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Honda and Acura Car Owners Learning to Ignore Oil Life Indicator

Like all gasoline engines; keeping the oil changed in Honda and Acura cars is vital for long life. Most Honda and Acura vehicles now have an ‘oil life indicator’ and the remaining ‘oil life’ is usually measured in a declining percentage. Most dealers will instruct the Honda or Acura car owner to change the oil and filter when the oil life indicator drops to “15%” oil life remaining. However, the oil life indicator is based on a 7000 to 8000 mile oil change interval.

Oil changes are ‘dirt cheap’ on Honda and Acura vehicles when compared to the cost of a major engine repair. All experienced Honda and Acura automotive technicians will tell you that keeping fluids and lubricants changed regularly in Honda and Acura vehicles is a wise investment. Most Honda and Acura car owners heed this advice, understanding that preventative maintenance is the key to the long service life and reliability. The long expected service life and reliability is precisely the reason most consumers buy Honda products.

2012 Honda Pilot Oil Life Indicator - Many Honda and Acura dealership service departments instruct the car owners to change the oil when the oil life goes to 15% - That's based on approx. an 8000 mile oil change interval.

2012 Honda Pilot Oil Life Indicator – Many Honda and Acura dealership service departments instruct the car owners to change the oil when the oil life goes to 15% – That’s based on approx. an 8000 mile oil change interval.

If Honda and Acura car owners consistently use the oil life indicator as the reference for their oil changes or simply choose not to change the oil in their engine; the oil control ring holes in the pistons (behind the oil control ring groove – see photos below) can get clogged up with the contaminants that are suspended in the dirty engine oil. When these happens, the engine starts consuming oil.

Gasoline Engine Piston - Oil Control Ring Location

Gasoline Engine Piston – Oil Control Ring Location

Honda / Acura Piston - Oil Control Ring Drain Holes - When these get clogged-up, the excess engine oil that has been wiped from the cylinder walls with the oil control ring has no where to drain through. The engine will start consuming oil.

Honda / Acura Piston – Oil Control Ring Drain Holes – When these get clogged-up, the excess engine oil that has been wiped from the cylinder walls with the oil control ring has no where to drain through. The engine will start consuming oil.

Accurate Automotive still strongly recommends changing the engine oil & filter on all Honda and Acura cars every 3500 to 4000 miles. Oil changes are much cheaper than new engines or engine overhauls, catalytic converters, and new cars. 

The technical staff at Accurate Automotive have been working with Honda and Acura products for decades. Daily, they encourage their Honda and Acura car owning customers to simply keep the fluids changed. Service and preventative maintenance is CHEAP compared to major car repairs. Come in and see how they can help keep your Honda and Acura automobiles running significantly longer than you would expect. Keeping your Honda and Acura maintained at Accurate Automotive will give you confidence in taking that long road trip when your vehicle has over 200,000 miles on it.

Come in and see why we are the best place in Nashville and Middle Tennessee to purchase, service, repair and maintain your Honda and Acura vehicles.

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Acura TL and MDX Spark Plugs Stuck and Breaking Inside Cylinder Head

Older, low mileage Honda and Acura vehicles can have spark plugs ‘frozen-up’ in the cylinder head.

Acura V6 Engine with Rocker Cover Removed. Showing Rocker Assemblies and Spark Plug Tubes

Acura V6 Engine with Rocker Cover Removed. Showing Rocker Assemblies and Spark Plug Tubes

Back in simpler times, the spark plug replacement interval on Honda and Acura vehicles was every 30,000 miles and the spark plugs were around $4 each. In the 1990’s, American Honda (like other car manufacturers) started using platinum tipped and iridium tipped spark plugs in their Honda and Acura engines.

