Transmission problems are the absolute worst. They cause your car to shake, rattle, and can completely total the vehicle. Making sure the transmission is kept in good shape is extremely important.
So what effects are okay and what are problematic? More importantly, when should you take your vehicle to a mechanic to get it repaired, and when can you just let the problem go?
The first moment you should consider taking the vehicle in to the mechanic is when the check engine light comes on. With the sophistication of the vehicle computer systems today, you can generally trust that when the check engine light comes on, you should take it in. A mechanic will be able to see why the check engine light is on, and if it has something to do with the transmission, this will prevent you the anxiety and headache of a transmission system slowly breaking down....[more]
So you got a new set of wheels – congratulations! You’re going to want to hang onto it as long as possible, so you’ll want to keep it maintained as well as you can. Here are some suggestions:
First, read the owner’s manual carefully and stick to manufacturer’s recommendations for service intervals. There are certain things that are critical enough that failure to adhere to recommendations can void a new car warranty. Don’t let that happen!
For instance, just about every manufacturer recommends synthetic oil for their engines; it provides better protection in just about every respect, and it’s more stable at high and low temperatures. If your owner’s manual prescribes a 10,000-mile oil change, stick with that and be sure to use the bra ...[more]
In the old days, a tune-up was necessary about every 35,000 miles. It would usually consist of setting the ignition timing, replacing the mechanical breaker points in the ignition, cleaning and adjusting the carburetor and replacing the plug wires and spark plugs. Today, of course, the carburetor’s job is done by fuel injection and the ignition timing and spark are controlled by the engine computer. Few vehicles still have plug wires anymore either, as the distributor was replaced by the computer and a coil-on-plug design which delivers a spark at each spark plug.
But what about the spark plugs themselves, though? How often do they need to be replaced now?
Manufacturers tout an 80k-100k mile service interval on spark plugs now, thanks in part to improvements in plug design and materials. That might be stretching it, however. Remember that if you have a 100,000-mile spark plug, its electrode is worn down 4/5 of the way at 80,000 miles. A worn ...[more]
So you come out to start your car one morning and the Check Engine light on the dashboard comes on…and doesn’t go back off again. You can’t really notice any difference in the way the car runs and drives, but it’s on anyway.
What does it mean?
Since the late 80s, most engine functions have been controlled by a central drivetrain computer. This includes emissions controls, fuel metering and delivery, ignition timing, shift points and many other elements of drivability and performance. The drivetrain computer relies on information from a chain of sensors that monitor exhaust composition, camshaft position, throttle position and many other factors.
The voltage readings from any of these sensors are supposed to fall within a certain range. When ...[more]
It’s so nice to have a car that can go 0 to 60 mph in 2.5 seconds. It’s also nice to have one that goes 0 to 60 mph in 8 seconds. We know you all don’t drive sports cars – but what about stopping? It’s easy to forget that there is some pretty powerful engineering and parts that make it so your car can stop on a dime, quarter or penny. Your brakes are so important! But how do you know that you need to have them replaced before they fail? You don’t want to be going 60 mph and try to stop just to realize that you can’t do it. So how can you tell? There’s five important signs that you need to have your brakes repaired.
#1 Dash light.
The first and most obvious way to tell if you need t ...[more]
If you’ve had to get your engine repaired, you know the worry about a rebuilt engine vs. a new engine. There are so many pros and cons, especially when you compare the cost for a brand new engine can reach into the thousands. But a rebuilt engine, while less expensive, can also be a concern. Will it last? What does that really mean?
A rebuilt engine means that at some point, something inside the engine failed. For the non-technical out there, just imagine that there are several different types of components that make up an engine like rings, gaskets, pistons, etc. If any one item or multiple items fail, then the engine must be taken apart and those components replaced. Then the entire engine must be put back together. Rebuilding an engine is typically referred to as one of the most important, invasive and expensive repairs you can make to a car. After all, it is the heartbeat of ...[more]
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