Archive for January 2020

Ready, Set, COLD! (Getting Vehicle Ready for Winter)

Posted January 26, 2020 10:35 AM

When the temperatures plunge, your vehicle better be ready because it faces a whole new set of challenges.  Rubber stiffens, glass fogs, fluids freeze.  Just thinking about it can get your heart beating faster.  So here are some tips for getting ready for those inevitable colder temperatures.

Make sure your tires are in good shape and properly inflated.  Traction can be less than ideal on slippery streets, so your tires must have enough tread to grip the road.  They should also be inflated properly, and inflation will change as the temperatures go down. One last thing on tires. Do you know how old yours are? They actually have a birthdate printed on them.  Old rubber can compromise drivability and handling.  Some tires look great but their rubber doesn't handle stresses like it used to.  Have your vehicle service facility inspect all of these aspects of your tires so you are riding on tires that are fit to go.

Anyone who lives in an area where the temperatures get down to freezing knows frigid mornings can reveal an unhealthy battery at the most inopportune time.  Age also counts when it comes to batteries, so you should know how old and healthy yours is.  Special equipment at your service facility can let you know how much more life you can expect out of that battery.  It's obviously better to have it replaced before rather than after it fails.

You have to see out your windows and windshield in order to drive safely, so now's the time to have your heater and defroster checked out to make sure they can do their jobs.  A few tweaks here and there can make a big difference before you find yourself shivering and fogged up.

And finally, make sure you have some vital emergency supplies.  Yes, a blanket can save your life if you are stranded in cold weather.  A small shovel can help you dig out of a slippery spot.  And your survival may depend on having a little extra food and water on hand, so keep a little supply of bottled water and power bars stored away. Doesn't hurt to have an extra cell phone charger in your vehicle, either.

You may have heard all of this before.  Well, trouble happens when you least expect it. Taking a few minutes now can make a huge difference when it rears its ugly head later.

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



Growing Old Together (Maintaining an Older Vehicle)

Posted January 19, 2020 10:47 AM

More and more of us are hanging on to our vehicles longer.  A company by the name of HIS Markit recently released a report that shows the average age of light vehicles in the U.S. is now 11.8 years.  Light vehicles are cars, SUVs (sport utility vehicles) and CUVs (compact utility vehicles). 

In Canada, the average life expectancy of a vehicle there is around 13 years, and in the U.S., it's around 15.  Vehicles are lasting longer these days, and there are several reasons for that.

One expert cites better technology and overall quality improvements.  While in past years, vehicles were made mainly of heavier steel components, more modern vehicles contain lighter magnesium and aluminum alloys, high-strength steel, polymers and carbon fiber.  They last longer and reduce the overall vehicle weight, and that can contribute to better fuel economy.

Modern internal combustion engine designs have been improved, and since they use more computers, they are more efficient with better performance.  Those factors also contribute to a longer-lasting powertrain.  In fact, it's not unusual to see a powertrain easily last 150,000 miles/250,000 kilometers or more with no major failures.

Drivers are also taking their vehicles in more regularly for periodic maintenance.  Choosing one service facility for all your maintenance can contribute to your vehicle's longevity, too, since technicians know your vehicle's repair and service history.

If you bought your vehicle taking out a 5-year loan and you keep it 11 years, you've managed 6 of those years without a payment, always a nice feeling.  Plus, a bonus is that you get very familiar with every aspect of that vehicle's sounds, smells, handling, stopping characteristics, visibility and limitations.  And the more familiar you are with your vehicle, the more confident you can be as a driver.

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



Follow the Bouncing Vehicle (Bad Struts and Shocks)

Posted January 12, 2020 8:44 AM

If you hit a bump in the road and your vehicle just keeps bouncing up and down for a lot longer time than it used to, you may have bad struts and shocks.  They're the things that help to keep your vehicle's wheels and tires planted to the road surface.

But they don't last forever.  With care and depending on where and how you drive, shocks and struts should be replaced at intervals ranging from 50,000 miles/80,000 km to 100,000 miles/160,000 km.  If you drive on bumpy roads with a lot of potholes, that interval will likely be shorter. Rough surfaces can take their toll.

