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representatives of the automotive repair industry have developed a code of ethics to demonstrate to consumers the high standard of service used by participating companies. The code was developed by the Maintenance Awareness Program (MAP), a group of automotive repair companies and trade associations which is administered by the Automotive Parts & Accessories Association (APAA).
“Developing a code of ethics is an important step in fostering two- way communication between the repair industry and the customers we serve,” said Lawrence S. Hecker, APAA president and MAP chairman. “The code encourages consumers to have high expectations of the level of service provided by our industry; expectations that we have an obligation to fulfill every time a customer walks through the door.”
The code was composed by MAP’s Service Provider Task Force, which includes the following companies: Bridgestone/Firestone, Car-X Muffler and Brake, General Motors, Goodyear, Midas International, Monro Muffler, Montgomery Ward/Auto Express, Pep Boys, Sears, Speedy Muffler King and Western Auto.
Other MAP initiatives include the development and establishment of standards for preventive maintenance and system inspection for automotive technicians and consumers. MAP’s consumer education brochure, “Under the Hood and Around the Car,” is now available at no charge by contacting MAP or the Consumer Information Center in Pueblo, Colo.
The Maintenance Awareness Program is an industrywide coalition dedicated to strengthening consumer confidence in the automotive repair industry. Spearheaded by the Automotive Parts & Accessories Association, MAP’s participants represent more than 130 retailers, suppliers, independent service stations, industry associations and publications.
Based in Bethesda, the Automotive Parts & Accessories Association is the only international automotive aftermarket association representing the entire industry. Its 1,500-plus member companies are manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers, distributors, manufacturers’ representatives and others who make and market automotive products and services.
1. That recommendations will be clearly explained to the customer
and based on system failure, improved system performance or
preventive maintenance according to accepted industry standards.
2. That personnel will be properly trained and qualified to perform
an accurate inspection and/or service of vehicle systems.
3. That a written estimate will be provided and no work will be
performed without a prior authorization.
4. That a written limited warranty will be included at no
additional cost.

Auto parts and automotive repair and maintenance services, ITP and wash / car care.

Tenders are invited for Auto parts and automotive repair and maintenance services, ITP and wash / car care.

Procurement Providing Spare Parts and Car Accessories, Services for Maintenance and Repair of Motor Vehicles, Automotive Periodic Inspection and Cleaning and Car Care Services for Motor Vehicles Belonging to the Headquarters of the National Forest – Bucharest Kerslake.

Total quantity or scope: quantity of the framework agreement

Minimum and maximum amounts specified in the Framework Agreement Annex 2.1 (labor and parts revisions), Annex 2.2 (parts revisions) and Annex 2.3 (other service centers) in the specification


Minimum and maximum amounts of the largest subsequent contract specified in Annex 2.4 (labor and parts revisions), Annex 2.5 (parts revisions) and Annex 2.6 (other service centers) in the specification.

Estimated value excluding VAT: 961,569.5 RON

Time limit for receipt of tenders or requests to participate: 10.11.2014 16:00

Conditions for opening tenders: Date (closing date of the tender evaluation): 24/11/2014 6:00 p.m.

Language or languages in which may be tender or to participate: Romanian Currency in which the forward price: EUR

Division into lots: No

Deposits and guarantees required: The security of participation: 19,000.00 USD. Validity of tender guarantee of 90 days from the date stated for receipt of tender. Bid bond will be established in accordance with Art. 43 ^ 1 of GEO 34/2006 and art. 86, paragraph (1) of H. G. No. 925/2006 amended and supplemented, by bank transfer or by a guarantee instrument issued under the law of a banking company or an insurance company in the form presented in the form “Letter of Guarantee”. If the bidder opts for the collateralisation of participation by bank transfer, it will transfer equivalent collateral in one of the National Forest accounts Kerslake (RO 1,590,120, J40 / 450/1991) RO20BRDE410 account SV54016774100 – BRD P-ta Romanian ; RO68RZBR0000060000681176 – Raiffeisen Bank P-ta Romanian. Evidence of participation guarantee (regardless of how it is made up) scanned in SEAP will load in a file entitled “Warranty of participation” with the qualification documents and technical bid and shall be filed and the office of the contracting authority, in the original until the date and time for submission of ofertelor.In situation in which SMEs benefit from 346/2004 Law, bidders are required to post proof that they are SMEs. If you choose to pay the guarantee of participation in another currency equivalent will be the exchange rate of the date set 5 days before the deadline for receipt of tenders. Bid bond shall be returned as provided by art. 88, para 1, 2, 3 of H. G. No. 925/2006 IBAN account stated in the form of general information or in case stipulated by art. 88, paragraph


LANCASTER – Antelope Valley College has become the first community college in California to have its automotive technology program certified by the Automotive Repair Coalition.

`The Automotive Repair Coalition gave the college its highest competency ranking – level three – in five areas: engine repair, heating and air conditioning, emission systems, suspension systems and brake systems,” campus public relations director Steve Standerfer said.

The Sacramento-based ARC consists primarily of after-market companies such as Firestone, Goodyear and Sears looking for skilled automotive technicians. The level-three certification in California Automotive Technician Training Standards means a graduate of the college’s program will have complete comprehensive training in the specified skill areas and will require minimum supervision, Standerfer said.

The certification is indicative of the excellent work of the faculty in preparing students for their chosen career, AVC President Linda Spink said.

The program met the requirements that the repair coalition was looking for, automotive instructor Chuck Capsel said.

Capsel, along with instructor John Knapp, worked to obtain the certification, Capsel said.

One of the key factors in the process is the fact that the program is industry-driven, he said.

`This certification indicates that the program at Antelope Valley College is a high-quality, comprehensive automotive program which meets the high standards of the automotive industry,” said Maggie Drake, AVC Technology Education Division dean. “The industry will recognize that students who complete our program are well-prepared to meet their needs.”

Drake believes an infusion of new, state-of-the-art automotive equipment and training stations over the past two years helped AVC obtain the certification, she said.

< Lancaster United Methodist Children’s Center is accepting applications for its kindergarten.

The program also offers after-school care, kindergarten teacher Jo Marie Brandon said.

The nondenominational center, which is one of the ministry projects of Lancaster Methodist Church, was known since 1963 as the Lancaster United Methodist Preschool, Brandon said. The name was changed in 1997 with the establishment of the kindergarten to reflect a center that houses both programs, she said.

“Our kindergarten is a full-day kindergarten,” Brandon said. “We run 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. It’s nondenominational. You don’t have to be Methodist. You don’t even have to go to the church here. It’s just one of the ministries of the church.”

The kindergarten follows state guidelines, Brandon said.

The cost of the kindergarten program is $265 a month, interim director Pennie Leighton said.

The preschool program runs from two to five days a week, she said.

The center conducts some fund raising, always welcomes donations and is open to the idea of possible business sponsorships, Leighton said.

Ferrari 458 Spider restyled

A. Kahn Design has recently conducted a series of styling changes on a Ferrari 458 Spider. The car seen here is wearing an attractive Grigio Alloy paint and rides on Monza forged alloy wheels which are available in a wide variety of colors and come with the original center caps. It has also received a lowered suspension, black-painted brake calipers, matt rear styling detail and updated front sections.
A series of modifications were brought to the interior as well where UK-based Kahn Design applied its “bespoke touch” and went for a luxurious Nero cabin.

Source: A. Kahn Design

Restoration of a Classic Car

The restoration of a classic car is an enormous task. It is something that involves a great deal of commitment. There are many steps that you need to take to restore a car to its former condition. It isn’t going to be easy but it is going to be worth it. Make certain that this is something you want to do otherwise your heart just won’t be in it. A task like this requires a personal devotion in order to see it through to the end. Whether this is a weekend hobby or an everyday work of art, restoring a classic car is a special activity.

You will need to determine how much work is ahead of you and try to plan accordingly for it. In many cases a restoration project begins with just the frame. You need to establish how many parts you will need for the car since missing parts will be the first challenge. It can be tough to find certain parts, especially if they are outdated. Make a list of everything you need and start hunting it down on the internet.

Have a vision clearly in place in your mind. Even the most discouraging looking scrap of car can be transformed into a brand new machine that shocks and delights. There are shows on TV that do this all the time. Know that it can be done and keep that goal in your mind of how you want to see it look when it’s finished. If you have nothing to work toward you may find yourself getting discouraged.

Keep the car somewhere close by so that you can work on it whenever you have some spare time. If you have it stored away somewhere then you may find that you don’t get to it as often as you should. If it’s at your home in the garage you will be able to devote a regular scheduled amount of time to the restoration process. It can take a long time so have a realistic schedule laid out for yourself. Make sure all of your parts and pieces are kept organized and tidy so that you can easily find what you need.

Try to plan your restoration so that it goes step by step. Try not to skip ahead to issues that you are not ready to tackle yet. Start from the beginning and work your way to the end. There is no use jumping ahead and then having to go back to take care of something that you chose to put off.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding legal or safety issues involved with restoring a classic car, seek out a professional that can offer you some sound advice. Likewise, any custom upgrades that you plan to do must meet all legal safety requirements for your area. It’s a good idea to choose classic car restoration because it is something that you enjoy. Don’t get into it just for the intent to make money. It doesn’t always work out that way. Restoring a car should be a fun process that you enjoy throughout.

Guide to Painting Plastic Car Parts


In this article, I will give you a short tutorial on the basics of painting plastic car parts. The information I’m passing on to you is a collaboration of information and knowledge I learned as I heavily researched the subject for my own needs. I thought that I would pass on what I have learned to you, so maybe you won’t feel such a need to research so in depth!

Why I Know (Skip this section to get to instruction)

I own a black 2011 Mazda 3i Touring, and I really wanted to do something to make it stand out. When I was car shopping, Mazda’s seemed almost a rarity to spot on the road. Not terribly uncommon, but still by no means anywhere near as frequently spotted as Toyota, Ford, Dodge, Subaru…etc. However, once I got my Mazda, it seemed like I was seeing them everywhere! Not just Mazda’s in general, but 2011 mazda3’s! I was hurt that my car wasn’t quite as unique as I had originally thought. I then got to thinking of ways to fix that. I wanted something to make my car stand out, something where, if I pass someone I know on the road, I want them to know that it’s me without question.

At that point I set to thinking, what can I do to add a little flare to my car? What can I do to stand out? I considered all options, from racing stripes to spoilers, but I decided to start elsewhere. On Mazda3’s, there are 2 bumper inserts around the fog lights (or in my case where fog lights would go if I had them). I got to thinking, this is where I should start, I can paint these. Then it was on to the color selection process.. if you are like me, and you own a black car, you are both cursed and blessed when it comes to this. So many colors can go well with black! Blue, pink, orange, green, red, yellow… whatever you want, it can go on there and you can find a way to make it look good. I got it narrowed down to 3 colors, orange (also my college’s color), green (a cool & unique look with black, and my high school’s color), and red. I ended up going with the red, and I’m pretty happy about it! For those of you with cars that arn’t black or white, and don’t know what color to choose, head to your local Lowes, Home Depot, or other hardware store and go to the paint area. There are almost always large displays of little cards that have different paint colors displayed on them. Grab ones you think you like, then put them next to your car, and see how you like it! You always want to picture the finished project before you even start it.

Where to Start

Like me, you may have done some research already… or maybe I’m your first! Regardless, you’re in good hands =). I’ve only painted two plastic car parts, but I did hours and hours of research before hand. I can tell you through experience the things I did right, as well as what I did wrong, so I can make sure you don’t!

There are a few things you’ll need to get started. You’ll want paint, preferably plastic-specific paint (I used Krylon-fusion, I would highly suggest it). Krylon fusion is made specifically for plastic, and so it does not require priming. I went through about 2/3 of a can on the two inserts you see painted red here, so use you’re best judgement.. and you can find Krylon fusion at your local Walmart, Lowe’s, Home Depot… you get the idea. I would also very highly recommend getting the Krylon fusion ‘clear coat’. Other thing’s you may want are a very soft, fine grained sand paper, and access to warm water and (preferably) car wash soap.

If you can, remove the plastic parts from you’re car. Even better, you can do what I did: Buy replacement/duplicate parts. I bought a brand new set from an online auto-parts store. My reasoning was that if one day I wanted to sell my car back to a dealer, I didn’t want painted parts to diminish the value, so now I can just put the original, unpainted pieces back in if need be. Doing this was also very beneficial because I didn’t have to drive around with missing parts from my car while the painting process was under way. If you can’t remove the parts from your vehicle, it’s unfortunate but not unsolvable. Very carefully cover the ENTIRE surrounding area, and if you can put your car in a garage or somewhere out of the wind, do so.


Okay, so now it’s on to the actual painting process. The first thing you need to do is thoroughly clean the plastic surface. I would suggest using hot water and car wash soap. Wait for the piece to dry.

The next step has a lot more debate surrounding it. The step I took was to very lightly sand the plastic, making sure to cover all to-be painted areas evenly. The purpose of this was to create increased surface area for the paint to adhere to. Some people are very adamant not to sand plastic, saying it causes the the sanding lines to show up through the paint.. however that was not the case with my experience. Once just the first coat was applied, all signs of the sanding disappeared for me, but there could be differences between materials and finishes. So if your shaky on this, the safe course of action would be to skip sanding. If you choose to go ahead and sand, was the surface once again afterwards, and again allow it to dry (use a fan to speed up the process).

