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Brake booster valve – ASE practice questions (VIDEO)

Description A customer states the brake pedal falls slightly when the brakes are applied while starting the engine. Technician A says that a faulty brake booster check valve may be to blame. Technician B says this can be caused by a leaking brake booster diaphragm....

The final days (and cars) of AMC

In the last days of AMC, two employees brought a video camera into the Kenosha, Wisconsin plant to document the end of an era. Billy and Danny take a thorough tour of the old AMC buildings and production line, which was producing its last L-body Plymouth Horizons and...

What is a core charge?

The article title is a question I asked when I was a young counterman, and most of you oldtimer mechanics and parts people of course know the story: the core charge is a way to be sure the smoked part makes its way back to the parts counter. A core charge is a deposit...

How do you inspect a serpentine belt for wear?

Performing a visual inspection of a car part is usually the first step in assessing its condition. In the case of the serpentine belt, any sign of physical damage to the belt means the belt should be replaced, and may indicate the need to more closely inspect the...

The importance of testing engine coolant (VIDEO)

How to test for blown fuses in a car or truck | Fast and easy methodDescription Dorman Training Center instructor Pete Meier explains why you should be testing engine coolant on vehicles in your bay. With a simple test strip, you can quickly check the coolant's health...

How to use a refractometer

I used to feel real dumb when I didn’t know what a tool was. After fixing things for a bit, I have come to learn that there are a lot of specialized tools and the only dumb thing is not learning about them. So when Dorman Trainer Pete Meier showed up recently with a...

Transfer cases: Married vs. divorced FAQ (VIDEO)

There is a paucity of divorced transfer cases fitted to vehicles traversing the roadways in 2024. In fact, some technicians—especially younger ones—aren’t even aware a setup beyond the married arrangement exists. If you’re unfamiliar with them, our own Technical...

Don’t let the grind of fixing cars wear down your love for ‘em

by | Jul 4, 2023

Fixing automobiles all day is tough. The work’s too hard, the customers get ornery, the money ain’t what it oughta be, working conditions aren’t always the best, and the hours are too long.

In spite of that, I have yet to meet a tech, service writer, or counterman who is in the biz due to a lack of options. To the contrary, most of the people I know who fix ‘em up and make ‘em go all stick with this line of work for reasons far beyond business. At many auto parts stores in America there are hot cars in the employee spots. The owners of those hot cars are often behind the parts counter, selling to support their own buying habits. Similarly, it’s a rare shop that doesn’t have a few gearheads, beat from a long workday, who find time to tinker after-hours with racecars, boats, and motorcycles.

Junk car racing and crowd watching

The demo derby is always a good time. Photo: Lemmy.

If you’re down in the dumps, maybe the business aspect of, well, the business has dragged you away from what makes the motorized vehicle universe fun. We’ve written before about ways to reconnect with the fun side of cars, and while I like a good junk junket as much as the next person, I do something a little different. To get my motor mojo back, I make a habit of attending or participating in local auto events. I recommend you do the same.

Whether you’re at the local mall to watch an autocross event or stumble into an impromptu car show at the ice cream shop one evening, watching customers, colleagues, and community members really enjoying their cars is just invigorating. It’s easy to forget not every car is used for commuting.

Preston Tucker

A very awesome Power Wagon being shown at an ATCA event. Photo: Lemmy.

My regular circuit includes trips to a third-mile dirt speedway, a park that hosts ATCA and AACA shows, a fairly steady diet of demo derbies, the country’s largest RV show, and a ton of antique motorcycle swap meets. I also will pony up for tickets to truck pulls or monster truck shows whenever one comes to town.

And you know what? I have a hoot at all of them. I don’t care if I’m watching a couple locals duking it out on the blue dirt at Turn 2 or seeing the latest display at one of the nearby car museums. I really don’t tire of shifting my focus to the part of the automotive world driven by enthusiasm and fun rather than dollars and cents.

Dirt track cars racing

Dirt cars at the speedway. Photo: Lemmy.

If work is a slog, take a few minutes and go see what’s going on at your local car club chapter or dragstrip. You might make some friends, see some neat cars, and you’re probably going to help out a venue and organization that could use some financial support.

It works for me. Maybe it could work for you, too.

Bigfoot monster truck

Monster trucks rule. Photo: Lemmy.

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