Archive for June 2019

THE IMPORTANCE OF VISIBILITY (Cleaning Vehicle Glass)

Posted June 30, 2019 11:20 AM

We've all been through it. The vehicle ahead of us kicks up mud, slush, snow or salt on our windshield and we can't see a thing.  And not being able to see a thing when we're driving?  Not a good thing.

Debris on a vehicle's glass can be blinding when driving directly into the sun.  And other things can ruin visibility: scratches on the glass, fogged windows, mineral deposits. 

So lets make one thing clear:  Your windows.  Here are some tips.

  • Number one rule, don't use abrasives on glass. That means no gritty cleaners that are made for metal.  Avoid at all costs those dark green abrasive pads on some kitchen sponges that are made to clean metal pots and pans UNLESS the manufacturer specifically says they can be used on glass.
  • Use the appropriate cleaner for the substance that's being cleaned off. Special automotive glass cleaners are available, and your Economy Transmission and Auto Repair service advisor can make recommendations.
  • Vinegar can work wonders. Sometimes you'll see hard, grayish water spots on your windows that nothing seems to take off. Distilled white vinegar (available in the grocery store) gets rid of them safely, quickly and easily.
  • Use a microfiber cloth designed for cleaning glass; that's what professional detailers choose.
  • Clean the insides of windows, too. That film that develops on the inside of vehicle windows can be the result of plastic interior surfaces decaying in the heat of sunlight (plastic contains oil). The film can also be caused by cigarette smoke. Clean that oily layer off thoroughly.

Now that you have clean windows, here's how to keep 'em clean.

  • Replace your wipers at least once a year. Rubber deteriorates the older it gets, even if you rarely use your wipers.
  • You might consider a newer type called a "beam" blade. Most have an aerodynamic design that cleans your windshield better, especially at higher speeds.

Your service advisor at Economy Transmission and Auto Repair will be able to recommend good wiper blades for your vehicle and install them properly.

Visibility.  See what we mean?

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



Change is Good (Oil Change)

Posted June 23, 2019 7:03 AM

You've heard that expression, change is good.  When it comes to your vehicle's oil, change is not only good, it's vital for the health of the engine.  But there's one question that puzzles many drivers: how frequently should my vehicle's oil be changed? There is not one simple answer, but here are some guidelines that will help.

It used to be pretty much a rule of thumb that vehicles got their oil changed once every 3 months or 3,000 miles/5,000 kilometers.  But times have changed.  Oil formulations have gotten better and engine designs have made longer oil change intervals possible. 

Most experts advise you to read the recommendations that come from the manufacturer that designed and built your vehicle.  Their designers and engineers know more about your vehicle than anyone else.  They spell out their recommended oil change interval and type of oil in your owner's manual.  Many automakers say you can go at least 5,000 miles/8,000 kilometers between oil changes and many recommend even longer intervals now.  If you use synthetic oil, it doesn't have to be changed as often. 

Ever wonder why you have to change your oil?  Your vehicle lives in a dirty environment.  Contaminants build up in your engine oil and, after time, they inhibit the lubricating properties of the oil.  Without optimal lubrication, increased friction inside the engine starts wearing down the metal parts, shortening the engine's life.

Not only do vehicle manufacturers recommend oil change intervals in the manual, many also now alert drivers by a light or other electronic indicator on your dash.  It doesn't exactly say, "Hey, time get your oil changed. This oil's starting to wear on me." But it does give you a pretty good hint.  Some of these warning systems simply measure the distance you've traveled.  More sophisticated vehicles have sensors that measure temperature, driving time and engine revolutions to determine when the oil is getting past its useful life.  Here's one situation where it's easy to see the light.  Do yourself a favor and don't wait too long before coming in for an appointment at Economy Transmission and Auto Repair. 

Oh, and driving habits matter, too.  Short trips with a lot of stop-and-go driving will stress your engine and oil more than longer trips at highway speeds. 

And here's one more plus side to getting your oil changed regularly at Economy Transmission and Auto Repair in Bristol.  Our technician will also keep an eye on the rest of your vehicle to spot anything that might need attention.

The bottom line is this: Oil changes are good for your vehicle in so many ways and probably the most important maintenance service you can get.

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



NOT JUST ANOTHER CUSTOMER (Finding the Right Service Facility)

Posted June 16, 2019 8:48 AM

You might remember a hit TV sitcom that was set in a bar, a place where "everybody knows your name."  The idea, of course, is people feel more comfortable where they aren't just another customer among many; they're special because their relationship goes back a few years.

