Have you ever gone to Cleveland to listen to an orchestra? The musicians take the stage early and tune their instruments. Each individual instrument must be in tune, but the critical thing is for the entire orchestra to be in tune with each other. That’s why they tune up together.
Now this is no surprise; I’m going to relate the orchestra to your car. Your engine has many component systems that each need to be working properly. And the components need to be working in sync, all timed up together in order for the engine to work efficiently.
We call this, (ta-da) a tune-up. When an orchestra’s out of tune you get a bad concert. When your vehicle’s out of tune you get bad performance and bad fuel economy.
So check your owner’s manual for recommended tune-up intervals. Or ask your Broadview Hts service advisor at Fuerst Automotive what he thinks.
…Just be careful not to say you want to make beautiful music together – that kinda makes us uncomfortable.
Let’s talk about transmission service. It can be easy to forget about getting your transmission serviced because it doesn’t need it very often. It’s easy to remember to change the engine oil – you know, every 3,000 miles or 5,000 kilometers. But proper transmission servicing keeps your car running smoothly and helps you avoid costly repairs down the road.
The transmission undergoes a lot of stress. The grit you see in used transmission fluid is actually bits of metal that wear off the gears in the transmission. In addition to that, the transmission operates at very high temperatures. Usually it’s 100 to 150 degrees higher than engine temperatures. Those high temperatures eventually cause the transmission fluid to start to break down and loose efficiency.
As the fluid gets older, it gets gritty and doesn’t lubricate and cool the transmission as well – leading to even more wear. The fluid can actually get sludgy and plug up the maze of fluid passages inside the transmission. At best, your transmission won’t operate smoothly. At worse, it could lead to costly damage.
When your transmission is running properly, it transfers more power from your engine to the drive wheels, and improves fuel economy. That’s why manufacturers recommend changing your transmission fluid at regular intervals. Your owner’s manual has a schedule for transmission service and, of course, your service center can tell you what the manufacturer recommends.
Hot and dusty conditions; towing, hauling, stop and go conditions and jack rabbit starts all increase the load on the transmission and its internal temperature. That means you need to change the fluid more often. A good rule of thumb is every 35,000 miles, 55,000 kilometers or two years. If your manufacturer suggests more frequent intervals or if you’re driving under severe service conditions, you will need to change it more often.
Most service centers have the ability to perform a transmission service while you wait and the cost is quite reasonable. It’s downright cheap when you think about how much a major transmission repair can cost! Your service technician will know the right type of transmission fluid to use. If it’s getting to be time to have your transmission serviced, do your car a favor and have it done. If not this time, then on your next service stop.
So you have some exciting plans for the Ohio weekend. You’re going to take some of your Broadview Hts, Ohio friends out on the boat for some water skiing. Of course, you’ve gotten the boat all ready. And you haven’t forgotten about your tow vehicle. You’ve gassed it up and even vacuumed it out. But you want to make sure that your sedan maintenance is up to date.
Think about it – heavy traffic on the way out of Broadview Hts. There’s hilly terrain as you get to the lake. Some dirt roads – and its going to be pretty hot in Broadview Hts this weekend. And all the time you’ll be towing around several thousand extra pounds. That all adds up a lot of severe strain on your engine, brakes and transmission.
Let’s just consider the transmission. It’s going to be working overtime, spending more time in lower gears. The internal transmission temperature is going to be much higher than normal. What’s a fun little blast to the local Ohio lake for you is really severe duty for your transmission.
It’s important to have enough transmission fluid. If it runs low, the transmission will run hotter and won’t have the protection it needs to cope with the added stress of towing. Transmission fluid breaks down and gets dirty over time. Whether you have an automatic or manual transmission, you need to have it serviced at Fuerst Automotive on schedule to make sure it runs efficiently.
An automatic transmission contains a maze of passages through which the fluid has to pass to keep it shifting smoothly. If you neglect transmission service, the passages can get clogged up and you start to have problems.
This reminds us of how much of our driving around Broadview Hts, Ohio is under severe conditions. Towing or hauling a big load is obvious, but there are lots of other things that constitute severe driving conditions. Things like short trips, driving in very hot or very cold weather. Dusty roads and city driving around Broadview Hts, Ohio add to the strain. Basically, any driving that’s not at highway speeds or under ideal conditions.
While you have your vehicle in, ask for a trip inspection. Your Broadview Hts, Ohio service technician at Fuerst Automotive will check your belts and hoses and let you know if your brakes are in good shape.
Our cars have to operate in a wide range of Broadview Hts, Ohio temperatures and our engine coolant must be able to perform ‘no matter what’. Think for a moment about the environment where the coolant works. Very hot, high pressure, corrosive…
And all the while, it has to protect the components of the cooling system from corrosion. These components are made from steel and aluminum, plastics and rubber. The coolant has to be formulated to protect against corrosion for all of these different materials. That’s why different manufacturers recommend different types of anti-freeze for our Broadview Hts, Ohio vehicles.
