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    • By Counterman
      Advance Auto Parts reported third-quarter net sales of $2.6 billion, a 0.8% increase over third-quarter 2021.
      Comparable-store sales decreased 0.7%, which Advance attributed to “increased owned-brand penetration, which has a lower price point than national brands.”
      “I want to thank the entire family of Advance team members as well as our growing network of independent partners for their continued dedication,” Tom Greco, president and CEO, said in a news release. “We continue to execute our strategy to drive full year net sales growth and adjusted operating income margin expansion while returning excess cash to shareholders.”
      Greco noted that Advance’s “deliberate move to increase owned-brand penetration, which carries a lower price point, reduced net sales by approximately 80 basis points and comp sales by approximately 90 basis points. We also continued to invest in our business while returning approximately $860 million in cash to our shareholders through the first three quarters of 2022.”
      The company reiterated its full-year guidance of net sales between $11 billion and $11.2 billion.
      “While we continue to execute against our long-term strategic plan, we’re not satisfied with our relative topline performance versus the industry this year and are taking measured, deliberate actions to accelerate growth,” Greco said.
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    • By Counterman
      Women in Auto Care, a community of the Auto Care Association, is accepting applications for positions on its leadership committee in 2023.
      Women in Auto Care provides opportunities, education and career leadership in the auto industry through conferences, networking, scholarships, education, data, awards and more.
      The volunteers who comprise the Leadership Committee participate in awarding scholarships, help in planning an annual conference and auction, social media, awards, sponsorship, mentoring and engagement. These positions require a time commitment of 1-2 hours per week and participation in Women in Auto Care Events.  
      Each position is for a two-year term beginning Jan. 1, 2023. The deadline to apply is Dec. 16.
      To apply,  link hidden, please login to view. 
      Interested in volunteering, but not sure about taking on a leadership role?

      Help support the community by becoming a Champion! Women in Auto Care Champions have exclusive opportunities to help support our key initiatives through “micro volunteering” efforts. Champions earn insight and exposure to the committee and meet volunteer requirements for certifications, such as ACP.
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    • By Counterman
      Parts Authority, one of the largest distributors of automotive and truck parts to the aftermarket, held its vendor-appreciation reception and award ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 2, during Industry Week in Las Vegas.
      The event took place at the TAO Asian Bistro and Nightclub in the Venetian Hotel.
      “Our vendor reception finally returned after a small hiatus,” said Randy Buller, president and CEO of Parts Authority. “We couldn’t be happier to have hosted such a spectacular ceremony honoring phenomenal companies and exceptional partners. We are lucky to work with great leaders in the industry who are dedicated and committed to the success of our company. Congratulations and thank you from all of us at Parts Authority.”
      Parts Authority started the evening by recognizing Highline Warren (pictured) as its 2022 Supplier of the Year. Highline Warren, one of the nation’s premier suppliers of automotive chemicals and products, was recognized for its overall outstanding business practices, partnership and dedication to Parts Authority and its customers.
      FCS Automotive and TrakMotive received the Partnership Award, recognizing their efforts and willingness to find innovative methods that fuel both Parts Authority’s and their own organizations’ growth.
      Durago and Mevotech received Supply Chain Awards. These vendors maintained a strong and steady supply chain despite challenging circumstances, Parts Authority noted.
      Parts Authority recognized Standard Motor Products with the Operational Performance Award. The recipient was measured on communication, organization, and the ability to adapt and grow alongside Parts Authority. Standard Motor Products truly delivered exceptional operational performance, Parts Authority said.
      ACDelco received the Program Performance Award. ACDelco was recognized for going above and beyond the “call of duty” to grow and support its brand across multiple channels nationwide, in turn benefiting both Parts Authority and its customers.
      URO Parts, which offers more than 8,000 high-quality spare parts for European, American and Asian vehicles, was named the organization’s 2022 Import Supplier of the Year. URO demonstrated its ability to be a market leader in the import segment.
      Depo received the 2022 New Vendor Award. Depo offers aftermarket lighting and collision parts at competitive prices. Depo was recognized for its high-quality products and ability to move quickly and successfully through the challenging process of becoming a new vendor.
