Archive for September 2010

Breathe Deep With Your Cabin Air Filter

Posted September 29, 2010 12:00 PM

Bad air quality while you're driving around Bristol is nothing to sneeze at. But seriously, more and more vehicles these days come equipped with a cabin air filter. Since they're fairly new on the scene, a lot of folks don't know about them yet.

These filters clean the air in the passenger compartment, or cabin, of your car or truck. They do the same job as the furnace filter you have at home. They can filter out particles as small as three microns. By contrast, a grain of sand is about 200 microns.

So your cabin air filter can clean out dust, pollution, pollen and spores to keep the air in your car nice and clean. And just like your furnace filter, they need to be replaced when they get dirty. Check your owner's manual or ask your service advisor at Economy Transmission and Auto Repair, but they typically need to be replaced at around 12,000 to 15,000 miles (19,000-24,000 kilometers).

The filter is usually either under the hood or under the dashboard. Some are a little tricky to get to, so you'll want to have Economy Transmission and Auto Repair take care of replacing them.

As we said, many people don't realize they have a cabin air filter and go to their shop complaining about a funky smell in the ventilation system. It turned out to be a cabin air filter that was long overdue for replacement – really dirty and starting to smell. A quick replacement and they were on their way and smelling fine.

Bristol residents who are allergy sensitive can really benefit from a cabin air filter, as it keeps allergens to a minimum. If you're one of them, you'll want to stay on top of your filter replacement schedule.

Of course if you do a lot of driving around the Bristol area in dusty or polluted conditions, you'll need to change your cabin air filter more often.

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



Hey Bristol Drivers; What Is the Most Distracting Food?

Posted September 22, 2010 11:00 AM



So what is the most distracting food to have in the car while driving around Bristol?

Is it:

  1. A Hamburger;
  2. Coffee;
  3. A Soft Drink, or
  4. Gummy Bears?

Well, you may be surprised to learn that all but the gummy bears are in the top ten most distracting foods when you are driving. But if you chose 'coffee,' then give yourself an extra two points.  Coffee is the number one food distraction for drivers in Bristol and around the country.

Food distractions cause 25 percent of all car accidents; over a million and a half each year!

You'll notice that all of the top ten distracting food items are messy. Messy foods are the types of food you might spill (very distracting!), then try to clean up (a safe-driving impossibility!). If you gotta eat on the run, take five-then drive. You'll thank yourself later for two reasons: one, that you can actually relax for just a moment in our fast-paced world, and two, you won't have to worry about getting that cinnamon roll frosting out of your dashboard after that near miss.

Keep drinks in spill-proof containers, too, so you can keep your eyes on the Bristol road without worrying about where that spill is headed.

So, taking a food break… or filling out accident reports. We don't have to ask you which you prefer; it's a no brainer.

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



Make Your Battery Last

Posted September 15, 2010 11:00 AM



Today's report from Economy Transmission and Auto Repair is on vehicle batteries, why they die and what we can do to lengthen their life. Most of us have had a dead battery at one time or another. In fact, it would be very unusual if you hadn't. You may be surprised to learn that only 30 percent of Bristol vehicle batteries last for 48 months.

Now that's an average. How long a battery lasts depends on many factors. You may not know that one of the biggest factors is the temperature where you live and drive around in Connecticut. You might suppose that cold weather was harder on batteries because it takes more power to crank a cold engine, but the opposite is actually true.

For more information on your battery, please visit us:
Economy Transmission and Auto Repair
201 Terryville Road
Bristol, Connecticut 06010
(860) 589-1255

Batteries in very cold climates have a life expectancy of 51 months as opposed to 30 months in very warm climates. The reason is simple: batteries are chemically more active when they're hot than when they're cold.

A vehicle battery will actually start to discharge on its own within 24 hours in hot weather. It takes several days in cold weather. When batteries are left too long in a state of partial discharge, the discharged portion of the battery plates — for the lack of a better word — 'die.' Recharging the battery will not restore the dead part of the battery plate.

One of the big problems for the way most of us drive in the Bristol area is that our batteries are often partially discharged. The biggest job the battery does is to start the vehicle. It takes some time for the alternator to recharge the battery after starting. If you're driving short distances, especially if there are several starts and stops, your battery may not fully recharge.

Another issue is that vehicles are coming equipped with more and more electricity-hungry accessories like navigation systems, DVD players, CD and MP3 players, heated seats, heated steering wheels and so on. And we often plug in cell phones, computers and other gadgets. Combine that with short trips and it's no wonder that our batteries are partially discharged.

Experts say we can extend our battery life by topping off the charge periodically using a good quality battery charger. You may have heard these chargers referred to as 'trickle chargers.' They're attached to the battery and plugged into a wall outlet to slowly bring the battery up to full charge.

Now, there's some science involved with how fast a battery should be recharged. If you buy a cheap manual charger, you'll have to tend it. Frankly there is a learning curve on how to do it right and it requires much attention. A computer controlled charger – or smart charger – monitors the process and determines the appropriate rate of charge. And it even stops charging when it's fully charged. It costs more than the manual charger, but the automatic model is worth it.

