Larry Hammer

Larry Hammer

Larry Hammer is an automotive troubleshooter who oversees Mighty's Technical Support Services in Jackson, Tennessee. Hammer has been writing technical articles since 1982. He may be reached at: larry.hammer@mightyautoparts.com

ARTICLES

Improving Brake Performance; It Starts With a Good Cocktail

The quality of a brake service is dependent upon the technician performing the proper service procedures and the quality of the friction installed on the vehicle. Fudge on either and the result is an unhappy customer. Most likely, you will be doing the brake job over — this time for free. Assuming you are familiar with all the mechanical steps and procedures necessary to perform a complete brake service, are you up to speed on friction formulations and some manufacturing procedures that make for a better brake job? Friction Formulation The selection of a friction formulation is a challenge
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Controlling Oil Pressure: It’s a Matter of Regulation

When examining oil filters that are deformed from excessive pressure, filter gaskets blown or canister lock-seams unrolled, there is a reason for these conditions. While the oil filter is usually blamed for these conditions, the actual cause is over-pressurization due to a malfunction within the oil pump. Read on for pressurization issues involving GM, Kia and Hyundai. Most vehicles incorporate a pressure regulating valve built internally in the oil pump, while a few applications may have the valve positioned in the engine block. Both arrangements serve the same purpose, and that is to maintain the oil pressure within a
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Low Oil Pressure Message: Locating the Mystery Filter

A low oil pressure message/light is becoming a common complaint on 2007-2016 GM vehicles equipped with a V8 engine and active fuel management (AFM), which is sometimes referred to as displacement on demand (DOD). These symptoms often occur with no indication of a low oil pressure condition such as engine related noises. Some technicians replace the oil pressure sensor in a futile attempt to eliminate the low oil pressure message. When this procedure fails to solve the problem, they often assume oil pump related issues are at fault or serious engine related problems have occurred. They may recommend some
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Battery Management: The Challenges of a Smart System

Do you know all there is to know concerning a battery replacement? Most assume they do, but later they may realize they should have done some research. Technology changes the way we must perform some services and troubleshoot some systems. Based on the application, battery replacement is becoming a technical procedure that may require a skill level above the average do-it-yourselfer with some basic tools. Instead, the service may require some specialty tools. Have you heard of battery registration following a battery replacement? On some applications, it may require the use of a scan tool to register the battery,
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Neglected Service: The Results Can Be Costly

The primary objective of thorough inspections and system maintenance is to prevent some unnecessary and costly repair expense for the customer. System neglect can result in hundreds of dollars in repair cost that may have been circumvented by performing some basic maintenance. Servicing the Brake System Most technicians perform a thorough brake inspection including friction wear and abnormal wear patterns, loose or missing hardware, corrosion and excessively worn or damaged rotors. Unfortunately, few take the time or consideration to flush and restore the lifeblood of the brake system — the brake fluid. Bad things happen to the fluid, and
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Elusive Electrical Challenges: The Condition Could Be a Matter of Where the Vehicle Was When

A brief stop at a fast food restaurant resulted in a no-start condition and a no fob detected message on the Corvette’s dash. A roll-back was summoned, and the vehicle started perfectly upon arrival at the dealership. Lengthy testing failed to identify a reason for the mentioned symptoms. Two weeks later, parked at the same restaurant and parking spot, the no-start symptom message was repeated. Better prepared this time, the driver placed the fob in a special slot in the glove box, which is in close proximity to an antenna, and the engine started. The mystery of the no
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Bypassing the Oil Filter

Oil filter bypass valves come in many different arrangements. Some are buried out of sight within the oil filter, and others may be mounted in the filter housing or oil filter cap and are clearly visible. For those applications, inspect and replace any damaged components or assemblies, as required. Damaged bypass valves are a major concern and will be covered later in this article. Regardless of the location of the valves, they share the same responsibility and provide protection for the engine in the event of a filter restriction or during periods of high oil pressure or pressure surges.
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Maintenance Really Matters: The Technician is the Maintenance Reminder Light

You are the maintenance reminder light and it’s not a job to be taken lightly. Your customers trust you with their second most expensive investment. The instrument cluster is filled with gauges and lights that reflect the operating conditions of the engine. Unfortunately, many vehicle owners have become accustomed to relying on these instruments or warning lights as the sole informer of any necessary services.While there is an indicator for many problems that need attention such as a service engine light, alternator/battery, low coolant, low brake fluid, change oil, etc. there more maintenance is required. Relying solely on a
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On the Line: Factory Solutions for Excessive Oil Consumption

New engine technology poses many challenges. Smaller displacement engines producing more horsepower with lower emission output, while achieving better fuel economy, come with their own set of challenges once the vehicle has been put into service. During the initial break-in of an engine, it is not uncommon for the engine to consume some oil. Once the rings seat to the cylinders, oil usage usually diminishes.The problem comes when the engine initially does not consume any oil, but starts consuming oil when the mileage approaches 30,000-40,000 miles. When this occurs, the lube shop often gets blamed. The vehicle manufacturers list
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On the Line: Factory Solutions for Excessive Oil Consumption

New engine technology poses many challenges. Smaller displacement engines producing more horsepower with lower emission output, while achieving better fuel economy, come with their own set of challenges once the vehicle has been put into service. During the initial break-in of an engine, it is not uncommon for the engine to consume some oil. Once the rings seat to the cylinders, oil usage usually diminishes.The problem comes when the engine initially does not consume any oil, but starts consuming oil when the mileage approaches 30,000-40,000 miles. When this occurs, the lube shop often gets blamed. The vehicle manufacturers list
Read More