But how do you know if your shocks and struts are doing their job properly? The best way is to have your vehicle checked by a technician.  He or she can inspect the shock absorbers and struts for leaks, corrosion and damage.  Mounts and bushings can also go bad and they should be evaluated as well.  A thorough examination by a technician will also include looking at other suspension parts. Some may contribute to making your vehicle behave the same way if they're broken, corroded, worn or bent.     

If you need new shocks and struts, your service advisor will make sure that you get those that meet manufacturer's specifications.  That's important because they want to make sure you're getting the handling and performance engineers designed your vehicle to have.

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



In the Hot Seat (Repair and Maintenance of Seat Heaters)

Posted January 5, 2020 7:16 AM

It's chilly outside. You flip on that switch that looks like a picture of a seat with little heat waves rising from it.  You expect soon you'll feel that warmth but… wait! It's not getting warmer.  Oh no, what's wrong with my seat heater? There could be lots of reasons it's not working, and it could be as simple as a fuse or as major as the heating element itself.  But it's something to leave to a pro to diagnose and repair.

Let's say it turns out to be a blown fuse.  Simply replacing the fuse may not fix it because there was a reason the fuse blew in the first place.  It's possible the on-off switch has worn out or corroded.  Perhaps the wiring connection isn't completing the circuit (could be corroded or full of dirt) or the voltage reaching the heating element isn't correct. 

There's a little sensor that keeps track of the seat heater's temperature called the thermistor.  When the seat is hot enough, it will stop the juice from heating it any more.  Sometimes those fail.  But if all of these components are healthy, you may need a new heater element. 

Those seat-heating elements are made up of wires that get sat on.  A lot.  That can put significant strain on them.  Putting something heavy on the seat can break them. Or, if you put your knees on the seat cushion as you're getting something in a rear seat, that can also damage the element.  Sometimes they can be repaired but often they have to be replaced.  And here is where the technician's expertise comes into play.  That heater element is attached to the seat's fabric and replacing it can be tricky.  It also can require disassembling a lot of the seat to access it. 

Seat heaters are a wonderful feature and they make your vehicle oh, so much cozier.  So keep them working and enjoy the warmth!

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



A Squirrely Problem (Animals Nesting in Engine)

Posted January 1, 2020 8:38 AM

If you park your vehicle outside, you are exposing it to all sorts of critters that would love to use it for nesting, food storage and shelter.  There are plenty of pictures online of people who've discovered there was more than an engine under the hood.  In one case, the driver of an SUV started to smell a slight burning odor when she was driving.  Turned out to be 200 walnuts and a lot of grass had been stored there by some industrious squirrels preparing for the upcoming cold weather. 

The SUV owners had their vehicle inspected not long before this happened, but it doesn't take some animals long to set up house in what they think is the ideal spot to make their winter home.   Obviously, that can create problems.  Squirrels, mice, rats and other small animals can chew through hoses and wires.  Plus what they store as food and nesting material may prevent engine parts from moving the way they are supposed to.  Imagine a radiator fan that won't turn because it's laden with heavy walnuts.  Or the fire hazard created by flammable brush on a hot manifold.

Probably the best solution is to store your vehicle inside a rodent-tight building, but that's no guarantee.  Unfortunately it doesn't take a very big hole or gap for small mice or other creatures to get in.  Some careful sealing with materials like cement or steel wool can reduce rodent access effectively, but they're always looking for access so you can't let down your guard.

If you're not able to store your vehicle inside, you may try spraying lavender or mint essence around the engine or in the wheel wells.  Rodents don't seem to like those odors very much.  If you drive your vehicle every day, you're less likely to have unwanted residents than if you leave it sit for days.  In either case, if you have experienced animal problems in the past, open your hood and inspect your engine frequently. 

Check with your service adviser for recommendations on how to keep animals out of your vehicle.  You're not the only one whose vehicle looks like the perfect winter apartment to some critters.  Preventing animals from getting to your vehicle is worth some time and expense because damage from gnawing teeth can be very costly and difficult to repair.