NGK Spark Plugs. Far Left is the older 30,000 mile plug. The one in the center is platinum tipped (60k service life). The one on the right is iridium tipped (service life approx. 105k)

NGK Spark Plugs. Far Left is the older 30,000 mile plug. The one in the center is platinum tipped (60k service life). The one on the right is iridium tipped (service life approx. 105k)

The platinum and iridium tipped spark plug tips wear much slower, allowing a significantly longer service life. But there is no such thing as a ‘free lunch’. The regular $4 plugs were replaced with spark plugs that had an average cost of about $17 each in later model production years. The main reason for the spark plug evolution was probably because the engine designs were getting more complex, which was making it more difficult for the technicians to access the spark plugs. American Honda first introduced platinum tipped spark plugs on the 1991 Acura Legend and they had a recommended replacement every 60,000 miles. In the late 1990’s / early 2000’s;  American Honda Motor Company started incorporating even longer life, iridium tipped spark plugs in their engines. Today, all late model Honda and Acura vehicles can monitor each individual cylinder. This means the ECU (Electronic Control Unit – car computer) can detect an individual cylinder misfire. If a cylinder misfire occurs, the MIL (Malfunction Indicator Light – check engine light)  will come on and stay on, indicating to a service technician that there is a DTC (Diagnostic Trouble Code) to identify the specific cylinder to inspect the spark plug in.

PLEASE NOTE: Other issues besides spark plug issues can trigger the MIL / Check Engine Light. However, if a spark plug is fouled-out completely, the MIL (check engine light) will flash while the engine is running.

Under normal circumstances, Accurate Automotive recommends the spark plugs in late model Honda and Acura vehicles be replaced every 105,000 miles, unless the driver gets an A4 or B4 Maintenance Minder message first.

The one major concern is this. If you live in and drive in Nashville, TN then you may have an older car with low miles. In fact, it may take you twice as long to accumulate 105,000 miles on the odometer, than if you lived in Smyrna, Murfreesboro, Brentwood, Lebanon, or Hermitage and drove several miles to work everyday. Along with the extended number of years it would take to accumulate a six digit number on the odometer in your Honda or Acura product, the short trip driving could cause condensation in the plug well tubes. Over time, this can corrode the steel spark plug casing in the aluminum threads of the cylinder head. This can result in the breaking off of the old spark plug into the cylinder head or the stripping of the aluminum spark plug hole threads, deep down inside the cylinder head.

Honda / Acura V6 Engine Showing Depth of Spark Plug Tube, Where the Spark Plug Threads Into the Aluminum Cylinder Head Casting

Honda / Acura V6 Engine Showing Depth of Spark Plug Tube, Where the Spark Plug Threads Into the Aluminum Cylinder Head Casting

 

Do yourself a big favor and make sure the spark plugs do not stay in your Honda and Acura products longer than about 8 years. We have seen a few 2004 / 2005 model Acura TL and MDX units with this issue.

Accurate Automotive, Inc. specializes exclusively in Honda and Acura automobiles and has been for 20 years. Come in and see why we are the best place in Nashville and Middle Tennessee to purchase, service, repair, and maintain you Honda and Acura vehicles.

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Honda Engine Antifreeze Coolant Has Long Service Life

The original Genuine Honda Type 2 Coolant / Antifreeze that is in Honda and Acura vehicles has an initial 10 year service life. After that, the replacement Honda Type 2 Coolant / Antifreeze has a 5 year service life.

Honda Coolant Life Under hood Label.

Honda Coolant Life Under hood Label.

1 Gallon of Genuine Honda Type 2 Coolant

1 Gallon of Genuine Honda Type 2 Coolant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ‘rule of thumb’ used to be the recommended antifreeze coolant change for all cars, including Honda and Acura vehicles, was every 24 to 36 months but there were several reasons for this:

