They don’t build ’em like they used to


By Andrew Ross, publisher Jobber News Magazine, Canada

Note: Andrew Ross was kind enough to share his April 2016 editorial for Jobber News with us. We have reprinted it on the MACS blog with the permission of Jobber News and www.autoserviceworld.com

They just don’t build cars like they used to.

More importantly though, those who build them, don’t see them the way they used to.

And neither do those who drive them.

Car companies have turned their focus significantly from making metal machines that move people to machines that get people to where they want to go, entertained and informed.

While it is an undeniable truth that every automaker is looking to sell what it is showing—concept cars aside—the conversation has become so focused on things beyond styling and mechanical features that it is easy to forget that these are car companies doing the talking.

It used to be that car companies would seek to excite you about what they built by showing you how much fun it was to drive and where you could go; now it’s all about giving drivers the capability to do a whole bunch of other things on their way to where they are going.

It’s all about the “user experience” in the parlance of the web world.

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A presentation by Ford Motor Company of Canada president and CEO Dianne Craig at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto, stated unequivocally Ford is being recast as a “mobility company” going beyond building cars to providing information and systems to help people get around more effectively and efficiently. From dining, to travelling to parking, all at your fingertips, dutifully curated by Ford.

Listening to the presentation was surreal and though it struck me as equal parts utopian view of the car consumer of tomorrow and coldly calculated strategy to convince stock analysts that the company was a new economy business.

Regardless, it is more clear evidence that the car companies recognize that cars as a stylish mode of transport is receding into the background, while their capabilities as a smart phone on wheels has moved to the forefront.

Horsepower be damned, you’re not going to sell too many cars if the driver can’t get directions to their favourite mall or restaurant and seamless provide a playlist for the trip.

This reflects a fundamental shift in how people see their vehicles. And how they maintain them, or rather don’t maintain them.

When these systems break—because they always do–most people don’t go to the dealer to get them fixed (87% according to a recent J.D. Power and Associates U.S. market report) and of those who did, less than a quarter actually ended up with a fully successful repair.

In the aftermarket we are used to the increasing challenges that technology places on aftermarket, but we barely consider the impact that that whole new class of technology will have on our industry.

Consider for a moment, millions of car owners, gritting their teeth in frustration daily, just hanging on till they can afford something shiny and new, but who would gladly keep their car longer  if “the darn GPS” or whatever “still worked.”

Consider too that it might be easily repaired, or not really in need of a repair at all, just a skilled reboot.

Plainly put, if the aftermarket can effectively keep all those infotainment systems operating properly, they will keep those cars in the hands of their owners longer, and keep that customer longer too.

It’s something to think about.

Learn more at www.autoserviceworld.com

Posted in ACtion Magazine, Automotive training, Electrical/Electronic, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Are you equipped with the right tools for mobile A/C repair?


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View the May 2016 issue of award-winning MACS ACTION magazine

Posted in #1234yf, ACtion Magazine, Automotive training, MACS Member, Mobile Air Conditioning, Training | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Help MACS conduct our 2016 mobile A/C service survey


In 1990, the Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide established the first industry mobile air conditioning survey to profile vehicles serviced by independent service facilities. Since then the survey has been repeated periodically over a span of years, and the data collected has reflected significant trends representing major changes in the industry. The last complete survey was done in 2003 with a minimized survey done in 2013.

Although information gleaned from these surveys was valuable, the attempt to profile each vehicle serviced in the busy summer season was challenging for the participating facilities.

To reduce the effort required by shops surveyed, and to collect information from as many facilities as possible, MACS is changing the survey format in 2016.

Rather than have the survey address the detailed repair activity for each vehicle, this survey is being conducted as a general facility servicing profile, assessing the general trends based on responses provided by participating shops.

Careful analysis of such survey results could reveal special insight on the mobile A/C industry and help plan for the future.

Help MACS gather the needed data!

