Auto Parts News

Monday, February 27, 2006 

How Cars Work 101 - Animated

Inner Auto Parts has put together a very interesting "How Cars Work 101" page. An extensive animated illustration of how different components and systems work in a typical car. From the engine to the Safety Restrain System (SRS), Fuel Injection, Drive Train.

I have spent about an hour going through these and haven't even got through half of them. Had to share it.

These animations do use Java so you'll need to make sure you have it installed.

Inner Auto Parts - How Cars Work 101

Sunday, February 26, 2006 

Crappy Replacement Parts by GM

Replacing the door hinge pins.

GM OEM Hinge

1. Grind off the bottoms of the pins.

2. Use the hinge pin removal tool to press the pin ou tof hte bracket. Do not pound the pins out like the manufacturer instructs you to do. It will bend the brackets and they will no longer rotate on a true axis. The bushings, pins and brackets will wear out in a short time and the complete bracket will need to be replaced. The cost and labor can come out to be about $800 (8 hours of labor and $130 for the replacement kit).

3. Remove the bottom pin first for easier access to the upper pin.

A lot of complaints have been received about the only pin replacement kit that was on the market. The pins snapped when tightening the nuts drawing the pin into the original factory bracket.

The brackets are made of 1018 steel that is rated at 58,000 psi. The replacement pin is made of 12L 14 screw stock, which is rated at 57,000 psi. The pin is suppose to cut groves into the bracket to resit properly. So, how is the pin that is softer suppose to be able to cut into the harder bracket?

Another problem is that the pins and nuts even though zinc plated, will in a short time wear off and rust. The pins also have rough machining groves that will wear out the bushings a lot sooner.

GM has put out a bulletin about these very replacement kits being available to the repair shops. Makes me wonder if they cared to test them before endorsing this stuff.

Total Automotive Pin Replacement KitTotal Automotive, an OEM Parts Specialist has performed testing on these replacement kits and has designed a better replacement kit, that will last a lot longer. These pins are made of stainless steel and rated at 90,000 psi. CNC machined smooth to rotate without drag. The kits come with a 12 month or 12,000 mile parts and labor warranty providing the pins were correctly removed using the Total Automotive pin removal tool.

For the repair shops that have the original replacement kits in stock, Total Automotive has established a product buy back program that will let you trade in the original kits in for credit.

Total Automotive has put together an extensive presentation about this on their website. You can also contact the by phone at 1-800-450-750.

Total Automotive

Saturday, February 25, 2006 

Altezza Lights Myth

Dodge RamAltezza euro taillights are rear brake/taillights that have a clear lens over top of red or amber lamps. Their sleek design gives vehicles a sporty and modern look and can be easily installed to replace your factory taillights. This unique style was first introduced by Toyota in Europe on its Alteeza model sedan. Due to their popularity they are now usually referred to as European Altezza, Euro taillights or simply Euro tails.

The Altezza was marketed in North America as the Lexus IS300, but the Altezza name stuck, once the brake light design was adapted to other vehicles. Since then, many companies have begun manufacturing aftermarket taillights for trucks, cars, vans and SUVs, making euro tails a must have when customizing your vehicle.

Some people still confuse altezza euro taillights with "completely clear taillights" (no red at all). In fact, completely clear taillights are illegal in most places and no longer available to the public. Most of euro tails now are manufactured to be D.O.T and SAE compliant.

Many taillights are available in 4 styles which are: Crystal Clear, Carbon Fiber, Bermuda Black and Platinum Smoke. The color refers only to the housing of the taillights, because the lenses are almost always clear. Choose the crystal clear style lights for light colored vehicles (especially white), bermuda black or carbon fiber for dark colored vehicles and platinum smoke for grey or silver vehicles. Of course it's all up to your own personal style!

Altezza LightsEuro Taillights are one of the easiest aftermarket accessories to install!

TYC, APC and In.Pro Car Wear are currently, the main manufacturer's of altezza euro taillights. Tons of makes and models are now available (Chevy, Ford, Dodge, Jeep etc.) for most years, new and old. Whether your vehicle is an older model 1973 or a brand new 2005, chances are altezza style euro tail lights are an accessory option for you. It's hard to imagine a "tricked" out ride without them.

