Author & Automotive Expert James D. Halderman



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Halderman newsletterMarch 2013
Dear Karl,

Welcome to the March edition of the Halderman newsletter, sorry for the minor delay in delivery. I've been traveling a lot this month. 


I am pleased to announce that many new features have been added to my website It's always a work in progress, and I like the feedback I receive. Please share with me any ideas or suggestions you might have about how I can better improve it.


Here are some of the newest additions:


- Lesson plans are now posted for Introduction to Automotive Service and for Automotive Engines-7th edition.


- New testimonials have been added. Thanks to all who have posted nice comments about the textbooks and the website.


- We now have more animations and videos online than ever before too. These are great teaching aids. I encourage you all to enjoy them and use them in classrooms and as learning resources.


I want to thank all of those who help me including:

  1. Jimmy Dinsmore-social media manager and newsletter editor
  2. Carl Borsani-webmaster
  3. Brandon Slagle-graphic artist
  4. Dick Krieger- technical reviewer/video project coordinator
  5. Dan Avery-video project manager
  6. Mike Watson-shop/photo studio manager
  7. Richard Reaves-data base manager
  8. Tom Birch-animation creator
  9. Greg Pfahl-subject matter expert and technician for photos
  10. Chuck Taylor-subject matter expert and technician for videos
  11. Jeff Rehkopf-subject matter expert and content reviewer
  12. Steve Cartwright-subject matter expert and content reviewer
  13. Dr. John Kershaw-subject matter expert and lesson plan creator
  14. Joe Palazzolo-subject matter expert and content reviewer


Many of you have also reached out to me through social media and I really enjoy interacting with you that way. Please continue to follow me on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.




ASE Sample Question
Straight Talk
ASE Sample Question


A vehicle equipped with an electronically controlled transaxle stalls whenever slowing to a stop after being driven over 20 miles (32 km). Technician A says that one of the shift solenoids could be defective. Technician B says that a torque converter clutch solenoid is likely to be defective. Which technician is correct?


a.         Technician A only

b.         Technician B only

c.         Both Technicians A and B

d.         Neither Technician A nor B



The correct answer is b. Technician B is correct because if the torque converter clutch solenoid were to become stuck in the applied position, the engine would stall because the torque converter clutch would provide a mechanical link between the engine and the drive wheels. When the drive wheels are stopped by the brakes, the engine speed is also stopped. Often the engine will restart immediately because when the engine stalls, the transmission line pressure drops to zero and the torque converter clutch is released. Technician A is not correct because a defective shift solenoid will cause incorrect shifting but cannot cause the engine to stall. Answers c and d are not correct because Technician B only is correct



For FREE sample ASE test questions with answers, visit my website where you will find 15 questions for each of the eight ASE areas (120 total questions).

For an excellent resource for all eight ASE content areas, consider this test preparation book:


Frequently Asked Questions



What Do All the Letters and Numbers Mean in Transmission Designations?


The numbers and letters usually mean the following:

* Number of forward speeds. The number of forward speeds may include four, five, or six (such as GM 4T60-E four speed unit).

* Front-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive. The letter T usually means transverse (front-wheel-drive transaxle) such as the Chrysler 41-TE; the L means longitudinal (rear-wheel-drive transmission) such as the General Motors 6L80; and the R means rear-wheel drive such as the Ford 5R55E.

* Electronically controlled. The letter E is often used to indicate that the unit is electronically controlled, and M or H is used to designate older mechanically (hydraulically) controlled units. All automatic transmissions built since the early 1990s are electronically controlled; therefore, E is often included in the designation of newer designs of transmission or transaxles.

* Torque rating. The torque rating is usually designated by a number where the higher the number, the higher the amount of torque that the unit is designed to handle. In a GM 6L80-E the torque rating is 80. Always check service information for the exact transmission designation for the vehicle being studied or serviced.

Straight Talk

From the Janaury 16, 2013, Wheels section in the Dayton Daily News:


Reader asks about oil change intervals for low mileage vehicle 



 TGC writes by e-mail:

"I changed the oil and filter in my 2010 Impala in December, 2011. As of this moment (late December 2012), I have put less than 1,500 miles on the car. Should I change the oil?   I use Mobil-1 in my vehicles and change the oil when the mileage interval gets to 3,000 miles".  



Good question because it seems that the oil should not have been harmed just sitting in the engine. However, all vehicle manufacturers that I know and most oil companies recommend that the engine oil be replaced at least every year regardless of the number of miles driven. Why? Short trips are hard on engines and engine oil. To drive off moisture that is in the oil due to condensation when the hot engine cools, the engine oil needs to be above 212 degrees. This means that the engine needs to operate at least 20 miles in cold weather for the engine oil to reach that temperature. If most of the trips are short (less than 10 miles), then moisture can build up which causes acids to form in the oil. The moisture causes corrosion of engine parts and the acids formed can harm engine bearings and gaskets.

Therefore, for long engine life, change the engine oil at least every year and always use the viscosity specified in the owner's manual and /or on the oil fill cap.




Find more Straight Talk columns here  










Please let me know what you think of the newsletter. I would love to include any of your automotive news or any tech tips you might have. Send me your suggestions! 
You can email me here or visit my website. You can connect with me on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn too (links above). And I encourage you to visit this website for great car reviews and more of my Straight Talk columns.
Jim Halderman
James D. Halderman writes automotive technology textbooks for Pearson Education. He is an ASE-certified Master Technician with more than 20 years instructional experience.