, you must be able to think like the transmission to find the correct diagnosis, which typically doesn’t involve replacing the entire transmission.
The Future of Air Ride Systems
When Mercedes introduced a hydraulic suspension in 1999 called Active Body Control, it was only offered on cars, not SUVs. The 2016 Mercedes Benz GLC features an optional full-support, multi-chamber air suspension system and electronically controlled, continuously adjustable damping.
Shocks and Struts: A Crucial Part of the Electronic Equation
When a vehicle’s ABS or stability control is really needed, how well it works is directly related to the tire’s contact patch. If the tire does not have traction, any type of electronic intervention or driving skill will not bring the car back under control. During a panic stop, weight transfers to the front tires,
Stop the ‘Warped’ Rotors Myth and Service Brakes the Right Way
Myths take hold because either A) they seem completely logical or B) they are so often repeated that they just become common knowledge. The warped rotor myth is a little bit of both. A rotor that contributed to a pulsation condition certainly appears “warped.” Plus, everyone says it — even technicians that know the rotor
TPMS Updates: From Reflashes to Refills
Tire pressure monitoring system technology isn’t “new” in the sense that some form of TPMS has been around since the mid 2000s, but these systems are still evolving as manufacturers update their functionality and work out kinks discovered over time. Here are some of the most recent technical service bulletins issued by OEs concerning TPMS
Are you afraid of selling alignments?
I am starting to notice a trend when it comes to alignments. It’s not the vehicles that are changing, but rather the attitudes toward alignment services — and it happens at independent repair shops, franchise shops and even dealers. The alignment bay is starting to become neglected as shops show less willingness to recommend and
Choosing the Right Brake Pad for the Right Customer
There is one simple piece of advice I try to live by: “Know what you know, and know what you don’t know.” This simple credo can save you from making mistakes and looking like a complete idiot. I am often asked for my opinion of a certain brand or application of brake pads, or which
Decoding the TPMS Wireless Signal
In order to properly service a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), you must first understand the functionality of the system’s wireless signal. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there about the TPMS wireless signal, which could get in the way of your diagnostics and your ability to sell TPMS service. For example, Googling
Brake NVH: Real World Applications
First know that all brakes make noise. When the friction material makes contact with the rotor, the coupling causes the brake pad and rotor to oscillate and vibrate. The components are locked as a combined system that will vibrate at the combined system’s natural frequency of vibration. This is called force-coupled excitation. The driver hears
Why Your Customers Believe They Don’t Need New Shocks, Struts
The old proverb of “walk a mile in their shoes” applies to selling shocks and struts. Your typical customer is not like you — their point of view is completely different. You have to understand what they know and what they value. You also need the patience to educate them on the importance of these
Electric Power Steering: Past, Present and Future
Electric power steering is fast becoming a standard feature on new vehicles, but it’s not an emerging technology, as it’s been in the field for the better part of two decades. One of the first domestic applications that almost made it to production was the Pontiac Fiero. The 1989 model was going to have an