California Automotive Teachers (CAT) Conference


cat conference

The semiannual CAT conference was held April 24-25, 2015 at Skyline College in San Bruno, California which is near the San Francisco airport. This two-day event started on Friday morning with tours of local hot rod shops as well as training sessions held at the college.

The Friday events included:

  • Pico Scopes, Down and Dirty Basics-Hands-On Workshop
  • Hiller Aviation Museum
  • Diagnosing with Pressure Transducers and the Pico Scope.
  • Roy Brizio Street Rods, Inc., Tour
  • Introduction to the Nissan Leaf
  • Diagnosing with Pressure Transducers and the Pico Scope.
  • Teaching CAN Bus

The events included lunch (BBQ) and dinner (Mexican) for all attendees which Pearson helped to fund. Training classes even extended into the evening after dinner with several training sessions being offered from 7:00 to 9:30 PM.
The conference continued Saturday with a trade show followed by two training sessions in the morning and two in the afternoon.
The Saturday sessions included:

  • 2015 All Electric Golf
  • Electric Vehicle Operation and Driving Strategies
  • Today Featuring the Nissan Leaf
  • Lubrication Fundamentals
  • Automotive Service Consultant
  • Toyota New Technology Mirai Fuel Cell Vehicle
  • Diagnosing Vehicle Electronics
  • K & N Engineering
  • Gas Direct Injection
  • Tips and Highlights for Successful Repairs in the Transmission Industry
  • Matching the Learning Materials to the Learners
  • Teaching Lab-Scope Diagnostics
  • Steering Angle Sensors & Advanced Alignment Angles

My session, on Saturday 10:30 to 11:45 AM, titled “Engine Oil Update” was very well attended with standing room only. I heard many compliments about this presentation because I included the many changes coming in late 2016, early 2017 regarding oil specifications driven by emissions and fuel economy mandates. One instructor, Mike Morse, said “Really liked your presentation on motor oil. Information was right on the cutting edge.” I posted this presentation on my website so that instructors can use it in their classes. To download this and other conference Halderman Power Points visit then click on “Jim’s stuff” at the top and then select “Conference Power Points”.
Attending the CAT conference is a “have to attend” event for me twice a year when CAT offers the fall conference in southern CA and the spring conference in northern CA. I have been attending these conferences now for over ten years and I believe that as a result, my textbooks are much improved due to the suggestions and feedback I receive from automotive instructors. Automotive instructors are not shy when it comes to letting you know what they want and I try to include these ideas and features into all titles and editions. Visit the CAT website for information on future conferences.

Bottom line:
Great CAT conference, excellent food and fantastic training sessions at a beautiful campus right next to the Pacific Ocean. It does not get much better than that!

Editor's Note – This article is by James Halderman, a contributor to Adam's Auto Advice.

Automotive Training Expo

automotive training expo

The Automotive Training Expo (ATE) event was held March 20-22, 2015, at the Doubletree Hotel across the street from the Seattle International Airport. This event was put together by the Automotive Service Association (ASA) Northwest and included two and half days of both technical and management training. This year over 580 attended (compared to 425 two years ago) and this number included over 75 automotive instructors.

Many automotive instructors attended this event because, according to the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF), each instructor is required to attend at least 20 hours of update training each year if they are teaching at a NATEF certified school. With eight hours of training on Friday, eight hours on Saturday, plus four hours on Sunday morning, this expo allows automotive instructors to meet this requirement.

automotive training expo

  • Shop owners attended their choice of management courses over the weekend event choosing from eight classes on Friday, nine classes on Saturday and four classes on Sunday.
  • Service technicians attended their choice of technical training courses over the weekend event choosing from 14 classes on Friday, 14 classes on Saturday and seven classes on Sunday.
  • Meals were included for Friday lunch, with a keynote speaker as well as food was included at the trade show. Saturday meals included breakfast with a keynote speaker, lunch with another keynote speaker and food available as part of the trade show. Sunday morning breakfast with a keynote speaker was followed by technical and management classes ending the expo.

automotive training expo

The expo was well organized and the ASA Midwest staff handled the crowd very well. With so many attending, most classes were filled and the host at each session checked that everyone was where they were supposed to be to help insure that those who signed up received a handout and a seat. Next year’s event will be held March 18-20, 2016. Check their website for additional information

Editor’s Note – This is article was written by one of our contributors James Halderman.

Vision Hi-Tech Training and Expo

vision hi techThe annual Vision Expo was held at the Overland Park Convention Center in Overland Park, Kansas, a suburb southwest of Kansas City, March 5-8 2015. After a hard winter and lots of snow, it was nice to see sunny skies and temperatures in the 60s. This premier automotive event for shop owners, service technicians, and automotive instructors is presented by the Automotive Service Association (ASA) Midwest.

  • The event includes training sessions all day Saturday and until about noon on Sunday.
  • Due to the requests for even more training, there are now two full days of training on both Thursday and Friday prior to the main event which starts on Friday evening with a trade show.
  • The trade show also is open almost all day Saturday and during an extended lunch time to allow time for the attendees to visit the booths setup in over 60,000 square feet of display space at the convention center.
  • About 1,600 attended from 40 of the 50 states and four Canadian provinces this year’s event with almost 400 attending for the first time.This number of attendees included about 150 automotive instructors with specific topics for them all day on Friday.

The host hotel filled up fast (Sheraton Overland Park) as did many others nearby.