First, until 1989, American Honda Motor Company (like most car manufacturers) made many of their engine blocks of cast iron. The main reason antifreeze is used in a liquid cooled engine instead of water is because it won’t freeze below 32 degrees when the vehicle is parked. The freezing of liquid inside of anything rigid (not flexible) will result in the cracking or breaking of the container the water is in when it freezes. Engine blocks are no different. Water inside of an engine block will crack the block when it freezes – so a liquid needs to be used in an engine cooling system that won’t freeze – so the name of that liquid (which is ethylene glycol) is called “anti-freeze”. But along with the use of a cooling liquid that won’t freeze, the liquid also needs to contain rust and corrosion inhibitors that won’t corrode the engine block from the inside, out. When car manufacturers used cast iron for the engine blocks, the susceptibility of the block to rust internally was very high. The rust from an engine block could clog the radiator and heater core which would affect the flow of coolant through the engine cooling system. This would make the engine cooling system less effective, allowing the engine to operate at hotter temperatures, which could eventually damage the engine. The rust and corrosion inhibitors in the antifreeze had to stay effective and those additives have improved over the past couple of decades.  Today, all Honda and Acura engine blocks are constructed of aluminum so the susceptibility of internal engine corrosion has been greatly reduced.

Second, in the past, coolant manufacturers bottled engine coolant / antifreeze in a concentrated form, where water would be used to dilute the mixture. This was (for the most part) because the cooling systems of older cars had to be much larger to accommodate the larger engines and because of the metal the engines were manufactured of (cast iron). In a pre-mixed form, the amount of antifreeze / coolant needed for one older car would have cost the consumer a small fortune and the parts stores would have needed to keep a whole bunch of it in stock. The amount of dilution depended on the climate the vehicle would be operated in. In the northern states the coolant would be mixed about 30% water to 70% coolant. Here in Tennessee, a 50 / 50 mixture would be adequate for the lowest winter temperatures we could experience. The problem was tap water was usually used for mixing antifreeze / coolant and depending on where the tap water came from, there could be minerals in that tap water that could contaminate the new antifreeze / coolant mixture. These foreign minerals in the water (such as sulphur and calcium if the tap water came out of a well) could also clog-up the cooling system. Today, most antifreeze / coolant (including the Genuine Honda Type 2 coolant) is bottled in a pre-mix form. On average, all Honda and Acura vehicles require between 1 and 1 1/2 gallons of coolant to perform a drain and fill of the cooling system. The difference between the quantities of Honda Type 2 coolant needed pertains mostly to the size of the engine in the Honda or Acura vehicle and if it has a front and rear heater core (such as a Honda Odyssey van).

Today, with the metal the engine block is constructed of, the purity (PH balance) and consistency of the mixture;  the Honda Type 2 antifreeze has a much longer service life; 10 years initially on the factory antifreeze / coolant and then every 5 years after that. If you own a Honda or Acura vehicle, using only the Genuine Honda Type 2 coolant will save money on maintenance costs. The only reason engine coolant / antifreeze needs to ever be changed is because the corrosion inhibitors weaken after a few years.

Accurate Automotive, Inc. has been specializing in the service, maintenance and repair of Honda and Acura automobiles since 1997. The majority of their service technicians started at local Honda and Acura franchised dealerships in the Nashville, TN area in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

Come in and see why we are the best place in Nashville and Middle Tennessee to purchase, service, repair and maintain your Honda and Acura automobiles.

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Honda V6 Engine Oil Leak Around the Timing Belt Area

Most Honda V6 engines leak oil from the front plate. The front plate is actually the oil pump of the engine and it is located behind the timing belt assembly.

Honda V6 Front Plate Accurate Automotive Photo 4

Front Plate Assembly: This is the oil pump assembly for Honda and Acura V6 Engines. It is located directly behind the timing belt. The large hole in the middle is where the front pulley comes through.

The seals that are associated with this front plate are sealing pressurized oil. Over time, these rubber seals will shrink, get hard and brittle. This happens because of a few reasons. First, rubber and petroleum don’t naturally like one another. Over time, the oil will break down the rubber that makes up the seal’s construction. Second, these seals are constantly warming up and cooling off, every time the engine is started and shut off. After about 10 years, these seals have heated up and cooled off hundreds of times. In addition, the Honda engine components are mostly aluminum construction. When it gets cold, the aluminum shrinks and during engine warm-up, the vulnerable sealed areas leak oil even more. As the engine reaches operating temperature, the aluminum expands and a better sealed area will result.

