Automotive Scan Tools and the Modern Car

Thanks to the increasing complexity of modern automobiles over the past few years, most professional auto shops and garages now require a selection of automotive scan tools with which to carry out day to day diagnostic work in order to pinpoint any problems with an engine or engine management system in order to discover what action is needed in order to effect a repair with the minimum of error and maximum efficiency.

There are a variety of different tools available to carry out diagnostics and scans on different types of car and to prepare to repair as effectively as possible. Knowing in detail what issues are causing a car engine to behave in a particular manner is the key to being able to correct the fault in a timely and effective manner.

Perhaps the best known manufacturer of automotive scan tools is OTC, who make a range of tools designed for the highest quality and best price. A comprehensive range is available to enable mechanics to be able to tackle any job they come across, and the range of OTC automotive scan tools is recognized as one of the top choices for the professional, as well as being affordable enough for domestic use under certain circumstances.

Different jobs require different tools, and some are more complex than others. Typically, any job to repair a modern car begins with plugging the scanner into the engine management computer and downloading a log of current performance date. This will include fuel consumption, and time since the last service. It will give the mechanic a complete overview of how the engine is operating, and where there might be errors occurring. The scan will show the mechanic examining the engine whether there are any problems with the fuel supply, the electronics, the air filters, and the running temperature, it will also provide plenty of insight into whether any problems are related to an issue within the engine itself, or indeed within the way the management system has been set up.

A complete diagnostic of a car’s engine management computer system will typically offer an almost immediate list of the performance details for the vehicle, and a good automotive scan tool will shave hours off an otherwise lengthy repair task, as the mechanic will be able to tell almost immediately what is wrong, and what needs to be done in order to repair the damage.

Of course, technology only works well in the hands of those who understand it, and are able to sift through the data provided through a scan and interpret it correctly. However, the latest OTC automotive scan tools have been designed to be almost fool proof, and are able to draw on the experience and insight of hundreds of different programmers and mechanic’s personal records in order to provide a more accurate overview of the data and even present possible solutions to many of the most common problems that a mechanic might encounter.

While some manufacturers release their own range of tools, that are aimed at main dealers, a commercial mechanic may deal with many different models and manufacturers in their day to day role, and this is why it is often an idea to purchase OTC automotive scan tools, as they will be compatible with a range of different vehicles from different international makers, and therefore offer greater flexibility without having to compromise on quality or pay repeatedly for scanners for every single car that is on the market.

While commercial level automotive scan tools are expensive to install and themselves require regular system updates that carry the latest settings for every new vehicle released, they pay for themselves almost immediately thanks to the time that they are able to save, and the fact that without them, even the most experienced mechanic would struggle to discover the inner workings of the latest car engines, which have been designed to be efficient, and robust, but are increasingly too complex for anyone but the experts to consider carrying out any work on.

Your Automotive Transmission

If you don’t know a lot about cars, you may run into some problems if you don’t learn at least a few things that can help you if it is acting funny. There are many important systems that you have to worry about, though some are pretty self sufficient. If you don’t know about your automotive transmission by now, you should learn a little about it. This is something that most people can not fix on their own, but you can keep it full with necessary fluids and you can also learn what it feels like when it needs attention by a mechanic.

Like oil in your car, you have to know how to check your transmission fluid. This is not something that you have to do a lot, but it is something that you must know something about for the sake of your car. For some cars, this does not need a lot of attention. A new automotive transmission should be fine as it is in a new car for quite a while before this becomes a problem. However, if there is a problem with your transmission, this is one of the first things that you should check and have topped off. It may run perfectly fine after that.

Sometimes, it may be more than your fluids if you are having problems with your automotive transmission. There could be more going on that needs immediate attention by a mechanic. In some cases, you may have to have a new one installed if the old one is not an easy fix. It can be hard to get to the automotive transmission in some cars, so even if you know something about them, don’t attempt to take one out and open it up unless you are positive that you can put it back where you found it. These are expensive and you don’t want to mess one up on a whim.

