Bad Habits

When it comes to your car’s “health”, you may be have some bad habits that seem perfectly safe (and smart), but can actually hurt your car in the long run.

Most vehicles are designed to have long lifespans when properly taken care of. But sometimes you may not even be aware that what you’re doing may actually be hurting your car, reducing its lifespan and decreasing its value.

Carrying too much weight.

Just like carrying extra weight around the midsection is bad for your health, hauling too much weight in your car is bad for its suspension, braking and exhaust systems. Having too much weight in your car can put unnecessary stress on some of its critical systems, leading to premature wear. Too much weight makes your engine work harder than it should.

What you can do: Take a look at what’s in your car. Can you remove some of it? Does that cargo carrier really need to stay on your car on a day-to-day basis, or can it be removed until needed? If there are items that can be removed to decrease the weight (and stress) on your car, do it now.

Ignoring a tiny chip in the windshield. 

You notice a tiny, speck-like chip in the corner of your windshield. It’s not in your line of sight, so it’s no big deal to ignore it. Right? Wrong. That tiny speck can easily turn into a giant crack – and the need for a full windshield replacement – if it’s ignored. Not to mention the cost of repairing a small windshield chip is usually much lower than the cost to replace an entire windshield.

What you can do: Get the chip repaired immediately.

Never replacing your tires. 

Keeping an eye on your tires is critical to the health of your car. But don’t just look at your tire tread – also pay attention to your car’s tire pressure. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that underinflated tires are up to 25 percent more likely to overheat, fail and cause an accident. Tire tread is also important, since not having enough tread can cause skidding, shaky steering and vibrations. Even if your tires look fine to the naked eye, it doesn’t mean they are.

What you can do: Check your tire pressure and tread depth every so often. You can use a penny to check depth by inserting the ‘heads’ side down into the tread. If the entire head is visible, you don’t have enough tread. A good rule of thumb is keeping your tires at 2/32” tread depth minimum.

Keeping your car in a heated garage. 

You’d think that keeping your vehicle toasty warm during the cold winters is a good thing – and it is for your car’s engine. But not so much for your vehicle’s exterior. When you park your snow or ice-covered car in a warm garage, the heat melts the fluids, which mix with salt from the roads. This combination then sits in puddles on or near your car, and this increases risk of oxidation (rusting).

What you can do: Instead of keeping your car in a heated garage, opt for a non-temperature controlled garage or covered space. Your vehicle will still be protected from harsh winter winds and snow, but it won’t succumb to melting salt, ice and rust.

Not doing research before an auto repair. 

Your car’s maintenance is so much like the maintenance of your own health – it’s always smart to be informed. If you have no idea what’s going on with your car, how do you know how serious the repair will be? You also won’t know how long the repair will take or how much the bill will be. Being proactive with your car’s “health” is the best way to take care of it.

What you can do: Do your own research about symptoms of problems before you visit an auto mechanic. This way you’re somewhat prepared for the diagnosis and repair plan, you’re not caught off guard and most importantly, you’re not taken advantage of. Studies have shown that some auto mechanics take advantage of ignorance by charging more than they would for a more educated customer.

Your car’s health is similar to your own – so much so that you might be committing a few bad habits that you think are fine. The first step is to become educated, and the next is to scratch those old bad habits by forming new, better ones. Your car’s lifespan will surely benefit from the changes.

EagleFor all of your automotive repair & maintenance need in the Richardson area, turn to “The One You Can Trust”, Eagle Transmission!

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Fall Car Care

Taking a few simple steps now can save you the headaches and cost of an emergency breakdown later. Whether you do it yourself or take your car to a professional service technician, here are four proactive steps to take this fall to make sure your car is ready for winter driving.

  1. Battery – Keep the battery connections clean, tight and corrosion-free. Cold weather is hard on batteries, so it’s wise to check the battery and charging system. Because batteries don’t always give warning signs before they fail, it is advisable to replace batteries that are more than three years old.
  2. Heater, Defrosters and Wiper Blades – Check that the heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system are working properly as heating and cooling performance is critical for interior comfort and for safety reasons, such as defrosting. Fall is also a great time to check your air filters. Wiper blades that are torn, cracked or don’t properly clean your windshield should be replaced. As a general rule, wiper blades should be replaced every six months. When changing the blades, be sure to also check the fluid level in the windshield washer reservoir.
  3. Tires – Check the tires, including the tire pressure and tread depth. Uneven wear indicates a need for wheel alignment. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots. If snow and ice are a problem in your area, consider special tires designed to grip slick roads. During winter, tire pressure should be checked weekly as tires lose pressure when temperatures drop.
  4. Brakes – Have the brake system checked, including brake linings, rotors and drums. Brakes are critical to vehicle safety and particularly important when driving on icy or snow-covered roads.

