Auto Bits: Automotive careers in high demand

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Tip of the Week

Widespread unemployment has made job security a priority for many families. Amid rising job uncertainty, the automotive industry has a variety of opportunities for those interested in a hands-on, service-oriented career.

Joe Bojorquez, automotive instructor at WyoTech in Long Beach, Calif., explains why automotive service jobs continue to be in demand: "Because consumers are keeping their cars longer, demand for vehicle service and repair are on the rise." A recent report from JD Power and Associates found that in 2008, consumers are keeping their vehicles for 71 months on average, up from 67 months in 2007, mostly for economic reasons.

"While manufacturing jobs are currently in transition -- service jobs never are. That's why a job in automotive service will be a secure career option over the next few decades," Bojorquez says. He also explains that the service department is the largest department of any car dealership and its staff must manage both the technical problems of the car, as well as administrative and customer relations' duties. With baby boomers expected to retire in record numbers, demand for employees in the service sector is expected to remain high.

-- ARA

The List

Here are the vehicles that scored the worst in a dry braking safety test, according to ConsumerReports.org:

1. Dodge Ram 2500 Laramie 

2. Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD LTZ

3. Nissan Versa 1.8 S    

4. Ford F-250 Lariat    

5. Hummer H2

6. Cadillac Escalade   

7. Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid    

8. Chevrolet Colorado LS    

Did You Know

Sales of new vehicles in the U.S. were down 34 percent in April. Chrysler (48) and Toyota (42) saw the biggest drops.

Car Q&A

Question: I own a 2006 Ford Fusion. The problem is a clanking sound that started at 6,000 miles (now at 17,000) when I first step on the brakes when the car is cold. After a few brake applications, the noise goes away. The dealer has replaced the front brake calipers and checked the front end. The noise is still there. I know something is wrong and needs to be repaired. What are your thoughts?

Answer: The complaint does sound like it is brake-related from overnight moisture buildup and a light rust coating on the semi metallic brake pads and rotors. The coating will cause the brake pads to actually grab with the first few brake applications. The design of brake calipers and pads are free floating and will move with each brake application. On cold days all rubber bushing and caliper slides do stiffen up. This causes a slight grabbing and is transferred to all moving suspension components and bushings. The noise you hear could be either brake or front suspension bushing related. I would suggest leaving the car on a Friday night so the car sits a couple of nights and the technician can road test the car personally. Whatever the problem is, it does not sound like a safety-related problem.

-- Junior Damato, Talking Cars columnist

GateHouse News Service