Archive for December 2020

That Squeal is Telling You Something (What Causes Squealing While Steering)

Posted December 27, 2020 7:04 AM

If you hear a squealing noise when you turn your vehicle, it's trying to tell you something is wrong.  After all, it never made that noise before, right?  The sound  you hear may becoming from a few sources.  Let's take a look (or a listen) to some of the possibilities.

First, you almost certainly have power steering in your vehicle. Without power steering, you practically have to have arms like Arnold Schwarzenegger to turn, so automakers have technology to assist your steering, either mechanically or electrically.  For a long time, the most common power steering has been hydraulic, using a belt to supply power from the engine that turns a power steering pump full of a fluid that helps you steer. 

Sometimes that fluid gets low because of a leak or some other problem.  The belt could wear out and start squeaking, and you might feel the steering start to become harder.  Your service repair facility can figure out the problem and offer some solutions.

Another cause could be in your suspension.  Some components may not be getting lubricated like they should.  Or you may be hearing your tires squealing when you are turning. 

Properly working steering is a huge safety factor for your vehicle's operation.  Your steering affects handling, vital to your well-being as well as that of drivers around you.  So take your vehicle over to your repair facility and have it checked out.  You'll be doing everyone on the road—including yourself—a big favor by listening to your vehicle. When it comes to steering, silence really is golden.  Get that squealing repaired and get back to safe driving.

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



A Sticky Brake Situation (Parking Brake Service and Maintenance)

Posted December 20, 2020 11:07 AM

We've all been there.  You park your vehicle on a steeper than usual hill and worry about it rolling down while you're running your errands.  So you decide you'll use the parking brake.  When you get back, you release the parking brake, hit the ignition, put it in gear and—uh, oh—you can feel the parking brake is still on.  It's stuck.  What do you do now?

Welcome to the world of infrequently-used parking brakes.  Yes, they do stick for several reasons. It's common for components to corrode and get locked up.  Sometimes if you have applied it extra hard, it can jam.  Could be a rusty cable, could be a spring that doesn't return the brake to its disengaged position.  Some pieces just break when they're stressed for the first time in a while. A caliper or the pivot arm it's on can also stick.

There are a few things you can try to unstick it.  Carefully rock your vehicle by putting it first in drive and then reverse.  You have to be careful doing that, though, because sometimes you can damage the transmission.  You can try working the parking brake control a few times to see if that will loosen the corrosion.  If you can't unstick it, you can try driving slowly a short distance to a repair facility near you.  Sometimes it won't cause damage to the brakes but it depends on how tightly the parking brake was applied and what was stuck.  You may also have to have your vehicle towed to a repair facility.

In any case, once you've seen these symptoms, have your vehicle brakes looked at by a professional who can fix the root of the problem.  Better yet, don't let your vehicle get in this condition; regular maintenance and inspections by a trained technician should prevent you from getting in a jam somewhere thanks to a stuck parking brake.  You could use a "brake" like that.

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



If You Drive Like a Maniac (Aggressive Driving is Bad for a Vehicle)

Posted December 13, 2020 9:26 AM

When someone mentions driving like a maniac, they're not talking about you, surely? Besides the safety issues of aggressive driving, you should know that your vehicle will last a lot longer if you'll just mellow out a little.  Here are four traits good drivers follow if they want their vehicles to go the extra distance.

Cool—The driver who can't wait to get to the next stoplight is just shortening the life of his or her vehicle.  Jackrabbit starts and uneven acceleration hurts your engine because the valves and cylinder heads are stressed more.  All of those moving parts will wear out faster as well as other components that are connected.  That means things like the air conditioner, power steering pump… just about anything that attaches by a belt or a pulley.  Oh, and you'll be generating more heat.  Heat is one of a vehicle's worst enemies.

Warm—If you get in your cold vehicle which has been sitting overnight, start it up and rev the engine high, you've just put a lot of stress on your engine.  That's because you didn't let the oil (that's been sitting down in the oil pan at the bottom of the engine) get to the moving parts in order to lubricate them. Some manufacturers advise that you run your vehicle for about 30 seconds before you take off.  And if it's really cold out, you may be wise to let the engine run for a minute or two before putting a load on the engine.  Also, for the first 5-15 minutes, keep your RPMs on the low side and don't jam on the accelerator.

Smooth—You're trying to get somewhere in a hurry and have to jam on the brakes while traveling pretty fast.  Just that one time can do more damage to the brakes than you would think.  Lots of hard braking can overheat your brakes and damage your rotors, wearing them out way faster than someone who drives with a smoother touch.  Hard braking also strains suspension parts, tires and engine mounts.

Smart—You know what PRNDL stand for.  Those are the letters in your automatic transmission (Park, Reverse, Neutral, Drive, Low).  Here are another couple of letters: IQ.  A smart shifter never goes into R to D without completely stopping the vehicle, unless, of course, you're anxious to spend some big dollars on your automatic transmission. 

These days, it's common to get 200,000 miles/320,000 kilometers out of a vehicle, no problem.  It just takes regular maintenance (oil changes and regular service) and one other thing.  Showing off: showing off a little moderation in driving habits with a big payoff in the end. 


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



Free Money (Almost) (Fuel Saving Tips)

Posted December 6, 2020 11:08 AM

You spend a lot of money on a vehicle, probably the most money you'll spend on anything except a house.  But the spending doesn't stop after you've bought it.  It goes into things like insurance, repairs and fuel.  One good piece of news is that you can cut down the amount you spend on fuel if you follow a few tips.

Keep your speed under 50 mph/80 kph.  Anything over that and your fuel economy will go down quickly the faster you go.  Sure, you can legally drive  faster than that, but practice this one tip and it can save you from 7%-14% on fuel.

Use cruise control.  The steady speed increases fuel economy by avoiding unnecessary braking and accelerating. 

If your vehicle is carrying unnecessary weight, unload it.  If you can save 100 pounds/45 kilograms, it can save you 1% of your fuel. 

Don't idle.  Let's say you're sitting in a parking lot with your engine running for 10 seconds.  Any more and you're wasting fuel.  Turn off your engine and start it when you have to get going.  You may have noticed that many newer vehicles automatically turn the engine off when the vehicle stops.

Avoid using a roof rack.  A cargo box strapped on the top of your vehicle can reduce your fuel economy by 2%-8% in city driving, by 6%-17% on the highway and by 10%-25% at highway speeds over 65 mph/105 mph.

Also, if you have roof rails on your vehicle with crossbars, you can save 1% of fuel simply by storing them somewhere else.  Some vehicles like Chrysler's Pacifica minivan allow you to store the crossbars inside the roof rails to reduce drag.

Keep tires at their recommended inflation.  It can save you 3% of your fuel bill.

Use the right motor oil for your vehicle.  Using the wrong kind can cost you 1%-2% more money on fuel.

Sure, many of those savings are small on their own.  But add them up and you'd be surprised at how much you can save.  Also, keep in mind that a well maintained vehicle will also save you fuel, so make regular maintenance trips to your vehicle service facility.

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



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