Getting your vehicle ready for winter while temperatures are still mild is a proactive approach to preventive maintenance that helps ensure safety, reliability and fewer unexpected repairs when severe winter weather strikes.

New at manual transmission -Tips to get best fuel efficiency

The Basics

Manual-TransmissionYou would have already learned how to listen to the engine when it needs to down shift or up shift when needed. Or, you may have also been taught at what RPM (Revolutions Per Minute) in your Tachometer says you need to shift to another gear. With the RPM, it is not necessary to wait until its upper or lower limits is reached. You will know from the sound and ‘feel’ of the car when it needs to be shifted to another gear. Normally, the 1st and 2nd gears are used for uphill and downhill drives. For uphill, the engine runs faster to negotiate the climb but depends on the gradient or steepness of the climb. For downhill, the engine controls the speed with what is called ‘engine brakes’ so you won’t need to apply on the brakes too frequently. You should also get the ‘feel’ of the car on both situations. What you feel and sense with the car is important. Not all cars with manual transmission have exactly the same response because of differences in power and gear ratios. Pickups and trucks have lower gear ratios and low-speed differentials. Meaning they are more equipped for their purpose. SUVs will have something similar to features of the drivetrain.

Practice Makes Perfect

Here are some pointers or guidelines that would help save on fuel or maximize economy in driving with Manual Transmission:

  1. Almost all cars or vehicles are now start and drive. No unnecessary warming or idling of the engine first.
  2. Avoid jump starts and sudden braking or stops.
  3. Put gear in neutral when in traffic stops or stop lights.
  4. Learn how to balance well the use of clutch and accelerator to prevent sudden jerks when shifting.
  5. Always use the highest possible gear under normal speed under normal weather and road conditions.
  6. Avoid using clutch and accelerator balance when stopping during an uphill climb. This uses up more gasoline and wears away clutch lining faster. (The clutch under strain could even give unpleasant smell or just give up)
  7. Turn off air-conditioning as much as possible especially if heat is bearable.
  8. When speeding up or slowing down is necessary, try to always do it very gently, except for emergency situations.
  9. Don’t race or rev up the engine while on idle or standstill.
  10. Apply gentle pressure on brakes or several light ‘taps’ of the foot when slowing down and shift to the next lower gear, if called for.
  11. If possible, drive the car only on two preferred gears under road conditions it may be needed.
  12. Don’t gun or rev the engine before shutting it down.

With the cost of fuel now, it may be impracticable to practice on your car. For practicing on the pedals and shifting, I used to do this when I was still learning to drive. Using three inverted ‘flip-flops’, I made them as the pedals of the car. An imaginary floor gearshifter and steering works with it. I replicated engine sounds with my ‘hum’ and coordinated it with the correct pedals to step on or release them.

To service or not to service?

Discover the “real” cost of a new car and you’ll see the value in having your current car expertly repaired at EAGLE!
Does your vehicle require a transmission or major repair? At this time, some customers begin to think, “This car’s not worth it, I’ll just buy a new one.” If you’re like one of these customers, it’s important to understand the true costs of buying a new vehicle (even a used vehicle) before going down that path. You’ll see that a guaranteed rebuilt transmission in your current vehicle makes a lot more sense (and saves a lot more dollars).

True costs of a new car According to the US Department of Energy the average new car price in 2006 was over $20,000. Of course, prices for each vary by make, model, geography, and other factors. But the price difference goes much deeper than that. Let’s factor in the other costs associated with that new car.
The biggest factor: depreciation. Vehicles lose most of their value during the first five years of ownership, and this depreciation is the major cost of owning a new one. Buy a new vehicle and you can look forward to losing thousands of dollars as soon as you drive it off the dealer’s lot. And don’t take our word for it, search on-line and research the cost of a new vehicle. Then research the resale value of that same vehicle with 20 miles on it. For example a 2008 Ford Taurus SEL sedan has an MSRP of $24,435 (and a new car Blue Book value of $23,702) according to Kelley Blue Book. Pull it off the lot. Drive home and back. Put 20 miles on it and that car, according to Kelley Blue Book, has a suggested retail value of $20,485. Ouch!

