Archive for October 2019

Wash Me, Wash Me Right (How to Wash a Vehicle)

Posted October 27, 2019 8:32 AM

Most would agree they'd rather drive around in a clean, shiny vehicle than one coated with a layer of dirt.  When warmer weather comes around, some of us are bound and determined to wash our own vehicles.  And to protect the paint and its luster, there are a few things to keep in mind when you get out the bucket and soap.

  • Cool body.  It's not a good idea to wash a vehicle when the body is hot.  If it's been sitting out in the sun or you've been riding around on a sunny day, make sure you cool your vehicle off by either moving it to the shade or wetting it down with cool water. The problem with washing a hot vehicle is that it's going to dry so fast, minerals in the water can form hard-to-remove spots on the paint.  And some of those can be really difficult to get out.  Best to avoid it.
  • Slippery when wet.  Make sure you wet your vehicle down thoroughly before you get the washing mitt out.  Experts keep a couple of buckets of soapy water on hand, and they use soap especially engineered to remove dirt from a vehicle without stripping off the wax that might be on it. 
  • The washing mitt.  Experts say to use a mitt with hundreds of moisture-absorbing strands on it.  Start washing at the top and move down.  If you keep dipping the mitt in the buckets frequently, a minimal amount of dirt will stick to it and that will prevent scratching the paint. 
  • Wheels last.  Wait until you've finished washing the body before washing the wheels.  Some detailers prefer special wheel-washing tools or brushes. 
  • Rinse it well.  Hose the vehicle off thoroughly to get all the soap off, then dry immediately.  Some people swear by a chamois, others like cloth better.  Cotton or microfiber towels will do.  

The next time you have your vehicle in for maintenance, you might ask your service advisor for recommendations on vehicle washing accessories.  They are usually up on the brands that produce the best results.  You may not be a detailing pro, but there's no reason your vehicle can't look like you are.

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



Rear Window?Not the Movie! (Why Some Rear Windows Don't Go All the Way Down)

Posted October 20, 2019 10:31 AM

Alfred Hitchcock once made a mystery thriller film called "Rear Window." It had nothing to do with the rear window of today's cars, SUVs, CUVs and light trucks.  But there is one thing that some drivers DO find mysterious.  Why don't the rear windows in the second row of many of these vehicles go down all the way?

You've probably seen or owned one or two. That rear side window only goes down about a third, a half or three-quarters of the way. Yet there are some similar vehicles where the window goes down all the way.  What gives?

There was the rumor going around that the restriction on how far those windows could go down was a child safety feature.  The thought was that if those windows couldn't open up fully, a child (or pet) would be less likely to fall out.  But it turns out the real reason is that the way the rear doors were designed, there was just no room for the window to go down all the way into.

Many vehicles are configured so that the rear wheel arch continues into the rear door.  That arch restricts the space that would accommodate the window, so they had to stop the window somewhere higher than bottom of the door.

Seems buyers would prefer those back windows to go all the way down, so many manufacturers are changing designs to make that happen.  Longer vehicles can have their wheels pushed further back so the wheel arch isn't an issue.  Some have altered the position of the rear window track. 

If you have any questions about your rear side windows, you may want to consult your service advisor to check yours.  If they ARE supposed to go all the way down and they're not, it could be due to a few problems: corrosion, broken or bent window regulator components, electrical issues, etc. But if they're not supposed to go down all the way?  At least now you know for sure.

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



The Turn Signal Mystery (Turn Signal Problems)

Posted October 13, 2019 11:01 AM

Some problems are easy to diagnose on a vehicle; others aren't.  Figuring out what's wrong with a malfunctioning turn signal sometimes fits into both categories.  By the way, if your tempted to just leave your broken blinker broken, remember you can get a ticket for not using them, not to mention you are missing a great chance to communicate your intentions to other drivers on the road.

There can be lots of signals that your signals are on the blink.  Does only the driver's side signal not work or the passenger's side? Do your hazard signals work? Do the lights illuminate but not flash? Can you see the indicators on the dash blinking? Do your turn signals turn off after you've finished your turn or do they stay on?  These are all great clues for the technician.