Once dry, its time to paint! Again, I would really suggest Krylon Fusion, I had phenomenal results with it, and it doesn’t require a primer. Shake the can for the directed time on the label, and follow the instructions for painting. Cover the entire area in a uniform layer, never pausing in one area too long. Make sure the paint doesn’t begin to pool, remember there are still more coats to be put on so it doesn’t have to be perfect. Again, follow the directions on the can, and apply a few more coats. I put 4 coats on and it worked well, but you can stop wherever feels right.

When the color paint is dry, it’s time for the clear coat. The clear coat adds a layer of protection that will block the forces that will act against your paint job like dirt, dust, rain, etc. I put as many clear coats on as I did color coats. Allow a full week for proper drying… and then that’s it! You’re done, enjoy you’re unique addition to you’re vehicle!

Some Things to Consider

There are a few other thing’s you might want to consider looking into. When I was looking into different suggestions of this process, there was some talk of using an anti-static cleaner. I was a little pressed for time and couldn’t find one that looked appealing… and to be honest I wasn’t sold on its necessity. The anti-static cleaner is meant to prevent dust from clinging to the plastic. There definitely won’t be a down side to using one, so by all means go for it, but I have been shown no reason to regret my decision not to use an anti-static cleaner.

As I mentioned previously, I made a couple mistakes in my process. My first mistake was not making sure the bumper insert’s came all the way out easily. I bought replacement pieces of my bumper inserts and painted those, planning to swap them out with the original inserts once I was done painting the new ones. When it came time to make the swap, it turned out that the inserts were much, much harder to get out then it had seemed, and it was no easy task getting the new ones in either. If you plan to do what I did, and get a whole new part(s) and paint those and swap later, make absolutely certain you can make the swap. I was able to pull it off without causing serious damage, but maybe I got lucky.

The other big mistake I made was due to impatience. When I finished the last step, the last clear coat, I wanted nothing more than to see these things on my car. I waited 2 days before giving in to my impatience… if you were paying attention, you’ll remember that you’re supposed to allow 7 days for proper drying. I was stupid and impatient, I thought that was an unnecessarily lengthy amount of time, after all it seemed pretty dry after 2 days. Well as it turns out, 7 days would have been preferable. I set one of my painted peaces down on the drive way, didn’t drag it or treat it roughly in any way, but when I picked it up, some of the paint had completely worn away right down to the black plastic! Luckily it was a small spot, and is very unnoticeable until you look very close. I don’t know for a fact that 5 more days of waiting would have prevented this, but I’m inclined to believe it would have.

So that’s it! I hope you’re painting experience goes well!

Any comments, questions, suggestions, input…etc. is welcome! I’ll be actively monitoring the page, so I should be able to get back to you quickly if need be! Good luck!

Also, it’s always nice to hear contributing opinions.. if you want to bounce a color scheme or whatever off of me, send me a message! Or if you want any help or ideas on things you could paint, designs to do, etc on your car, let me know the make, model & color of your car and I’ll come up with some things! Let’s make the roads more interesting!

Bed Liner Paint

Paint or Spray Bed Liner on Outside of Truck

With the advances in spray bed liner technology, materials and techniques, bed liner companies are focusing on newly found markets. The most popular new trend appears to be the application of spray on bedliner on the exterior of vehicles. Trucks are the best candidates for this new process and people are definitely taking advantage of the benefits.

A spray on bedliner is very beneficial these days to accomplish the following:

– Exterior protection

– A tough look and feel

– Less expensive application than automotive paints

Bed Liner Exterior Paint

Technology and Price Make it Possible

Line-X seems to be leading the pack getting attention about exterior bed liner coating. On USAToday a video was released that discusses the movement of car and truck enthusiasts who are looking to coat their vehicles with colored bed liner instead of automotive grade paint.

The technology is there now and it seems to be catching on rapidly. With the ability to color bedliner and with the protective aspect tested and proven through traditional bed liner applications, the market is ready and waiting.

Line-X is not the only company that has the ability to do this. Other companies are focusing on off road vehicle protection for Jeeps, trucks, SUVs as well as ATV’s and Boats. The average price to do this using Line-X is about $1500.00. Wow, that’s pretty expensive. Well, compared to a high end paint job, it’s not that bad really. Now, if you are comparing to a basic non-prep paint job from MAACO (listed at $500.00), then you are silly. This is such a cheap price and doesn’t include the proper services for a quality paint job so it’s just not a comparable service.

So, how is a vehicle coated properly with a bed liner?

Type of Coating

Whether you’re using polyurea hybrid or polyurethane it’s very important to have a UV stable material. It’s true that polyurea hybrid sets in only a few seconds which makes it favorable for spraying. It is also temperature insensitive since it is sprayed through heated hoses at temperatures ranging between 120-140 degress farenheit. However, a polyurethane can be applied with a similar process and can exhibit the same properties as polyurea.

Regardless of the material, the key is that the specific attributes of the material being sprayed includes:

– High abrasion resistance

– UV stability

– Great Adhesion

How To Re Paint A Motorcycle Gas Tank

Where to Begin…

All right, so you’ve got a gas tank, old or new, and you want to give it a new look or fix it up yourself. Well you’ve found the right article. I recently bought a 1982 Yamaha Seca 750XJ and the tank was rusted to hell, I decided to take it upon myself to re-paint it, make it look good again.

Here are the steps I found give the best results. But you’ll need a few things first.

  • Sanding Block, Sand paper, Wet and D 100 grit, 800 grit. ( These can vary but this should be good )
  • Paint Thinner
  • Automotive Spray Paint Primer
  • Automotive Spray Paint (Colour of your choice, I prefer the metallic ones)
  • Automotive Spray Paint Clear Coat
  • Automotive Wax / Scratch Remover and Buffer Cloth
  • Patience and Time ( Anywhere from 3 days to a week )

Now before I go on I just want to address those of you out there who are about to start hating on me for the specific process I used. BUT please remember, this is the cheapest and in my opinion the most rewarding way to do it. You can use any paint you want, the process is still the same, but I personally prefer spray cans. Some believe they give a shoddy looking effect but honestly I can say I’ve tried a few different ways, and my favourite for ease of use and cost effectiveness is the spray can. Now I’m not talking any old spray paint, you need the automotive stuff that you can pick up at your local Canadian Tire or other automotive hardware store. I couldn’t find it in paint shops but may have just been my luck.

Ok, here’s how to do it to get pretty much the exact same results as a professional paint shop. ( Again, don’t be hating, I say this because my buddy got his tank done professionally, and it looked absolutely no different than mine. His cost $400, mine cost $40.

  1. Step One – First things first you need to get your tank off the bike. Now you want to make sure you close off any valves and what not so that when you start taking it off, gas isn’t leaking everywhere. It sounds like common sense but a lot of people forget to do this. Every bike is different but for the most part you usually have to take off the seat first, then there is usually a large bolt you have to unscrew that’s keeping your tank on to the frame, and then of course close off the valves and undo them from the tank or the bike. If you’re having trouble with this part do a quick Google search on how to take off your bikes gas tank, there should be lots of info on it, or refer to your manual if you have it.
  2. Step Two – Tanks off? Good. Now we need to get started with protecting any openings or parts that you don’t want painted, gas cap, hoses, and whatever else. Personally if there isn’t a lot of gas in the tank I prefer emptying the tank and just cleaning it out. If you do this you may also want to inspect the inside for any rust, older and some newer bikes can get rust on the inside of the tank and that will most definitely start to cause problems, so take a look and if there is… Well that’s another article but you’ll have to deal with that as well! Ok so as I was saying I prefer everything off of the tank, gas cap, any hoses, everything, that way I just have the gas tank and don’t have to worry about the other stuff getting all messed up. If you’re unable to get some things off don’t worry, you can just tape them off with some painters tape or masking tape.
  3. Now you need to start getting the original paint off, or rust, or whatever is currently on the bike that you don’t want there anymore. You’re welcome to take a wet rag to it first but I don’t see a point as you’ll just be scraping it all off anyways. For this part you need to get a sanding block, and some “wet and dry” sand paper. To start I’d go with 80-200grit sand paper, also available from your local hardware store, usually a couple bucks for a few sheets. Get the sand paper, get the sanding block, and get a bucket of water. Put some water on the tank and start sanding. NOTE: This takes a while, my first time, I spent at least 10 hours sanding a tank. But, don’t worry, my second time I learnt some helpful tricks.
  4. So you’re sanding most of the paint away, maybe starting to see some of that pretty silver from the metal of the tank like this, this is good. You should’ve sanded at least 90% of the tank, not down to the metal but at least given most of the paint a good sand. NOW this is where it can start to get a bit easier. Get some paint thinner, you can also get a spray can at automotive hardware stores that has paint thinner, I recommend this or just paint thinner, and a shop cloth. Dab some paint thinner on to the cloth and wipe down the entire tank. Leave it for a a minute, maybe give it another wipe down, and go and grab a drink. Come back to it and you’ll notice that a lot of the paint has actually started to crack and bubble up. Start sanding again and most of the paint should be easily coming off, if necessary you can repeat the paint thinner process but for the most part you usually just have to do it once or twice. NOTE: Please make sure you’re doing this in a well ventilated area, and follow any and ALL instructions on the labels of what you use.
  5. So you’ve got a nice shiny metal gas tank now right! Or at least most of the way there? Good, lets move on to the fun part. Here you want to give it a nice wipe down, get any grit or paint flakes away and dry it off. Now I suggest using a primer, give it a nice coat all over. **When doing this, the first spray will cover 30%, you don’t have to really lather it on. The second go over you want to be a bit more methodical, going back and forth making sure to keep good lines, this 2nd spray you want to cover 90% of the tank. AND BE SURE TO HOLD THE CAN 8-10inches away, otherwise you’ll get drips and then you have to go back to sanding it down. The third spray ( and remember this is all one coat ) you want to do the same methodical back and forth but make sure to cover the full 100% of the tank. I’ll link a good youtube video for this here. And will upload my own video shortly.
  6. So the primer is on now. Let it dry for about an hour, or less depending on the type, but usually an hour is more than good. Get the automotive spray paint you bought, and start doing the same as before. For your first coat you’ll go over about 3 times, the first time getting a good base, about 30% of the tank covered, the 2nd spray about 90%, and then the 3rd spray you want to make sure you’ve coated the entire tank. Let this sit for about half an hour and do another coat in the same fashion. Once done, let it sit somewhere to dry, I’ve found that it usually needs about a day or two. And honestly after all the work you’ve done, it’s kind of nice to just let it sit for a bit and forget about it.
  7. Ok, so it’s been a few days and the tank is looking good and dry. You want to get your sanding block out again and this time fit on an 800 grit sandpaper. Start sanding again! Make sure you get the high and low spots ( tiny dips in the tank that are almost invisible until you start sanding and notice all around it is sanded, this is a low spot ). You don’t want to be too aggressive on this as you’re not trying to take the paint off, you’re merely trying to sand off any dust or bugs that have gotten stuck to the paint while it was drying.
  8. So you’ve gotten most of the tank and after wiping it down with a wet cloth you should be able to run your hand over it feeling smooth with no tiny bumps. If you have happened to get to the primer or the actual metal tank, you’ll need to repeat the coating process with the paint, and then once dry again sand it again to get off the dust. Ok, so wipe off any dust with a wet cloth, dry it, and grab the clear coat. With the clear coat spray on a coat the same way as before, 3 times, 1st time 30%, 2nd time 90%, and 3rd time 100% coverage. Let this dry and if you like give it another coat, it doesn’t necessarily need it, but I like giving it that extra protection. Once this is dry ( which is another day or so ), grab that sand paper and block again, this is the last time I promise! Sand it with the 800 again, this time getting the whole tank but very lightly, REMEMBER this is only for dust and bugs that may have gotten stuck to the paint while drying.
  9. All done sanding?! OK, you want to wipe it down again, making sure there is no dust or loose stuff on it, with a wet cloth is best, then dry it. Now grab some of that wax polish and put it on a soft cloth, and start buffering the tank. Rub it in nicely. I find this is where I start to really get some satisfaction as I can see the tank starting to shine and look real nice! Get the whole tank all waxed up and that’s it.
  10. Now you can put it back on to your bike, take a step back, and look at the beauty of the freshly painted tank, that you did yourself! Pat yourself on the back, Good job mate!
  11. If you want designs on it or anything like that, before you put on the wax, or the clear coat, you can tape off sections and do whatever you like, I’ve printed out designs and cut them out, then taped them on the tank, sprayed the cut out and wah lah, you’ve got a design on there. Then just go back to step 8 and put the clear coat on and keep going.

Hope this helps you guys out, I know it’s a bit long but when I was doing it myself for the first time, I couldn’t find anything that really gave all the instructions, just pieces here and there, so i wanted to be as in depth as possible. Please feel free to give me feedback, I’m alway open to constructive criticism! And if you have found a better way to do it let me know, I’d love to try it out!

How to Repair Scratches on Car Paints with Minimal Cost

Discovering a scratch on your car, especially if the car is new, is very frustrating. To most people a minor scratch on the car is not a big deal however to the owner of the car it is annoying. In the past even the smallest of scratches required a visit to the auto body shop, luckily today there are several alternatives available.

Scratches cause discoloration and rusting on a vehicle surface and paint. There are many guides on how to repair scratches on car paint. When the scratch is deep it exposes the metal to moisture and air causing rusting. Here is a definitive guide on how to repair scratches on car paints.

To limit the damage caused by scratches, they should be repaired as soon as possible. The first step in repairing a scratch is to establish its severity. This is not rocket science and it is done by running your fingernail across the scratch to feel its depth.

