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Best Practices For Running Your Shop During COVID-19

In these uncertain times, we wanted to take a few moments to share some best practices we have compiled for everyone looking for some best practices for running their shops in the midst of COVID-19. Here are three major keys for operating as well as possible during this pandemic.


  • Increase Communication Within the Shop
    • Encourage employees to frequently wash their hands or provide hand sanitizers for mechanics to use while interacting with the inside of a customer’s vehicle
    • Routinely clean countertops or frequently touched surfaces or items (such as tools, phones, pens)
    • Keep open communication managers and employees
      • Staying up to date with what is happening with state health authority’s advice and regularly with your staff on how the situation is changing.
      • Maintaining open communication with your staff will help if changes arise in your strategy for working with customers


  • Take Extra Measures to Keep Customers Safe
    • Maintain comfortable distances between customers (CDC recommends 6FT apart)
    • Provide and encourage customers to use certain trash cans to dispose of any gloves or personal protective equipment.
    • Encouraging customers to pay via online services like Paypal, Apple Pay or Zelle to reduce direct contact of cash or credit cards
    • Sanitize all areas of the vehicle that might have been touched by the tech while he was working on the issue (i.e Door handles, steering wheel, gear shift)


  • Be Kind
    • This is a scary time for a lot of people so being kind and showing empathy towards customers and employees is valued more then you would expect. Check-in with your staff daily to make sure they feel like they are being heard in any concerns they might be experiencing.


We know there are not a lot of certainties right now, but one thing is sure, Identifix will be here to support your shops and help provide the helping hand in your repairs.


Some Additional Helpful Resources


Identifix COVID-19 Resource Center

Our Commitment to You

Solera Identifix remains steadfastly committed to the health and safety of our team, our customers, and our partners through these unprecedented times. As a global leader in data and software solutions serving the collision and mechanical industries we are uniquely positioned to interoperate effectively, both locally and as a global enterprise, with the technologies, protocols, and plans in place to work as a team to overcome any potential localized impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The services our customers provide are vital to ensuring automotive safety and reliability. We’re here to support you in continuing to serve customers exceptionally during this time.


COVID-19 Resources For Your Shop

We know there are not a lot of certainties right now, but one thing is sure, Identifix will be here to support you and your business. To that end, we’ve put together a resource center for you to help run your shop during this crisis and find ways to come out of the other side of this stronger.


Our Resources


Get Three Months Free of Direct-Hit


Additional Resources


Technicians and Shop Owners Discuss COVID-19 on iATN



Solera Small Business Loan Accelerator for Identifix Customers

COVID-19 Small Business Loan Accelerator Helps Business Owners Access CARES Act Relief

The impact of COVID-19’s unprecedented disruption to organizations and individuals across the globe has hit small businesses particularly hard. The U.S. passed the CARES Act in response to small businesses needing critical financial assistance, however, determining eligibility and applying for different options can be difficult and potentially delay access to funds.

Are you a small business impacted by COVID-19? You may be eligible for financial assistance through the CARES Act and the SBA, as funding is approvedThe COVID-19 Small Business Loan Accelerator can help you get started. 

As a part of Identifix’s ongoing efforts to help our communities navigate these complex times, we’ve developed the COVID-19 Small Business Loan Accelerator in partnership with Quick Base and Vista Equity Partners.


What is the Small Business Loan Accelerator?

It’s a free, publicly available online tool that helps small business owners quickly evaluate their eligibility for the different financial assistance programs offered by the Small Business Administration (SBA) and guides them in preparing their applications.

With the Small Business Loan Accelerator app, you can determine your business’s eligibility for the:

  • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): This program provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency.
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EDIL): These lower interest loans of up to $2 million are available to pay for expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred.
  • Small Business Debt Relief Program: This program provides a financial reprieve to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • 7(a) Loans: The SBA’s primary loan for providing financial assistance to small businesses—terms and conditions vary by specific loan type.


How does it work?

You simply visit the application page here, and:

  1. Answer a series of short questions about you and your business.
  2. Learn what programs you’re eligible for.
  3. Your forms will be filled out automatically and ready for you to submit to your preferred provider.

You can learn more about the COVID-19 Small Business Accelerator here.

