Archive for April 2021

It Wears on You (Tire Rotation)

Posted April 25, 2021 9:12 AM

If someone told you there was a fairly inexpensive way to improve your vehicle's handling, fuel economy and extend the life of your tires, you'd probably ask, "What do I have to do?" The answer is to rotate your tires.  But you have to do it regularly.

A lot of drivers think skipping tire rotation is a way to save money.  But when you don't rotate your tires, they will almost certainly wear unevenly.  That's because when your tires touch the surface of the road, the friction and traction causes miniscule parts of the rubber to come off.  And that process isn't exactly the same on each corner of your vehicle.  Some vehicles have the drive wheels in the front, some in the rear and some on all wheels.

Rotating your tires at regular intervals minimizes the differences in the way the tires wear.  The amount and pattern will be spread out equally if your tires spend time at all different positions.  The more even the wear, the more consistent traction, handling and braking will be.  All four tires will last longer this way, and when it is time to replace your tires, they'll all be worn out the same so you can replace all four with the same model tire.

Some people who choose not to rotate their tires find that one or two will wear much faster than the others, and often they'll replace just the worn ones.  While you can find similar tires, they won't all be the same and will certainly not have the same amount of wear. 

There are different tire rotation patterns depending on several factors: front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, directional tires/wheels, different sized wheels/tires on front and rear axles.  Also keep in mind that when your tires are new, some tire manufacturers require you to rotate them or else they won't honor the warranty. 

Your manufacturer recommends intervals for tire rotation, so it's best to follow their suggestion.  Your vehicle service facility can advise you when you need to get your tires rotated.  And many facilities include free tire rotation for as long as they're on your vehicle if you buy your tires at their shop.

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



Losing Your Spark (Spark Plug Replacement)

Posted April 18, 2021 11:28 AM

When's the last time you thought about spark plugs? You probably don't remember.  That's because spark plugs usually last a long time and don't need much attention.  But they don't last forever, and when they start going bad, they'll send you a few clues.

  • Vehicle is hard to start. 
  • Fuel economy is going down
  • Acceleration isn't what it used to be
  • Engine runs roughly
  • Check Engine light is on

There are many things that can cause those symptoms, so it's wise to head on over to your vehicle repair facility to have them look over your vehicle.  But the problem could be your spark plugs. They do wear out, not producing a strong enough spark to ignite your fuel the way they're designed to.  A closely related problem is failing spark plug wires, and a technician will test for both possibilities… and more. 

Your vehicle's manufacturer recommends changing wires and/or plugs at certain intervals.  Spark plugs are made out of different materials and some last far longer than others.  Ask your service advisor to let you know when yours should be changed.  Badly misfiring plugs can cause expensive damage to a vehicle's catalytic converter, so it's best to take care of them before that happens.  Replacing your spark plugs and/or wires is money well spent to have your vehicle running smoothly, dependably and efficiently.  

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



Wired! (Battery Cable Service)

Posted April 11, 2021 11:36 AM

Colder weather brings out the worst in a vehicle's battery.  On a very cold day, you may have experienced that your engine cranks slowly when starting.  But while it may be the battery itself, it may also be the parts that transfer the power to other the other electrical components, the battery cables.  After all, you have to have some way to get the current out of the battery and out to where it needs to go.

Battery cables have a couple of enemies: corrosion and age.  You may have looked under the hood and noticed a light-colored powder or crust around the terminals.  That's what happens when acids corrode the ends of the battery terminals.  Corrosion inhibits the connection and may reduce the amount of power getting to the electrical accessories to the point where they are not working correctly, if at all.

Here are some symptoms of problems with your battery cables. You might notice a clicking sound when you turn the key, some of your vehicle's electrical parts (like the sound system or the horn) don't work or, in some cases, the vehicle won't start at all.

When you take your vehicle to a repair facility, the technician will use instruments to check voltages to see how much current is getting to what location. That includes a starter draw test during which the battery's voltage is checked when the starter is cranked.  The technician will also visually inspect the cables and the charging system. To make sure the alternator is putting out the right voltage, the technician will measure that as well. 

If the problem is found to be the battery cable assembly, the entire set may have to be replaced. Sometimes they can be repaired. 

During the colder months, it's vital that your vehicle has the proper power going to its electrical components.  Having a vehicle that won't start or run smoothly is not something you want to battle with when you're already up against challenging weather.  Keep your electrons flowing… and your vehicle moving.


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



The Sign of the Shield (Heat Shield Repair and Replacement)

Posted April 4, 2021 11:13 AM

Even in the months where temperatures are cooler, heat is still an enemy of your vehicle.  When your engine runs, it creates heat, so there are numerous heat shields that protect other parts from those higher temperatures. Heat shields are installed around several areas of the exhaust system.  Others prevent heat from reaching parts of the vehicle.  Still others prevent heat from reaching the ground (or maybe grass underneath) and starting a fire. 

If you remember your space travel history, you'll know how important a heat shield can be. John Glenn was the first American to orbit the earth, but during that maiden orbital flight, a sensor on board was indicating the heat shield on his capsule, Friendship 7, was loose.  If it had come off, his spacecraft could have burned up upon re-entry.  Fortunately, the heat shield stayed on, and Glenn made history.

Unfortunately, the heat shields on your vehicle don't have warning systems like the space vehicles did.  So you have to maintain them.  Heat shields are constantly exposed to elements like water, salt, sand and dirt.  That makes them prone to rusting and corroding.  Here's one unfortunate fact: Materials that make them good at preventing heat transmission also are soft and vulnerable, often aluminum or special fabric. 

One sign a heat shield will give you that it's loose is noise; you'll sometimes hear it rattling underneath your vehicle when it's running. One way to locate it? Put your vehicle in park, leave the engine running and take a listen outside.  It's usually pretty easy to pinpoint the location.

Make a note of the noise when you are talking with your service advisor. It's important to have those heat shields working correctly so the heat is kept away from your other vehicle systems and combustibles on the ground. The good news is that heat shields can frequently be inexpensively repaired or re-attached.  In other cases, they should be replaced. 

Missing or loose heat shields? Let's just say they're not cool.

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



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