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Brake Job Recommendations

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Quest for Cash, Page 16 ● We Get a New Look

October 2012

Meet this year’s recipient

2012 Counter

Professional of the Year for reader service for reader service


October Volume 30, No. 10

features ASE P2 Test Primer ..................................34 By Larry Carley

It’s our annual ASE P2 test preparation guide. We provide an overview of the parts and systems covered by the test. 䡲 A/C 䡲 Automatic Transmission 䡲 Brakes 䡲 Cooling 䡲 Driveline 䡲 Electrical 䡲 Emissions 䡲 Engine Parts 䡲 Exhaust 䡲 Fuel 䡲 Ignition 䡲 Manual Transmission 䡲 Steering/Suspension

34 68


columns Editor’s Ink


By Mark Phillips ........................................................

Meet Thomas Taylor, the 2012 Counter Professional of the Year, sponsored by Affinia, WIX and Raybestos chassis.

Mechanic Connection



By Gary Goms............................

The brake job: Stick to the recommendations.

Keeping It Simple


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

The refund: What an opportunity!

Allen & Allan


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

So many cars, so few repairs.



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

pg. 16

I’m still not getting all my emails.

From The Publisher


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

Parts, parts and more parts.

COUNTERMAN (ISSN 0739-3695) (October 2012 Volume 30, Number 10): Copyright 2012 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.


October 2012 | Counterman for reader service for reader service

departments 10

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.

NASCAR Performance



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


Executive Interview ............................................................................ Editor Amy Antenora talks with Michael Palm, vice president of marketing and sales for CRP.


Classifieds ............................................................................................


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

Mark Phillips, Editor 330-670-1234, Ext. 299 Amy Antenora, Editor, aftermarketNews Managing Editor, Counterman 330-670-1234, Ext. 220 Larry Carley, Technical Editor CONTRIBUTING EDITORS

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

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



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

October 2012 | 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 2012 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


DITOR’S INK By Mark Phillips

Thomas Taylor, the 2012 Counter Professional of the Year Tom’s customers know he is dependable because of his experience, work ethic, charming personality and commitment to stand behind all of his parts and services.

his month, I have the pleasure of introducing you to a real pro. His name is Thomas Taylor. Taylor, a 41-year automotive industry veteran, has been named the 2012 Counter Professional of the Year, sponsored by Affinia, WIX and Raybestos chassis. As longtime readers of Counterman magazine know, each year we seek nominations for the best of the best of automotive aftermarket parts pros. Taylor, who was nominated by his colleagues at Motown Automotive of Michigan, a Federated Auto Parts member, is traveling with his wife to AAPEX in Las Vegas for an all-expenses paid trip. For his nomination, his colleagues wrote, “His customers trust him as a parts authority. When they call him looking for a part, any part, they know that Tom will exhaust all possibilities in an effort to help them identify the part they need and then meet his commitment to them … Tom’s customers know he is dependable because of his experience, work ethic, charming personality and commitment to stand behind all of his parts and services. That he will do whatever it takes. His store always sells parts and supplies that other stores do not because his customers rely upon him


to stock the parts that other stores are not able to or are unwilling to search out. He has consistently been able to grow sales at every location where he has worked and generate sales that his store would not otherwise enjoy.” Congratulations, Tom. This is an honor that is well-deserved. A new look You’re going to notice something different about Counterman this month. It looks a bit different. We re-designed the magazine and freshened its look. Since its arrival in the aftermarket way back in 1983, the magazine has gone through several changes to the way it looks. Magazines do it all the time. However, instead of just some cosmetic changes, we’re making other changes as well. You’ll notice that for the most part, articles will be shorter. For articles on parts and products, either selling them or how technicians install them, we’ve boiled down the information to only what you need to know. We value your time and want you to get the most out of the magazine. One big change is the replacement of the script Counterman logo on the cover. This wasn’t an easy decision. A lot of love and thought went into designing that logo in the early 80s, during a time when orders were still written up by hand. The logo emulated those times. But things change and so, too, has the logo. If there’s something you don’t like or something you think we can do differently, please, drop me a line at CM ■ ■ ■

For more information: for reader service

MARKETPLACE › visit for reader service New Elastic Multi V-Belt Tool From ContiTech ContiTech’s Power Transmission Group offers a universal tool for installing and removing elastic multi V-belts – the CONTI UNI TOOL ELAST. With this tool, garages have the right all-purpose aid readily at hand for nearly all these vehicle applications. The tool’s special construction prevents the belt or pulley from being damaged, since the belt stretches only slightly and is optimally guided during installation. Fitters can also use the tool with flat unrecessed belt pulleys or in compact situations, which ensures high vehicle coverage. The tool also can be used to remove the old belt. In addition to the CONTI UNI TOOL ELAST, ContiTech is now also offering all elastic multi V-belts previously available only as part of a kit multi V-belt Elast + Tool for sale individually, without the disposable tool. CONTITECH

TRICO Ice Extreme Winter Weather Blade TRICO Ice, an all-new, winter weather blade, provides maximum performance in extreme winter driving environments. Integrating the newest advancements made in wiper technology, this blade style features a wedge-shaped spoiler that clears away snow and ice buildup. The new design conforms to glass shapes to distribute even pressure for a clear wipe, while the low-profile contour compliments new vehicle models and maximizes line of sight. A form-fitted boot guards critical wiper components, yet allows complete flexibility. Teflon-infused rubber resists tearing and ripping in sub-zero temperatures to eliminate chatter for a smoother, quieter wipe. Currently TRICO Ice is offered in lengths of 16-28 inches to fit a variety of standard and specialty wiper arm styles. SWIFT “one click” connection system is integrated into this wiper blade for quick installation. TRICO


October 2012 | Counterman

The Ultimate Import Wire Intermotor Import Wire Sets provide customers with a competitive edge in today’s complex global import market. Unrivaled for quality, coverage and original match, they are engineered to exacting fit, form and function specifications. The wire sets install with ease and confidence for exceptional power and performance, and provide extralong service life. INTERMOTOR

MARKETPLACE › visit for reader service

New Dayco VIN Scanning App Dayco has incorporated one of the most innovative features the aftermarket has seen, with a VIN-scanning feature now offered on the new Dayco App. This parts look-up app can scan the VIN bar code from your smartphone and display all your replacement parts, belt routings, installation videos, product images and more. The app also knows your location and will display all the Dayco distributors in your area with the ability to tap the location and call the store to order the part. DAYCO

New ACDelco Double Platinum Spark Plug for GM V-8s ACDelco has added a new double platinum spark plug (part no. 19299585/41-962) to its lineup that covers more than 9 million General Motors vehicles equipped with V-8 engines. This high-quality, double platinum spark plug is available now. It covers 4.8L, 5.3L and 6.0L V-8 engines in these 1999-2007 vehicles: Cadillac: CTS, Escalade; Chevrolet: Avalanche, Camaro, Corvette, Express, Silverado, Suburban, Tahoe, TrailBlazer; GMC: Envoy, Savana, Sierra, Yukon; HUMMER: H2; Isuzu: Ascender; Pontiac: Firebird, GTO. ACDELCO

Beck/Arnley Adds European Antifreeze/Coolants to Line of Genuine OE-Quality Fluids

VDO Window Motor & Regulator Assemblies for Jeep Liberty

Beck/Arnley has added three new premium antifreeze/coolants to its line of genuine OE-quality fluids that are specifically designed for European vehicles such as Audi, BMW, Land Rover, MINI, Volkswagen and Volvo. The company’s premium European antifreeze/coolants are based on monoethylene glycol, contain no nitrates, amines or phosphates and offer reliable protection for use in aluminum and iron engines. BECK/ARNLEY

Continental Commercial Vehicles & Aftermarket has added new window motor and regulator assembly coverage for the 2002-2006 Jeep Liberty. The two new part numbers, WL41526 and WL41527, are designed as direct replacement for Jeep Liberty front door applications. The new Jeep units are engineered for vehicle-specific form, fit and function, and feature OE-style electrical connectors for trouble-free connections and quick installation. VDO 11

AFTERMARKET NEWS Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance

Announces New Member SAN ANTONIO, Texas — The Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance (The Alliance) announces the addition of Trimon Inc. (dba Superior Auto Parts Warehouse/Monument Car Parts) as a new member of its group, effective Oct. 1. Trimon Inc. is headquartered in Concord, Calif., and joins as the newest Bumper to Bumper shareholder. Trimon Inc., founded in 1965, is one of the largest independent auto parts suppliers in Northern California, currently operating nine wholesale/retail locations under the names of Superior Auto Parts Ware-

house and Monument Car Parts. Trimon Inc. is a family owned and operated business started by Red Monroe and his two sons, Jim and Jack Monroe. Trimon Inc. is owned and operated by Tim Archer, who purchased the family business about 10 years ago. “Once we began to seriously consider a program group change, it was clear that Bumper to Bumper had distinct advantages in technology and product line support via their shareholder-owned Alliance Parts Warehouse that other groups simply couldn’t match.

We need these tools, and others they offer to help us better compete in our market and continue our planned growth,” said Archer. “We are honored and delighted to announce the addition of Trimon Inc. as our newest Bumper to Bumper shareholder member,” said John Washbish, president and CEO of The Alliance. “Their management team, led by Tim Archer, is young and aggressive and they quickly latched on to our technological initiatives, among other offerings, which will enable them to compete more aggressively in their challenging market while helping them to achieve the profitable growth they desire.”

Guess the Car / Win $50! What vehicle MODEL This Month’s Puzzle 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 Oct. 24. The winner’s name will appear in the next issue. Stay tuned! for reader service

Last Month’s Correct Answer:

She’s my sis!


Eek! I won? Equinox (Chevy) Congrats to Laura Clemens, Red Wing, Minn.

#56 12

October 2012 | Counterman

WIX Announces Top 25 Schools in 2012 School of the Year Competition GASTONIA, N.C. — WIX Filters and O’Reilly Auto Parts, partners with Tomorrow’s Technician as title sponsors for the “2012 School of the Year” competition at, have announced the Top 25 schools selected from nearly 340 entrants. “We are proud to play a role in shaping future technicians as part of the ‘School of the Year’ competition,” said Mike Harvey, brand manager for WIX Filters, which also was an associate sponsor of last year’s competition. “We are committed to providing excellence in education for the next generation of technicians.” 2012 marks the fifth year of the national contest to find and name

the best technician training school in the country. Due to the overwhelming response and increase in school entrants by 20 percent, the top 20 schools were expanded to a list of 25 this year. Of the 340 entrants nominated, 121 were from different high schools, technical schools and colleges. Also new this year, instructors were able to post a video on the Tomorrow’s Technician YouTube channel ( highlighting their school’s automotive program. “Babcox and Tomorrow’s Technician share O’Reilly Auto Parts’ and WIX Filters’ support to dedicated students vying to be the future leaders in this industry,” said Jeff Stankard, publish-

er of Tomorrow’s Technician, a Babcox Media publication for automotive students. “The ‘School of the Year’ competition has been a great success and we are thrilled with the increase of entrants this year. We look forward to more opportunities to reward students’ commitment to automotive excellence.” The School of the Year program is open to all high schools or postsecondary schools that have a subscription to Tomorrow’s Technician. Judges will continue to review entry criteria and select the top school from each of the four regions in the U.S. – or the Final Four. The winner will be selected from the four finalists and announced in October.

The Top 25 schools are: Region One • Rio Hondo College,

Region Two • Marchman Technical

Whittier, Calif.

School, New Port Richey, Fla.

• Dallas County

Community College District – Brookhaven,

• Chipola College,

Farmers Branch, Texas

• Providence Senior

• Pima Community

College, Tucson, Ariz. • WyoTech, Long Beach, Calif.

• New Mexico Junior

College, Hobbs, N.M. • San Diego Continuing Education, San Diego, Calif.

• Southeast Community

College, Milford, Neb.

Mirianna, Fla.

High School, Charlotte, N.C.

• Elizabethtown

Community and Technical College, Elizabethtown, Ky.

• Cope Area Career

Center, Cope, S.C.

Region Three • Clover Park Technical

College, Lakewood, Wash.

• Reynolds High School, Troutdale, Ore.

• Northwest Kansas

Technical College, Goodland, Kan.

• Southern Illinois

University, Carbondale, Ill.

• Grafton High School, Grafton, Wis.

• Iowa Western

Region Four • Assabet Valley

Regional Technical School, Marlborough, Mass.

• Charles H. Bohlen, Jr.

Technical Center, Watertown, N.Y.

• Pennsylvania College

of Technology, Williamsport, Pa.

• Berks Career and

Technology Center, Leesport, Pa.

