DIY AC Recharge Questions

automotive freon with leak stopCar air-conditioning recharge season is almost here. Since a lot of people who visit this site are inclined to jump into some do it yourself auto repairs I thought I would tackle two of the most asked questions about DIY AC recharge that I have received here on the automotive information blog.

Several law abiding citizens asked me if it was against the law to charge their own car air-conditioning at home. I had to do a little research on this question because I really wasn’t sure of the answer and I figured that it might depend on what State you live in. After doing some research over at the EPA website and looking around for individual State laws it would seem that most follow the EPA guidelines from title VI. Continue reading

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