Archive for July 2010

Emergency Items for Your vehicle

Posted July 30, 2010 3:00 AM



Local Bristol roadside emergencies can range from a flat tire downtown to being stranded in a snowy ravine for three days. So you may want to consider a basic emergency kit to keep in the car at all times and a travel kit tailored to a specific trip.

Your close-to-home kit for around Bristol would have some basic items to work on your car: everything you need to change a tire, gloves, a couple quarts of oil, some antifreeze and water. A can of tire inflator is a great temporary fix for minor flats. You'll also want jumper cables or a booster box, flares, a flashlight and some basic hand tools.

Now for your comfort and safety: a first aid kit, drinkable water, high calorie food (like energy bars), blankets, toilet paper, cell phone, towel, hat and boots. Keep some change for a pay phone, emergency cash and a credit card.

People who live in areas with frequent severe weather or earthquakes may want to carry provisions for longer emergencies.

For trips away from home, consider the weather and geography as you assemble your emergency supplies. You'll need to have a source of light and heat and will want to provide protection against the elements as well as adequate food and water for everyone in the car.

Always tell people where you are going and have a plan for checking in at waypoints. Then if you run into trouble, you can be reported missing as soon as possible and rescuers will be able to narrow the search area.

The key to safe travel is to keep your vehicle properly maintained, plan ahead and let others know your itinerary.

Economy Transmission and Auto Repair
201 Terryville Road
Bristol, Connecticut 06010
(860) 589-1255



Diesel Maintenance for Connecticut

Posted July 22, 2010 12:00 PM

At Economy Transmission and Auto Repair we hear from a lot of people who are excited about the new diesel engines that will soon be available in passenger cars and SUV's. But our Connecticut friends are often curious about the preventive maintenance requirements. People may not know that diesel engines have long been used extensively in Europe and Asia. In fact, in some markets, there're nearly as many diesel powered passenger cars as there are gasoline.

Here's who's announced or is expected to announce new diesels for North America: BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Volkswagen, Nissan, Honda, Toyota, Hyundai and Subaru. Of course, the US auto makers will be expanding their diesel offerings as well. Diesels will become a very big deal here in Connecticut.

You may ask, why has it taken so long getting to Connecticut and North America? There are a bunch of reasons like fuel tax policies and such, but the biggest hurtle was that Connecticut diesel fuel had a high sulfur content – too high for the latest generation of highly refined diesel engines. Recent government mandates to remove sulfur now opens up Connecticut to the engines the rest of the world's been enjoying for a long time.

Why are diesels so popular worldwide? Well, for starters, diesels get up to 30% better fuel economy than gas engines. And they last a lot longer. And modern diesel engines are refined, quiet and powerful – and there's none of that black smoke we used to see.

Some people may think that diesels create more pollution. But, you need to rethink diesels. Environmental pollution standards for diesel cars and light trucks are scheduled to be as strict as they are for gasoline vehicles. A modern diesel engine is as clean as a gas engine.

Repair costs are similar to vehicles with gas engines. As with gasoline engines, proper maintenance is the key to long engine life and to avoiding repairs. So pretty much what we have come to expect with gas vehicles; coolant system service, transmission service, power brakes, power steering, differential, filters, fuel system and so on. And the payoff for you, if you're the kind that likes to keep your vehicles for a long time, is that a properly maintained diesel engine can last for many, many years.

Economy Transmission and Auto Repair
201 Terryville Road
Bristol, Connecticut 06010
(860) 589-1255



Bristol Drivers Severe Service Maintenance Schedules

Posted July 14, 2010 2:00 AM

Since driving requirements and lifestyles differ among Bristol drivers, your vehicle manufacturer publishes two auto maintenance schedules: the regular schedule and the severe service schedule. Which schedule should Bristol drivers follow? Here are some questions to ask yourself:

Are most of your trips less than four miles/six kilometers around Bristol?
Are most of your trips less than 10 miles/16 kilometers in below-zero Connecticut temps?
Are most of your trips off-highway in Connecticut?
Do you drive often in dusty Bristol areas?
Do you regularly tow a trailer or carry heavy loads around Bristol?
Do you drive in very hot or very cold Connecticut weather?


Think about your typical week. Do you live by your nearest Bristol on-ramp and enjoy a non-stop commute? Or, do you drive the neighborhood car pool in stop-and-go traffic on Bristol surface streets?