      Bosch received the 2022 Marketing Excellence Award. Bosch consistently delivered successful marketing strategies and support throughout the year.
      Parts Authority recognized Dorman Products with the 2022 Catalog and Data Award. From new-product data to ACES and PIES to images, videos and beyond, Dorman proved to be an industry leader in all aspects of cataloging and data, Parts Authority noted.
      DRiV received the 2022 Brand Recognition Award. DRiV was recognized for maintaining strong brand awareness within its portfolio of products and its consistent support of Parts Authority’s business.
      Bryan Moberly, national key account manager at Bosch, was named 2022 Factory Representative of the Year. Moberly delivered consistent and outstanding support throughout the year, resulting in significant growth for Bosch, Parts Authority and its customers.
      Mike Glazier, president at Glazier Sales Associates, and Robbie Riefberg of NA Williams, were named 2022 Manufacturer Representatives of the Year. Glazier and Riefberg successfully managed multiple brands and inventory within Parts Authority, while educating team members and customers.
      Parts Authority awarded five recipients with the Road Warrior Award. Justin Masseo from Glazier Sales Associates, Hector Garcia from NA Williams, Bill Wilson from KSW Enterprises, Mike Beam from Idemitsu Lubricants America and Kendell Smith from Standard Motor Products were recognized for their outstanding and ongoing efforts on the front lines. These “road warriors” trained customers, educated team members and solved problems with passion and precision.
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    • By Counterman
      Engine misfires are among the most common issues that a technician must diagnose. However, the biggest problem – from a diagnostic standpoint – is that it’s almost an automatic reaction to blame misfires on the ignition system. Understanding why this is a problem, and the reason it happens, can help you differentiate between ignition-related and non-ignition-related misfires.
      There are a couple deep-seated reasons for the blame. To begin with, years ago, before fuel injection and distributorless ignition, the majority of all noticeable misfires were caused by an ignition problem – either a bad spark plug or plug wire. Note that I said noticeable misfires. On today’s vehicles, ignition problems indeed are a common cause of engine misfires … but also a common misdiagnosis. This is where it starts to get interesting.
      Carburetors, distributors and plug wires got us through the first 80-plus years of the automobile, and did a great job at it. But the bottom line is that they were simply inefficient fuel and ignition systems. Compared to today’s vehicles, they ran terrible! Once you had a few miles on them, they idled rough, maybe had to warm up a little longer to avoid a stumble, and most cars had their own little idiosyncrasies for starting.
      This was the type of performance we were used to, so nothing registered to us as a misfire until it was a “dead” miss. This is a term we as technicians use to refer to a misfire that renders a cylinder completely ineffective, or completely “dead.” These types of misfires shake the entire vehicle to the point where even the most absent-minded of vehicle owners knows something is wrong.
      It Was Easy Once
      Back in the day, spark plugs had relatively short service intervals – around 10,000 miles – and plug wires were wide-open to abuse and wear. So, not only were they the frequent cause of misfires, but it wasn’t uncommon to open the hood and see a spark jumping from a plug wire to ground, or between wires. This made it easy to diagnose, and if there was no visual cue such as this, a common trick was to use insulated spark plug wire pliers and pull off one wire at a time to see if it made a difference. If you got no change, you found the suspect cylinder. If you got the daylights knocked out of you, you needed a new set of insulated pliers!
      This was a sloppy yet effective diagnosis, but by no means an insult; I’ve done it a “million” times. Now, let me get back to the diagnostic problems of a misfire. For complete and correct combustion to occur, you must have the proper amount of air, fuel and spark; you must have the correct amount of compression; and the ignition timing must be correct. So, the possible causes of incomplete combustion could be too much or too little air; too much or too little fuel; lack of or not a strong enough spark; spark at the wrong time; or a mechanical problem that causes insufficient compression.
      On old cars, incomplete combustion was common (one reason emissions were so bad), but there was no computer, no electronics to tell us, and as I mentioned, we were used to engines that ran a little rough and didn’t have the best drivability. On today’s vehicles, complete combustion is critical for emissions and fuel economy. This is why the engine control module (ECM) continuously monitors for complete combustion, and while there’s a lot to that, we’ll just focus on the misfire monitor.