This article was written by -

Friday, February 24, 2006 

14 HP Gain Plus 5 FT LBS of Torque

An article from the S3 magazine about MagnaFlow's auto parts, bolt-on exhaust system tells you how to obtain an extra 15 wheel horsepower by letting your ride breathe better. Here is the first part of that article, you can read the rest on their site at MagnaFlow.

Performance Auto Parts
Straight from the think backward department comes the news that when it comes to getting more fuel and sir into the engine, the most efficient and cost effective route is to make a bigger path available for spent exhaust to get out of the engine. The faster the exhaust can get out the way, the more air and fuel the engine can take in. The more air and fuel the engine can take in the more power it can make. And so on. This news is especially true for a turbo quipped ride. When considering an exhaust upgrade the entire exhaust path all at once. Improvements from the exhaust port on the head all the Way to the tip on the muffler will clear the path to performance. To take advantage of the new and improved exhaust path out of the engine some steps should be taken to improve intake flow as well. While a muffler upgrade on its own may not yield any noticeable horsepower improvement, a manifold or cat-back system can bring noticeable results from the old butt dyno, along with the sweet sound of engine music to your ears. The best kind of exhaust upgrade is the one you can feel and hear when you mash the loud pedal.

MagnaFlow Performance Auto Parts

Thursday, February 23, 2006 

More Nissan Nightmares

A couple postings back I wrote about my Nissan Altima. I was frustrated with it, because of the airbags issue and the door handle removal procedure.

I don't think I mentioned the door handle. To remove the door handle from the front doors, the inner door panel has to be removed, which is normal. But there is no access to the two handle screws. All you see is a big sheet metal panel that covers all the inner mechanics of the door. Once you loosen the panel, you find out that you can't remove it. The window motor and all the power windows system is attached to this panel. You loosen all the "guts" from this panel, then you can easily remove the panel. Now you have all these "guts" hanging everywhere out of this door. It is easy to remove the handle at this point.

I don't think I am the only one that finds this procedure a little uncomfortable.

I am starting to think that when they design cars they actually try to make it complicated to change parts so you would take the car in to the repair shop. So they then can charge a bunch of money because it is a complicated procedure.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006 

'57 Chevy Trunk Lid

Sherman & Associates has designed a complete trunk lid for the 1957 Chevrolet. These trunk lids include complete welded inner and outer panels as well as all the cut outs, mounting holes, and components to mount the trunk latch and emblems.

“The result of our design,” said James Sherman, president of Sherman & Associates, "is a one piece trunk lid just like the original". Now restorers of these classics have an option that produces a much better looking finished product than the outer trunk lid skin which was formerly the only part offered to those with rusted trunk lids. “All they have to do,” Sherman continued, “is prep, paint and hang the trunk lid.”

All components for the new Sherman “Exact-Fit” trunk lid are die formed from electro-galvanized steel which is phosphate treated for immediate paintability. These trunk lids are produced in the U.S. by an experienced automotive stamping supplier. They are freight shippable anywhere in the world. Like all Sherman repair panels, they provide the high standards of fit and finish both amateur and professional restorers have come to expect from Sherman products.

In addition to the 1957 fully assembled trunk lids, Sherman stocks a full line of exterior and underbody sheetmetal repair panels for these classic Chevrolet and other General Motors vehicles, as well as vehicles built by Chrysler, Ford and many import cars and trucks.

Sherman’s giant 2005-2006 catalog contains thousands of autobody sheetmetal panels, header panels, radiators, condensers, and many hard to find specialty items and accessories. Sherman’s full catalog is online at

Sherman Parts

Tuesday, February 21, 2006 

2005 Nissan Altima Parts

Replacing the SRS on a 2005 Nissan Altima is a bit complicated. If you happen to have a 2005 Altima that needs the SRS replaced, it will be quiet obvious that your dash board is toast. That's right, the whole dash board is ruined.

