Taking Care of Your Automatic Transmission

BMW Repair
admin 2018-12-24

 

 

Automatic transmissions are famously complex, and mysterious to many. For simple to understand parts of your car, you may feel more at ease with how to care for them, because you know how they work. Admittedly, auto transmission repair for automatic cars is definitely something for the experts to handle. But caring for your automatic transmission and preventing predictable damage is completely within reach of any car owner.

Do these simple things to keep your automatic transmission running smoothly:

 

Check Your Transmission Fluid

On many vehicles checking the transmission fluid is easy, and can be done during the same stop as you check your oil. Unlike oil, you’ll want to leave you engine idling while you check this. Pull out the transmission fluid dipstick, wipe it off, and put it back. Wait a few beats before pulling it out and taking a reading. There will be markings on the dipstick for max and minimum levels. If it’s low, you may have a leak.

Your transmission fluid be bright red, clear, and have a sweet smell. If it smells fishy, is murky, or is a dark color, take it to an auto transmission repair specialist.

 

Use The Recommended Transmission Fluid

Automatic Transmission Fluid is sometimes referred to as “ATF”. You can find what ATF is recommended in the user’s manual for your vehicle. If you’re having trouble finding the original recommendation or believe there’s a reason it may be inaccurate (like your transmission has been replaced), ask your auto transmission repair specialist. Be consistent, and stick with the recommended type.

 

Keep Your Cooling System in Good Shape

Your cooling system is responsible for keeping your engine cool, but also your transmission fluid, which is pumped through your gear box. Long before your engine overheats, you can have scalding transmission fluid damaging your transmission. So take care of your cooling system so it’s in optimal shape, not just working acceptably to avoid an overheating engine.

 

Have Your Transmission Fluid Flushed Annually

Put having your transmission fluid flushed on the list of things you do once a year. A flush is not the same as having your fluid changed, and should be done by a professional. The more driving you do, the more important this is. If your vehicle has as transmission filter, have it changed at every flush.

 

Never Move Between Forward and Reverse While Moving

It can feel cool and slick to put it in reverse while you’re still rolling forward, huh? Like you smoothly skipped a step and saved time? Or you coaxed your car into doing something difficult? Well all you’re really doing is hurting yourself in the long run. This is puts a serious strain on your transmision and can set you up for big trouble.

Let Your Car Warm Up

This is especially relevant during cold weather, but still something worth minding year round. Turn on your car and wait a minute or two before driving. Your transmission will thank you for it.

If you have any concerns about your car’s health or think you may need auto transmission repair, contact Lafayette German Car Repair today. We can inspect and remedy any problems your car may have.

 

3 Simple Auto Tasks Everyone Should Do

Vehicle Maintenance
admin 2018-11-20

 

 

There are some simple auto tasks every car owner should do. They’re not complex, and they hold great value for you, as the caretaker of your car.

Check Your Oil

Checking your oil is not optional, every vehicle uses oil, and your oil level should be monitored. Although you have a gauge that tells you if your oil is low, you should still check it weekly.

To check your oil:

-Stop the car on level ground a wait a few minutes to let the oil settle. While you wait you can grab a rag, open the hood, and maybe even grab a funnel and some oil incase you need it.

-Look for the dipstick, which has a handle, usually with a ring for your finger, and should be relatively near your oil cap.

-Pull out the dipstick and wipe it clean with a rag. Do not use a paper towel, as this can add paper residue that you don’t want in there.

-Put the dipstick right back where you got it and wait a few seconds.

-Pull it out again and look to see where the liquid level is. It should be within the two marks that designate minimum and maximum oil.

-If the oil is low, add some. The difference between the minimum and the maximum level is usually an entire quart, which is the size of most containers of oil sold.

 

top off fluids, windshield washer fluid, auto tasks
The lids to your various fluids should be clearly labeled, with either symbols, words, or both.

Top off Your Fluids

There are various fluids under the hood that your car needs. You should make sure coolant (aka antifreeze), windshield wiper fluid, power steering fluid, and brake fluid. If you can check your own transmission fluid, do that too, although that one may require a mechanic. With windshield wiper fluid excluded, it’s extremely important to make sure the fluids you use are the right ones for your vehicle. Do not just grab what’s easily available. Most of these reservoirs should be easy to find under your hood by just looking around and checking out what symbols you find.

 

fill your tires, car maintenance, auto repair, auto tasks
The maximum PSI for your tires should be clearly written on the sidewalls.