How To Sell Additional Vehicle Maintenance with Direct-Hit


In these uncertain times, it’s more important than ever to make the most of every customer visit to your shop and minimize any waste or activity that doesn’t earn your shop money. Using Direct-Hit to write your repair orders can maximize your opportunity to sell additional maintenance, improve your repair quality and customer satisfaction, and reduce your costs from lost technician time and unnecessary phone calls to customers.

When customers decide to bring their car to your shop, it usually because of the following reasons:

  • Maintenance Needs: Oil changes, tire
  • General Repair: Noisy brakes, the window won’t open, failure to start
  • Symptom-based Complaints: Clunking or rattling noise, car stalling out

We’ll go through each of these factors and show you how to make the most out of each.

Maintenance Repair Order Opportunity 

By having the Service Advisor show the Factory Recommended Maintenance schedule to the customer, it creates an opportunity to highlight what the factory (OEM) or car manufacturer suggests for maintenance at their mileage and time.

This shifts your customer interaction to one of awareness vs. one of telling. In other words, it’s not the shop or advisor telling the customer what their car needs are, but rather it’s the team that designed, tested and built the car.

There are two display options within Direct Hit:

  • OEM Style: a clone of the “Traditional Maintenance Schedule”, as shown in the cars owner’s manual
  • Direct Hit Customer Plan Style: The OEM recommendations presented in a consumer-friendly manner

In addition to improving the efficiency of repairs, Service Advisors can leverage Direct Hit to identify popular vehicles their customers own, common searches on those vehicles and what makes maintenance critical for them.

Because recommended maintenance can feel like just another expense to a customer if they don’t understand its purpose, it’s important that a Service Advisor be able to confidently explain why it’s critical, for example:

  • Fuel filter maintenance is mission-critical for common rail diesel engines. Escaping debris or reduced flow in the high-side pump can damage the pump, sending metal into the injectors, which can lead to repair work that costs thousands of dollars.
  • If engines with timing chains and variable valve timing don’t have synthetic oil changes at the recommended intervals, it can lead to costly repairs resulting from guide wear, chain stretch and sludge leads.
  • Diesel vehicles with particle filters and DEF systems are incredibly sensitive to the types of oil used, so much so that many manufacturers are putting in quality sensors to validate the DEF fluid put in the system. Cheap fluid can cause problems and trigger otherwise preventable service repairs.


Using Direct Hit to further their knowledge in auto service and better understand the cars allows the Service Advisor to build confidence and trust with their customers.

Direct-Hit Usage For Service Advisors

At the beginning of your shift, log into Direct Hit and minimize your browser. Once you know the year, make and model, you can access a particular vehicle by one of three methods:

  1. Copy the VIN number from your shop management system and paste it in the “VIN” Search field
  2. Enter the year and make in the “VIN” field
  3. Use the vehicle selection drop-down tab

Screenshots below depict the options:

Click the “Select Vehicle” button to see the home screen for that vehicle. In the “Estimating” section (yellow panel), select the “Maintenance” tab and click the “View Traditional Maintenance Schedules” button to view the OEM schedule.

In the upper left, you will see “Tire Rotation and Required Maintenance” and have the ability to change the selection by using the drop-down feature.

Now the Service Advisor can explain what the recommended scheduled maintenance is for a vehicle’s age and mileage, according to the engineers that designed and built it.



Opportunity to Sell Maintenance on a General Repair Order

With General Repair order write up, the Service Advisor can check for technical service bulletins (TSBs) or recall bulletins and attach them to the repair order. This will help the technicians repair the car correctly and quickly the first time. After all, you don’t want to learn of a part or torque spec change when halfway done with the repair!

You can find “Fluids and Capacities” in the “Quick Hits” section on the “SPECS” tab. This allows the shop to ensure it has the correct types and quantities to complete the repair.


Selling Symptom Repairs

Some of the more challenging repair orders to write are those encompassing symptomatic complaints, such as a clunking noise when the car turns, or the battery goes dead after the car sits for two days. The single most valuable item the technician needs to diagnosis these types of complaints is detailed descriptions and information.

Direct Hit can guide the Service Advisor to ask clarifying questions by simply entering the customer’s complaint into the red panel’s “Search” field (the money box). After entering the first three letters of the complaint, a list of related parts and repairs appear. For example, entering “noi” for noise generates:

  • Noises
  • Noise Turning
  • Noisy Engine
  • etc,

By clicking “Noise Turning”, we see three TSBs listed—two of which are related to noises. The summary displayed in the blue font indicates questions to ask, for example, “Is the noise worse when cold outside?” or “Do you hear the noise while driving at low speeds and turning or maneuvering your car around traffic?”


