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Is It The End Of Retail (As We Know It)? ● The Value Of Employee Training

August 2013

Annual Technical Forum Get the lowdown on 13 parts categories to help boost sales for reader service for reader service


August Volume 31, No. 8

features 21st Annual Technical Forum A/C



By Larry Carley ..........................................44

Batteries ......................................30

Spark Plugs


Belts and Hoses



Chassis Filters


TPMS ....................................50


Wheel bearings


Friction ........................................40

Wiper blades



Fuel Pumps ................................42

Mechanic Connection

By Gary Goms

Sealed wheel bearing hub assemblies have become the standard. ...............................................................................................

56 Recommendations for drums and rotors .......................................58 26



COUNTERMAN (ISSN 0739-3695) (August 2013 Volume 31, Number 8): Copyright 2013 Babcox Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved: Published monthly by Babcox, 3550 Embassy Parkway, Akron, OH 44333 U.S.A. Phone (330) 670-1234, Fax (330) 670-0874. Periodical postage paid at Akron, OH 44333 and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to COUNTERMAN, 3550 Embassy Parkway, Akron, OH 44333-8318. A limited number of complimentary subscriptions are available to individuals who meet the qualification requirements. Call (330) 670-1234, Ext. 275, to speak to a subscription services representative or FAX us at (330) 670-5335. Paid Subscriptions are available for non-qualified subscribers at the following rates: U.S.: $69. Samples and back issues - Domestic - $10, International/via air mail - $15. Canada: $89 for one year, $149 for two years. Canadian rates include GST. Ohio residents add 5.75% sales tax. Other foreign rates/via air mail: $129 for one year. Payable in advance in U.S. funds. Mail payment to COUNTERMAN, P.O. Box 75692, Cleveland, OH 44101-4755. Visa, MasterCard or American Express accepted.


August 2013 | Counterman for reader service

Track Talk #BeAContender: Drive Home With The NEW 2014 Toyota Tundra CrewMax Pickup-truck lovers never had it so good. When Toyota unveiled the new 2014 Toyota Tundra CrewMax at the 2013 Chicago Auto Show in February, the redesigned truck made big waves with its new larger-thanlife, chiseled persona. “Toyota prides itself on listening to its customers and the development of the 2014 American-born Tundra is a perfect example,” said Bill Fay, group vice president and general manager, Toyota Division. The 2014 redesign represents the first major change since the launch of the current generation in 2007. Per consumer feedback, Toyota gave the new generation Tundra a more chiseled exterior and refined interior with easy-to-use technology. Combined with perform-

ance enhancements, the allnew Tundra is more of what motorists want in a full-size pickup, in addition to what they need. Translation: upgrades galore. Among them, Toyota designers increased the size of the front fascia and tightened up the character lines to punctuate Tundra’s pulling power. For improved performance, shock absorber valving has been re-tuned to improve Tundra ride quality over harsh surfaces. Visually speaking, the chrome grille has a taller, bolder look visually connecting the upper intake to the lower bumper. The front lower bumpers are now a three-piece design, while the fenders and wheel wells have been squaredoff for a wide, sturdy stance.

The integrated spoiler in the deck helps with fuel efficiency, while the tail lamps express a tool-like quality to match the appearance of the body. An all-new bed design helps carry the chiseled character lines all the way down the profile, leading to a rugged new bed and tail gate. Perhaps best of all, passenger comfort was improved with an all-new front and rear seat design with improved front seat ventilation. CrewMax rear seats are now foldable for additional cargo carrying capability. The interior is equipped with an all-new instrument panel any gearhead would enjoy, plus a number of segment firsts, including a new blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert and standard Bluetooth. The new 2014 Tundra will reach Toyota dealers in September. And that’s just in time for the redesigned truck to take center

stage at one of NASCAR’s most popular events – NASCAR Contenders Live Sponsored by Toyota & Sprint – just days before the first race of the 2013 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup at Chicagoland Speedway. NASCAR Contenders Live, which will feature the Top 12 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers, will take place on Sept. 12 at the Grand Ballroom at Chicago’s famed Navy Pier from 1:30-3 p.m. CT. In conjunction with the event, Toyota is giving one lucky pickup aficionado the chance to take home the new 2014 Tundra CrewMax. “NASCAR Contenders Live gives Toyota a grand stage on which to connect with the fiercely loyal NASCAR fan base,” said Keith Dahl Toyota national manager of motorsports and engagement marketing. While the Top 12 NASCAR drivers lay out their strategies to claim the ultimate prize – a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship – a lucky motorist will drive away with the ultimate prize: the all-new Tundra. Enter to win the new 2014 Toyota Tundra CrewMax now through Aug. 23, 2013, plus tickets are available starting at $10 by visiting

For fans following NASCAR Contenders Live Sponsored by Toyota and Sprint on Twitter please use hashtag #BeAContender. By: Kimberly Hyde, NASCAR Follow NASCAR Performance on Twitter and Facebook ■ for reader service

columns 10

Editor’s Ink By Mark Phillips .............................................................................. We can’t let unperformed maintenance slip away.

Keeping It Simple


By Gerald Wheelus ........................................................

Are your ideas bigger than your business?

From The Publisher


By S. Scott Shriber......................................................

Do you know what you do well?



Mark Phillips, Editor 330-670-1234, Ext. 299


Amy Antenora, Editor, aftermarketNews Managing Editor, Counterman 330-670-1234, Ext. 220


Larry Carley, Technical Editor

By Mandy Aguilar.......................................................................

Is it the end of retail?

Allen & Allan


S. Scott Shriber 330-670-1234, ext. 229

By Allen Markowitz and Allan Gerber ......................................

The value of employee training. CONTRIBUTING EDITORS

departments 4

Mandy Aguilar, Columnist Gary Goms, Commercial Accounts Gerald Wheelus, Columnist Allen Markowitz, Columnist Allan Gerber, Columnist Jerry King, Cartoonist

NASCAR Performance ..................................................................................


This monthly special section takes you behind the scenes of this fast-growing sport.

Lisa DiPaolo, Graphic Designer 330-670-1234 , Ext. 281


MarketPlace ..................................................................................................

Every month, MarketPlace showcases the newest automotive product and service innovations your customers are asking about!


Aftermarket News ......................................................................................

Aftermarket News presents news, views and analysis of current trends and events in aftermarket distribution.

News extra

24 Classifieds .........................................................................................................70 Executive Interview with Jayson Keever of NUCAP ...................


Tina Purnell Advertising Services Manager 330-670-1234 , Ext. 243 CIRCULATION SERVICES Brad Mitchell, Director of eMedia & Audience Development 330-670-1234 , Ext. 277 Pat Robinson, Circulation Manager 330-670-1234, Ext. 276 Ellen Mays, Circulation Specialist 330-670-1234, Ext. 275 CORPORATE Bill Babcox, President Greg Cira, Vice President, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Stankard, Vice President Beth Scheetz, Controller

ADVERTISING SALES REPRESENTATIVES HOME OFFICE: 3550 Embassy Parkway Akron, OH 44333-8318 330-670-1234 FAX 330-670-0874 Bill Babcox 330-670-1234, ext. 217


PUBLISHER: S. Scott Shriber 330-670-1234, ext. 229 SALES REPRESENTATIVES: Dean Martin 330-670-1234, ext. 225

August 2013 | Counterman

Jim Merle 330-670-1234, ext. 280

Sean Donohue 330-670-1234, ext. 206

Roberto Almenar 330-670-1234, ext. 233

John Zick 949-756-8835

Glenn Warner 330-670-1234, ext. 212

CLASSIFIED SALES: Tom Staab 330-670-1234, ext. 224

Edward S. Babcox (1885-1970) Founder Tom B. Babcox (1919-1995) Chairman Founded 1983. Copyright 2013 Babcox Media, Inc., All Rights Reserved COUNTERMAN (ISSN-0739-3695) is published monthly by Babcox Media, 3550 Embassy Pkwy., Akron, OH 44333. Periodical postage paid at Akron, OH and additional mailing offices. Member, BPA International for reader service

MARKETPLACE › visit for reader service Penray Introduces Liquid Tune-Up The Penray Companies Inc. has introduced Penray Plus Liquid Tune-Up, an innovative package of proprietary chemicals designed to work in harmony to restore vehicle engines to optimal performance and efficiency, which will help consumers save money at the pump. Penray Plus Liquid Tune-Up is an integrated package containing specially-blended, madein-the USA chemicals, and designed as a three-step process to fortify the three key fluids in today’s vehicles – the fuel, the lubricating oil and the engine coolant. Optimizing the fuel, lubrication and cooling systems will help extract the best performance and efficiency from your engine, while offering protection for vital systems that will impact service life and resale value.

FAG Premium-Quality Wheel End Components It all comes down to the wheel end. Smart technicians know this is no place to cut corners. For more than 125 years, FAG premium-quality wheel end components have been the brand of choice for the world’s leading vehicle manufacturers. From tapered wheel bearings to fully integrated hub units, FAG products set the standard for quality, durability and performance. Choosing a FAG brand wheel bearing kit guarantees premium-quality products built to the same exacting standards as our OE product. So you can install FAG brand products with confidence.


August 2013 | Counterman

ContiTech Says Timing Belts Are Driving Today’s Automotive Engines ContiTech’s Power Transmission group says that usage of automotive timing belts is on the rise around the world. “Many automakers are increasingly turning to timing belts again instead of chains to drive timing gear,” said Markus Pirsch, head of the Automotive Aftermarket Marketing Service at ContiTech Power Transmission Group. “In terms of improving fuel efficiency and cutting CO2 emissions from internal combustion engines, belts offer significant advantages over chains. Their importance will continue to grow in the aftermarket, too.”

Standard Motor Products Releases 388 New Parts for Standard and Intermotor Standard Motor Products Inc. (SMP) announces the addition of 388 new part numbers to its Standard brand and Intermotor line of genuine import parts. This line expansion features more than 150 new switches, including multi-function, combination, cruise control, hazard warning, power seat memory, torque converter lock-up, and more, covering greater than 78 million additional VIO. SMP has also added significant coverage for cloneable TPMS sensors, airbag clocksprings, camshaft and crankshaft sensors, ABS speed sensors, exhaust gas temperature sensors, EGR control solenoids, ignition coils and power door lock actuators. All new applications are listed in the eCatalogs found at and and in electronic catalog providers.