 

That comfortable relationship can extend to professionals you deal with, too.  Think of your accountant, your dentist, your doctor.  Most people try to stick with the same person or firm in those businesses.  They have grown to know their work over the years and they've learned to trust their professionalism, the quality of their work and their track record. 

 

Ideally, you should have that same relationship with your automotive service facility, like your friends here at Economy Transmission and Auto Repair. You may have tried several facilities over the years until you found one that did good work at a reasonable price.  The longer your relationship with your service facility, the better the people there understand your wants and needs.

 

And you trust them to only perform repairs you really need and not try to sell you parts and services you don't. 

 

For most of us, it's a great feeling when you walk in the door and you're greeted with a smile.  That goes for us at Economy Transmission and Auto Repair as well. That history you've established by regularly going to one facility for service and maintenance helps you feel more confident about the work they do. And, at Economy Transmission and Auto Repair, we appreciate your loyalty as a customer.  Maybe it won't be exactly like that TV sitcom place, and maybe not "everybody knows your name." But your service advisor will, and you won't feel like you're just another customer.

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



DOG FOOD IN YOUR ENGINE (Keeping Rodents out of your Engine)

Posted June 9, 2019 11:06 AM

A technician was telling us the other day that he was servicing an engine and spotted something he'd never seen before: A collection of dry dog food siting on a horizontal metal ledge near the base of the engine.  It was neatly stashed and was in a spot where the food pellets couldn't have simply fallen down in there.

Even though it's the first time he'd seen dog food in an engine, he immediately knew what was going on.  Critters like mice or chipmunks had found the dog food somewhere nearby and had used the engine as a nice storage unit. 

Mice, squirrels, chipmunks—you name it—like the heat of the engine.  And they'll use that to store up supplies of food for use in cold weather when outside food supplies are scarce.  The problem is they'll also chew on engine components while they're there. And they can do a lot of damage if they start gnawing on the wires.  Depending on how much of your electrical system needs to be replaced, repairs can mount up to the thousands of dollars. 

Those electrical problems can be tricky to track down, too, because the rodents can get to spots technicians don't have easy access to.  Oh, the signs are there; they'll find mouse droppings, acorns… even full mouse nests in your engine.  Yikes.

OK, but even if you get your vehicle fixed, how do you keep the critters from simply setting up their personal pantry again? Here are some things to try:

  • Don't leave any food in your vehicle
  • Get rid of that sweet-smelling air freshener. The rodents can mistake the scent for food and head right for your vehicle.
  • If you have a garage, block all access points for rodents. This can be very hard since they can squeeze through the tiniest spaces you can imagine.
  • Some people keep mothballs under the hood; rodents don't love 'em.
  • Pop the hood every couple of weeks and look for signs of mice: nests, droppings or stored nuts, acorn shells and pet food.

The next time you bring your vehicle into Economy Transmission and Auto Repair for maintenance or service, your technician will be on the lookout, too. Hey, the dog food belongs in the dog's dish, not supplying fast food for little critters with razor-sharp teeth that can create electrical system mayhem.

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



QUIET TIME (Listening for Vehicle Problems)

Posted June 2, 2019 12:53 PM

Everybody's got friends like this.  You know, the kind who, the minute they get in their vehicle and turn the key, the sound system is deafening.  They just love to hear that music, sports, news… anything but the sound of the vehicle itself.

And maybe you're that person, too.  Here's something to consider: your sound system might be drowning out some valuable clues that could help you diagnose problems with your vehicle, problems that need to be dealt with. So, turn down the volume and listen for these things:

  • A clicking sound when you're braking or turning—You could be missing some parts in your braking system, or it could be damaged. That sound could also signal that components are just plain worn out.
  • Rattling under the hood—If it sounds like metal clanking against metal, you could have something serious going on, maybe an overheating engine or your timing needs adjusting. That knocking sound could also be as simple as you've been using lower octane gasoline than is recommended for your engine.  Time to get that checked out.
  • A squealing or high-pitched sound coming from the engine compartment. Could be a belt is loose, wearing out, dried out or cracked. A pulley might be failing or a bearing might be on its last legs.  Better to have that fixed now than be stranded somewhere later.

Here’s our Economy Transmission and Auto Repair suggestion - set a regular weekly alarm in your smartphone alerting you to listen to your vehicle once a week for five minutes.  Just five minutes without the music or the sports show or public radio… whatever your taste is. You can even use your smartphone to record any noise you might be hearing.  Between that and your description to your service advisor, a Economy Transmission and Auto Repair technician should be able to diagnose the source of the noise and get your vehicle sounding healthy again. Do it before that noise turns into the sound of a serious problem. 

Who knew a little quiet time could be so useful?

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



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