Not a Direct-Hit customer? We’re offering an extended Free Trial. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE


New Identifix Website Compatibility

This spring, Identifix will be launching a brand new marketing website. Please note, this is a new version of our marketing website (the site on which you are reading this post) not the Direct-Hit/Direct-Shop site or application, that will remain unchanged.

To make sure your browser is compatible with the new Identifix website you will need to make sure you are using Chrome, Firefox, Safari.

If you are using Internet Explorer or Edge, you will need to make sure that you are the latest version of those browsers. To make sure you are on the latest version, you can use this link to the Microsoft Support site

How ADAS Works in the Winter

ADAS in WInter

With winter getting uncomfortably close, let’s grab a hot beverage and examine a topic that is sure to cause headaches this season: ADASequipped vehicles and winter driving.


ADAS and Winter

ADAS is short for “Advanced Driver Assistance System. Each manufacturer has its own name for the suite of functions that make up its ADAS. Honda calls it “Honda Sensing, Cadillac calls it “Super Cruise,” and Tesla“Autopilot. Essentially, ADAS covers a whole slew of system operations that make a car capable of performing a set of functions by itself, or without a human doing 100% of the operation. There is a spectrum of functions, ranging from simple warning when someone is in your blind spot, to literally steering and braking for you. These systems are finicky at best and have operational quirks even in ideal conditions. Let’s talk a bit about ADAS and some considerations when using (or attempting to use) it in the winter. 

Since I am a Honda man, I am going to focus on the Honda Sensing suite. It’s a pretty good system with basic nuts and bolts that you can use to try to intuit operation on other vehicles. One of the biggest hurdles in these systems is decoding the long list of acronyms. Here are a few: 



The Honda Sensing Suite

Forward Collision Warning is FCW, Lane Departure Warning is LDW, Lane Keeping Assist is LKAS, Blind Spot Information is BCM, etcHonda keeps it pretty clean with their acronyms and the function is relatively intuitiveTake Collision Mitigating Braking system, for example, it sounds like it will warn you of an impending collision and possibly apply the brakes for you if there is no intervention. This is indeed what the system does. Lane Keeping Assist sounds like it might steer the vehicle back into your lane when you wander out of it, and that is indeed what it does. 

Most of these systems are made possible due to two new hardware. There is a camera mounted in the windshield and a millimeter-wave radar mounted behind the front grille. 

ADAS Honda Camera & Radar


These two components work in tandem with the traction control and electric power steering systems to monitor and warn if necessary, making driving a car a more mindless experience. 

To put it generically, radar is used for detecting solid objects whether they are in motion, standing still, or in a non-linear trajectory in comparison with the vehicle’s own. The camera also detects objects, but besides solid objects, it detects lane markings and speed limit signsIf either of these two components come up with the calculation that you are drifting in your lane or coming up hot on a car or pedestrianthey initiate the traction control system and/or power steering system to intervene. 

ADAS Lane Control

Lane control uses the front camera only, as it must detect road markings that the radar cannot see. 

ADAS Collision Warning



Lane Assist and Auto Braking

I can tell you that the LKAS’s (Lane Keeping Assist) opinion of what being in my lane means, and my opinion, sometimes differ significantly. I will notice the warning chime, and the nudge of the wheel regularly when I feel like I am being attentive and aware of my lane position. The LKAS, when allowed to have its druthers, likes to wander from line to line, picking which one it can see the best. 

I will also say that the CMBS (Collison Mitigating Brakes) can sometimes choose to sound the alarm when I am coming to a very reasonable stopon the flip side, it can be radio silent when I am coming up fast on someone’s bumper. I never forced it to activate when I was doing pre-delivery inspections at the dealer, but I get it to activate from time to time during normal driving. 

This is a learning system, and it will get a bit better as it learns a driving style, but even under ideal conditions, there are glitches and hiccups in operation. So, what happens when snow is covering the road? When salt is packed up on the radar? Does this system stand a chance of operating well on an icy road with unclear markings? I don’t know how many of you have driven in a blizzard, but you can hardly see anything, let alone which lane you’re in.  