How to repair scratches on car paints entirely depends on the severity of the scratch. Some scratches are actually not real scratches but foreign material deposited on the top of the paint finish. Using a damp cloth rub over the affected area and it will easily be removed.

For light scratches a small amount of acetone or polish thinner can be used. Rub the thinner or acetone in a circular motion over and around the scratches until they are no longer visible. Alternatively a scratch remover can be applied in the same way.

Sanding a Scratched Area
Sanding a Scratched Area

Swirl marks are stretch marks that are not seen until the car is under the sun. Swirl marks cannot be felt even by running your finger nail over the paint surface. To repair them, use the rubbing compound lightly on the scratches and polish them.

To repair scratches on car paints that has been scratched severely a little more effort is required. Firstly, the area must be washed with soapy water and left to dry. Apply shoe polish on the area. For red-colored cars use a black polish and for dark-colored cars a white polish should be used.

Use a sand paper to sand out the damage. The dust produced by sanding should be blown away using a brush. Apply the body compound on the scratch. Primer paint should be used on the area before applying touch-up paint using a special brush. This is how to repair scratches on car paints without expensive tools with minimal skills and experience.

Customize Your Classic Car – Paint Your Own Rims

Paint your own Rims? Who would have thought something previously done by professionals could be done in your own home.

While, the concept of painting your own rims has been around a few years now, many questions pop up of how to do it and I thought I would share my own experiences with painting my Integra stock rims. I have read up many examples of how to do this, but my first time trying was this year when I chose to refinish my winter rims. I was quite please with the outcome.

First, what the hell do you need to paint your rims? Paint of course 🙂 This is where Duplicolor comes in with their wheel paint. They offer paint colors to match your style coming in white, gunmetal, classic silver and bronze as well. I chose to do mine in gunmetal leaving my lip the stock polished style look. So here are your options:

So you chose your color, bought your paint and are semi-ready. First, you need to sand down your rims. Why? This gives the surface a rough texture so the paint has something to adhere to. Reference the article to polish your rims on how sanding of the rims works. The only difference with this is how far you want to go. In my case, being winter rims painted I chose not to go through the process of stripping the paint on the rims completely. I simply sanded down the surface with 300 grit sandpaper ensuring to make everything sanded equally. This gives the rough surface required for the paint to adhere, and as long as your rims had no damage it should be good enough.

Your rims are sanded; you have your paint and now are ready. First, make sure you clean all sanding dust off the rims and ensure a totally clean surface so the paint will stick and not flake off after your first drive out with your newly painted rims!!! Here are my rims washed and ready to completely dry before painting:

My rims are masked off with newspaper and masking tape. Of course you want to do this so you don’t turn your tires into the color you are painting. I don’t want gunmetal painted tires. Also if you look close enough, you will know that the lip has been masked off as well. So I carefully applied the masking tape on the lip to protect it from being painted as well. Also, you know the little thing you pump your air into, mask that off as well unless you want that to have a color change as well 🙂

The rims are dry, you have masked off what you don’t want painted and now you are ready. Put some newspaper on the ground and place the rim on top of the newspaper. You don’t want to paint the concrete underneath the rim so keep it clean with the newspaper.

Now apply your first coat of paint. Let the paint dry well and next day admire your handiwork and results.

Tips for Changing Automatic Transmission Fluid in Ford F-250, Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator

Ford Super Duty Trucks and E-Series vans are very similar
Step By Step Instructions Changing Transmission Fluid

This article will be especially helpful for owners of Ford Super Duty Trucks, Ford Excursions, all E-series vans, Ford Expeditions and Lincoln Navigators that are newer than the year 2000. This article will also work for any other vehicle that requires a 4R100 transmission fluid change. It seems as though the need to change the transmission fluid always comes at such an inconvenient time, but as responsible vehicle owners, we realize that it’s a necessary evil. Keeping your Ford transmission healthy can save you a huge headache and expense in the long run.

It is easier than you think to change your transmission fluid, filter and gasket for your Ford F-250, F-350, Excursion, E-Series vans, Expedition and Lincoln Navigator. Changing the transmission fluid on a Ford F-250 is almost the exact same process as a transmission fluid change in a Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator. Transmission fluid for E-Series vans is necessary to keep your Ford Truck running smoothly. This article contains tips and instructions for Ford Transmission fluid changes, and is a project that you can do by yourself and save a lot of money. You can buy a Ford gasket online or at your local Ford service center at a reasonable cost. You may also want to consider purchasing Ford Filters in bulk to save you money on your vehicle maintenance.
Do It Yourself Ford Transmission Fluid Change

As we mentioned earlier, owning a vehicle comes with responsibilities, and necessary expenses. One of the most important responsibilities in Ford Truck maintenance is to regularly change your vehicle’s fluids. One of the most important fluids in your Ford vehicle is the transmission fluid. As we know, transmission health can make or break your vehicle, so it’s important to be proactive in ensuring that this maintenance is done as scheduled. If you have an automatic transmission, it is recommended that you change your ATF or automatic transmission fluid every 10,000 miles and change the Ford transmission fluid filter and gasket every 30,000 miles. Use caution when you buy discount auto parts; you may want to stick with brand name supplies to ensure that you are using high quality auto fluids with your vehicle.

When changing your transmission fluid, it is important to have all your supplies on hand before beginning your project as you cannot drive your vehicle to pick up additional automobile maintenance supplies at your local automobile parts store once you have begun. You’d be surprised how many people neglect this simple fact and end up having to either put things back together or get a ride to the nearest auto parts store. Make sure to have two gallons of Mercon Automatic Transmission Fluid or similar item on hand. It is also a great idea to have a quart of Lucas Oil’s Transmission fix. You also need a gasket which will come with the filter when you buy it. All these products are available at auto parts stores such as Pep Boys, Advance Auto Parts, AutoZone, Checker Auto Parts and Napa Auto Parts. Call the auto parts store in advance to make sure that they have the transmission fluid or Ford parts that you will need. You will also need a drain collection pan, a standard socket set and a flat tip screw driver.

Start your transmission fluid change by parking your Ford Truck on a flat surface and engaging your emergency parking brake. Make sure to block your rear tires to make sure your vehicle doesn’t slip while you are working on it. Jack up the front end of your Ford Truck and place it on jack stands.

Locate your transmission pan in your F-250 or other Ford vehicle. It is located just aft of your transmission and will most usually have a drain plug bolt at the lowest point. Place your drain collection pan underneath the drain plug and loosen the plug slowly. Allow the Automatic transmission fluid to completely drain from your vehicle. Once the fluid is drained take the transmission pan off with a your socket set. There is no order in which to loosen or tighten the bolts just make sure not to loose them. Do make sure not to take all the bolts off of just one side and let the pan basically dangle. This could possibly bend the pan and cause damage. If that happens, you will need to find Ford motor replacement parts before you can continue. Instead, carefully remove the bolts and hold the pan up while removing the remaining bolts and lower the pan to the ground.

Clean up the pan with a lint free shop rag and set aside. Remove the filter by pulling down while rotating it gently. If the gasket did not come off with the pan, remove it from the transmission pan housing. If it is fused or stuck to the housing you can carefully pry it off with a flat head screw driver. You can purchase a flat tip screwdriver or other tools at your local hardware store, if you don’t already have one. Make sure to not scratch the housing as it might cause leaks.

Install the new Ford filter and place the new gasket on the transmission pan so that it lines up with the bolt pattern. Hold the pan in place and line the pan up with the bolt holes in the transmission pan housing. Hand tighten all the bolts back in place and use your socket set to tighten the bolts down. Make sure to not tighten the bolts so far that they warp the pan. Once the pan is properly in place, replace the drain plug and tighten it down.

If you are concerned about your transmission it is a good idea to add a quart of Transmission Fix by Lucas. It takes the place of one quart of Automatic Transmission Fluid. Lucas Oil Transmission Fix helps keep the seals from sticking, keeping your transmission running smooth. It’s actually one of our favorite additives; it seems to work wonders. This will help reduce the risk of you needing Ford transmission repair in the future.

Add 5 more quarts of Automatic Transmission Fluid. Start your vehicle and place your foot on the brake while shifting through all gears including reverse and then back up to park. Next, take your vehicle for a short test drive not to exceed 10 miles and see how it rides. You should use this test drive time to check for any leaks and to work the new fluid through the filter. Once you are back at your house, check the transmission fluid level and add fluid as necessary. That’s it! You should be good to go for another 10,000 miles

How To Paint A Car Like A Pro At Home

Learn The Right Way To Paint Your Car

First of all you need to know that this article is taking place after all of the body work is done on the car. First a little about me, this is a subject that I am an expert on, it’s not just some know nothing who decided to write an article and post it to the internet.

For certain painting your own car is not a afternoon relaxing job, it is work and it is hard work so be ready to get dirty. The rewards are 100% worth the work, so keep you nose to the grind stone.

Paint Supplies

Learn How To Piant Your Car Like A Pro

First of all you need to know that this article is taking place after all of the body work is done on the car. First a little about me, this is a subject that I am an expert on, it’s not just some know nothing who decided to write an article and post it to the internet.

How to paint a car like a pro at home will walk you through the basic steps to paint a car after all of the body work is done, and the car in in primer. We will begin with wet sanding the car, no matter how UN-necessary this mat sound, it is the most important part after the body work is done.

First of all we will remove all of the masking from the car. If you don’t remove the masking before you wet sand, it will get stuck to the car, and paint will leak through when you paint the car. You don’t need to rush this, take your time and remove all of the masking paper.

After the masking paper is all removed from the car, we will be sanding the car by hand with 400 grit wet sand paper. I repeat by hand, no machines this is not a course in fast, it’s an article about the right way to paint a car.

Load the 400 grit wet sand paper on a rubber sanding block, and get the hose and ger ready to get wet. During the stage we will be sanding the entire surface of the car with the 400 grit wet sand paper. What you will be looking for when it’s done right, is a dull shine over the entire surface of the car.

Make sure that you use the hose and get all of the wet sanding residue off of the car, after you have done this you will be moving down to 600 wet sand paper and sanding the entire surface of the car again.

After you have finished both steps of wet sanding, you should wash the car the same as you would wash any car. Then use an air chuck to blow the excess water off of the car. You can’t leave any water on the car at all, it will get in your paint.

After the car is completely dry you will need to mask the entire car again before you can paint it. This has to be done perfectly. If you haven’t removed all of the windows, bumpers, and bright work from the car you will need to mask that also.

For this article we will say that you have removed all of those things, and anything else that you don’t want paint on. Believe me when I say, if you don’t mask it, it will get painted. Now the areas that need to be masked are all taken care of.

Put the car in the paint booth, and get your paint prep surface cleaner. This cleaner all make sure that there is no grease, dirt, or road tar still on the surface of the car. The way that the prep cleaner works is your either spray it on the surface, and then quickly wipe it off.

Or you put a little on a shop towel, not a cloth towel either a paper one. Cloth will leave remnants behind that will get in your paint. Now that we have that complete we can move on to tack clothing the car, and yes it is necessary.

After you have tacked the entire car, you can get your sealer ready to spray. A little on the sealer, i I use sealer, but it is not required. Sealer will fill any light scratches that you may have in the surface of the car, sealer will help you create a perfect paint job on your car.

Remember I prep every car like it was a show car, so this isn’t you basic collision shop paint job we’re doing here. Make sure that when you mix any paint product you follow the manufactures mixing instructions to the letter, this is the only way that your paint will ever look right.

Most of the manufactures out there either use a 4:1:1 or a 2:1:1 mixing ratio for mixing their paint products. What this means is 4 parts paint, primer, or sealer, to 1 part reducer, and 1 part catalyst. Or the same idea for the 2:1 mixing ratio.

The only difference is that one is a 50% mix, and the other is a 25% mix. That is enough on mixing the paint, primer, or sealer. Now that you have mixed the product according to the manufactures standards , you can begin to load the spray guns with the product, in this case sealer.

Now you need to put a paint strainer in the top of the spray gun cup. After you have put the strainer in the spray gun cup you can pour the sealer in to the cup. You will need to have a piece of masking paper taped to the wall of the spray booth to test your gun spray pattern on.

Do not for any reason spray paint directly on the wall of the spray booth, if you did that in a booth I own I would make you pay to have it cleaned. Now that we have the lesson on etiquette out of the road we can get back to testing the spray pattern of the gun.

I usually set the gun spray pressure to 25-30 PSI to begin with. This is a good starting point, hold the gun about 6-8 inches away from the piece of test paper, and pull the trigger on the gun to the first position where is is just spraying air out of it.

You should adjust the fluid tip air pressure wile the trigger is pulled to the first stop. Set the gun to 25-30 PSI which ever feels better to you, and the gun you use. After you do that your ready to set the fluid, and the spray pattern on the gun.

The spray pattern should be 6-8 inches wide with no dry spots in the middle, or on the ends of the spray pattern. You adjust this by turning the two knobs on the back of the handle of the spray gun. The top knob will adjust the fan width, and the bottom knob will adjust the flow of fluid.

These may take a bit of getting used to, they can be quite temperamental to wet on some spray guns. After you have the fan, and the fluid settings taken care of on the spray gun, you can begin to spray the sealer on the car.

If you have never done this before, you should take a few minutes to get used to the spray gun on your test paper. You need to get used to the speed that which the gun needs to move, or you will get runs form moving to slow, or dry spots from moving to fast.

