1230 points
I've been a professional mechanic/technican since the late '70s and now I own my shop and specialize in electronics and computer control diagnostics on American and most Asian vehicles. I supplement my own training and even my shop by traveling around the country as a continuing educational instructor. My image is a compression test on a Volvo S40 using a pressure transducer and it shows the exhaust camshaft incorrectly over advanced. Check out my blog, "Autotechtitude" at In my blog I'll take you inside the world of today's diagnostic technician and you will see the tools, strategies, triumphs, and of course some of the lessons that are learned the hard way that every technician experiences.
Recent Activity

Question Answered: We had our gas tank replaced and now the gas light won't go off and the mechanic
October 31, 2013, 05:56 PM
Is the fuel gage reporting the correct fuel level? The way the system works is the sending unit is connected to the fuel injection computer and it then sends the fuel level data out to the other computers in the car that need that information. The instrument cluster only gets the fuel level data, and it alone decides whether to turn the low fuel light on/off based on that information. The cluster should react to bi-directional commands from a scan tool and be able to operate that lamp. If that doesn't work the cluster may need repaired.
Question Answered: How can I completely omit antitheft system?
October 31, 2013, 05:51 PM
Copper ring? If the transceiver is what you are referring to, it simply gets the PATS keys identification code and transmits it on the data bus to the PATS module. The transceiver can be replaced easily with no programming required. The right way to approach this is you need a suitable scan tool and pull codes to confirm if the PATS module is getting the key ID or not. There is no eliminating the system, but a qualified tech can restore it efficiently.
Question Answered: Why is the diagnostic taking so long?
October 31, 2013, 05:42 PM
Unfortunately today it happens that a vehicle can present with a problem that does outclass a shops abilities. Top techs use equipment like PICOSCOPE, pressure transducers, and all of the common tools as well as scan tools to troubleshoot everything today. Many who would be recognized as masters in the past have fallen behind and often don't even know there is a better way. After this long its time to move your car.
Question Answered: while driving power windows will fail immediatly after that fuel pump will quit
October 27, 2013, 05:19 PM
There is a common issue that causes the car lose the fuel pump and the power windows, there is a ground connection under the carpet under the drivers feet for all of the mentioned circuits. Its still important to prove that the ground connection is the problem first, but it is really common.
Question Answered: I am coming up with a code of P1372, what is this and can i fix it
October 27, 2013, 05:11 AM
The PCM is reporting an erratic crankshaft position sensor signal to the PCM that exceeds variations that would be typically related to a misfire. There are reports of damage to the pick up wheel that the sensor creates it signal from. It is also possible that it could just be the sensor itself beginning to fail.
Question Answered: How much should it cost to replace a fuel pump? Cost to replace head gasket?
October 27, 2013, 05:00 AM
The fuel pump is likely in the four hundred to seven hundred dollar range. Issues from corrosion of the fuel lines, and whether you need to do the entire pump assembly or just the pump will impact the cost. As far as needing a head-gasket you must plan on sending the heads to a machine shop to have them tested and potentially resurfaced at the same time. Expect to be in the $1500 range for that, and it could be higher depending on historical service habits and the machine shop costs.
Question Answered: I have no dashboard lights nor tail lights. I have checked all fuses.
October 27, 2013, 04:54 AM
It is typical of many manufacturers to provide power for the dash lights from the parking lamps circuit. If you lose the fuse for the parking lights you do lose the dash lights and that serves as an alert to a potential issue. Did replacing the fuse restore the lights or not? If they have gone out again did the fuse fail again, and if so how long did they work again before that occurred?
Question Answered: Brake hose removal
October 27, 2013, 04:51 AM
I'm not aware of anything abnormal with those, can you post or email a picture of the hose and line connection?
Question Answered: 02 sensor
December 06, 2009, 07:33 PM
A little more exact information is required. You could be referring to both up stream sensors which are close to the manifolds. The two downstream sensors, which are between the light off and main convertors for each bank, or you could be referring to an upstream, and corresponding downstream sensor for one bank. B1S1, Bank 1 Sensor 1 is the rear bank up stream O2 sensor. B1S2 is the rear banks down stream sensor. B2S1 would be the upstream sensor for the front bank, and B2S2 is the downstream sensor for the front bank.
Question Answered: ABS Malfunction?
December 06, 2009, 07:28 PM
Reports of this symptom are commonly caused by the ABS module seeing one of the wheel speed sensor signals becomming erratic, which can mimic a wheel locking up. The ABS MIL coming on means the system is coding and the ABS module may have identified a faulty wheel speed sensor circuit if the MIL is directly related to the false ABS commands.
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Comment: Right to Repair
November 15, 2013, 04:00 PM
Its been over a year, what changes have occurred since the legislation passed?
Comment: How Does GPS Work?
November 15, 2013, 03:51 PM
I've often fancied the idea of having someone like George Carlin (rip) as the voice and talent for providing directions and the inevitable recalculation. I doubt he'd be able to hide his disdain for failing to follow his directions......
Comment: Cars That Drive Themselves
October 25, 2013, 06:57 AM
Cars that can drive themselves and other amazing gadgetry come with an often ignored downside and that pertains to the cost of fixing some of this stuff when the car is now in the hands of the second or third owner. Combine that thought with several other articles about the diminishing numbers of qualified technicians, and what the scan tools and software to support these systems cost the independent repair shops and all I see is a real nightmare in the future.
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