      The operation of the misfire monitor is primarily based on crankshaft pulses. The ECM continuously monitors crankshaft speed via the crankshaft sensor, and if it sees even the slightest deviation, its logic deduces that some form of incomplete combustion (i.e., a misfire) has occurred. Since any type of incomplete combustion will cause an increase in emissions, a diagnostic trouble code (DTC) is stored, and the “Check Engine” light is illuminated.
      While the driver of the vehicle might not have noticed anything wrong, the ECM did, and now there’s an annoying light glaring at the driver, enticing them to seek service. As a technician, when we pull the DTCs on a vehicle that seems to run fine, it’s not even a slight surprise to see misfire codes, which are always P0300 for random misfire, or P0301 and up (the last number indicating the cylinder from which the misfire occurred).
      When You Assume …
      With all of that said, now let’s focus on the diagnostic problem of assuming that a misfire is caused by ignition. Problems such as the slightest pinhole vacuum leak or the slightest loss of fuel delivery from an injector will be detected by the PCM, storing a misfire trouble code. If we allow ourselves to automatically blame it on ignition, a percentage of the time we will be wrong. However, since we know that ignition problems still are common, there are certain signs we look for and certain things we can do to determine if the problem is ignition-related.
      To begin with, one telltale sign of an ignition misfire is the flashing “Check Engine” light. As part of emission control, all ECMs will store trouble codes when a misfire is detected. But, when the ECM determines there’s imminent danger of damage to the catalyst, it flashes the “Check Engine” light to get the immediate attention of the driver. This occurs when it picks up a “dead” misfire, with the logic that quite possibly there is excessive unburned fuel coming out of the dead cylinder, which will damage the catalyst.
      These “dead” misfires again can be felt by the driver, so a shaking vehicle and a flashing “Check Engine” light go hand-in-hand. While not always, this is usually an ignition problem, and quite often the engine will idle smooth, but under acceleration begin to misfire and flash the light. Most misfire monitors are accurate with the reported cylinder, and a common practice for diagnosis is to swap the coil and plug from the suspect cylinder with those from another. More often than not, the misfire will move, and while it feels the same, the ECM will instantly report the misfire from the other cylinder.
      Rolling back the clock again, even in the age of the carburetor, technicians knew that misfires could be caused by multiple factors aside from ignition, and if a car had a misfire that wasn’t blatantly obvious, we relied on an oscilloscope to be able to “look” at the operation of the ignition system on a screen, which allowed us to compare the efficiency of all cylinders and deduce whether the problem was ignition-related, or caused by another factor.
      These tools and techniques still are relevant today, but there are more special-tool requirements for more vehicles, as opposed to one set of test leads that you could hook up to any make or model. As technicians, we always take into account all of the factors that can cause a misfire, so as not to misdiagnose it. However, we may not always have the required equipment to view ignition waveforms, so we continue our inspection with more signs that can indicate an ignition-related misfire.
      Spark Plugs and Critters
      Naturally, worn spark plugs can cause a misfire. If you know the mileage on them, it can help you decide whether it’s time for replacement. Once they’re removed, excessively worn electrodes are a good clue.
      It’s always important to look for wiring damage. Coil wiring can be inviting for rodents, so a close inspection always is a good idea. Carbon tracking is another tell-tale sign of an ignition misfire. The high-voltage spark produced in the coil finds its path to ground by jumping across the gap of the spark plug. Electricity always takes the easiest path to ground, and if it finds an easier way than the spark plug gap, it’ll go there.
      Spark plug wire or coil boots are designed to insulate the high voltage, but problems can cause the spark to travel under the boot and ground to the base of the spark plug. Carbon is a byproduct of an electrical spark, and a high-voltage spark traveling between the wire boot and plug will leave its “footprint” via a carbon track.