You need to figure out just the right speed to move the gun while your spraying the sealer. Once you can spray the sealer without runs, or dry spots, you can spray the paint without either of these two things happening.

After you have gotten the speed, and the fan and fluid setting right on the gun, you can spray the sealer on the car. I usually put three coats of sealer on the car, you need to wait fifteen minutes between coats for flash time.

Flash time may sound like a waste of time, but it’s a very important, if you don’t allow for the product to tack before you spray the next coat, or you will run the sealer. Believe me there is nothing on this earth worse then sanding runs out of sealer.

You need to let the last coat of sealer dry for thirty minutes before you spray the paint on the car. The last step is to spray the paint on the car, and these days it is usually a base coat clear coat system. The days of single stage are long gone.

With a base coat clear coat system you basically spray the car twice, first you spray the base coat, or the color coat, and then you spray the clear coat, the clear coat is where the shine and depth come form on the car.

Usually I lay down just enough color to cover the entire car, letting it flash twenty minutes between each coat of base. I like to run a tack cloth over the base color between coats, you don’t have to. After the car is fully covered with color we will move on to the last step, the clear coat.

I always lay down six coats of high build urethane clear coat, I prefer House Of Color brand clear coat. I have found that it lays down the smoothest, and is the most forgiving of slight errors. The clear is like any other paint in the way that it needs twenty minutes of tack time between coats.

You got to plan on this process taking a full eight hour day if everything goes as planed. We will now spray the clear coat waiting twenty minutes between coats. This is the last step in the process, you car should look great now.

There is a reason why I spray six coats of clear on the car, this is quite simply so I can cut and buff the paint if I need to, and not have to worry about cutting through the painted surface of the car.

That brings us to the end of this little journey, I hope you enjoyed the read, and don’t hesitate to stop by again.

Performance Auto Parts

There are many benefits to improving the performance of your vehicle, including an increased resale value, and many improvement methods don’t require a monetary investment in performance auto parts. Checking the air pressure in your tires and keeping them at the recommended levels will ensure optimal gas mileage and handling, and lightening your car’s weight by removing unneeded cargo from your trunk can do the same plus increase speed.

Performance Auto Parts

 Performance Auto Parts
However, beyond the regular maintenance precautions, modifications with performance auto parts will notably improve speed and function without spending the thousands of dollars needed to upgrade an engine or install a turbo system.

K&N Air Filters

K&N air filters increase the speed and power of your vehicle and are better for the environment than traditional air filters. Also inexpensive, K&N air filters go for about $40-$70 dollars depending on the model needed. Investment is minimized in the long run since they won’t need replacement, whereas traditional air filters need to be replaced 5-10 times throughout the lifespan of a vehicle. Unlike traditional air filters, these are reusable. Once you buy a K&N, you will most likely not need to replace your air filter again. These air filters are made of a cotton gauze material and are easily washable.

Performance Chip

Every new vehicle has a computer chip that controls how much torque and horsepower can be displaced. With a performance computer chip, the horsepower and torque of a car can be noticeably increased. A performance computer chip can increase a car’s horsepower by up to 50 increments. Not only do these performance chips increase speed and horsepower of a car, but also increase gas mileage. Another benefit of performance chips is their easy installation. All you have to do is locate your vehicle’s factory computer chip and swap it out with the new one. A performance chip can be purchased at under $300 dollars, are street legal in the United States and will not void a vehicle’s new car warranty.

Cold Air Intake

This modification improves a vehicle’s power by cooling its air intake. Because cold air is denser, it improves air flow, causing the increase in efficiency and power. A cold air intake system is one modification that gets noticed. Benefits include visual enhancements to the appearance of the engine bay (because the parts can be painted colorfully) and a more powerful sounding exhaust system.

Performance Exhaust System

A great way to optimize your torque and horsepower is a catalyst-back exhaust system. These exhaust systems lower exhaust back pressure with large width exhaust pipes and low restriction mufflers. Borla and Flow master are the popular performance exhaust system brands, and can give your vehicle a 5-15% boost in horsepower. These systems are made of the same stainless steel that is used in airplanes; this will also give your vehicle sound a deeper tone. Also you will notice an increase in fuel economy because these systems will help your engine run more efficiently.

How to Paint With Automotive PPG

PPG Industries is a global organization that specializes in the manufacture and distribution of coatings. The company has more than 60 manufacturing plants throughout the world, and supplies a wide variety of customers from thDeltron clear coats add shine and protection to Aquabase colors.e worlds of construction, industry and transportation. PPG Industries also manufactures a range of automotive paints and ancillaries. Recent advances in paint technology resulted in the release of the Aquabase range, a material with lower VOC emissions than polyurethane equivalents. Aquabase paints are usually coated with Deltron clear coats for superior shine and protection.

Aquabase Paint

  1. Activate the Aquabase paint by adding 10 percent of Aquabase activator by volume and stir thoroughly. Transfer the mixed product to an HVLP spray gun with a fluid tip set up of 1.2 to 1.4 mm. Plug the spray gun into an airline and adjust the compressor regulator to establish an air pressure of 35 PSI, or pounds per square inch.
  2. Hold the spray gun approximately 6 inches away from the surface of the auto body panel. Pull back the gun trigger to release the Aquabase paint and move the arm across the face of the auto body panel in a side-to-side horizontal motion. Ensure that the edges of the paint are overlapped by approximately 30 percent on each subsequent movement of the arm to ensure even coverage. Leave the Aquabase paint to cure for five minutes before applying a second coat.
  3. Apply the third and final coat from a distance of 9 to 12 inches and reduce the air pressure to approximately 28 PSI. Apply a light, even drop coat over the entire panel surface. Remember to “cross” the final coat by spraying the panel with horizontal movements before re-coating with opposite vertical movements. Leave to cure for 10 minutes before applying clear coat.

Deltron Clear Coat

  1. Activate the Deltron clear coat with Deltron Hardener and Deltron reducer at a ratio of 2:1:10 percent. Stir the individual components together and leave the material to settle for five minutes so air bubbles are dispersed. Add the clear coat to an HVLP spray gun with a 1.4 mm fluid tip set up, and set the compressor regulator to 38 PSI.
  2. Apply one medium volume coat of clear coat from a distance of 6 to 8 inches, ensuring that each subsequent horizontal arm movement provides a 30 percent overlap of material. Remember that the first coat is only used to seal in the Aquabase paint and to promote a grip for the second application of Deltron clear coat. Leave the first coat to cure for five minutes.
  3. Apply a full second coat of Deltron clear coat using only horizontal arm movements. Do not use any vertical movements to cross the clear coat to avoid runs and sags. Ensure that all panel edges get a full application of paint, and leave to dry overnight at room temperature, or bake at 160 degrees F for 30 minutes if you have a low-bake oven.

Preventative Maintenance Auto Repair Benefits

For most the world, even owning a car that runs is more of a dream than a reality. Fortunately in America the majority of us have reliable cars to take us everywhere we need to go.  With transportation costs rising in the US it’s important to be mindful of ways to save money on our vehicles.

Auto repair can often come at unexpected times.  Budgeting for these types of “unexpected” repairs is the best advice you can get, but the simple truth is that many people still won’t plan for auto repairs.

Preventative maintenance on the other hand is something that you can plan for and will drastically extend the life of your vehicle.  In fact, preventative maintenance will actually lower the total cost of ownership over the lifetime of your vehicle.  This article will cover 3 of the top preventative maintenance tips that you can apply to save yourself some cash on auto repairs.

Preventative Maintenance Can Improve Gas Mileage

You can drastically improve your gas mileage with proper preventative maintenance.  This includes simple tips like properly inflating your tires, making sure you pass emissions, getting a basic tune up, and changing the fuel filter.  With these basic preventative maintenance improvements you can expect to see up to a 10% increase in gas mileage.

Preventative Maintenance Can Minimize Break Downs

Simple tasks like checking fluid levels and getting regularly scheduled oil changes will reduce the number of unexpected break downs.  Oil changes are a pretty obvious one but do you also consider things like the air filter, spark plugs, battery terminals, belts, etc.  These are smart choices to invest in before major road trips if you’re due.  Knowing that your vehicle is up to speed in the preventative maintenance department will also add a level of confidence to your driving.

Preventative Maintenance Increases Passenger Safety

No one wants to imagine a break down but it would be even worse to experience mechanical failure while your vehicle is in motion.  Accidents happen but preventative maintenance reduces dangerous mechanical failures.  With the safety of you and the passengers of your vehicle it is worth taking the time to understand the dangers of failing to perform preventative maintenance.

Finally, this article wouldn’t be complete without a reference to saving money with auto repair coupons.  Every major auto repair franchise offers some form of coupon/discounts if you search online.  One thing to keep in mind is that many credible shops will beat any written estimate so make sure and do your homework to ensure you get the best deal.  If you’re smart you will find a quality auto repair shop or mechanic that you can trust.  It pays to work with someone that you know because you don’t want to overpay for unexpected repairs!

How to Salvage a Flood Damaged Car Engine – DIY Auto Repair

Many will tell you once a car has been in a flood; the engine is no longer good.They will go on to tell you the problems you will run into if you should dare to buy a car that was under water. Insurance companies will deem the automobile totaled. This is only partially true. Salvaging the car’s engine will depend on the steps you take after the flood. In all cases a car that has been submerged in salt water, the engine can be salvaged, but it will not last long. Salt is highly corrosive and will degrade the metal parts of the engine along with the wiring. The salt will eat away at wire coverings causing major electrical problems in the automobile. No matter how well you rinse or wash the internal parts, once salt water has invaded the engine space or interior spaces of the car, the damage is done.

A car involved in fresh water flooding as a result of a severe rain storm, overflowing banks of rivers, lakes and streams or an accidental drive into a body of water, can be saved. Many insurance companies will total the automobile and send it off to an auction. Car dealers can buy the car or your insurance company will sell it back to you at a fraction of the value. Your automobile title will be stamped with an “S”. The “S” stands for “Salvage”. Insurance companies will reinsure the automobile with a replacement value in line with the lowest blue book value. As long as you take the necessary steps WITHOUT starting the car – you can save a flood damaged car engine.

Start with the automobile’s Battery

Pop the hood open on your car.

Locate the battery and remove the wires from the battery.

Take the battery out of the engine compartment.

Set it aside – the battery may or may not be good.

Move to the Oil

Crawl under the car.

Locate the drain plug for the oil.

Place a large oil pan under the drain plug.

Take the plug out and let the oil drain into the pan.

Leave the oil pan in place under the automobile for one to two days to allow all of the oil to flow out, which also allows the water to drip out and dry.

On to the Transmission

Crawl back under the car with a second large pan.

Locate the plug for the transmission. Some cars will have a sealed transmission without a plug. If this is the case drain the transmission oil according to the automobile manufacturer’s instructions.

Allow the transmission oil to drain out of the transmission.

Leave the plug out for one to two days to allow the water to slowly drip out and dry.

And Now the Air Filter

Locate the air filter.

Remove it and discard it.

Brakes – Because Stopping is Important

Find the master cylinder.

Take the cap off the master cylinder.

Suction the brake fluid out with a large syringe or you can also use an old turkey baster.

Squirt the fluid into a container.

Disconnect the brake lines from the master cylinder using a line wrench.

Drain the brake fluid from the lines into the container with the other brake fluid.

Disconnect the connector from the reservoir.

Loosen the three nuts that hold the master cylinder in place.

Move the master cylinder and remove the gasket. Throw out the gasket and get a replacement.

Wipe down the master cylinder and area around it.

Put the new gasket in place.

Tighten the nuts to hold the master cylinder in place.

Reconnect the lines.

Fill the reservoir with brake fluid.

Bleed the air out of the brake lines.

It’s Time for Spark Plugs

Find the spark plugs and take them out.

Wipe the spark plugs down and keep them for later.

Sit Back and Wait — Patiently

Gather what you will need to get the car back in running condition or go fishing – it’s your choice and you do have to wait a day or two.

Take the time to properly dispose of the fluids you drained from the automobile.

Replace the Fluids

Put the transmission plug back in.

Fill the transmission with new transmission oil.

Remove the old oil filter and replace it.

Put the plug back in and fill with the appropriate motor oil.

See if the Battery Works

Put the battery back into place inside the engine compartment.

Reconnect the battery cables.

Use the Battery Power to Help Save the Flood Damaged Engine

Get into the car and insert the key into the ignition.

Turn the key as if you are starting it – I know it doesn’t have spark plugs and won’t start – but the it will force any remaining water out of the cylinders.

Repeat six to eight times.

If the car engine won’t attempt to turn over – the battery may be dead.

Back to The Air Filter

Put a new air filter in place.

You Need Spark

Either buy new spark plugs and put them in place or use the ones you removed from the engine.

The Moment of Truth

Get back into the car.

Insert the key into the ignition.

Turn the key and start the car.

A Few Car Salvaging Tips

Do not even think about trying to start the car until you have gone through all of the above steps. A great way to ruin your engine is to try to start it with all of that water in it.

After draining fluids, removing plugs and filters, it’s time to tackle the inside of the car. For best results wait for a nice, warm sunny day.

Remove the seats and set them in the sun to dry.

Vacuum the inside of the car with a wet dry vacuum to pull out as much moisture as possible.

Pull the carpeting out of the car. Lay the carpeting on a flat clean surface. Shampoo the rug with a cleaner made for marine use which has ingredients that will kill odor along with mold and mildew. If the seats are cloth, shampoo them also.