MARKETPLACE › visit for reader service New Philips LED Rough Service Light Bulb Ideal For Rugged Shop Use

BlueDevil FUEL MD Fuel System Cleaner

The new Philips LED Rough Service Bulb features advanced LED technology, making it extremely efficient and durable, especially in rugged environments. The bulb creates a brilliant white light at a temperature of 3,000K with an output of 800 lumens, yet remains cool to the touch. Plus, it only needs 10.5 watts of power — a fraction of the consumption required by conventional Halogen and fluorescent lamps. Shatter-resistant, the light is mercury-free and can be used in service lamps, inspection lamps and automatic garage door lights. It is designed for long life and can last up to 18-plus years.

BlueDevil Products has introduced the first product in the new FUEL MD product line: BlueDevil Fuel System Cleaner. BlueDevil Fuel System Cleaner will remove fuel deposits while increasing vehicle performance. FUEL MD improves gas mileage, fuel efficiency, vehicle start-up and will restore a consistent engine idle while lowering fuel octane requirements. Recommended every 3,000 miles, BlueDevil Fuel System Cleaner will maximize your vehicles performance, guaranteed. Bottles can be ordered directly through any major auto parts retailer or online at

New Rislone EZ Nozzle Funnel More than 15 million vehicles in North America are equipped with capless fuel systems. While the capless tanks make filling up at the gas station easy, their internal components do not permit a free flow of fluid from traditional fuel additive bottles or portable gas cans. Rislone has created a series of solutions for vehicle owners with obstructed fuel systems. Rislone Gasoline Fuel System Treatment and the company’s super-concentrated line of fuel additives all come equipped with capless-compatible packaging. Now, for users who find themselves in emergency situations or want to use up old bottles, Rislone introduces the EZ Nozzle Funnel. When inserted into the fuel filler neck, the EZ Nozzle Funnel opens any obstructions. It features a wide, asymmetrical mouth that makes it simple for users to cleanly empty any bottle or gas can into the fuel tank. Available to distribution in case packs of 24.

ADVICS Brake System Expertise The optimum control derived from the ADVICS total braking system results in a comfortable and safe ride every time. With applications for passenger cars and light trucks, ADVICS products meet or exceed OE specifications, assuring industry-leading braking performance. Visit to learn more about ADVICS braking systems or email: 9


DITOR’S INK By Mark Phillips

Don’t Let Unperformed Maintenance Slip Away recently got back from a road-trip family vacation down south. The drive took us through some beautiful country. The drive also took us past a staggering number of disabled vehicles. I stopped counting after seeing about 60 vehicles with hoods up, tires blown or pulled over for some other unplanned repair emergency. After seeing so many vehicles this way (and many of them apparently fellow vacationers, judging by the full roof racks and luggage), it got me to thinking: There’s still a whole lot of unperformed maintenance out there. It was right there before my eyes. Unperformed maintenance was at $50 billion in the late 1990s, up to $67 billion in 2011, according to the 2013 Automotive Aftermarket Status Report published by the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA). While $67 billion is a big number, that’s not the one that catches my eye. It’s another number tallied by AASA, which is 26 percent. That’s the figure of unperformed maintenance as a percentage of automotive aftermarket potential. In 2008, it was 21 percent. That means more than a quarter of the money the aftermarket could be getting is slipping away. The 2013 report states, “While the automotive aftermarket totaled an estimated

I Perhaps we need to market a “vacation package,” where we as an industry give a special inspection to motorists prior to them going on their holiday.

$187 billion in 2011, if consumers had performed maintenance they should to keep their vehicles safe, reliable and running efficiently, the aftermarket would have totaled $254 billion.” I wish I had a copy of the Automotive Aftermarket Status Report on me because I would have stopped to show each and every stranded motorist (Yeah, I’m sure that would have been received well.) While I drove past the motorists along the side of the highway (they were OK, they had cell phones), I saw dollar signs. Sure, NOW those motorists were going to get their vehicles repaired, but wouldn’t it had been good to get that money a few months ago? Automotive analysts I talked to recently say motorists often use tax returns to pay for neglected maintenance. Anyone who gets a tax return does it: We think of a new TV, a vacation to spend it on, a new iPad. Whatever. But few people, I’m supposing, ever think months in advance, “Wow! I could get that new fuel pump/battery/rotor I always wanted!” But here’s where a bit of marketing and persistence on our part will pay off: We need to project and remind motorists as an industry that they don’t want to get left by the side of the road. Especially not during that family vacation. We need to teach them that paying attention to maintenance means they won’t have to deal with unexpected hassles later on. Perhaps we need to market a “vacation package,” where we as an industry give a special inspection to motorists prior to them going on their holiday. It’s a chance to reinforce that we care about them and their vehicles and it’s also a chance to identify sales and take care of problems before they happen. CM ■ ■ ■

For more information: for reader service


TechSmart Releases New Expansion Tank Service Kit Tech Session Video NEW YORK — Standard Motor Products Inc. has released a new TechSmart Tech Session that features the TechSmart line of expansion tank service kits, providing useful information for this growing product category. The new video, as well as the entire Tech Session video series, is available for viewing at and by clicking on the video channel button. The OE-designed expansion tank system can fail over time, leaking coolant and increasing the risk of overheating, the company says. The thermostat located on the oil cooler is often damaged while removing the expansion tank. TechSmart Expansion Tank Service Kits provide the expansion tank, oil cooler thermostat and coolant level sensor to replace the dam-

aged unit and restore the vehicle’s proper cooling functions. “We currently offer 25 premium TechSmart expansion tank service kits for the most popular European applications,” said Phil

Hutchens, vice president, engine management marketing, SMP. “These kits contain everything a technician will need to do the job right.”

Guess the Car / Win $100!

Tech Sessions are designed to help professional technicians find new and better ways to solve their automotive repair issues. Videos also are available for TechSmart electronic throttle bodies, PMD relocation kits, steering column shift tubes, air door actuators and the VVT chain tensioner. The TechSmart line of enhanced engine control parts are designed to meet the needs of today’s professional service technicians by providing them with high-quality, hard-to-find, problem-solving parts featuring new categories and new technology that they can trust. For more information on TechSmart, contact an SMP sales representative or visit

Last Month’s Correct Answer:

This Month’s Puzzle


“I’m Going for the Gold!” 12

August 2013 | Counterman

What vehicle does this picture represent? If you think you know the answer, go to and click “Guess the Car” on the nav bar. Submit your answer and contact information. A winner will be randomly selected by the Counterman staff from all correct answers. The deadline to enter is Sept. 3. The winner’s name will appear in the next issue. Stay tuned!


“Let’s get physical!” Honda Fit Congrats to Phillip Xayasane

GMB Introduces Updated Full Line Of Fan Clutches At PAACE Automechanika

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – FederalMogul has been awarded a U.S. patent for its flat (beam) blade wiper design, which includes a number of proprietary features designed to help ensure superior windshield contact and wiping performance on today’s curved windshields. The Articulated Contact Technology (ACT), covered by U.S. Patent 8,347,449, is featured on all ANCO Contour and Profile flat blades. “This important technology helps enhance the performance of flat blade wipers in a full range of operating conditions, providing excep-

MEXICO CITY, Mexico – GMB North America Inc. says its time at this year’s PAACE Automechanika was a “tremendous success,” following the introduction of its updated full line of fan clutches and social media launch in Mexico. GMB created a complete visitor experience at its booth to promote visitor engagement. The company highlighted various features with a custom iPad application, including social media, 3-D product features, as well as its mobile catalog application. GMB’s next trade show appearance will take place at AAPEX in November at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas.”

tional conformance to curved windshields,” said Michael McKee, director, global visibility, Federal-Mogul. The patented ANCO ACT technology incorporates a unique spoiler design that generates down force to reduce wind lift and maintain optimum blade-to-glass contact. This technology, featuring two co-extruded materials, permits unrestricted flexing of the blade for more uniform pressure distribution and improved conformance and contact with the windshield. For more information, visit for reader service

Federal-Mogul Awarded Patent For ANCO Flat Blade Technology 13


Winning Federated Customers To

‘Get Dirty’ With Kenny And The Two Guys STAUNTON, Va. – The winners have been chosen and it’s now time to “Get Dirty with Kenny and the Two Guys.” NASCAR legend Kenny Schrader and his buddies, Kevin Byrd and Willie B., hosts of the Federatedsponsored television show “Two Guys Garage,” will welcome the lucky winners of the exclusive Federated Car Care promotion to the annual dirt driving extravaganza. The Federated Car Care Center members sending winners to race Kenny and the Two Guys in early August at the Federated Auto Parts I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Mo., are: ● Hill’s Automotive, Owensboro, Ky.; ● Broadway Auto Salvage, Braceville, Ill.; ● Team Ramco Northwest, Dalton Gardens, Idaho;

● Absolute Import/Domestic Auto, Snoqualmie, Wash.; and ● Holly Oak Towing and Service Center, Wilmington, Del. The winners will get a behindthe-scenes look at the racing business, and Schrader and the Two Guys will tape a special on-location episode of “Two Guys Garage” that will air later this year. “We want to congratulate the winners and thank them for being loyal Federated Car Care customers,” said Phil Moore, senior vice president of Federated Auto Parts. “We also want to thank Brenton Productions for filming the ‘Get Dirty’ weekend for a future episode of ‘Two Guys Garage.’ Kenny and the Two Guys are fired up and ready to race, so we know our winners will have a terrific time.” for reader service

Over the Counter By Jerry King


August 2013 | Counterman for reader service


Spectra Premium Donates $25,000 To University Of The Aftermarket Foundation BETHESDA, Md. — Spectra Premium has contributed $25,000 to the University of the Aftermarket Foundation, it was announced by John Washbish, secretary of the University of the Aftermarket Foundation. “We are extremely proud to sup-

port the mission of the University of the Aftermarket Foundation to maintain and grow a strong aftermarket workforce through education and training,” said Jason Best, vice president of aftermarket sales and marketing for Spectra Premium. “The University of the After-

About the University of the Aftermarket Foundation for reader service

Since 1986, the University of the Aftermarket Foundation has funded millions of dollars of scholarships, grants, research and ongoing educational programs to help develop a strong, knowledgeable aftermarket work force. The foundation encourages industry support, including donations for the purpose of honoring or memorializing individuals or otherwise recognizing special events, to help ensure the continued availability of training and education that strengthen the industry. For more information about the University of the Aftermarket Foundation, call (816) 584-0511.


