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How to Care for Your Vehicle Transmission

vehicle transmission
admin 2021-05-12

Your vehicle transmission plays an important role, but how much do you really know about caring for it? If you’re like most people, the answer is not a whole lot. Of course, you already understand that auto maintenance is essential, so here are a few tips on how to make sure your automatic transmission is reliable so that you can stay safer on the road.

What Does Your Vehicle Transmission Even Do?

Your auto transmission is a complex system with an important job to perform. Essentially, it’s responsible for sending power from the engine to the wheels. The engine generates power, but the transmission delivers it and helps to control your vehicle. Depending on the make and model of your vehicle, you’ll have a manual or an automatic transmission. Either way, your vehicle transmission is involved in the process of shifting gears when you speed up or slow down.

This topic could be its own blog post, but you get the gist. Let’s review some key ways to care for your transmission.

Use the Right Vehicle Transmission Fluid

Unfortunately, you can’t just use any transmission fluid in your vehicle, but the owner’s manual will have clear instructions on which products are compatible with your vehicle. You can always talk to a local mechanic for guidance as well. While this step is best left to a professional, do your “homework” if you decide to take a DIY approach.

Come to a Full Stop

Before transitioning from drive to reverse, come to a full stop. Changing gears while you’re still in motion is hard on your vehicle’s transmission, so it’s best to avoid getting into this habit.

Have the Transmission Flushed

From time to time, bring your car in to your local mechanic to have the transmission fluid flushed. Once a year can be a good rule of thumb, but it really depends on how many miles you put on your vehicle. Again, the owner’s manual will provide you with more specific mileage details, or an auto shop can help.

Limit Using Your Vehicle For Towing

Towing heavy loads puts a strain on your vehicle. This is especially true during extreme weather conditions, so try to limit how often you use your vehicle for towing and keep it to a minimum.

Warm Up Your Vehicle Before Driving

Most of us turn the key in the ignition and drive off, but it’s not a bad idea to let your vehicle warm up a little, especially during colder months. Of course, this isn’t relevant if you park in a garage, and you never want to leave your car running in an enclosed space because it can be fatal.

Auto Transmission Repairs

If it’s been a while since you last had your vehicle transmission looked at, be sure to bring it in for a professional inspection. At Lafayette German Car Repair, we want to save you money. Check out our specials by clicking this link, or give us a call at (925) 284-3390. We’re here to help!

Basic Automotive Maintenance Pointers

auto maintenance
admin 2021-04-12

If you haven’t thought about automotive maintenance in a while, let this post serve as a friendly reminder. Regular auto maintenance is hands down the best way to make sure your vehicle is safe to drive. These are a few of the most common aspects of basic car care. Let’s review…

Oil Change

Unless you’re a brand new driver, it goes without saying that your vehicle needs its oil changed from time to time. But just in case you are a new driver, how often should you have the gunky oil swapped out for proper automotive maintenance? Every 3,000 miles used to be the standard, but now it really depends on the age and condition of your vehicle, as well as what kind of oil it requires. The best thing to do is talk to your mechanic or look over your vehicle’s manual.

Replace the Air Filter

This probably doesn’t sound very important, but the air filter’s job is to remove debris from the air that’s drawn into your engine. As you can imagine, after several thousand miles, the air filter doesn’t look very pretty. For the best automotive maintenance, go ahead and replace it every 15,000 to 20,000 miles, depending on the air quality in your region. Most auto body shops will check the air filter when you bring your car in for an oil change.

Automotive Maintenance for Tires

It’s so important to take good care of your vehicle’s tires. Be sure to have them periodically rotated by a professional who can check their alignment and air pressure. This is essential for brake safety and reliable steering, so stick to a schedule. Similarly, don’t drive on bald tires. It can be dangerous for you, your passengers, and anyone else on the road, so be sure to keep an eye on the tread.

Check the Brake Pads

Replacing worn brake pads is one of the most essential responsibilities of automotive maintenance, so don’t put this one off. These pads wear down over time, so it’s important to have an auto body shop technician check on them when your tires are rotated. A professional can also give you an estimate on how long your brake pads will last, based on their thickness.

