Archive for July 2014

A Cold Day in Bristol ? Air Conditioning Service at Economy Transmission and Auto Repair

Posted August 1, 2014 12:00 PM


Most Bristol drivers worry about a breakdown or a tire blowout on a busy Connecticut highway, but don't worry too much about failure of their air conditioning system. A breakdown on the side of the road can be a miserable and dangerous affair during Bristol rush hour, but so can a long ride in a hot vehicle.

A lot of Bristol drivers judge their vehicles' air conditioning systems as “non-essential” and so may neglect them in favor of repairs and maintenance that keep the vehicle running. But preventive maintenance of an air conditioning system is simple and inexpensive, while auto a/c repair can be very expensive.

Bristol drivers should have the refrigerant in their air conditioning system checked regularly to ensure it is adequate and clean. Air conditioning systems often fail because air and water have contaminated the refrigerant. Air reduces the efficiency of the refrigerant, and water can cause rusting of the system's components. If your refrigerant is contaminated, the system should be evacuated and recharged. This will actually extend the life of your air conditioning system, preventing repairs, and keep it at peak performance.

At Economy Transmission and Auto Repair, we advise our Bristol customers to run their air conditioner periodically in the winter. This will keep the seals from drying out and cracking, saving them the inconvenience of this relatively minor repair.

Check with your vehicle owner's manual or with your friendly service advisor at Economy Transmission and Auto Repair for information about how often your vehicle air conditioning system should be serviced.

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



Economy Transmission and Auto Repair Advice on Buying New Tires

Posted July 29, 2014 12:00 PM

Today's tires and wheels offer a lot of options for every Bristol driver's style, habits and driving conditions.

Tires are designed for high-performance in winter or summer and even come in a long-wearing variety for all Connecticut seasons.

Bristol off-roaders should be excited about the options available to them as well. The tread on off-road tires is designed to handle the wear from bumps and rocks. The tires' high profile protects rims from damage.

But what if you own an SUV but aren't interested in off-roading around Connecticut? You can change out those high-profile beasts for a lower, wider look if it suits your style.

Economy Transmission and Auto Repair tire professionals can offer great auto advice on how to choose tires that match your needs and style.

If you just need to purchase new tires, a tire professional at Economy Transmission and Auto Repair can also help you select the tires that are best for your driving needs and habits. The right tires will protect you and your vehicle on the road.

So personalize your vehicle, but don't forget that good car care will keep that sassy ride on the road in Bristol a lot longer.

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



What Is That? Check Engine Light Service at Economy Transmission and Auto Repair

Posted July 22, 2014 12:00 PM

Okay. You went to your local Bristol car wash, and while your vehicle was under the dryer, the Check Engine light started flashing. Panic! What did you just do? Something is seriously wrong with the vehicle! You head for the nearest Bristol service center, but on the way, the Check Engine light stops flashing and just glows red. Hmm. Maybe things aren't as bad as they seem. You decide to wait until payday to take your vehicle in to get serviced. In the meantime, the Check Engine light goes off. What? You decide the light must be faulty; maybe when it comes on it doesn't mean anything, or maybe it's just in your vehicle as some sort of scam to get you to pay for unnecessary repairs. You're glad you didn't take your car to the Bristol repair shop and resolve to ignore that Check Engine light in the future.

Whoa! Let's look at what really happened. Your vehicle was under an air dryer. Your air intake sensor measured too much air running through the engine. It sent its report to the engine computer, where a warning was triggered; there shouldn't be that much airflow when the vehicle engine is idling. This is a serious problem that could cause permanent engine damage. Warning! The Check Engine light starts flashing, letting you know you need to take immediate action to prevent that damage.

You drive out from under the dryer, and the air intake sensor sends a new message to the computer. The computer realizes that everything is normal and tells the Check Engine light to stop flashing. The vehicle doesn't need immediate attention; but there was a problem, and it should be checked out by your Economy Transmission and Auto Repair service advisor. After a few days the computer senses that the problem is gone, so it turns off the warning light.

You may think this story illustrates the uselessness of a Check Engine light, but you should remember that a computer can't think for itself; it can only follow its programming. It doesn't know the difference between a car wash air dryer and a serious malfunction in your vehicle engine. That doesn't make it useless. It just means you have to be the smart one.

Being smart doesn't mean ignoring your vehicle Check Engine light. It lets you know when something is wrong, and you can prevent a lot of damage to your vehicle by paying proper attention to it.

Your engine computer is constantly collecting data about what is going on inside your vehicle engine. It knows what parameters are normal and when a reading may indicate a problem. It uses the Check Engine light to let you know when something isn't right. It then stores a code in its memory — which a technician can retrieve — that indicates which reading was abnormal.