      Carbon tracking also can be visible inside a distributor cap, and where you find it, you can be sure of an ignition misfire. A final visual indicator of an ignition misfire can be oil in the spark plug wells. Many of today’s cars are designed with spark plugs in the center of the combustion chamber. It’s common in these designs for the well seals to leak, and oil can work its way up underneath the coil boot and cause a misfire.
      During any type of diagnosis, we always use sight, sound and smell as our most important tools. Even if you can’t see it, you get used to the sound of a jumping spark, and this can be an indicator of an ignition misfire. You also might smell excessive fuel at the tailpipe. There are other indicators with scan-tool data that can give you a clue as to whether you have an ignition misfire, but you have to be careful.
      If you have an ignition misfire and excessive fuel is being introduced into the exhaust, the engine-management system will recognize this as well and make adjustments to fuel delivery, which can alter engine data and the smell from the exhaust.
      As you can see, this is a really deep hole, and the bottom line is engine misfires can be difficult to diagnose at times due to the sensitivity of modern engine-management systems. However, a thorough inspection and careful mindset will allow you to head off an ignition misfire before getting too deep into additional diagnostics.
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    • DIY like a pro! Shop from over 1,000,000 Repair Manuals at eManualOnline.com! As low as $14.99 per manual. Shop now.


      DIY like a pro! Shop from over 1,000,000 Repair Manuals at eManualOnline.com! As low as $14.99 per manual. Shop now.


      DIY like a pro! Shop from over 1,000,000 Repair Manuals at eManualOnline.com! As low as $14.99 per manual. Shop now.

    • By Advance Auto Parts
      Q3 Net Sales Increased 0.8% to $2.6 Billion; Year to Date Increased 1.0%
      Returned $167 Million to Shareholders in Q3; Year to Date Returned $860 Million
      Reiterates Net Sales, Comparable Store Sales and Adjusted Operating Income Margin Guidance
      RALEIGH, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Advance Auto Parts, Inc. (NYSE: AAP), a leading automotive aftermarket parts provider in North America, that serves both professional installer and do-it-yourself customers, announced its financial results for the third quarter ended October 8, 2022.
      "I want to thank the entire family of Advance team members as well as our growing network of independent partners for their continued dedication,” said Tom Greco, president and chief executive officer. “We continue to execute our strategy to drive full year net sales growth and adjusted operating income margin expansion while returning excess cash to shareholders. In the third quarter, net sales grew 0.8% which benefited from improvements in strategic pricing and new stores, while comparable store sales declined by 0.7% in-line with previous guidance. Our deliberate move to increase owned brand penetration, which carries a lower price point, reduced net sales by approximately 80 basis points and comp sales by approximately 90 basis points. We also continued to invest in our business while returning approximately $860 million in cash to our shareholders through the first three quarters of 2022.
      “We’re reiterating our full year guidance that implies 20 to 40 basis points of adjusted operating income margin expansion, despite margins contracting in the third quarter. 2022 will be the second consecutive year that we have grown adjusted operating income margins in a highly inflationary environment. Our industry has proven to be resilient, and the fundamental drivers of demand remain positive. While we continue to execute against our long-term strategic plan, we’re not satisfied with our relative topline performance versus the industry this year and are taking measured, deliberate actions to accelerate growth.”
      Third Quarter 2022 Results (1)
      Net sales increased 0.8% to $2.6 billion Comparable store sales (2) decreased 0.7% Gross profit decreased 0.2% to $1.2 billion; Adjusted gross profit (3) increased 2.9% to $1.2 billion Gross profit margin decreased 44 basis points to 44.7% of Net sales; Adjusted gross profit margin (3) increased 98 basis points to 47.2% of Net sales SG&A increased 5.2% to $1.0 billion; Adjusted SG&A (3) increased 5.4% to $989.3 million SG&A was 38.0% of Net sales compared with 36.4% of Net sales; Adjusted SG&A (3) was 37.5% of Net sales compared with 35.8% of Net sales Operating income decreased 22.7% to $177.2 million; Adjusted operating income (3) decreased 5.8% to $258.0 million Operating income margin was 6.7% of Net sales compared with 8.7% of Net sales; Adjusted operating income margin (3) was 9.8% of Net sales compared with 10.4% of Net sales Diluted EPS decreased 31.3% to $1.84; Adjusted diluted EPS (3) decreased 11.5% to $2.84 Net cash provided by operating activities through the third quarter was $483.1 million; Free cash flow (3) through the third quarter was an inflow of $149.5 million Opened 37 new store and branch locations in the third quarter Third quarter of 2022 Net sales totaled $2.6 billion, a 0.8% increase compared with the third quarter of the prior year, primarily driven by strategic pricing and new store openings. Comparable store sales for the third quarter of 2022 decreased 0.7%, which was impacted by increased owned brand penetration, which has a lower price point than national brands.