How about interest? You’re most likely not going to plunk down over $20,000 in cash for that new car. That means FINANCING. Let’s say you were able to get 6% on a 60 month loan (AND that’s a big IF with the current credit situation). On that $20,000 car you’re paying $3,944 per year in interest or almost $20,000 over the course of the loan. But that’s certainly not all.

The insurance difference on a new vehicle versus a similar make/model vehicle that may be seven years old with age-recommended deductibles and coverage can average over $400 per year on the conservative side. Over the course of that five-year loan, you’re now talking an additional $2,000.

Sure with a used car there may be additional maintenance required, but a new car still requires many of the same maintenance services over the course of five years. Brakes. Tires. Oil changes and scheduled maintenance. Whether new car or old those expenses are constant. Let’s compare the costs side-by side:

* Based on a $20,000 domestic vehicle with standard 15% down payment and interest rate of 6% over 60 month loan. Insurance based on 30-year-old driver, using vehicle for commuting to work approximately 20 miles each way on 2008 versus 2001 Ford Taurus. Collision and deductibles set at recommended levels for car age. Rebuilt transmission includes basic 12 year/ 12,000 mile warranty. Maintenance & repairs estimated on US average of $600 per year with two additional major $1000 repairs added to older vehicle. Taxes based on 6%. All calculations for pricing, insurance, taxes, et al throughout this guide were based on using Pennsylvania data.

Don’t forget the taxes on purchasing that new vehicle and keep in mind that annual registration and license fees may be lower on your old car, depending upon the state where you live.

But hold on, you’ll probably want to trade-in that car whose transmission you don’t want to fix for that new car, right? The difference between trade-in values of a used vehicle listed in “Good” condition versus one in “Poor” condition is impossible to calculate since no on-line or published resource will provide an estimate on the value of a vehicle in “Poor” condition – such as one that needs a new transmission. On appraisal, the dealer’s service manager will simply estimate the cost of replacing the transmission for that vehicle in order to move the vehicle into the “Good” category and will deduct the cost of that repair from the value of the trade-in. In other words, you’ll pay for the cost of the transmission repair anyway on trade.

Of course, you may decide on a used vehicle. While the costs of ownership due to depreciation are lower, there is still a big difference in costs between even buying a used vehicle versus repairing your current vehicle. The newer the vehicle, the more expensive and the more likely you will need to finance that vehicle and pay interest. An older vehicle? And you may be buying someone else’s headaches. By keeping your vehicle and adding an EAGLE lifetime guaranteed rebuilt transmission, you know the service history of the vehicle and know that you’re protected from additional costs of any future transmission problems for as long as you own that vehicle.

Taken together, the savings from keeping your current car with an EAGLE guaranteed transmission will easily outweigh the costs of that new one.

3 Year Unlimited Warranty

Eagle Transmission of Richardson offers a 3 year unlimited mileage warranty which is the best in the transmission rebuild industry! The warranty coverage includes all of the internal components & labor of your transmission rebuild worry and hassle free. This is a premium service which is extended to major overhauls as a value added service. The extra peace of mind may be more affordable than you may think. In addition; We offer Free Towing, Free Initial Diagnostics ($250 Value), and 3 days of Rental Car. Call for complete details.

10 Ways to Prolong the Life of Your Transmission

checking-transmission-fluid-large1. Check transmission fluid regularly and properly. (See Owner’s Manual for Details)

2. Check transmission fluid after running hot. Stop and go traffic, hilly terrain, hot weather, or towing can build up excess transmission heat causing fluid to be lost, damaged, or both. Check it no later than your next stop for gasoline.

3. Install an external cooler in high stress conditions. Towing a trailer, hauling heavy loads, or being stuck in traffic often creates excessive transmission heat. An external cooler can help to prolong the life of your transmission by reducing heat and friction.