Car Repair Technicians: How to Find a Good Auto Mechanic

car engine(72425)

How Find a Good Auto Repair Service
Good Deals on Car Repairs

The typical new car is a computer on wheels. As much as 15 computers control such functions as the speed of the windshield wipers, sparkplug timing, and the antiskid function of the brakes. Actually, automotive technicians will tell you that the owners of recent-model car have more computing power at their fingertips than the early astronauts had to pilot their spacecraft.

Today’s auto repair technicians have had wide electronics training, and they use this information and training to diagnose trouble in the engine, ignition, electrical and fuel-injection systems, power train, transmission, differential, lubricating system, wheel suspension, the front axle, steering mechanism and braking system.

There are numerous types of auto repair shops and each type offers a little different kind of auto repair service:

Car dealer service departments stock most parts for the automobiles they sell. Additionally, dealer service departments are generally well supported by the automobile manufacturers themselves, who furnish frequent written updates about technical problems and send representatives to train and work with technicians in the dealership service departments. The manufacturers also work with those service departments to cover warranties. So, when your car is still under warranty, your first stop for regularly scheduled maintenance and repairs should be a dealership, though not necessarily the one from which you bought the car.

The key to finding a good auto mechanic is to look before you need one.

Often car dealerships have a supposed secret warranty arrangement with the manufacturer. Under these secret warranties, the manufacturer will pay the dealership to fix problems found in specific makes and models after purchase, even if the car is otherwise out of warranty. The problem is, dealership service departments rarely tell customers about these warranties. If something goes wrong with your vehicle, ask the dealership if there is a policy adjustment available for your particular type of vehicle.

Service stations and general auto repair shops are generally owned or managed by independent technicians and mechanics. These car technicians may or may not have access to all the equipment found in a dealership service department. All the same, many of these mechanics are great generalists, and they often charge much less than will a dealership service department for out-of-warranty repairs.

Specialty auto repair shops are just that—shops that perform only one type of repair, like brake service, change of oil or other lubrication, or a limited range of repairs. You can get quick and competitively priced service in these shops, but the emphasis is often on replacement instead of repair.

Mall automobile service departments are almost always associated with a mass merchandizing outlet, like Sears. Replacement parts in these shops are many times discounted and the technicians are typically well trained. However, the emphasis is on services that can be done rapidly.

You can make a list of automotive repair technicians by asking friends and colleagues regarding the garages they use. Members of local car clubs and people who collect cars are some other source of names.

A phone call to the Better Business Bureau can reassure you that no complaints have stayed unresolved against any of the garages on your list. Ask specifically about what type of complaints were filed and how those complaints were managed.

Automotive Repairs – Interior and Exterior Car and Truck Repair – Do I Need an Expert?

Automotive Repairs

It used to just be the boys’ top choice for a high school elective; it used to be just the odd weekend afternoon tinkering, a man’s man’s hobby, but automotive repair has come into its own with vocational certification and engineering training for serious professionals.

Automotive Repair is an all-inclusive term for the cosmetic body work, electrical and mechanical repair or replacement needed to keep cars and other vehicles in good running condition. While driving a car that looks and sounds good is of prime importance for most car owners, it isn’t just about the joy or convenience of having a cool, running car, it’s become a source of pride to show off a well-conditioned vehicle, indicating the amount of time and resources an owner invests in the car.

Of course a lot of guys still like tinkering under the hood, adding a personal touch to maintaining their cars, even though a lot of professional car maintenance services are now readily available in most areas. Let’s run through some of the most common areas of automotive repair.

Running Well

Automotive repair means hands-on work with standard flat-rates for manual labor. Having a vehicle maintained by a professional shop is a convenient and easy method of keeping your car running well. Bring your car in to have your engine checked at key mileage points. Check with your car manufacturer to make sure you’ve kept your check up appointments on time. Having a regular tune-up and oil change ensures engine safety. It’s a no-brainer, must-do for safety.

One of the most overlooked and most important safety feature of automotive maintenance is brake management. Learning why your brakes need to be maintained at regular times, and checking your tire alignment while you’re at it, is important. Modern disc brake systems utilize two (2) rotors or discs on either side of your tire, which close in on the tire to slow it down and stop it. Regular maintenance of the brake systems, and keeping your tires in good shape, can help prevent the most common car maintenance problem: dents and scrapes from minor collisions.

Listen to it Hum!

Muffler maintenance manages that part of a car’s exhaust system that reduces noise. Once your engine is up and running without strange noises, it’s also important to make sure it hums along just fine.

Inside the car though, your audio system can make or break a ride. Electrical and speaker systems running front and back, set within the doors, dashboards and rear back boards, even in trunks can create an aural experience that soundproofs you from the outside world or proclaim your presence.
Quality systems and competitions for car audio have become even more popular lately.

Looking Good, Inside & Out

Car seat leather and leather trimmings get just as much abuse as a leather sofa in a New York psychiatrist’s office. More, even! Every day, with every passenger, the leather gets worn down little by little, cracking, fading, tearing and ultimately splitting apart. As more and more people get heavier with age, as you advance in years along with your car, you and our passengers expose the leather seats and upholstery to even more abuse.

Leather is one of the most popular natural upholstery materials because of its durability. It lasts for many years if cared for properly. To ease the pressure on your leather seats, buffing with carnauba wax and keeping it nicely moisturized should help to preserve it for the long run. Many high-end luxury cars come with leather seats or interiors.

Front and back, bumps and scratches most often take their toll on your car bumpers. When you hear a Bang! You know it as another unfortunate collision. Accidents always happen… for minor ones, you may want to do a DIY (do-it-yourself) repair job. It’s pretty simple, either you pull out the dent or hammer it out. Whether it’s made of plastic, metal or fiberglass, when handled by true professionals, you won’t be able to tell the car was ever in a scrape.

Minor paint problems can be solved easily with the modern paints used to retouch nicks and scratches. Do-it-yourself auto repair is an increasingly common undertaking by car owners who are interested in saving a little, and who have more than just a working knowledge about car repairs, people who have a passion for it.

For large scale collisions and wreckage, other major problems requiring part replacements, always consult the professionals and ask for an estimate. Knowing more about why your car needs repairs and to what extent, is the best way to get an accurate and fair repair estimate. Not only is it a way for you to know what the next step would be, it’s also a great way to learn more about you particular kind of car and its common problems. Manage your expectations with automotive repair processes.

After all these guys aren’t just good, they’ve been certified: automotive repairs professional.

MobileDataforce, Automotive Services & Handheld PDAs

On occassion I review our MobileDataforce business plans from past years. It is interesting to review how our plans and focuses change over the years based upon our customers requirements and the mobility market. Our earliest business plans never mentioned the automobile services sector, however, in recent years we have become one of the industry leaders in providing mobile solutions for the automotive services industry. The following list contains some of the solutions and applications we have worked on and delivered to our customers:

  1. Vehicle tracking solutions using GPRS and satellite uplinks
  2. VIN decoding solutions with GPS integration to identify automobiles, and locations where the automobiles were found.
  3. Shuttle services applications to identify pick-up and drop-off locations for people and cargo
  4. Dealership applications to record automobile detailing and prep work
  5. Autobody applications to identify work completed on vehicles at dealerships and invoice for it.
  6. Handheld PDA time sheets for recording the work of individuals at automobile dealerships
  7. Auto auction applications to assist in real-time valuing of cars based upon condition found
  8. Vehicle recover applications following hurricanes

Many of these applications involve VIN decoding. This is the process of identifying the specific car based upon bar code scanning the VIN number on the dashboard or door. We have invested many man hours in developing this functionality and the VIN content in our mobile software. This is useful in identifying the exact car, work needed, work completed and invoicing for the work.

Finding the Best Local Automotive Services and What to Expect


Everyone has heard at least once in their lifetime that their vehicle needs to be serviced. Typically, those simple words strike with such force that it may feel like you have been punched in the stomach. Instantly, your mind rushes to the amount of money that is currently in your checking account, and you worry about how much this particular service is going to set you back. Not all automotive service experiences should result in this reaction. During any given year, you should keep your car regularly serviced in order to prevent disastrous consequences. For instance, every 6,000 miles, you must get your oil changed. If you fail to do this, you run the possibility of gumming up your motor and having to replace the entire motor at a price that it would cost you to get your oil changed regularly for an entire year. In addition, you should also have your tires rotated every 6,000 miles or so and have your front end adjusted regularly. By taking these preventive measures, you will not only reduce your fuel costs from month to month, but you will also avoid regular, expensive, and unnecessary car repairs. Even though these are just a few of the car issues that have to be checked regularly, it doesn’t mean that you can’t find an automotive repair center that you trust where you will be well-treated. Automotive services are plentiful in most large cities, and they usually even be found on every other street corner. Most technicians are aware that being without your car for any amount of time can be throw off your entire daily routine. Finding ways to get to work, to pick up the kids, and even to go to the grocery store can be difficult. As a result, it’s very important to find an automotive service center that understands these problems and helps you find a solution to them.
Many companies offering automotive services have vehicles that customers can borrow in order to function in their normal daily capacities while their vehicles are being repaired. In some situations, service centers will drop their customers off wherever they need to go in order to keep their routine intact. Therefore, it is important for you as a consumer to not simply go to the first automotive service center you see.
There are plenty of great automotive services, but when it comes to your car, don’t hesitate to shop around and find the one that is proud to call you their customer. Ask around, read reviews, and decide which automotive service center is best for your car. Then, keep your vehicle up to date so that when you hear that your car needs service, you won’t instantly think about how much it’s going to cost you. Your car will thank you for it!


Service Department Action Plan to Rev Up Gross Profit

During this economic slowdown dealerships need to be aggressive in finding new business and continuously marketing to the existing customers in their DMS. Some handy tips on revving up the gross and keeping your shop full of vehicles are listed below. If you stay on top of this list daily you will be ahead of the game and dollars will chase you instead of you chasing the dollars.

1. Call all customers the day before they’re scheduled to bring their vehicles in to confirm their appointment.

2. Review your DMS and call those customers whose state inspection sticker or emissions certification is due to expire.

3. Review your “Estimates” file for work that was never performed, track your declined services, and people who would have had work done but hadn’t found the time to come in.

4. Call all customers with recommended repairs listed on previously closed repair orders – again tracking your declined service work is a great source of future potential revenue..

5. Call customer “no-shows” from previous days. Often these customers simply forgot, or an important issue arose.

6. Notify customers of special order parts that have come in and book their appointment.

7. Make “Thank you for your business” phone calls the following day.

8. Call customers regarding maintenance and repair of the second or third (or more) vehicles in their
household, “We Service Your Other Vehicles Too”.

9. Review repair orders for factory or shop warranties due to expire, offer to perform a FREE courtesy inspection.

10. Call all customers with vehicle leases due to expire and recommend an inspection prior to turning their vehicles in.

11. Estimate current mileages on the vehicles in your DMS and determine upcoming vehicles due for various services such as oil changes and other scheduled maintenance items. Then call those customers.

12. Request that your employees personally refer work to the shop, ALL employees should have a business card.

As well, call the following and advise them that you can provide them with priority service on any day that’s not full on your appointment schedule:
1. Vendors.

2. Local used car lots.

3. Local Body shops.

4. Any and ALL fleet customers.

5. AAA Automotive

6. Local Towing companies.

Cadillac Escalade Transmission Problems From A Professional Point Of View

The Cadillac Escalade is certainly one of the most premium SUVs that you will find on the road.  When you have worked hard, and you have the privilege adding one of these fine vehicles to your personal fleet, you certainly want to take care of this four wheeled sign of success.

Just a few minutes ago, I answered a telephone call from someone who, unfortunately, experienced some sort of catastrophic failure in the transmission, and the vehicle was towed from the freeway to one of the local dealerships.   As if that was not bad enough, the price that was quoted for the repairs left him speechless.

In his mind he was starting to justify the cost of the repair, because, after all, the vehicle is a Cadillac, and well, it carries one of the largest price tags of any other vehicle in the GM lineup.  One might assume that almost everything associated with that vehicle comes with a premium level price tag.

That just is not true.  Not true at all.

Now, many of the components of the vehicle are exclusive to the Cadillac badge, however, most of the major systems of the vehicle are shared with the less expensive counterparts – the Tahoe and the Yukon.

The Escalade is equipped with the same transmission offered in those trucks.  If it is the same transmission, why should the owner of a premium vehicle be forced to pay a premium price on for mechanical repairs… hey, there is not a hood ornament on the transmission so who cares where you buy it.

These transmissions are not any different than any other transmission out there.  These transmissions fail, and have some very common causes of failure just like any other mass produced automotive component.

So, you want your Escalade fixed, but you don’t want to pay Cadillac prices?  Who could blame you for that!

Summer Is Coming – Don’t Let Car Trouble Overheat Your Wallet!

Summer is Coming – Don’t Let Car Trouble Overheat Your Wallet!

Another South Texas summer is quickly approaching! After these strange spring with nice mild temperatures, experts are saying that this summer is going to be unusually hot!

Hot temperatures are exceptionally hard on your vehicle.  It does not take much to prepare your transportation for the extreme temperatures.  Let the experts at Select Transmission & Automotive show you how to get your vehicle ready to safely get you around no matter how hot it is outside.

For the entire month of May, we offering a Free Summer Check-Up Service.  We will look at the basic maintenance items on your car, and give you an insight to your vehicles overall health.

