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automotive technology: a systems approach, 5th edition

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All of the changes to the various systems of an automobile and the integration of those systems have made becoming a successful technician more challenging than ever before. This book, Automotive Technology: A Systems Approach,was designed and written to prepare students for those challenges.

 With students having so much to learn in a short time, why fill the pages of a textbook with information they do not need? The emphasis of this book is on those things that students need to know about the vehicles of yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

 This does not mean that the pages are filled with fact after fact. Rather, each topic is explained in a logical way, slowly but surely. After many years of teaching, I have a good sense of how students read and study technical material. I also know what things draw their interest into a topic and keep it there.

 These things have been incorporated in the writing and features of the book. This new edition of Automotive Technology: A Systems Approachrepresents the many changes that have taken place in the automotive industry over the past few years. With each new edition, a new challenge (for me) presents itself. What should I include and what should I delete? I hope that I made the right choices. 

Of course, if I did, I give much of the credit to the feedback I have received from users of the fourth edition and those individuals who reviewed this new edition while it was in the making. They all did a fantastic job and showed that they are truly dedicated to automotive education.

This new edition is not the previous edition with a new cover and some new chapters. Although much of the information from the fourth edition was retained, each chapter has been updated in response to the changing industry. In addition, there are some new chapters that should be helpful to students and their instructors. 

The first section of chapters, which give an overview of the automotive industry, careers, working as a technician, tools, diagnostic equipment, and basic automotive systems, has a totally new look. In fact, the content of these chapters has been rearranged to better match the responsibilities and career of automotive technicians. Chapter 1 explores the career opportunities in the automotive industry.

 This discussion has been expanded to include more about alternative careers, including the parts distribution world. Chapter 2 covers workplace skills and the ways to go about seeking and selecting a job in the automotive field. This chapter goes through the process of getting a job and keeping it. It also covers some of the duties common to all automotive technicians.

 Chapter 3 covers the basic systems of the automobile in a very basic approach and has been updated to include hybrid vehicles. Chapters 4 through 6 cover very important issues regarding hand tools, shop equipment, and safety issues (including bloodborne pathogens). Throughout these chapters, there is a strong emphasis on safely working on today’s vehicles and the correct tools required to do so. 

Chapter 5 gives a brief look at the special and diagnostic tools required for working in each of the eight primary ASE certification areas. The tools discussed include all of the required tools for each area as defined by NATEF. Chapter 7 is new. It goes through the procedures involved in common safety inspections and preventive maintenance programs. These are the things that students ought to know before they enter into an entry-level position as a technician .

Chapter 8 has been refined and covers the science and math principles that are the basis for the operating principles of an automobile. Too often, we as instructors assume that our students know these basics. I have included this chapter to serve as a reference for those students who want to be good technicians, and to do that they need a better understanding of why things happen the way they do. The rest of Section 1 has been updated with more coverage of current trends, safety shop equipment, and preventive maintenance services. Section 2, which includes the chapters on engines, has been changed to include more coverage on the latest engine designs and technologies.

 There is more coverage on the theory, diagnosis, and service to alloy engines and overhead camshaft engines. There are also discussions on the latest trends, including variable valve timing and lift and variable compression ratios. An emphasis on light-duty diesel engines and those engines used in hybrid vehicles is also part of the entire section. It seems that everyone appreciated the coverage of basic electricity and electronics in the previous edition. As a result, nothing was deleted from those chapters. 

However, the organization of the chapters is different. I moved the coverage of electronics and electronic-related equipment later in the section. Hopefully this will allow students to gain a solid understanding of basic electricity before moving on to electronics. Each of the chapters in Section 3 covers the parts and pieces that are part of the latest hybrid systems. I feel that it is better to talk about them as the main topic appears rather than to treat them as something special. For example, although lead-acid batteries are the norm for conventional vehicles, the discussion on batteries includes the various types of batteries used in hybrids. This discussion includes the operation of batteries and fuel cells that may be used in the future. 

This approach was also used in the discussion of motors and charging systems. Coverage of all the major electrical systems has been increased to include new technologies. This includes high-voltage systems, new exterior lighting systems, new restraint systems, adaptive systems (such as cruise control), and many new accessories. The rest of the section has been brought up to date with additional coverage on body computers and the use of lab scopes and graphing meters. The entire Engine Performance section (Section 4) has been updated. New to this edition are introductory chapters that deal with overall engine performance theories and testing. This change represents the approach taken by most experienced technicians. 

It is hoped that students will be able to grasp a global look at these systems and can become better diagnosticians. The revision of the section covers the individual engine performance systems, their operation, and how to test them with current diagnostic equipment. Added emphasis on diagnostics was the main goal of the revision of the rest of this section. Sections 5 and 6 cover transmissions and drivelines. All of the chapters in these sections have been updated to include more coverage on electronic controls.

 A new chapter (Chapter 41) has been added to the automatic transmission section. This chapter is all about electronically controlled transmissions, which are the standard transmissions of today’s vehicles. There is also more coverage on six-, seven-, and eight-speed transmissions, automatic manual transmissions, new differential designs, and electronic automatic transmissions and transaxles. In addition, there is complete coverage on the transmissions used in today’s hybrid vehicles.

 The suspension and steering systems section has increased coverage on electronic controls and systems. This includes the new magneto-rheological shock absorbers and four-wheel steering systems. Chapter 47, Wheel Alignment, has been updated to include the latest techniques for performing a four-wheel alignment. The Brakes section has also been updated to reflect current technology.

 This includes the latest antilock brake, stability control, and traction control systems. Heating and air-conditioning systems are covered in Section 9. The content in Chapters 52 and 53 was totally revised and include hybrid systems as well as future systems using CO 2 as a refrigerant.

This edition is still a comprehensive guide to the service and repair of our contemporary automobiles. It is still divided into nine sections that relate to the specific automotive systems. The chapters within each section describe the various subsystems and individual components.

 Diagnostic and service procedures that are unique to different automobile manufacturers also are included in these chapters. Because many automotive systems are integrated, the chapters explain these important relationships in great detail. Effective diagnostic skills begin with learning to isolate the problem.

 The exact cause is easier to pinpoint by identifying the system that contains the problem. Learning to think logically about troubleshooting problems is crucial to mastering this essential  skill. Therefore, logical troubleshooting tech niques are discussed throughout this text. Each chapter describes ways to isolate the problem system and then the individual components of that system. 

This systems approachgives the student important preparation opportunities for the ASE certification exams. These exams are categorized by the automobile’s major systems. The book’s sections are outlined to match the ASE test specifications and competency task lists. The review questions at the end of every chapter give students practice in answering ASE-style review questions .