When an auto repair transaction turns sour, an important element is the communication that transpired between the shop and the customer. It often boils down to what the customer feels was promised and what the shop thinks is an unreasonable demand.
The auto repair environment can be full of obstacles to customer satisfaction. Working on a complex machine, under time and monetary constraints, lends itself to unfulfilled expectations. At the core of this is the communication deficit created by the language of auto repair.
Speaking the Language
Long before Magellan and Garmin GPS systems a friend once remarked that he didn’t know that there was anything in his car that had to do with driving directions. I asked what he meant and his response was,” Well I had to get my M.A.P. sensor replaced,” This incident points out a real problem with auto repair – its lexicon. Some of the terms seem to be designed to instill fear- master cylinder,universal joint and planetary gear are examples.
Other part names and terms use a sea of acronyms that bedazzle the uninitiated. “Your car came in with the MIL (Check Engine Light) on. The DTC (Diagnostic Trouble Code) tells us that it’s an under performing EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) valve. But don’t worry we’re replacing it with OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts specific to your TBI (Throttle Body Injection) equipped vehicle.We should have you out of here quicker than you can say EVAP system.”
What’s going on here? Is it just jargon or is it some conscious effort to keep you in the dark about your car? The answer is yes to both of these questions. There is a need within the industry to streamline the terms for the sake of efficiency, unfortunately the use of the terms many times carries over to conversations with car owners, who have little or no background in things automotive. And yes, in any sales scenario knowledge is power, so the less you understand the easier closing the sale becomes, but there is a remedy to that.
How Can You Help?
While no one would expect you to become a SAE fellow in the course of bartering for a brake job, it would be nice to learn something while you’re spending your money. So, the antidote to an avalanche of technical lingo would be to ask,”What does that mean and what will it do?”. You might want to pay attention to the answer because it may reflect on your auto repair shop’s willingness to educate and their confidence in their own expertise. A comfort level with imparting information usually indicates a higher level of knowledge. The antithesis of this would be the shop that responds, “You wouldn’t understand it even if I explained it.” If you get this response, it would probably be in your best response to demand an explanation or find yourself a new auto shop.
A resource for technical automotive terms is the Motor Era web site specifically http://www.motorera.com/dictionary. But you won’t have to go there for the meaning of the two bunches of letters I didn’t identify. MAP refers to manifold absolute pressure and the SAE is the Society of Automotive Engineers.
Are you nursing along an old refrigerator with coils on the back? While these old refrigerators are extremely “retro” in appearance, they do tend to overheat if not properly maintained.
One of the first signs of an overheating refrigerator is a slight burning odor which often smells like hot dust. That hot dust smell usually indicates that the coils aren’t being vacuumed enough or that the heat generated by the refrigerator has no place to escape. Here’s some simple instructions for keeping your refrigerator operating at its best:
Supplies and instructions
Supplies needed include a vacuum cleaner with a circular brush and crevice attachments, warm water and vinegar mixed up in a bucket and an old rag.
- Unplug the refrigerator.
- Pull the refrigerator away from the wall.
- Step behind the refrigerator and thoroughly vacuum both the coils and the wall behind the unit. The brush attachment works best, though the crevice attachment will be necessary to reach those smaller spaces.
- Wipe down the sides with vinegar and water, dry.
- Push the refrigerator back towards the wall, leaving a space of 4″ between the coils and the wall.
- Pull off the skirting beneath the front of the frig and vacuum up visible dust. Replace the skirting.
- The final step is to remove anything that you may have piled on top of the refrigerator. Items such as cereal boxes, liquor bottles, cookie trays, and table linens will prevent heat from escaping from the top of the unit which can also contribute to that overheating smell. After the top of the refrigerator has been decluttered, wipe down the surface with vinegar and water to remove dust. Dry.
- Plug in the refrigerator.
Regular vacuuming, adequate air circulation, and keeping the top clear of clutter is really all it takes to prevent an older model refrigerator from overheating. If the odor originating from the fridge smells like burning dust, these tips will fix the problem. If however, that burning odor smells like burning rubber, the refrigerator should be unplugged until it can be checked out by an appliance repairman of a residential HVAC company like Service Tech, Inc.
With the automotive industry booming and cars being an everyday part of life, car engines get better with each and every new release. Whether that be making the cars faster, sportier, or smoother, engine upgrades are the staple to the booming car industry. The last few years have been referred to as a revival of American Muscle as engines get lighter and more powerful with new technology. So today, I’m listing some of the most notable engines of 2019. Let’s get started.
1.3.0L (B58) turbo I-6 382
This engine can be found in the BMW M340i, Z4 M40i, X3 M40i, and X4 M40i. According to the BMW website, “the 3.0-liter petrol burner delivers a peak output of 382 hp at 5,800 – 6,500 rom, combined with a maximum torque of 369 lb-ft (500 Nm) achievable between 1,800 and 5,000 rpm.”
2.3.6L Pentastar eTorque V6 mild hybrid 305
This engine can be found in the Ram 1500. This engine boosts your power and improves your fuel economy. The eTorque system replaces the traditional alternator with a belt-driven motor generator that works with a 48V 12-cell lithium-ion battery pack. The eTorque also reuses energy during deceleration and braking to deliver charge to the battery pack. This engine also adds up to 90 lb.-ft of torque to the Pentastar engine in different driving situations.
3. 2.3L High Performance turbo 4-cyl. 332
This engine can be found in the new 4-cylinder Mustang that hits 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, and has a top speed of 155 mph. According to Ford, “90 percent of the peak torque is now available between 2,500 rpm and 5,300 rpm”
4. The 6.2L V8 490
This engine can be found in the new 2020 Chevy Corvette Stingray’s. It has 490 hp @ 6,450 rpm horsepower and 465 lb-ft @ 5,150 rpm torque. It also adds a cat-back exhaust and a different air intake.