Steps to Prepare For Summer Driving:

  • Check the condition of your tires.
  • Check the condition of your vehicles cooling system
  • Change your motor oil.  Make sure you are using the right oil for your vehicle.
  • Check the transmission fluid level and condition.
  • Make sure your brakes are in good shape
  • Service the Air Conditioning System
  • Make sure all of your other fluids are in good condition.

These are just a few things that you can do to make sure you are ready for a summer of safe and dependable vehicle operation.

If you want to schedule your FREE Summer Check Up Service, call us today at 210-599-9958!

Can a tow truck save the day…..?

Today, I had an interesting conversation with someone regarding the complimentary tow service that is offered to customers of my shop.  To be honest, the conversation was not with a customer, but with a friend.  He was quick to tell me that I was wasting money and that it would save me money if I simply assisted my customers in arranging a tow from their insurance company or cell phone service provided road side assistance.  In all honesty, he is probably right, but I have no scientific numbers showing what percentage of the population actually maintains those services.

My real answer is this.  For the average person, if you get in your car to run an errand and are suddenly stopped by a car that is not working or breaks down while you are headed to run that errand – you are stopped dead in your tracks.  For many people, when car troubles come up, the fear of the unknown comes up.  A lot of people start to panic about money, time, inconvenience and a huge variety of other things.  Car troubles can make the average person panic about a lot of things.  It is amazing how much  our lives revolve around our vehicles.   In a city as spread out as San Antonio, it is hard to depend on mass transportation. Most of us also hate to depend on other people and hate to inconvenience other people by asking for a ride.   How can you get from Stone Oak to Downtown in a reasonable amount of time if you are depending on the bus.  If you needed to call a cab for a ride like that, you are going to shell out a ton of money.  One might suggest a rental car, but, if you are renting a car for local use, that gets really expensive really fast.  Ultimately, that is like suggesting that someone pour salt on an open wound.  I know, from personal experience, that these are the things that immediately go through peoples minds.

So back to the tow service.  If we can eliminate the stress of getting a broken down vehicle into the arms of a loving professional, we have taken away more than half of the stress of the broken car already.  Think back to the last time your vehicle had a mechanical break down, did your car consult your calendar and choose the best and most convenient time to break down on you?  I highly doubt that.  It seems that car failure always seems to happen at the most inconvenient time possible.

So, now that you don’t have to worry about actually getting your car somewhere, you can think about the actual process.  Your car is at the shop and now you are well on the way to finding out what is wrong with it.  It doesn’t really matter what is wrong now, because it is where it needs to be and is already on the pathway to recovery.  At this point, there are only a couple of more issues that might need to be resolved.  Can you pay for the repair, how long is it going to take and what kind of warranty do you get with it.  These are super easy questions to answer and the only way that they can be answered is because the car is already at the shop getting love from the professionals that can make it all better.

You see, at Select Transmission & Automotive Center, we have engineered our repair process with the customers mind set in mind.  Our goal is to be the number one transmission and car care center in San Antonio.  We aim to be completely customer friendly and we work to build long term relationships with our customers.  Essentially, we are the family practice of car care.  You can turn to us to treat your vehicles minor little problems and we also have specialists to handle the major problems that any vehicle owner can run into.  We know, it happens to everyone at some point in time, so it should be comforting to know that you have a team of specialists (minus the white coats) ready to take care of you.  We even gladly give you a lollipop when we are done.

We pledge to not be over invasive, over expensive and if you have health insurance (or an extended warranty in car lingo) we most likely take that too!  Give a call, and heck you can call us at any hour of the day or night, seven days a week and we can get you back on the streets of San Antonio without the hassle and without empty wallet syndrome that so many people have come to expect when they see their mechanic.  Turn to Select Transmission & Automotive Center of San Antonio for all of your transportation troubles.  If your car could thank you, it would!

If you have questions regarding your car, check out our website or call one of our super friendly office minions at 210-599-9958.

Every Little Bit Counts

When it comes to taking care of your vehicle, we understand that the stress can really set in – quickly.  Everyone has something to be mindful of, either a strict household budget or a strict schedule that really effects your ability to be without a car for any period of time.

A common mistake that people make is assuming that your preventive maintenance on your vehicle needs to take a lot of time and/or a lot of money.   A qualified and professional establishment like Select Transmission & Automotive Center in San Antonio will help you manage your time and your budget while being mindful of the importance of general maintenance.

Performing low cost and high value maintenance is our specialty at Select Transmission & Automotive Center.  We understand that some of the most simple services can help you save a lot of money over the long road.

Services like our complete fuel injection service and our transmission fluid exchange service can help you keep your vehicle running good with a minimum investment.  These little services all add up to making sure that you have less chance of a major mechanical break down.  No major break downs means a lot more money in your pocket in the long haul.

Our professional service consultant will happily advise you on services that will benefit you and the performance of your vehicle and will give you a list of things to do over a specific amount of time that will save you money and that will keep your car out of the emergency room.

Call a professional at Select Transmission & Automotive Center and we will be happy to help you keep your vehicle on the road without breaking your bank!

We are conveniently located at 10505 O’Connor Rd., San Antonio,  TX 78233.

Call us at 210-599-9958 or look us up online at

Modern Gadgets in Your Car, Convenience or Inconvenience?

Let’s face it.  We are all spoiled.  We have come a very long way from utilizing a Mapsco book to get us from where we are to where we are going.  So many vehicles these days are equipped with GPS systems, high functioning stereo systems that work with our cell phones and more buttons and gadgets than any of us can use on the way to Grandma’s house for Sunday dinner.

However, even though we may not use so many of the features that are built into our vehicles, we certainly like to buy our cars with all of the bells and whistles.  Who doesn’t right?  Considering here in South Texas where you can wear shorts 90% of the year, I need seat warmers, right?

Well, as fun as all of these great gadgets and conveniences are, they come with a price!  All of these new buttons that come on your car draw off from the electrical system in your car.  Like anything else, if it doesn’t have the right amount of electricity it cannot run properly.  However, very few vehicles will just shut down your accessories when there is a problem, they just allow your electrical systems to be robbed of power and this can cause major electrical issues with the truly important systems on your car such as your transmission, fuel injection and traction control.   The first time your transmission stops shifting are you still going to need that GPS system?  Nope… you aren’t going very far in that car, it is going to the shop!

When you think that you have a major concern with your vehicle, don’t panic.  We have seen lots of cars in the shop in the past few months that are owned by people who are totally freaking out because they feel like they have just been doomed by major car repair expenses.  In many cases, the major problem that they think they are experiencing is simply a voltage issue in the vehicle that can be remedied by a new battery and/or alternator.

However, running your vehicle for extended periods of time with voltage or charging issues can cause damage to various systems in your vehicle.  I recently had a customer that the stereo/gps unit in their vehicle had completely shorted out and a replacement unit was nearly $2,000!  This is where proactive car ownership is totally necessary.  Take the time to have your vehicle checked out regularly.  When you have it done, make sure your battery and charging system are being properly checked, that way you are not seeing red when you are left on the side of the road by your car!  Remember, most major repairs can be avoided by simply allowing your vehicle to be properly maintained by a professional that is familiar with your driving habits, the climate and your particular manufacturer.

Call a professional wherever you are for great vehicle maintenance.  If you are in the San Antonio area, call us at Select Transmission & Automotive Center at 210-599-9958 or look us up online at

How to Know You’re Getting Quality Automotive Services


Most of us rely on a mechanic to tell us what is wrong with our vehicle, but how do you know you are getting a good repair job at a fair price? There are a few things you should look for when you need automotive services.


When you take your vehicle in for repairs, you should see certifications hanging on the wall. You want to take your vehicle to a garage that participates in certification courses on a regular basis and keeps up on new car features.

In particular, make sure your mechanic is up-to-date with his or her Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Certification. The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence is the gold standard among car manufacturers and mechanics. To receive the certification, mechanics must have a high score in one specialty area (engine repair, brakes, suspension, etc.) and two years of professional experience. A service center with an ASE blue seal signifies that 75 percent of employees working at that establishment are ASE certified. If your auto shop is missing an ASE sticker, do not get your car serviced there.

Quality Auto Parts and Services

Another sign of good automotive service is the use of quality parts. It can be tempting to save a few dollars on off-brand parts when your repair expenses start adding up, but a quality repair shop will tell you that you aren’t really saving anything. Quality parts will last longer, which means you won’t have to replace them as often. Safety could also be an issue with used or inferior car parts. You don’t want to put yourself or your passengers in jeopardy over a couple dollars of savings.

When you find good automotive services, you will save money. All shops should provide these routine auto maintenance services:

– Oil change
– Brake repair
– Tire realignment
– Inspections

In addition to providing the usual array of services, good mechanics will give you a fair price. They won’t charge you for the little things like topping off your fluids or checking the pressure in your tires, and they are more interested in keeping your car running right than charging for air.

Shops that have good automotive services look out for their customers. They know that business is based on developing trusting relationships. They take the time to check for basic safety hazards while your car is in the shop, alert you to important maintenance items that are overdue, and try to educate you about the vehicle you drive.

Great Customer Service

Good shops also put customer convenience first. They realize it is difficult for you to function without your vehicle. They do their best to complete the work and get you on your way quickly. If you have to wait for your car to be serviced, they make the waiting area comfortable with complimentary coffee and snacks, television, and Wi-Fi. Quality shops open early so you can drop your vehicle off before work and stay open late for you to pick it up.

Good automotive services are out there if you know what to look for. Up-to-date training, quality parts, and attention to customer service are a couple of things that set these places apart.

chameleon paint

Chameleon Paints: The Colors with An Identity Crisis

We’ve all seen those cars going down the road that changed color radically as they drove by. This cool effect, which has attained the common name of chameleon paint, is achieved through use of special pearl pigments that reveal radical color changes with changing viewing angle. These finishes allow automotive enthusisasts the opportunity to have a vehicle that truly stand out from a vast majority of vehicles on the road today. Customization techniques with the these types of paints allow countless color opportunities to create ultra unique finishes. While these type finishes have been on the market for over a decade now, there is still a lot of misconceptions and general lack of understanding about how these finishes work and how to best use them. This lens was created to share some of our knowledge and experiences in this area.

Understanding Chameleon Finishes

The chameleon effect is not derived from one product acting alone rather a system of layers acting in unison. In fact, it is what is called a tri-coat or 3 stage finish where a base layer is applied, followed by the special “chameleon pearl” midcoat, and then clear-coated to provide your final gloss and protection. Note: not all tri-coat finishes are chameleons. Candy Paint is another example of of a tri-coat finish process. The base layer in a chameleon paint system is typically black as it provides the light absorption necessay to extend the color spectrum of the chameleon pearl creating a more noticeable color change effect. In fact, when chameleon pearls are applied over lighter colors very little color change or “flip” is typically seen. On a molecular level special layering of the pearl pigment used in the chameleon midcoat allows it to display dramatically different colors at different angles between the observer (you and I), the paint film (usually a car), and the light source (typically the sun outside).

Chameleon Paints: The Colors with An Identity Crisis

We’ve all seen those cars going down the road that changed color radically as they drove by. This cool effect, which has attained the common name of chameleon paint, is achieved through use of special pearl pigments that reveal radical color changes with changing viewing angle. These finishes allow automotive enthusisasts the opportunity to have a vehicle that truly stand out from a vast majority of vehicles on the road today. Customization techniques with the these types of paints allow countless color opportunities to create ultra unique finishes. While these type finishes have been on the market for over a decade now, there is still a lot of misconceptions and general lack of understanding about how these finishes work and how to best use them. This lens was created to share some of our knowledge and experiences in this area.

Understanding Chameleon Finishes

The chameleon effect is not derived from one product acting alone rather a system of layers acting in unison. In fact, it is what is called a tri-coat or 3 stage finish where a base layer is applied, followed by the special “chameleon pearl” midcoat, and then clear-coated to provide your final gloss and protection. Note: not all tri-coat finishes are chameleons. Candy Paint is another example of of a tri-coat finish process. The base layer in a chameleon paint system is typically black as it provides the light absorption necessay to extend the color spectrum of the chameleon pearl creating a more noticeable color change effect. In fact, when chameleon pearls are applied over lighter colors very little color change or “flip” is typically seen. On a molecular level special layering of the pearl pigment used in the chameleon midcoat allows it to display dramatically different colors at different angles between the observer (you and I), the paint film (usually a car), and the light source (typically the sun outside).

Types of Chameleon Paint

While the physics of how chameleon paints work remains the same, there are variations on how the pearl pigment is made that creates an ever increasing variety of colors and sparkle effects. The first generation of chameleon pearl pigments were built from iron oxide layers which made a darker base look to the pearl but there are now options available that employ titanium dioxide base and even polymer bases that make lighter colored chameleon effects possible. Chameleon pearls based on titanium dioxide are said to be “titanium based” while those based on conventional substrates are said to be “iron” based.

Choosing & Buying Your Chameleon Paint

What is the best chameleon paint color to use?

Color is a personal preference that you must decide for yourself. When choosing your chameleon color we find videos of actual cars to be the best representation of what you can expect from a chameleon system. Small car shapes work well also if you can obtain them from your supplier. While photos and small chips are the most convenient ways to display the color, they may not be the best representation of how it will look on your vehicle. It’s always best to spray a test panel or object before you paint your vehicle to make sure you are getting the effect you expect.

How much chameleon paint do I need?