Check Tire Pressure/Fill Tires

You can check your tire pressure and fill them up if needed at almost any gas station, and certainly at truck stops. Do this monthly. The important thing to know is what pressure your tires should be inflated to. Luckily your tire will have that written right on the side of it! The number you need is PSI, or pounds per square inch. The maximum PSI will be listed, so a little below it is okay (great it low-traction weather), but above it would be dangerous. Overfilling is a no-no.

The air compressor tool will fit right onto the valve stems that come out of either your wheel well or through the hubcap. Push the compressor head directly into the valve (with valve cap removed) with some force, and you may hear air whooshing by. When it’s filling you should be able to hear the movement of air inside the hose, but not feel any wind or hear what sounds like a leak. The compressor should have a gauge built in that tells you what PSI your tires are at.

 

Then there are the hard auto tasks

Take good care of your vehicle with these simple auto tasks regularly, and it’ll serve you well. Clean, plentiful engine oil, all the fluids you might need, and properly filled tires can actually prevent or delay a lot of automotive problems. In the event a larger issue comes your way, come see us at Lafayette German Car Repair, whether your car is German or not. We can pretty much fix anything.

Are Land Rover Repairs Costly?

Automotive Maintenance
admin 2018-10-20

 

 

Land Rovers are increasingly popular, with their uniquely tough and luxurious feel. Many people assume that a premium vehicle like this will require less maintenance than a cheap ride, but that’s not necessarily true.

In fact, Land Rovers were recently ranked as 15th most expensive can to maintain on a list of 30 car brands, with an estimated $8,800 in maintenance over 10 years. Because it’s a luxury vehicle, you can expect to pay more for maintenance and repairs. Not because of mark-up, but because Land Rovers are full of features and complex systems, and they can be in need of skilled care. They also use uncommon parts that your mechanic may have to get from a dealer.

Land Rovers and Range Rovers don’t have to be serviced at a dealership because of their special needs. Here at Lafayette German Car Repair, we have all the proper skills, diagnostic and service equipment to take proper care of your Rover.

Here are some service areas where Land Rovers can be special:

Engines

In the mid and late ’90’s, there were numerous engine problems with Land Rover’s V8 engines. These engines have cylinder liners that sometimes fail. Not often, but when they do- you have to replace the whole engine. They can’t be readily machined like a lot of standard V8 engines can. Then, in the early 2000’s Range Rovers tried a BMW V8 engine in some models. Unfortunately, those engines don’t age really well, and develop expensive oil leaks and coolant leaks. Today’s Land Rover engines are much better, but people are still driving vehicles with these older engines today.

Air suspension

Land Rovers have great suspension, allowing drivers to raise and lower the vehicle to match the terrain. Each corner of the vehicle has sensors, and there’s an air bag in each corner, which acts like a giant spring. Eventually the air bags leak, and the air compressors that fill the bags will fail for various reasons. The air compressors are in a vulnerable spot underneath the vehicle, and eventually suffer the effects of exposure, despite being protected by a weather-resistant box. You can expect this system to fail after 6 to 10 years, leaving the Land or Range Rover awkwardly sagging to one side. Many owners replace the air suspension with traditional coil springs after that. Whether you decide to repair the air suspension or replace it, your Land Rover still has many years left in it.

Transmission

For an average vehicle’s transmission service, we normally we take the pan off, clean it, put a gasket on, put a filter in and flush it. But with the LR3, that’ can’t be done. The transmission pan is a complete assembly of pan, gasket and filter, which costs hundreds of dollars to buy as a complete piece. Plus, it wasn’t designed to be removed easily, so it involves plenty of labor. This makes  transmission service not inexpensive, but still important to do every 6 years or 170,000 miles.

Land Rover Freelander

The Freelanders sold in North America use a different engine than the European version, with it’s uncommonly designed V8. This engine uses cylinder liners held in place with an adhesive. Within about five years the liner fails, or the glue fails, and the cylinder liner starts flopping around. That causes the head gasket to leak. Nobody can rebuild it, nobody can fix it, and a new engine from Land Rover is the only solution. These can rarely be found used, so it usually means buying a brand new engine.

Land Rovers are complex, fully-featured, luxurious and rugged vehicles. They have a lot of intricate and unique systems that offer their owners amazing utility. But keeping all that amazing technology in working order is important, and not effortless or cheap. For all your Land Rover needs, contact Lafayette German Car Repair. We know what to do, and we do it at a fair price.

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