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Hyundai connector issues
Manufacturer Badge Misconceptions
Proper Diagnostics
Maintenance of todays Vehicles
Miss conceptions of hourly rates.

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Automotive Diagnostics
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Hyundai connector issues

I had a good one a few weeks ago that I wanted to share. A Hyundai car was having ABS issues. The light was on and they couldn't communicate with the module. They checked for power and ground on the terminals to the module by back probing them and everything tested fine so they changed the module with a used one. The same problem was there. They sent it to the dealer and they said the used module was junk. The customer went and got another one and it did the same as the other two. The dealer told them they needed to buy a brand new one and it would be fixed. This is when I get the call to get involved. I test power and ground at the module and it is there. We unplugged all the sensors and checked wiring between the module and sensors...it checked out fine. At this point I would have said bad module too. Then I remembered a problem I had with Hyundai O2 sensors. The plugs that mated together for the O2 sensor had pin grip issues. The pins in the plug didn't make a good connection. I asked the customer if the plug came with any of the used modules. One of them did. We took the plug and slid it onto the module and you could feel the difference between the plug from the cars wiring harness and the plug from the used unit. The used one was much tighter and slid on harder than the one wired to the vehicle. I advised the customer on how to splice the used connector into the vehicles harness. He called a few days later and said it worked. There are tools out there to test pin grip for most plugs and most people don't have them. If you are going to test electronics I strongly suggest buying a set. It could save you a lot of time and misdiagnosis.

Manufacturer Badge Misconceptions

All auto manufacturers have a "badge"to recognize who the manufacturer is. Ford has the blue oval, Chevrolet has the bow tie, etc... So some consumers will buy an automobile based on the manufacturer because they have become trusting in the product over years of use. I have done this myself with General Motors products. Here is where the problem sets in. Cars built today have a lot of computers and control units in them that talk back and forth to each other. Technicians need a special computer to be able to read what is being said from one control unit to another. Those special computers are the manufacturers specific computers used in dealerships or a universal computer sold by companies like Snap On, OTC, and others. When we see the badge on the car that tells us what computer to grab to be able to diagnose problems or program software into the cars computers. I just recently rand into a problem with a Saturn. Saturn was manufactured by General Motors before going out of business. The general motors Tech2 computer was used to diagnose and program these vehicles. Saturn decided to offer the Astra model that carried the Saturn badge but was controlled by German engineered computer systems. You could not do anything to this car electronically until you downloaded the special programming to the Tech2. Once that was done the platform that the program ran on was quite different than regular Tech2 software. I tried to call the technical assistance hot line for GM but they could not help me with any of my questions. I then called a few Saturn techs and they laughed and said good luck...."it is an Opal with a Saturn badge on it". So no matter if you are a consumer or a technician you were fooled by the badge of the vehicle which lead to hours and hours of time spent to learn this system to be able to service it. I do not believe it is fair for me to eat the billable hours trying to service this car. I also do not believe it is fair for the customer to have to pay for all the hours of time spent trying to fix this vehicle either. I recommended to send it to a GM dealer and they said they did already and the dealer said they could not do anything for them. I then split the difference of time spent on the vehicle with the customer and proceeded to fix the car that the GM dealer said they could not. 
     In closing I would like to remind you that just because the badge says a certain thing it does not mean it is that under the hood! Do your research before purchasing a vehicle so you are sure you are getting what you think.

Proper Diagnostics

Hello again. I am posting this information on my blog because I do not think there is enough consumer education on the subject of automotive diagnostics. I made this Infomercial to help try to educate you a little more.
 
 
   Thanks for watching
        Craig... AKA Mr Diagnostic

Maintenance of todays Vehicles

Old School vs New School
 
 
Do you remember when it was the smart thing to remove your thermostat in the summer to keep your engine running cool? I did it for many years. That was the old way where we did not have fuel injection and computer controls. If you are still practicing those habits it is time to stop! The engine computer controls the amount of fuel is let into your engine for optimum performance. It uses sensors to know what temperature the engine is as well as how cold the air that is coming into the engine. If the computer is programmed to run the engine most efficiently at 212 degrees and we remove the thermostat the engine will never hit 212 degrees. The colder the engine runs the more fuel it takes to keep it running. This is why it is so important to make sure your coolant system is up to par. I had a van with a 3.4 engine that had a thermostat stuck open. The temperature gauge hardly moved and the engine, while driving only got to 140 degrees. The gas mileage was around 14 mpg. I had my students change the thermostat and coolant. The temp gauge went up about half way and I was getting a lot better heat. After monitoring the gas mileage for three tankfuls,  I found my mileage went from 14 mpg to 20.75 mpg. The point I am trying to get across is.... Cars of today are more complex and sensitive to things that did not matter before. It is most important to follow the manufacturer’s scheduled Maintenance procedures for today’s cars for this reason. Yes it costs money to properly maintain a vehicle, but it will cost you more in hidden costs over a period of time if you choose to ignore the schedule. You will also have to replace the car much sooner by ignoring the manufacturer’s schedule!
 

Miss conceptions of hourly rates.

In this economy all of us are looking for the best deal. Unfortunately a lot of people equate the lowest hourly rate to be the best deal. Let me help you with that train of thought. Hourly rate has a lot to do with how much overhead a garage has. If a garage has state of the art diagnostic computers and a qualified technician to run them, they are not going to be the cheapest but will probably be more efficient than the cheapest. So lets say XYZ Auto is getting $55 per hour. This is the cheapest around and you want to save money so you go there for a diagnostic on your tail lights not working. They spend 3 hours trying to find out why these lights are not working and tell you it is because of the light switch. The switch will cost $100 for the part and another hour to change @ $55. So the total repair with the diagnostic charge would be $320.00. You tell them ok fix it. You pick the car up and it works for a couple of weeks and the problem comes back. You bring the car back to xyz and tell them the problem is back. They tie your car up for another day and say the switch went bad again and charge you another $55 for changing the switch out again but no charge for the switch because it was under warranty. So now you are at $375.00 for the repair. You drive the car a few more weeks and it happens again. This time you are mad and say I am just going to take it to the specialist for a second opinion. The specialist charges $100.00 per hour and finds the problem with in the first hour. It turns out you had a bad connection at the switch and it needed to be fixed. He fixes the connection in a half of an hour. Total cost to you at the specialist is $150.00 and the car never has the problem again. So you paid $375.00 at the cheaper shop for a repair that didn't fix the vehicle. The only reason why it worked for a few weeks is... every time they would unplug and plug the switch back in the connection would be good until you drove the car over bumps and used the lights causing strain on the connection. Then the connection would go bad again. The specialist that had the diagnostic tools and information data base to look into when problems like this happen. So the repair took a lot less time and would have cost you $150.00 total. Yes his hourly rate was more because he has to pay for the computers and information data base but his overall repair was less than half of what the "cheaper" garage cost. I see this day in and day out. I am the specialist charging $100 per hour with all of the computers and test equipment to pay for. I am also the guy that usually finds the problem with in the hour.
   I hope this helped clear up your way of thinking what a deal really is.

    Craig St John
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