Before you can decide if you need automotive transmission fluid or a check up with a mechanic, you have to know what indicates a problem with your transmission. Some people that have been around cars for a while can feel it ‘slip.’ which means it is not going into gear as it should. If you have ever driven a manual automotive transmission, this is probably easier for you to pick up even if you are now driving an automatic. You can generally tell, after a while, when your car normally shifts. If your engine revs higher than normal before it shifts, something is off with your transmission.

You may notice other things as well with your automotive transmission. If you put your vehicle in reverse and the engine revs a bit and then it feels as if your car jerks into the reverse gear before it actually moves, your automotive transmission is starting to have problems. You may notice that it takes a while to go into any gear. You can ignore this for a while, but it will get worse if you don’t give it some TLC at the local garage before it totally gives out. It is one of the most expensive repairs on a car, so take care of it before it goes that far.

Automotive Service Manger Training Process

Cars require regular maintenance and repairs. A mechanic does the physical work on the vehicle, but the service manager ensures that the dealerships service department is well run and managed. Automotive service manger training requires years. The manager needs skills gleaned from work experience, education, vocational training, and certifications in the automotive field.

Service managers are usually employed at a car dealership or a vehicle service operation. Budgeting is one of the chief responsibilities of the manager. They are charged with creating the operating budget, but also making sure the department stays within the budget parameters. They have to make sure costs remain within their projected expectations. They also have to set the goals in regards to profits. Quality assurance and the high ethical standards of the operation also fall under their purview. The manager is in charge of hiring and supervising employees, especially mechanics and technicians. It’s important that the manager make sure all employees are up to date in their training and applicable skills. This insures that customers are receiving the best service possible. They oversee everything that happens in the service department of a car dealership.

Both the service manager and general manager strive for the highest CSI or the Customer Satisfaction Index. Good customer satisfaction is the hallmark of a service department. These skills are an essential part of a managers training.

An ever-increasing number of people who are involved in an automotive service manger training process have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree from a college or university. Suggested concentrations are in computers, automotive technology, electronics, mathematics, and business. Training can be done at a technical college, community college, or through a certification program.

There are a large number of academies and vocational schools that offer certifications in automotive service, many of which can be an asset to a service manager. Dealerships appreciate varying amounts of education, training, and experience when choosing a manager. Education and experience are equally important in a manager’s training and preparation.

The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence offers several professional certifications that boost an applicant’s qualifications. A well-qualified manager should have these certifications. Many service managers already have ASE Service Consultant certification prior to beginning their automotive service manger training. Having such a certification shows a solid understanding of how to perform vehicle repair and maintenance.

Technical knowledge is essential to the manager’s role in regards to quality assurance. They must know how the work is best performed and problems diagnosed, in order to be able to review and evaluate the work of technicians and mechanics. Ten to fifteen years of experience in the field of automotive technology and mechanics prior to becoming a service manager is an industry expectation.

Automotive GPS Units – Practical Technology

Prior to the invention of automotive GPS units, traveling to unknown areas had to be done through reading a map and/or asking for directions. Both methods had problems. For instance, how can one effectively read a map while driving? Map-reading is only best if there is another passenger in the car, which isn’t always possible. Asking for directions can also be annoying, at least if the person giving the directions does so in a manner that is not as clear.

Fortunately, with the emergence of automotive GPS units the process of map-reading and getting directions has never been easier as each can be done either through voice activation, touching the screen, pushing buttons or a combination. Maps pinpointing the exact location pop right up on the screen, while directions can be given through a computer-generated voice. Nothing could be easier or better. The only issue is deciding which automotive GPS unit should be purchased. This article will serve as a guide telling consumers what they should be on the lookout for when choosing automotive GPS units.

The first area of consideration when buying automotive GPS units is seeing how accurate the device is. One way to determine this is by how many channels the GPS unit has. This is because more channels means the unit will be able to communicate with a larger number of satellites, resulting in more coverage. Another way to determine the accuracy of most automotive GPS units is through how its antenna is designed. Make sure the antenna is placed in an area of the unit where it will be able to stand freely.

