Diagnosing Cars with Android

Android car diagnostic program

As a mechanic or do-it-yourselfer you have to love it when things that you use every day like a tablet or cell phone can be used to diagnose problems with cars. This article will focus mainly on diagnosing cars with android as I have purchased a Nexus seven and the torque android app to connect my Bluetooth elm 327 to the 7 inch tablet. But if you are an Apple product fan, all of these products work just as well on many of the Apple powered devices such as the iPod touch, and IPads of all sizes. I have a 5 minute video posted below that is slowly gaining traction on YouTube.

It shows off the advanced features of the android torque app. I held off jumping into this arena of using cell phones and tablets to interface with an automotive computer because they just didn’t work well when they first came out. Although they may not be bug free the connections and compatibility is much improved from just a year ago. In fact my OBD II android application automatically updated yesterday and it seems to work even better then when I first got it.

When I discuss using android powered devices to diagnose automotive problems with my fellow mechanics they start asking tough questions that I thought you would enjoy the answers to. Continue reading

Auto Repair Flat Rate System

flat rate mechanicThe following article is just my opinion on the flat rate system. After being involved with automobiles for just shy of 30 years I have seen a lot of things change in the retail auto repair business. As a matter of fact I have seen huge changes in the world that surrounds this ecosystem.

I could write an entire article on just how the automobile has changed in the last 30 years and maybe I will in the near future. But not only has the car changed but so has the people who drive them and the tools used to fix them. The economy has changed as well. The way that businesses conduct themselves has also changed over the years. But one thing has not changed since I’ve been in the business of auto repair and that is the flat rate system.

Sure a few shops pay mechanics by the hour but by and large dealerships and aftermarket repair centers are still sticking to some type of flat rate system to compensate mechanics. What I don’t understand is in this modern environment of adapting and changing to better service customers why this antiquated system still remains. In my opinion it’s stopping this business from evolving into a customer focused and value driven service that people could embrace instead of loath. Continue reading

Frozen Windshield Washers

frozen washer fluidTo follow will be some information on how to deal with frozen windshield washers. In a perfect world washer fluid would never freeze even on the coldest days in the coldest regions. This is why they have the blue colored windshield washer fluid that contains an anti-freeze to prevent this from happening. As a professional car mechanic I can tell you that even though your windshield washer fluid may look blue sitting in the bottle there could be a fair amount of water mixed in with it.

First of all many windshield washer fluids only protect to a few degrees below freezing. Often this is the $.99 cheap stuff that you might find at your local big-box retailer. Heavy duty fluids can cost a few dollars more but if you live in a cold environment this could be money well spent. When you take your vehicle in for an oil change and the shop is responsible for topping off the fluids all too often they stretch the cheap and weak windshield washer anti freeze by adding water to it. It still looks blue but doesn’t have the protection from freezing like when it was full strength. Continue reading

Cadillac Turn Signal Bulbs

turn signal fog lamp assembly

This article will provide in-depth details about how to replace Cadillac turn signal bulbs that look like the one pictured on the right side. This bulb has two filaments and it also lights up for the daytime running light function as well as the turn signal and hazard flashers.

This also covers the high intensity fog lamp located in the same compartment. The specific pictures and instructions to follow cover any first generation Cadillac SRX from 2004-2009. But I do believe that the CTS from 2003 to 2007 have the same exact set up.

The reason I decided to post a how-to article is because replacing this bulb is a lot harder than you would expect. It took me a couple hours of poking and prodding before I accepted the fact it required pulling stuff apart to reach it. I will dig into details of exactly why below. I provide pictures of what’s necessary to get access to the Fog lamp, daytime running lamp and turn signal sockets. Continue reading