August 2013 | Counterman

market Foundation sincerely thanks Spectra Premium for their generous donation,” said Washbish. “Their support of the foundation’s goal to educate and attract talent to the aftermarket is critically important to the future of our great industry.” For more information on Spectra Premium, visit

Akebono Brake Corp. Expands Coverage With 40 New Part Numbers FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. — Akebono Brake Corp. has released 40 new part numbers in its ProACT, Performance and EURO ceramic brake pad lines to expand coverage on a greater number of vehicles. With these additions, With these Akebono pads, featuring modeladditions, specific ceramic Akebono pads, formulations, can now be applied to featuring more than 97 per- model-specific cent of the vehiceramic cles on the road, the company said. formulations, “We are making can now be this enhancement applied to more as a sign of our than 97 percent continuous commitment to supof the vehicles port and grow our on the road, the customers’ busicompany said. ness,” said Ken Selinger, director, Akebono Aftermarket sales and marketing. “We are pleased that there is growing demand for our ultra-premium braking solutions as the market is increasingly embracing our industry leading technology and best-in-class performance.” Precise application listings can be found at for reader service


Wagner Brake Products Announces Low-Copper Friction Breakthrough for reader service

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – Wagner Brake Products has announced a breakthrough in low-copper automotive brake friction technology that has resulted in the brand’s best-ever levels of stopping power, noise control and fade resistance. The new Wagner OE21 ceramic formulations are available immediately in Wagner ThermoQuiet CeramicNXT brake pads. “Our engineers have developed an advanced technology that immediately meets the requirements of impending environmental restrictions and provides acrossthe-board improvements in performance, NVH control, durability and dusting characteristics,” said Martin Hendricks, vice president


August 2013 | Counterman

and general manager, braking, Federal-Mogul. “The OE21 formulations have enabled us to make Wagner ThermoQuiet CeramicNXT brake pads the best pads we have ever produced for the aftermarket.” Reduction of copper content in vehicle friction materials is required with the recent passage of environmental legislation in California and Washington. Legislation mandates that the use of copper in new original equipment and replacement brake pads be reduced to less than 5 percent of material content by weight by Jan. 1, 2021. Rather than wait for the 2021 deadline, several global vehicle manufacturers have worked with Wagner brake engi-

neers to integrate low-copper OE brake pads into next-generation models soon to go on sale. Federal-Mogul reports that the proprietary OE21 formulations were developed through an advanced tribological “fingerprinting” process that enabled Wagner brake engineers first to map the dynamic properties of copper in a full range of operating conditions and then identify alternative materials that could provide improved stopping, NVH control, wear and dusting characteristics. The new formulations offer 15 percent greater stopping power and are 35 percent quieter, on average, than previous Wagner ThermoQuiet CeramicNXT formulations. for reader service


O’Reilly Auto Parts Joins University Of The Aftermarket Foundation As Lifetime Trustee BETHESDA, Md. – The University of the Aftermarket Foundation welcomes O’Reilly Auto Parts as a lifetime trustee. The O’Reilly and Wooten families recently contributed $100,000 to the foundation, investing in the future of the aftermarket through education and training. “For many years, AWDA University, as well as numerous other industry contributors, provided our family and company outstanding educational opportunities and value. We are so very grateful for the university and what it has done for us, we wanted to participate in the ongoing educational effort of the foundation and its programs,” said

David O’Reilly, chairman of O’Reilly Auto Parts. David O’Reilly will serve as the company’s representative on the University of the Aftermarket Foundation board of trustees. “On behalf of the University of the Aftermarket Foundation, we thank the O’Reilly and Wooten families for their generous contribution and welcome O’Reilly Auto Parts as a lifetime trustee,” said Rusty Bishop, chairman of the University of the Aftermarket Foundation. “Aftermarket education is important to O’Reilly Auto Parts and we know that David will be an excellent addition to the foundation’s board of trustees.”

SACHS Clutch Brand Selected As Co-Approved Clutch Vendor At Automotive Distribution Network VERNON HILLS, Ill. – ZF Services LLC, the strategic aftermarket business unit of ZF Friedrichshafen AG, has announced that its SACHS clutch brand was recently selected as a Co-Approved Clutch Vendor to the Automotive Distribution Network (ADN). A “Co-Approved” vendor is supported by the ADN to its membership with pricing services, data warehouse information, Net Intel and marketing support. ZF Services stated that this is an important step for the company in its growth initiative within the group. ZF Services supplies several product brands to the aftermarket, including SACHS shocks and struts, SACHS clutches, Lemförder chassis components, ZF Parts remanufactured transmissions and components and STABILUS gas-charged lift supports. for reader service

DENSO Enhances Rewards Program With Incentives And Online Tools To Promote DENSO First Time Fit Cabin Air Filters And Wiper Blades LONG BEACH, Calif. – Denso’s My DENSO Rewards program for distributors and professional technicians who purchase, sell and install DENSO First Time Fit cabin air filters and wiper blades has been well-received by WD and Jobber salespeople, shop owners and technicians across the country, the company says. Now, DENSO has made it easy to participate with online 20

August 2013 | Counterman

claim forms, specific reward categories and extra points for enrolling in this sales incentive program for cabin air filters and wiper blades. These forms will provide a simple solution for tracking claim activity. For those who wish to use a more traditional method, a convenient “tally sheet” is now available for download at for reader service


Raybestos Brand Brakes And Raybestos Brand Chassis

Launch 'Raybestos Rattlesnake' Promotion McHENRY, Ill. – The makers of Raybestos brand brake and Raybestos brand chassis products have teamed up to develop a business-building promotion that will give counter professionals cash rebates. In addition, technicians are able to purchase a customized promotion kit, and their customers can receive free custom T-shirts. One lucky fan will win the grand prize: a customized 2014 Raybestos Rattlesnake Toyota Tundra. for reader service

The Story Behind the Truck The 2014 Toyota Tundra is Texasmade and Texas-tough, according to Raybestos, capable of ripping through severe off-road trails and harsh desert terrain. The Raybestos


August 2013 | Counterman

Rattlesnake is being customized by Addictive Desert Designs and will feature custom bumpers, side steps and chase rack. Thanks to Toyota Racing Development (TRD), a Toyota 5.7-Liter aluminum i-FORCE DOHC 32 valve V-8 with a tuned TRD Supercharger helps the Raybestos Rattlesnake reach more than 600 hp. It also will include a high-lift off-road suspension and off-road shocks. The truck's stopping power will come from the same Raybestos short track racing brake package used by the Joe Gibbs Racing team, and will stretch its off-road muscle with Raybestos Professional Grade chassis parts. TRD also will also install head-

ers and a full stainless steel muffler exhaust with polished stainless steel tips. The Raybestos Rattlesnake program runs July 15 through Oct. 15. Participating technicians can offer their customers a free Raybestos Rattlesnake custom T-shirt with every $25 purchase of qualifying Raybestos brake and/or chassis products. Each redeemed rebate card serves as an entry to win the grand prize. Technicians also can earn a free T-shirt and up to $25 for selling qualifying product. The free T-shirt offer and the chance to enter the grand prize drawing end Oct. 15. Second prize is a Joe Gibbs Racing customized 2013 Yamaha YZ450F dirt bike; third prize is a TRAXXAS remote control vehicle; and fourth place receives a Replay XD camera. During the promotional period, counter professionals can earn a free t-shirt and reward up to $25 for selling qualifying Raybestos brand brake and/or chassis products. A tally card is provided to track rewards, and the tally card also serves as an entry into the grand prize drawing. To promote the offer and sweepstakes, participating installation shops can purchase a Raybestos Rattlesnake promotional kit for $99. The kit includes: a limited edition Raybestos Rattlesnake graphic tin sign, a promotional window poster, a counter card with 25 T-shirt redemption cards and five T-shirts. They also receive a free goods certificate to offset the cost of the kit! Visit to enter to win the 2014 Raybestos Rattlesnake and to view updates on the custom build. No purchase necessary. Official rules can be found at and for reader service

EXECUTIVE INTERVIEW Executive Interview With Jayson Keever, Vice President Of Global Marketing, NUCAP This AMN Executive Interview by Editor Amy Antenora features Jayson Keever, VP of global marketing for Toronto, Canada-based NUCAP Industries. In the interview, Keever brings us up to speed on exciting changes taking place at the company, including the launch of a bold new brake pad performance guarantee. Please give us a brief history of NUCAP and its involvement with brake systems.

JK: NUCAP was founded in 1994, remains privately owned, and has more than eight operating locations in four countries designing and manufacturing disc brake backing plates, shims, hardware, electronic wear sensors and system solutions like NRS, piston cushions, DRT and Brake Align. We are a major supplier to the original equipment market, and the largest supplier of aftermarket brake components for passenger cars, commercial vehicles and industrial applications. Our mission is to support our customers/partners with innovative braking system products that improve the value, performance, durability and safety. In May, NUCAP launched a pretty bold promotion – the 100 percent brake pad performance guarantee on any brand of brake pad equipped with NUCAP’s NRS technology. Tell us about the technological advancement (NRS) that is enabling you to offer such a guarantee.

JK: Brake pads have been treated as a commodity item where price has been the one and only selling point for way too long, and the product has suffered as everyone has been looking to take cost down. We know many technicians for reader service

and end-users understand this ultimately cost them performance and more money in the long run. These customers want to purchase and use high-quality products, and we feel that products like NRS help ensure that they are receiving a top-quality product. We hope the 100 Percent Brake Performance Guarantee will help raise awareness for the brands that are providing the best products and solutions as well as bring awareness to products that do provide a safe, quiet, more durable braking product. How are you getting the message out about this technology, and the guarantee, to your customers, and on to their customers?