ADAS System Caveats and Glitches

Honda and every other OE have a long list of system caveats for weather and road conditions. Consult with the manual for all the details, but usually, the list goes a bit like this. 


Environmental conditions: 

  • Driving in bad weather (rain, fog, snow, etc.) 
  • Sudden changes between light and dark, such as an entrance or exit of a tunnel 
  • There is little contrast between objects and the background   
  • Driving into low sunlight (e.g. at dawn or dusk) 
  • Strong light is reflected onto the roadway 
  • Driving in the shadow of buildings, trees, etc. 
  • Roadway objects or structures are misinterpreted as vehicles and pedestrians 
  • Reflections on the interior of the windshield 
  • Driving at night or in a dark condition such as a tunnel 

Roadway conditions: 

  • Driving on a snowy or wet roadway (obscured lane markings, vehicle tracks, reflected lights, road spray, high contrast) 
  • The road is hilly, or the vehicle is approaching the crest of a hill 
  • Driving on a curvy, winding, or undulating road 

Vehicle conditions: 

  • Headlight lenses are dirty, or headlights are not properly adjusted 
  • The outside of the windshield is blocked by dirt, mud, leaves, wet snow, etc. 
  • The inside of the windshield is fogged 
  • An abnormal tire or wheel condition (wrong-sized, varied size or construction, improperly inflated, compact spare tire, etc.) 
  • When tire chains are installed 
  • The vehicle is tilted due to a heavy load or suspension modification 
  • The camera temperature gets too high 
  • Driving with the parking brake applied 
  • When the radar sensor in the front grille gets dirty 


If any of the conditions for the road and vehicle are on the list, you can expect erratic or possibly no function from part of, or all the ADAS system. This is just the list from the CMBS section of the owner’s manual and does not include pedestrian notesTesla even warns you about kangaroos. The point is to show how limited these systems still arethey may seem like miraculous bits of hardware and software, but they are still far from perfect. 

ADAS LKAS malfunction

These are some of the conditions involving just road markings on clean roads that you may have LKAS malfunction.

ADAS Odometer


Quick ADAS Fixes

Some vehicles will literally tell you to go clean off the radar area of the front grilleThis happens very frequently and you may have to stop and do this several times on a single drive in some cases. So when a customer comes in complaining about operation during the snowy months, make sure to educate them. Wipe off the windshield and the front grille, and advise they wait until the roads are clear and dry before they try to engage ADAS on their commute. Better advice yet would be to retire the systems between November and March and break them out again the same time you dust off the lawnmower. 


And if want to talk me to about any Honda in your shop, I’m available to call as part of our Virtual Tech team – 1.800.288.6210 


All images courtesy of Honda

How to Service Air Conditioners on Hybrid Vehicles

Service Hybrid Vehicle's A/C


First Things First

It is very important to recognize the differences between conventional and electric compressor A/C systems, obtain the proper training, the required equipment, and use the specified refrigerant oils to ensure the complete, safe, and quality repairs to these A/C systems.


Hybrid Vehicle A/C Compressors

Hybrid Electric Vehicles Electric A/C compressors use the high voltage from the hybrid battery pack to operate the compressor. The high voltage DC from the battery pack is converted to 3 phase AC voltage to operate the motor inside the A/C compressor. Sometimes the inverter/converter module is inside the compressor, fed by 2 high voltage wires, and sometimes it is outside the compressor, feed by 3 high voltage wires.


How to Stay Safe Servicing Hybrid Vehicle A/C Systems

DO NOT attempt to service a hybrid vehicle A/C system without getting the proper training first! Knowing what can kill you and what personal protective equipment to use to prevent that is important. Orange cables going to the compressor indicates you will need High Voltage gloves and a CAT III 1000 Voltmeter to prove the system is disabled before disassembling.

Be sure to read our article about safely diagnosing and working on hybrids.


Hybrid A/C System’s Refrigerant Oil

Electric compressors require non-conductive Polyol Ester (POE) refrigerant oil. There are several manufacturers of POE oils, they are not the same. Only use the manufactures specified refrigerant oil. It is also recommended to use a separate machine and flush the lines between vehicles to prevent oil contamination.

A PAG oil contamination of 1% can reduce the insulating property from 10 Megaohms to under 1 megaohm, potentially setting isolation fault codes.

