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Articles by Mike Mavrigian

Taming Alignment in Winter

Taming Alignment in Winter

Proper wheel alignment is obviously important in terms of preventing premature tire wear, and to maintain predictable and controllable handling and braking. But in winter weather, where the customer encounters slippery conditions, wheel angles become much more critical. The effect of improper toe, camber and/or caster angles becomes more pronounced and are compounded as the coefficient of friction between the tires and the road are reduced.
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Luxury Car and High Performance Brakes

Luxury Car and High Performance Brakes

Premium-priced high-performance luxury cars tend to push the envelope in terms of braking system performance. While a disc/drum or disc/disc system found on any production vehicle is designed to provide safe and reliable braking, luxury performance cars tend to be outfitted with “spirited” driving in mind. As engine power increases, accompanied by the potential for higher speed operation, there’s more demand on the brake system, requiring the system to meet these challenges.
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Wilson’s Garage: Modern Technology with Country Pride

Wilson’s Garage: Modern Technology with Country Pride

Wilson’s Garage has been a fixture in Pfafftown, N.C., since 1950. Nestled in the hills that overlook the picturesque Yadkin Valley, about 35 miles south of the Virginia border and northwest of the bustling Winston-Salem area, Pfafftown was founded back in 1786. Since the shop opened its doors, it has earned an extremely loyal customer base that extends well beyond the borders of its classic “small town America” location.
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Tool Review: Steelman RT-4000 Pro -- A Combination Scan and Reset Tool That Does Not Disappoint

Tool Review: Steelman RT-4000 Pro -- A Combination Scan and Reset Tool That Does Not Disappoint

JS Products has recently released its new Steelman RT-4000 Pro “reset” tool. In addition to the capability to serve as a DTC scan and clearing tool (for 1996 and newer vehicles) via OBDII and CAN bus protocols, this nifty hand-held device allows you to easily reset service and maintenance-alert messages for battery, oil and service lights and to properly perform electronic parking brake service.
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Tool Review: OTC's Drain Plug Pro Tool Kit

Tool Review: OTC's Drain Plug Pro Tool Kit

Engine oil changes are a part of any shop’s routine. As we all know, one of the bothersome aspects of draining the sump involves hot, grimy, dirty, slimy oil oozing out all over your hand while removing the pan’s drain plug. Finally, someone took the time to develop a specialty tool that eliminates the mess.
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Shop Equipment: Lifts, Tools and Accessories

Shop Equipment: Lifts, Tools and Accessories

Outfitting your shop with all of the tools and equipment necessary to address current and future service requirements is a never-ending task, as vehicle designs change and as you strive to increase your shop’s productivity. Here we provide examples of innovative tools and equipment to consider.
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Emergency Ignored?

Emergency Ignored?

It should be standard practice to perform an overall inspection of every customer’s vehicle when it enters the shop, regardless of what specific repair prompted the visit. Inspections such as checking fluid levels, tire wear, belt condition, a visual inspection for leaks, loose or badly worn steering and suspension parts, a brake pad and rotor check, etc., should be included, as a pre-emptive strike to alert the customer to any issues that require immediate or not-too-distant attention.
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Servicing Suspension Struts Requires Attention to Detail

Servicing Suspension Struts Requires Attention to Detail

When a customer comes in and says the car is not riding “right” or there’s a clunking sound from underneath, it’s important to do a thorough investigation before jumping to any conclusions. When the vehicle has a strut suspension, you need to understand how all the components work together and which ones are most prone to wear. Here are strut service tips that should be used whenever working on vehicles.
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Where’s the Respect for ‘Parts Changers’?

Where’s the Respect for ‘Parts Changers’?

The knowledge and skill of technicians who diagnose and service today’s vehicles is critical to the success of any shop. Whether the required component replacement or system assembly is performed by the same specialized technician who performed the diagnosis or by a general service tech, the proper installation of a part is far from simple. So when someone makes a comment such as “he’s just a parts changer,” it makes my blood boil.
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E&M Motors Goes the Extra Mile

E&M Motors Goes the Extra Mile

E&M Motors is located in Stuart, Fla., about 40 minutes north of Palm Beach. The area is rich with history from Spanish galleon shipwrecks to hurricanes and even a story about pirate Pedro Gilbert, who tried to board a U.S. Merchant ship in the 1830s, only to be caught and executed.
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Make Shop Safety a Top Priority

Make Shop Safety a Top Priority

Shop safety is one of those topics that must be reviewed on a regular basis. It is also as enjoyable to discuss as sitting down to buy life insurance. I just hope my column reminds everyone to stop and take note of this important topic today.
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Rust Never Sleeps

Rust Never Sleeps

For those of us who reside in a “snowbelt” area of the country, city and county road crews have different approaches in their attempt to keep road surfaces clear and free of the slippery stuff (ice and snow).
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Tool Review: Sonic CV Boot Clamp Tool

Tool Review: Sonic CV Boot Clamp Tool

Sonic Tools is a manufacturer based in the Netherlands, with a U.S. headquarters in Alabama. I admit that I only recently became aware of the firm. The width and breadth of their line rivals any of the major tool providers that you may have dealt with. From screwdrivers to pneumatics to tool storage and everything in-between, they make it. Their catalog is absolutely mind-blowing.
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Complete Brake Service Tips: Service Guidelines to Aid in Your Diagnosis

Complete Brake Service Tips: Service Guidelines to Aid in Your Diagnosis

Brake service requires more than simply replacing rotors and pads. Rather than repairing the obvious issue(s), we need to determine the cause of the concerns to avoid repeating the problem. Taking the time to inspect the system will avoid comebacks and result in a satisfied customer. This brief article provides service guidelines as well as a variety of tips to aid in your diagnosis.
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Doing the Right Thing

Doing the Right Thing

Years ago, I wrote an article for our sister publication Modern Tire Dealer. I had the opportunity to spend a bit of time with the folks who ran a community-help program that was conducted by a tire dealer in cooperation with a local radio station, all based in a western New York state metropolitan area. The program was called “Captain Friendly.”
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