JK: NUCAP is holding direct discussions with our manufacturing partners, both OE and aftermarket, on a consistent basis to show them how NRS can improve the quality of their product while not increasing their final production cost. We are also communicating the benefits of a more secure friction attachment directly to technicians and enthusiasts with a fully integrated marketing effort, including trade media, an active Web presence, public relations, direct mail, social media, plus, we are actively involved on 40 enthusiast magazine websites like Hot Rod, Car and Driver and Motor Trend, to name a few. CM for reader service

A/C ....................................28 Batteries ..........................30 Belts and Hoses ............32 Chassis ............................34 Filters ..............................38 Friction ............................40 Fuel Pumps ....................42 Rotors ..............................44 Spark Plugs ....................46 Suspension ....................48 TPMS ................................50 Wheel bearings ............52 Wiper blades ..................54

By Larry Carley

AnnualTechnical Forum for reader service

Get the lowdown on 13 parts categories to help boost sales


August 2013 | Counterman for reader service

AnnualTechnical Forum Air Conditioning


Is a new refrigerant going to replace R-134a? for reader service

A. Yes, but the question is when? The new refrigerant is HFO-1234yf. Its cooling performance is very close to R-134a (the refrigerant that is currently used in all new cars and trucks) but it has a much lower Global Warming Potential Rating (only 4 versus 1430 for R-134a), making HFO-1234yf a much better refrigerant in terms of its potential impact on climate change. Automakers had planned on introducing HFO-1234yf in some 2013 model year


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vehicles, but a controversy over its safety resulted in a delay until sometime next year. Hyundai and Suzuki have some 2013 cars out with HFO-1234yf, but Cadillac recalled their 2013 XTS and ATS models that had HFO-1234yf and converted them back to R-134a). HFO-1234yf is slightly flammable, and crash tests by Daimler (Mercedes-Benz) found that HFO-1234yf might create a fire hazard in an accident. This caused European automakers to hold off on plans to start using HFO-1234yf this year. Subsequent testing by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) found that HFO-1234yf is safe for automotive use. Currently, the U.S. EPA has no requirements for converting new cars to HFO1234yf. But in Europe there are rules that require using a refrigerant with a low GWP rating. Unlike the changes that occurred when R-134a replaced R-12 back in 1993 to 1996 to address the ozone issue (R-134a contains no ozone-damaging CFCs), R134a will remain in production and available for the foreseeable future. The new HFO-1234yf refrigerant will only be used in new production vehicles. Because HFO-1234yf is a different refrigerant chemically, it requires a different PAG compressor oil and different service fittings. It also requires unique service equipment that must meet SAE J2843 recovery and recycling requirements. HFO-1234yf should not be mixed with R-134a or used to top-off current A/C systems. It will only be available in bulk containers (no small cans) and will NOT be available to do-it-yourselfers. Service equipment designed for HFO-1234yf will check for leaks and will NOT allow a leaky A/C system to be recharged until the leak has been fixed. CM for reader service

AnnualTechnical Forum Batteries


Do car batteries require any maintenance? for reader service

A. Most “maintenance-free” batteries have sealed tops so it is not necessary (or possible) to add make-up water. If the case is translucent plastic, the electrolyte level inside can be seen through the case. But if the top is not designed to be opened, forcing open the caps can damage the battery and void the warranty. Batteries that have removable caps (“maintenance-accessible”) can have makeup water added to individual cells if the


August 2013 | Counterman

level is low. However, only clean distilled water should be added to the battery — never ordinary tap water because it usually contains dissolved salts and minerals that will contaminate the electrolyte. Acid should NEVER be added to a battery that has been in service because it contains all the acid it needs. Adding additional acid will not rejuvenate an aging or sulfated battery. The only time acid should be added is when filling and activating a brand new motorcycle battery (which are usually shipped dry with the acid in a separate container). Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) and gel cell car batteries do not use liquid acid but have an acid paste between their cell plates. The only maintenance that most car batteries require is (1) maintaining the battery at or near full charge and (2) keeping the battery terminals clean and tight. Except for deep cycle marine batteries, most car batteries should be maintained at 75 percent or higher charge level for maximum service life. Allowing the battery to run down or to remain in a low state of charge for a prolonged period of time allows sulfate to build up on the cell plates, reducing the ability to accept and hold a charge. A fully charged battery should read 12.66 volts. A reading of 12.45 volts or less indicates the battery is low and needs to be recharged. Q. What kind of problems can a weak or low battery cause? A. Hard starting is the most common problem. Fuel injected engines usually start very quickly, but if the battery is weak the engine may not spin fast enough to start quickly — especially during cold weather. CM for reader service

AnnualTechnical Forum Belts & Hoses


When should hoses be replaced? for reader service

A. Before they fail is the short answer. The long answer is it depends on the type of hose, the age of the vehicle and the application. Today’s cooling hoses, fuel line hoses, vacuum and emissions hoses, PS hoses, A/C hoses and brake hoses are all very durable and long-lived, but they don’t last forever. There are no factory recommended service intervals for any type of hose, but all automakers do recommend inspecting hoses when normal maintenance or repairs are performed.


August 2013 | Counterman

A recent nationwide survey conducted by the Car Care Council found that 13 percent of vehicles inspected had one or more bad coolant hoses. The survey didn’t even look at the other types of hoses. There are millions of vehicles that are 10 or more years old that have NEVER had any of their hoses replaced! There are also millions of vehicles that experience some type of hose failure every year. One of the most common hose failures is when a radiator or heater hose springs a leak. Leaks can result from normal aging and deterioration of the hose material, from internal corrosion (electrolysis) or external physical causes (like chaffing or rubbing). When a radiator or heater hose fails, coolant seeps or sprays out of the cooling system causing the engine to overheat. According to AAA, coolant hose failures are one of the leading causes of roadside breakdowns and emergency service calls (right after flat tires). It makes more sense to replace aging or leaking coolant hoses and other types of hose when it is convenient to do so rather than waiting for a hose to fail. Yet that’s what most motorists do. They wait for a problem to occur like engine overheating, a dangerous fuel leak, brake failure or an emissions/performance problem. Hose replacement for preventive maintenance is still as important as ever, so always recommend replacing high-mileage hoses on older vehicles when a customer is buying a water pump, thermostat, fuel pump, brake parts or emissions-related parts. CM for reader service

AnnualTechnical Forum Chassis Parts


How much impact do worn chassis parts have on tire wear? A. A lot! It depends on which chassis part is worn, but some like tie rod ends, control arm bushings and ball joints can and do increase tire wear if the parts are worn and loose. Worn tie rod ends in the steering linkage typically cause the front tires to toe-out. It doesn’t matter if only one tie rod end or both are worn because looseness at either end of the steering linkage will cause both front tires to wear equally. The greater the toe misalignment, the more the tires scrub and wear with every mile driven. The wear is usually greatest on the inside edges of both front tires. As a rule, tie rod ends should have no visible play. If one tie rod end is obviously bad, it’s often a good idea to replace both at the same time (or all four if the vehicle has a recirculating ball steering linkage) because all have the same mileage. If only one front tire shows heavy shoulder wear on the inside edge, the problem is most likely worn control arm bushings (or a bent or misaligned strut) that allow the control arm to move and change toe and/or camber alignment (camber is the inward/outward tilt of the wheel as viewed from the front). On vehicles with independent rear suspensions, worn control arm bushings (or stock bushings that are too soft and compliant) can also allow unwanted movement that changes the toe/camber alignment of the rear wheels. This may produce inner shoulder wear on the tires, or more typically a diagonal wear pattern across the tread. If the tires are not rotated regularly, the tread can develop a rough uneven wear pattern that causes noise and vibration. Worn ball joints typically produce suspension noise and also can affect camber alignment and tie wear. But the greatest


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danger with worn ball joints is that the joint may break or pull apart and allow the suspension to collapse. When this happens, one of the front wheels usually fold up inside the fender and the driver loses all steering control — which could be very dangerous if the ball joint fails while driving at highway speeds. Ball joints should be replaced when vertical or horizontal play exceeds specifications. As with tie rod ends, it’s usually a good idea to recommend replacing all of the ball joints at the same time because all have the same mileage. Loaded ball joints usually wear out more quickly than unloaded follower ball joints. A special removal tool such as a ball joint/tie rod fork or separator tool is usually needed to replace these chassis parts. On some newer applications, the ball joint may be part of a “unitized” control arm assembly. Unless there is a special replacement ball joint for the application, the entire control arm usually has to be replaced if the ball joint is bad. Q. What are some causes of steering looseness? A. On vehicles with rack and pinion steering, an often overlooked cause of steering looseness is worn, loose or broken rack mounts. The mounts hold the rack in the chassis and help isolate road vibrations. If the mounts are bad, the rack can move and squirm when the steering wheel is turned causing the steering to feel loose. Other causes include worn outer tie rod ends or inner tie rod sockets on vehicles with rack and pinion steering, or wear between the pinion gear and rack inside the steering housing. CM for reader service

AnnualTechnical Forum Filters


How often do air filters, oil filters and fuel filters need to be changed? A. As often as necessary to prevent them from clogging. The engine management system can compensate for a dirty air filter up to a point, but when the restriction becomes too great, engine performance and fuel economy will suffer. A recent Car Car Council survey found that 23 percent of vehicles inspected (nearly one out of four!) had a dirty air filter that was overdue for replacement. The factory recommended service intervals for air filters tend to be overly optimistic, with many in the 30,000-to-50,000 mile range. The life of any air filter depends on driving conditions, how much dirt the filter is exposed to, and the design of the filter itself. Some air filters have greater “depth” and holding capacity to extend filter life. The trick is to design the filter so that it is both high-efficiency, but does not clog up too quickly or become too restrictive. A filter’s efficiency depends on the media used. Most pleated paper air filters are made of cellulose and/or synthetic fibers. The size and distribution of the fibers determines the filter’s ability to trap dirt, the amount of dirt it can hold and the amount of restriction it creates to the incoming air. Better-quality filters may be treated to make them water-resistant. Rain and road splash can sometimes enter the air filter housing where it can make untreated paper filter media swell and deteriorate. The air filter should always be checked when the oil is changed or when other maintenance is performed. Tapping or blowing out a dirty air filter doesn’t really do much to unclog it because the smallest


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particles will remain embedded in the media where they are likely restricting airflow. Holding a bright shop light behind the filter element is the best way to inspect it. Q. How often should fuel filters be replaced? A. Most late-model vehicles have no factory-recommended service for the fuel filter because the filter is a “lifetime” filter part of the fuel pump assembly buried inside the gas tank. So the only recommendation is to replace it if it is clogged or the fuel pump is being replaced. New fuel pump modules usually come with a new filter as part of the assembly, but if a customer is replacing the pump separately he should also change the filter and pickup screen. On vehicles that have inline fuel filters, there may be a recommended service interval (typically 50,000 miles). But if the filter becomes clogged with dirt, rust or sediment from the fuel tank, it may have to be replaced sooner. Frequent fuel filter clogging would tell you the fuel tank is being contaminated with outside dirt, or it is rusting (a steel tank), or is flaking (older plastic tank). The fix here may require cleaning or replacing the fuel tank. A common symptom of a clogged fuel filter is loss of high-speed power caused by a restriction in fuel flow when engine demand is high. If the filter becomes completely blocked, it will starve the engine for fuel causing the engine to die. Technicians will often cut open a clogged fuel filter to find out what caused it to clog up. CM for reader service