Leak detection die should NOT be used in systems with electric compressors. UV dies most often contain PAG oil and/or solvents. PAG oils reduce the insolation properties of the oil and solvents are flammable.

Most manufactures require a complete system/all components replacement for contamination.

Recovery/ recycling/ recharge (RRR) machines that meet SAE specification J2788H are acceptable for use on hybrid vehicles with electrically driven compressors. These RRR machines are designed to prevent a harmful amount of oil from mixing with the refrigerant during charging.


A Few Other Notes

Sun load sensors do make a difference in operational characteristics. If you are diagnosing a performance complaint, you will want to test the system outside with a strong sun load.

The “ECON” button also makes a large difference in the operational characteristics. The acceptable outlet temperature with “ECON” on can be 10 to 20 degrees higher than in “MAX A/C”.


Some Tools You’ll Need for Diagnosis

You will need to have Bidirectional control and complete data PIDs to diagnose a Hybrid Vehicle’s A/C performance issues. Electrically powered compressors vary compressor RPM to modulate the compressor volume. The pressures on a gauge set will look the same as other R134 systems; high 20’s to low 30’s on the low-pressure side and 200 to 300 on the high side.

Finally, you’ll also need a good repair information source.


Further Learning

Now that you’ve got the basics you can start diving more into the world of Hybrid Vehicle A/C systems. Check out these resources below for additional learning and training. 

Think Backwards When Working on Electronic Parking Brakes

Servicing Rear Brakes On Cars with Electronic Braking Systems


Today I would like to sharpen your minds about something that comes up quite often in our line of work. Rear brake pads, and more specifically, how to service them when there’s an electronic parking brake system on the vehicle.

The genesis of the idea for this article came from a Virtual Tech call I took on a 2018 Honda Accord. A sharp young tech wanted to do a rear pad slap on this vehicle and he wanted to know how to do it. The service manual was only of moderate help and he had additional questions. Turns out, so did I. So if you like hucking brake pads, have a seat and rub your brain against this whetstone.


Psst. There’s a free cheat sheet at the end of this article too



Quick Parking Brake Explanation


Electronic parking brakes have been around for quite a while now, and like skinning a cat, there are many different ways of accomplishing the same thing. Some manufacturers designed a cable that gets pulled on by a motor, but most companies put a small DC motor on the back of the brake caliper. As it’s the most common design, this is the style we’re covering today.


Electronic parking brake systems usually consists of 3 main components


  1. A control module of some sort. Sometimes this is the same unit that does the thinking or work for traction control and ABS, and sometimes it’s a bespoke unit just for the parking brake.
  2. A switch, to communicate the intent of the driver to engage or disengage the parking brake.
  3. Parking brake actuators. These are electronically-controlled calipers, and every system I’ve ever seen are on the rear of the vehicle. Sometimes they’re combined with the base brakes, sometimes they’re their own little sub caliper. Tesla comes to mind.


How Electronic Parking Brakes Operate


Now that we have an idea of the components, let’s talk about operation. Some manufacturers use the electronic parking brake every time the vehicle is shut off in park. Others use the parking brake only after a prescribed number of miles, to keep the caliper exercised. And still others use the parking brake as a hill-start assist, or as a brake-hold function every time the vehicle comes to a stop. Do a little research on the system you’re dealing with and try to get an idea about when you can expect the parking brake to be engaged.

My basic rule of thumb is to assume it’s always engaged unless you’re trucking down the road. We don’t know when the traction control module might want to turn on the parking brake, thus “always” seems as good a time as any.

Now let’s dive into the specifics.


2018 Honda Accord Electronic Parking Brake Components


The parking brake switch: pull up to apply, push down to release.



There are electric actuators mounted on the backs of both rear calipers—they have only 2 wires, one for power, one for ground. The Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) module reverses polarity to engage or disengage the actuator. The VSA module judges the application based on how much amperage the actuator takes, very little amperage means the brakes are not applied, a lot of amperage means the pads are applied.


The Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) Control Unit is in charge of the whole thing—the parking brake switch wires go right into it and the wires for the actuators come right out of it.

Now that I know the players, it’s time to get to know the game.


When does a 2018 Honda Accord engage the parking brake?


When the customer requests it, using the parking brake switch. Pull up to engage, push down to disengage.

Every 1,864 miles, if the parking brake has not been engaged, this is to exercise the calipers and compensate for brake pad wear.