How Old are Those Spark Plugs?

Here’s something you might not think about. When were your spark plugs replaced? For such a small part, they actually play a big role and need to be changed every 60,000-75,000 miles. Replacing them helps your vehicle’s engine to function properly. On the other hand, a dying spark plug will force the engine to work harder.

Schedule Automotive Maintenance

If it’s time for some professional auto maintenance, you can count on us to get the job done right. Contact Lafayette German Car Repair by calling (925) 284-3390. We’re here to help, and we’re happy to answer any questions you have about automotive maintenance for your car. You can also check out our deals by clicking here. We want to save you money!

How to Tell if You Need Brake Repair

Automobile brake pads replacement in car repair shop or garage
admin 2021-02-10

There are a few obvious indications that something may be wrong with your brakes. To tell if you need brake repair, pay attention to these telltale signs.

High-Pitched Screeching Noises

Hearing a squealing sound when you press the brake isn’t always a bad thing. This can happen if you haven’t driven your car in a while, especially after heavy rain or cold weather. Rust can develop on the brake discs but rub off after you drive the car. Though, if this sound persists, it’s time to schedule an appointment to fix the problem.

Grinding Sounds

This is not a nice sound to hear while you’re driving. In fact, it’s likely a built-in warning that you need brake repair. Pads that have nearly worn down will start making this noise. It’s likely you’ll need to have the brake pads and discs replaced.

Wobbly or Jittery Braking

Sometimes this wobbling can be felt in the steering wheel. If you tend to brake often while driving, you’ll probably need more frequent brake repairs. For example, when the pads heat up, the material they’re made from can actually coat the brake rotors, creating an uneven surface. These discs can become “warped” over time, and may need changing.

Related Content: Car Maintenance Tips to Avoid Expensive Repairs

Slow Response to Braking

If you begin to notice changes when you push the brake pedal, it’s a good idea to have your vehicle inspected. Notably, slow response times can be dangerous—regardless of how fast you’re driving. So, if your vehicle is taking longer to come to a full stop, schedule a brake repair as soon as possible.

Car Pulls to One Side

This is generally the result of brake calipers or a brake hose that is failing. What ends up happening is the balance between the wheels causes one side to brake unevenly. Your car will pull in the opposite direction of the side that’s faltering.

Related Content: What Maintenance is Needed for ABS Brakes?

Mysterious Driveway Puddles

If you start to notice little pools of liquid under your vehicle, these puddles could be coming from the lines that run hydraulic fluid to your brakes. One of the signs that you should look for is a soft brake pedal. If the brake fluid is leaking somewhere, there won’t be enough pressure for the hydraulic system to properly clamp down.

Lafayette Brake Repair

If you’ve noticed any of these signs while driving, it’s best to schedule a local car service for your peace of mind. Regular car maintenance can actually cut down on your need for brake repair and other automotive repair services. Call us today at (925) 284-3390 to learn more about our specials.

How to Learn Basic Car Maintenance

basic car maintenance
admin 2021-01-10

Did you know there’s some basic car maintenance that you can DIY without having to go to an auto repair shop? Understandably, there are going to be some regularly scheduled visits for your make and model, but other things you’ll probably be able to handle on your own. You can stay ahead of the game and do these basic tasks yourself. Here are some great things to learn to ensure reliable auto performance.

Check Your Tire Pressure

A trip to the gas station used to be a good place for checking your tire pressure. These days, it’s easier to do at home. There are even handy air pumps that you can store in your trunk. They work by using the cigarette lighter plug-in. This option is more convenient. You don’t even need to leave the comfort of your driveway. One of the items you’ll want to have handy is a pressure gauge. They’re small enough to leave in a glove box. This tool tells you how much pressure you need and how much your current tire pressure is. It’s important to stay within range for safety reasons, and also to extend the life of your tires. After all, they’re a big investment.

Inspect the Battery

Car batteries are more advanced than they were decades ago, but that doesn’t mean they can’t go bad. It’s a good idea to check your battery from time to time. Look for corrosion that can form at the connectors. Also, examine the condition of your battery to see if there’s anything abnormal. Is your car slow to start? When you inspect the battery, notice if there’s an odd smell. Another sign of trouble is a bulging battery case.

