July 2016 Archives - Import Car
Keys: What Are They Good For?

I’m all for technology, especially any technology that makes life easier — like keyless entry and push button starting systems, to name a few. As time marches on, certain things of a mechanical nature will be lost to electronics. Fewer cars are being manufactured that still have keys. Some only have a key fob and

Import Insights: Hyundai (July 2016)

The 2016 Hyundai Azera earned a top spot in the large car category in AutoPacific’s 20th annual Vehicle Satisfaction Awards (VSAs). The Hyundai Tucson SUV is the only vehicle in the small SUV category to receive good ratings for both driver and passenger in the latest Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) small-overlap crash test ratings.

ASE A5 Review: Disc Brake Service

Although it is impossible to determine what repairs might be needed until the brake assemblies are inspected, a preliminary road test can help pinpoint problems. During the road test, listen for noises and note any pedal pulsation or vehicle pulling when applying the brakes.

Automatic Engine Start-Stop And Lubricant Strength

Engines with the automatic start-stop feature have become a de facto standard in passenger cars and light-duty vehicles. One unfortunate consequence of frequent start-stops is that the tribological stress upon some critical engine components, such as bearings, increases significantly.

Subaru Pulse-Width Modulated Fuel Pumps

I think it might have been a 2003 Subaru WRX, but it was parked in front of my local Subaru specialist’s shop after going on its fourth fuel pump replacement from other shops in less than six months. Both the Subaru specialist and I agreed that fuel pump failures on Subarus were relatively rare, so the previous repair shops had obviously overlooked some very important details.

Cylinder Head Bolt Sequence

No doubt you have experienced this before while reassembling a cylinder head: You’re either refitting a newly machined head or changing out the head gasket and you can’t find the torque specs or the proper bolt sequence. The machine shop didn’t include the info when it sent the head back and the gasket packaging isn’t any help, either. So, the work has to stop and you have to go hunting for the specs.

Land Rover Air Ride Replacement

Land Rover was one of the first import nameplate manufacturers to adopt a four-corner air ride suspension on the Range Rover. Over the past 25 years, the system has become more refined and reliable.

Mazda Pressure Breather Hose Frozen, DTC P0451

Some vehicles may experience a MIL on with only OTC P0451 stored in the memory. This is caused by water entering and freezing in the atmosphere breather hose of the fuel tank pressure (FTP) sensor. For Mazda3s, this happens when the vehicle is washed in a high-pressure car wash. For the CX-7, this happens when the vehicle is driven on a wet road. To correct the problem, a modified breather hose has been adopted.

2016 Mazda CX-5
Galvanic Corrosion: The TPMS Killer

Some parts of the country are plagued by car-destroying corrosion. Whether the acceleration is caused by proximity to the ocean or by chemicals used for road treatment, corrosion can really take a toll on vehicles and the people who are dependent on them.

tpms corrosion
Variable Valve Timing

One of the ways automakers squeeze more horsepower and torque from an engine is by adding variable valve timing (VVT) to the valvetrain. A conventional camshaft has fixed valve lift, duration and timing; so, the grind is always a compromise between fuel economy, performance and emissions. But with VVT, duration, valve overlap and timing can be changed on the go to optimize engine performance at different RPM, loads and operating conditions.

New Wheel Bearing Technology

For an engineer, wheel bearing design and selection can be a balancing act between durability, cost and fuel economy. A large bearing might be great for potholes and heavy loads. But, there is only so much room in the hub and knuckle. Also, the larger bearing might have increased rolling resistance due to a larger sealing surface.

Autonomous Vehicles And Safety Technology

Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in an event of my own that was a mixture of Jurassic Park and the Jetsons. The Motor Equipment Manufacturer’s Association (MEMA) presented a Ride-and-Drive in Washington, D.C. where repair industry professionals, policymakers and manufacturers of cutting-edge vehicle safety systems got a chance to glimpse into the very near future.