The next thing to think about when looking at automotive GPS units is size. There are some automotive GPS units that will not be portable. Onstar, which has to be installed in one’s car, is an example of an automotive GPS unit that can not be moved from car-to-car. Many other automotive GPS units vary in portability.

Thirdly, perspective buyers of automotive GPS units should take notice of a unit’s interface. More expensive automotive GPS units will contain voice-activation and/or touch-screens, while cheaper ones can only be used through a series of buttons. If another person is in the car, using buttons is not as bad, but if only the driver can use the unit, it is important that it be as hands-free as possible. It is also important to try to get an automotive GPS unit that has the capability to give directions through a computer-generated voice. Doing so is another way to ensure that the driver of the car keeps their eyes on the road and nowhere else.

The software that the automotive automotive GPS unit uses is also critical. Most top of the line units have very good mapping software included with the unit. However, as time passes the mapping software becomes out of date. You should make sure that you automotive GPS units software is updated at least once every 6 months. Frequently there is cost for this service but if you live in fast growing urban environment then it is a good investment. Your automotive GPS unit is only as good as its operating and mapping software.

Radiator & Auto Cooling Systems the Basics

It can be said that to auto owners their radiator and cooling systems are at least familiar to them. Since an automobiles’ radiator and cooling hoses are readily visible under the hood, and it is estimated that up to 4 out of 5 vehicle owners routinely top up their own glycol anti-freeze liquids this is no major revelation of motoring maintenance to most.

Overall and to summarize the cooling system of your vehicle – be it car, truck, or SUV does exactly what its name suggests – it removes, reduces and fundamentally its function is to remove heat from your engine system expelling this waste heat into the nearby air. Without this essential cooling system of your “power-plant”, the heat built up from the exploding gasoline vapors (in a gas engine), would soon overheat and ultimately ruin your engine. Interestingly on the other hand, automotive cooling systems are not nearly as essential to the running and ongoing maintenance of diesel engines. Diesel engines last a lot longer than gas ones overall. Diesel fuels are essentially waste oils; they do not burn as hot. Additionally the fuel oil provides great lubrication for the pistons as they slide in their shafts, whereas in gas engines the gas vapor provides no lubrication and on top of that serves to wash oil off the engines’ cylinder walls.

Your cooling system is built so that a mixture of ethylene glycol antifreeze liquid and water flows into the passages cast into your engine block, where it absorbs heat. A water pump – generally a belt driven device, running directly off your engine itself, circulates this hot coolant liquid mixture, through the engine and then out via a standard auto coolant hose into the radiator of your vehicle.

To increase air flow through the radiator – in an effect to get more cooling power out of your rad system a fan draws air through the fins or tubes on the radiator itself. These fan systems used to be driven almost exclusively directly off another belt on your engine, now many are electrically driven, thermostatically controlled units.

How does the cooling system work overall? Waste heat from your engine is conducted via your engine “block” to the coolant fluid. Then the fluid is circulated by the water pump unit, through the channels of your engines’ heavy metal block, through the rubber coolant hoses, which you should be easily spotted when peering into your engine compartment. These coolant hoses pass from their fitting on the engine ultimately to the radiator. Thus the hot antifreeze coolant carries the engines’ waste heat from the engine directly into the radiator where the air flowing (or drawn by the working rad fan) expelling, diluting and exhausting waste excess heat from your vehicles’ motor into the nearby air.

An autos’ cooling systems runs so well, and are generally so dependable in their functions and functioning that few give the coolant and heat system its due – until problems occur. Generally it is either a case of overheating due to excessive vehicle draw, or slow driving in very hot temperatures and climates with low coolant fluid levels. However interestingly another case in point where a malfunctioning cooling system draws attention is in cold climates where a vehicles interior heating may not be not be enough coolant fluid or circulating antifreeze to allow for the vehicles’ interior car heater to warm up its occupants, or defrost the autos’ windshield sufficiently for automotive safety & driving concerns.

Maintaining Your Classic Car

Classic cars have a look and feel which harken back to a simpler time for the auto industry and the country. These works of art have power and grace that is just not reproduced in today’s automotive world. But these rare and beautiful cars are still aged, even when they’ve been rebuilt. So there are many tips on how to make sure that your classic car stays cherry for all your years of use and appreciation.