• A W Beattie Career

• Midlands Technical

Community College,

Center, Allison Park,

College, Columbia,

Council Bluffs, Iowa



• Salt Lake Community

College, Sandy, Utah • Sinclair Community College, Dayton, Ohio

• Lakes Region

Community College, Laconia, N.H. 13


Federated Partners with ‘Tots’ By Mark Phillips

Federated Auto Parts officially kicked off its corporate partnership with Marine Toys for Tots prior to the Federated Auto Parts 400 on Sept. 8. Bill Grein, vice president for Marine Toys for Tots, received a check for $65,000 from Federated Auto Parts CEO Rusty Bishop. “The Marine Corps and the Toys for Tots Foundation really believe that you’re judged by the company you keep,” Grein said Bill Grein, left, vice president for Marine during the presentation of the Toys for Tots, and Rusty Bishop. check by Bishop. “We’re very, very pleased to keep the company of Federated Auto Parts. This is very important to us.” Federated also launched a new microsite that is ready to accept donations to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. The microsite — — links directly to the Toys for Tots website. Donors can use a credit card securely to make a donation. There also is a form that can be printed out and mailed in with a check made out to Toys for Tots. for reader service

Over the Counter By Jerry King


October 2012 | Counterman for reader service


AIA to Hold 24th Annual Import Product and Marketing Awards Program BETHESDA, Md. – The Auto International Association (AIA), the import segment of AAIA, will present its 24th annual AIA Import Product and Marketing Awards at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 30 during AAPEX. The awards recognize manufacturers and marketers for excellence in products, packaging, websites, catalogs and marketing/advertising programs for import cars or trucks. Registrants listed by categories at press time include: • Best Overall Import Aftermarket Product:

• Best New Product for Import Cars or Trucks:

Atlantic Automotive Enterprises, Beck/Arnley, Bosal USA, Centric Parts, DENSO Sales California, Gates, Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas, Inc., Intermotor by SMP, Philips Automotive Lighting, ZF Services North America LLC

AirSept, Inc., AISIN World Corp. of America,

• Best New Performance Product or Accessory

Centric Parts, Intermotor by SMP, KYB Americas Corp.


for Import Cars or Trucks:

DENSO Sales California, Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas Inc., Intermotor by SMP, Philips Automotive Lighting, Walker Products

ANSA Exhaust Technologies, Centric Parts, Philips • Best New Catalog of a Automotive Lighting Product Line for

• Best Merchandising/ Advertising of a Product for Import Cars or Trucks: Aisin World Corp. of America, Direct Market Access Inc., FederalMogul Corp., Intermotor by SMP, KYB Americas Corp., Philips Automotive Lighting

• Best New Packaging of a Product for Import Cars or Trucks: AISIN World Corp. of America, Beck/Arnley,

Import Cars or Trucks: Centric Parts, DENSO Sales California, Direct Market Access Inc., OEMOriginal Engine Management, Walker Products, ZF Services N.A. LLC

• Best Website Presentation of a Product Line for Import Cars or Trucks: Beck/Arnley, Centric Parts, DENSO Sales California, KYB Americas Corp., Philips Automotive Lighting

Counterman’s Quest for Cash challenges parts professionals to find out more about the products they move through the distribution chain, while competing for cash. Parts pros can vie monthly for three prize levels — $200, $100 and $50. Each issue of Counterman will feature a page with a series of questions (see below) asking counterpros to review that issue’s advertisements or articles. Three winners will be chosen at random from all entries submitted each month. Winners will be contacted by email. The first correct, randomly selected entry will receive $200; the second, $100 and the third, $50. Please go to to enter or go to and click on the “Quest for Cash” box. The winners for the October contest will appear in the December issue. The deadline to enter is Dec. 12.

October’s Contest 1. Columnist Mandy Aguilar isn’t getting all his: a. Emails b. Receipts c. Vitamin C d. Gadgets 2. Gary Goms says you won’t get the best results if technicians don’t follow OE recommendations on installing: a. Brake friction b. Wiper blades c. Batteries d. Tires


October 2012 | Counterman

3. Federated member Vaca Valley Auto Parts bought four new __________ to make deliveries more efficient: a. Toyota Prius cars b. Porsches c. Bicycles d. Motorcycles

5. Allen & Allan can’t figure out why there are so few ________: a. Repairs b. Hot dogs c. Catalogs d. Shops

4. Larry Carley’s special section is an overview of: a. The ASE L1 b. The ASE P2 c. The ASE L2 August Contest d. The ASE F1




Randy Yereb

Ronald Dypka Dave Kelley

$50 for reader service


W M Automotive Deploying Epicor Eagle Software Across Company Stores and Affiliates DUBLIN, Calif. – Epicor Software Corp. announced that Fort Worth, Texas-based automotive parts distributor W M Automotive Warehouse Inc. is deploying the Epicor Eagle for the automotive aftermarket business management software across its network of 40 wholly owned stores, as well as several affiliate locations throughout Texas and Oklahoma. The company already has completed implementation of Epicor Eagle at 19 company locations and three independent stores.

AutoZone has reported net sales of $2.8 billion for its fourth quarter (16 weeks) ended Aug. 25, 2012, an increase of 4.6 percent from the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011 (16 weeks). Domestic same store sales, or sales for stores open at least one year, increased 2.1 percent for the quarter.

TerraSeer Announces Aftermarket Analytics PUEBLO, Colo. — TerraSeer has launched Aftermarket Analytics, a consulting and technology development organization that helps automotive aftermarket companies improve category management and supply chain efficiency. Aftermarket Analytics works closely with parts manufacturers and distributors to develop cost-effective, customizable projects. Analysis and recommendations are presented geographically, via a Web portal, which allows clients and their channel partners to identify patterns and opportunities in data with greater ease than traditional spreadsheets and narrative reports. For more information, visit

Purolator will be highlighting its BreatheEasy cabin air filters at AAPEX 2012 for reader service

Purolator’s BreatheEasy cabin air filters feature specially engineered media that can capture and hold even the finest particles of contaminants such as dust, soot, pollen, fungus and bacteria, the company says. These filters are electrostatically charged, similar to many household HVAC filters, to ensure that particles stay attached to the filter. To learn more about Purolator Breathe Easy cabin air filters, visit


October 2012 | Counterman for reader service


Federal-Mogul Establishes New Operating Segment Structure SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – Federal-Mogul Corp. has begun operating with two business segments, each with a CEO reporting to Federal-Mogul’s board of directors. Federal-Mogul’s powertrain segment focuses on original equipment products for automotive, heavy-duty and industrial applications. The vehicle components segment sells and distributes a broad portfolio of products in the global vehicle aftermarket, while also serving original equipment (OE/OES) manufacturers with vehicle products including brake friction, chassis, wipers and other vehicle components. “The new organizational model allows for a strong product line focus benefitting both original equipment and aftermarket customers and will enable the global Federal-Mogul teams to be responsive to customers’ needs for superior products and to promote greater identification with Federal-Mogul premium brands,” said Michael Broderick, co-CEO, Federal-Mogul and CEO Vehicle Components Segment.

J-B Weld Co. has appointed Dorian Drake International as its exclusive export sales representative in the Middle East, Africa, Central and select Asian markets. Dorian Drake will manage all export functions for the J-B Weld brand of epoxy cold-weld adhesives and repair products used in the DIY automotive and hardware markets and the professional/industrial markets, with special focus on building brand recognition and distribution in the markets Dorian Drake serves.

ACDelco Welcomes Fall Car Care Season with ‘Spin to Win’ Promotion From Oct. 1 through Nov. 30, ACDelco independent service centers, including ACDelco Professional Service Center program participants, can earn a “Spin to Win” token for every $250 purchase of ACDelco products. For a complete list of program rules, eligibility and redemption details for the ACDelco Spin to Win Promotion, visit or see your participating ACDelco distributor. for reader service for reader service


Auto Biz Solutions Expands Into Jobber Store Service HAVERSTRAW, N.Y. – Auto Biz Solutions has added John Sweitzer, a 40-year automotive aftermarket veteran, to its staff. Sweitzer’s expertise is focused on analyzing profitability metrics at the jobber level. Sweitzer will work with jobbers to increase sales at both the commercial and retail level, accord-

ing to the company. He will help the jobber with marketing strategies and assess programmed distribution with them, as well as assist in putting together new store layouts and evaluate expansion plans at existing and new locations. Auto Biz Solutions, owned and operated by Allen Markowitz and Allan Ger-

ber, provides training, marketing, management and business consulting services to both the automotive jobber and independent repair shop. The pair pen the column “Allen & Allan,” which appears monthly in Counterman magazine. For more information, go to or

Pep Boys Reports 2nd-quarter increased by


million or 0.6 percent, to

$525.7 million

from $522.6 million for the 13 weeks ended July 30, 2011 Pep Boys also announced the appointment of for reader service

David Stern as CFO

Stern joins Thomas Carey, recently appointed chief customer officer, as the newest member of Pep Boys’ executive leadership team. Store operations have been reorganized into East and West territories under the leadership of Terence Winslow and Sean Chidsey


October 2012 | Counterman for reader service


National Pronto Association Announces 2012 Vendor of the Year Awards GRAPEVINE, Texas – National Pronto Association has announced the winners of its 2012 Vendor Awards. The awards were presented at a luncheon held during Pronto’s recent Fall Shareholder’s Conference in Scottsdale, Ariz. With more than 390 people in attendance, National Pronto recognized eight vendors in eight award categories: Manpower, Marketing Excellence, OE Supplier of the Year, Partnership, Private Brand, Category Management, Mexico Supplier of the Year and Supplier of the Year. The Manpower Award was awarded to Standard Motor Products for exceptional support of the membership with “feet on the

street.” Garey Lange accepted the award on behalf of the company. The Marketing Excellence award was presented to Goodyear Engineered Products for its superior marketing capabilities, campaigns and service. Michael Lehmkuhl accepted the award. OE Supplier of the Year was awarded to Denso for delivering OE-quality products and expertise to the shareholder’s of National Pronto. David Arriaga accepted the award. The Partnership Award was awarded to Tenneco for providing exceptional service and support to the Pronto members. Larry Friesner accepted the award for Tenneco.

The Private Brand Supplier of the Year was presented to International Distributors USA for delivering quality Pronto-branded packaging, products and support. Anan Bishara accepted the award. The 2012 Supplier of the Year was awarded to Bendix for quality people, products, service and support to the Pronto Shareholders. Jim Kelley accepted the award on behalf of Bendix. Two new award categories also were introduced this year: Category Management and Mexico Supplier of the Year. The Category Management award was presented to Remy International Inc. for outstanding application of category management principals. Gary Bostic accepted the award on behalf of Remy. The Mexico Supplier of the Year was awarded to Monroe for quality people, quality products and service to the Mexico shareholders. Larry Friesner accepted the award for Monroe. All award recipients were chosen by the Pronto Membership using a strict set of criteria for each award category.

Vertical Development has announced the recent additions of for reader service

APS Global, FMI Bortek, HD Solutions, Rally Wiper Blades, Royal Purple Filters and Xlerator

to now includes more than 200 brands covering more than 2,900 part types, and millions of applications.


October 2012 | Counterman

Subscribe to the Counterman eNewsletter, the industry's freshest twice-weekly, 100 percent free, mobile-devicefriendly eNewsletter. Developed specifically for the auto parts distribution channel, the Counterman eNewsletter delivers timely news, new products, promotions and other special features needed to gain an edge in the marketplace. Subscribe at to receive the Counterman eNewsletter two times per week — every Tuesday and Thursday — in your inbox!


Fred Myers named Pronto Executive of the Year n addition to presenting its annual vendor awards, National Pronto Association announced Fred Myers as Pronto Executive of the Year for 2012. The Executive of the Year award was presented to Myers on Sept. 12 at the Fall Shareholder’s Conference. Myers is the owner of One Stop Parts Source in Santa Ana, Calif. He has served six years as a Pronto board member, and continues to contribute his time and talents to the group through various committees and leadership think tank sessions. Upon receiving the Pronto Executive of the Year Award, Myers said, “To be recognized by peers and colleagues in an organization

I for reader service

Fred Myers accepts his award from Pronto.


October 2012 | Counterman

like Pronto is without a doubt the highest honor that I have received to date. The Pronto Family is such a warm and uplifting group of individuals that it stimulates me to contribute to our success and I am passionate about the opportunities that we have ahead of us.” Bill Maggs, president of National Pronto, said, “As we know, it’s individual businessmen like Fred who help lead our organization into success. Fred’s contribution goes much further than Pronto alone, he is always willing to discuss business opportunities, promotions and issues with his fellow members. Pronto is blessed to have many talented members such as Fred to lead us into the future.”


Smith Auto Parts Selects MAM Autopart MAM Software Inc. announced that Smith Auto Parts has selected Autopart to manage its multi-warehouse, multi-store auto parts business. The company is upgrading to Autopart to streamline its business processes and provide the platform for future growth.

A new Remanufacturing Section at the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX) will highlight the many economic, environmental and product performance benefits of remanufacturing through actionpacked engine rebuilds and exhibits by leading remanufacturers and suppliers. AAPEX is slated for Tuesday, Oct. 30 through Thursday,

Nov. 1, at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas, Nev. The 8,000 square-foot section is co-hosted by the Motor & Equipment Remanufacturers Association (MERA) and the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) Engine Rebuilders Council (ERC). Exhibit space for the new section is sold out.

The engine rebuild area, sponsored by the ERC, the AERA Engine Builders Association, the Production Engine Remanufacturers Association (PERA) and MAHLE Clevite Inc., will feature professional, live engine rebuilding demonstrations by Hendrick Motorsports technicians. Demonstrations will occur twice daily, at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. during the show. For more information, visit or e-mail: for reader service

New AAPEX Section To Promote Engine Rebuilding, Remanufacturing





When a customer needs a referral, we can provide a list of local shops in the program for them to choose from.*

When a customer needs a shop, they can find it easily at by clicking on “Find A Repair Shop”.