The technician uses this code as a starting place to find out what's wrong with your vehicle. It's like going to the doctor with a fever. The fever is the reading that is abnormal — your temperature is too high — but the doctor still has to figure out what's causing it. It's probably an infection, but what kind? Sinus infection? Appendicitis? Flu? The problems and their solutions are quite different. But a fever also tells a doctor what's NOT wrong with you. Fevers don't accompany stress headaches, ulcers or arthritis, so there's no sense in testing for those conditions.

The pros at Economy Transmission and Auto Repair respond to a trouble code in your vehicle's computer in the same way. The code doesn't say exactly what's wrong, but it does give the technician a good indication of where to start looking —and where he/she doesn't need to look.

Now, you wouldn't consider diagnosing yourself with a serious medical problem — good medical advice unless you're a doctor. So you shouldn't consider trying to diagnose your vehicle's troubles by yourself — good auto advice unless you're a trained mechanic.

There are cheap scanners available on the market, and some Bristol auto parts stores offer to read trouble codes from your vehicle engine's  computer for you. But these are really not good alternatives to taking your vehicle to a qualified service center such as Economy Transmission and Auto Repair in Bristol. Your engine's computer has both short-term and long-term memory, and there are some codes that are specific to a particular make of vehicle. Cheap scanners can't read an engine computer's long-term memory nor can they interpret manufacturer-specific codes. That's why our manager at Economy Transmission and Auto Repair spends a lot of money on high-end diagnostic tools.

It's as if you had a choice between a doctor who had a tongue depressor and a thermometer and one who had all the latest medical diagnostic equipment on hand. Honestly, which would you choose?

Getting your codes read at your Bristol area auto parts store isn't really a money-saver, either, unless you're a trained mechanic. You'll end up with a code that tells you a symptom. What usually happens next is that the Bristol area parts store sells you something that directly relates to the symptom. It may or may not fix the problem. It's actually cheaper to just go to Economy Transmission and Auto Repair and get things fixed right the first time.

Remember, a fever can indicate a sinus infection or appendicitis. An antibiotic may be okay for that sinus infection, but it likely won't help your appendicitis. Is it really wise to wait around to see if the antibiotic helps when you might have appendicitis?

Part of good vehicle care is knowing where you can get a problem fixed — and fixed right. Preventive maintenance goes a long way to keeping you out of the repair shop, but eventually, we will all have a problem that needs fixing. Let's do it right the first time at Economy Transmission and Auto Repair.

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

 



Vive la Differential at Economy Transmission and Auto Repair in Bristol

Posted July 22, 2014 12:00 PM

There are a lot of drivers in Bristol who are due for a differential service, but had never heard of a differential before. With front-wheel drive being so common in Connecticut these days, the differential is just taken care of during a transmission service, so most Bristol folks don't even have to think about it. And rear-wheel drive differentials don't need to be serviced for years, so it's understandable that it's not something on the top of your mind. It's not uncommon for people in Bristol to not know they have a differential, let alone know that it needs service.

To better understand what a differential does, think about a track at any Connecticut high school. There are lanes marked off on the track. For the longer distance races, the starting lines are staggered. The starting lines for the outside lanes are ahead of the starting lines for the inside lanes. That's to compensate for the longer length of the outside lanes. Staggering the starting lines means that each runner has the same distance to run.

The differential compensates for the difference in speeds between the inside vehicle wheel and the outside wheel in a turn, because they have to travel together through slightly different distances.

It's a very important function. When you think of it, all the power to get a vehicle moving goes through the differential. Most cars weigh between 3,000 and 6,000 pounds (1,400 and 2,800 kg) – trucks even more. The power from the engine goes through the transmission and then through the differential to the drive wheels.

That's a lot of work and requires very heavy duty parts. And those parts need protection. The differential fluid lubricates the gears in the differential and keeps them cool. The fluid eventually gets dirty and worn down. Some kinds of differentials require special additives that break down over time. So manufacturers recommend intervals for when to replace your differential fluid.

Your knowledgeable Economy Transmission and Auto Repair service technician will drain the used fluid and check it out for metal bits, which could be a sign of excessive wear on the gears. He'll then replace the fluid and install the additives if necessary.

Your Economy Transmission and Auto Repair service advisor can look up the vehicle manufacturer's recommended service interval or you can check your owner's manual.

At Economy Transmission and Auto Repair, we've been providing quality automotive service for our valued Bristol customers since . If you need to schedule differential maintenance, or any other automotive service, give us a call at (860) 589-1255.

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



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