Ususally, at least in my experience, when the air bags blow out, the passenger side is always in it's own little removable section of the dash. Well, Nissan designers went beyond that. They desided it will be much more fut to have to replace the whole dash instead of a little insert.

This is one of a list of problesm that Nissan has that really bother me. I am pretty sure that I will never own another Nissan. Even though I really like the body shape and stance of the new Altima.

One nice thing about working on the front end is that when the car is hit in the front, the whole core support is plastic and is completelly removable from the front of the car ($185).

The headlights are not that expencive ($185 ea) either, considering their size.

The fenders and the front bumper reinforcement is available aftermarket, interchangeable with 2002 and up. Front bumper cover is about what you would expect, $214.

Overall, I like the desent parts prices and aftermarket parts availability for a brand new car. I would not want to work on it again though.

Monday, February 20, 2006 

Cars Living Longer

Better Auto PartsThe average age of a car in the US last year was 9 years.

Ten years ago it was 7.5 years.

In 2005 almost 35% of passenger cars on the roads were 11 years old, compared to 29 percent in 1996. 4.3% of all passenger cars were destroyed for scrap or parts which is the lowest since 1949.

With car manufacturers improving technology and quality of the product they produce it is no wonder the cars are getting better and better.

The parts are made of better alloys and finished with the proper primers and sealers. Automotive paint is improving too, protecting the cars from UV and moisture.

The engines are designed with perfection and built to last.

Replacement auto parts are also becoming better and more affordable for car owners.

"As vehicle durability and technology continues to improve each year, we expect the trend of increased vehicle longevity to continue." said Dave Goebel, a consultant for Polk's Aftermarket Solutions, in a company announcement.

Sunday, February 19, 2006 

Adjustable Coilovers

Lowering your vehicle not only gives the aggressive look of a sports car, but it increases cornering and provides a quicker response to ground-to-steering ratio.

Dropzone Suspension is the leading manufacturer of performance coilovers and lowering springs. The newly engineered coilovers made of pure stainless steel are powdercoated red and will never rust, fade or strip.

Here is some of it's features.

- 0-4" adjustable drop
- Adjusting wrenches included
- Lifetime Warranty from Dropzone Suspension®

Carefully configured spring rates and height adjustability provide incredible handling, response, control and balance. With a drop rate of 0-4 inches, you can instantly slam your vehicle onto the ground in the summer, and raise it back in the winter with no extra tools. Dropzone has eliminated the bounce and flicker of competing coilovers to develop the world's finest in handling and style. And with our warehouse direct prices, we can offer them to you 30% below retail price. As seen in hundreds of car shows nationwide.

DROPZONE is one of only coilover companies that offers a limited LIFETIME WARRANTY on the product!

Saturday, February 18, 2006 

Composite Auto Parts

This day there are so many composite materials that the car's parts consist of that it is hard to keep up with it. I as a body shop owner address all the issues the same way. I use the plastic bumper filler to fix any scratches of damage on bumpers ro any other plastic/composite material auto part. The article at ABRN tell the story a bit more in detail. I learned a lot from it and hope you pick up some techniques and ideas from it.

Repairability of Composites
With an understanding of why the OEM manufacturers have increased the use of composites in today’s automobiles, this question must be asked: Can we repair these materials and if so, how do we repair them?” The answer to this question is a simple “yes.” Any composite being used on an automobile today can be repaired. This statement can be made because of the improvements adhesive repair material companies have made throughout the past few years. They no longer need a wall chart that only an engineer is able to understand. Several years ago, you needed anywhere from five to eight products sitting on the shelf just to address bumper cover repair. With the demand for simplicity placed on the adhesive repair material companies, the materials needed on hand have been reduced down to one or two products. The OEMs are also leaning in the direction of specification-based repair and repair materials that meet a spec set by the automobile manufacturer. This will help reduce the possibility for failed repairs even further. DaimlerChrysler has introduced its composite repair deck, a tool designed to identify repair methods and products that meet its standards. Ford Motor Co. and GM have Tech Service Bulletins addressing their specs for products and repair procedures. Read More >>

This article is written by Ed Staquet
Automotive Body Repair News

Friday, February 17, 2006 

Airbag Covers

Replacing an airbag system (SRS) after it has been deployed in an accident can be very expencive. You can spend from $800 up to $3000 on replacing the SRS. Besides the airbags you also need to replace the sensors, the SRS controller computer and sometimes the seatbelts. Some people like myself would never spend that much on an airbag system. I am thinking, people have survived driving with seatbelts for so long so this extra safety precaution is a luxury, to me anyway.

