Transmission & Auto Repair

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Car & Truck Tips

Steps For a Winter Ready Car
Winterizing your vehicle before the temperatures drop is a wise idea. An investment of an hour or two to have your vehicle checked is all it takes to have peace of mind and help avoid the cost and hassle of car trouble during severe weather. Winter magnifies existing problems such as pings, hard starts, sluggish performance or rough idling.
  • Have the battery and charging system checked for optimum performance. Cold weather is hard on batteries.
  • Clean, flush and put new antifreeze in the cooling system. As a general rule of thumb, this should be done every two years.
  • Make sure heaters, defrosters and wipers work properly. Consider winter wiper blades and use cold weather washer fluid. As a general rule, wiper blades should be replaced every six months.
  • Check the tire tread depth and tire pressure.
  • Have the brakes checked. The braking system is the vehicle’s most important safety item.
  • Have the exhaust system checked for carbon monoxide leaks, which can be dangerous during cold weather driving when windows are closed.
  • Check to see that exterior and interior lights work and headlights are properly aimed.
  • Dirty oil can spell trouble in winter. Consider changing to "winter weight" oil. Have your technician check the fuel, air and transmission filters at the same time.
Motorists should also keep the gas tank at least half full at all times to decrease the chances of moisture forming in gas lines. Check the tire pressure of the spare and stock an emergency kit, jumper cables, flashlight, flares, blanket, extra clothes, candles/matches, bottled water, dry food snacks and needed medication.

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Caring for Your Car During Summer
Summer heat can destroy batteries and stress the cooling system and tires. As a precaution, these vehicle components should be checked periodically during summer to help avoid breakdowns.

Heat causes battery fluid to evaporate, which damages the internal structure of the battery. The voltage regulator can allow too high of a charging rate, which can destroy a battery. To get the most out of a battery, have the electrical system checked. If your battery needs to be topped off, add distilled water. Keep the top of the battery clean or dirt can become a conductor and drain the battery. If corrosion accumulates on battery terminals, it can inhibit the current flow.

The cooling system works harder during hot temperatures. To keep the cooling system working effectively, the coolant and distilled water mixture for the radiator should be 50:50. The coolant should be changed annually on most vehicles. This will keep the cooling system clean, which helps prevent corrosion and assures that the coolant has the proper boiling point and protection.

A pressure test, thermostat test, a cooling fan test and a visual inspection for leaks and corrosion should be done annually. Hoses and drive belts should be checked for damage. Use a garden hose and a soft brush to periodically remove bugs, dirt and debris from the radiator.

To maximize a tire's life and safety, check the tire condition and inflation pressure monthly, and have the tires rotated every 6,000 miles. Summer heat will cause the pressure within a tire to rise, therefore, it's important to check the pressure when tires are cold. The owner's manual includes the recommended air pressure for your tires.

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Check Engine Light
One of the most vital components to your vehicle is the 'Check Engine' light. When the 'Check Engine' light comes on, it means that some system in your vehicle is not operating at peak performance, even if your vehicle appears to you to be running normally. Ignoring the warning light could severely damage engine components and incur additional repair expenses.

If your 'Check Engine' light comes on, first check the gas cap to make sure it wasn't left loose after refueling. Sometimes this can trigger the 'Check Engine' light. If the cap was loose, the light should go out after a few short trips.

A light that flashes requires more prompt attention, indicating a more severe condition that must be checked out immediately to prevent damage to the catalytic converter. When you experience a flashing light, minimize driving at high speeds or under heavy loads.

While the diagnostic computer is connected to your car, the technician can check the idle speed, throttle response, engine temperature, fuel system pressure, manifold vacuum, exhaust emission levels and many other key indicators.

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