*Commercial customers must meet referral program qualifica qualification tion requirements to be listed on shop referral list. Contact your Commercial Sales Mana Manager ger or visit for qualifica qualification tion details. All photogra photographic, phic, cclerical, lerical, typogra typographical phical and print







4 5


2. Picture of your shop 3. Map to your shop 4. Shop Hours 5. Services Performed 6. Languages Spoken 7. Vehicles Serviced 8. Certifications & Affiliations




A eferral prog ram, Ass a member of our shop rreferral program, you can easily cr eate coupons to attr act create attract moree customers to your shop shop.. even mor

JOIN TTODAY ODA AY AT AT AUT AUTOZONEPRO.COM OZONEPRO.COM - IT IT’S ’S EASY EASY!! 1. Log in to 2. Under Under ““My My S Shop hop PPreferences” references” clic clickk on ““Manage Manage R Referral eferral PProfile” rofile” 3. C Create reate your shop profile Ask your Commer Commercial rcial c Sales Ma Manager anager for mor more re infor information. rmation. m

ting errors are subject to correction. © 2012 AutoZone, Inc. All rights reser reserved. ved. AutoZone and AutoZone & Design are registered marks and Going the Extra Mile is a mark of AutoZone PParts, arts, Inc. All other marks are the property of their respective holders. for reader service


Johnson Controls Opens Automotive Battery Recycling Facility in Florence, S.C. FLORENCE, S.C. — Johnson Controls announced the opening of its Florence Recycling Center for automotive batteries. The facility ex-

pands Johnson Controls’ presence in Florence, S.C., with a capital investment of more than $150 million, representing 250 new jobs and

1,000 indirect jobs in the area. Currently, 200 employees are working on-site as the facility ramps up production. To acknowledge the plant’s launch, a grand opening event was held at the facility, with more than 300 area leaders, community members and Johnson Controls’ team members in attendance. South Carolina State Sens. Hugh Leatherman, Yancey McGill and Kent Williams were in attendance, as well as Rep. Terry Alexander, for reader service

County Council Chairman K.G. Rusty Smith and Florence Mayor Steve Wukela. “We’re proud to bring a recycling facility to Florence, resulting in a strong capital investment and many jobs to the area,” said Alex Molinaroli, president, Johnson Controls Power Solutions. “We are appreciative to all those who helped support us along the way and we look forward to a strong continued relationship with the Florence community.” The facility, located directly off of U.S. 76 on Paper Mill Road, will recycle 132,000 metric tons per year, or the equivalent of more than 14 million automotive batteries. It sits on a 685-acre site near other major corporate leaders such as Roche Carolina and SmurfitStone. Johnson Controls developed 36 acres of the site for construction of the facility and adjacent parking areas, with the remaining acreage undeveloped. Portions of the site will be permanently protected through a conservation easement. 30

October 2012 | Counterman


Where else can you buy an engine kit for a Model T? needs an overhaul, we can provide the parts and the expertise. Where else can you buy an engine kit for a Model T? We are excited about the scope of the engine parts business this lets us specialize in.” Motor Warehouse will maintain

its current staff and management team. David “DK” Kenmonth, the new vice president, engine components of now NPW’s Motor Warehouse and the previous owner and president, commented, “The Motor Warehouse team is proud of what this family owned and operated business has done since our founding in the ‘30s. I am excited about having the resources of NPW to grow and expand beyond our historic footprint. With our proud heritage, we are very excited about being the engine part professionals of the National Performance Warehouse Companies family.” Motor Warehouse has been in the engine parts business since 1933. for reader service

MIAMI – National Performance Warehouse Companies has announced the addition of its ninth location as a result of its acquisition of Motor Warehouse in Sacramento, Calif. This is NPW’s second acquisition in 30 days. Late last month, the company announced that it had purchased Karbelt Warehouse in Ajax, Ontario. Larry Pacey, company president and CEO, had these remarks, “We said we would grow by acquisition. We stated we have a lot of irons in the fire, and this is one of those examples of the timing being right and we used one of the irons. Motor Warehouse specializes in engine parts, so whether your LS-6, Hemi, Coyote, Cummins or ‘29 Caddy

Jason Sellards/

National Performance Warehouse Acquires Sacramento-Based Motor Warehouse 31


WIZARDS Introduces Nano-Technology Spray Wax HANOVER, Minn. — WIZARDS Products announced the addition of MYSTIC SPRAY WAX (Part No. 01235) to the company’s ever-growing line of superior professional detailing and finishing products. The company that brought topselling MIST-N-SHINE to the marketplace has combined recently developed nano-technology with its proprietary synthetic formula to raise the bar and take detailing products far beyond outdated carnauba waxes. Developed to be more compatible with today’s advanced clearcoats, MYSTIC SPRAY WAX performs excellent on all paint types, providing an instant bond with incredible gloss and depth after application and sustained water

beading and slickness wash after wash, the company says. This easy application spray eliminates hazing and white filmy residues. In addition to giving you a showroom shine, MYSTIC SPRAY WAX can be used on any hard surfaces including glass, chrome, polycarbonate, fiberglass, gel-coat, plastics and rubber trim to safely removes dust, bugs, bird droppings, road grime, oily fingerprints and light water spotting. Perfect for the show-car or motorcycle enthusiast, MYSTIC SPRAY WAX can be used as a dry wash, quick detailer or wax extender and is great at a cruise night or bike rally to show off all your hard work and make you stand above the crowd. For more information about MYSTIC SPRAY WAX or any other WIZARDS Products, visit or call 800-356-7223.

Advance Auto Parts Moves Commercial Credit Program In-House for reader service

ROANOKE, Va. – Advance Auto Parts has announced the addition of a Financial Services Commercial Customer Care Center to its operation and corporate headquarters located in Roanoke, Va. The new venture – supported by an initial investment of more than $100 million, including approximately $90 million in accounts receivable and $8 million in information technology systems – now manages the entire commercial customer credit experience including commercial customer master data setup, billing, accounts receivable and collections. Visit to learn more.


October 2012 | Counterman


million initial investment


million accounts receivable


million information technology systems


The Perfect Bungee Loop End Cord The Perfect Bungee Loop End Cord won’t break or dry rot and is great for countless applications, according to its manufacturer, Just Ducky Products. Made of polyurethane it will not degrade like rubber, withstands the elements and will stretch twice its original length, the company says. Use it to store hoses or electrical cords, great for cargo control, according to the company. For more info, visit

Schaeffler Group USA, Litens Announce Joint Advertising Program Schaeffler Group USA and Litens have announced a joint advertising program aimed at educating the automotive aftermarket on the importance of replacing Original Equipment Overrunning Alternator Pulleys and Overrunning Alternator Decouplers with like products. The four-page insert will be included in the October issues of Counterman, ImportCar, and Underhood Service and will also feature technical information regarding the differences between OAP and OADs and common applications for each type of technology. The campaign is the first advertising collaboration between Schaeffler and Litens and promotes the availability of OAPs and OADs at selected distributors in the United States. For more information, visit or

Monroe Kicks Off ‘Brake For More’ Fall Promotion MONROE, Mich. – This fall, Monroe Brakes, manufactured and marketed by Tenneco, will award consumers up to a $30 prepaid card with qualifying purchase and brake repair service through the “Brake for More” promotion. During the promotional program, which runs Oct. 1 through Nov. 30, consumers who purchase and install qualifying Monroe Ceramics Premium brake pads (CX series) and Monroe Dynamics Premium brake pads (DX series) can earn up to a $30 prepaid card. “The ‘Brake for More’ promotion delivers a great incentive to specify Monroe Brakes for any brake job,” said Sheryl Bomia, North American programs manager, Tenneco. “Monroe Brakes brake pads are advanced, premium friction products specifically formulated to provide exceptional, quiet stopping power on today’s vehicles.” To earn a $30 prepaid card, consumers must purchase and install two sets of qualifying Monroe Ce-

ramics or Monroe Dynamics Premium brake pads at a participating service location. To earn a $15 prepaid card, consumers must purchase and install one set of qualifying Monroe Ceramics or Dynamics brake pads at a participating service location. Consumers also can earn a $10 prepaid card by purchasing two sets of Monroe Ceramics or Dynamics brake pads or a $5 prepaid card by purchasing one set of Monroe Ceramics or Dynamics brake pads. To participate in the Monroe “Brake for More” promotion, consumers must purchase qualifying Monroe Brakes pads from a participating location during program dates. Then, submit a sales receipt with a completed redemption form to program headquarters. All program submissions must be postmarked by Dec. 31, 2012. Monroe Brakes rebate and submission forms can be found online at during October and November. Prepaid card offer may not be combined with any other discount, offer or rebate. Offer limited to one redemption per household. 33


Further Your Parts Career uccess on the ASE P2 test requires a thorough knowledge of parts and systems. Each year, Counterman publishes our ASE P2 test prep guide. Larry Carley provides an overview of the parts and systems reviewed on the test. A counter professional who knows the parts categories backward and forward will be well-served for about 57 percent of the test. The remaining 43 percent covers topics such as management and phone skills, for example. The goal of the ASE P2 test is to improve the professionalism of the counter pro and establish to others that you know what you’re talking about. It’s not an easy test by any stretch. Members of the aftermarket wholesale and retail parts industry have gathered to produce the P2 questions to tackle real-life situations that parts professionals will find themselves in. CM

S for reader service

In addition to this guide, please review all the resources available to you from ASE. You can take a practice test, review an ASE study guide and learn what you need to bring the day of the test. Visit

38 34

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The Official ASE Practice Test for the P2 - Parts: Automobile Parts test offers 38 questions. This is about half as many questions as the actual ASE certification exams, ASE says. for reader service


Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning (HVAC) Compressor failures may be caused by sludge in the system or refrigerant and oil loss.


ost air conditioning parts are sold for service work, often to repair a refrigerant leak or to replace a failed component such as a compressor, evaporator or condenser. Belt-driven compressors have a magnetic clutch on the input shaft that cycles the compressor on and off to control cooling. The clutch can be replaced separately if bad. If the compressor has failed, the replacement unit may or may not come with a new clutch installed. A new clutch is recommended if not included. Compressor failures may be caused by sludge in the system (from moisture contamination) or refrigerant and oil loss. Compressors require special PAG oil lubricants that vary by manufacturer. The wrong PAG oil or not enough oil may cause a repeat failure. Some compressors come prefilled with the required PAG oil while others do not. A compressor failure also may require replacing other parts such as the condenser (the large heat exchanger in front of the radiator) and orifice tube (a metering valve in the high pressure line) if sludge or debris is found inside the A/C system. A serpentine condenser may be cleaned by flushing with refrigerant or a recommended flushing chemical, but parallel flow condensers cannot be cleaned and


October 2012 | Counterman

must be replaced if contaminated. The orifice tube, and accumulator or receiver/drier (components that store refrigerant and trap moisture) should also be replaced when a compressor is changed. Hoses carry refrigerant between the compressor, condenser and evaporator. The “suction hose” is between the evaporator and condenser. The “high-pressure hose” is between the compressor and condenser. Late-model vehicles with R-134a A/C systems require “barrier” (nylon lined) hoses with crimped end fittings. Older (1994 and back) vehicles with R-12 systems can use unlined hoses with barbed end connections. New o-rings or seals should always be used when hoses are replaced. The evaporator is the heat exchanger inside the HVAC unit that cools air entering the passenger compartment. Internal corrosion can cause an evaporator to leak. Replacement usually requires considerable labor and expense, so one option if a leak is minor is to add a sealer product to the A/C system. R134a refrigerant is used in all 1995 and newer vehicles. It can be sold to any customer, but only those who have passed an EPA-approved certification course can purchase R12. Alternative refrigerants are available to replace R-12 in older vehicles if the A/C system cannot be easily converted to R134a. CM for reader service


Automatic Transmission/Transaxle ate-model automatics have electronic/hydraulic controls operated by the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) or its own Transmission Control Module (TCM). Most late-model automatics have five or six gears (speeds), though


Transmission failure is often due to AFT breakdown or loss, and usually requires replacing the entire transmission with a remanufactured unit...


some have as many as eight. Some automatics are Continuously Variable Transmissions (CVTs) that vary gear ratios depending on speed and load. The most commonly sold product for automatic transmissions is ATF (Automatic Transmission Fluid). Most transmissions do not have a specified service interval. However, fluid changes may be recommended for preventive maintenance and to prolong the life of the transmission. Different transmissions require different types of ATF. Using the wrong fluid (one that does not meet OEM specifications) may cause shift problems or damage the transmission. Refer to the vehicle owners manual, transmission dipstick or service literature to determine the correct type of ATF for the application.