5. 2.0L Atkinson I-4 212 hp total
This engine is found in the new Honda Accord Hybrid’s. These engines generate up to 143 hp and 129 lb.-ft. (175 Nm) of torque (on regular fuel), while the motor contributes up to 181 hp and 232 lb.-ft. (315 Nm) for a total combined system output of 212 hp, 16 hp more than the 2015 Accord Hybrid.
Just a side note though, if you’re a fellow Texan, check out one of our favorite local dealers, @AllenHonda. It’s a great place to go if you’re in the market for one of those 212 hp Accords with the Atkinson I-4 😁
And those are my picks for the 2019 engine line up! Stay tuned for my review of the 2020 offerings in just a few months.
While we’re all aware that almost every “average” car brand has its separate luxury brand such as Hyundai’s Genesis, Honda’s Acura, and even our favorite Nissan’s Infiniti. As customers, we’re seeing so many new, sportier, edgier designs from the base brands though. Looking at Infiniti and their most popular 2020 car, the Q50, starting at the base price of $36,400, is only about $2,000 from their new $34,250 2020 Nissan Maxima… (looking at the numbers sent me into a shock too!). So, “what does this mean?” you may be asking yourself. This means that while Nissan still claims Infiniti as their luxury brand, Nissan is just slowly starting to make that cross into being a luxury brand. According to www.thecertifiedautoplex.com, “ Luxury is used to categorize vehicles that are equipped with better performance capabilities, lavish interiors, and all the latest safety and technology features…”.
It has recently been brought to light just how luxurious mainstream brands have become. More often than not, you will find brands like Nissan with almost identical, if not more of those luxury features than their luxury brands. Call it a symptom of sharing parts between different models or a sign of increased disruption in the industry from upstarts like Tesla. Either way, the line between premium and economy is really starting to blur between Nissan and Infiniti. Want us to list off a few new performance capabilities? How about the new e-4ORCE for more front-end torque.
Nissan’s e-4ORCE motor provides instant torque to all four wheels to deliver balanced, predictable power and handling that rivals most luxury vehicles. Lavish interiors? Nissan has it. All of the interiors on Nissan vehicles offer sleek, edgy interiors, for those who like leather and don’t, there’s an option for everyone. Technology? Can’t be beat. The infotainment systems on every vehicle offer modern bluetooth features for all phones and so much more. You don’t want to miss out! Check out all of the Nissan features on their official website www.nissanusa.com. Live in Texas? We have a special suggestion just for you @Katy Nissan
Confused about what to buy? Don’t be! Check out our First-time Car Buying Guide
Have you ever thought “If I could only change one thing, I’d…”? If so, you’re not alone – Ford’s been thinking this way about it’s vehicles for a while.
Most car makers, including Ford, update their cars and trucks on a roughly six year cycle, with a “refresh” about halfway between major updates. In between these updates you generally won’t see big changes beyond updates to options and special editions.
Ford bucked this trend in the last decade with some important changes outside the normal update cycle, trying to fix “that one thing” that’s wrong.
In 2010 Ford gave the one-year-old Flex a telescoping steering wheel. The 2011 Mustang got new engines just one year into it’s product cycle. And then the 2011 F-150 , just two years removed from it’s last major update, got fitted with new engines as well.
The 4.6 and 5.4 liter V-8s from the 2010 trucks began life in the 90s and were probably the truck’s biggest weakness at that point. They had adequate power and OK fuel economy but did little beyond that. For 2011 Ford added a quartet of engines that really brought the line back to life and moved the F-150 among the class leaders in output and efficiency for the rest of the decade. Competition in the light truck market from Honda and others that were offering better MPG pushed Ford to modernize this iconic truck line.
The first of the new F-150 engines was a V-6, in this case a 3.7 liter shared with the Mustang! It has 302 horsepower and 278 lb-ft of torque, close to the old 3-valve 4.6 liter’s 292 and 320. This was really a decade in automotive history where ‘less was more’ and the internal combustion engine really pushed the envelope for what is possible with less displacement. V6 configurations were releases from 2010 onward that had more horsepower, and in some cases torque, than previous V8 builds.
and in some cases, the V8’s just got better…
Also from the Mustang is the 5.0L V-8, in this application making 360HP and 380 lb-ft. Despite the displacement disadvantage the new 5.0 easily beats the old 5.4L, which made 310 HP and 365 lb-ft. This additional power from a smaller engine demonstrates just how outdated the old engines were.
Upping the ante in high-trim versions of the F-150 was a massive 6.2L V-8 with 411 HP and 434 ft-lbs of torque.
The most intriguing F-150 motor, though, is the 3.5L EcoBoost, which used direct injection and turbocharging to achieve 365 HP and 420 lb-ft, slotting between the 5.0 and the 6.2. This engine was an early test of the concept of high-tech, smaller-displacement engines in truck categories traditionally dominated by big V-8s.
Besides the improved power, there were massive fuel economy improvements with these 2011 F-150 engines. The 3.7L V-6 earned a 17/23 city/highway in 4×2 duty, while the 5.0 V-8 got 15/21 (also 4×2), the same as the older, less-capable 4.6.
So Ford spent some of the last decade fixing “that one thing,” – the most glaring weakness of the 2010 F-150. What’s next for this iconic American truck brand? Will the electric version stack up against Elon’s Cybertruck? I for one, am excited to see what this new decade brings us from Ford!