An example of what goes into fixing your check engine light: We had a Nissan in that ran poorly and had a P0300 code which is a non cylinder specific misfire code. This code could be caused by any number of issues, some of which could be related to compression in the engine, an ignition misfire, a lean or rich running engine to name a few. This type of code in particular requires some skill and experience to resolve. I was working with Scott Hughes on this one; here's how we went about testing it. When a powertrain code sets, it will set freeze frame data. This data lists some of the most critical sensor and data values and the freeze frame is what this data read at the time the fault set. I like to check fuel trim data, which shows how the computer compensates for an imbalance in the air fuel mixture. I found the fuel trim for bank one of the engine was seeing a lean condition and adding fuel. Bank 2 was reading fairly normal. At this point we can feel pretty comfortable rulin ... read more
We had a Volvo in a while back and when I drove the car into the shop I noticed that the brake pedal was very difficult to operate as there was no power assist for the brake system. I did a quick visual inspection and found a portion of the brake vacuum tubing damaged. Engine vacuum is a critical component in making your brakes work properly, and with this damaged line, there was quite a bit more foot effort required to stop the car. We asked the owner about this and found that the car had been to another shop and quite a bit of work had been done in an attempt to fix this to no avail. The next recommendation was to replace the brake rotors as it was felt that the rotors were glazed. Other common issues of carelessness we see: Sliding parts that don't get cleaned and lubricated. These parts are much more likely to seize and cause premature brake failure.
Brake pads and don't move easily on the pad bracket, causing brakes to drag.
Cheap rotors with too much lateral run ... read more
Every time a customer visits we ask ourselves: what repair and service is mandatory in order to keep their import car in great shape, what's suggested but not immediately necessary, and how will this service benefit our customer? For instance, we know that basic services like maintaining fluid levels, regular oil changes, windshield wiper blade replacements, and wheel alignment services are important for all import cars whether it's a reliable Honda Accord or an ultimate driving BMW. If the engine temperature warning light is on and it needs to be diagnosed. That falls under "mandatory" because an overheating engine and the systems that monitor it failing can lead to major repairs down the road. Other examples of mandatory, even if there are no current symptoms to the driver, are suspenion components. Ball joints and tie rods with excess play that do not meet minimum specifications can be unsafe. Waiting for the engine to melt down, or a ball joint to break are clearly NO ... read more
Drivers of import cars wince when they hit potholes. That is my observation driving in the company of countless European car owners, like those who own firm-on-the-road BMWs. Actually it is a good instinct to perceive bad road conditions as a risk in any season for luxury foreign cars, even for those owning higher-riding Lexus SUVs. Yet I have noticed that once a car keeps going, apparently handling a pothole peril, the driver relaxes, forgetting the possibility of harm to the car—after all, the sensitive foreign car is still performing, having survived the “ooch” factor. Subarus, for example, are designed to handle rough terrain. In reality, however, that initial instinct a driver has about the danger a pothole poses is accurate. Imported cars can and do suffer serious consequences from the unexpected hits to potholes and other rough road hazards. Foreign car owners may not realize their imported cars need service or repair. Even when there's no indication, maintenance checks ... read more
I thought I'd start my blog with an introduction. My name is Greg Minnick and I'm passionate about fixing cars. Particularly foreign cars. I've always had an insane desire to take things apart and figure out how and why they work. I also love to learn new things, and when you work on cars every day, there are always new things to learn. I have the ability to read a book or technical manual and learn how to do something from what I read; my wife tells me that's unusual. I also have the confidence that I will be able to tackle a new job and that my past experiences, current skills and insatiable desire to learn will get me through the job successfully. My path has been fairly unusual, compared to most technicians. I started with small repairs on my parents cars, and then my cars. I've taken a few night classes but never completed an automotive technology program. Then, I held a variety of odd jobs including a few years working as a bike messenger in Washington, D.C.. I worked as ... read more