I prefer airbag covers. It is a cover that is the same shape as the original airbag bu it is an empty shell. They cost a lot cheaper. I am talking about $45 to $85.

Now this place that I've been getting my airbag covers from is offering to even paint the covers to your specifications. So when you get it you just need to bolt it into the opening where the airbag used to be.

Hicks Airbag Covers is where I've been getting my covers. They deliver fast and provide great customer service.

Hicks Airbag Covers

Thursday, February 16, 2006 

Aftermarket Auto Body Parts

I've been repairing and restoring cars for about ten years and dealing with aftermarket auto parts has been frustraiting. Most aftermarket parts are ok but some of them just do not fit. It seems to me that at least one part for each vehicle that aftermarket parts are available for is going to be out of wack. The body lines don't match, the gaps between parts are wavy or bowed. I've seen a hood that was an inch shorter on one side, a fender that was too short and annother too long. Sometimes the headlights do not fit into the openning in the fender. This can be frustraiting, to say the least.

My brother-in-law (a bodyshop owner too) just finished repairing a 1997 Honda Accord. He had to use aftermarket fenders, hood, front bumper reinforcement and a cover. He did a perfect job on this car. The right fender is bowed though. The gap between the hood and the right fender starts and finishes with a nice 1/8" gap but in the middle it is bowed out to about 1/4". Nothign he can do. Beating it in will ruin the fender.

I am tempted to start a registry for messed up aftermarket parts so people can reffer to it and if they do not want to deal with these problems they can choose to buy an OEM part that is registered as bad.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006 

Pontiac GTO Performance Parts

SLP Performance Auto PartsSLP Performance Parts now has performance parts specifically designed for 2004 and 2005 Pontiac GTO.

In their body components they have a "Ram Air H.O." hood that is now on sale. Grab it while it is.

SPL also has a complete performance pack. It includes a complete exhaust system, ceramic coated headers, rocker arm package and a bunch more parts that will give your GTO a 455 HP boost.

Cylinder heads and crate-engine-assemblies are also available.

SLP Performance Auto Parts

Tuesday, February 14, 2006 

Plastic Film Instead of Paint

First GM used the thermoformed color plastic on the stone shield on it's Chevrolet SSR pickup. Now they are using it on the Chevrolet HHR wagon. Also they are making the rocker panels form the plastic for some models of Buick and Cadillac. This year, GMC Envoy is going to have a thermoformed plastic bumper fascia.

Charles Buehler, a technical integration engineer in GM’s materials group says there is not much change for the collision repairers. If these parts have scratches in them, they just need to be sanded down, filled and painted, just like regular parts.

One of the reasons of introducing these parts is the durability. This plastic is better at withstanding stone impingement and impact damage.

Read more at Auto Body Repair News Website


New Supercharger from Saleen

Saleen Series VI integrated TwinScrew supercharger with two-stage water-to-air intercooling system.

A second cooler located in the airdam below the engine radiator assists the intercooler integrated into the supercharger assembly. compact, light weight and high efficiency - Essentially, the Saleen design integrates the previously separate intake manifold, blower housing/assembly and intercooler into one compact unit that nestles neatly into the valley between the heads. This allows for a much wider intake manifold.

The shape of the "snorkel" opening for the intake air tube is designed for maximum flow. And to maintain a constant volume of air as the air flows toward the rear of the engine, the housing widens and lattens-out over the engine. All bends are opened up to provide smooth airflow.