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



Search



Archive

February 2010 (2)
March 2010 (4)
April 2010 (3)
May 2010 (4)
June 2010 (4)
July 2010 (4)
August 2010 (4)
September 2010 (5)
October 2010 (1)
November 2010 (5)
December 2010 (5)
January 2011 (4)
February 2011 (4)
March 2011 (5)
April 2011 (4)
May 2011 (4)
June 2011 (5)
July 2011 (4)
August 2011 (21)
September 2011 (4)
October 2011 (4)
November 2011 (5)
December 2011 (4)
January 2012 (5)
February 2012 (4)
March 2012 (4)
April 2012 (4)
May 2012 (2)
June 2012 (3)
July 2012 (1)
August 2012 (1)
November 2012 (1)
December 2012 (2)
March 2013 (1)
April 2013 (3)
May 2013 (2)
October 2013 (5)
November 2013 (2)
January 2014 (2)
February 2014 (3)
March 2014 (2)
July 2014 (3)
August 2014 (7)
September 2014 (4)
October 2014 (5)
November 2014 (4)
December 2014 (4)
January 2015 (5)
February 2015 (4)
March 2015 (4)
April 2015 (5)
May 2015 (2)
June 2015 (6)
July 2015 (2)
September 2015 (2)
October 2015 (5)
November 2015 (3)
December 2015 (3)
February 2016 (1)
March 2016 (5)
April 2016 (4)
May 2016 (5)
June 2016 (4)
July 2016 (5)
August 2016 (4)
September 2016 (4)
October 2016 (5)
November 2016 (4)
December 2016 (4)
January 2017 (5)
February 2017 (4)
March 2017 (4)
April 2017 (4)
May 2017 (4)
June 2017 (5)
July 2017 (5)
August 2017 (4)
September 2017 (3)
October 2017 (5)
November 2017 (4)
December 2017 (3)
January 2018 (5)
February 2018 (4)
March 2018 (4)
April 2018 (5)
May 2018 (4)
June 2018 (4)
July 2018 (5)
August 2018 (4)
September 2018 (5)
October 2018 (4)
November 2018 (4)
December 2018 (5)
January 2019 (4)
March 2019 (4)
May 2019 (2)
June 2019 (5)
July 2019 (2)
August 2019 (2)
September 2019 (4)
October 2019 (5)
November 2019 (4)
December 2019 (5)
January 2020 (5)
February 2020 (4)
March 2020 (5)
April 2020 (1)
May 2020 (2)
July 2020 (2)
August 2020 (5)
September 2020 (4)
October 2020 (4)
November 2020 (5)
December 2020 (4)
January 2021 (6)
February 2021 (4)
March 2021 (4)
April 2021 (4)
May 2021 (2)

Categories

Air Conditioning (12)Alignment (16)Alternator (3)Auto Safety (6)Automotive News (8)Battery (13)Brakes (14)Cabin Air Filter (7)Check Engine Light (2)Cooling System (15)Customer Detective Work (1)Dashboard (3)Diagnostics (5)Diesel Maintenance (1)Differential Service (3)Drive Train (9)Emergency Items (1)Engine Air Filter (2)Exhaust (9)Fluids (17)Fuel Economy (8)Fuel Saving Tip: Slow Down (2)Fuel System (46)Headlamps (4)Inspection (7)Keys to a long lasting vehicle (4)Maintenance (55)Monitoring System (3)Oil Change (3)Older Vehicles (4)Parts (9)Safe Driving (1)Safety (5)Serpentine Belt (3)Service Intervals (9)Service Standards (13)Shocks & Struts (8)Spark Plugs (1)Steering (13)Suspension (2)Timing Belt (8)Tire Rotation and Balancing (1)Tires (4)Tires and Wheels (41)Transmission (8)Warranty (2)Water Pump (1)What Customers Should Know (45)Wheel Bearings (1)Windshield Wipers (9)Winter Prep (1)