Archive for June 2017

Service Center Standard and Procedures

Posted June 26, 2017 10:50 AM

All Connecticut pilots have checklists for every aspect of flying. They always use their checklists even if they only have two steps on them. They do this simply because a checklist is a great way to not forget steps. It is also how they can assure a predictable outcome.

That is why Bristol automotive service centers including Economy Transmission and Auto Repair have procedural standards for each service they perform. Economy Transmission and Auto Repair technicians are trained step by step. And they perform the procedures step by step, the same way each time. By training to procedural standards, Connecticut service centers can assure a quality outcome. The job is done right every time and Bristol customers leave happy with how their vehicle performs.

Each company trains its technicians to standards. The Connecticut automotive industry as a whole is very committed to standards of excellence and encourages individual Connecticut service center operators to apply them to every vehicle they service.

An example is how Economy Transmission and Auto Repair grades problems and communicates their recommendations. If your service advisor tells you that a repair or replacement is required it must meet the following criteria:

The part no longer performs its intended purpose
The part does not meet a design specification
The part is missing

They may suggest repair or replacement:

If the part is close to the end of its useful life - just above discard specifications or likely to fail soon
To address a customer need or request - like for better ride or increased performance
To comply with maintenance recommended by the vehicle manufacturer
Based on the technician's informed experience

Here are some examples:

An exhaust pipe has rusted through and is leaking. Replacement is recommended because the part has failed. If the pipe were rusted, corroded or weak but not leaking, the technician may suggest it be replaced because it is near the end of its useful life and replacing it now may be more convenient for the customer.

Suppose a customer wants to improve his car's handling, but his shocks haven't failed. The may suggest replacement of the shocks to satisfy the customer's wishes.

Under these guidelines the Bristol car repair shop must refuse partial service of a required repair if the repair creates or continues an unsafe condition.

Let's say a customer has a cracked brake rotor. This is a dangerous condition that must be repaired. If the customer does not want to replace the rotor but instead just wants new brake pads installed, the shop must ethically refuse the partial repair. That can be an upsetting conversation, but understanding that Bristol service centers operate under service standards and procedures is comforting. You want your service to be done right and to have confidence in your technician's recommendations.

The Connecticut automotive service industry and Economy Transmission and Auto Repair want the best for you and for you to keep coming back.

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

 



Timing Belt

Posted June 20, 2017 10:26 AM

Ever heard the sad tale of a staggeringly steep repair bill from a broken timing belt? Bad news. Let's take a lesson from their woes and remember to think about our timing belt.

First, let's review what a timing belt does. The top part of the engine over the cylinders is called the cylinder head. The head contains the valves. There's at least one valve that lets the fresh air into the cylinder. This air, mixed with fuel, burns to create power. Then another valve or two will open to allow the exhaust out of the engine. Each cylinder has 2 to 4 valves - that's 12 to 24 valves for a V-6, up to 32 values on a V-8. The opening and closing of the valves is done by a camshaft. The timing belt uses the rotation of the engine to drive the camshaft which opens and close the valves. It's called a timing belt because it has to be adjusted to rotate the camshaft to keep proper time with the engine so that everything's in sync.

The timing belt is a toothed rubber belt. But some vehicles use a timing chain or timing gears instead of a belt. Timing chains and gears are much more durable, but vehicle manufactures are using belts more because they are quieter - and cheaper. If you have a small or mid-sized passenger car, crossover or mini-van, chances are you have a timing belt.

Unfortunately, timing belts fail without any warning. That shuts your engine down right away. Your pros at Economy Transmission and Auto Repair can inspect your timing belt and look for cracks and looseness. But getting to the belt to take a look can be almost as much work as changing it on some vehicles. That's why manufacturers recommend replacing the belt from time to time. For most vehicles it's from 60,000 to 90,000 miles or 95,000 to 145,000 kilometers. If your owner's manual doesn't specify an interval, ask your service advisor at Economy Transmission and Auto Repair.