      The company's GAAP Gross profit decreased 0.2% to $1.2 billion. Adjusted gross profit increased 2.9% to $1.2 billion. The company's GAAP Gross profit margin of 44.7% of Net sales decreased 44 basis points compared with the third quarter of the prior year. Adjusted gross profit margin increased 98 basis points to 47.2% of Net sales, compared with 46.2% in the third quarter of 2021. This was primarily driven by improvements in strategic pricing and product mix as well as owned brand expansion. These headwinds were partially offset by continued inflationary product costs and unfavorable channel mix.
      The company's GAAP SG&A was 38.0% of Net sales compared with 36.4% in the third quarter of 2021. Adjusted SG&A increased to $989.3 million from $938.2 million in the third quarter of the prior year. On an adjusted basis, SG&A was 37.5% of Net sales, which deleveraged 166 basis points compared with the third quarter of 2021. This was primarily driven by inflation in store labor, medical and fuel costs.
      On a GAAP basis, the company's Operating income was $177.2 million, or 6.7% of Net sales, compared with 8.7% in the third quarter of 2021. The company's Adjusted operating income was $258.0 million, a decrease of 5.8% versus the third quarter of the prior year. Adjusted operating income margin decreased 68 basis points to 9.8% of Net sales compared with 10.4% of Net sales in the third quarter of the prior year.
      The company's effective tax rate was 24.7%, compared with 23.7% in the third quarter of 2021. On a GAAP basis, the company's Diluted EPS was $1.84, a decrease of 31.3% from $2.68 in the third quarter of 2021. The company's Adjusted Diluted EPS was $2.84, a decrease of 11.5% from $3.21 in the third quarter of the prior year. On both a GAAP and adjusted basis, the company’s diluted EPS was negatively affected by approximately $0.20 as a result of foreign currency impact in the quarter.
      Net cash provided by operating activities was $483.1 million through the third quarter of 2022 versus $924.9 million in the same period of the prior year. The decrease was primarily driven by lower Net income and working capital. Free cash flow through the third quarter of 2022 was $149.5 million compared with $734.0 million in the same period of the prior year.
      ____________________
      (1) All comparisons are based on the same time period in the prior year.
      (2) Comparable store sales include locations open for 13 complete accounting periods and excludes sales to independently owned Carquest locations.
      (3) For a better understanding of the company's adjusted results, refer to the reconciliation of non-GAAP adjustments in the accompanying financial tables included herein.
      Capital Allocation
      During the third quarter of 2022, the company repurchased 0.4 million shares of its common stock at an aggregate cost of $75.0 million, or an average price of $168.93 per share, in connection with its share repurchase program. At the end of the third quarter of 2022, the company had $1.0 billion remaining under the share repurchase program.
      On November 7, 2022, the company declared a regular cash dividend of $1.50 per share to be paid on January 3, 2023 to all common stockholders of record as of December 16, 2022.
      Full Year 2022 Guidance
      Jeff Shepherd, executive vice president and chief financial officer, commented, “As we begin the final quarter of 2022, we’re reiterating our full year guidance for net sales growth, comparable store sales and adjusted operating income margin expansion. In addition, we’re updating our adjusted diluted EPS guidance range to reflect the impact of foreign currency. Finally, getting more parts closer to our customers is a top priority. Therefore, we’re making strategic inventory investments to improve our availability, which is an important step to accelerate growth in 2023. Inventory is the primary driver of our reduced free cash flow guidance.”

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