Every time the ignition is turned off, depending on customer’s preference/settings.

When the Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) system determines it requires increased braking effort in an emergency.

When the VSA system determines it’s unable to hydraulically apply pressure to the rear brakes during an ABS or traction event.

During automatic brake hold, if brake hold exceeds 10 minutes.


When does a 2018 Honda Accord disengage the parking brake?


Drive-away. Essentially, you start to drive with the parking brake engaged it will automatically disengage for you. How thoughtful.

Maintenance Mode. This is a service function you need to command with a scan tool, more on this later. The VSA module is supposed to retract the electric parking brake piston in this mode.

“Neutral Position Holding Mode.” This is a mode that allows the parking brake to be released for 15 minutes and is usually used for car washes, not pad slaps. Unless of course you’re the fastest slapper in the west!

“Temporary Cancel of Automatic Electric Parking Brake Mode.” Despite this mode saying “temporary” and the other one saying “holding” this mode releases the parking brake for much longer than the usual 15 minutes.


What does Honda have to say about servicing the rear brake pads?


Steps 1-3 are boilerplate nonsense: check the brake fluid, take off the tires, the standard steps. Step 4 is “enter maintenance mode.” This is huge. Supposedly, the scan tool is to retract the parking brake actuator piston, which it usually does. But when it’s time to exit maintenance mode you may run into a problem. It’s been my experience that the aftermarket scan tools can put the system into maintenance mode, but they seem to have a hard time taking it back out. Typically, you end up with limited throttle, all kinds of codes, and possibly limp-in transmission function. More often than not this ends up with a trip to the dealer on the back of a tow truck. My personal advice? Don’t let the system know you’re servicing brake pads.

In Step 4, Honda provides a note: you can manually remove the parking brake actuator and using a TORX socket, you can turn the actuator spindle clockwise until it stops. This will be a full retraction of the parking brake piston, but without using the actuator to do it. Before you do this, you’ll want to ensure the parking brake is not engaged—the manual says nothing about this. Put the system into “Temporary Cancellation Mode.” Put the vehicle in park with the ignition on, then turn the ignition off and within 2 seconds press the electric parking brake switch down. This should cancel the parking brake function until the next ignition cycle.

Here’s another look at the caliper with the actuator off. Note: both sides say to spin the spindle clockwise to disengage the piston.

Before you twist any spindles, get a clean sheet of paper and make some notes. How many turns does it take counterclockwise to fully engage the pads to the rotor? Just go until you feel some pressure and you can’t turn the rotor anymore. Count the turns and back it out to where it was originally. This is what I call “home position.” This is how far away the actuator prefers the piston is from engaging the pads. We’ll aim for this when we put new pads in. That way the actuator will be none the wiser.

Go ahead and back out the electronic parking brake piston fully, clockwise until it stops. Then service the rear brake pads as usual. Remove the caliper, press the hydraulic piston back in however you want—C-clamp, piston tool, by hand if you’re inclined. Clean up the slides and hardware, out with the old, in with the new pads, hang the caliper back on.


Now what?


We have a caliper with 2 pistons retracted! The service manual doesn’t provide insight and we’re in a pickle. My solution? Think backwards. We have our caliper installed, and before that? You pushed that hydraulic piston back in. Know of a good way to push it back out? Jam on the brake pedal until it’s nice and firm. Don’t turn on the ignition. You’ll ruin your time without the parking brake operating—remember that “Temporary Cancellation Mode”?

Now we have our calipers hydraulically seated again. Recall when you turned the parking brake spindle clockwise? Go ahead and turn it counterclockwise. Do it until you get pressure and the rotor is locked up, then back it off the number of turns to that “home position” you recorded earlier. Maybe it’s a full turn, half turn, two turns—it’s going to be a bit different on every car. Put the parking brake actuators back onto the calipers.


Wrapping Up and A Free Cheat Sheet


So the pads are installed, the pistons (both hydraulic and electronic) are where they were before you touched anything, and the parking brake actuators are on. Go ahead and ignition on, turn the parking brake on and off a couple times, see that the parking brake indicator is functioning, and you have no codes.

Congratulations! You’re free and clear. I’ve created a cheat sheet about electronic parking brake service, so please download it and hang it up on your box. If you run into anything strange while working with one of these systems, or one fails and that’s why you’re touching it, give us a call at the Hotline and we will help you get it squared away. Happy wrenching!


