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‘Green’ Bullets: Tips for Servicing Hybrid Vehicles

Newsflash: Hybrids are here to stay. The oldest Toyota Prius models are now 14 years old and many other hybrids from other manufacturers are crossing the 100,000-mile mark every day. Here are a few of my Silver Bullets, — or in this case “Green...

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Legendary Spark Plugs: The Six Toughest Vintage Spark Plug Replacements

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Battery Service and Diagnosis

A good battery with an adequate charge is absolutely essential for reliable cold starting. A weak battery, or one that is rundown, may not deliver enough amps to crank the engine when temperatures plunge and the oil thickens. Cold weather can be hard...

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The prices of rotors seem to be dropping the past few years. Call just about any parts supplier and they can quote you a vast range of prices for the same application. And when you compare the rotors side-by-side, they may look the same, but the difference...

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Wheel Bearings: Measurement and Torque

Wheel bearings are either of the ball or tapered roller variety. Front wheel bearing applications are an angular-type ball bearing, which will accept greater thrust loads than a Conrad-type bearing, and will accept a 100 percent load in the radial...

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Why Alignment Angles Change

An alignment angle doesn’t change randomly. There is a cause-and-effect relationship between external and ­internal forces that can alter the geometry of a vehicle’s suspension. Having the alignment reading for only one angle on one corner is just...

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Audi Engine Timing Chain Failure Due to Lack of Maintenance

If you’ve been working on cars as long as me, you’ll remember the first timing belt you did and thought, “what was wrong with timing chains?” It was only a year ago, when I was working on a 2005 Audi A6 Quattro with a 3.2L engine with a broken...

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Acura: Clunk Noise While Turning

Model: Acura RSX 2005-’06 Symptom: The front suspension makes a ­clunking noise while turning. Probable Cause: The front springs are moving on the spring seats. Corrective Action: Replace both front springs and do a four­-wheel alignment. Diagnosis:...

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Inside Import Car Collision Warning, Automatic Braking Systems

Anything that moves under its own power also has to stop, so brakes have been a safety feature on cars since day one. Over the years, technical innovations such as antilock brakes (ABS) have ­improved the ability to stop with minimal skidding on...

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Bendpak Breaks Ground On New Warehouse and Shipping Complex

    BendPak, Inc. announced the recent groundbreaking to celebrate beginning construction of a 67,000 square-foot multipurpose warehouse and shipping center located on 3.7 acres of land in Santa Paula, CA. The new 67,000 square-foot...

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Pulling Codes: 7 Common Causes of Misfire Codes

A flashing check engine light and a P0301 to P0312 diagnostic trouble code (DTC) is a surefire indication that one or more cylinders are misfiring. Occasional misfires may pass unnoticed, but a steady misfire is hard to miss. The engine usually feels...

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Analyzing the Cylinder Pressure Waveform from a Running Engine, Part 3

By Vasyl Postolovskyi and Olle Gladso Contributing Writers and Instructors at Riverland Technical and Community College in Albert Lea, MN   In Part 1 of this Maximizing Tools series, we discussed an alternative approach to diagnosing an engine...

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By Larry Carley
Technical Editor

The classic symptom of a wheel bearing that is failing is cyclic noise. Most often a bad bearing will produce a chirping sound or a growl that changes in proportion to vehicle speed.

If a bad bearing is suspected, the wheel bearings should be inspected to see if there is any play. On late-model vehicles with sealed wheel bearings or bearing cartridges, there should usually be little or no play.

To check a wheel bearing, grasp the tire at the 12 and 6 o’clock positions and attempt to rock the tire. If any play can be felt, the bearings are loose and need to be replaced.

Also, rotate the tire by hand. Any roughness or noise from the bearings would also tell you the bearings are worn or damaged and need to be replaced.

Bearing play can be measured by placing a dial indicator against the hub and turning the wheel. Refer to the vehicle manufacturers specifications, but as a rule no more than .005 inches of play is allowed for most sealed wheel bearing and hub assemblies.

If one wheel bearing is loose or noisy, pay close attention to all of the other hubs on the vehicle, too, especially if the vehicle has a lot of miles on it or has been driven through axle deep water or been flooded. Chances are some of the other wheel bearings may also need to be replaced.

Customers should be warned not to put off replacing a noisy or loose wheel bearing. A bearing failure can often cause the wheel (or rear axle in the case of a rear axle bearing) to separate from the vehicle. This would cause a loss of steering control that might have potentially deadly consequences!

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