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Category Archives: Learning Zone

What’s a Catalytic Converter?

What’s a Catalytic Converter?

We all want to make sure we’re doing our part to reduce our impact on the environment. A big part of that is making sure your vehicle is in tip-top shape, minimizing harmful exhaust emissions. That’s why, in Maryland, we’re all required to have our vehicle’s emissions systems inspected every two years to make sure it’s functioning properly. A major portion of your emissions control system is the catalytic converter. It’s part of the exhaust system and contains a ceramic honeycomb called a substrate. That substrate has precious metals like platinum, palladium, rhodium and cerium embedded in it. Hot exhaust gasses pass through the substrate and the elements act as a catalyst, causing a chemical reaction in the gasses. That reaction changes the chemical makeup of the exhaust and results in cleaner emissions and, of course, a cleaner environment. Looking into ... read more

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Learning Zone

Keep Your Car Looking Like New

Keep Your Car Looking Like New

Keep your car looking like new… just like Greg’s S2000! We’ve talked before about how maintaining your car for the long haul makes great financial sense. But as your Honda, Acura, Toyota, Lexus or Scion ages, how do you keep it looking new? Just like the rest of your car, a little preventive maintenance goes a long way with your car’s paint. If you keep up with it, you can keep that “showroom shine” for years to come. Here are a few quick tips: Park your car under cover The number one “paint killer” is the sun. UV rays, over time, break down the protective coating on your car’s surface. They also cause your headlights to get cloudy. The best way to avoid this kind of damage is the park your car in a garage. Of course, not all of u ... read more

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Learning Zone

What does VTEC mean?

What does VTEC mean?

Here at Motor Works, we like to speak plain English with our clients. Acronyms can sometimes get in the way of clear communication, so we try to avoid them when we can. We get this question quite a bit… “What does VTEC mean?” The short answer is “Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control”. It’s a system Honda developed to increase performance and efficiency on its smaller engines. While Honda certainly led the way in developing this technology, other manufacturers have adopted similar systems over the years. I’ve you never pushed your VTEC-equipped Honda past about 5,000 RPM, you’ve probably never experienced what VTEC does for your car. Rather than trying to explain it ourselves, we’ll let CNET’s Brian Cooley show you…

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Learning Zone

Wheel Alignment 101

Here at Motor Works, we always suggest a computerized all-wheel alignment when you get new tires. Not only does this extend the life of your new tires, it helps with vehicle stability, ride quality and fuel economy. We found this great video from CNET’s Brian Cooley explaining the basics of wheel alignment, including caster, camber and toe. Check it out

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Learning Zone

Car Optometry – Aiming the Honda LaneWatch System

Car Optometry – Aiming the Honda LaneWatch System

We never thought we’d see the day we needed to use an eye chart with our cars, but here we are. Standard on more and more of Honda’s newer model cars is their LaneWatch™ system, which uses a camera in the right side mirror to give you a look into your blindspot. Sometimes that system needs an “eye exam.” Specifically, when we replace the side mirror with the camera (or you manage to tinker around in the hidden diagnostic menus and wipe out the system by mistake) we need to re-aim the LaneWatch camera. Essentially it’s telling the camera what to look at and places the guidelines on the screen in the right locations. We accomplish that by setting up a specially-designed target about 15 feet (14.764 feet, to be exact) behind the front wheel and telling the system to take a picture. It then autom ... read more

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Learning Zone

Differential? What’s That?