AnnualTechnical Forum Friction


How do you choose the “best” friction pads for a vehicle? for reader service

A. It depends on what your customer wants. The “best” friction material for one customer might not be best friction material for another. One customer may want longer brake life or quieter braking while another is more interested in stopping power and fade resistance. The best advice is to follow the friction recommendations provided by the brake manufacturer. Most brake suppliers offer a range of specially formulated friction materials in their product lines. The may have “good,” “better” and “best” products, with good being some type of low-cost economy pad, better being an OEM equivalent type of friction material, and best being some type of premium friction material such as ceramic or semi-metallic. Semi-metallic friction materials, for example, can handle high braking temperatures better than nonasbestos organic (NAO) and ceramic compounds and have good fade resistance. But semi-metallic pads may require more brake pressure when the brakes are cold, and increase rotor wear and noise due to their harder consistency. Ceramic friction materials are typically quieter than semi-metallic linings, resist wear better than most NAO friction materials, and produce little visible brake dust. Many ceramic compounds also are rotor-friendly and reduce rotor wear. But ceramics can’t handle as much heat as semi-metallics can under hard braking conditions. Some replacement pads use one type of friction material for the inner pads and a different type of friction material for the outer pads to optimize overall braking performance. The performance for any type of friction material will depend on its hot and cold friction characteristics, its wear and fade resistance characteristics, its noise characteristics and the type of dust it produces. Price also is a big factor, too. For some customers, cost may be the only thing that matters (they usually want the cheapest!). Other customers may be more interested in reducing noise or brake dust. Others may want to upgrade stopping power and fade resistance over the original equipment brakes. The only way to find out what they really want is to ask them. Some customers also may have a brand preference when it comes to choosing a particular friction material. If you carry that brand, great! You’ve made a sale. Follow the brake supplier’s recommendations and try to match the product with the customer’s expectations be it cost, overall value or performance. CM


August 2013 | Counterman for reader service

AnnualTechnical Forum Fuel Pumps


Why are fuel pumps so often misdiagnosed? A. Fuel pumps have a high return rate because any number of things may prevent the engine from getting fuel. Common causes of no fuel include a plugged fuel filter, blocked fuel line, blown fuel pump fuse, bad fuel pump relay, electrical faults in the fuel pump wiring (opens, shorts or excessive resistance), a dead fuel pump or no fuel in the tank. In cases where the pump is dead and does not spin when the key is turned on, the problem may be the pump itself or it may be the pump’s voltage supply or wiring connections. A problem with a vehicle’s anti-theft system (or PCM) may also disable the fuel pump circuit and prevent the engine from starting. Sometimes a fuel pump will run but not spin fast enough to develop normal fuel pressure. This may cause hard starting and poor engine performance. A weak pump may deliver enough pressure and flow for low-speed driving but starve the engine for fuel when engine speed and load increase, causing the engine to misfire. Sometimes the problem is not the pump at all, but a leaky fuel pressure regulator that can’t maintain adequate pressure to the fuel injectors. Accurate diagnosis requires making various electrical checks if the pump is not working to rule out other possibilities such as a blown fuse, bad relay or wiring fault. In cases where the pump runs, fuel pressure needs to be checked with an accurately calibrated fuel pressure gauge. A flow meter can be used to check fuel delivery, or the pump’s output can be measured by disconnecting a fuel line and seeing how much fuel it can deliver. A good pump should usually deliver a quart of fuel in 30 seconds. A new or used fuel pump that is not in-


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stalled in a vehicle should never be jumped to test it. Fuel pumps must be submerged in fuel for both cooling and lubrication. Running a pump dry can damage it. When a “bad” fuel pump is returned to the manufacturer under warranty, it is usually bench tested wet on special equipment to determine why it failed. According to one major fuel pump supplier, 62 percent of the pumps returned have no fault found and work perfectly — which means a lot of fuel pumps are being misdiagnosed and returned or replaced unnecessarily. The best advice here is to ask your customer if they’re sure they really need a new fuel pump. Have they ruled out all of the other possibilities? If not, they should do some additional checks to make sure the pump needs to be replaced. Q. Is there any way to tell if a fuel pump is failing? A. Sometimes a failing fuel pump will give some clues to its impending demise, but more often than not the pump just dies with little or no warning. Sometimes an aging pump will become noisy. The buzzing sound may get louder and louder as the pump nears the end of its life. This is more typical of roller vane fuel pumps than turbine-style pumps, which are typically much quieter. A failing fuel pump may cause hardstarting or cause a noticeable drop in engine performance when accelerating hard or when driving at highway speeds — but not always. New original equipment fuel pumps will usually last 100,000 to 150,000 miles or more — but may fail sooner if the pump becomes contaminated with dirt, rust or debris inside the fuel tank. CM for reader service

AnnualTechnical Forum Rotors


What’s the difference between economy, standard and premium rotors? A. The price, obviously, is one difference, but there are also differences in rotor design and cooling, the type of iron alloys used to cast the rotor, noise, wear and overall performance. Good brakes are essential for safe driving. One of the key components in a disc brake system is the rotor. When the brakes are applied, the calipers squeeze the pads against the rotor to create friction and heat. This converts the kinetic energy of motion into thermal energy (heat), which the rotors absorb and dissipate to slow the vehicle. If the rotors are not up to the task, and do not absorb and dissipate heat efficiently, the distance it takes to stop the vehicle may increase. Poor rotor cooling also increases the risk of brake fade due to overheated brake pads, and can shorten the life of the pads. The hotter the pads run, the faster they wear. The quality of the metal from which a rotor has a major impact on rotor life and performance. The better the metallurgy in the rotor, the better it will perform on the vehicle. Economy rotors are typically made from the cheapest scrap iron. Quality can be very inconsistent from batch to batch and even from one rotor to the next. This can create hard spots that lead to warping and pedal pulsation problems later on as the rotors wear. Rotors that are too soft may wear quickly, while rotors that are too hard may increase pad wear or be noisy. Poor-quality castings that lack the proper hardness and strength are also more likely to warp or crack at high temperature. Unfortunately, there’s no way to judge the quality of a rotor by its appearance alone. An economy rotor may appear to be nearly identical to a premium-quality rotor, but the metallurgy is often far different. There are many different grades of cast iron, and some


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make much better brake rotors than others. The specific metallurgy affects the hardness and wear resistance of the rotor, its sound qualities and even its friction characteristics. Some economy rotors also have thinner facings than standard or premium rotors to reduce weight and cost. The air gap between the two rotor faces is made wider to save several pounds of cast iron in the casting. This reduces the rotor’s ability to absorb and dissipate heat, which also increases the risk of brake fade under hard use, rotor warping, cracking and rotor failure. Another area where economy rotors cut corners is in the design of the cooling fins between the rotor faces. OEM engineers go to great lengths to design specific fin patterns for specific vehicle applications. The number of fins and how they are oriented affects how well the rotor can dissipate heat. An economy rotor may have fewer fins, or the fins may be unidirectional so fewer part numbers can fit a wider range of applications. But most premium rotors will follow the original equipment design and use the same number of fins and fin configuration to assure proper cooling. Replacing an OEM rotor that has 35 cooling vanes with an economy rotor that has only 28 fins may not seem like a big deal, but a 20 percent reduction in cooling capacity could make a big difference with prolonged heavy braking. Many OEM rotors also have cooling vanes that are directional, so the right and left rotors are different. Directional rotors are designed to draw hot air away from the hub when rotating forward. Replacing directional rotors with unidirectional, straight vane rotors may cause a significant reduction in the venting and cooling of the brakes and hub. CM for reader service

AnnualTechnical Forum Spark Plugs


Which type of replacement spark plugs should you recommend? A. The answer here depends on the application, what’s available to fit it and what your customer wants. There are standard spark plugs, long-life platinum and iridium spark plugs, and even “performance” plugs with special electrode configurations and other features designed to reduce misfires and increase fuel economy and performance. The type of spark plug that works best in a given application depends in part on the design of the ignition system. On waste spark systems, each pair of cylinders shares a common ignition coil. Cylinders that are opposite one another in the engine’s firing order are paired so their spark plugs share the same coil. Only the plug that fires during its compression stroke produces power. Even so, both spark plugs experience roughly two times the electrode wear that spark plugs in other types of ignition systems undergo (because they fire every engine revolution rather than every other engine revolution). On these types of applications, spark plugs with dual precious metal electrode designs (platinum or iridium) are typically required. Standard spark plugs will be very short lived in these types of applications, and single platinum plugs won’t last as long as double platinum. With Coil-On-Plug (COP) ignition systems, each spark plug has its own separate ignition coil mounted directly over the spark plug. The type of spark plugs used with this type of ignition system are not as important because the plugs fire with the same frequency as those on an engine with a conventional distributor. It’s the same with Coil-Near-Plug (CNP) ignition systems. Single platinum or iridium plugs (or even standard spark plugs) can be used.


August 2013 | Counterman

However, long-life platinum or iridium plugs will last the longest. As for brand, most spark plug suppliers today offer a wide range of standard, platinum and iridium plugs for most makes and models of vehicles, not just the ones they supply as original equipment. Some spark plugs that are sold under different brand names are actually made by the same manufacturer. The brand on the spark plug usually doesn’t matter in most instances if a plug is listed for a particular application. Brand A should perform just as well as Brand B in the same engine — assuming the plug manufacturer has done their homework and has validated the application and is not just cross-referencing plug applications to broaden their coverage. In spite of this, many motorists and professional technicians are brand-loyal and prefer to use the exact same brand and type of replacement spark plug that came as original equipment in the vehicle. But in some cases, a change may be recommended if they are looking for longer plug life (switching from a standard spark plug to a platinum or iridium long-life plug) or they want a performance plug. Q. Are some spark plugs easier to replace than others? A. Some spark plugs have a tendency to stick and/or corrode, which increases the risk of the plugs damaging the threads in an aluminum cylinder head when the plugs are removed. Spark plugs that have a nickel coating on the plug shell are less apt to stick when the time comes to remove them. Spark plugs with plain steel shells or that have a black oxide coating are more prone to corrode and stick. CM for reader service

AnnualTechnical Forum Suspension Parts


How do you fix an air ride suspension that has gone flat? A. It depends on why the suspension went flat. Cadillac and Lincoln have used air-ride suspensions under their cars for many years. Other makes and models have air leveling suspensions that use air shocks and an onboard compressor to maintain ride height. If an air spring or air shock develops a leak (which most do after many years of service), the air spring or shock can’t hold pressure. It will leak and eventually go flat. To make matters worse, a constant air leak at a spring, shock or air line causes the compressor to run constantly. The compressor is not designed to run constantly and sooner or later it burns out and fails from being worked to death. Consequently, if a compressor has failed, there is usually an air leak somewhere in the air ride suspension that needs to be found and fixed before a new compressor is installed. Replacement compressors for some of these applications are hard to find, and expensive. The same goes for the air springs and air shocks. Once a vehicle is 10 or more years old, original equipment parts may no longer be available — and if no aftermarket replacement parts are available for the application (which is often the case with less common vehicles), the vehicle owner may have few repair options. Used parts from a high-mileage vehicle in a salvage yard are risky, and new air ride suspension parts may cost more than an older vehicle is worth. The answer here would be a conversion kit that converts the original air spring or air ride suspension to a normal suspension with conventional springs and shocks or struts. Such kits are available for many of these older applications and offer an affordable alternative to replacing the original air springs, shocks or compressor.