October 2012 | Counterman

ATF can be changed with a fluid exchange machine (best method) or by draining the transmission (which can leave several quarts of old ATF inside the torque converter). Service may also include replacing the ATF filter inside the transmission oil pan. A filter change will usually require a new pan gasket unless the filter is mounted on the outside of the transmission. All vehicles have a transmission oil cooler (often a metal tube inside the radiator). Adding an aftermarket auxiliary ATF cooler is recommended for vehicles used for towing. Transmission failure is often due to AFT breakdown or loss, and usually requires replacing the entire transmission with a remanufactured unit — unless the problem is a defective solenoid valve or sensor, which can be replaced separately. Solenoid valves in the transmission valve body control shifting, while magnetic sensors monitor the speeds of the transmission input and output shafts and vehicle speed. The PCM or a separate Transmission Control Module (TCM) controls the overall operation of the transmission. Troubleshooting automatic transmissions requires a scan tool for reading fault codes, sensor data and system functions. The torque converter is a fluid coupling between the engine and transmission. Most also have a lockup clutch that engages above a certain speed to eliminate slippage for improved fuel economy. A torque converter failure can prevent the vehicle from accelerating normally. Replacing the torque converter requires separating the transmission or transaxle from the engine, and draining and refilling the transmission with new ATF. CM for reader service


Brakes The most common reasons for replacing calipers is leaks and sticking. Fluid leaks are dangerous and can lead to brake failure.


isc brake pads are one of the most commonly replaced brake parts. Pad wear depends on the friction material, miles driven, vehicle weight, the swept area of the brakes, the type of driving and the driver’s braking style. Front pads typically wear two or three times faster than rear pads, but on some vehicles with electronic brake proportioning, the rear pads may actually wear at a faster rate. Because of these variables, pad life can vary a great deal, from as little as 30,000 miles or less up to 70,000 miles or more. For safe driving, brake pads must be replaced when they are worn down to minimum thickness specifications. Pads must also be replaced if contaminated with brake fluid or grease. Pads also may be replaced to solve a noise problem or to improve braking performance. Brake friction materials include nonasbestos organic (NAO), ceramic, low-metallic and semi-metallic. Replacement pads should be the same material (or better) then the original. Some pad sets use different friction materials on inner and outer pads to enhance braking performance. Other brake parts that may be needed when pads are replaced include new disc brake rotors, calipers, brake hoses, steel brake lines, brake fluid (DOt 3 or DOT 4) and brake lubricant (for caliper mounts and bushings). The most common reasons for replacing calipers is leaks and sticking. Fluid leaks


October 2012 | Counterman

are dangerous and can lead to brake failure. The fluid also can contaminate the pads causing the brakes to pull unevenly to one side. A caliper that sticks may cause the brakes to drag or to pull to one side when braking. Replacing high-mileage calipers is recommended to reduce the risk of leaks and sticking. “Loaded� calipers come complete with new pads and hardware for easy installation. Brake rotors can be resurfaced, but must be replaced if worn down to minimum thickness specifications. Rotors should also be replaced if they are cracked, severely corroded, have hard spots or are causing pedal pulsations when braking. Some rotors are directional (the cooling fins must rotate a certain direction for proper cooling). Most rotors are a one-piece iron casting but some are a composite construction with a stamped steel center hat section. Generally, rotors should be replaced with the same type as the original, but onepiece castings are available as a replacement option for many applications originally equipped with composite rotors. Drum brakes are still used for the rear brakes on many cars and trucks. Drums must be replaced if the inside diameter is worn beyond maximum specifications, or the drum is cracked, out-of-round, has hard spots or is deformed (ball mouthed). Wheel cylinders must be replaced if leaking or sticking. Rear brake shoes must be replaced if worn to minimum thickness specifications or contaminated with brake fluid or grease. New drum brake hardware is also recommended. CM for reader service


Cooling System Overheating can be caused by a sticking thermostat, a bad water pump or a coolant leak anywhere in the cooling system or engine.

he most often replaced cooling system components include the coolant (antifreeze), water pumps, thermostat, hoses and belts. Coolant has a limited service life, typically five years or 150,000 miles, whichever comes first — which usually means changing the coolant every five years on most vehicles. Coolant also should be changed when replacing a water pump, radiator or heater core, especially if internal corrosion caused any of these parts to fail. Antifreeze should be mixed in equal parts with distilled water (never ordinary tap water). Pre-mixed 50/50 coolant eliminates the guesswork and is ready to use. The type of antifreeze that is required will


vary depending on the application. Coolants are formulated to meet the specific requirements of certain auto manufacturers (Ford, GM, Chrysler, Asian and European), or to be compatible with all makes and models (“universal� coolants). Overheating can be caused by a sticking


October 2012 | Counterman

thermostat, a bad water pump or a coolant leak anywhere in the cooling system or engine. Replacement thermostats should have the same temperature rating as the original. A new thermostat housing also may be needed if the old one is corroded or leaking. A water pump may need to be replaced if the shaft seal is leaking, the shaft bearing is worn, or the impeller inside the pump is loose or damaged. Other parts that will be needed include water pump gaskets, coolant, and thread sealer for mounting bolts that extend into cooling jackets. On older, high-mileage vehicles with a belt driven cooling fan and fan clutch, replacing the fan clutch also is recommended to reduce the risk of overheating. Radiator and heater hoses deteriorate with age and should be replaced on highmileage vehicles when changing other cooling system components. New clamps also are recommended. Small radiator leaks can sometimes be repaired with cooling system sealer, by soldering (if the radiator is copper/brass) or by sealing with epoxy (aluminum radiators). But major leaks, internal corrosion or damage usually require a new radiator. The dimensions of a replacement radiator (height, width and thickness) must be the same as the original, and there also must be hose connections in the same locations. Radiator caps should be pressure-tested and replaced if they fail to hold their rated pressure. Replacement caps must have the same pressure rating as the original. New belts are needed if a belt is worn, making noise, frayed, cracked, glazed or contaminated with oil or grease. Replacement belts must be the same width and length as the original. A new automatic belt tensioner is also recommended for high-mileage vehicles. CM for reader service


Driveline Components A failing outer CV joint will usually make a clicking or popping sound when turning.


ommonly replaced driveline parts include CV joints/FWD axle shafts, U-joints and wheel bearings. CV joints come in various types. Rzeppa, crossgroove and double-offset CV joints have six small balls housed between and inner and outer race. Rzeppa CV joints are most often used as outer joints. Crossgroove and double-offset joints “plunge” in and out to accommodate length changes in the halfshafts as the suspension moves up and down and are often used as inner joints on halfshafts. Tripod joints contain no balls but have three roller bearings mounted inside a “tulip” or “claw” shaped housing. Tripod joints may be fixed or the plunge variety. Tripod CV joints are mostly used as the inner plunge joints on domestic FWD applications, but also may be used as outer joints on some older import applications. CV joint failures can be the result of high-mileage wear, loss of lubricant or outside contamination. Replacing a leaky or damaged CV joint boot is often a waste of time because damage has already occurred to the CV joint. A failing outer CV joint will usually make a clicking or popping sound when turning. A bad inner CV joint may clunk or vibrate when accelerating. CV joints may be replaced separately or as part of halfshaft assembly. It’s usually easier and faster (and sometimes even cheaper) to replace the entire halfshaft or axle assembly


October 2012 | Counterman

than to replace an individual CV joint. Replacement shafts must have the same overall length as the original, with identical splines and end dimensions. On vehicles with ABS, the ABS wheel speed sensor tone rings on the shaft or outer CV joint must also be identical. U-joints are used on the ends of the driveshafts in most rear-wheel drive cars and many four-wheel drive trucks. A worn Ujoint may cause a vibration at speed or make chirping noises, or clunk when putting the transmission into gear. Most original equipment U-joints are sealed, but some have grease fittings to accept chassis grease. A U-joint failure may allow the driveshaft to fall out of the vehicle. Replacing a U-joint requires removing the driveshaft and pressing the old joints out of the driveshaft yokes, and pressing in the new joints. Both joints should usually be changed at the same time. If the vehicle has a two-piece driveshaft with a center carrier bearing, the carrier bearing also should be replaced. Most late-model wheel bearings are part of a sealed hub assembly or a sealed cartridge. Sealed bearings require no maintenance or adjustments. Replacement is needed when the bearings become worn, rough or noisy. On vehicles with ABS, the wheel speed sensor may be part of the hub and bearing assembly. If the sensor fails, the entire hub must be replaced. CM for reader service


Electrical System Batteries age in storage, so sell the oldest first and the newest last.


he most commonly replaced electrical system parts include batteries, battery cables, alternators and starters. Average battery life is only about four to five years, and sometimes less in hot climates. A new battery is needed when the battery can no longer hold a charge, or fails a load test or capacitance test. A replacement battery must be the correct “group” size (same height, width, length and post configuration) as the original. Many GM vehicles use sidepost batteries. Some replacement batteries have both top posts and side posts to fit a wider range of applications. The “Cold Cranking Amp” (CCA) capacity of batteries will vary. The higher the CCA rating, the more cranking amperage the battery can provide for reliable cold starting. The “Reserve Capacity” (RC) rating is how many amp hours of operation the battery can provide should the charging system fail. A replacement battery should have CCA and RC ratings that meet or exceed the OEM battery requirements. Conventional lead-acid car batteries are filled with a liquid acid electrolyte, but some use a “gel” electrolyte or “Absorbent Glass Mat” (AGM) construction with a paste electrolyte. AGM batteries are usually more durable, have a longer service life and hold a charge longer than conventional batteries, but cost more. Batteries age in storage, so sell the oldest first and the newest last. Battery


October 2012 | Counterman

charge should also be checked prior to installation, and recharged as needed. Other parts that may be needed when replacing a battery include new battery cables, battery holddowns and battery tray. The alternator produces current to meet the current requirements of the vehicle’s electrical system and to keep the battery fully charged. Charging output is controlled by a voltage regulator or the powertrain control module (PCM). An alternator that is not generating enough current or voltage may allow the battery to run down or go dead. Low output also can affect the functioning of onboard electronics and electrical accessories. Alternators should be bench-tested to see if they meet specifications to reduce unnecessary warranty returns. If an alternator passes a bench test, the charging problem is due to something else (a wiring problem, voltage control problem, slipping drive belt, slipping OAD pulley or a bad battery). Replacement alternators must have the same or higher amp rating as the original, and same mounting configuration. If an alternator has an “overrunning alternator decoupler” (OAD) pulley, the same type of pulley should be mounted on the replacement alternator. A starter may have to be replaced if it fails to crank the engine. The problem may be a bad starter motor, a defective starter drive (which can be replaced separately on some starters) or an electrical fault (bad battery cables, ground straps or starter relay or solenoid). CM for reader service


Emission Controls ost emission control parts require little if any scheduled maintenance, but replacement may be necessary if the “Check Engine� light is on, the vehicle has failed an


O2 sensors mounted in the exhaust manifolds signal the PCM if the engine is running lean (too much air) or rich (too much fuel) so the PCM can control the fuel mixture.


emissions test or is experiencing a drivability problem. Emission control components include the Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PCV) valve, the Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) valve, the Evaporative Emission Control System (EVAP) vapor canister and purge valves, the Catalytic Converter, Oxygen sensors and all of the engine’s other engine management sensors. PCV valves route moisture and crankcase blowby vapors back to the intake manifold to be reburned. The PCV valve should be inspected and cleaned every 50,000 miles, or replaced as needed (if clogged or malfunctioning). The EGR valve routes a small amount of exhaust gas into the intake manifold when the engine is accelerating or under load to reduce NOX emissions and to help prevent engine-damaging detonation (spark knock). Older vehicles typically have a vacuum-operated EGR

October 2012 | Counterman

valve while many newer vehicles have an electronic EGR valve. Some engines do not require EGR to meet emission standards. Carbon buildup around the base of an EGR valve or in the manifold ports can cause problems, as can a failure of the EGR valve itself, its control circuit or position sensor. Replacement EGR valves must have the correct flow calibration for the application. The EVAP system (charcoal vapor canister and control valves) prevent the escape of gasoline fumes into the atmosphere. Leaky hose connections, faulty control valves or a loose or leaky gas cap can cause EVAP problems that will turn on the Check Engine light. In many cases the problem is a gas cap that is not sealing tightly. Replacing the cap solves the problem. The catalytic converter reduces NOX, HC and CO pollutants in the exhaust. The converter is covered under a 8year/80,000 mile emissions warranty, but may have to be replaced if it is clogged or becomes contaminated and is not operating at normal efficiency. Aftermarket replacement converters must the be the same type as the original, and OBD certified for 1996 and newer vehicles. O2 sensors mounted in the exhaust manifolds signal the PCM if the engine is running lean (too much air) or rich (too much fuel) so the PCM can control the fuel mixture. An O2 sensor mounted behind the catalytic converter monitors catalyst efficiency. O2 sensors can fail or become sluggish with age causing a drop in fuel economy and higher emissions. Some vehicle manufacturers have a recommended replacement interval for O2 sensors but most do not. If one O2 sensor has failed, replacing all of the O2 sensors at the same time is recommended. CM for reader service for reader service for reader service for reader service for reader service for reader service for reader service


Engine Parts ngine parts may be replaced to solve problems such as low compression, low oil pressure, increased oil consumption, engine noise or loss of power, or when an engine is being rebuilt or overhauled. Engine kits include most commonly replaced parts in one box, making it easier to correctly match parts for a particular engine. Gaskets are always


Engine kits include most commonly replaced parts in one box, making it easier to correctly match parts for a particular engine. needed (head gaskets, pan and cover gaskets, manifold gaskets) and should be included with every engine parts sale. Oil pumps are a high-wear item and are often replaced to remedy a low oil pressure problem. High-volume oil pumps can improve oil pressure at idle and in engines with increased bearing clearances. Related items that also should be replaced include the oil pickup tube and screen, oil filter, motor oil and pan or timing cover gaskets. Crankshaft rod and main bearings, and cam bearings may need to be replaced if worn or damaged. Crankshaft kits usually include new undersized ID bearings to go with the undersize journals on a reground crankshaft. Standard size bearings are required with standard size crankshaft journals. Assembly lube is a must. New piston rings can restore compression and reduce oil consumption. But if the cylinders are worn, scratched or tapered, they may have to be bored oversize and fitted with new oversize pistons and rings. Piston configurations can vary widely within engine families, so make