There are a lot of factors that go into how much paint you might need to complete a project. Size of the object is an obvious factor but the type of spray equipment you have and how you spray is also a big factor. In our experience a 1 – 2 quarts of ready to spray chameleon (chameleon plus reducers) is plenty to paint the average sized motorcycle while 1.5 – 2.5 gallons of sprayable material may be required to paint the average sized car including door jambs. It’s always best to buy a little extra from a vendor that allows returns. Remember, very few local dealers stock chameleon paints so if you run out there is no running to the store to pick some up real quick.

Where to buy chameleon paints?

Chameleon paint systems can be ordered through your local auto paint dealers or purchased online at sites like ebay or from vendors like the ones listed below. As with other industries, online dealers can typically offer the lowest costs and in a lot cases the quality and service from an online dealer is quite good plus you get the added convenience of having the item delivered to you. Local auto paint dealers rarely stock chameleon paints so if you prefer to purchase locally be sure to plan ahead and notify them so they can have it in stock for you.

How to Mix Automotive Paint With Reducer & Hardener

Modern automotive paints are activated with hardeners to promote faster drying times. Reducer is added to help the material flow through the spray gun easily. The mixing process is a vitally important aspect of automotive refinishing work. Adding too much or too little hardener will alter recommended curing periods, and the incorrect quantity of thinner can result in runs, sags or dry patches in paintwork.


  1. Wipe out the paint mixing pot with a clean piece of cloth to remove traces of dust and other foreign contaminants. Place the paint mixing pot on a flat, even surface. Stand the paint measuring stick against the inside wall so it rests in a vertical position.
  2. Stir the automotive paint thoroughly with a disposable stirring stick before mixing begins. Make sure the separate pigments mix together. Check the paint against the vehicle to make sure the color is accurate.
  3. Refer to the technical data sheet supplied with the automotive paint to establish the correct mixing ratio. Remember that the mixing ratio is written sequentially. So figures of 2:1:1, for example, will relate to two parts of automotive paint, 1 part of hardener and 1 part of reducer. Check the markings on the paint measuring stick to ensure the correct ratio markings are available.
  4. Determine how much unmixed material is needed for painting. Refer to the left-hand side of the paint stirring stick to view the different volume measurements. Note that each numbered vertical marking represents one-tenth of a liter of automotive paint. Add paint up to marking number 1 on the left-hand side of the stick if 100ml of unmixed paint is required. Add up to the number 2 if 200ml of unmixed paint is needed. Add up to any other number that represents the correct volume of material necessary to complete the job.
  5. Take a tin of compatible hardener and look at the markings on the center of the paint measuring stick, which represent the second part of the mixing ratio. Fill the paint mixing pot to the same number on the center of the stick as you used when adding unmixed paint. Add to the number 1 if the paint was added to number 1 on the left-hand side; 2 if the paint was added to 2 on the left-hand side; or any other relevant number that matched your original paint quantity.
  6. Repeat the process on the right-hand side of the stick with compatible reducer, making sure the pot is filled to the same number on the paint measuring stick so it matches the number used for the unmixed paint and hardener. Allow the material to settle for a few seconds before stirring the three components together and adding the mixed product to a spray gun.

Classic Auto Air Perfect Fit Series Air Conditioning Installation

Since I figured I would almost exclusively be driving this car during the hot summer months I decided to install air conditioning.  There are quite a few options when it comes to air conditioning in a 69 Mustang.  Options range from finding all original parts to complete aftermarket systems.  I opted for an aftermarket system.  I decided on this for a couple of reasons:

1.  To track down all original parts would be expensive and time consuming.
2.  The original pieces would more than likely have to be rebuilt or restored in some way.
3.  Aftermarket systems come with instructions and customer support if you can’t figure something
out.  With original parts you are pretty much on your own.
4.  Aftermarket units look like original parts, but they funtion like barand new parts complete with a

I decided to go with a system from Classic Auto Air.  It is a complete system that includes everything that you need to complete the installation.  Best of all when you are finished you have a system that looks just like an original factory AC unit looked.  Classic Auto Air provides detailed instructions that are pretty decent.  This page is not intended to be instructions on how to install the unit in your car.  If you want detailed instructions go:
This page is simply meant to highlight some parts of the install.

The one thing that I did not like about this kit is the new face plate that they supply you.  This is simply meant to stick over your original face plate.  I think that this sticker looks cheap and is also a dead giveaway that this is an aftermarket system.  It is for these reasons that I decided to make my own.
This is what I came up with.  I think that this looks much more authentic than a sticker.  If you are installing this system in your Mustang and would like one of these plates instead of the sticker I manufacture them and they are sold on ebay and through Mustangs Unlimited.  Please clickhere for more info on purchasing one.  Please note that I changed the design to look even more authentic.  The picture below shows what the new design looks like.

All of the heater hoses and A/C lines pass neatly through the opening where the heater blower motor used to be.  Classic Auto Air requires you to drill a hole in your firewall just below the blower motor.  This hole coincides with a mounting tag on the new heater box.  BEWARE!  THE TEMPLATE WAS WRONG IN MY INSTRUCTION PACKET.  Make sure that your template is correct before drilling the hole.  My hole location was 1 5/8″ off.  You can easily tell if the template is off by cutting it out and laying it on the new heater box.  Center the heater and A/C outlet ports inside the cutout circle of the template and take note of where the mounting tab and the drain holes are located.  If the tab lines up with the template you are good to go.  If not mark the template accordingly and use that mark as a reference as to where to drill the hole.


This is the template that is supplied with the kit.  The 5/8″ hole is for the drain.  The smaller hole above and to the right of the 5/8″ hole is drilled in the firewall for a bolt that holds the heater box in place, and the 3rd hole to the right of the heater motor hole is intended to help align the template.  As stated earlier these holes did not line up on my car.  Double check before drilling anything.


The following pictures show how the components look when they are installed.





ECU mounting location.  This can be mounted anywhere.  I chose to mount mine on the passenger’s side behind the passenger’s side dash panel.



Driver’s side louver.


Passenger’s side louver.
Control Panel
One other minor drawback to the kit is the fact that the supplied center dash louver is not the same size as an original louver for a car that came factory equipped with A/C.  This presented a problem for me because when I ordered a new dash pad for the car I ordered one for a factory A?C car because I didn’t want to cut up a brand new dash pad.  I plan on replacing the Classic Auto Air center louver with an original style louver at some point, but for now this is how I solved the problem.


First I cut a piece of Plexiglas where the outside dimension of the piece fit inside of the factory A/C cutout in the dash pad, and the inside cutout would allow the Classic Auto Air louver to slide in to it.  I then cut a piece on vinyl from an old door panel to wrap the piece of Plexiglas in.



Apply contact cement to the vinyl


And to the Plexiglas (Both Sides)


Wrap the vinyl around the Plexiglas



Cut the vinyl along the inside edge of the Plexiglas


Your piece should look like this


Then install the louver into your adapter


Now the louver can be installed into the dash pad.  Mine was a pretty tight fit and would probably have stayed in on its own, but I decided to use some glue dots on it just to be sure.


This is what the finished product looks like.  Not bad, but I think I will still switch it to a factory louver if I can find a decent one.


Another interior view



And here’s the finished product.
Compressor mounting location.  One thing that is not included in the kit is new belts.  You have to measure the belts to get the proper fitting ones.  I used a string to get an approximate measurement, and then used trial and error from there.  The problem with using a string is the fact that a belt measurement is actually the measure of the centerline of the belt, and a string measures the inside of the belt.  My belts ended up being 2″ larger than my string measurement.  On my application I used a 58515 and a 57515.  That is a 58 1/2″ belt 3/8″ wide and a 57 1/2″ belt 3/8″ wide.  Yours may be different, but it should be around that length.

Glad’s Response to Automotive Repair Suit.
DANVILLE, Calif. — Midas franchisee Mike Glad will aggressively defend against the civil complaint filed in Alameda County. According to Bill Gagen, an attorney for the Glad organization: “This lawsuit rehashes the same causes of action that have been the subject of administrative proceedings in Sacramento for the last year. The prosecutors’ action stems from the same investigation by the Bureau of Automotive Repair. Midas franchisee Mike Glad and his 22 shops in northern California are victims of an inconsistent and destructive enforcement process undertaken by the BAR to take advantage of hard working mechanics in repair shops.”

In 1989 Mr. Glad and his businesses were parties to an agreement with the Bureau of Automotive Repair which led to the creation of a strong working relationship between the BAR and his shops. Mr. Glad became one of the organizing members of the California Midas Dealers Association which was established to work cooperatively and constructively with the BAR. Not once in 20 years did the BAR bring to the attention of Mr. Glad any violation of the terms of the 1989 settlement. In the late 1990’s the BAR dismantled the centralized program for handling consumer complaints. The BAR eliminated the Notice of Violation process which alerted auto repair businesses to violations discovered. As time went on, Gagen commented, “The BAR abandoned its statutory mandate to protect the consumers of California and substituted it with clandestine enforcement mechanisms.”

According to Gagen, “Mr. Glad now knows that from March of 2005, and thereafter for nearly three years, the BAR resorted to a “gotcha” enforcement technique designed to deceive auto mechanics. This pattern of deception included BAR investigators lying to mechanics about symptoms consistent with excessive brake wear. The BAR spent thousands of dollars to cosmetically age rotors and grind down brake pads to 1/32 of an inch, a dangerously inadequate level. There is no evidence that any consumer would cosmetically alter his brake rotor, grind down his brake pad, and then lie to a mechanic about the response of the car to the application of brake pressure. The BAR allowed this conduct to continue unabated for over 2 1/2 years before filing the Accusation last year.”

While the Bureau claims that unnecessary repairs were made on 28 cars, in fact, 24 of those cars were altered undercover vehicles.

“The Midas braking system advertising was not misleading,” said Gagen. “In the ad that is a subject of the complaint was transmitted to the BAR in October, 2004, at which time it was deemed to comply with price advertisement regulations. Five months later, the BAR launched its deceptive undercover operation.” Gagen posed the question, “Why, if the BAR felt that a Glad mechanic in 2005 was violating consumer protection laws, did the regulatory agency take absolutely no action for over 2 1/2 years to prevent similar conduct?”

The 22 Glad shops serve a total of 100,000 customers yearly, averaging fewer than two customer complaints per store. Mr. Glad and his representatives will vigorously fight to maintain the reputation of the organization and its 130 loyal employees.

In the investigation leading to this case, Gagen claims, “The BAR has proven itself to be driven by deception and game-playing, not public protection. In the zeal to ensnare otherwise honest and conscientious business people, the BAR has completely undercut its mission of consumer protection. Over the 2 1/2 year investigation of Mike Glad’s Midas stores, BAR agents tricked employees, artificially modifying decoy cars that were expertly engineered to fool the most experienced mechanic. Simply stated, this was a setup.”

Productivity shows a decline in automative repair shops

Output per hour of persons employed in these shops fell at an annual rate of 1.2 percent between 1972 and 1986, reflecting a larger increase in employee hours than in output John G. Olsen and RICHARDS B. CARNES

Output her hour of all persons(1) in the automative repair shop industry(2) decreased at an average annual rate of 1.2 percent between 1972 and 1986. During this period, productivity in the private nonfarm business sector rose at an annual rate of 0.8 percent. The overall productivity decline reflects a 3.0-percent average annual increase in output and a corresponding larger growth in all person hours of 4.3 percent. (See table 1.)

Despite increased efficiencyd in some specialty repair shops, overall productivity for the automotive repair shop industry has declined since 1972. Factors contributing to this decline include a large influx of new establishments and workers in the industry, a shortage of adequately trained mechanics, the introduction of more complex cars and tricks, as well as the effect of several recessions in the U.S. economy during the 1972-86 period.

The output per hour rates for automotive repair shops varied substantially from year to year. Since 1972, annual increases in productivity have occurred in 6 years, ranging from 0.5 to 8.7 percent. Declines in productivity occurred in 8 years, the largest in 1982 when output per hour dropped 6.3 percent.

The auto repair shop industry is affected by cyclical changes in the economy. During periods of economic contraction, output in the automotive repair shop industry slows or falls, and productivity tends to decline. During an economic downturn, industry output may grow because of maintenance and repair expenditures on older motor vehicles, but be offset by declines in disposable income and new motor vehicle sales. This would slow the rate of growth in industry output or lead to a decline in output. Cyclical influences on the automative repair shop industry can be seen by examining subperiod trends.

From 1972 to 1974, productivity in the automotive repair shop industry increased at an annual rate of 2.1 percent, as output rose 5.8 percent and all employee hours grew 3.7 percent. Reflecting a general downturn in the economy, productivity declines 5.6 percent in 1975, as output dropped 0.2 percent. Between 1975 and 1979, output per hour fell slightly, 0.6 percent per year, as hours (5.3 percent) grew faster than output (4.6 percent). The recession of 1980 and 1981-82 had a more adverse effect on the industry than the previous recession. From 1979 to 1982, productivity experienced its largest decline, dropping 4.2 percent per year, as output fell at an annual rate of 3.1 percent. Automotive repair shops shared in the economic recovery that began in 1983. Productivity grew 2.5 percent per year between 1982 and 1986, as output rebounded at a 9.0-percent annaul rate and hours increased 6.3 percent per year.

Industry structure

The automotive repair shop industry consists of establishments primarily engaged in the repair of automotive tops, bodies, and interiors; repairing and retreading automotive tires; automative painting and refinishing; general automotive repair; and specialized automotive repair, not elsewhere classified, such as fuel service (carburetor repair), brake relining, front-end and wheel alignment, exhaust system (muffler) repair, radiator repair, and glass replacement and repair. Automotive repair shops compete in a broad service and parts market. The automotive service market is heterogeneous in its structure, ranging from new car and truck dealers and self-service fleets to gasoline service stations and independent repair shops. In addition, a large number of motor vehicle owners perform some or all of their own repairs. Automotive repair departments maintained by establishments engaged in the sale of new automobiles are classified in retail trade, as are gasoline service stations (where sales of merchandise, including fuel, exceed repair receipts).