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Q. How important is ride height? A. Ride height is the normal height at which a vehicle sits with respect to the ground when it is unloaded. Ride height is an important dimension because it can affect the caster/camber alignment of the front wheels, and the camber alignment of the rear wheels on vehicles that have an independent rear suspension. Caster is the forward or rearward tilt of the steering axis. The caster angle affects steering effort when turning and steering return. European cars typically have a lot of caster to enhance high-speed steering stability. Camber is the inward or outward tilt of the wheels when viewed from the front or rear. Camber affects shoulder wear on the tires, steering stability, traction and handling (especially when cornering). When ride height changes, it can alter both camber and caster — usually for the worse. Weak, sagging springs or a broken spring may change these angles so much that tire wear, steering and handling are adversely affected. A simple wheel alignment cannot correct for weak or broken springs, so new springs are needed if the original springs are not capable of maintaining the specified ride height. Ride height is measured at specific locations on a vehicle with respect to the ground. The vehicle manufacturer indicates where ride height should be measured, and lists an acceptable range for the distance. Ride height should be checked on both sides and the front and rear of the vehicle. Alignment technicians should always measure ride height as part of a pre-alignment inspection (but they don’t always do it!). If ride height is less than specifications, the vehicle needs new springs. CM for reader service

AnnualTechnical Forum Tire Pressure Monitor Systems


Is it necessary to replace all of the TPMS sensors when a vehicle needs new tires? for reader service

A. It depends on the age of the sensors. By the time the tires are worn out, the TPMS sensors may be nearing the end of their useful service life — or they may not have enough remaining battery life to last another set of tires. The lithium ion batteries inside TPMS sensors may last anywhere from five to 10 years. Five to six years is a more typical lifespan for older TPMS sensors. TPMS sensors don’t broadcast a continuous signal but only broadcast when the vehicle is in motion. Even then, the signal is intermittent to conserve battery life. On most applications, the battery is molded into the TPMS sensor assembly so it cannot be replaced separately. Consequently, if the battery is run down or dead, the entire TPMS sensor has to be replaced — at a cost that may range from $50 up to $150 or more depending on the application and type of sensor. Though TPMS has been around since the early 1990s and has been mandatory on new vehicles since 2008, there’s been little or no standardization of original equipment TPMS systems or sensors. Fortunately, several aftermarket suppliers have introduced “universal” TPMS sensors that can replace more than 100 different OEM sensors with only a few SKUs — and at less cost than the OEM sensors. These sensors reTPMS continued on page 66


August 2013 | Counterman for reader service

AnnualTechnical Forum Wheel Bearings


How long should sealed wheel bearings last? A. Original equipment wheel bearings are engineered for a service life of more than 100,000 miles, and many are capable of going twice that distance. Even so, average bearing life can range from 80,000 to 120,000 miles depending on how a vehicle is driven and what the bearings are exposed to. Wheel bearing cartridges and hubs are sealed and lubed for life so no maintenance is required. But if a vehicle is driven though hub deep water or mud, contaminants may get past the seals and enter the bearing. Once this happens, the bearing is doomed to premature failure. Water breaks down grease, and abrasives scour away at the highly polished bearing surfaces. Eventually, lubrication breakdown and/or wear cause the bearing to fail.


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Hard driving, specifically hard cornering, can also shorten the life of front wheel bearings. The ball bearings that are used in many passenger car applications can handle normal driving but not the extreme side forces that can be generated by racing or overly aggressive driving. Police cars and taxis are notorious for eating front wheel bearings depending on how they are driven. In high-mileage wheel bearings, “fatigue spalling” may result in bearing failure. Fatigue spalling produces tiny cracks in the surface of the rollers and races and allow flakes of metal to break loose. The same type of cracking can also be caused by severe overloading or misalignment in the bearing assembly. If a wheel bearing has developed looseness or is making noise, it needs to be replaced — the sooner the better, because a catastrophic wheel bearing failure increases the risk of losing a wheel. The same goes for rear axle bearings on rear-wheel drive cars and trucks. A common symptom of a pending wheel bearing failure is noise from the vicinity of the wheel. The sound may be a whine, hum, rumble, growl, chirp or cyclic squeal that increases in frequency with vehicle speed. But sometimes, wheel bearings can fail without making a squeak. Any noise that appears to be coming from a wheel should be investigated without delay. Wheel bearing noise is usually proportional to vehicle speed, and may change when turning, or become louder or even disappear at certain speeds. A dragging brake pad that’s rubbing against a rotor can often make the same sound, but it usually goes away when the brakes are applied. CM


Tips For Identifying Hub Unit Wheel Bearing Noise A good way to determine bearing noise is to lift the car on a hoist and run the vehicle at a moderate speed. This relieves the overload on the good bearing. While staying clear of all moving parts, listen to both wheels with a stethoscope or another recommended listening device. This will help determine the noisy bearing. Courtesy of SKF

heel hub units can often wear out over a period of time due to heavy usage. As a result, ABS sensors also can break down electronically, causing safety risks to the vehicle’s driver and passengers. In order to properly diagnose a vehicle before component replacement, SKF recommends performing a vehicle road test to listen for any unusual noise and to note if the ABS Sensor light is on. During the road test, if you find the ABS sensor light is on, SKF recommends following the vehicle manufacturer’s guidelines for testing. The manufacturer’s guidelines may include connecting a scanner to determine which brake component system shows failure. If a wheel speed sensor fault is detected, complete inspection of the hub unit with a sensor resistance value reading and further check the value against the manufacturer’s specification. Also, verify all wiring and connectors for proper fit or wear. Hub assemblies also can develop excessive end-


play and/or growling noises that can affect vehicle handling or alignment. As a first step, check endplay specification. If the endplay is out of specification, replace the hub assembly. Bearing failure noise can be misleading and can sometimes occur at the opposite wheel of the failed bearing. This occurs when an overload takes place during driving on the good bearing. A good way to determine bearing noise is to lift the car on a hoist and run the vehicle at a moderate speed. This relieves the overload on the good bearing. While staying clear of all moving parts, listen to both wheels with a stethoscope or another recommended listening device. This will help determine the noisy bearing. Note: Checks should be done on the spindle assembly, axle joints, wheel flanges and the vehicle frame for damage. Additionally, an alignment may be necessary to determine a bent component. It is important to follow proper bearing installation procedures and torque specifications to avoid bearing failure and noise. CM

For more information about SKF, visit, call 800-882-0008, or visit the SKF automotive e-catalog at 53

AnnualTechnical Forum Wiper Blades


Should wipers be replaced yearly? A. Replacing the wiper blades once a year has always been good advice, but some blades last longer and others may need to be replaced more often depending on use and environmental exposure. Wipers that are seldom used and are on a vehicle that is parked indoors can last years. By comparison, blades that are used frequently in dusty, dirty environments experience more wear so their service life will be shorter. Likewise, wipers on vehicles that are parked outdoors year-round in hot climates can deteriorate rather quickly and may need to be replaced every six months. A recent Car Care Council survey found that 16 percent of vehicles inspected had worn, damaged or missing wiper blades, and 23 percent (almost one out of four!) had little or no windshield washer fluid in their reservoirs. Many motorists don’t realize they need new wiper blades until it’s pouring and they can barely see the road ahead. Good wipers are absolutely essential for wet weather driving and for clearing the windshield of bug splatter, dust and road splash. Following a semi-truck on the expressway in a downpour is not the time to discover new wiper blades are needed. A good time to check the wiper blades and windshield washers is when the oil is changed or the tires are rotated. If the wipers are chattering, streaking, wiping poorly or are damaged, it’s time for a new set of wipers. The wiping edge of the blade must be perfectly smooth, flat and clean. Dirt and debris on the windshield has an abrasive effect on the wiping edge during normal use, and once the edge becomes pitted, torn or ragged, the blade will streak and smear. Weak wiper arms also can prevent an


August 2013 | Counterman

otherwise good set of wiper blades from wiping cleanly. Not replacing a worn set of wipers also increases the risk of windshield damage. If the blades are the conventional type with a metal frame and the rubber portion of the blade tears loose, the metal frame can rub and scratch the windshield leaving a permanent scar as a constant reminder that the blades should have been replaced. New blades may also be needed for the back glass or tailgate on a minivan, sport utility vehicle, station wagon or hatchback car. Rear wipers are often more neglected than the ones up front because they’re not in the driver’s direct line of sight. Even so, good rearward visibility is necessary for driving awareness, backing up and parallel parking. Q. What are the advantages of upgrading to a beam or frameless flat-style wiper blade? A. The new style wipers don’t have a superstructure or frame to support the blade. A spring is molded right into the blade itself, allowing the blade to hug the glass as it follows the changing curvature of the windshield. This design provides an infinite number of contact points allowing constant even pressure across the glass and won’t clog with ice or snow like a conventional blade because there is no frame or superstructure above the blade. It’s like having winter blades year round. Aerodynamics is another advantage. The blades have a “spoiler” molded into the upper surface to reduce wind lift at high speed. The lower height of the blade also reduces wind lift. The new style blades also make less “flopping” noise when the wipers reverse direction because the blade is lower and more rigid (no frame to flex back and forth). CM for reader service


ECHANIC CONNECTION By Gary Goms, commercial accounts editor

Sealed Wheel Bearing Hub Units ealed wheel bearing hub assemblies have become standard equipment on the majority passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks because they operate with zero end-play, which reduces rotating friction on the brakes and also because they require no periodic adjustment and lubrication. In four-wheel, all-wheel and front-wheel drive applications, the wheel bearing hub assembly is made with two opposing bearings, and with the inner bearing races pressed onto a splined hub that slips over the splined axle shaft. Non-driving hubs simply mount to the axle or suspension knuckle with the wheel bolted to the inner spindle of the hub. Since some wheel bearing hub assemblies have the anti-locking brake wheel speed sensor built as an integral part of the hub, the hub must be replaced if the wheel speed sensor fails. In most applications, a wheel bearing hub will last through the


normal service life of a vehicle. On the other hand, wheel bearing hub assemblies usually begin to fail after the vehicle has been exposed to deep, muddy water encountered in mountain streams or flooded intersections. The first indications of a worn bearing hub assembly are ticking or grinding noises that increase in frequency with vehicle speed. In most cases, turning a sharp corner in one direction or another will increase the noise level of a defective wheel bearing. Wear in the wheel bearing can be such that the anti-lock braking (ABS) reluctor will contact the ABS wheel speed sensor, which will cause a C0-series diagnostic trouble code to be stored in the ABS module and the orange ABS warning light to illuminate.

designed to operate with zero endplay in the bearings. A worn bearing can therefore be detected by placing a vehicle on a lift and grasping the wheel at the 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock positions. If looseness in the wheel bearings is detected, the hub should be replaced. Since the wheel bearings are operated in an unloaded position when the vehicle is suspended on a chassis lift, it’s difficult to locate bearing noises with the engine running and transmission engaged. In some cases, a set of electronic microphones or “ears” designed to locate chassis noises can help pinpoint the defective bearing. But, even when the defective bearing is located, it’s still best to sell wheel bearing hubs in axle sets because both tend to wear at the same rate.