October 2012 | Counterman

sure replacement rings are the correct thickness, width and diameter for the application. Piston and ring sets reduce the risk of mismatched parts. Piston rings may be cast iron, ductile iron or steel, and plain, chrome plated, nitrited or moly faced. Most late-model engines use moly faced rings. Some high-output engines require ductile iron or steel top compression rings for durability. Replacement rings should be the same grade of material or better than the original. Replacement pistons must have the correct diameter, compression ratio and valve reliefs for the engine, and should be the same or better material than the original (replace cast pistons with cast, hypereutectic or forged, hypereutectic with hypereutectic or forged, and forged with forged only). Timing belts should be replaced every 60,000 to 100,000 or more miles to reduce the risk of breakage. Timing chains have no recommended service interval but have to be replaced if stretched or broken. Pushrod engine timing chain sets include new crank and cam sprockets, OHC timing chain sets include new chain guides, and timing belt kits may include new idler/tensioner pulleys. Camshafts and lifters may be replaced due to wear, or to improve performance. Aftermarket cams with various lifts and grind profiles are available. Follow the cam suppliers recommendations for matching a cam to a particular application. New lifters should always be used with flat tappet cams, but are not required for roller cams. New valve springs also are recommended. Use a ZDDP oil additive with flat tappet performance cams to prevent lifter and cam wear. CM

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Exhaust Parts Mufflers most often fail from the inside out due to corrosion caused by the acids and moisture in the exhaust gases.


ost late-model vehicles come factory-equipped with long-life stainless steel exhaust systems, but eventually most exhaust pipes and mufflers fail and need to be replaced. Exhaust leaks are noisy and increase the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. All vehicles have at least one or more mufflers mounted aft of the catalytic converter. A second muffler or resonator may be located further back for additional sound control. Vehicles with dual exhausts usually have separate mufflers for each side, but some may share a common muffler. Mufflers most often fail from the inside out due to corrosion caused by the acids and moisture in the exhaust gases. Mufflers mounted behind the rear axle typically have shorter lives than those mounted closer to the converter because they run cooler and collect more moisture. Replacement mufflers come in various types. Direct fit replacement mufflers look and install the same as the OEM muffler. Universal mufflers fit a wider variety of applications and may require adapters to install. Performance mufflers use fewer baffles and restrictions, or have a straight through design and/or flow straighteners to reduce backpressure for improved power and fuel economy. The trade-off may be increased exhaust noise — which some customers want.


October 2012 | Counterman

Exhaust pipes include the head pipe that connects the exhaust manifold to the converter, the y-pipe that connects the right and left sides of a V6 or V8 engine into a single exhaust, the exhaust pipe, which connects the converter with the muffler, and the tailpipe which usually extends aft of the muffler or resonator. Some FWD cars have a flexible head pipe to accommodate engine vibrations. Special exhaust tools may be needed when replacing pipes or mufflers. These include pipe cutters and pipe chisels for separating corroded pipes and connectors, and expanders for repairing or installing new pipes and mufflers. Other items that may be needed when replacing exhaust pipes include new clamps, pipe hangars and heat shields. Clamps must match the diameter of the pipes. Heat shields should be replaced if damaged, corroded or missing. Exhaust manifolds carry hot exhaust gases away from the engine. Bolted to the cylinder head(s), the exhaust manifold(s) connect to the head pipe or Y-pipe. Most are cast iron, but some are welded stainless steel tubing. Some exhaust manifolds also include “pre-cat” converters to reduce cold start emissions. Cast iron manifolds can sometimes crack, causing a loud exhaust leak. New exhaust manifold gaskets are required when replacing an exhaust manifold. CM for reader service


Fuel System The fuel pump may not be working because of a bad electrical connection or ground, a bad fuel pump relay, a plugged fuel line or fuel filter, or even an antitheft system issue.

ome fuel system parts, such as the fuel filter, may need to be changed for preventive maintenance, but most parts (fuel pump, hoses, injectors and pressure regulator) are only replaced if they have failed. Most late-model vehicles have a tankmounted high-pressure electric fuel pump. Older carbureted vehicles mostly use an engine-mounted low-pressure mechanical pump. Electric pumps come in various designs (single or double roller vane, turbine or gerotor), though more-efficient turbine style pumps may be used to replace some older-style roller or gerotor style pumps. Electric fuel pumps often are replaced unnecessarily due to misdiagnosis. The fuel pump may not be working because of a bad electrical connection or ground, a bad fuel pump relay, a plugged fuel line or fuel filter, or even an anti-theft system issue.


A tank-mounted fuel pump is part of the fuel pump module, which includes the fuel level sending unit. On some latemodel vehicles, a “lifetime” fuel filter is also part of the fuel pump module assem60

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bly. The fuel pump can usually be replaced separately if it has failed, but on some applications the entire fuel pump module must be replaced. Installing a whole new module assembly is easier and reduces the risk of future problems. Either way, a new fuel filter and fuel pump inlet strainer sock should also be installed when changing a fuel pump. The fuel filter protects the fuel system against dirt and debris. Inline filters on many vehicles have spring lock fittings that require a special tool to release. The fuel filter should be replaced according to recommended service intervals, or every 30,000 to 50,000 miles. Same for the engine air filter. Fuel injected engines use fuel hose that is rated to withstand high pressure, unlike fuel hose for older carbureted engines that is low-pressure hose. Hose should be replaced if leaking, cracked, hard, brittle or damaged. New clamps (if used) are recommended. Dirty fuel injectors is a common complaint, and can often be remedied by adding fuel injection cleaner to the fuel tank, or cleaning the injectors on or off the car. If an injector has failed or does not respond well to cleaning, it can be replaced with a new or remanufactured injector. A whole new set of injectors is usually recommended if more than one high-mileage injector has failed or is clogged. The fuel pressure regulator controls pressure within the fuel injection system and routes excess fuel back to the fuel tank. Usually mounted on the fuel rail on the engine, the regulator has a spring-loaded diaphragm attached to a vacuum hose. A bad regulator can cause a loss of fuel pressure, stalling and hard starting. The fuel pressure regulator on some newer vehicles with “returnless” EFI systems is located in the fuel tank with the pump. CM for reader service


Ignition System Spark plugs are designed for specific engine applications. The diameter, length and pitch of the threads that screw into the cylinder head must match the engine along with the heat range.


park plugs are a maintenance item, but also may have to be replaced if fouled and misfiring. Other ignition components such as plug wires, coils and crankshaft position sensors only need to be replaced if they have failed. Spark plugs ignite the air/fuel mixture in the engine’s cylinders when high voltage from the ignition coil jumps the electrode gap at the end of each plug. Electrode wear or fuel or oil ash deposits that accumulate on the plug electrodes or insulator can prevent the plug from firing reliably, causing a drop in fuel economy and performance. Misfires will turn on the Check Engine light on 1996 and newer vehicles. Most late-model engines come factoryequipped with long-life, 100,000-mile platinum or iridium spark plugs. Older standard spark plugs typically have a service life of 30,000 to 45,000 miles. Any type of spark plug may have to be replaced sooner if it has become fouled and is misfiring. Conventional spark plugs can be replaced with platinum or iridium plugs to extend their life or upgrade performance. Spark plugs are designed for specific engine applications. The diameter, length and pitch of the threads that screw into the cylinder head must match the engine along with the heat range. How far the tip of the spark plug extends into the


October 2012 | Counterman

combustion chamber (called “reach”) must also be correct for the application otherwise the tip of the plug may hit the piston or valves. Always follow the spark plug listings in your plug supplier’s catalog or data base. The ignition coil creates high-voltage current to fire the spark plug(s). The coil is a transformer that steps up battery voltage (12 volts) to tens of thousands of volts. Most late-model engines have some type of distributorless ignition system (DIS). This includes “waste spark” DIS systems with coil packs and plug wires, Coil-On-Plug (COP) ignitions (with no spark plug wires), and Coil-Near-Plug (CNP) ignition systems with individual coils for each cylinder and short spark plug wires. Older vehicles with distributors typically have a single coil. The coil may be an oil-filled “can” type mounted near the distributor, an epoxy round or square coil, or a compact coil that mounts inside the top of the distributor cap (GM HEI distributors). Some older import ignitions have two coils. If an engine does not have a coil-onplug ignition system, it will have spark plug wires (ignition cables) to carry the high voltage current from the coil(s) to the spark plugs. Ignition cables come in various types (suppression and solid core), use different types of insulating and jacketing materials (silicone, EPDM, etc.), and come in different lengths and diameters (7 and 8 mm). Replacement cables must be the same size and length as the original. Changing all the plug wires is recommended on high-mileage engines if more than one plug wire has failed. CM for reader service


Manual Transmission/ Transaxle Parts Recommend upgrading to a performance clutch if your customer has had repeated clutch failures or has a modified performance engine.


he most often replaced part on vehicles with manual transmissions is the clutch. The clutch is a wear item and will eventually wear out. The clutch is bolted to the flywheel on the back of the engine, and clamps the clutch disc against the flywheel when the clutch is engaged. When the clutch pedal is depressed to disengage the clutch, the pressure plate pulls away from the flywheel and disc, releasing the disc. Most vehicles have a diaphragm spring clutch, but some older vehicles have a coil spring clutch. The clutch is actuated by a cable, mechanical linkage or hydraulic cylinder. Leaky piston seals and hoses are common problems with the clutch master and slave cylinder. Replacing both is recommended on high-mileage vehicles if either has failed. The clutch disc is the flat plate with friction facings on both sides that goes between the clutch pressure plate and flywheel. Over time, the facings wear and reduce the clutches ability to hold under load — especially if the driver “rides” the clutch. Slipping or chattering (jerky engagement) also can be caused by glazed or burned facings, or oil contamination. Oil leaks must be fixed before the new clutch is installed. A “pilot tool” is required to center the disc when it goes in. If the clutch is slipping under load, or chattering or grabbing when it engages, a new clutch may be needed. Because of the


October 2012 | Counterman

labor required to replace a clutch, a clutch kit that includes a new clutch pressure plate, clutch disc and release bearing are recommended. A kit eliminates the risk of mismatching parts from different suppliers, and reduces the risk of future clutch problems down the road. For towing or performance applications, larger, stronger clutches are available to upgrade driveline reliability and performance. Recommend upgrading to a performance clutch if your customer has had repeated clutch failures or has a modified performance engine. Another clutch component used on many rear-wheel drive vehicles is a pilot bearing or bushing. Located in the end of the crankshaft, the pilot bearing supports the transmission input shaft. Failure can cause noise or clutch release problems. Replacement is recommended when servicing the clutch or flywheel. The flywheel may have to be resurfaced if it is not smooth and flat. It should be replaced if cracked. Some engines have a “dual mass” flywheel, which is like two flywheels in one. A dual-mass flywheel dampens engine vibrations and cushions clutch engagement. If the flywheel is damaged or the springs inside a dualmass flywheel have failed, the flywheel must be replaced. A less expensive solid flywheel can replace a dual-mass flywheel, but may increase drivetrain harshness and vibration. CM for reader service


Suspension & Steering Parts Tie rods can be replaced individually, but on high mileage vehicles it may be necessary to replace all of the tie rod ends and center link (if used) at the same time.


teering and suspension parts such as ball joints, tie rod ends, idler arms, control arms and steering racks may have to be replaced if worn or damaged. Other parts such as shocks, struts, springs, sway bars and control arm bushings may be replaced to restore likenew handling and ride control or to upgrade handing performance. Ball joints connect the control arms to the steering knuckle. Replacement is required when play exceeds specifications. On some vehicles, the ball joint is part of the control arm and must be replaced as an assembly. Greasable ball joints are available for many truck applications. Tie rod ends connect the steering linkage tie rods to arms on the steering knuckles. If worn, they can cause steering looseness and tire wear. Left and right side tie rod ends are usually different and may have reversed threads. Tie rods can be replaced individually, but on high-mileage vehicles it may be necessary to replace all of the tie rod ends and center link (if used) at the same time. Idler arms are used with recirculating ball/parallelogram steering systems to maintain the proper alignment of the steering linkage. Mounted on the opposite side from the steering box and pitman arm, the idler arm pivots when the wheels are steered. Wear or looseness in the idler arm can cause steering play and wander. Most late-model cars and trucks have power rack and pinion steering. Fluid leaks and center wear are common problems that require rack replacement. Short racks do not include new tie rod ends but


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long racks do. New rack mounts also are recommended, along with a power steering system flush. Leaks in the power steering hoses between the rack and power steering pump require new hoses and seals. Shock absorbers and struts dampen suspension motions to improve ride control and handling. The shock absorber is mounted near the wheel and connected to one of the control arms. A strut is often part of the suspension itself, replacing the upper control arm and spring, though it may be a separate component on vehicles with wishbone suspensions. Inside shocks and struts is an oil-filled cylinder with a piston and valves. Movement of the suspension forces the piston to push against the oil. This creates friction and resistance to dampen the suspension. Two basic types: twin-tube and monotube. Twin-tube shocks have an oil reservoir around the outside of the piston chamber. Monotube shocks have no outer chamber. One end of the shock is filled with pressurized gas and a floating piston seal separates the gas charge from the oil. Both types of dampers are usually gas-charged to reduce foaming and shock fade. Highpressure twin-tube shocks/struts are often used for performance handling applications. Shocks and struts are usually replaced in pairs. Preassembled struts that come with new springs and upper bearing plates make installation easier and eliminate the need for a spring compressor. CM for reader service


ECHANIC CONNECTION By Gary Goms, commercial accounts editor

kits and other hardware items needed to restore his prized possession to like-new status. Better Or Best? Of course, my first-call jobber didn’t have the “best” shoes in stock that day, so I called another jobber who claimed to have the “best” in stock. Upon taking delivery, I noticed that my second-call jobber’s “best” sold for much less that the first-call jobber’s “best.” Although I questioned that his brake shoes were his “best,” the second-call jobber insisted that these were indeed his “best” quality brake shoe.