The blower assembly contains twin screws, which push 2300 cc of air per rotation As a result, the supercharger turns slower for equivalent boost, producing lower stress and lower air charge temperatures. The higher supercharger efficiency, along with the lower air charge temperatures, allows for an intercooler that is smaller, lighter and more compact and which has virtually zero pressure drop from inlet-to-outlet side.

It features an integrated bypass for low-speed running; when you are driving at low speeds and don't require boost, the bypass helps reduce heat buildup in the engine. The Saleen design provides for optimal runner length, resulting in more torque and better low-end drivability.

It features long, beefy downdraft runners with minimal bends for maximizing torque and horsepower. The new design provides a straight, direct shot into the cylinders which maximizes airflow.

This design is much more maintenance-friendly. It has only one sealing surface and you only have to remove the eight screws that bolt theair tube to the plenum for access to all of the blower components. The overall efficiency gains-in the engine, the supercharger and the intercooler-mean the Saleen supercharged 3V-V8 produces more horsepower and torque at a less stressful 4-5 psi boost - 400 horsepower, and 420 lb-ft of torque,

The Saleen-SC kit also includes benefits from a specific Saleen PowerFlash performance computer.

Read more at Saleen, Inc. Website

Monday, February 13, 2006 

Discount OEM Bumpers is offering OEM bumpers up to 75% Off retail price. I'm sure going to save the link to that place. They have bumpers for the following cars:


Also they have shock absorbers, grilles and lights.

I hope you find this place usefull.

OEM Bumpers Online at savings up to 75% off retail.


Plastic Auto Parts Standard

The Automotive Service Association (ASA) Collisions Operations Committee is examining the benefits of primed versus unprimed auto parts. They are trying to establish a standard for the OEM manufacturers so all the plastic bumpers & other plastic auto parts that are shipped out to the automotive collision repair shops are primed.

ASA determined that unprimed bumpers can cost the repairer an additional $14 to $23 in materials and 1 to 1.3 hours of labor.

Another issue that they saw was the ability of the estimating programs to account additional repair and material costs associated with unprimed auto parts. This requires repairer to make a manual line entry for the additional costs.

Jerry Burns, the assistant division director and owner of Automotive Impressions Inc. said that he's hoping SAE will adopt the recomminded standard and that all vehicle manufacturers will provide all plastic bumpers and other plastic parts in primed state. This will also eliminate the adhesion problems paint manufacturers and shops have with raw plastic auto parts.

Sunday, February 12, 2006 

Local auto parts search has been my major tool for looking for auto parts. When I need a part, I call around to the local two used auto parts suppliers here in town, just because it is easy and I remember their phone number by heart. But when I am out of luck here in town, my next stop is

You enter your car's information into the form, choose the part you want to find and submit. The results will list the parts you are looking for sorted by the distance from your celected location.

I found Air Bags for my 2005 Nissan Altima there. Not close by though, but still a hard part to find.

For parts, use

Saturday, February 11, 2006 

Brembo & DaimlerChrysler JV

Brembo and DaimlerChrysler started a joint venture on January 22, 2004. They each hold 50% of shares of Brembo Ceramic Brake Systems. This new company is established in Stezzano (Bergamo) Italy.

The two companies are going to apply their specialist expertise in the manufacture of ceramic brake discs. As a startup company the first order of business for Brembo Ceramic Brake Systems is to develop and produce ceramic brake discs. Long term plans are going to include the development, production and sale of supplementary components. They estimate the volume of production will be about 15,000 units per year in ceramic carbon by 2006.

Ceramic Composite Material Brake Disc

The advantages of the CCM are:
· performance
· weight
· comfort
· wet braking performance
· corrosion resistance
· high lifetime
· technical image

Carbon material is being used for more than 30 years:
· 1970’s: braking systems for aerospace vehicles
· 1980’s: braking systems for aerospace vehicles and the racing world
· 2000’s: braking systems for sport cars.

The applications are: Ferrari Enzo, Ferrari Challenge Stradale, Ferrari F430, Ferrari 575 HGTC, Ferrari 612 Scaglietti, Mercedes SLR.