Bearing Hub Inspections As mentioned above, modern wheel bearing hub assemblies are

Installation Tips Wheel bearing hub assemblies fit into a precisely machined recess in the steering knuckle. The hub assembly is then held in place by specially hardened bolts. Unfortunately, bearing hub assemblies tend to rust in place when continuously exposed to water or road salt and can therefore become very difficult to remove. In any case, applying a professional grade penetrating oil and using some judicious hammer work to loosen the old bearing hub will work most of the time. If the bearing hub is installed in an aluminum steering knuckle, heating the knuckle with a hot air gun can help loosen the steel hub from the aluminum knuckle. In any case, never heat suspension components with an acetylene or propane welding torch since doing so might weaken the knuckle. CM

As this example illustrates, wheel bearing hubs live in a harsh environment of dirt, water and rust. The ABS wheel-speed sensor is attached at the 10 o’clock position.


August 2013 | Counterman for reader service


ECHANIC CONNECTION By Gary Goms, commercial accounts editor

Dirt, corrosion, and distortion in the hub area of any brake rotor can cause pedal pulsation complaints.

and rotor were torqued to the wheel bearing hub assembly.

Rotor Types In most cases, the rotors on older vehicles are cast as a rotor/hub assembly. On modern vehicles, the rotor is usually a separate “hat” configuration that clamps between the wheel and wheel bearing hub assembly. The hat-type rotor can also be of a composite design with a sheet metal hub welded to a castiron friction surface. Due to runout problems created by the lightweight sheet metal hubs, most shops opt to replace with one-piece cast units. Rotors can also be vented or non-vented, with vented rotors most often used on heavier domestic vehicles and non-vented rotors most often used on lighter import vehicles. Some rear disc rotors also have provisions for an internal drum-type park brake mechanism.

Rotor Economics While the above case study is a relatively rare occurrence, it illustrates why clean and distortion-free mounting surfaces at the hub/rotor interface are required for good brake rotor performance. If the technician had initially recommended new rotors, the problem might have been avoided altogether. On a more economic level, replacements can also be justified, thanks to modern rotors having less available machinable stock for resurfacing. The narrowing gap between the labor involved with resurfacing old rotors and the cost of new replacement rotors is causing more shops to sell their brake lathes and delegate the resurfacing of larger, more expensive rotors to specialized local jobbers and automotive machine shops.

Selling New Rotors As with brake friction, parts professionals are often faced with selling “good,” “better” or “best” brake rotors. The low-end rotor generally won’t be designed with the same number and configuration of cooling fins nor with the same quality materials as the highend OE-style replacement rotor. The high-end rotor tends to duplicate the OE configuration and also tends to produce less noise and pedal pulsation complaints. Since warranty comebacks are an issue for any repair shop owner, it’s always better to initially recommend the premium-grade rotor. Performance rotors are a completely separate market. On the upside, most performance rotors have vent holes drilled or vent slots cast Continued on page 65

Drums and Rotors s a general rule of thumb, the run-out or “wobble” on a brake rotor’s friction surfaces should never exceed .010 inches, nor should the more critical thickness variation exceed .0005 inches, which is less than 1/6th the thickness of this page. Most recently, the relevance of brake rotor specifications became apparent when two brake rotors that I had turned for a local shop came back with a low-speed brake shimmy complaint. I suspected the rotors might have a problem in the hub area. The technician had jarred the badly rusted rotors loose with some very hard hammer blows to the rotors’ hub surfaces. Measuring the distortion at each rotor hub took some time and ingenuity, but I discovered that the hammer blows had indeed distorted the rotor mounting surface on one rotor, which in turn distorted the rotor friction surfaces after the wheels



August 2013 | Counterman for reader service


EEPING IT SIMPLE By Gerald Wheelus

Learn To Be Patient an our attitudes sometimes force companies to contain our enthusiasm? Sometimes, enthusiasm can outrun the companies we work for. Maybe the company is not ready to absorb our ideas. Or, it may not have the means to implement them. Maybe the timing isn’t right. Our ideas may be great; they may even be needed; but again, the timing may be off. It’s not so much that the company wants us to check our brains at the door, rather they want us to work within the company’s current plans. But we may not be privy to all the big-picture ideas. Everyone needs plan. Every company

C for reader service

Ambition can actually be our worst enemy if it’s not harnessed correctly.

needs a plan. The company’s goal is to keep its initiative moving forward and within the plan that has been designed. Hopefully, the company you work for has a plan of some kind, and that plan may not include your ideas as of this moment. That does not mean your ideas are not of value. They may not be on the agenda, for now. This is where your attitude has to stay in check. You have to be patient. Ambition can actually be our worst enemy if it’s not harnessed correctly. Ambitious people are often the ones whose attitudes are affected the most as most often the clock ticks slowest for them. Frequently with ambitious people, self-expectation is the highest. But, the one thing that rarely wavers in those with ambition is a more positive attitude than those around them. This combination of attitude and ambition often translates into an innate ability to control their attitudes and achieve their ambitions by developing and honing their abilities. Some people call ambitious people lucky. I don’t think of it that way. “Luck” gets cited as the reason many things happen in life. But learning, studying, sacrificing and being patient are how most ambitious people make things happen. When all is said and done, the company may not be asking you to check your brain at the door; just to let it rest for a bit until the appropriate time comes when Attitude, Ambition, Ability and Accountability meet. CM ■ ■ ■ Gerald Wheelus is general manager of Edgewood Auto Parts, Edgewood, Texas.


August 2013 | Counterman for reader service


By Delphi Product & Service Solutions

Fuel Pump Failure: Is it Electrical? oday’s vehicles can have up to 50 computers embedded beneath the skin, all communicating with each other through complex networks containing tens of millions of lines of computer code to manage interconnected systems including engines, brakes and navigation, as well as lighting, ventilation and entertainment. Virtually every repair requires the use of a diagnostics tool. Interestingly, however, on most vehicles, a failed fuel pump will not set any diagnostic codes. The engine will crank normally, but will not start because it is not getting any fuel. There are diagnostic codes available for some electrical-related problems (shown below and at right), but a good checklist is really where a technician needs to begin to diagnose for fuel pump electrical-related failures. Check the following areas for electrical faults: ● Is the fuel pump fuse blown? (Use a DMM to test for an electrical short or excessive amperage draw, caused by damaged wires, corroded electrical connections, faulty fuel pump). ● Is there power at the fuel pump fuse/relay? (Use a DMM to check for opens in the electrical circuit, such as, blown fuses, broken wires, faulty electrical connections). ● Is there a good ground from the fuel pump to the chassis? (Use a DMM to check voltage drop across the ground connection.)



August 2013 | Counterman

Open Circuit Voltage Test Using factory service information or equivalent, locate the fuel pump supply circuit. ● Disconnect the fuel pump connector and connect the DMM positive probe with correct adapter to the fuel pump wire harness power supply terminal. ● Connect the DMM negative probe with correct adapter to the fuel pump wire harness negative terminal. ● With the ignition in the ON position, the reading should be battery voltage. If the reading is less, check for resistance or an open in the power supply and ground circuits to the fuel pump. Note: Fuel pumps only run for approximately two seconds while the relay is energized to prime the system or until an RPM signal is received.

Important: Do NOT probe the vehicle electrical harness connector with DMM leads. Doing this can damage the terminals in the harness creating the potential for an overheated fuel pump connector due to excessive electrical resistance. Always use the proper test probe to perform electrical tests. Voltage Drop Test Power Side With the fuel pump wire harness connected to the fuel pump, test

the power circuit for voltage drops. Ideally, this circuit should have a voltage drop of less than 0.2v DC. ● Set the DMM to 20v DC scale or DC on meters with auto-range capabilities. ● Connect the DMM positive probe to the battery positive terminal. ● Connect the DMM negative probe to the power feed wire at the fuel pump connector. ● With the ignition in the ON position and current flowing in the circuit, the reading should be less than 0.2v DC. If the reading is greater, check for resistance in the power supply circuit to the fuel pump.

Voltage Drop Test Ground Side With the fuel pump wire harness connected to the fuel pump, test the ground circuit for voltage drops. Ideally, this circuit should have a voltage drop of less than 0.2v DC. ● Set the DMM to 20v DC scale or DC on meters with auto-range capabilities. ● Connect the DMM positive probe to the ground terminal of the fuel pump connector. ● Connect the DMM negative probe to the battery negative terminal. Continued on page 65 for reader service



Do You Know What You Do Well? o you know what you do well? It seems like such a simple question to answer, but in reality, it’s probably one of the most difficult. The only one harder is the really important one: “Do you know and are you willing to admit to what you don’t do well?” I think it’s human nature to avoid these two questions because they make us go places that are uncomfortable. Internal reflection can be a rewarding journey, but it can also be a train wreck. Still, I think it’s well worth the risk if you go at it in the proper frame of mind. All of us have things we’re good at. Usually, these are things we enjoy doing. Personally, I like working with people and doing things that help people and organizations. It gives me a sense of purpose and gratification. Conversely, laboring deeply on spreadsheets and analytical work is just not what

D Internal reflection can be a rewarding journey, but it can also be a train wreck.

I like to do. I’m probably not really good at it, so it’s best if I leave those tasks to others in my organization. The old adage that you have to have the right people on the bus is only half the answer. You have to have those people in the right seats on the bus doing things they can excel in. I urge you to take a look at yourself and really dig into what you’re good at and not so good at. Then, do the same for the people on your team. Make sure you have all your business tasks covered – but by the people in your organization who are best suited for those tasks. This simple procedure, although difficult to complete, will take your organization to the next level and beyond. Doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome is known as insanity. Go ahead, look in the mirror and take the next step toward driving your team to the next great thing. CM

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For more information:

PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT NUCAP NRS® Equipped Brake Pads have up to a 30% extended life, eliminate vibration and delamination noise, offering drivers a safer, quieter, longer-lasting brake system. NUCAP delivers innovative technology solutions to the automotive aftermarket with its NRS® mechanical attachment system for brake pad backing plates. Research shows that the adhesive (glue) bonded brake pad backing plate is a leading cause of most premature braking system noise, vibration and wear-out issues; they are an accident waiting to happen! NRS® technology was developed to help technicians eliminate brake system comebacks and warranty returns. Brake pads manufactured with NRS Mechanical Bond, will last up to 30% longer, avoiding the most common causes of pad failures like rust jacking, edge lift and friction material vibration and delamination. They will not fail!