Honda V6 Front Plate Accurate Automotive Photo 1

 

Honda V6 Front Plate Accurate Automotive Photo 3

The front plate is straight ahead, but has all related engine components attached. The gear at the bottom of the photo is the front of the engine crankshaft

Honda V6 Front Plate Accurate Automotive Photo 4

Honda V6 Engine Timing Belt and Front Plate Assembly

 

All Honda V6 engines currently incorporate the use of a timing belt. Honda cars that are equipped with the V6 engine include the Honda Accord V6, Honda Ridgeline, Honda Odyssey van, and Honda Pilot.  American Honda Motor Company recommends the replacement of this belt at 7 years or 105,000 miles. At Accurate Automotive, we have started checking for leakage in the front plate area whenever a timing belt replacement procedure is performed. This is because the timing belt and the oil pan both have to be removed to re-seal the front plate. While this is an additional cost during a timing belt replacement procedure; it is considerably cheaper to perform a front plate re-seal during the timing belt replacement interval instead of having to remove all the timing belt components between timing belt replacement intervals because of a major engine oil leak coming from the front plate.

For 20 years, the technicians at Accurate Automotive, Inc. have committed themselves to specializing exclusively in Honda and Acura automobiles. The focus of the business model is simply to assist the customers in maintaining their Honda and Acura vehicles, thereby keeping them on the road as long as possible. Some of Accurate Automotive’s customers have been coming to them for 2 decades and continue to drive Honda and Acura products because they like the shop.

Come in and see why Accurate Automotive, Inc. is the best place in Nashville and Middle Tennessee to purchase and service your Honda and Acura automobiles.

 

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Honda service Nashville car owners are using is Accurate Automotive

Honda service, Nashville Honda car owners are seeking is probably not in the form of another corporately owned, franchised dealership service department. Currently, the Nashville area has 4 Honda franchised dealerships. In middle Tennessee, all 4 of them are owned by corporate entities that also own many other dealerships, of various car makes. This has resulted in an ‘air’ of generic, unsympathetic, cold, ‘your just one of many service customers’ attitude that leaves many Honda car owners understandably upset.

Around Nashville,  Honda cars are everywhere. The reliability and durability of the Honda car brand keeps them on the road longer than other car makes. It is an accurate assumption that many Nashville, TN. Honda car owners would seek a competent, professional alternative to the expensive dealership service department as their cars get older. After-all, how many Honda car owners living in Nashville would take their older car back to a new Honda car dealership for service, maintenance and repairs?

The attitude of franchised dealership service departments, described above and the overhead costs demanding higher service and repair bills are not the only reasons  Nashville Honda car owners seek another source for maintaining their Honda automobiles. Thanks to major recalls, such as the Takata airbag recall that is plaguing several car manufacturers;  Honda dealership service departments are booked solid. Getting a service appointment and an accurate assessment of Honda service needs during the visit is not likely. They are covered up with warranty repairs and recalls.

On May 24, 1997; 20 years ago, Accurate Automotive opened it’s doors under their original name, N1Accord, Inc. A couple of years later, the name was amended to Accurate Automotive, Inc.Accurate Car Repair Nashville Dealership Original Sign

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Acura car repair performed here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 2003, the owners of Accurate Automotive, Inc. built their current facility at 111 Enterprise Blvd., in LaVergne, TN., on I-24, just outside of the Nashville city limits.

Exclusively specializing in the repair, service, and maintenance of Honda and Acura automobiles; the technical staff greatly consists of former dealership technicians. Their Honda car experience started in 1989.

Come in for a visit and see why we remain the best place in Nashville and middle Tennessee to purchase, service, repair, and maintain your Honda and Acura vehicles.

 

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Is Honda Car Repair Cheaper Than Acura Car Repair?

In 1986 American Honda Motor Company was the first to introduce a new, higher line of cars into the U.S. automotive market under the Acura name. Within a few years Toyota would do the same when they introduced the Lexus car line and then Nissan would do the same by introducing the Infiniti car line.

Unlike Toyota’s Lexus and Nissan’s Infiniti, American Honda has kept more of the power train components in common between their Honda and Acura car lines, therefore, (in theory) keeping Honda car repair costs very close to Acura car repair costs.

