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Parallel connectors vs. butt connectors

Dorman makes an item to join wires, the parallel connector, that is both helpful and widely misunderstood. If one reads reviews of these, they’re often rather negative. More than a cursory examination yields the issue, however: these are often purchased mistakenly by...

Vehicle weights are increasing. Can your lifts handle it?

Average vehicle weights in the United States have steadily increased since the mid 1980s, driven by sustained consumer demand for vehicles with more power, features, and room. Hybrid and electric vehicles can be especially heavy with their batteries and motors,...

Diagnostics case study: don’t overcomplicate things

A vehicle recently came to me that made me feel pretty terrible. The customer was not happy, and I know for a fact the shop lost money on the job, so presumably they were unhappy, too. The vehicle—and scenario—seemed ripe for a quick story, because there were so many...

Do you mind working on customer vehicles equipped with dash cams?

When you spot a dashboard camera inside a customer’s vehicle, how do you react? At this point I think we have all seen dash cam videos from customer vehicles that capture what mechanics are saying and doing at work. Some recordings are harmless fun, like this chap...

The story of the very first reverse gear in an American car

Making a car go backwards was not the most important part of the automobile’s development, but it sure is important in its operation. In fact, if the average automobile enthusiast was to guess which American-built car had the first reverse gear, he or she would likely...

Are automakers starting to rethink OTA microtransactions?

Over a year ago, I wrote a piece on this very media hub about the trend of auto manufacturers offering customers over-the-air (OTA) microtransactions to unlock options on their vehicles. I talked about what Tesla, BMW, VW, and Kia had introduced in that area, and...

Junkyard therapy. It’s my kind of therapy.

Junkyard therapy. It’s my kind of therapy.

For some folks it’s fishing. For others it’s golf. But when I feel like dropping off the grid for a couple hours of “me” time, I head out for a walk in the park—in the junkyard. Actually let me clarify that, because not all junkyards are the kind of junkyard where I...
The worst cars are the best classrooms

The worst cars are the best classrooms

In my line of work it helps if you like cars. It helps even more if you love ‘em. Which I do, and far more than they deserve to be loved as inanimate objects. That misplaced affection—along with the fact that I bore easily—also helps explain why I’ve had so many....
March Automotive Horoscopes

March Automotive Horoscopes

Aries: The rhythm in your current workflow gives stability and predictability. Don’t lose it! Your service writer will have plenty of work for you soon. Lean on your focus to plow through your list of tasks, and use any down time to organize your personal space. You...
TECHNICIAN CHALLENGE: The Mystery Box

TECHNICIAN CHALLENGE: The Mystery Box

TECHNICIAN CHALLENGE: The Mystery Box Description So much in the repair world relies upon feel—but it’s not so often you don’t have sight to aid you in your work. Watch as a few Dormanites attempt to identify auto parts using just the sense of touch and...
Your customers are using their HVAC systems wrong

Your customers are using their HVAC systems wrong

“Hey, you. Yeah, you driving with your windows all fogged up on the inside. I’ll betcha 10 bucks there’s one setting on your ventilation system—you know what, let’s make that two—that you’re using completely wrong for the conditions you’re driving in.” You probably...