Someone we know, who shall remain anonymous, has had two timing belts fail. The first was while he was waiting at a stop light - that repair cost several thousand dollars. The second was while driving on the highway - that one cost more than twice as much. Both had the cars out in the shop for three weeks. His cars had what we call "interference engines," meaning that the valves and pistons are very close to each other. If the timing belt slips even one notch, the pistons will slam into the open valves. That's why our friend's highway failure was so much more - his engine was traveling so fast that the valves were smashed and they chewed up the cylinder head.

A non-interference engine will just shut down if the timing belt breaks. You're stranded, but the engine doesn't suffer permanent damage. In both cases, our hapless friend was just a couple oil changes past the recommended interval for changing the timing belt. This is one of those things that Bristol drivers just cannot put off. Now replacing a timing belt is not cheap - but repairs for a broken belt can be far more expensive.

The team at Economy Transmission and Auto Repair recommends Bristol drivers check their owners' manual ASAP - especially if you have more than a 60,000 miles or 95,000 kilometers. You may need to get that belt replaced right away. And on many cars, the timing belt drives the water pump. So, it may be a good idea to replace the water pump while you're at it because 90% of the work required for the new pump is already done with the belt change. Doing both at the same time saves you a lot of money because as they say, "timing's everything."

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

 



Time for Differential Service at Economy Transmission and Auto Repair?

Posted June 11, 2017 12:16 PM

Hello Bristol - let's talk differentials. If you have a rear-wheel drive vehicle, your differential is on the back axle. With front-wheel drive cars, the differential is up front. All-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive vehicles have three differentials - front, rear and in the middle. So you see, you've got a differential (or two or three) and it needs service now and then.

What does your vehicle differential do? Well, it compensates for the differences in speed between your outer and inner wheels in a turn. Using the dimensions of a typical car, let's compare the distance the wheels travel from the start of a turn through to the completion of the turn.

The inside wheel travels about 12.6 feet/3.8 meters. How much farther does the outside wheel travel? About 18.8 feet/5.7 meters – over 6 feet/1.9 meters more. This means the outer tire has to rotate 9 times in the same amount of time that the inner tire has to rotate only 6 times - so the outer tire has to spin faster in order to keep up. The differential makes this possible.

The gears in the differential are cooled and lubricated by differential fluid. It's this fluid that needs to be serviced. Small bits of the gears break off and are suspended in the differential fluid. The dirtier the fluid, the faster the gears wear.

So your Economy Transmission and Auto Repair technician drains the old fluid out and replaces it with fresh fluid. Some differentials also need a special additive that is put in at this time.

So when should you have your vehicle differential serviced? Intervals vary from vehicle to vehicle – and may be as short as 15,000 miles/24,000 km – so check your vehicle owner's manual or ask us at Economy Transmission and Auto Repair. If you frequently drive with heavy loads, tow a trailer or drive in hot Connecticut conditions, you may need to change differential fluid more often. Servicing your differential on schedule at Economy Transmission and Auto Repair can save a pricey replacement down the road.

Give us a call.

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



Introduction to Diesels for Bristol, Connecticut

Posted June 6, 2017 6:15 AM



Something you're going to be hearing a lot about around Bristol, Connecticut, is diesel engines. We're not talking about semi-trucks and buses; we're talking about diesel engine cars, pick-ups and SUVs.

Most people in Connecticut are surprised to learn that around half the cars on the road in Europe have diesel engines. Nearly all import brands offer a range of diesel engines abroad – even the ultra-luxury brands like Mercedes and BMW. For the most part, these diesel engines haven't been available in Bristol, Connecticut. But that's about to change.

In the past, North American diesel fuel has had a much higher sulfur content than European fuel. Recent environmental laws have required changes in diesel formulation and emissions standards here in Bristol, Connecticut, so we are now ready to start seeing more diesel options offered over the next few years.

Why are so many Bristol drivers interested in diesel engines? Well first off, diesel fuel is more energy dense. There's more power in a barrel of diesel fuel than there is in a barrel of gasoline. The result? Better performance and improved fuel economy.

