Archive for September 2019

Too Hot to Handle (Vehicle Overheating)

Posted September 22, 2019 7:07 AM

In the hot weather, seeing steam coming from the engine compartment is something we all dread.  No one wants that to happen to them. But if you know the signs of overheating and how to deal with it, you may be able to reduce the risk of damage to your vehicle, maybe even prevent getting stranded on the road.

Besides the steam coming out of the engine compartment, here are a few signs of overheating.  Your vehicle has a heat gauge that may have a needle that can go into a red zone or up to the "H" (for High) position.  You may smell odors, perhaps a burning (could be hot oil) or a sweet smell (engine coolant leaking). 

When you encounter any of those signs, you know you have to do something to keep the engine as cool as possible to avoid potentially catastrophic damage.  Turn off the air conditioning and turn up the heat.  While that last part may sound odd, it helps draw heat out of the engine. 

If you can do it safely, pull off the road to a spot away from traffic.  Turn off the engine so it can cool down for a few minutes.  You may want to call for help at this point, then switch on the key to "accessory" position to see if the engine has cooled down to the normal range.  You may have to have your car towed to a service facility or, if there's one nearby, you may be able to slowly drive to it.  But keep your eye on the heat gauge and immediately stop if it starts to overheat again. 

The best hedge against engine overheating is regular maintenance.  When the cooling system and other engine components are working like they should, your chances of an overheated engine are drastically reduced.  Your service facility will keep their eyes open for leaking hoses, cracked belts, rusted pipes and other things so they don't fail at the most inopportune time.

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



A Not-So-Straight Story (Vehicle Pulls to One Side)

Posted September 15, 2019 8:14 AM

A vehicle should travel straight down a straight road with the steering wheel centered.  But time and travel can take their toll and soon you may find your vehicle pulling to the left or right.  Those are not good signs and should be taken care of fairly quickly.

One thing that you should note is when this is happening: if it is all the time, only when you brake, only when you accelerate. If you describe these symptoms to the service adviser or technician, it may help them pinpoint the cause more quickly. 

Many things can cause a vehicle to pull to one side, one of which is that it's out of alignment.  If so, you could be doing damage to other components of your vehicle if you keep driving with it this way. If your tires show signs of uneven wear on the treads or if your wheels squealing, that is another clue.

Improperly inflated tires can also cause your vehicle to pull in one direction.  Your service facility can check to see if your tires have the pressure recommended by your vehicle's manufacturer. 

When steering linkage wears out or a wheel bearing goes bad, both of those can cause a vehicle not to track straight. When components age and loosen up, they can present a safety hazard and premature tire wearing. 

Maybe you notice the pulling only when you are braking.  That points to a failure of your braking system, perhaps a sticky brake caliper.

When your vehicle was brand new, it went straight unless you guided it on a different path. It's best to have it checked out if it is showing some of these symptoms.  It could save you money in the long run and you'll be driving a safer, better performing vehicle.  That's what they mean by steering you right!

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



An Oil for All Seasons (Engine Oil Selection)

Posted September 8, 2019 12:11 PM

You swap your winter boots for flip-flops in the summer.  Why not change your winter engine oil for summer, hot-weather oil?  While it may seem like it makes sense, there's some good news.  Most drivers don't have to, and here's why.

Engine oil can be made in different thicknesses.  That thickness is called viscosity, how easily it flows.  Now, it makes sense that the hotter it gets, oil gets a little thinner and doesn't lubricate as well.  So if you used a thicker oil in the summer, it's logical that it would protect better in the hotter weather. 

While there was a time when oils could be only made in one viscosity, times have changed.  Using an ingenious formula, oil can now be created that changes its viscosity (called "multi-viscosity") as the temperature rises and falls.  It self-adjusts to match the conditions.  Now that's what I call a great invention.

In most temperate climates, you don't have to swap out the type of oil you use in your vehicle each season. There are exceptions in extreme climates, but your service advisor can advise you on that.  Your vehicle's owner's manual recommends the proper viscosity oil to use.

Remember that even though you may not have to switch to a different type of oil, you DO have to CHANGE the oil at certain intervals.  That's because oil eventually breaks down and picks up contaminants, and if you have old, dirty oil in your engine, it can cause damaging friction and heat. Regular maintenance at your vehicle service facility will ensure that your vehicle is running like a well-oiled machine. 

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



Pinch Petroleum Pennies! (Fuel Saving Tips)

Posted September 1, 2019 8:27 AM

If you saw a dollar bill on the ground, you'd pick it up, right? Well, whether you find that dollar on the ground or in savings at the gas pump, money is money, and here are some ways to hold on to more of it.

Slowing down is the easiest way to save fuel, especially for every speed increase over 50 mph/80 k/hr.  Tone down the speed, turn up the cash savings.  Drive smoothly (not like a race car driver) and you'll also save money in fuel.  Aggressive, fast-start, jerky-stop habits are just pulling the bucks out of your wallet about a third more than if you drove just a little more gently.  Oh, and cruise control can help with that smooth, steady speed, so use it on the highway. Bonus!

Are you hauling around a set of dumbbells or a box of books? That extra weight is costing you dough.  Store them somewhere else.  When's the last time you checked to see your tires were inflated properly? That's another money saver and makes your vehicle safer.

An idle thought… don't idle any longer than you have to.  If you will be idling for more than 30 seconds you'll save money by turning off the engine and re-starting it.  More and more of the latest vehicles now do this automatically.

Some like it cold.  But air conditioning uses a lot of extra fuel.  If you can live with the cabin at 72 on a hot day rather than turned down to arctic freeze levels, you'll save some cool cash.  Turn off the A/C all together can save you from 5-20 percent

The key to a fuel-efficient vehicle is keeping it well maintained.  If your spark plugs are old, your belts frayed and your brake pads worn, you're just throwing away fuel.  Try a few of these gas-saving suggestions and while you're at it, you'll be helping to reduce your carbon footprint that will help everyone on Planet Earth.

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



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