August 12, 2022

Automotive Breakdown . . . by Denny Mandeville

Cliff hanger ended! I actually have a couple of customers ask to be kept advised when my wife made her mind up and bought the car. The BEST car, I might add. According to her, it is a Lincoln MK Z. She had been making phone calls to me all Friday afternoon (February 13th) making me a bit suspicious as to what, exactly, was going on, but she was a bit evasive. By 6 o’clock the questions were more direct, and getting more expensive- but it was her money. Yeah, yeah, I know- what’s hers is hers, and what’s mine…

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Automotive Breakdown . . . by Denny Mandeville

Expert – a person who knows more than the average person about something. To be more exact, using Noah’s definition; an expert is one who has special knowledge or skill in a subject or area. Another definition of expert is a person who is paid a sum of money to support your view, or claim, usually in court. An expert may be a person wearing a bow tie, carrying a briefcase and 50 miles from home. My personal favorite- an expert is a has-been-under-pressure. Nor should we forget every group’s resident expert. Theoretically, I am an expert in auto repair…

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Automotive Breakdown . . . by Denny Mandeville

ATTENTION PEOPLE! There is NO “MACHINE” that can be hooked up, connected to, or plugged into your car and tell “what is wrong with it”. Sorry, but NO ONE has been able to design, manufacture, or (more importantly) economically market such a device. This idea seemed to have come about in the late 1980s when OBD I (On-board Diagnostics, version 1) was introduced and the car dealers spent marketing money in an attempt to tout the new emissions laws and put them in favorable light, aided and abetted by the Feds. Unfortunately, while it was an important step in the…

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Automotive Breakdown . . . by Denny Mandeville,

The other day, a few acquaintances and friends of a certain hair color (or, technically, lack of color, and, sometimes lack of hair as well) were playing one-up-man-ship in past car stories. You know the game; do-you-remember, and how close to the truth can you play without being caught in an outright fib. I won, when I topped them with the in-car record player. Yeah – there actually was such a device. Just as CD’s replaced cassettes, and cassettes had replaced 8-Track, the granddaddy of them all was the in-car record player. Check it out- Chrysler had it as an…

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Automotive Breakdown . . . by Denny Mandeville

Q. Can the wrong viscosity oil cause the Check Engine light to come on? A. Yes it can. Always follow the manufacturer’s viscosity recommendations in your owner’s manual or the markings located on the oil fill cap. Modern engines are designed to use lower viscosity oil, usually in the 5W-20, 5W-30, even 0W-20 ratings. Many, if not most, modern engines use variable valve timing (VVT), a system of changing the position of a camshaft for better emissions and more power. The camshaft position is changed by oil pressure in a special piston called a cam phaser. The wrong oil and…

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Automotive Breakdown . . . by Denny Mandeville

As long as we are on the “do you remember” kick- and may be on it for awhile as I relive the more  carefree days of high school and the “California Dreamin’” days. Early 1960s high school in rural New York were the days of hot cars, wanna be hot cars, and the family sedan driven like it was a hot car. Cars you could buy from the dealer, or cars built by the owners. This was also in the days when the Feds and state governments were by-passing the little towns with the better built highways. Of course, to…

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Automotive Beakdown by Denny Mandeville

The other day a few auto centered terms came up that would only be understood by those of a certain age- those common terms that have just quietly slipped away. Fender Skirts, and the ultimate skirt; the Cruiser Skirt. You may know of, or had, fender skirts, but the real test is “Cruiser Skirt”. Give up, or don’t know?  They were an extra long skirt that went to the rear bumper giving the area behind the rear tire that lowered, ‘slip-stream’ look. They went along with glass packs and fox tails hung from the rear mount antenna for the AM…

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Automotive Breakdown… by Denny Mandeville, Owner/Canyon Automotive, Sedona

People often ask about our “GREEN SHOP” certification and what does it mean?  Green Shop is a program sponsored by both the Automotive Service Association Arizona and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality to promote the best business practices for controlling, and reducing, the waste stream. In this case waste stream is not a running water type stream, but the flow of waste material that can wind up in the water through landfills and run off. A business alters the way it normally handles its waste and energy needs to be “green”, and by reducing our waste stream, reducing other…

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Automotive Breakdown by Denny Mandeville

If anyone has visited my shop these past few months they have seen the red 1962 Thunderbird convertible that has resided therein as I have been performing a series of repairs to this car. I have been disturbed to find out I remember far more about this car than I ought to, considering how many years it has been since I actually owned, or worked on, 1960’s cars. As I was doing an initial interview, with the customer, he noted the chrome acorn nuts on the visible head bolts, asking whether this was factory, or add-on? I made the comment…

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Automotive Breakdown

“What does that little light mean?” or similar questions are fielded each day by repair shops all over the nation. It stems from a combination of two things; some engineer’s idea of a cute pictograph and/or the least read book in the world- the owner’s manual. Last year Insurance.com commissioned a survey of 2000 drivers 18 years old and older asking the drivers to identify ten instrument panel warning lights. Here is a sample of the list with the percentage of incorrect guesses because the driver did not understand what was trying to be conveyed: Tire Pressure Monitoring (TPM)-49% Brake…

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Back To the Future, Part I

Back to the Future, part whatever.  Do you remember back to the 50s and/or 60s, reading about the future of the automobile, especially in Popular Mechanics? According to the predictions the driver’s only function would be to get the family car from the driveway to the main street, then sensors imbedded in the highway would take over allowing the driver to shave, take a shower, play cards with the passengers, or whatever else the driver fancied requiring no attention to the actual driving (not that that is much different from today). The car, and road, of the future would keep…

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Automotive Breakdown… by Denny Mandeville, Owner/Canyon Automotive, Sedona

“Maintenance Free”, another way of saying “pay me now, or pay me later”. Maintenance free is also another term for deferred replacement, and as many of us have found out, later is often more expensive and inconvenient. In the effort to make automobile ownership more attractive the manufacturers are trying to sell convenience by reducing the amount of time a new car owner is going to be separated from the car- at least through the warranty period. By using such methods as the “change oil” light in the driver information screen, the manufacturers are removing the owner from the responsibility…

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Automotive Breakdown… by Denny Mandeville, Owner/Canyon Automotive, Sedona

Purchasing tires is a no brainer, and about as much fun as going to the dentist, but before you go, here are some hints and rules.  With the popularity of AWD (all wheel drive) SUV’s, cars, and pickups there is a hard fast rule the salesman seldom tells the new owner- you have to replace your tires in sets of 4. The AWD feature has separate differentials, one of which is in the transmission, and an odd tire can overheat and ruin this component $$$$$. Different brand tires, while having the same size printed on the sidewall, are not all…

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Automotive Breakdown

Apologies to the old Buick ad; “this isn’t your father’s fan belt”. The venerable old V-belt has been long gone and in its place is a ribbed flat belt often called a ‘serpentine belt’.  These ribbed flat belts often use both sides of the belt to drive the engine accessories as they wrap and snake around the pulleys they drive.  They are longer lasting, and use less horsepower to drive the accessories we have all gotten quite used to; power steering, air conditioning, and the ever important alternator. Water pumps are often, but not always, driven by the timing belt….

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