Photo courtesy of GM

The Brake Job:

Stick To Recommendations Attempting to cut costs by installing brake friction that doesn’t meet original equipment (OE) requirements generally produces less-than-desired results. hen I first opened my auto repair business many years ago, I had a good friend and customer who owned a 1970 Ford Bronco. Since money was no object

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when it came to repairs or maintenance, I used only premium-grade replacement parts. So, when the original front brake shoes needed replacement, I ordered the “best” quality along with wheel cylinder

Bad Results After replacing the linings, I immediately noticed a greatly increased pedal effort during the initial test drive. After seating and readjusting the brakes, I attempted a panic stop. The second-call jobber’s linings would barely slow the Ford Bronco, let alone make the tires squeal. While these brake shoes might have passed muster on a Bronco equipped with power brakes, their performance was completely unacceptable on a Bronco equipped with manual brakes. In any case, I had to re-do the brake job out of my own pocket to make the Ford Bronco stop as it should. Brake Friction Characteristics Although the above story is technically dated, it vividly illustrates that not all brake friction is created equal. Whether drum or disc, attempting to cut costs by installing brake friction that doesn’t meet original equipment (OE) requirements generally produces lessthan-desired results. Generally speaking, any premi- for reader service

MECHANIC CONNECTION for reader service

um or “best” brake friction provides the greatest stopping power and longevity while producing a minimum level of noise and dust. For this reason, most premium brake pads are ceramic formulations, which are designed to provide the best overall performance characteristics for the average passenger car application. Ceramic brake pads generally use copper fibers to bond the brake friction compound together. Because they don’t create large volumes of corrosive brake dust, ceramic (sometimes called NAOceramic) brake pads became popular during the 1990s when bright alloy spoked wheels became standard equipment on many vehicles. In addition, most ceramic formulations produce a high coefficient of friction over a broad range of operating temperatures, generate less noise than semi-metallic brake linings, are fade-resistant, and reduce brake rotor wear. The semi-metallic or “better” brake friction uses steel wool to bond the brake friction compound together. The steel wool greatly increases the ability of the brake pad to transfer heat away from the brake rotor, which allows semimetallic friction to operate at much higher operating temperatures without producing brake fade. Since about 80 percent of the braking power is concentrated on the front brakes many front-wheel drive (FWD) vehicles, semi-metallic friction became popular during the early 1980s to increase brake performance. On the downside, semi-metallic friction generally increases noise, brake dust, and rotor wear. Semi-metallic friction also tends to require higher initial pedal pressures when the brakes are cold. But, even today, semi-metallic still provides optimum brake performance in heavy-duty applications experiencing higher than normal operating temperatures. The non-asbestos organic (NAO) 70

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or “good” brake lining was created to replace asbestos-based brake friction. While in many brake friction lines, NAO is considered a “good” rather than “better” or “best” lining, NAO is also used in many Original Equipment (OE) applications because it generally provides smoother application and more even side-to-side braking than do other formulations. In passing, I’ll mention that the “edge codes” printed on the side of new brake lining generally indicate the lining’s cold and hot performance characteristics. Because edge codes are a general, rather than specific, indicator of overall brake friction performance, I’ll just say that a more detailed discussion of edge codes can be found by typing “brake edge codes” into your Internet search engine. When discussing any type of modern brake friction, remember that, in the real world, modern brake friction manufacturers are constantly inventing new friction formulations designed for specific applications and operating conditions. Because conventional performance ratings don’t always describe the overall characteristics of modern brake friction, it’s always best to follow your brake friction manufacturer’s recommendations for specific applications. Warranty Factors Since auto manufacturers spend a tremendous amount of time and money to make their brakes operate as efficiently as possible, it’s important to follow a few rules for selling brake friction. For example, it’s important to never sell half-sets or transfer brake friction from one carton to another. Mixing pads or shoes creates an automatic warranty situation for your installer if the friction coefficient of individual linings differs enough to cause a brake pull complaint. Similarly, it’s important to sell only the OE-equivalent linings front and rear, especially on front- for reader service

MECHANIC CONNECTION for reader service

wheel drive vehicles. On older FWD vehicles without anti-lock braking systems, many auto manufacturers actually reduce the potential for rear-wheel brake lock-up on slick roads or during panic stops by reducing the coefficient of friction in the brake lining compound. Similarly, mixing linings with different friction coefficients on rear wheel-drive (RWD) vehicles might also cause premature ABS activation or a rear wheel lock-up complaint on slick roads or graveled road surfaces. It’s also important to make sure that the design of the replacement brake rotor meets OE specifications. An economy brake rotor will often increase brake noise because it uses a non-OE specification cast iron and it might tend to run hotter because it has less cooling fins and because those fins might not be shaped to provide maximum air circulation. In contrast, a premium rotor will appear and perform identically to the OE version. Harsh brake grinding and squealing noises usually occur because the brake pad vibrates against the brake rotor as the brakes are applied. To minimize pad vibration, it’s important to re-


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place the original equipment-style brake shims and locating grommets. Most premium brake pads are manufactured with the shims attached and, if required, include new grommets and brake caliper lubricant. Many economy pads require that those parts be purchased separately or reused. Using the correct brake friction is also important because fast ratio, high-performance steering systems tend to transmit brake pad vibrations to the steering wheel. And, because modern vehicle stability control systems actually use the brakes to help steer the vehicle out of emergency situations, it’s important to install brake friction that minimizes brake pad and rotor vibration. Brake pad vibration can also be created by improperly resurfaced brake rotors. The rotor should be turned as smoothly as possible without chatter marks. The rotor

surface should also be non-directional, which means that the “phonograph” grooves left by the brake lathe are cross-hatched with a sanding disc especially designed for this purpose. Last, the brake rotor should be thoroughly scrubbed in soap and water to remove the microscopic bits of cast iron before they imbed into the surface of the new brake pads. Last and most important, all brake friction must be clean when installed. Greasy handprints on brake friction can be avoided by using shop rags to keep the hands clean. Any residual contamination should be removed with brake and parts cleaner. When inspecting brake friction, it’s also important to replace sticking calipers, leaking wheel cylinders, and seeping axle oil seals. In most cases, it’s far more cost-effective to routinely replace these components than to wait for them to fail at a future date. CM

86 percent of shops surveyed by Babcox Media say they choose the brand of brake friction they install based on "the brand I trust." Forty-one percent of shops report stocking friction. — Source: Babcox Media Research for reader service


Cabin Air Q&A Q. A.

Where is the cabin air filter located? It depends on the vehicle. The majority of late-model cars, light trucks and SUVs come factoryequipped with a cabin air filter (or, in the case of some Ford vehicles, a slot where a filter can be installed). But there are still many vehicles that do not have a cabin air filter. Cabin air filters were introduced back in the mid-1980s in Audis and other European luxury vehicles. The first domestic applications date back to 1994 (Ford Contour and Mercury Mystique). By 2005, cabin air filters were installed in nearly 80 percent of all new vehicles. But in some cases, such as 2003 and later


GMC full-size SUVs, the cabin air filter was discontinued when GM redesigned the HVAC (heat, ventilation and air conditioning) system (why, we don’t know). On vehicles that do have cabin air filters, it is usually located somewhere behind the glovebox in the plastic HVAC housing, or in the cowl area at the base of the windshield where the outside air inlet for the HVAC system is located. Accessing the filter may require removing the glovebox, or a plastic cover in the cowl area. Refer to the vehicle owner’s manual for the location of the cabin air filter (if the vehicle is so equipped).

Because of its hidden location, many motorists are totally unaware their vehicle even has such a filter, let alone how often it should be replaced. Cabin air filters trap pollen, dust, smoke and other pollutants that would otherwise enter the vehicle and possibly irritate the nose and lungs of the driver and passengers. The filter also helps keep the A/C evaporator clean so dirt and mold don’t build up on its surface and reduce cooling. Some cabin air filters are also treated with a chemical biocide or a special surface treatment that destroys bacteria, fungus and mold spores on contact. This is important to prevent the growth of unwanted organisms and odors. CM for reader service

percent of shops surveyed by Babcox Media say they stock cabin air filters. They cite availability as the most important reason for choosing a particular distributor of them.


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— Source: Babcox Media Research for reader service


TRICO EX Factor Promotion Rewards Fall Wiper Sales for reader service

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. – Trico Products has announced the launch of the TRICO EX Factor fall wiper blade promotion. The promo not only offers consumers mail-inrebate discounts on TRICO blades but also provides counter professionals and service technicians who sell the most TRICO blades an opportunity to win an “ultimate racing experience.” The top individual counterperson or technician who sells or installs the most TRICO Exact Fit, Teflon SHIELD, TRICO Flex, TRICO NeoForm or TRICO Force blades between Sept. 1 - Nov. 16 will win the Ultimate Exotics Racing Combo 10-Car VIP Experience in Las Vegas for themselves and a guest. One winner and a guest will drive up to 10 exotic cars in the same day while comparing and contrasting power and handling of the world’s most exclusive super cars, including an Aston Martin V8 Vantage, a Ferrari F430 F1, a Lamborghini Gallardo LP550 and more. Round-trip airfare, two nights’ lodging, ground transportation

and an on-board video capturing the day at the track will also be included. TRICO is offering up to a $10 mail-in rebate for consumers who purchase a pair of qualifying wiper blades or one TRICO Exact Fit rear blade from Sept. 1 – Nov. 16. To further aid in the efforts of counter professionals and service technicians while generating in-store excitement, a variety of promotional materials are also available for sales support. “We are building on past success of the promotion by offering vehicle service professionals a once-ina-lifetime incentive, as well as providing consumer rebates and other sales support to grow their wiper sales,” said Kevin O’Dowd, global director of marketing, corporate branding and strategy. To learn more and begin participating, contact your local TRICO sales representative for additional details. All contest materials, full information and promotional displays can be found at CM

The percentage of shops that stock wipers. Shops report a median of 10 jobs per month requiring wiper blades. –Source: Babcox Research 76

October 2012 | Counterman for reader service


Wheel Bearings Overview heel bearings can be of either ball or tapered roller type. The ball bearings used for front wheel bearing applications are an angular type. An angular-type ball bearing will accept greater thrust loads than a Conrad-type bearing, which will accept a 100 percent load in the radial or thrust position and any combination of a 100 percent load. A tapered roller bearing will accept both a radial and a thrust load. All wheel bearings come in sets. The set consists of an inner and outer bearing. As is the case with a rear axle that uses a “C” clip to retain the axle to the ring gear carrier. The ring gear carrier bearings handle the thrust load and the straight roller at the flange end carries the radial load. Some rear axles will have a cartridge-type wheel bearing set containing either ball or tapered roller set.

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Hub Bearings In the late 1970s, the hub bearing began to appear on front-wheeldrive vehicles. This was a sealed, lubricated for life, pre-adjusted bearing with a mounting flange attached to the strut knuckle or rear

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axle flange and a hub for the rotor, wheel and CV joint. Other versions consist of a hub and bearing set that mount on a rear axle spindle or steering knuckle. The bearing could be either ball or roller type. Passenger car and light truck hub bearings are not adjustable. The hub is directly affected by the condition of the bearing. The driver may first notice a noise coming from the wheel of the vehicle when the steering wheel is turned. There will be noticeable end play when the wheel is unloaded. A check using a dial indicator will show an end play greater than 0.004 inch (0.100mm). Bearing end play also can affect a wheel speed sensor and cause an intermittent ABS trouble code. If the bearing flange has a runout, that runout will be magnified at the rotor friction surface. A runout of 0.0005 inch (0.00254mm) at the bearing flange could result in a 0.001 inch (0.0025mm) runout at the rotor friction surface. A wheel bearing is the most critical component of a braking system. It positions the wheel and rotor to the caliper, the wheel and drum to the backing plate and controls the input to the wheel speed sensor. CM

The median number of jobs per month at shops that require wheel hub bearings. – Source: Babcox Media Research for reader service

Track Talk NASCAR Performance Partners Give Pros and Fans Multiple Chances to Win Champion’s Week Prizes NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week™ has quickly become the hottest ticket of the season for diehard NASCAR fans and now, thanks to several NASCAR Performance partners, some lucky fans – and automotive professionals – will get to experience the week-long celebration VIP-style. Nov. 28 to Dec. 1, 2012, NASCAR devotees can once again expect a star-studded and entertainment-packed week in Las Vegas, as the top 12 drivers celebrate the culmination of the 2012 season. You could join them to


NASCAR Race Schedules

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Nov. 4 Nov. 11 Nov 18

experience it all – all you have to do is enter to win! Grand prize winners plus their guests of each promotion listed below will receive a coveted trip to Las Vegas for the

Lap™. In addition, winners will receive tickets to the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards™, which will take place at Wynn Las Vegas on Friday, Nov. 30, concluding a weeklong celebration for the 2012 s e r i e s champion a n d NASCAR’s legion of fans. Enter these great The annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards – and all sweepstakes of Champion's Week – will return to Las Vegas for the today for next three years. As in past years, fans can expect an your chance exciting, interactive week of activities. to win an awesome ultimate NASCAR bash of the year-end getaway to NASCAR year. Lucky partygoers will Sprint Cup Series Champion’s receive airfare, a three-night Week: hotel stay, tickets to the NMPA 3M Automotive AfterMyers Brothers Awards market “Your Ticket to the Luncheon™, NASCAR Victory Track” Sweepstakes – Now Lap™ and NASCAR After the select 3M products come with a

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One of these top 12 drivers will be crowned the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion – and you could join them in Las Vegas to celebrate!