2016 MACS Field Service Survey(PI) (click on link) for a writable pdf version of the survey. Automotive, truck repair and collision service shop owners are encouraged to fill it out completely and email it to elvis@macsw.org for a chance to win a $100 Visa™ gift card.

Since 1981, the Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide has been the advocate for service and repair owners, distributors, manufacturers and educators making their living in the total vehicle climate and thermal management industry.

MACS Worldwide empowers members to grow their businesses and delivers tangible member benefits through industry advocacy with government regulators and by providing accurate, unbiased training information, training products, training curriculum and money-saving affinity member services. MACS has assisted more than 1-million technicians to comply with the 1990 Clean Air Act requirements for certification in refrigerant recovery and recycling to protect the environment.

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To learn more about MACS Worldwide visit our website at www.macsw.org. The MACS 2017 Training Event and Trade Show, Mobile A/C: Global Service Horizons will take place February 15-18 at the Anaheim Marriott in Anaheim, CA.

 

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Six steps to a sound diagnostic strategy


By Bob Chabot, Manic Media LLC

James E. Wilson of Bosch USA was a presenter at MACS 2016 Training Event and Trade Show in Orlando, FL this past February he left us with some great information including these six steps to sound diagnostic strategy.

Jim Wilson of Bosch USA

Jim Wilson of Bosch USA

“Having the correct tools and using them properly is essential, but it’s also critical to follow a sound diagnostic plan and process,” Wilson noted. “Beware of flow charts; they can be confusing and often will not fix the vehicle. He suggested these key steps as part of the diagnostic process:

  • Step 1: Verify the complaint — Too many technicians try to find out what’s wrong, when they should begin with knowing what’s right.
    Step 2: Narrow the search — Use a scan tool to perform an all system sweep for codes and communication to determine known goods and bads.
  • Step 3: Research the known issues — Document the codes that need to be addressed. Use quality information sources to understand the repair path.
  • Step 4: Create a prioritized plan to test the system — For each DTC, read service bulletins and wiring diagrams, plan necessary reflashes, use tools that test what you are looking for, and determine which components may need replacing.
  • Step 5: Remember the basics when performing system tests — Examples include checking the battery condition and missing or blown fuses.
  • Step 6: Verify your work — Check that your work has completely resolved the original problem(s) you verified in Step 1. Then ensure your customer is satisfied.

 

Wilson ended the seminar with several real world A/C repair case studies that demonstrated the diagnostic strategy process and tools used. “Remember: If you approach a vehicle in a haphazard manner, as too many do, you’re likely to perform an incomplete repair. Following the diagnostic process is crucial to being the expert your customers pay you to be.”

If you’re a service professional and not a MACS member yet, you should be!

Become a member and receive a monthly technical newsletter with information like what you’ve just read in this blog post visit http://bit.ly/10zvMYg for more information.

You can E-mail us at macsworldwide@macsw.org .

To locate a Mobile Air Conditioning Society member repair shop in your area.

Click here to find out more about your car’s mobile A/C and engine cooling system.

Mobile A/C professionals should plan to attend MACS 2017 Training Event and Trade Show, February 15-18 at the Anaheim Marriott in Anaheim, CA.

Click here to see MACS current public training schedule.

The MACS website is located at www.macsw.org

Posted in Automotive Aftermarket, Automotive training, MACS Training Event, Mobile Air Conditioning, Training | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No, you cannot put R-134a into a HFO-1234yf system; here’s why…


We have received some questions about putting R-134a into HFO-1234yf system and here’s why you should not do that from EPA.

From the 2015 EPA SNAP Final Rule:

For vehicles for which the manufacturer counts air conditioning credits toward its LD GHG compliance, the MVAC systems (or elements of those systems) are considered emission related components as defined in 40 CFR 86.1803. This designation includes

provisions for emission-related warranty, requirements that they operate properly for the specified useful life, as well as tampering restrictions. For example, if a manufacturer claims air conditioning credits for an MVAC system that uses a lower-GWP refrigerant on a particular vehicle as part of the LD GHG program, removing and replacing that refrigerant with any other refrigerant that has a higher GWP, including HFC–134a, would be considered tampering with an emission related component under Title II of the CAA.