Let's suppose your owner's manual says the severe service oil change recommendation is 3,000 miles/5,000 kilometers and the standard recommendation is 5,000 miles/8,000 kilometers. You know that you need to change the oil somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 miles/5,000 and 8,000 kilometers. Analyze your driving patterns and Bristol weather and road conditions to determine which end of the spectrum you're closer to.

Why should Bristol residents care about this? Normal condensation causes moisture accumulation in the engine oil. Short trips around Bristol or winter driving means that the engine doesn't heat up enough for the moisture to evaporate. The water in the oil turns to oil sludge that clogs up your engine and doesn't let the oil protect it adequately. That's why Connecticut residents need to change their oil more often – to clean the sludge out before it causes problems.

Carrying heavy loads (with or without a trailer) in Connecticut summer weather causes your engine and transmission to run at higher temperatures and with more stress. The fluids will break down more quickly. Additives that clean and prevent corrosion will be depleted sooner. Air pollution and dust cause fluids to get dirty faster. Ditto for filters. All of these things can lead to premature wear and eventual repairs. If you want some expert advice, talk with your friendly and knowledgeable Economy Transmission and Auto Repair service advisor. We can help you restore your vehicle to good working order and help you know the best schedule to follow.

Economy Transmission and Auto Repair
(860) 589-1255
201 Terryville Road
Bristol, Connecticut 06010



The Harm in Skipping an Oil Change for Bristol Drivers

Posted July 13, 2010 11:00 AM

People in Bristol have been hearing a lot about higher oil change intervals these days. Maybe you're wondering: What are the key issues?

Some new vehicle manufacturers are now recommending much higher oil change intervals than they have in the past. As much as 5,000 to 8,000 miles (8,000 km to 13,000 km) or more. This practice came under scrutiny when four of the largest new vehicle manufacturers announced that owners like those in Bristol were experiencing engine damage resulting from these higher oil change intervals.

The manufacturers' standard oil drain service for particular vehicles was scheduled at around 7,500 miles/12,000 km. People following these recommendations were experiencing engine damage. It turns out that oil sludge was building up. This caused small oil passages to clog and engine parts to fail.

What causes oil sludge? It's a factor of time and mileage. There are hot spots in every engine that cause oil burn off that leads to sludge. Also, water from normal condensation can build up in the oil. This water also creates sludge. Severe driving conditions lead to more rapid sludge formation.

Severe driving around Bristol includes short trips under four miles (six and a half km)  or trips under 10 miles/16 km in freezing conditions. The engine just doesn't get warm enough for the water in the oil to evaporate.

Severe conditions are at the heart of the problem. Stop-and-go driving, towing, dusty conditions, heavy loads, very hot or very cold temperatures, a car top carrier – these are all conditions that would suggest that the severe service schedule should be considered.

The severe service schedule has much shorter oil change intervals. People in Bristol just need to honestly evaluate how they drive to determine if they should change their oil closer to the severe service schedule or to the standard schedule.

Some types of vehicle will give oil change reminders. But it's important to know how that reminder is determined. For some, the reminder simply comes when the standard mileage interval has rolled around. Others use a computer algorithm that takes into consideration the number of cold starts, trip length, engine temperature and so on. It's programmed to approximate where on the standard/severe service spectrum you fall. Some more expensive vehicles actually have sensors that test the cleanliness and effectiveness of the oil.

For the rest of us, better safe than sorry should be the guiding principle. Talk with your Bristol service advisor at Economy Transmission and Auto Repair and work it out together. Find out what kind of oil the factory sends out in your vehicle. Sometimes it's a premium grade that costs more than standard oil – but it may be what's needed to meet a higher factory recommended interval.

If you're realistically conservative, standard grades of oil will take care of you year after year. If you want to push the limits, ask for a premium grade oil to give you extra protection.

So, what happened with those manufacturers with the problems from higher oil change intervals? They ended up extending the engine warranty for parts that were affected by oil sludge. But they had a stipulation – they lowered the oil change interval and the vehicle owner had to provide proof of oil changes at the new lower interval to keep the extended warranty.

 Economy Transmission and Auto Repair
201 Terryville Road
Bristol, Connecticut 06010
(860) 589-1255



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