August 2013 | Counterman

MECHANIC CONNECTION Drums continued from page 58

Delphi continued from page 62

into the friction surface designed to channel frictional gases and water contamination away from the brake pad surface. On the downside, these holes and slots in the friction surface tend to wear brake pads more rapidly than does the premium standard rotor. Remember also brake squeal can be a normal condition when using performance brake pads and rotors.

● With the ignition in the ON position and current flowing in the circuit, the reading should be less than 0.2v DC. If the reading is greater, check for resistance in the ground circuit to the fuel pump.

commodate .090-inch of stock removal unless otherwise stated. Third, care must be taken to avoid knocking a new or resurfaced brake drum out-of-round. Last, most drum brakes will create a temporary noise complaint in wet climates, which will usually disappear with use. CM for reader service

Brake Drums While less complicated than brake rotors, drums can also have either a cast or composite hub surface. In either case, the drum must fit snugly on the axle hub. In general, maximum stock removal for most passenger vehicle drums is .060inch or less while light truck drums 12-inch or more in diameter can ac-

Remaining machinable stock on most brake drums is indicated by the chamfer cut into the edge of the drum.

Common Fuel Pump ElectricalRelated Diagnostics Codes: ● P0230 - Fuel Pump Relay Primary Control Circuit Malfunction ● P0231 - Fuel Pump Secondary Feedback Circuit Low Voltage ● P0232 - Fuel Pump Secondary Feedback Circuit High Voltage ● P0233 - Fuel Pump Secondary Circuit Intermittent ● P0628 - Fuel Pump Relay Control Circuit Low Voltage ● P0629 - Fuel Pump Relay Control Circuit High Voltage CM 65

AnnualTechnical Forum TPMS continued from page 50 duce inventory requirements and can be easily programmed to the vehicle application. Universal replacement TPMS sensors are available with clamp-in (nut at the base of a metal valve stem) and snap-in (rubber) valve stems. These can even be

used to replace many of the older “band” style TPMS sensors that are clamped inside the drop center of the wheel. When TPMS sensors are replaced (either individually or all four at the same time), or when the tires are rotated, the vehicle’s tire pressure monitoring system has to

relearn the wheel location of each sensor. On some newer vehicles, this function occurs automatically when the vehicle is driven. But on most of the older applications, there is a specific learning procedure that must be performed before the TPMS system will operate correctly. Some of these procedures can be rather lengthy and must be followed exactly otherwise the TPMS system may not learn the correct wheel locations. Many of these procedures require using a magnet or special TPMS service tool to activate the sensors during the relearn procedure. Some applications may even require a scan tool to enter sensor ID information into the TPMS system. for reader service

Q. What can cause a TPMS sensor to fail prematurely? A. Corrosion has been an issue with some original equipment TPMS sensors that have a nut at the base of the metal valve stem (snap-in style TPMS sensors with rubber valve stems are not subject to this type of corrosion). Exposure to road salt and moisture promotes galvanic corrosion that weakens the metal valve stem. Eventually, this can lead to failure of the valve stem, causing a sudden loss of air pressure from the tire (the very problem TPMS was supposed to prevent). Using some types of aerosol tire sealer/inflator products may also cause sensor problems if the sealer gums up the TPMS sensor. Recommend a product that is “TPMS safe.” Q. Does the law require replacing a bad TPMS sensor? A. It depends on the situation. There is no legal requirement (yet) at the national level to replace a bad TPMS sensor if the TPMS warning light is on or flashing. That’s a decision the vehicle owner has to make regarding their own safety. Obviously, if a TPMS system has one or more bad sensors, it can’t warn the motorist of a low tire. CM 66

August 2013 | Counterman for reader service


OUNTER-TECH By Mandy Aguilar

Is It The End Of Retail? for reader service

Thankfully, I’ve been able to turn some of my weaknesses as an ecommerce junkie into our customers’ benefit by learning firsthand what customers look for in an ecommerce experience.

Mandy Aguilar is a regional vice president for Jacksonville, Fla.-based The Parts House.


August 2013 | Counterman

’m an ecommerce junkie — not only as a customer, but as a seller. I seem to buy everything I can online, from boxer shorts to peanut butter. Yes siree, I am that online shopaholic who even buys his medicines via the Web (although the pharmacy is right across the street from my home!) Thankfully, I’ve been able to turn some of my weaknesses as an ecommerce junkie to our customers’ benefit by learning first-hand what customers look for in an ecommerce experience. Mixing some of what we have learned online with the efforts from our fantastic team of peers who formulate our company’s ecommerce strategy, we have created a rewarding experience for thousands of customers who support our ecommerce platform. We feel ecommerce will continue to play a significant part of our growth strategy; thus, we must continue to improve our customers’ experience when they buy from us online. How much of our industry’s business will eventually move to an ecommerce platform? According to some tech visionaries, perhaps all of it will soon be virtual. Marc Andreessen, venture capitalist extraordinaire and creator of the first Web browser, predicted earlier this year the advance of the “absolute death of retail.” Andreessen feels ecommerce is about to grow exponentially in a significant uptick he nicknamed “ecommerce 2.0.” His vision is grounded in his belief that retailers will soon disappear, and consumers will have no choice but to buy online. Retail stores will become more like showrooms than prettied-up warehouses. Rising real estate costs, margin compression and tied-up capital in goods waiting to be sold are insurmountable obstacles that many retailers will not survive once they’ve lost their critical-mass customers to online marketplaces (remember Circuit City?) As an auto parts business owner, I’m not sure Andreessen’s views will play out in our industry as they are scripted in his head. We are in the business of accumulating parts near the end-user, and you need tons of bricks and mortar to accomplish that. However, as a consumer, there is one aspect of his vision that resonates with me like


non-stop conga drums in my ears: inventory at brick and mortar stores oftentimes does not match with what consumers need. Every once in awhile, I do abandon my computer and venture to a mall to go shopping. Almost every time I do this, I can’t quite find what I am looking for; they just don’t have the right size, the right color, the right brand or the best price. The only thing the store can provide me with is immediate availability. Granted, sometimes I just need a shirt right then and there, so I succumb. Still, the experience of visiting the store is dismal, as I spend time and effort searching for what I need, with little help from the staff, to mostly compromise on my choice in the end. What about the experience of visiting an auto parts retail store? While I do visit many auto parts stores, I’m not usually a customer. But I do keep a keen eye on how customers act while at the stores. One thing I see again and again is customers searching for what they need,

with a level of frustration similar to what I feel when I go looking for a shirt at the mall. They just can’t find the right part, the right fit, the right brand, the right price. This is especially true of replacement parts that are stocked in front of the parts counter, on the stores’ shelves and where the customers have to do their own lookup; oftentimes they have to compromise as well. Stores can clearly mitigate this with more personnel readily available to look up parts for visiting customers and by adding more and more inventory. However, we all know this is so expensive most retailers have to find a balance that more times than not supports the bottom line and not the customers’ experience. For consumers, there is a tectonic fissure between the ability to search for products easily online and the roll-of-the-dice experience of visiting a store hoping to find exactly what you need. The more rewarding the online experience, the harder it will be for stores to remain open. On that, I agree. CM

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Visit Mandy’s blog:

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For more information about Advance Auto Parts Professional and the latest promotions on MOOG products, visit or call your local Advance delivery store. 71


LLEN & ALLAN By Allen Markowitz & Allan Gerber

The Value Of Employee Training s a training company, we are always on the lookout for the good and bad in our industry in an attempt to make things better and consequently, do more business. There are times my wife will admit that she does not really enjoy going shopping with me as I tend to critique the businesses we shop in as to their level of customer service or their use of technology. I will agree that sometimes she is right. I have shopped in a few of the Macy’s stores in the New York area and have never been terribly impressed with the sales staff or how the merchandise displays were fixed up after the customers got finished browsing and left everything in disarray. This all changed after I visited the Macy’s in NYC. While I cannot specifically say why, this was a totally different store and a very enjoyable shopping experience. Even my wife noticed. First of all, there was an abundance of straightening up the merchandise displays after the customers were finished looking through them. Next, there seemed to be an awareness of the fact that customer service was important. While I was looking for a certain size of shirt, an employee came up to me and offered to go into the back room and see if there were any in stock. In a department store? While my wife was shopping for shoes (what else?) the salesperson, with an iPad type of device contacted the stock room to bring out her size. When notified that her size was not in stock he replied, “Let me go and take a look to be sure. Is there anything else you might be interested in while I am back there?” Not only a terrific use of mobile technology, but a great atti-

A While my wife was shopping for shoes, the salesperson, with an iPad type of device, contacted the stock room to bring out her size.

Allen Markowitz and Allan Gerber operate Auto Biz Solutions, which provides training, marketing, management and business consulting services to both the automotive jobber and independent repair shop.


August 2013 | Counterman

tude to make a sale. Of course, there was a shoe purchase. I have shopped in other Macy’s stores, but never experienced this level of customer service. Needless to say, we made a nice donation in purchases. I now look back to our jobber stores and our vision of customer service. Our staff was trained that when a customer came in even for something simple like a fuse or bulb, not only did you ask, “How may I help you?” but state, “They are in aisle six on the left, about three quarters of the way down the aisle.” And then you were to take the initiative and walk with the customer over to the proper area of the store and assist them with the purchase. Now was the time to ask the customer if they needed anything else, while you were assisting the customer with their initial reason for coming into the store. The fact that you would come out from behind the counter was always noticed and genuinely appreciated. A very simple, yet effective method to build customer satisfaction. We shop in a good number of jobber stores, sometimes independent, big box or chain locations many times just to see what level of customer service is present and how or where improvements can be made. While still perplexed as to the reason the NYC Macy’s was so customer-friendly as opposed to some of their other locations, both my wife and myself have agreed that we will go back and shop there again. Somehow, this is what customer service is all about — making the customer a repeat customer! If you are interested in having a mystery shopper evaluation of your business, contact us directly, amarkowitz@autobiz or (914) 447-3097. CM

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For more information, go to: or e-mail for reader service for reader service

Counterman, August 2013  

Counterman provides professionals at every level of the parts distribution channel (jobbers, retailers and WDs) with the technical and busin...

Counterman, August 2013  

Counterman provides professionals at every level of the parts distribution channel (jobbers, retailers and WDs) with the technical and busin...