In 1997 we stepped away from the local Honda and Acura franchised dealership service departments and started Accurate Automotive, Inc. Our Nashville, Tennessee based business was, and is, an alternative to the franchised dealership service departments for the maintenance and repair of both Honda and Acura automobiles. We have extensive expertise in both Honda car repair and Acura car repair. What we write about in our blog articles is not based only on  professional opinion,  but on years of experience.

Again, maintaining Honda cars vs. maintaining Acura cars should be basically the same costs, but like most things associated with the U.S. automotive industry, perception and image are substantial  influences on what consumers are charged and are willing to pay.

Many factory drive train components, including engine, brake and  transmission related parts will cross between the Honda and Acura models. American Honda Motor Company currently does not hide this fact. In most cases where parts are common between the Honda and Acura lines the part numbers will be the exact same and the packaging will be under the Honda name. Very few parts come in an “Acura” box, bag or package. However, one category where this can vary is in fluids.Honda Acura automatic tranmission fluid at Accurate Automotive, Inc. Nashville TN

This is Honda part number 08200-9001 or Acura part number 08200-9001A. Although each has their own part number, both fluids under the two part numbers  are the same.This means that you can use the Honda fluid in an Acura or the Acura fluid in a Honda car.

So don’t be fooled. The automotive repair industry relies heavily on consumer perception and assumption. The sticker price of the Acura line of cars is higher than the Honda line of automobiles.  However, the consistent production and use of the same part numbers ensures that, in most cases, Honda car repair and Acura car repair costs should be about the same.

 

 

 

 

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Acura Airbag Recall Marketing Scheme?

Why has American Honda Motor Company voluntarily instituted a safety recall on the SRS airbag systems in so many Acura vehicles? Is it really a safety issue or a marketing scheme?

Since 1997, Accurate Automotive, Inc. has been offering an alternative to the franchised dealership service departments in and around Nashville and middle Tennessee. Acura car owners love us for the simple reason that with only one Acura franchised dealer in middle Tennessee, many feel they are not treated well when they go there. At Accurate Automotive, our Acura car customers sense our consideration for their time, and the sincerity of trying to save them a little money when we can during routine Acura service and repair procedures.

Recently, after receiving a notice in the mail, we have had several service customers ask us if we could perform the Acura Airbag Recall. The answer is no. All recalls and warranty repairs for Acura vehicles must be performed by an authorized Acura franchised dealer.

So is the Acura Airbag Recall a marketing scheme?

The one sure way to know if the recall is a scheme can be determined on how long it takes the Acura franchised dealership service department to perform a visual inspection of the SRS airbag and then what they try to sell you after the recall is complete.

If they come out with a ‘grocery list’ of things “they found while they had your car in the service department”, then you’ll probably come to the same conclusion that many of our service customers came to.

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Honda Airbag Recall Marketing Scheme?

Why is American Honda Motor Company voluntarily instituting an SRS airbag recall on so many older models of Honda and Acura vehicles? Is the Honda Airbag Recall a safety concern or simply a marketing scheme?

If you ask some of our service customers, they would answer “scheme”.

Since 1997, Accurate Automotive, Inc. has been offering an alternative to the franchised dealership service departments in and around Nashville and middle Tennessee. Our Honda service customers love us. Many of them have told us they appreciate our consideration of their time and our ability to provide maintenance and repair to their Honda and Acura vehicles, and at a lower cost than the franchised dealership service department due to our lower operating overhead.

Recently, after receiving a notice in the mail, we have had several service customers ask us if we could perform the Honda Airbag Recall. The answer is no. All recalls and warranty repairs on Honda automobiles must be performed by an authorized Honda franchised dealer.

We have heard from several Honda service customers that went to the franchised Honda dealership for the Honda Airbag Recall. One of our customers went in to the dealership with his Honda Element. When he arrived at the dealership, the SRS light was NOT on. When he went to leave after the recall was complete, the SRS light was on and the dealership service writer told him it would cost $160.00 to diagnose why the light was on!