Here's one common symptom to take note of.  Your signal all of a sudden starts blinking much more quickly than it used to.  It could be a simple as a burned out bulb.  But there are many different parts that go into the turn signal system.  There are fuses that blow, switches that can fail, flasher modules that go bad and light bulb sockets that can simply get corroded or dirty.  When that happens, it's possible there's no contact between the bulb and the socket.

So it's understandable how tracking down the source of the problem can involve some detective work.  Your service facility has equipment that can nail down the cause of your problems. They may also consult the repair manual.  One thing to be aware of: if your vehicle has airbags, they may have to be disabled so they don't accidentally go off.

You can make sure your turn signals are working correctly by having them checked by a trained technician.  Other drivers will thank you for showing them the courtesy of signaling your intentions.  It's a courteous and considerate thing to do, not to mention it makes the road a safer place. 

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



Your Biggest Fan (Radiator Fan Problems)

Posted October 6, 2019 7:06 AM

Your vehicle's engine makes a lot of heat when it's powering you down the road, so it needs a way to get rid of that energy.  That's why your vehicle has a cooling system, complete with a radiator and one or two radiator fans, also called cooling fans.  Those fans make sure air keeps moving across the radiator so that the heat stored in the coolant can be dissipated outside when the vehicle is stopped or not traveling fast.

Radiator fans can develop problems and can stop working properly or stop working altogether.  Some signs to look for? If you're driving slowly and idling and you see your temperature gauge moving toward the red or hot zone, that could spell trouble.  Another thing you may notice when a radiator fan is failing is that there may be a loud noise coming from the engine compartment.

There are two types of radiator fans.  One is mechanically connected to the engine and uses the engine's rotational energy to turn it.  The other is an electric fan and is the type used in most newer vehicles.  In the electrical type, one of the components, such as a relay or fuse, may fail, causing the fan to stop turning.  In the mechanical type, since it's driven by a pulley/belt mechanism, one of those components may break or stop working properly.  A clutch can wear out or a belt may slip or break. 

When your cooling fan isn't working properly, it may cause your engine to overheat which could lead to expensive damage. That's why it's important to make sure you visit your service facility if you notice any of these symptoms.  A technician is trained to diagnose the problem and make sure your radiator fan is doing its job.  When it comes to your vehicle, your radiator fan really is your biggest fan.

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



No Fueling! (Fuel Filler Location)

Posted October 3, 2019 2:54 AM

If you've ever gotten in an unfamiliar vehicle, maybe a rental car, you may have pulled up to the gas pump and wondered, "Which side is the fuel filler on?" Here's a tip for you.  There is usually a little arrow on the instrument panel near the fuel gauge that points to the side where the fuel filler is. 

But why are the fuel fillers not all on the same side, anyway? There are lots of reasons.  At one time, many manufacturers tried putting them in an easy-to-reach spot: in the center of the vehicle's rear end.  Some even hid them behind a hinged license plate door.  Cool place, but it turned out not to be a good idea.  When a vehicle with a fuel filler in the rear was hit by another vehicle from behind, it was much more prone to catch fire and explode.

Safety regulations now dictate that the fuel filler doors be placed within crumple zones and away from where they can drip fuel on hot exhaust pipes or near electrical connections.  But why do manufacturers put them on either side?

Some say it should be on the side away from the road.  That way if you run out of gas and have to add a little from a gas can as your standing at the side of the road, you'll be a little farther away from passing traffic.  So some companies from North America and many European firms with left-hand drive put their fillers on the right side.

Some manufacturers think convenience for the driver is paramount, so they put their fuel fillers on the driver's side.  If you have a vehicle with a cable release for the fuel door inside the cabin, it's usually on the same side as the steering wheel.  As you can see, there's no standardization.

Fuel doors need regular maintenance such as lubrication, and your gas cap (if your vehicle has one) should seal properly.  Have your service facility inspect those regularly. Wherever your fuel filler is, it's obviously important that you can get at it easily because you have to fuel up sometime. Otherwise, you're not going to go too far!

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



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