If you’re a service professional and not a MACS member yet, you should be!

Become a member and receive a monthly technical newsletter with information like what you’ve just read in this blog post visit http://bit.ly/10zvMYg for more information.

You can E-mail us at macsworldwide@macsw.org .

To locate a Mobile Air Conditioning Society member repair shop in your area.

Click here to find out more about your car’s mobile A/C and engine cooling system.

Mobile A/C professionals should plan to attend MACS 2017 Training Event and Trade Show, February 15-18 at the Anaheim Marriott in Anaheim, CA.

Click here to see MACS current public training schedule.

The MACS website is located at www.macsw.org

Posted in #1234yf, Automotive, Automotive Aftermarket | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Earth Day is everyday at MACS Worldwide


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Are you Section 609 certified?
Click here to find out all the information you need to know.

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R-1234yf and other trends


By Elvis L. Hoffpauir, MACS President and Chief Operating Officer

There’s no one better to talk to members of the service industry about R-1234yf than the folks at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA). The introduction of the “new” refrigerant began three years ago at the company, which now has several million yf vehicles on the road, and will have adopted that refrigerant for almost everything in its fleet with Model Year 2016.

DSC_0118Al McAvoy

Addressing a roomful of mobile A/C industry specialists at the recent annual MACS Training Event, FCA Technical Advisor Alan McAvoy noted “it has been a phenomenal launch. We haven’t really had any service issues. Most of the dealer service has been collision-related.”

Citing a long-existing performance test as an example, McAvoy said, “With yf, I really don’t feel there is anything to be afraid of. Follow your service procedures. It’s expensive refrigerant and obviously you don’t want to waste it, but what you have been doing for years on 134a is the same thing you’re going to be doing with yf – it’s not really any different.”

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McAvoy did note that with FCA, “yf was not always a model year changeover. In some vehicles it was a running change” so the service tech needs to open the hood and check the label or otherwise check to identify which refrigerant is in a particular system.

He also cautioned technicians to make sure they were using the correct refrigerant oil. “Some look at the label, and if it says ‘PAG,’ they figure that any PAG must be good to go, but that’s not the case.” FCA currently uses three different oils, based on the type of compressor. He also noted that, “we have seen some cases with the yf system where recovery machines tend to pull a little more oil – maybe an ounce or so – more than the technician may have been used to with the 134a system.”

Manufacturer recalls: “The whole industry has changed quite a bit; we’re in a different business than we were 10 or 15 years ago,” McAvoy said. “What was a service bulletin in the past will now be a recall. Part of customer service is checking that the customer is not driving around with an open recall.”

The connected car and security: “Because of the amount of electronics on today’s vehicles, and the connections to the internet, the potential of hacking is there. How do we prevent our cars, our scan tools, from being hacked? SAE International, vehicle manufacturers and others are involved in efforts to provide for the security of these systems.

Flashing: This technology used to reprogram automotive computer modules is a service that can be a boon to both the consumer and the service provider, but McAvoy cautioned, “Ask the consumer and get their permission first. Don’t just have a ‘flash party’ and not inform the consumer what the changes will be. You can’t go backwards.”

Fuel economy: Some things we’re adapting may be different or new to the consumer but are designed to provide fuel economy gains, 9 speed transmission and stop-start technology for example. Often customers may assume that anything that is new or different from their previous vehicle can be interpreted as a problem and state that “My last car didn’t do that.” It’s very important to understand normal operation and compare to a like vehicle before assuming that the customer concern is actually a problem before performing any repairs. The vehicle may be operating as designed and the customer is just not familiar with these new features.

If you’re a service professional and not a MACS member yet, you should be!

Become a member and receive a monthly technical newsletter with information like what you’ve just read in this blog post visit http://bit.ly/10zvMYg for more information.

You can E-mail us at macsworldwide@macsw.org .

