by Sam Dillinger (comments: 0)

How Does A Vehicle Get A Recall?

airbag recall

There’s a saying that only 2 things are certain in life — death and taxes. They should add a 3rd to that list: car repair. It’s going to happen whether we like it or not. Your vehicle will need repairs as it carries you through your day to day life, this need becoming more likely as the car ages. The auto repair industry has ballooned into a juggernaut of the business world, accounting for over $250 billion in revenue per year. When the vehicle is new, and has a manufacturer’s warranty, or with some type of extended warranty (read here for more about extended warranties), your out of pocket expenses will be limited, or nil. As we all know, once the warranty expires, the expense falls directly on your shoulders for any repairs needed. However, that doesn’t always have to be the case. A manufacturers recall can change that, at least for the repair named in the recall. So how does that happen? Who decides what’s going to become a recall, and how do you find out if your current automotive problem is covered by a recall?

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by Sam Dillinger (comments: 0)

Brake System Basics

brake system basics

Other than being able to get you to where you're going, the most important function of your car is to be able to stop before you hit anything when you arrive! We’re going to take a look at some of the important things to know about your braking system as an every day driver. We’ll start by looking at the mechanical side of the brakes, and then take a peak at the hydraulic side of the equation. The more well informed you are about how something works, the better you can use it!

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by Sam Dillinger (comments: 0)

Why Is My Transmission Slipping

my transmission is slipping

This is a question I get asked an awful lot- “why is my transmission slipping?” When I get this question, it’s always with good intent, but it’s almost never with any qualifying information. The reality is that this question has just about as many answers as there is types of transmissions. One transmission may slip for a reason that wouldn’t cause that in another transmission. One transmission will have components in it that could be the culprit for that unit, but those parts don’t exist in your neighbors transmission. So let’s take a look at some of the qualifying information needed to answer a question like this, and some of the reasons for why your transmission could be slipping

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by Sam Dillinger (comments: 0)

2007 Toyota Camry 3.5 L V6 With a Misfire

2007 toyota camry with a misfire

Today we’ll be taking a look at one of my customers who came to me with several problems that all had an underlying cause, as well as one unique thing that is important for everyone to watch out for. So we’ve got a 2007 Toyota Camry with a 3.5 L V6 engine and we’ve got P0031, P0138, P0453, and P0606 for our Pcodes. Let’s take a look under the hood!

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by Sam Dillinger (comments: 0)

2007 Volkswagen Touareg 3.6l 09D Trans P0715 and P0720

vw touareg p0715 and p0720

Today we’re going to take a look at a transmission problem a customer contacted me about for a 2007 VW Touareg with Pcodes P0715 and P0720. These Pcodes mean: Input/Turbine Speed Sensor Circuit Malfunction for the P0715, and Output Speed Sensor Circuit Malfunction for the P0720. Most of my readers that are a little familiar with auto repair will be saying “wait a minute, those sensors don’t both go bad at the same time!” While in most cases that’s true, it may not be for this application. Let’s take a closer look.

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by Sam Dillinger (comments: 0)

2005 Chrysler Pacifica P0420

bad catalytic converter

The next submission we’re going to be looking at is from a customer who has a 2005 Chrysler Pacifica with a 3.5 liter V6 engine and is getting the Pcode P0420. SPOILER ALERT: the culprit was a bad catalytic converter. Why am I saying that so early in our look into the issue? Easy, this is by a very wide margin the most common cause of failure for this Pcode. There are certainly other issues that can cause it, but they’re definitely the exception and not the rule, for this vehicle and engine combination. However, read on, and I’ll explain why a proper diagnosis is so important even for Pcodes like this, that have a specific failure almost all of the time.

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by Sam Dillinger (comments: 0)

Selecting replacement auto parts

getting the right car parts

This topic seems pretty straight forward on the surface of it: when you've determined what’s wrong with your car, or what’s broken, you call a few places, pick the cheapest one, and go get your parts. Simple, right? Actually, no. Let me explain.

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by Sam Dillinger (comments: 0)

Why Are Transmission Repairs So Expensive?

internal transmission

This is a question that I get asked on a pretty regular basis, why are transmission repairs so expensive? There is a long answer (really long, technical, and boring, actually) and there is a short answer. First, the short answer: difficulty. By difficulty, I mean the difficulty of diagnosing the failure in a transmission. Believe it or not, taking a transmission apart, and putting it back together, isn't as hard as you think. It’s similar to a jig saw puzzle. There are a bunch of strangely shaped pieces that don’t appear to have any intelligent design, and don’t seem to fit together at all. Once you get passed that, and the monumental task of removing the transmission from the vehicle, rebuilding a transmission is a cinch! In all actuality, rebuilding a transmission is slightly easier than the diagnosis, but it’s still pretty complicated. Back to the question at hand though, the difficulty in diagnosing a transmission problem stems from the fact that you have 3 systems working together to make the transmission operate. Any of the 3 can fail and act exactly like one of the other 3 is at fault. Let me explain.

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by Sam Dillinger (comments: 0)

2001 Dodge Caravan 3.3 Liter Engine P0720

dodge p0720

This Pcode is talking about the most dreaded system of car repair: the transmission. I have more questions about transmission related Pcodes and repairs than anything else. I even have professional shops contact me for diagnostic assistance with transmission Pcodes and other failures. The reason for this is because a competent technician is well versed in all systems of the engine, fuel system, A/C, brakes, etc. The transmission is almost a whole separate field. It’s completely different than any of the other vehicle systems because it combines hydraulics, mechanical components, as well as electrical components to operate collectively… Just to engage drive correctly! Ok that statement is slightly over dramatic. In reality the transmission uses all of those components to do pretty much everything it does across the range of it’s functions. Transmission diagnosis and repair requires a dedication to that specifically because the amount of information for that “single” component is staggering in scope. Realistically to become proficient at transmission diagnosis and repair, you have to dedicate yourself to that solely, and you have to spend a LOT of time learning. Enough about that, let’s take a look at what our customer is bringing to us today.

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by Sam Dillinger (comments: 0)

A quick memo on tire pressure

what's the tire pressure for my car

I’ve noticed over the years that I’ve been fixing cars, sometimes I lose touch with what other people do and don’t know about the vehicles we all depend on for so much of our every day lives. Recently my wife called me to tell me that one of her tires was low on air and she wasn't sure how much to put back in to make it safe to drive on. I tend to take things like this for granted because I’ve had to put air in a tire probably 100,000 times in the last 20 years, so it’s absolutely second nature to me. Taking her call reminded me that sometimes the things I take for granted can be essential information that other people might not know. So in the interest of helping people in every way I can, let’s go over the basics of tire pressure, and related problems. You might be surprised at what you didn’t already know about it!

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Meet Sam Dillinger

My name is Sam Dillinger. I've been a professional, dealership technician for 18 and a half years. My first introduction to mechanical repair was when my own vehicle broke down in the fall of 1995. I was 18 and couldn't afford to pay to have it fixed. So I borrowed tools and asked a ton of questions and, eventually, was able to replace the clutch on my truck by myself. During the course of that project, I found that I really enjoyed having a wrench in my hand and figuring out the puzzle of disassembly and reassembly of a motor vehicle.

Meet Sam