Attending the Vision Expo means a full day of activities including:

  1. Getting up early for the breakfast buffet at 6:30 until 7:00 both on Saturday and Sunday morning
  2. Awards and recognitions starts at 7 AM with a keynote speaker who is usually outstanding.
  3. Technical and management sessions start at 8:45 AM and run until 11:45 AM.
  4. Lunch was located next to the trade show area.
  5. Afternoon sessions ran from 2 PM until 4:30 PM with additional (optional) evening events and a banquet on Saturday.
  6. Sunday morning sessions end at 11:45 AM and everyone heads home looking forward to attending this event next year.

vision hi

As with any expo or conference, if the food is good, then the entire conference is considered to be good and the Vision Expo always provides excellent food. A huge trade show and an excellent convention center make this one of the best, if not the best automotive training event in the country. For a description of all of the training sessions that were offered this year, visit their website at:

Editor’s Note – This is article is from one of our contributors James Halderman.

Physics for Gearheads Review

Physics for gearheads
Physics for Gearheads by Randy Beikmann

Editor's Note – This is a review of the book Physics for Gearheads by Randy Beikmann by one of our contributors James Halderman.

As an author of 15 automotive college textbooks, it is not often that I am asked to review another automotive book, in this case Physics for Gearheads.  However, this title does not compete against any of my titles (visit but instead is designed for the automotive enthusiast who has a technical background and wants the engineering explained as it relates to motorsports. These enthusiasts, who the author calls “gearheads”, should have college-level physics to get the most from this title. It is organized and written in such a manner that it can be read or studied as individual topics. The author also suggests that the reader allow time to fully absorb the content before moving on to another chapter. The chapters are organized, not by the parts or systems of a car, but rather by the physics concepts which include:

  • Kinematics – (Discussed in Chapters 2 and 3)
  • Dynamics – (Discussed in chapters 4 and 6)
  • Forces – (Discussed in Chapter 5)
  • Angular Dynamics – (Discussed in Chapters 8 and 9)
  • Dynamics in a Plane – (Chapters 10 and 11)
  • Energy – (Discussed in chapters 12 and 13)
  • Power – (Discussed in Chapters 14 and 15)
  • Statics and Quasi-Statics – (Discussed in Chapters 16 and 17)

As an author myself, I know how hard it is to organize content and writing into a reasonable readable flow, but this organization in Physics for Gearheads is hard for me to understand. While all of these concepts are associated with motorsports, I would have organized it around the systems of the vehicles such as tires, suspension, drivetrain and then discuss the various physics concept that apply to each area. Regardless of how I would organize the content, I found the book to be very well written and accurately covers the physics associated with all motorsports and racing.

Physics for Gearheads

  • Softcover
  • 595 pages
  • Full color
  • Single column interior design
  • 17 chapters plus six appendixes
  • Index

The Interior Design Features

  • Examples
  • Key Concepts
  • Notes
  • Major Point
  • Cautions

These features help the reader by making the text perfectly clear and helps prevent misunderstandings. However, this text is written in second person (you, we, your, let’s etc.) which I think distracts from a technical text where I prefer the use of third person. I doubt few will notice but it does tend to sound as if the author is talking down to the reader at times.

Big Plus of Physics for Gearheads

I loved appendix 2 (pronunciations). Great idea. Who doesn't need help with this once in awhile?

What I Missed Seeing

I missed real world case studies where a vehicle owner wants to know what affect a change in tires size (width or diameter) would have on the acceleration, cornering etc.

Review by James Halderman
Email – jim AT

Randy Beikmann, Ph.D.
ISBN: 0-8376-1615-8
Bentley Publishers

The Importance of Auto Insurance in Today’s tough Economy

car crash

This promoted post brought to you by one of our partners. 

Is getting a car insurance a necessity or an expense?

As the economy takes a slow turn, people are preparing themselves for the worst and are now in search of drastic means in order to trim their expenses. This includes re-evaluating their needs by giving up some services such as car insurance. In this post, we want to see if it’s still significant to get your vehicle covered by the best insurers, in this unstable market. A research from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) showed that automobile insurance is one of the services that they’ll sacrifice just to reduce costs. Almost 20 percent of them have ended their contracts just so they could get immediate financial relief. However, they are unaware of the very reason as to why they’re signing up for the said service. Car insurance is the same as the life plan. You get these services because you want to be prepared when unexpected circumstances such as accidents happen. Depending on the type of accident, the average medical cost of a single person is at $820, according to the Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT). Meanwhile, the minimum car repair usually costs $392. A car insurance serves as your back-up plan when you need to cover large expenses beyond your current savings. These days, companies now offer a wide variety of compensations from replacing broken car parts up to giving medical services all for free. According to Aviva’s website, all of their vehicle policies include lifetime repairs and a 24/7 help hotline to accommodate their on road clients. Apart from phone calls, policyholders also have the option to install their insurance provider’s mobile application to quickly chat with one of their representatives. Install the app at AVIVA. Other outstanding features of vehicles plans today includes the option for multiple cars to be insured. With a multi-car contract, you avoid the hassle of signing a couple of insurance for each vehicle, providing you with an efficient and cost-friendly solution. The very reason we sign for insurance is the feeling of assurance when unexpected incidents happen. Every car, whether old or new, must have a plan to secure you from the harsh payments brought by expensive repairs later on. Consider getting a car insurance as a necessity rather than a vanity. You can read Adam's Auto Advice related post, 5 Car Insurance Myths Debunked.