There are several different ‘families’ of anti-freeze available to us here in Broadview Hts, Ohio. Your owners’ manual will tell you what kind you should use. Of course, Fuerst Automotive will know what to put in your car.
It’s important to stay on top of this because coolant system failure is the most common mechanical problem people have here in Broadview Hts, Ohio. Regular service at Fuerst Automotive needs to be done to avoid failures and also to keep your warranty in place.
While the specifics of the service required may vary from vehicle to vehicle, your service consultant at Fuerst Automotive will know what to do. You’ll be advised to replace the coolant at specified intervals.
Some manufacturers may recommend periodic coolant system flushes. A flush adds a cleaning step to the fluid replacement process. Again, check to see what your service consultant recommends.
Someday, you may have to deal with an overheating problem, so you need to know what to do if your coolant temperature warning light comes on or your temperature gauge is in the hot zone.
Now, overheating can be very expensive. You can literally melt down your engine and have to replace the whole thing. So take the warning signs seriously and take immediate steps.
First turn off the air conditioner. This will lower engine temperature right away. Next turn your heater to maximum heat and run the fan at high speed. You might need to roll down the windows, but this will take a lot of heat off the engine.
Pull over as soon as you can safely do so, especially if you are stuck in slow-moving traffic, and shut the car off. It may take as much as 45 minutes for the engine to cool to the point that it’s safe to operate the car again.
If you need to add water or antifreeze, be sure to wait until the car cools down. Opening the radiator cap or even the overflow bottle when the coolant is hot and under pressure may result in serious burns.
So after the engine has cooled for 45 minutes or so, look to see if the coolant is low in the overflow tank. If so, you can cover the overflow tank cap with a large cloth and open the lid. Then start the engine and pour in some water or antifreeze. Pouring it in when the car is running will circulate the new, cool fluid with the warmer fluid in the engine and avoid engine damage.
Of course, overheating is a serious problem and you need to get it fixed right away. Fuerst Automotive can make sure the coolant is right before you drive home.
Those spring and winter inspections really come in handy when they head off a cooling system problem. And don’t forget that severe service driving conditions, like towing or hot, dusty driving around Broadview Hts, Ohio, mean that you’ll need to service your coolant more frequently.
At AutoNetTV, we suggest that you have Fuerst Automotive inspect your coolant system to find small problems before they become big, and to change belts and hoses before they fail. After all, we don’t want you to lose your cool out there in Broadview Hts, Ohio.
People in Broadview Hts have been hearing a lot about higher oil change intervals these days. Maybe you’re wondering: What are the key issues?
Some new vehicle manufacturers in Broadview Hts are now recommending much higher oil change intervals than they have in the past. As much as 5,000 to 8,000 miles or more. This practice came under scrutiny when four of the largest new car manufacturers announced that owners like those in Broadview Hts were experiencing engine damage resulting from these higher oil change intervals.
The manufacturers’ standard oil drain service for particular vehicles was scheduled at around 7,500 miles. People following these recommendations were experiencing engine damage. It turns out that oil sludge was building up. This caused small oil passages to clog and engine parts to fail.
What causes oil sludge? It’s a factor of time and mileage. There are hot spots in every engine that cause oil burn off that leads to sludge. Also, water from normal condensation can build up in the oil. This water also creates sludge. Severe driving conditions lead to more rapid sludge formation.
Severe driving around Broadview Hts includes short trips under four miles or trips under ten miles in freezing conditions. The engine just doesn’t get warm enough for the water in the oil to evaporate.
Severe conditions are at the heart of the problem. Stop-and-go driving, towing, dusty conditions, heavy loads, very hot or very cold temperatures, a car top carrier – these are all conditions that would suggest that the severe service schedule should be considered.
The severe service schedule has much shorter oil change intervals. People in Broadview Hts just need to honestly evaluate how they drive to determine if they should change their oil closer to the severe service schedule, or to the standard schedule.
Some types of sedan will give oil change reminders. But it’s important to know how that reminder is determined. For some, the reminder simply comes when the standard mileage interval has rolled around. Others use a computer algorithm that takes into consideration the number of cold starts, trip length, engine temperature and so on. It’s programmed to approximate where on the standard/severe service spectrum you fall. Some more expensive vehicles actually have sensors that test the cleanliness and effectiveness of the oil.
For the rest of us, better safe than sorry should be the guiding principle. Talk with your Broadview Hts service advisor at Fuerst Automotive and work it out together. Find out what kind of oil the factory sends out in your vehicle. Sometimes it’s a premium grade that costs more than standard oil – but it may be what’s needed to meet a higher factory recommended interval.
If you’re realistically conservative, standard grades of oil will take care of you year after year. If you want to push the limits, ask for a premium grade oil to give you extra protection.
So, what happened with those manufacturers with the problems from higher oil change intervals? They ended up extending the engine warranty for parts that were affected by oil sludge. But they had a stipulation – they lowered the oil change interval and the vehicle owner had to provide proof of oil changes at the new lower interval to keep the extended warranty.