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Articles by Mike Mavrigian

Today’s key fobs/smart keys provide convenience -- and cause problems

Today’s key fobs/smart keys provide convenience -- and cause problems

In these days of vehicle owner expectations for their vehicles to perform tasks that would previously require a minor physical or mental effort on their part, the remote “key” has become a mainstay of late model design. Rather than inserting a metal key into a tumbler lock (obviously a task that requires far too much effort and manual dexterity), we now expect to press a button on a wireless transmitter to perform this arduous chore of locking or unlocking the vehicle doors.
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Oil change intervals revisited

Oil change intervals revisited

There has been quite a bit of discussion among both the public and within the industry regarding engine oil change intervals. My opinion is that any engine’s oil and oil filter should be changed at a frequency of about 3,000 to 5,000 miles.
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The beauty of tools

The beauty of tools

One of the few things on this planet that is sure to always catch my eye is a clean, well organized selection of professional tools. A tidy tool drawer is one of those things that I can stare at and appreciate, much like a normal person might drool over a photo of a Victoria Secret ad (hey, nobody ever accused me of being normal
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Ball joint service: Insights and replacement tips for a variety of vehicle applications

Ball joint service: Insights and replacement tips for a variety of vehicle applications

Ball joint service isn’t always as straightforward as we’d like. Certain vehicles are prone to premature wear, some ball joints are not available separately from the OEM, theoretically requiring replacement of an entire control arm or steering knuckle assembly, and some are just downright difficult to access. In this article we provide insight and replacement tips for a variety of vehicle-specific examples.
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Tire pressure monitoring systems

Tire pressure monitoring systems

We've discussed the subject of TPMS (tire pressure monitoring systems) in the past, but this is a topic that can always benefit from an update. Considering the proliferation of TPMS in today’s market, it’s vital that we gain as much understanding of these systems as possible.
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Tool Review: Mac Tools cordless 3/8-inch wrench

Tool Review: Mac Tools cordless 3/8-inch wrench

The range of high-quality cordless electric power tools is quickly expanding. Torque and battery life is increasing, and the toughness and durability demanded by pro technicians is increasingly being met. To provide insight into a new offering, here we’ll review one of the latest Mac Tools cordless impact wrenches.
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Advances in ride control: Getting up-to-speed on electronic suspension control

Advances in ride control: Getting up-to-speed on electronic suspension control

Once upon a time, ride control simply referred to providing a vehicle with a comfortable driving experience while limiting excess body roll. This was primarily addressed by the automakers by the selection of the appropriate springs, shock absorbers that would dampen spring movement and anti-roll bars that somewhat tamed, or limited, excess body lean during turns or steering maneuvers.
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You added what?

You added what?

The ignorance of some customers continues to amaze. A buddy’s shop recently took in a 2001 Honda Accord with a “no brakes” issue. The car was towed in on a flatbed, since the customer was afraid to drive it to the shop.
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Tool review: Guardair Gun Vac

Tool review: Guardair Gun Vac

Roll-around shop vacs are handy devices that we’ve used for decades. Every shop has at least one that’s parked under a workbench. Plug it in, add an extension cord for dragging it to extended locations, suck up floor or bench debris, roll it over to the trash can, remove the top, empty the can, clean the filter, reassemble and store until needed again.
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Road work can be a good thing

Road work can be a good thing

Along, seemingly endless line of orange barrels or concrete barriers on a highway is never a pretty sight. It generally translates into traffic backups and longer commute times. However, there’s a bright side to this often aggravating scenario, with regard to demand for automotive repair.
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Wheel fasteners: Understanding the nuts and bolts of wheel clamping

Wheel fasteners: Understanding the nuts and bolts of wheel clamping

The threaded fasteners that secure the wheels to the chassis are perhaps the most critical components on any vehicle, yet they’re often the most overlooked and under-appreciated. Improperly sized threads or seat styles or improperly installed wheel fasteners can result in loss of a wheel and tire package (wheel separation from the vehicle) during vehicle operation. With that in mind, we need to pay more attention to these vital fasteners.
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Diesel fuel woes

Diesel fuel woes

I live in Ohio. I was born in Colorado when my dad did his stint in the Air Force, but my folks decided to move back to their home state of Ohio when I was just a pup. This never made sense to me... move from a spot where you can see the Rocky Mountains, back to the flatlands of the Midwest? Oh, well. Living in Ohio has its charms.
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Tool review: ACDelco angle impact wrench

Tool review: ACDelco angle impact wrench

Cordless power tools are becoming increasingly popular for shop use, primarily due to the convenience offered (no air hoses or power cords to drag around). This offering from ACDelco is one beefy cordless workhorse. Like many techs, I’ve been through my fair share of cordless tools over the years, some good, some bad, some great and some a downright waste of money.
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Catalytic converter diagnosis

Catalytic converter diagnosis

It is not uncommon for technicians to misdiagnose a driveability or emissions issue by blaming the converter. In many cases, it’s not the converter’s fault, but rather one of the engine components upstream from the catalyst. Yes, a converter can fail, but more often than not, the root cause might involve upstream components such as an O2 sensor, fuel injectors, spark plugs, EGR valve system, exhausts manifolds, vacuum hoses and MAF sensors.
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Tool review: OTC DEF refractometer -- Checking a customer’s diesel exhaust fluid concentration

Tool review: OTC DEF refractometer -- Checking a customer’s diesel exhaust fluid concentration

Starting with 2010 models, all diesel-powered vehicles in the U.S. feature a DEF system (diesel exhaust fluid). The purpose of the DEF is to reduce NOx emissions utilizing a management-controlled mist injection of DEF into the exhaust stream. DEF is a mixture of purified urea and purified water (refer to the May/June 2013 issue of Auto Service Professional for details regarding DEF systems).
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Changing a camshaft in the GM LS engine

Changing a camshaft in the GM LS engine

Servicing a camshaft in any overhead-valve engine requires a degree of disassembly, but in the case of GM’s LS-series of engines, the task is a bit less tedious, since there is no need to remove the intake manifold, upper engine cover or lifters. Here we’ll explain the process.
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Some people shouldn’t own cars

Some people shouldn’t own cars

We’ve all dealt with these types of customers from time to time. You know, the folks who amaze you with their vehicle ignorance. But since you’re a polite pro and don’t want to alienate anyone, you say nothing, just grin and bear it. (And then try to educate them.
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