Other service customers have told us of extremely long waits in the dealership service department — in excess of 3 hours. This is to simply perform a visual inspection of the airbag!

So is the Honda Airbag Recall a marketing scheme?

The one thing that all of our Honda service customers told us was that after the recall was performed but before they left the local Honda dealership,  they were all informed of ‘needed’ service repairs. You’ve heard it,  “while we had your car, we noticed a few things you need to have done”.  One estimate was nearly $4,000.

Experience is the best teacher.

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Is the Honda Airbag Recall Necessary?

Is this Honda Airbag Recall necessary?

We will not answer that question with a definitive ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

However, consider these facts….

  • This  is currently a voluntary action by the car manufacturer. No one is forcing American Honda Motor Company to administrate this. This recall is,  at this point,  100% the decision of the car manufacturer.
  • The manufacturer of the airbag is the one paying for this corrective action. Their airbags are in question. They were the supplier of the airbag. If they want to keep supplying airbags and seatbelt components to this car manufacturer’s assembly line,  then they are obliged to take care of this issue. The airbag supplier is the one funding the majority, if not all the costs associated with this recall.
  • From a PR (public relations) view, American Honda Motor Company looks like a big giant hero that cares about safety.  Many of the cars that the Honda Airbag Recall covers are older models that are well out of manufacturer warranty obligations.

If you are a car manufacturer then you rely on a certain number of consumers to have brand loyalty. If you can contact a known owner of an older model of car that you built, tell them to go to their local franchised dealer to have a voluntary safety recall performed, that costs the consumer nothing and costs you nothing; then what is the chance that during the time that the recall is being performed, the owner of the older car is in the showroom, shopping the new Honda car line-up?

It’s a win, win situation.

Legitimate safety issue? — The car owner wins

From a PR perspective? — American Honda Motor Company wins

If a new Honda vehicle is sold to the customer waiting for the recall to be completed? — The Honda franchised car dealer and the car manufacturer both win.

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Is the Acura Airbag Recall Legit?

Is the Acura Airbag Recall simply a marketing tool?

The majority of our service customers here at Accurate Automotive love us and hate the thought of going to the local Nashville Acura franchised dealership. Many have asked if we can perform the Acura Airbag Recall. The answer is no. All product recalls and warranty related repairs on Acura vehicles must go through an Acura franchised dealer, except in special circumstances, that are authorized by American Honda Motor Company, prior to the warranty repair or product recall being performed.

With that said, is the Acura Airbag Recall a marketing tool for American Honda Motor Company? We will not answer that question with a definitive ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer.

Simply consider the facts and judge for yourself.

First point, the Acura Airbag Recall is currently a voluntary recall by American Honda Motor Company. No one is forcing American Honda to administrate this recall. The Acura Airbag Recall, is at this point, a recall that is 100% the decision of the car manufacturer.

Second point, the manufacturer of the airbag is the one paying for the recall. Their airbags are in question. They were the supplier of the airbag. If they want to keep supplying this car manufacturer’s production lines with airbags and seatbelt components,  then they are obliged to take care of this issue. The airbag supplier is the one funding the majority, if not all the costs associated with this recall.

The third point,  from a public relations view, American Honda looks great! Many of the cars that the Acura Airbag Recall covers are earlier models that are well out of warranty and manufacturer obligation. By the car manufacturer instituting a voluntary recall —  that the part manufacturer has to pay for– ends up making the car manufacturer look like a big giant hero that really cares about safety.

Finally, if you are a car manufacturer, you rely on a certain number of consumers to have brand loyalty. If you can contact a known owner of a older model of car that you built, tell them to go to their local franchised dealer to have a voluntary recall performed, that is safety related, that costs the consumer nothing and costs you nothing; then what is the chance that during the time that the Acura recall is being performed, the owner of the older car is in the showroom, shopping the new Acura line-up?

It’s a win, win situation.

Legitimate safety — The car owner wins

From a PR perspective — American Honda Motor Company wins

If a new Acura is sold to the customer waiting for the recall to be completed — The Acura dealer and American Honda Motor Company both win.

 

 

 

 

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