To locate a Mobile Air Conditioning Society member repair shop in your area.

Click here to find out more about your car’s mobile A/C and engine cooling system.

Mobile A/C professionals should plan to attend MACS 2017 Training Event and Trade Show, February 15-18 at the Anaheim Marriott in Anaheim, CA.

Click here to see MACS current public training schedule.

The MACS website is located at www.macsw.org

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Spring training


By Steve Schaeber, MACS manager of service training

It’s that time of year again at MACS when we’re off and running, putting together the final touches on another full slate of mobile A/C training classes, and we’re branching out again this year with a few regional events in partnership with MACS members across the US and Canada. Presentations include our award winning Mobile A/C Update clinic, Heavy Duty Vehicle A/C seminar and Section 609 Certification classes. www.macsw.org website by clicking on the Training tab.

The 2016 Mobile A/C Update brings you up to speed on what’s been going on in our industry, new rules and regulations that have been finalized by the EPA (including a few proposals we expect to see), along with A/C specific technical information. We’ve also made sure to include coverage of MACS 2016 into our live classes, including a recap of the State of the Industry, highlights of this year’s OEM panel discussion (with representation by GM, Ford, FCA, JLR and EPA) as well as Lunch with Al McAvoy, a special look at FCA’s experience with their fleet of R-1234yf vehicles. We hope you’ll get a chance to take part in one of these clinics.

On May 4th I’ll be co-hosting our second YouTube Live Event with Tim Wagaman, senior product manager for air conditioning & fluid products at Robinair (Bosch Automotive Service Solutions). Together we’ll present a web version of the MACS Section 609 Certification class followed up by a Q&A discussion. We’ll talk about the environmental effects of refrigerant being vented to the atmosphere, learn why venting refrigerant is prohibited, discuss the federal rules and regulations that apply to mobile A/C system service, and how to properly recover refrigerant. We’ll also review tools and equipment, various refrigerants, and recommended best practices.

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Robinair is sponsoring the event, which means they’re paying for the first 175 technicians who want to become certified during the live webinar. Sign up is available on http://www.macsw.org or by calling (215) 631-7020. You’ll receive a study guide and test along with a link to the webinar, which will be presented live on https://www.youtube.com/user/MACSWorldwide (our YouTube channel) at 4:00 PM EDT on May 4, 2016. If you miss the free test you can still take part, but you’ll have to pay the normal $20 fee. If you’re already certified (or have recently re-certified to the new “yf” version of the test), you don’t need to register or pay; the webinar is free and open to the public, and we encourage all mobile A/C technicians to participate. There’s a lot to learn about 609 and mobile A/C, even if you’re already an expert!

Mobile A/C Update Topics:

  • Logical thinking saves time & effort
  • Temp sensor strategies & diagnostics
  • Clean air started here
  • A few A/C shorts
  • News you should know
  • Update on regulations, yf, CO2 & 609
  • News & coverage from MACS 2016

 

Section 609 Webinar Topics:

  • Why venting refrigerant is prohibited
  • Federal MVAC rules & regulations
  • Refrigerant recovery & handling
  • Tools & Equipment
  • Refrigerants & the EPA SNAP list
  • New EPA rules & proposals
  • Mobile A/C Best Practices

Note: Are you interested in partnering with MACS to provide the best in Mobile A/C training? Would you like to become a MACS training proctor? Visit our website www.macsw.org for more information, or call us at (215) 631-7020.

Posted in #1234yf, MACS Member, MACS Training Event, Mobile Air Conditioning, Refrigerants, Training | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

How do I replace my lost Section 609 card?


How do I replace my MACS or IMACA Section 609 certification card?

You can visit this link on the main MACS website to obtain a form to fax or mail in with $10 replacement payment or you can call the MACS office at 215-631-7020 X 0 to order and pay over the phone.

MACS houses over one million certification records and will need to know if you were certified by MACS or IMACA , what year you were certified and what city you lived in at the time of certification.

