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Monthly Archives: September 2023

Not-So-Smooth Operator (Transmission Signs of Trouble)

You are heading down a flat, newly paved street when all of a sudden you feel it.  Your vehicle jumps a little bit when you're accelerating and changing gears.  You know it's not the surface of the road because it's smooth as silk.  So what did you just feel? That kind of jumping—or grinding or slipping—during gear changes could be a sign of trouble in your automatic transmission.  And it's important to get it checked out fairly soon because some transmission problems that aren't fixed early can lead to more involved and expensive repairs. By far most vehicles on the road in North America have automatic transmissions, and they are workhorses.  Unlike early cars with balky, hard-to-shift manual transmissions, the latest automatics allow you to drive without having to even think about gear changes.  But you should know about a few signs of trouble to look for if they ever start showing up. When you first get going and shift your vehicle from Par ... read more

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Transmission

Oil Times are a-Changin' (Oil Change Synthetic)

When it comes to oil changes, things are really changing.  Most newer vehicles require synthetic oil, and while it costs more than conventional oil, it doesn't need to be changed as often. When conventional oil was the only game in town, you changed your oil every 3,000 miles/5,000 km. But as technology in newer vehicles has rapidly changed, so has oil technology.  Synthetics have been around since the seventies.  Even though they start with a conventional oil base, they are engineered in a chemical processing plant with properties that allow them to keep your engine lubricated at very high temperatures.  They are more uniform and consistent. Synthetic oil doesn't break down as easily, so it lasts longer than conventional oil.  And synthetic oil can flow more easily, even in extremely low temperatures.  As you can see, it has performance advantages at both temperature extremes. Generally, in recent years automakers have been shipping most of their vehicles ... read more

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Oil Change

Light Up your Life (Headlamp Replacement)

Did you know that having a burned out headlight can result in your rearview mirror reflecting some flashing lights? In other words, you might get pulled over by the police for only having one working headlight, because in most places it's against the law.  Not only is it illegal to drive with one headlight burned out, but it's also dangerous. You can't see down the road nearly as well at night with only one headlight, and other drivers can't see you as easily either. The good news is many newer vehicles warn you when one of your headlamps burns out. When that happens, have it taken care of as soon as you can.  While there was a time when all headlamps were pretty much the same, the same isn't true these days. There are halogen, Xenon, LED and other technologies used in modern vehicles.  Plus there are sealed beams (like those on older vehicles) and capsules. If you have a burned out headlamp, ask your service advisor for recommendations.  Usually when one side goes ... read more

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Headlamps

More than Pads and Rotors (Brake Caliper Replacement)

You might be familiar with brake pads and rotors, two components of your vehicle's brakes that have to be regularly serviced.  Here's another important component of your brakes: the calipers. Calipers are used in disc brakes, the type of brakes now found in most recently manufactured vehicles.  A caliper is the part of the brakes that squeezes the brake pads against the discs, or rotors, which turn with your wheels.  There are different kinds of calipers, but the basic principle is the same.  You press down the pedal, brake fluid activates a piston or pistons that squeeze the brake pads against the disc and the friction slows down your vehicle. While modern vehicles have a warning system to let you know it's time to get your brakes checked, your brake light usually goes on when your fluid level is low or your fluid pressure is low.  But you may have to look out for signals your calipers are the problem.  If your vehicle pulls to one side when you brake, th ... read more

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Brakes