4. Change transmission fluid more often in high stress conditions. Transmission fluid cools, cleans, and lubricates the internal transmission parts while providing the hydraulic pressure to make all of the components work together. When the fluid loses its ability to perform those tasks efficiently trouble can’t be far away. Any of the conditions in items 2 & 3 above will shorten the effective life of transmission fluid. In those cases, change the fluid a minimum of twice a year (unless otherwise specified in the owners manual).

5. Check any malfunctions promptly. Repair bills tend to rise in proportion to mileage driven after the first signs of trouble. The longer you drive with a malfunctioning transmission, the more damage you may cause, and the more money it may cost you.

6. Have the transmission linkage and other adjustments checked periodically. Especially after the vehicle has been in an accident or has had any major engine work performed.

7. Keep your engine properly tuned. A poor running engine can, at times, display symptoms similar to a transmission problem.

8. Have other drive train components that may affect transmission function checked regularly. Drive shafts and their universal joints, drive axles and their constant velocity joints, engine flywheels or flex plates, computer system and sensors, radiator and cooling lines to the transmission, engine and transmission mountings can cause problems.

9. Have your vehicle’s cooling system checked twice a year for leaks, proper coolant level and strength. Antifreeze can deteriorate over time causing it to become ineffective creating overheating or freeze-up conditions.

10. Take your vehicle for a complete physical check up at least once a year. This should include all safety components such as lights, brakes and steering. Remember that a poor running engine or certain transmission problems can be a safety hazard.

10 Things Not To Do When You Think You Have a Transmission Problem

check_engine

1. Don’t Let Your Brother-In-Law (or any other unqualified person) Try To Fix It In Their Driveway.
They may do more harm than good and cost you more in the long run.

2. Don’t Have Anyone Install A Used Transmission From A Junkyard Or Out Of Another Vehicle That Has Not Been Evaluated By A Professional.
Transmission failure is partially a function of age and mileage. There is no way to tell if that used transmission has been abused or how many miles it really has on it. In addition, it may not be an exact match with yours leading to all types of control problems especially with today’s sophisticated electronic transmissions. How Many Times Would You Want To Pay Someone To Install One Of These Before Finding One That Will Last?

3. Don’t Be Misled By Terminology.
Customers are many times led to believe that they are purchasing a “NEW” transmission when, in reality, it is either remanufactured, rebuilt, reconditioned, or repaired. While the transmission may be new to their vehicle it is, in most cases, not new. Brand new transmissions would cost outrageous amounts of money and are hardly ever installed by anyone, even new car dealers.

4. Don’t Go Back To The New Car Dealer unless the vehicle is under the manufacturer’s original warranty.
Eagle Transmission Richardson
can provide service under most “Extended Warranty Plans”. They can usually perform necessary repairs and services more quickly and with the peace of mind in knowing the work is being done by professionals who specialize in transmissions.

5. Don’t allow anyone to install a remanufactured, rebuilt, reconditioned, or repaired transmission in your vehicle without first performing diagnostic checks to determine if such an extensive operation is even necessary.

6. Don’t Shop For Prices Over The Phone.
Many customers ask “How much for a transmission?” At that point most don’t even know if they need one. Would you want to pay for a transmission you don’t need? Prices quoted over the phone may be “low ball” amounts just to get you to come in, or they may not include everything you need, leading to unhappy surprises later on.

7. Don’t Trade Your Car In Just Because It Has A Transmission Problem.
If the car is in good condition having the transmission repaired can be a much more cost effective solution than committing to the long-term investment in a replacement vehicle. After all, you know what you have now; you don’t always know what you’re going to get. Even if you decide to trade it in at a later date, a car with a properly functioning transmission will bring a lot more than one that has a problem. So the investment you make to repair it can easily bring you a good return.

8. Don’t Add Store Bought Transmission Fluid Additives.
In many cases they do more harm than good. Always check with a transmission Professional before adding anything.

9. Don’t Let General Repair Mechanics Experiment With Your Transmission.
Only Certified Transmission Technicians will have the equipment and capability to diagnose and repair your transmission properly the first time. A good general repair mechanic will recommend that you see a transmission professional.

10. Don’t Bring Your Transmission Problem To A “Fly By Night” Repair Shop.
Get references. Check with Consumer Affairs and The Better Business Bureau. If you want to be assured of accurate diagnosis and top quality service bring it to a name you know and can trust, Eagle Transmission Richardson
.