Follow NASCAR Performance on Twitter and Facebook ■

bonus inside – a chance to win great prizes and a dream NASCAR experience. Shop professionals can look for Your Ticket To The Track winning promotional stickers in qualifying 3M professional products. Just enter the code on the back of your sticker to win at Freescale “Wide Open” Sweepstakes – Freescale, the Official Automotive Semiconductor of NASCAR and the processing power behind the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series switch to fuel injection, offers fans a chance at a Champion’s Week trip and more by visiting K&N’s 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week in Vegas Sweepstakes – K&N, the No. 1 Filter in NASCAR, invites technicians and fans to enter to win big at MAHLE Clevite Champion Technician Contest – Designed to honor the skills of engine technicians and specialists nationwide, participants enter via essay submission describing how an engine technician or specialist demonstrates success and furthers the field of engine development. Participants can either submit an entry about themselves, or on behalf of a nominee. Applications can be downloaded at http://champion Mobil 1 Racing Academy – Mobil 1, the Official Motor Oil of NASCAR, invites you to race your way to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week by playing the Mobil 1™ Racing Academy game daily at for reader service



Parts, Parts and More Parts hirty-three years ago, when I started my official career in the automotive business, the number one selling SKU was the FL1-A. This Motorcraft spin-on filter fit every Ford produced with a spin-on filter, except for a few applications that required a shorter filter, and that was an Fl 300. That’s all you needed to know and have on the shelf to cover oil filters for all the Fords out there. Then, along about 1980 or so, the Escort arrived on the scene and brought with it the Fl 400.

T Parts proliferation is not entirely new in this business.

Today, the Ford stores tell me there are about six. I know that does not sound like a big jump, but that is only filters, and for one manufacturer. What about all the other manufacturers (the number of them has also doubled in the same amount of time) and all the increased models each of them produces? When you add in the components and technology that is in and on vehicles today, it all ads up to the condition known as parts proliferation. Parts proliferation is not entirely new in this business. It has been on the increase for many years. The OE’s individually have tried to get the condition in check over the past 10 years but with all the other influences I described above, it continues to grow exponentially. With the intense competition at the automaker level to bring out new products and the rate at which technology is changing, don’t look for this phenomenon to decrease anytime soon. The good news is that we have excellent inventory and catalog systems available to assist us in managing all the required inventories. Logistics is light years ahead of where it used to be and the supply chain has been streamlined to take unnecessary steps and time out of moving it through the system. Remember, this is the aftermarket. For more than 60 years, we have solved the problems of parts and have mastered the challenge of keeping the nearly 240 million vehicles on the road in the U.S. So, I know we are up to this one, too. By the way, do you have wipers for a 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid? They go on sale in January. ☺ CM ■ ■ ■

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2012 Counter Professional of the Year Since 1985, Counterman has honored the Counter Professional of the Year. Counterman is pleased to partner with Affinia and its Raybestos and WIX brands, to present the Counter Professional of the Year Award. This year’s recipient is Thomas Taylor, of Motown Automotive, a Federated Auto Parts member. In addition to industry-wide recognition for a job well done, Taylor and a guest will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Las Vegas (first week of November) for the aftermarket’s largest trade show, Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week, including two nights at one of Las Vegas’ top hotels.

Sponsored by

Congratulations to Thomas Taylor, of Motown Automotive, a Federated Auto Parts member.


EEPING IT SIMPLE By Gerald Wheelus

The Refund: What an Opportunity! This is a time that you can build a relationship with the customer. Build the relationship and you may find you are the new go-to guy or gal in the future.

ecently, the marketing manager at the company I work for sent me an blog entry written by Seth Godin, the entrepreneur and author. In it, Godin writes about how to screw up a customer experience: “Let them know you don’t accept returns. Explain that it must be a user error. Explain that the customer must have lacked care or intelligence or ethics. Explain that you’re willing to accept a return, but just this one time. And finally, explain that you’re now going to put the person on a list, and you’ll never sell to him ever again.” This short blog entry brought about a horrendous flash of life, almost a rightbefore-death moment. I thought about all the times that I have made a debacle of the opportunity to make a customer. We spend countless hours training our people to be nice, we spend countless dollars advertising and marketing to get people in our stores and we miss this opportunity to prove how great we really are. I know many will say that customer was unruly and rude when they bought the product. I know many will say that we simply do not take electrical parts back. I know we will all make a ton of excuses as to why we should not give these folks a refund. This is when we should shine, though! We do not often find ourselves with all the control of a situation as our customers dictate to us what we are going to do. This is an opportunity where we can be in


Gerald Wheelus is general manager of Edgewood Auto Parts, Edgewood, Texas.


October 2012 | Counterman

control and make a customer happy at the same time. I envision it happening this way: The customer enters and asks, “Can you take this back?” This is when you can say, “certainly” but “I will need a couple of pieces of information please” and continue with, “I hope we did not mess you up.” Obviously, the scenario can be caused by many different situations. We sell products that have core charges and that is a sure return again. Why not make the best of it? The customer could be upset; when the customer is upset, we should not be in a hurry to rush them out just because they are angry. This is an opportunity to bring credibility to the store. This comes down to the article that Counterman editor Mark Phillips wrote a few months back about what our employees are empowered to do. We can use this opportunity to do something great and make them happy. Only you know what you are empowered to do for the customer, but I would be willing to bet that your employer would not hesitate to back you should you win over a customer. The customer could simply not need the part in question. This, again, is an opportunity. This is a time when you can build a relationship with the customer. Build the relationship and you may find you are the new go-to guy or gal in the future. Only you can decide if a refund is an opportunity. If you treat it as such, it can be. CM for reader service


Books Lunches With Mr. Q: An Auto Industry Titan on Business, Life and Sports Car Dreams ne day, author Kevin Nelson walked into the office of Kjell Qvale, expecting one thing to happen. Instead what happened was a series of lunchtime conversations and adventures that have led to the book Lunches With Mr. Q: An Auto Industry Titan on Business, Life and Sports Car Dreams. The “Mr. Q” of Lunches With Mr. Q is automotive entrepreneur Kjell Qvale, who was 92 years old when he first met the author. But what surprised Nelson the most about Mr. Q — as his friends and employees call him — was how youthful he was. “Here was perhaps the biggest difference of all between us,” writes Nelson. “Within shouting distance of his ninety-second birthday, he had a more forwardlooking and yes, youthful view of life than I did.” In Lunches With Mr. Q, the writer and Mr. Q get know each other in a series of lunches and adventures together. In the process Mr. Q, a millionaire many times over, shares his philosophies on automobiles, business and life. Mr. Q, who emigrated from Norway to the United States, founded British Motor Car Distributors, was a majority shareholder of Jensen Motors and producer of the popular Jensen-Healey convertible. The official release date for the 2012 hardcover edition is Nov. 15. For info, visit for reader service



October 2012 | Counterman for reader service


East Penn Announces Expansion of Duracell Battery Products for reader service

EAST PENN, Pa. – East Penn Manufacturing has significantly expanded its line of Duracell battery products. The newly expanded line has more than 60 automotive battery part numbers to provide one of the widest selections for passenger cars, LTVs and SUVs. The new Duracell line also offers more choices for heavy-duty deep cycle service and high-powered starting solutions for marine, commercial, agricultural, golf car, power sports, lawn and garden and a variety of deep cycle applications. The Duracell offering includes different design technologies such as AGM, EHP and HP to meet customers’ specific needs. Duracell AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) batteries are part of the SMARTPOWER initiative to provide dependable battery power at peak efficiency and performance with the highest regard for consumer value and convenience, East Penn says. Designed for more efficient recharging, these batteries actually recover faster in the vehicle’s charging system than conventional designs, to deliver more accessory power longer. According to the company, Duracell AGM batteries also are 20 times more resistant to vibration and built with DuraMAT components that provide a fast-acting, more efficient power. The battery also features a premium spill-proof, maintenance-free design that East Penn says delivers superior convenience and safety. Duracell EHP (Extra High Performance) batteries utilize special features to withstand higher temperature conditions. Reinforced internal components and a special plate active formula helps deliver superior life and maintenance-free performance in any climate. The HP (High Performance) line provides another premium-quality 88

October 2012 | Counterman for reader service


battery choice that strategically integrates value with high performance to deliver maximum reliability, longevity and cranking power, according to East Penn. All Duracell batteries are made with the most advanced computerized equipment with stringent testing and quality control checks to ensure dependability, the company says. Internal components are made from the finest raw material

resources that are tested by the latest equipment for purity, quality and performance. Advanced technological features have been incorporated throughout the entire battery design to deliver the trust-

ed reliability and longevity you would expect from Duracell, East Penn adds. For more information on Duracell’s expanded battery offering, visit

SKF Adds 31 New Differential Kits to its Drivetrain Product Line for reader service

ELGIN, Ill. – SKF recently added 31 new differential kits to its complete line of SKF differential, transfer case and transmission kits for automotive, light-duty and commercial vehicle applications. Of the 31 new kits, SKF now offers rear differential kits for the popular 2001-2008 Chevy GMC 3/4 and 1 ton truck with 11.5 inch ring gear, available in part numbers SDK327 and SDK327-MK (SKF Master Differential Kit); and the 1997-2006 Jeep Cherokee and Jeep Wrangler TJ with a Dana 30 Axle, available in part numbers SDK334-TJ and SDK334TJMK (SKF Master Differential Kit).


October 2012 | Counterman

SKF differential kits come in either a standard kit (prefix SDK) or a master kit (suffix MK). Standard differential kits from SKF contain all the components needed for a complete repair, including: pinion bearings, differential bearings, pinion seal, pinion nut, crush sleeve (where applicable), gear marking compound and brush, thread locker and silicone sealant. Master differential kits contain all of the elements that come with the standard kits as well as pinion shims (where applicable), pinion adjusting shims, differential shims and ring gear bolts. Complete product listings can be

found in the SKF Differential, Transfer Case and Transmission Kit Catalog (publication No. 457604). For more information, contact your local SKF representative, or visit for reader service



Executive Interview with Michael Palm Vice President of Marketing and Sales, CRP for reader service

Michael Palm is vice president of marketing and sales at CRP. He initially began his career at CRP in 1986, but left the company to take a position as director of worldwide marketing at Berlitz, an international leader in language instruction. In 2005, he returned to CRP and has been responsible for managing all marketing and sales aspects of CRPs businesses in both the automotive and industrial sectors. In this Executive Interview, Palm brings us up to speed on CRP’s integration of the AJUSA brand into its product portfolio over the past year; and also talks about product trends such as the increasing popularity of timing belt kits.