Get and Consult Owner’s Manual – Maintaining a classic car is no easy feat. These beauties have been through a lot of driving in most cases, and many of these cars, depending on make and model, have very specialized and specific maintenance and service needs.

Some cars require the addition of lead agent to replicate the conditions they had when gas was not unleaded. Some require special oil or fluids in order to best operate within the difficult to replace engine.

Get the Right Part – Many cars now have various manufacturers who make third-party pieces to help repair and maintain vehicles. However, older cars aren’t so readily swapped out with pieces from different cars, which usually means classic car owners will have to consult secondary markets to get all the parts they need to service their ride.

Fortunately, the internet allows car enthusiasts to acquire automotive components directly from manufacturers or in chat rooms and forums where people with like-minded interests go to talk about their cars and help keep their vehicles running optimally.

Pull Out all the Stops – Whether your car is for show or for your commute, you should still spend extra money making sure your car is protected from the inside out. More expensive paint jobs and waxes and sealants can be vital to keeping the elements out of your vehicle and causing unsightly and expensive rust.

Make sure you pamper your classic car, which should be cost-effective considering how reasonably-priced all classic and older vehicles are in this lagging economy. Have fluids changed and replaced like clockwork, and don’t expect it to give you thousands of miles on tens of pennies.

Classic vehicles are living pieces of American industrial history, and they are a treat for the drivers and for spectators alike. However these older vehicles have special needs which must be accounted for to have the longest, most problem-free life for the car that’s possible. Don’t play around with the fluid levels and maintenance on your classic car, those vehicles can give you a lot as long as you give them what they need to perform.

LED Technology In The Modern Automobile

I was reading an article in a motoring magazine on the dramatic development of the LED and the impact it is having on modern automotive design.

One of the topics of discussion was the wake up call it is giving to the automotive industry. One very influential demonstration was at a motor show that had the release of the Jaguar C-XF and while this would not be the first show car to have LED’s it was considered one of the most dramatic.

The debut was at the Frankfurt Motor Show and used LED’s to provide a very dramatic visual presentation. The display was kicked off by the press of the Jaguars start button.

First was an impressive display, some would say ‘explosion’, of blue lighting that began with the instrument panel, then flew around the cabin, combining after encompassing the rear seats. Along with this was a burst of more blue projecting itself down from the interior roof lining, at the same time the grille suddenly burst into life with a glow of LED lighting, very impressive.

And to finish the flash of feline impressions (well it is a Jaguar) the headlights had streaks of blue bisecting each of the rectangular elements.

Another leading example of LED technology in the automobile is the Audi R8. If you see one in the daytime you will notice daytime running lights under the main headlights, these are LED lamps. But don’t think it stops there as the Audi R8’s complete headlamp assembly, including the turn flashers, and the main and dipped beams are LED’s.

The LED first made its mark in the automobile at the rear of the automobile. The 3157 LED and its derivatives found favor with the engineers as brake lamps as they reach full intensity faster than the traditional incandescent bulb. They are now used in many car tail lamps.

And some companies have taken this to the next level. BMW has some that increase in brightness as greater pressure is applied to the brake pedal. Mercedes Benz have the brake lights pulsing rapidly when the automobile is braking heavily.

Technology is allowing today’s automobile manufacturers to provide many entertainment and other computer based systems that have the potential to load up the cars power supply. So any device that can assist in reducing the energy consumption has suddenly become very attractive.

This is one of the key drivers that has lifted the LED to the top of the automotive lighting wish list.

This energy saving is not the only driver as one of the other benefits is the life of the bulb. The LED’s will outlive the automobiles to which they have been fitted. The owner will never have to replace a light bulb again.

Some of the other benefits include the ability to ‘tune’ the light so that the light emitted is closer to daylight. Also for automotive designers the constraints on shapes disappear as they are extremely flexible in the shapes that can be achieved. Also the heat generated is a lot less so lightweight plastics hi strength plastics can be used.