There’s a very important part of your vehicle that most people don’t ever think about. It’s called the Differential and it allows your engine to drive wheels on opposite sides of the car at different speeds, allowing you to go around corners without destroying your tires or axles. The concept is exceedingly simple, and while it’s been enhanced quite a bit over the years, it’s not too different than what General Motors demonstrates in this video from 1937! Some engineering designs are pure art. Even if you’re not technically-inclined, this 8-or-so minute video puts it in layman’s terms and it’s fun to watch

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Learning Zone

Odd Fix of the Day – Sienna Brake Lights

Odd Fix of the Day – Sienna Brake Lights

In this case, together isn’t better at all! So… we ran through our full suite of tests to determine the cause — thinking perhaps that it was the brake lamp switch (which is a little plunger-type switch attached to the brake pedal.) Then we discovered something odd: when we would turn the parking lights and headlights on, the brake lights would come on and the van would be able to shift again. So we continued running down the problem and discovered that it was a simple fix: the brake light bulbs have two filaments in each bulb — one for the parking lights and one for the brake lights. Like any other light bulb, they tend to get hot when on for long periods of time. Turns out all the stop-and-go driving in this van actually caused the two filaments to melt together, completing the circuit when the parking lights were on and shorting out the brake light circuit. Total repair ... read more

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Learning Zone

Prevention is Primary: Radiator Hose

Prevention is Primary: Radiator Hose

Here is another reason to have trained eyeballs under your car’s hood on a regular basis. This pseudo-aneurysm of the upper radiator hose could leave you stranded somewhere. When this blows…and it will, the anti-freeze coolant will leave the engine and the meltdown will begin.Overheating aluminium engine components is extremely hard on your bank account or credit card.Good news, though… Honda and Toyota hoses generally last beyond ten years. There may up to 10 or 12 specially molded hoses under your hood. If there is one leak here, another isn’t far away. We usually suggest replacement of all of the cooling system hoses at the same time in order to protect your entire investment. “Look out captain, she’s about to blow

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Learning Zone
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Thankful Thursdays Introduction


Wellness: Our Top Priority


40 Weeks of Paying It Forward


ADAS Systems.... Going to Take Some Getting Used To!


New Year, New Look, New Brand... New Everything!...


Holiday Update


T.A.P. (Teacher Appreciation Program) Announcement!


“Are We There Yet?” Season is Almost Here!


Spring Car Care Tips!


What the heck is Variable Valve Timing?


Airbag Recall – Questions, Answers and Updates


Decoding your Dashboard


Blue Seal of Excellence


The Right Part for the Job


Inside the Tech: Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)


Inside the Tech: Lane Departure Warning


Greg’s Take: Things Break!


Greg’s Take: Nationwide Technician Shortage


Squeezing a few extra MPG from your car!


Caliper Slide Pin Boot – What is it?


Traction Control Systems


What’s a Timing Belt?


What’s a CV Boot?


Where the Rubber Meets the Road – Check your Tires!


Oil Light? Stop Right Now!


Client Spotlight – Aviation Author


What’s a Catalytic Converter?


Client Spotlight – Champion Irish Dancer


“Gregsplanation” – What’s a Cabin HEPA Filter?


Keep Your Car Looking Like New


“Gregsplanation” – Why does water drip from my car on hot days?


What does VTEC mean?


200,000 Miles and Counting


The 2016 Civic is Here… And it looks amazing!


Motor Works: Ethics Certified!


Vehicle Wiring is Tasty… to Rodents!


Rock Stars in and out of the shop!


The Value of Maintenance – 334,000 Miles and Still Going Strong!


Foggy Headlights? Restore instead of replace!


Wheel Alignment 101


Veterans Day 2015


Colder weather could trigger Tire Pressure (TPMS) Warning Light


Get Your Car Ready for Fall!


Motor Works Featured in “Remarkable Results”


Car Optometry – Aiming the Honda LaneWatch System


Differential? What’s That?


Odd Fix of the Day – Sienna Brake Lights


When should I change my oil?


Check Engine Light On? We Can Fix It!


Famous? MWI featured in Shop Owner Magazine


Video: Consumer Compass


Honda and Toyota products definitely hold their value over time. Smart!


Prevention is Primary: Radiator Hose


Prevention is Primary: Maintenance Schedules – Confused?


Use our Diagnostic Worksheets


MWI Consumer Checkbook Top Quality Rated…Again!


Video: AARP Modern Maturity – 1985 TV show Clip at MWI


Video: He Did it for Love – Technician buys car for his mother!

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