October 2012 | Counterman

Around this same time last year, CRP announced the addition of AJUSA to its brand offerings. How’s business since adding the brand to your portfolio? e’ve made excellent progress integrating AJUSA into our current offering and are running ahead of expectations. All the key functions of inventory management, cataloging, marketing, sales and customer service are in place, along with a marketing and sales support program that includes a distributor tool kit, website, brand awareness building, social media and sales training materials. We employed a phased launch strategy where we transitioned existing AJUSA Spain customers over to our service offering. This went very smoothly, and we are adding new distribution for the AJUSA brand, leveraging existing CRP customer relationships and the synergy of our three other brands. There is a lot of market excitement about the brand. While our strategic partnership with AJUSA is just a year old, our participation at AAPEX this year caps off 12 months of some very strong foundational building for the program. To say the least, we’ve been busy. We re-cataloged more than 1,400 parts for Asian and European applications for current Epicor and WHI e-catalogs and have an additional 1,600 parts waiting in the wings for the application research process to be completed. We conducted extensive competitive benchmarking to ensure we are offering the highest quality and competitive pricing for “like” products for an importoriented gasket program. In many of our gasket sets, we found that the AJUSA brand offers a more complete gasket kit, including more gaskets and hardware. We have also strived to be first-to-market with a number of dealer-only parts. This helps our distributors offer the most up-to-date program of gaskets and head bolts. And, we recently launched the most extensive European and Asian vehicle torque/stretch head bolt program available in the market, offering 45 more head bolts than our closest competitor. In developing the AJUSA line, we continue to ask service technicians what’s important to them and how we can make their life easier. This research/insight will help us to ascertain and determine what the market needs in head gasket sets and head bolts as well as a variety of other problem solver parts. At AAPEX, we will be introducing a new product, head gasket kits

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EXECUTIVE INTERVIEW packaged together with head bolts. We are very excited about this new product because it originated from market feedback from service techs. Tell us where and how AJUSA fits in with CRP’s other three brands: ContiTech, Rein Automotive and Pentosin. he AJUSA brand helps create two immediate marketing benefits for CRP. The product line, which includes head gaskets and gasket sets, valve cover gaskets and sets, intake and exhaust gaskets, cylinder head bolt sets, hydraulic lifters and silicone sealant for Asian and European applications, provides us with an excellent product line extension for underhood/engine management products and complements existing for reader service for reader service



October 2012 | Counterman

CRP product categories for the import market. It is also an ideal fit with our brand management philosophy - namely, OE-quality product supported with the outstanding customer service CRP provides. From our point-of-view, it is extremely important that any brand we offer must be able to live within the same space as the ContiTech, Rein Automotive and Pentosin brands. Those brands represent the highest OEquality within their given product categories. The same is true with the AJUSA brand. When we initially analyzed AJUSA, we saw that their values of tradition, loyalty and high-quality standards match perfectly with CRP’s value attributes of quality, service and trust. CRP’s 50-plus years of success has been aligned

with partners that have a shared vision and value set. AJUSA, as a leading international manufacturer of gaskets and gasket sets since 1972, with distribution in more than 70 countries and a complete program of more than 10,000 parts, is an ideal match with CRP. When it comes to product innovation, what’s next in terms of improving efficiency in the service and repair environment? e are excited about two specific product innovations, which have been driven by feedback from professional repair technicians. Both of these products aim to provide a “complete” solution for a specific repair or service job. First, we will be introducing ContiTech Accessory Drive tensioner kits at the AAPEX show. These kits include the serpentine belt(s) and supporting accessory drive tensioner(s) and idler(s) as well as any hardware needed to complete the repair job. One important point to note is that our kits will contain all the parts needed to do a “complete” repair job. Thus, if there are two belts, two tensioners and an idler, the kit will contain all of these parts. Everything the professional repair technician expects from a ContiTech branded kit is there – all the required parts, OE-quality components and reduced parts look-up time and hassle. Second, we will be introducing the AJUSA complete head gasket kit for Asian and European applications, which feature head gasket sets and cylinder head bolts that I mentioned earlier. Today, the market offers the head gasket set separate from the cylinder head bolts. The reality is that when repairing a head gasket on a modern engine, you will also need to replace the cylinder head bolts as most of these bolts are “torque bolts”, which are designed to be used only once and cannot be re-used. CM

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OUNTER-TECH By Mandy Aguilar

Still not getting all my emails When we deconstruct the issue down to its core, the very nature of email is writing and its lowest common denominator is grammar.

want more emails! Actually, the situation is much, much worse: I need more emails. I know, I know, you probably think I’m suffering from some acute tech dementia; but, truth be told, I’m still not getting all the emails I must have. According to my Google Account Activity monthly usage report service (which anyone with a Gmail account can subscribe to for free by logging in to your Google account settings), I’m getting and sending more than 500 emails a month; so is not like I’m off the grid or something. If anything, I’m too connected. In spite of my commitment to email, in the end, it is nothing more than good, old correspondence and by its very nature it “takes two to Tango.” So here’s the rub: there are still lots of our collaborators, suppliers and customers that simply won’t engage us via email. I’m talking about that one, great old-school customer who won’t even get an email address. To this day, he still dials you up to call in an order on the phone. Or, the employee who is your go-to guy or gal when it comes to handling a big problem but can’t report back to you because they just don’t do email. When we deconstruct the issue down to its core, the very nature of email is writing and its lowest common denominator is grammar. In the new world order of Internet connectivity, grammar has become vital to represent ourselves professionally when we connect to each other online. Bad grammar is just bad for business and as such, without mastering it, you probably don’t feel comfortable communicating with others utilizing the written word, be it email or otherwise. On the Internet, the written


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


October 2012 | Counterman

word is all you have to show your professionalism; can you really afford to have grammatical errors on your company’s Web page? When preparing a resume you typically scour through it several times to ensure you purge it of any grammatical errors, but how can an employer be certain that the prospective candidate has good grammar? There are job functions within several companies where writing is essential and as such, grammar testing is standard operating procedure to gain employment. Could we do the same in the auto parts industry? Not all of our jobs call for good grammar, but could we get a better employee if we screen for candidates that know the difference between there, their and they’re? Recently, Karl Wiens, the CEO of iFixit, a company in the business of writing online repair manuals, wrote an article for the Harvard Business review where he declared, “I won’t hire people who use poor grammar.” The article has gotten a ton of comments, both positive and negative as a reaction to his radical position. I was intrigued by his observation that, “people who make fewer mistakes on grammar tests also make fewer mistakes when they are doing something completely unrelated to writing — like stocking shelves or labeling parts.” It’s a tough position to assimilate, but Mr. iFixit might be onto something. No doubt, the argument can be made that grammar is not essential for all job functions within our industry and in no way can it be a litmus test for intelligence, work ethics, likability and dedication; but is hard not to believe that a person who pays at-

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Visit Mandy’s blog:


VDO REDI-Sensor™— A TPMS game changer ith over 80 million TPMS-equipped vehicles already on North American roads, and more coming off the line each day, the demand for TPMS sensor service is ever increasing. So, it is important to carry the right TPMS service products your customers will need to meet the demand and avoid missing out on any incoming service opportunities. VDO REDI-Sensor Multi-Application Sensors deliver a game-changing advancement in TPMS service. They are compatible with all major TPMS scan tools and require no sensor programming, added training or new tool investments. If your customers have the tools and know-how to service OE TPMS sensors, they’re ready for REDI-Sensors. These innovative TPMS sensors come pre-programmed and ready to use right out of the box. VDO REDI-Sensor is also designed to follow the standard OE vehicle relearn procedure.


With only three VDO REDI-Sensor part numbers, your customers will be able to cover over 80% of all vehicles in North America that come in for service. Overall coverage includes: Acura, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, GMC, Honda, Hummer, Hyundai, Infiniti, Isuzu, Jeep, Kia, Lexus, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercury, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, Scion, Suzuki, Toyota and Volkswagen. Designed specifically for the aftermarket by Continental, a leader in OE TPMS, VDO REDISensors are OE-validated for fit, function and reliability. They are made in ISO-certified facilities to the same quality standards as parts supplied to automakers. The latest application coverage and a demo video can be found at For additional information, please visit: or contact:

VDO - A Trademark of the Continental Corporation 97


tention to good grammar will probably be much more detailedoriented and less prone to make mistakes. Furthermore, a person with bad grammar will probably not be the one to write the most emails. This brings me back to my desire to receive more emails. For me, email is a primary tool to manage my business. Our company is spread out through the southeastern United States and Puerto Rico, with customers and vendors all over the world. For years, many of my collaborators

have become prone to using email as a way to accelerate communications and keep a record of them across the long distances that divide us. Email has brought me closer to my collaborators. And this is my problem today: there are still many important collaborators who simply won’t email me. Could it be because of poor grammar? I’m beginning to think this is the main issue and not some deep-founded techaversion to email and technology as I used to think. There is probably little I can do

with a customer who won’t email me; in the end you do what all good salespeople do — adapt to your customer’s needs. But how about with vendors and prospective employees? Could we go as far as Wiens proposes? His position, in the extreme, will not be good for our business; but, is certainly something that will be of the utmost relevance as the written language becomes the essential tool for communications be it on Facebook, your company’s blog, a Web page, text message or email. CM

Get FREE product and service info from the companies featured in this issue of Counterman. It’s fast and easy! and click the company you want info from! Advertiser Advance Auto Parts Professional ADVICS Airtex Corpo. Akebono Corp. Anco Apex Automobile Parts Autologue Computer Systems AutoZone Bar’s Leaks Bosch CARDONE Casite Contitech Dayco Corp. DEA Products/Pioneer Inc. SENSEN East Penn Mfg Co. ExxonMobil Federal-Mogul Corp Federated Auto Parts FRAS-LE North America Inc. Gabriel/Arvin Innovation Intermotor Interstate Battery Systems of America Italian Trade Promotion Agency Johnson Controls KYB Americas Corp. Lisle Corp. Magnaflow Performance Exhaust


October 2012 | Counterman

Page 69, Cover 3 81 15, 86 41 34, 35 57 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55 28, 29 72, 74 Cover 4 17 25 49 39 3 22 89 7 18, 19 65 79 67 23 47 94 27 87 88 32

Advertiser MAHLE Clevite Mann + Hummel MAS Industries Mevotech Magnum Gaskets Motor Components LLC NGK Spark Plugs Nucap Industries Old World Industries Packard Industries Parts Plus. Pentius Automotive Parts Performance Friction Corp. Peterson Manufacturing Co. Philips Lighting Promotec Spa Raybestos Brakes Sea Foam Schaeffler Group USA Shell Lubricants SKF Solv-Tec Inc. Spectra Premium Industries TechSmart Timken Trico Products True Parts, Inc. TYC/Genera Corp. Wizards Products/RJ Star Inc.

Page Cover 2 12 1 45 99 61 63 14 43 82 59 75 73 85 33 95 70, 71 90 9, 13 20, 21 91 31 4, 5 33 78 76, 77 92 37 93 for reader service


LLEN & ALLAN By Allen Markowitz & Allan Gerber

So Many Cars, So Few Repairs raffic jams everywhere, more cars on our highways than ever before, but where are the repairs? With the ever-increasing number of cars on the roads, our customers’ shops should be packed, however, this is not the case. As we speak to your technician customers at our seminars, one pattern becomes increasingly apparent – the number of cars on the roads today does not translate into the proper number of cars coming into the bays for repairs. As we are jobbers, this has an immense effect on our business. We are constantly preaching that buying parts for a few dollars less will not fix the lack of qualified techs or the high cost of putting the key in the door every day. Today, we explore items such as tech efficiency and shop labor rates or the number of cars a shop needs to repair to be profitable. Recently, we purchased new cars, both cars came with the now-famous two-year no-charge service agreement (of course, wear items not covered). This means that for the first two years of these cars’ lives, they won’t see the inside of our customers’ repair shops. If you do not think that this is huge, ask your shop customers what they think or listen to the phones on your counter. Are they ringing like a few years ago? To compound this, my car came with a lifetime guarantee. Shy normal wear items (brakes, tires, etc.), every other system in the vehicle was covered – as long as I used this new car dealer for all of the required services as specified in the owners manual. Obviously, this car dealer purchased a master insurance policy to cover these repairs and is willing to play the odds —

T Do not dismay, all is not doom and gloom. As with many businesses today, we are an ever-evolving industry.

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.


October 2012 | Counterman

now this is thinking outside of the box. At this point, I have not decided if this is a good deal or not, but I will read it again. Let’s not forget that today’s modern car is just plain made better and does not require the same repairs of years ago. So, where does this leave our technician customers, the core of our business? What are we doing when our outside salespeople report that they observe more and more empty bays? Do not dismay, all is not doom and gloom. As with many businesses today, we are an ever-evolving industry. Many of our technician customers are realizing that it is time to shape up and work on their financial, as well as their management, skills. In addition, they are also requiring their service writers to build up their selling skills to meet today’s new selling arena. We are even seeing shops hire new service writers to free up the owner and allow him to better run the business. All of this will yield results … Now, it is our turn. As independent jobbers, it is our turn to re-think how we do business. As many of us have salespeople and counter professionals who have been with us for many years and are dedicated employees, it is time to introduce them to new modern methods of problem-solving and selling to our customers. And yes, when properly handled, this too will yield results. As far as I am concerned, I think I will read over my new car lifetime warranty and try to find the loopholes. Somehow, I doubt that I will never pay anything for these “covered” repairs. CM

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POS SYSTEM FOR PARTS STORES Since 1977 1 Work Station $75/Month 2 Work Stations $100/Month 3 or More Work Stations $125/Month Total cost for software rental and unlimited phone support No contract to sign No additional cost for setting up and training


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Federated Member Vaca Valley Goes Green After researching cab companies in San Francisco and New York, cities which have a substantial number of hybrid cabs, Trevor Martin, vice president and general manager of Vaca Valley Auto Parts, a Fairfield, Calif.-based Federated member, settled on the Toyota Prius to replace some of the company’s delivery fleet. With only a few exceptions where a pickup truck is needed, the four Toyota Prius cars have real-

69 mpg 104

ly fit the bill. Vaca Valley’s drivers average 55.3 mpg. To celebrate the changeover, Vaca Valley gave every customer with an invoice over $100 a scratchoff lottery ticket for a chance to win some extra “green.” In addition, those customers who did not have a winning lottery ticket were eligible for a second-chance bonus drawing to win such prizes as an iPad, LCD television and a Federated Racing hospitality package at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma. “We commend Jack and Trevor Martin on their proactive efforts to reduce costs while at the same time, being environmentally friendly,” said Rusty Bishop, CEO of Federated Auto Parts. “Vaca Valley has a long history of innovative ideas and programs that have helped set them apart from the competition.” CM

One Vaca Valley driver manages to get 69 mpg with the company’s new Toyota Prius delivery cars.

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Counterman, October 2012  
Counterman, October 2012  

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