The suggestion is to charge once a month in warm weather and once every three months in cold weather.

Another thing to avoid is deeply discharging your battery, something like running the headlights and stereo with the engine turned off. That'll take months off the battery life every time you do it.

Now, as we discussed, heat is hard on a battery. A dirty, greasy battery holds more heat. You can wipe off excess dirt with a paper towel or ask your service advisor at Economy Transmission and Auto Repair to clean it for you. We can even test your battery and tell you if it's time to replace it.

Batteries are fairly expensive, so taking a few steps to make them last longer is well worth it. Of course, the battery will eventually need to be replaced. Always make sure you get a new battery that meets the factory specifications for your vehicle. If you feel you need more battery capacity than what came with your vehicle, talk with your service advisor at Economy Transmission and Auto Repair about appropriate upgrades.

If you have a dead battery, be careful to inspect it before you jump start it. If the case is bulging, cracked or leaking, do not jump start it. Damaged batteries can explode or catch fire. And deeply discharged batteries can freeze. Do not jump start a frozen battery.

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



To Save Gas Around Bristol: Keep up with Your Scheduled Service

Posted September 8, 2010 12:00 PM


 

One topic that hits the news in Connecticut on a regular basis is the price of gas. The answer for some Connecticut drivers is to buy a vehicle that gets better fuel economy. For those of us in Bristol who don't want to add a car payment to our monthly expenses, we need to improve our fuel economy any way we can.

Following recommended service intervals by coming into Economy Transmission and Auto Repair is one of the best ways people in Bristol can keep their vehicle running efficiently. That means better fuel economy. When you give it some thought, it only makes sense. Dirty oil or transmission fluid can't lubricate or clean. That means more drag which reduces fuel economy.

Keeping up with scheduled oil changes and transmission services will save gas for Connecticut drivers.

Dirty engine air filters are another efficiency pirate. They rob your engine of enough air to effectively burn the fuel, so you need more gas to get the job done. Replacing a dirty air filter can pay for itself in fuel savings before the next oil change.

You can imagine what dirty fuel injectors can do to your vehicle as you drive around Bristol. If your owner's manual recommends a fuel system cleaning, come into Economy Transmission and Auto Repair and ask us to get it done for you.

A simple, but very effective way for drivers to save gas is to keep their tires properly inflated. Low tires can cost you up to a mile per gallon/.425 kilometers per liter. Check your tire pressure when you gas up – or at least once a month.

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



Lease or Buy?

Posted September 2, 2010 12:00 PM



Lease? Or buy? These are the options for Bristol drivers. It's always a tough question for auto owners, but here is some info that'll help you make an informed decision.

If you buy, you'll pay the full cost of the vehicle, maybe an initial down payment, monthly payments on the balance that pays down the loan principal, and the finance charge.

Bristol drivers who lease finance the portion of the cost of the vehicle that's used up during the term of the lease. You'll pay some money up front: fees, security deposit, first month's payment and maybe a capital reduction. The monthly payments include a depreciation cost and a finance charge. When the lease is up, you return the vehicle to your local Bristol area dealership. 

So how do Bristol drivers decide?

First, how much do you have for a down payment? A lease usually requires a smaller down payment.

How much monthly payment can you afford? Again, lease payments will be much lower for any given down payment.

A lease needs requires better credit, so that's a factor.

How long will you keep the vehicle? Bristol drivers who keep their vehicles around for a while will pay less if they buy. But just two or three years? Then leasing is the way to go.

If your car might suffer a ding or two, like a work truck would, then buying's better. The auto leasing company will want their vehicle back at the lease end in tip top shape, and if repairs are needed, you'll pay.

How far do you drive in and around the Bristol area? Important to consider because leases have a mileage limit; if you go over, you pay a hefty charge per mile/kilometer when the lease is up. So high mileage Connecticut drivers should definitely buy.

Will the car be used in your business? Check with your accountant, but both financing options have different tax benefits, depending on your circumstances.

Over the short term, leasing is much cheaper. Medium term, leasing and buying costs are about the same. Over the long haul, leasing always costs more.

Leases may sound a bit complicated, and the typical lease decision weighs more on the monthly payment rather than price. So sometimes Bristol leasers may pay on a higher purchase price than a buyer would.

Here is a tip: If the salesman asks if you'll be leasing or buying, say you're not sure yet. Make your best deal, then look at your financing options.

Here's another: With a buy or a lease, if you total the vehicle, you'll owe the full amount of the loan, or the balance of the lease payments. Usually, it's less than the vehicle's fair market value, and that's all your Connecticut auto insurance company will pay. But ask your Bristol agent about gap insurance, which pays the difference between fair market value and what you owe. Big consideration for a lease.

Remember, you have to return your leased vehicle in excellent condition and may need to do all the vehicle manufacturer's recommended service and maintenance or face penalties. So see your local advisor at your Bristol auto repair shop  or Economy Transmission and Auto Repair on a regular basis, get the required work done and save the service records. It's well worth it.

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



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