Download the Electronic Parking Brake Service Cheat Sheet



Meet L1 Master Technician Dan Larson


His Credentials

AAS Degree, ASE Master Technician, ASE Certified


Dan’s Start in Auto Repair

Dan’s professional journey started when he completed his Automotive Technician AAS Degree at St. Cloud Technical College, Saint Cloud MN in 2009.


Dan’s Career Before Identifix

After graduation, he started working at a local Minneapolis/St. Paul independent repair shop, JPT Services. Dan worked closely the shop owner, a longtime industry veteran who taught Dan most of the knowledge an skills that he carries with him today.

Dan eventually left that shop in search of new opportunities and landed at Certified Auto Repair. Originally hired as the Lead Technician, Dan also took on the role of Shop Foreman. During this time he also helped write content for automotive websites and helped create a custom vehicle inspection app for repair shops.


Joining Identifix

After 6 years with Certified, Auto Dan was ready for a new challenge. So he called it quits at the shop and joined the Virtual Tech team at Identifix in June of 2017. Since then, Dan has been helping countless techs across the country to repair their shop’s toughest vehicles.


When He’s Not Working

In his free time, Dan enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, biking, skateboarding, snowboarding, and just about any other outdoor sports or activity you can think of.


Fix of The Week 8/17/19


Fix of The Week

Every week we’re posting our favorite head-scratchers and interesting mechanical issues submitted by our Direct-Hit customers.

For a chance to have something you’ve worked on appear as a Fix of the Week, and win a cool little prize for your shop, all you have to do is post your unique fixes in Direct-Hit. Just look up the vehicle you’re working on, click on Post Fix at the top right, then tell us the problem and what you did to fix it.


This Week’s Winners

On this edition of Fix of The Week: A Subaru with a lack of power and two Hondas with cruise issues.


2006 Subaru Outback – Black Rock Auto

This Subaru had a lack of power and no fault codes. The engine oil level was low but still registered on the dipstick. I verified lack of power on the test drive, noted the low engine oil activity, and verified there were no codes. Data showed that the fuel trim was correct, but using a 5-gas analyzer at the tailpipe showed a lambda value of 1.185 and CO2 at 13.0% with O2 at 3%. I tested the fuel and found 10% alcohol content OK.

I solved the issue by topping up the motor oil and observing 5-gas at the tailpipe. I saw the CO2 climb to 15.4% and O2 drop to 0.1%. Power was restored—it was due to the cam phasers not filling up and affecting the valve position, which caused the engine breathing problems. The ECM doesn’t recognize this and doesn’t set codes so top off the oil and the problem solved.


2016 Honda Civic – Accountable Automotive

This vehicle had no cruise nor adaptive cruise, and the cruise main would turn on but wouldn’t set. The system stopped working for the customer suddenly, and they confirmed no debris ever hit the vehicle to knock out radar and they hadn’t recently replaced the windshield. The dealer had recommended replacing all cruise components, about $6,000-$8,000 worth of work—they had no idea.

The vehicle didn’t have any codes but did have some history of U, VSA, and steering history codes. All inputs were good: brake pedal, accelerator, radar, camera, yaw, main switch, set, decel, resume, PRNDL, VSA. Lane departure, collision avoidance, VSA features were all operating properly.

We cleared all codes—none returned, still inoperable. We didn’t find any wiring or connector faults. We just so happened to have a ’16 Civic to compare inputs with and view some identical data.

I disconnected the battery and jumpered across terminals for 20 minutes. On reconnect, the system went into an “initialization mode.” All driver integration modes were disabled and “tells” on the cluster (LKASS, VSA, collision avoidance, ACC) instruct you to drive carefully while initialization is in process. I drove until all the lights went out, about 3 minutes, and the cruise and adaptive cruise were back to operational.


2002 Honda Accord – Lester Gutierrez

This vehicle’s cruise control was inoperable and the main switch indicator light was off at all times. I checked fuse 6 driver’s under the dash fuse box. I resistance tested the cruise control main switch and found both bulbs in the circuit open. I replaced the blubs and conducted a cruise control unit input test. The cavity 2 gray wire had no power when the brake pedal was released. I test drove the vehicle and the cruise set above 25 MPH—the indicator lights on the cruise control main switch and cruise control light on the dash were working as required.