The automotive repair shop industry is characterized by a large number of small firms. In 1972, there were an estimated 127,203 establishments operating in the industry. By 1982, the industry had grown to 179,093 establishments. Almost half of these establishments had payroll in 1982. The number of paid employees in establishments with payrolls averaged 3.6 in 1972, 3.9 in 1977, and 4.1 in 1982. Many of these establishments are owned or operated by partners or sole proprietors. In 1982, partners and proprietors made up almost 80 percent of the ownership of all establishments and accounted for more than 60 percent of all persons in the industry.

In 1986, the industry generated $32.0 billion in receipts with a work force of about 780,000. Small establishments accounted for the majority of industry receipts. More than 75 percent of all automotive repair shops with payrolls had sales of less than $250,000 in 1982.

Output and demand

In spite of several economic downturns, overall output of the automotive repair shop industry increased 3.0 percent per year between 1972 and 1986. In comparison, over the same period, output for the private nonfarm business sector increased an average of 2.5 percent per year.

Industry output growth reflects, in part, increases in the number of motor vehicles in operation. Passenger cars in operation increased at an average annual rate of 2.0 percent between 1972 and 1986. The number of trucks in operation also increased over this period, growing 5.7 percent per year.(3) An increase in the average age of cars and trucks also has contributed to the growth in output. The median age of passenger cars has grown steadily from 5.1 years in 1972 to 6.9 years in 1985. The median age of trucks grew from 6.0 years in 1972 to 7.6 years in 1984.(4)

The industry’s output growth generally paralleled the trend for the overall economy. Between 1972 and 1979, the industry’s output rose at an average annual rate of 3.9 percent. Output increased in 6 of the 7 years over this period, falling only in 1975 with the downturn in the economy. In 1979-82, output declined an average of 3.1 percent per year. Recessionary conditions in 1980 and 1981-82 contributed to the weak demand experienced during this period. Reflecting the general economic recovery since 1982, output experienced a sharp turnaround, rising at a 9.0-percent annual rate from 1982 to 1986.

Auto repair shops have boosted their share of the automotive service and parts market during the last 10 years, increasing from 25 percent in 1976 to nearly 28 percent in 1985.(5) New car dealers, who have enjoyed the largest share of the service and parts market, and gasoline service stations declined during this period. The percentage of sales of the automative service and parts market (including tire sales) during 1985 was as follows: franchised new car dealers, 33 percent; automotive repair shops, 28 percent; gasoline service stations, 8 percent; tire, battery, and accessory dealers, 22 percent; mass merchandisers, 7 percent; and all others, 3 percent.

Between 1972 and 1986, the numbers of full service gasoline stations fell from 226,459 to 120,150, a 47-percent decline.(6) Self-service stations ahve taken their place. Large corporations, chain organizations, and franchise operations are claiming some of the business that the full-service stations are giving up. Specialized auto repair shops have takend a large part of the muffler and brake repair businesses. In addition, “quick lube” shops are increasing their share of the oil change market.

The distribution of industry receipts by type of automotive repair shop showed little change between 1972 and 1982. In 1982, about 44 percent of all industry receipts were generated by general automotive repair shops, more than 26 percent by top and body repair shops, and almost 30 percent by other automotive repair shops. The distribution of establishments by type of operation, however, experienced a slight change over this period. General automotive repair shops accounted for 61 percent of all establishments in the industry in 1982, compared with 56 percent in 1972. However, this group’s share of total industry receipts declined slightly over this period, falling from 45 percent in 1972 to 44 percent in 1982. This trend reflects the continuing entry of small establishments into general automotive repair. Although top and body repair shops and all other automotive repair shops’ share of total industry establishments dropped between 1972 and 1982, their proportion of total industry receipts increased slightly over this period. These trends reflect the growth of franchised operations among specialized auto repair shops.


Total employment in the automotive repair shop industry grew steadily from 415,700 in 1972 to 780,300 in 1986, at an average annual rate of 4.6 percent. In comparison, the private nonfarm business sector experienced a 2.1-percent rise in employment over the same period. The hours of all persons in the industry increased at a slightly lower annual rate of 4.3 percent because of a small drop in average weekly hours. The hours of nonsupervisory workers, for example, declined slightly from 39.9 in 1972 to 38.6 per week in 1986. Hourly earnings of nonsurpervisory workers in automotive repair shops averaged $8.17 in 1986, compared with $8.76 for the total private economy and $8.16 for the total service sector.

While the number of self-employed workers remains very high, establishments with paid employees have increased since 1972. Employees accounted for almost 60 percent of all persons in the industry in 1982, compared with 59 percent in 1977 and 56 percent in 1972. Self employed workers dropped slightly, from more than 40 percent of all persons in 1972 to less than 38 percent in 1982. There was little change in the number of unpaid family workers; they accounted for about 3 percent of all persons in 1972, 1977, and 1982.

The decline in the number of full service gasoline stations has contributed to the large growth of employment in the industry between 1972 and 1986. Since the early 1970’s, full service stations have declined in number, as oil companies have consolidated small stations into larger self-service facilities. As a result, the number of automotive repair shops has increased to absorb the former service station operators and repair services.

The industry’s work force is dominated by persons in mechanic, installer, and repairer occupations, who made up almost 51 percent of total employment in 1984 (the latest year for which data are available).(7) Within this occupational group, automotive and motorcycle mechanics represented the largest category, accounting for 27 percent of employment in the industry. Automotive body and related repairers, the next largest category, accounted for more than 16 percent of the industry work force. Bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists made up another 3 percent of employment.

Factors affecting productivity

One factors affecting productivity growth in the automotive repair shop industry is the small size of many of the shops. Small firms have limited resources in capital, personnel, and meterials. Although there are little data of capital investment for this industry, it is clear that the small average size of establishments in the industry makes it difficult for the average firm to invest in new capital equipment, such as computerized diagnostic equipment. Automotive repair shops also have limited access to manufacturers training programs and data services.

The addition of more than 50,000 establishments and 200,000 workers to the industry between 1972 and 1982 has also influenced the movement of productivity over the period studied. The apparent ease of entry and exit from the industry has led to increases in the number of establishments and workers in the industry, even during periods of general economic recession. The large growth in employment, together with high separation rates for some occupations, has affected the overall experience level of workers in the industry. Garage- and service station-related occupations, which include some workers in the automotive repair shop industry, had high separation rates, as measured by the percent of workers leaving these jobs in 1981 and 1983.(8) This influx of new firms and less experienced workers has contributed to the small, average size of industry establishments and the decline in output per hour during this period.

Another factor affecting productivity between 1972 and 1986 has been the introduction of more complex engineering in the design of cars and trucks. Automotive technology has changed significantly since the early 1970’s. During the 1970’s, advances in automotive engineering were concentrated in the areas of safety, emissions, and fuel economy. Although these changes included some improvements in serviceability, such as longer intervals between oil changes and ignition system tuneups, they have increased the complexity of many repair jobs. The downsizing of cars to reduce fuel consumption, along with the addition of numerous electronic components, has turned some routine maintenance jobs into major operations.

In the 1980’s, the general trend has been toward the introduction of more subsystems of increasing sophistication and complexity. The increasing use of computer microprocessors in newer vehicles to control engine performance, transmission, and the suspension systems has also changed the complexity of repair work. According to a recent industry study, 83 percent of the mechanics surveyed indicated that newer cars are more difficult to repair than 10 years ago because this complexity makes it more difficult to pinpoint problems.(9) The skill and equipment mix generally found in small automotive repair shops often are ill suited for such sophisticated diagnosis and repair work.

According to some automotive service industry analysts, a shortage of adequately trained mechanics also has affected industry productivity. Technological innovations have occurred so rapidly, particularly in automotive electronics, that it is difficulty or impossible for many small repair shops to keep up with these changes. Small and medium sized repair shops often cannot afford to let mechanics take time off to learn the latest technology. As a result, worker skills are not keeping pace with new automotive technology.

Outlook for productivity

Long term prospects for demand in the overall automotive service industry should be good, as the automobile continues to play a key role in transportation. Future output growth will reflect further increases in the number of vehicles in operation and a modest rise in vehicle miles traveled. It is unclear, however, what share of the market will belong to the automotive repair shop industry. A smaller market share will reduce any opportunity for future productivity gain, especially for smaller operations unable to purchase needed capital equipment.

New automobiles are expected to continue to incorporate even more complex technology. Auto manufacturers, for example, plan to use onboard computers to chemically analyze oil, fuel, and radiator coolant, detect wear and tear in mechanical parts, and electronically readjust the engine to compensate. With the growth of computerized and fuel injected motor vehicles, new cars will require more sophisticated electronic diagnostic service.

Because of the shortage of mechanics with advanced training and the need to keep up with rapid technological innovations, some industry analysts foresee a decline in the percentage of service work performed by auto repair shops and a growth in business for new car dealers and large chain stores. Some new computerized diagnostic equipment developed by auto manufacturers, for example, will only be available to authorized dealers. Another trend affecting industry output has been the lengthening of service contracts by new car dealers on new cars and trucks. These extended warranties may lower demand for some specialized auto repair shops, such as engine rebuilders. To improve productivity and to remain competitive, automotive repair shops need to invest in new equipment, and provide advanced training.

The occupational composition of the work force for the automotive repair shop industry is not expected to change significantly during the next decade. Based on projections by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the proportion of mechanics, installers, and repairers is expected to increase from almost 51 percent of industry employment in 1984 to about 52 percent of industry employment in 1995. Within this occupational group, automotive and motorcycle mechanics are expected to grow from about 27 percent of industry employment in 1984 to nearly 29 percent in 1995. The share of employment among automotive body and related repairers is expected to fall slightly during this period. Administrative support occupations, including clerical, are projected to decline from 10 percent of industry employment in 1984, to about 9 percent of industry employment in 1995. This trend reflects, in part, a greater use of computers in the industry in the future. The availability of more affordable and more powerful personal computers has made the technology feasible for small shopowners. Among other functions, computers will be used to perform recordkeeping and administrative functions formerly done manually.


(1)All average rates of change are based on the linear least squares trends of the logarithms of the index numbers.

(2)The automotive repair shop industry is classified as SIC 753 in the 1972 Standard Industrial Classification Manual and its 1977 supplement issued by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

(3)Based on statistics published in Ward’s Automotive Yearbook (Detroit, MI, Ward’s Communications, Inc., 1987).

(4)Motor Vehicle Facts and Figures, 1986 (Detroit, MI, Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association, 1986).

(5)NADA Data for 1986 (McLean, VA, National Auomobile Dealers Association, 1986), p. 10.

(6)Based on statistics published in Natioinal Petroleum News Factbook, 1987, p. 123.

(7)Bureau of Labor Statistics, data for 1984-95, National Industry Occupational Matrix.

(8)Occupational Projections and Training Data, Bulletin 2206 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1984), p. 10; and Occupational Projections and Training Data, Bulletin 2251 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1986), p. 18.

(9)”Mechanics Struggle to Keep Up With Engineering Advances,” The Washington Post, June 14, 1987, p. D7.

TABLE: Table 1. Indexes of output per hour of all person and related data, automotive repair shops, 1972-86 (1977=100)

TABLE: Output per
TABLE: Year hour of all Output per Output Hours of all All
TABLE: persons person Persons persons

How to Thin Automotive Paints

Thinning automotive paint is necessary before using a spray gun to apply the paint. The paint needs to pass easily through the gun’s nozzle to achieve an even color across your auto’s surface. If the paint is too thick, you won’t have an even flow out of the airbrush gun and the gun will continually get clogged. Thin your automotive paint to a more appropriate consistency before you attempt to airbrush for an easier application.


  1. Prepare paint for thinning. Set aside the appropriate amount of paint you will need for your project. It is best to set aside all of the paint you will need in the project all at once. This will ensure all of the paint is thinned evenly and in the same fashion. Place the paint in a clean plastic container.
  2. Fill a spray bottle with paint thinner or lacquer. These items are sold at any hardware supply store. You will need to choose the appropriate thinner or lacquer to mix with the type of auto paint you will be using. The contents of your paint will define what type of thinner you will use. Follow the guidelines on the back of each thinner container to choose one that works with the contents of your paint brand. Applying the thinner using a spray bottle will make for easier handling; it will decrease the chances of adding too much thinner and ruining your paint.
  3. Combine the thinner into the automotive paint. There is no exact measurement of thinner that should be used. It varies widely within brands and even colors. It is best to follow the manufacturer’s outline for an approximate calculation. For the best results, spray a few squirts of thinner into the paint at a time while stirring with a mixing stick. This will allow you to monitor the paint’s consistency as you go, rather than initially guessing the amount you will need.
  4. Mix the thinner and the paint. Once you have reached a point of appropriate consistency, mix the combination well. To test the consistency, pick up the container of paint and gently tilt the container side to side. Before adding thinner, the paint would have a slow reflex, lagging slightly in drifting off the sides of the container after you tilt the container. Once you have reached the right consistency, the paint will drift at about the same speed that you are tilting the container. Keep in mind you do not want your paint to be too thin, which will show up as the movement of paint in the container being quicker than your tilting motion.