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If you purchased a Section 609 test and never completed it or returned it you are not certified.

If you’re a service professional and not a MACS member yet, you should be!

Become a member and receive a monthly technical newsletter with information like what you’ve just read in this blog post visit http://bit.ly/10zvMYg for more information.

You can E-mail us at macsworldwide@macsw.org .

To locate a Mobile Air Conditioning Society member repair shop in your area.

Click here to find out more about your car’s mobile A/C and engine cooling system.

Mobile A/C professionals should plan to attend MACS 2017 Training Event and Trade Show, February 15-18 at the Anaheim Marriott in Anaheim, CA.

Click here to see MACS current public training schedule.

The MACS website is located at www.macsw.org

Posted in Automotive training, Training, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nissan bleeder caps


By Steve Schaeber, MACS Technical Editor

Coolant leaks take on many different forms. Some we’re used to seeing, as they’re common failures that make up some of the bread and butter of cooling system service. But there are others that, while they may not be too difficult to diagnose and fix, make us take note and think about other ways we can apply the same repair methods to other vehicle systems.

One such issue shows up on certain 2014-15 Nissan NVs with either the V6 or V8 engine. The NV (Nissan Van) is the first of Nissan’s new full-size van models for the US and Canada built on the same F-Alpha platform as their Titan pickup counterparts. These rear wheel drive vehicles are set up in two main configurations, depending on whether it’s the cargo van or passenger van model. The cargo van has an in-dash front heater, while the passenger version has both front and rear heater cores. With either setup, a coolant leak may appear at the bleeder cap on the heater hose junction near the firewall. Two potential leak concerns are described in service bulletin NTB15-097: the bleeder cap may not be fully seated down and/or cracking of the bleeder cap itself.

If it turns out that the bleeder cap is simply not seated, the technician could attempt a repair by fully seating the cap to stop the leak. That should be relatively easy to figure out as an unseated cap would be immediately noticeable. But if the cap is found to be properly seated, it’s possible the leak could be coming from tiny cracks in the rubber bleeder cap itself, although you may not notice them at first glance. Try pressing down on the cap or squeezing it from the sides to expose the problem.

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Cracking of hoses or other rubber components is often not immediately noticeable with a simple visual inspection. In fact, it’s usually necessary to deform the material in some way in order to expose potential problem areas. Take a vacuum hose for example; at first glance it may not appear that anything is wrong, but pinching the side of the hose may expose several cracks which can allow vacuum to leak, affecting system operation or performance. Same thing goes for some types of drive belts, particularly if they’re Chloroprene (Neoprene). Depending on their construction, you may be able to expose belt cracking by flipping them inside out and bending them backwards. Keep in mind however, that this doesn’t work with newer EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) belts.

In either case, Nissan’s recommendation is to replace the bleeder cap, following all directions in their electronic service manual. This includes partially draining the cooling system to allow for cap replacement without making a mess. They caution however to not replace the heater hose assembly should this incident occur as it’s likely not causing the leak. Replacement bleeder caps are relatively inexpensive, and can be ordered from Nissan using part number 92570-51E00. Be sure to also replace any coolant removed from the system with fresh, preferably 999MP-L25500P Blue Nissan Long Life Antifreeze/Coolant.

If you’re a service professional and not a MACS member yet, you should be!

Become a member and receive a monthly technical newsletter with information like what you’ve just read in this blog post visit http://bit.ly/10zvMYg for more information.

You can E-mail us at macsworldwide@macsw.org .

To locate a Mobile Air Conditioning Society member repair shop in your area.

Click here to find out more about your car’s mobile A/C and engine cooling system.

Mobile A/C professionals should plan to attend MACS 2017 Training Event and Trade Show, February 15-18 at the Anaheim Marriott in Anaheim, CA.

Click here to see MACS current public training schedule.

The MACS website is located at www.macsw.org

Posted in Automotive, Automotive Aftermarket, Automotive training, MACS Member, Mobile Air Conditioning, Training, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment