5 Warning Signs of a Failing Transmission

2018-11-28 08:08:52 auto diagnostics and repair Falconer

Your transmission is pretty important.

What is a transmission?

A transmission takes power from a car's engine, transmits it to the axle, and causes the wheels to move. 

It is one of the most complicated systems in a vehicle. This engineering wonder combines hydraulics and computer-controlled electronics. And a whole bunch of parts. 

You probably know that a vehicle either has an automatic transmission or a manual transmission. 

With an automatic transmission, the driver only operates a gas pedal and a brake pedal. This is because the transmission changes gears on its own. A manual has both these pedals plus a clutch. With a manual transmission, the driver gets to change the gears. Or "has to" depending on whether or not you like to do it.

What makes up a transmission? It is a long list: 

  • Gear shifter
  • Shift Rod
  • Shift fork
  • Clutch
  • Planetary gears
  • Torque converter
  • Oil pump
  • Hydraulic system
  • Valve body
  • Computer controls
  • Governor
  • Throttle cable
  • Vacuum modulator
  • Seals and gaskets

Transmission repairs can run anywhere from $100 to upwards of $3,000. Therefore, it is vital to know the top five warning signs of a failing transmission:

1. Transmission slipping: if it feels like your vehicle can't change gears (automatic).

2. Rough shifts: if it is more difficult to change gears (manual) or you hear clunking sounds.

3. Delayed engagement: if your auto hesitates before going into drive.

4. Fluid leak: watch for any leaks or spots of fluid under your automobile. If you want to pinpoint where the fluid is coming from, put some cardboard under it. Let your I-86 Truck & Auto Repair know where it's leaking when you bring it in for transmission service. 

5. Warning light: if your check engine light comes on, it could be alerting you to a transmission issue. (They aren't called "warning" lights for nothing!)

Bring your car into I-86 Truck & Auto Repair for transmission service. You don't want to wait until you have to replace the whole transmission.

ArticleID 7737

How To Change A Flat Tire

2018-11-21 08:27:53 How To Change A Flat Tire

I was driving with my family last week when I noticed a car pulled over to the side of the road. There was a young woman in the front seat staring at her phone. She was about the same age as my daughter, and she looked perplexed.

The area was remote and we figured she needed some help, so we pulled over. My two sons and I got out to see what we could do. 

As I approached her car I noticed a flat tire. There was severe damage to the sidewall. The tire was ruined.

I leaned down to the window and greeted her. "Need some help?" She said "Yes" with a sigh of relief. I asked if she had a spare. She said "No."

Uh oh. Things just got a little more complicated...

After some discussion, she decided that her mom could come and get her, and that they could then go down to the local tire store to get it replaced. "Sounds like a good plan" I said, and offered to remove the tire so she could be ready when her mom arrived.

I asked if she knew where her jack was and she walked me back to the trunk. We opened the trunk and I instinctively raised the floor panel to find the jack. The young lady gasped...

There, under the floor panel, was a donut spare. Right where it should be. She had no idea it was there. We laughed at the good fortune as I realized she hadn't been taught a few basics about car maintenance.

With her permission, I determined to teach her how to change a tire. I made my young boys pay attention, too.

Before we begin...

WARNING: Changing a tire is dangerous. Do not attempt this if you aren't sure of your safety. Make sure you are in a safe location to change your tire. Make sure your jack is on stable ground and that your break is set. Never get under the car while it is on a jack - make sure to keep hands and legs out of harm's way.

Changing a is a good think to know in an emergency. It isn't hard, and only takes about 15 minutes if you know what you're doing.

Find the spare and the jack. In most cases they will be in the trunk under the floor panel. Make sure the jack has a sturdy place to sit and tighten it by hand to the correct location on the frame under the car. Your owner's manual will show the correct placement. 

It is critical to get the placement right or you risk damaging the body of the car, so be careful with the jack.

Assemble the crank arm and start lifting the car. Once you have the weight off the tire, but before the tire leaves the ground, take a break and loosen the lug nuts. The friction of the tire on the ground will help keep the wheel steady. Be careful not to pull a muscle.

Once you have the lugs loosened, get back to raising the car until the tire is clear of the ground. Now go back and remove all the lugs. Be careful to place them to the side in a pile; you'll need them again.

Carefully lift the tire and pull it away from the car. You may have to wiggle it a little, but it should come off pretty easy. Tires are pretty heavy, so be ready to support the weight and try not to scrape the lug bolts as you pull the tire off. Set it aside.

Now grab your spare and place it onto the lug bolts. Tighten the lug nuts back on each bold to finger-tight. Use the tire iron to tighten them each a little bit. Use a cross pattern to make sure you are seating the wheel properly.

In most cases, your spare will be an emergency "donut" spare. These smaller tires designed to get you to the nearest shop, and not much more. Don't drive around on your donut spare any more than you have to.

Once you have the lug nuts soft-tightened, go ahead and lower the car until the tire meets the road. Take a break again to give each lug another good tighten, this time with some strength to tighten them down. Not too much; about as much pressure as it takes to open a new jar of peanut butter.

Lower the car and replace your jack to where it belongs. Place the damaged tire in your trunk and head to the nearest shop right away to have it repaired or replaced.

NOTE: This is a fairly generic review of how to change a tire. Some cars may require special placement or may have hub caps or covers to remove before you can get to the lugs. Every car is a little different. Your owner's manual will have the details.

Be careful out there.

ArticleID 7778

Wheel Alignment and Balancing: Are They The Same Thing?

2018-11-14 07:52:32 is wheel alignment and balancing the same thing? Falconer

When you feel vibrations in your automobile when driving on a smooth road, you might assume it's a tire or wheel issue. And rightly so. Since your tires are what connects your car to the road, they are the usual suspects when things start shaking. To fix the problem, you know you are going to need a wheel service. But which service do you need? Alignment? Balance? Wait a minute—is there a difference?

Is wheel alignment the same as wheel balancing?

There are many ways tires and wheels get out of whack. Depending on the issue, you might need a wheel alignment or a wheel balancing service. Or both.

It's easy to get these two services confused. Let's break it down.

What is a wheel alignment service?

A wheel alignment is also called a tire alignment. However, both terms are misleading. It's actually the suspension system that is adjusted in this operation. But it does influence the tires significantly. Your car needs to be in proper alignment to get the longest life out of your tires.

The intent of a wheel alignment service is to angle the wheels so they are: 1. Precisely parallel to each other and, 2. Perfectly perpendicular to the ground.

Camber, Toe, and Caster

As three-dimensional objects, wheels can vary from the ideal angle in several ways. When performing a wheel alignment service, your service professional will check three different measurements: camber, toe, and caster.

Camber is the angle of the wheel from the perspective of the front of the car. If you were looking at your car from the front and the tires tip in toward the center of the vehicle, it would be a camber issue.

Caster is the angle of the steering pivot from the perspective of the side of the automobile.

Toe is probably the simplest to understand. It refers to the direction the wheels point, in relation to each other. You can imagine this angle by moving your toes to point to each other or away from each other.

What is a wheel balance service?

The goal of a wheel balance service is to cause the tires to revolve without any shaking or vibration. This is accomplished by making sure the weight is distributed evenly around the axle.

Call I-86 Truck & Auto Repair in Falconer if you need either of these services. When wheels are correctly aligned and balanced, your tires will last longer, you will get better MPG, and you will enjoy a smoother ride.

ArticleID 7760

Connected Cars Pose Privacy Concerns for Drivers

2018-11-07 08:00:38

auto diagnostics and repair Falconer

Technology has touched every aspect of modern life. And the pace of innovation seems to speed up every year. In the foreseeable future, there will probably be a new iPhone released every week.

Of course the auto industry is moving forward as well. Even economy automobiles have features like rearview cameras and high-end infotainment systems.

Car Connectivity Is Transforming Auto Travel

One innovation that is transforming driving is the ability of cars to connect to the internet. This technology brings all sorts of benefits to the driver. Route optimization saves car owners time and fuel costs. Online diagnostics detect problems before major (expensive) systems are compromised. Accident prevention systems offer the greatest benefit as they can actually save lives.

What are the implications of all this data being transferred and collected? Who owns it? Who has access to it? How can it be weaponized?

In the case of an accident, can police officers have access to collected data? How about auto insurers?

It has been demonstrated in simulations that hackers can take control of a vehicle through its connectivity features. Consider the circumstances where vehicle thieves don't even need to enter a vehicle to steal it. It is probably already happening.

Privacy Laws Are Inadequate

When you consider the potential harm, it could lead a driver to stick with their trusty low-tech 2001 Accord forever. One thing is certain: US privacy laws are currently not equipped to protect drivers from the misuse of automobile-collected data.

"I'll Take The Unconnected Model"

Will automakers keep some models unconnected? There is probably a market for people who want to protect themselves from a data breach that could ruin their life. Or maybe they simply don't want their infotainment systems blasting targeted ads based on their internet browsing history.

Thanks for visiting the I-86 Truck & Auto Repair blog. We are dedicated to keeping up with rapidly-advancing automobile technology so we can service our clients' modern cars. If you are looking for full-service automotive repair in Falconer, give us a call at 716-665-2501.

ArticleID 7622
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