Related Content: Your Car’s Year in Retrospect: Did You Do Your Annual Maintenance?

Refill the Coolant Levels

A radiator works hard to keep your engine from overheating, so it pays to keep an eye on its coolant levels. Learn more about the best coolant for your model. An auto shop can help you make this decision, but it’s still good to do your own research. Using the wrong coolant can be bad for your vehicle, so only use what’s suggested by the manufacturer.

Check the Oil

Popping the hood can tell you what you need to know about the oil level in your car and if it needs to be changed. If you aren’t familiar with checking the oil level, the owner’s manual will explain more about this basic car maintenance task. There are also great YouTube tutorials on how to check your car’s oil level. It’s pretty simple once you understand the steps. The most important issue is keeping the correct oil levels topped off. Learn to identify which oil brand is meant for your make and model.

Related Content: Easy Ways to Maintain Your Car During the Pandemic

Listen For New Sounds

You already know how your car is supposed to sound because you drive it all the time, but listen for any little changes. New sounds can indicate a serious problem is forming. Issues like shaking or vibration are no laughing matter. If there’s a sound that you’re not familiar with, it’s one more sign to call for an appointment. Even little humming or knocking sounds shouldn’t be disregarded. Trust your ears and senses for any changes that happen. It indicates that your car needs more than basic car maintenance.

Beyond Basic Car Maintenance

When you need a local auto shop, call us at Lafayette German Car Repair (925) 284-3390. You can also view our current specials by clicking here. We want to save you money!

Winter Automotive Maintenance Tips

automotive maintenance tips
admin 2020-12-10

Cold winter weather can be tough on your car. So, it’s important to undertake some maintenance tasks to keep everything in the best working condition. These measures can save you from incurring expensive repairs, not to mention prevent you from getting stuck on the side of the road because your car broke down. Let’s review some basic automotive maintenance tips to make sure your vehicle is reliable, even in the winter.

Change the Windshield Wipers

Obviously, being able to clearly see where you’re going is one of the most important aspects of safe driving. But worn out wiper blades can make it harder to see the road through rain and fog. This is a real safety risk.

Fortunately, it’s not expensive to swap out those old, ineffective windshield wipers. This is an easy fix to take care of before winter weather conditions impact visibility. Look for a reputable automotive repair shop to have the best wiper blades installed on your vehicle. Also, make sure to top off the washer fluid since you’re likely to use more of it this time of year.

Check Your Exterior Lights

During the winter months, you’re more likely to drive in the dark because the days are shorter. That’s why you need to ensure your exterior lights are working properly, and that they’re bright enough to light up the road. If they’re dim, foggy, or yellowing, you may need to replace the bulb or the plastic covering.

Have Your Brakes Inspected

This is one of those automotive maintenance tips to pay special attention to because cold weather can have a negative impact on your vehicle’s brakes. You definitely don’t want to take any chances with your car’s brakes.

Have your brakes inspected by a certified professional. This will give you peace of mind knowing that you have a good braking system in place for any emergency stops on wet winter roads.

Perform a Volt Test on the Battery

Another thing that can be dramatically affected by cold weather is your car’s battery. It’s more difficult for your car battery to function optimally during cold weather. That’s why it’s a good idea to perform a volt test on it to make sure it’s effective enough to last you through the cold season. The last thing you want is to find yourself stuck in the middle of nowhere because your car failed to start.

Check the Coolant Levels

Coolant, also known as antifreeze, is essential for your car engine, especially in the winter. This helps to prevent your engine from freezing. Even if you aren’t in an area were it snows, it’s not a bad idea to get your engine checked to ensure your coolant levels are in a good range. Also, have the engine inspected for any leaks in order to prevent your coolant from draining.

More Automotive Maintenance Tips

The above automotive maintenance tips are essential winter prep. Cold months can have a great impact on your vehicle, which is why you should always visit a reputable automobile repair shop to have your car maintained.

To schedule an appointment in the Lafayette area, contact us at (925) 284-3390, or click here to redeem one of our specials.