Diesel powered vehicles get about 20 percent better fuel economy. And as for power – why do you think that the majority of new heavy duty pick-up trucks are being sold in Bristol with diesel engines?

If you think back to the late 1970's and early 1980's, you may shudder when you think of the diesel powered cars of the day – noisy, smoky, under-powered beasts that rattled and shook their passengers. Modern diesels sold in Connecticut have evolved considerably.

They are quiet, clean – and powerful. They're so refined that many Bristol drivers can't even tell they're riding in a diesel powered vehicle. In addition to fuel savings, diesels generally last longer than gasoline engines because of their heavy duty construction.

Another thing the Bristol green crowd takes advantage of is the use of bio-diesel in diesel vehicles. Bio-diesel is made from vegetable oil – even recycled cooking oil from Bristol restaurants. There is a lot of buzz about hybrid cars in Connecticut. Look to diesel-electric hybrids in years to come to make a good idea even better.

Every year, manufacturers introduce new diesel models. Look for diesels in domestic light trucks, SUVs and passenger cars. Import brands have plans to bring more of their outstanding diesel engines to Connecticut as well.

New Bristol diesel owners need to know that properly maintaining a diesel engine is somewhat different than a gasoline engine. Fluid change intervals are different. Emissions control devices have to work harder to filter diesel fuel and to scrub the exhaust so you will need to pay attention to that. And the fuel injection system operates at much higher pressures than gas fuel injection systems, so it's important to keep your fuel system clean with a diesel.

The good news is that Economy Transmission and Auto Repair in Bristol is keeping up with the new diesel technology and will be able to advise you on maintaining your diesel.

When we tell you to look for more diesels on Bristol streets, you won't be looking for smoky tail pipes as a clue. You also won't be listening for that familiar big rig rattle. And, you certainly won't be waiting for them at the stoplight, because modern diesels are as quick as their gasoline counterparts.

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



Technician Training at Economy Transmission and Auto Repair

Posted June 1, 2017 7:48 AM

Your vehicle is important to you, and keeping it running properly is important to your lifestyle. That's why you're smart enough to have it serviced regularly at Economy Transmission and Auto Repair in Bristol. And even though it may just be routine maintenance, you want it done right by automotive professionals.

It's also very important to your Bristol service center to keep you happy and on the road. You might be surprised at the amount of money our Bristol auto service center spends annually to make sure our friendly and knowledgeable technicians are properly trained.

Economy Transmission and Auto Repair offers a variety of automotive services for many kinds of vehicles. We need to be current on the latest techniques and parts so that we can give you quality service. Our Bristol service centers subscribe to data services that list the high quality parts and fluids recommended by your manufacturer.

And each service has a checklist of standard procedures. Economy Transmission and Auto Repair technicians follow these procedures so they can safely deliver a consistent level of high-quality service.

Some services at Economy Transmission and Auto Repair require the use of specialized equipment. Economy Transmission and Auto Repair technicians are trained extensively on this equipment so that they can service your car quickly and efficiently.

Classroom, video and hands-on training is provided by the company and outside trainers. It's not only important that friendly and knowledgeable technicians be able to perform a given task, they also need to be thoroughly trained in inspection and diagnostic techniques. One of the great services they perform is to detect potential problems before they become serious.

The automotive service industry has standards for classifying and communicating problems. For example, it's one thing to learn that your manufacturer recommends that you change your serpentine belt every 30,000 miles/48,000 km and another to learn that the belt is on the verge of failure. These standards help you understand the urgency of recommendations, letting you make better automotive service decisions.

Connecticut folks may be interested to know that service technicians (including those at Economy Transmission and Auto Repair) are trained in compliance with federal and local Bristol laws and regulations, including environmental regulations regarding the disposal of used parts and fluids.

It's the goal of Economy Transmission and Auto Repair to provide fast, courteous service. You should feel free to ask your friendly and knowledgeable technician or one of the managers about your service or for more information about their recommendations.

At Economy Transmission and Auto Repair, well-trained service providers, established procedures, industry standards and, of course, great people, combine to give you the best auto service in Bristol.

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



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