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!
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
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.
Auto insurance is specifically designed to help absorb the risk of driving, and to protect you from having to pay for everything out of pocket if a major car repair is necessary. In some cases, it’s more than obvious you’ll need to file an insurance claim. But when you make that decision, your monthly premium is going to be higher. If your car experiences major damage, you may be wondering if you should pay on your own for the repair or submit a claim.
There is no black and white answer to this question because, honestly, there are a lot of things you need to take into consideration before you make a final decision. In this article, we’ll do our best to help you with the choice by presenting the advantages and disadvantages of each option.
Things to Consider
When you’re involved in a car accident and your car is damaged, it’s best to consider some things before instantly filing an insurance claim. Why? Because every situation is different, and you don’t need to immediately decide whether to pay out of pocket or submit a claim.
When to File an Insurance Claim
If the car accident involves other vehicles or other people, it is always wise to file a claim. Even if there is minimal damage or everyone seems unhurt, it is best to notify your insurance. Here’s why… When an accident first occurs, you simply don’t have all the facts about the damage in that moment. So, while it may not look bad at first glance, there could be a hidden car problem that shows up over time. Or, maybe you feel fine because of the rush of adrenaline, but develop a stiff neck later.
When to Pay Out of Pocket
If you experience minor damage from a single-vehicle accident, it may be in your best interest to pay for car repairs out of pocket to avoid raising your monthly insurance premium. Of course, this won’t be the case if a major car repair is obviously going to be needed.
Need a Major Car Repair?
When your car is in a wreck, the biggest priority is certainly getting it repaired, but it’s not always easy to decide if you should pay out of pocket or file a claim with your insurance company. Our ASE certified technicians can help you make that choice by accessing your car. Contact us today at (925) 284-3390, or request an appointment online by clicking here.