Read more about Brembo at Brembo Cars Site.
Brembo Cars

Friday, February 10, 2006 

Finding parts for a 2006 Civic Si

Nothing I've ever seen that is more stunning than this new 2006 Honda Civic Si.

A powerful 197-horsepower 2.0 liter K20 engine, a close ration 6-speed manual transmission, stock 17" wheels and this thing is ready to race like no other.

Once this beast settles down (the hype and newness will wear off), this car will still be as popular as Civic has been since it first came out.

As for now, the new owners of these beauties will have to wait for Honda and aftermarket parts manufacturers release the bolt-ons and swap-outs.

This car is still too new, so very few parts are available to purchase. After an hour of searching the best place I found that you could have luck finding any parts and the soonest that you can find them is going to be at the honda store website.

After you enter all the information about your car and input your zip code, it will open up a list of dealers in your area, once you select a dealer you will get an online auto parts store where you can then order your part.

Follow the link to that web site.


OEM vs Aftermarket Auto Parts

I am going to go through a series of examples of why it is beneficial to use an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) auto part rather then an aftermarket one.

Here is and exapmle of GM parts.

Reaon 1. The design of the OEM part is far more advanced.

The GM energy absorber has thicker cell walls in the main crush zone than the non-OEM part. Crush zones help absorb the impact of the crash thereby reducing damage to the vehicle.

The non-OEM rear beam is missing the reinforcement channel, which is designed as a stiffener and helps keep the part from unnecessary flexing in a crash.

Reason 2. The OEM auto part is made of quality material.

The GM beam is formed from a single piece of metal while the non-OEM beam is made from two overlapping, spot-welded pieces. This design allows the GM beam to better distribute energy in a crash.
The walls of the energy absorber are up to 2.3 mm thicker on certain areas of the GM part. Wall thickness helps dictate how the impact of the crash is distributed throughout the part and to the vehicle.

Reason 3. OEM auto parts have better welds

The GM beam has six significantly larger welds while the non-OEM beam has ten smaller welds. GM engineers specifically locate welds in certain areas so they will
help to absorb and distribute the energy from an impact.

Reason 4. The fit of an aftermarket auto part is rarely right on.

Before assembly, the rear fascias look similar, however, after installation there is a noticeable difference in the trunk lid and fascia fit. The poor fit requires additional labor to position the part and may affect your vehicle’s resale value.

Reason 5. The OEM auto parts are much more durable.

Replicating the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s 5 mph rear-into-pole test caused a large dent on the decklid and trunk floor panel of the vehicle using non-OEM parts. The non-OEM parts were significantly deformed after the test, causing an incorrect fit.

Reason 6. Non-OEM auto parts create more damage in an accident.

Engineers found that the differences in bumper components greatly affected part performance. The use of non-OEM parts resulted in more damage to the vehicle, increased costs $1,500, and extended repair time.

The Facts about these auto parts.

Genuine GM Parts
❑ Proper fit and same materials as original parts
❑ Larger welds
❑ Efficient repairs

Genuine GM parts provide the opportunity to return your GM vehicle to pre-accident condition.

Non-OEM Parts

❑ Missing features
❑ Greater potential impact damage
❑ Different design and materials
❑ Damage exceeds vehicle equipped with genuine GM parts by approximately $1,500.

Clearly not “functionally equivalent” to genuine GM parts.

This information is from a GM Goodwrench
Impacting Collision Repair Consumer Brochure.

GM Goodwrench Web Site


Auto Parts

Welcome to the Auto Parts Blog.

As an auto body shop owner I find this sinformation pretty valuable. Keeping up with the news, changes and issues in the auto parts industry is a must. As auto parts locating, purchasing, repair, installation and finishing is a major part of a body shop operation.

I thought all in this business and others could use a place where auto parts is the main topic aside from auto parts sales.

Daily updated roomors and news about the auto parts manufacturers, new, used and aftermarket parts distributors, wholesalers and retailers.


And make sure to leave your 2 cents, or tell me I am full of it, if I am. :)

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