Smooth Shifting in Kissimmee Florida: Transmission Service
Posted October 25, 2011 11:47 AM
So you have some exciting plans for the Florida weekend. You’re going to take some of your Kissimmee, Florida 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 Automobile maintenance is up to date.
Think about it – heavy traffic on the way out of Kissimmee. There’s hilly terrain as you get to the lake. Some dirt roads – and its going to be pretty hot in Kissimmee 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 Florida 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 Don's Complete Auto Service 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 Kissimmee, Florida 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 Kissimmee, Florida 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 Kissimmee, Florida service technician at Don's Complete Auto Service will check your belts and hoses and let you know if your brakes are in good shape.
Now, don’t forget the sunscreen.
Posted in the Transmission category
Maintaining Your Older Car In Kissimmee Florida
Posted October 18, 2011 12:43 PM
The government mandates a lot of equipment on cars in Kissimmee Florida: emission devices and control computers, safety equipment like airbags and crash worthiness requirements. All of this is great for the Kissimmee Florida motoring public, but it does add quite a bit to the price of a new car.
Because new cars are more expensive, people in the Saint Cloud area are driving their old cars longer. The average car is now over nine years old. Two thirds of vehicles on the road in Saint Cloud have more than 75,000 miles. As cars age, their performance drops, they have difficulty idling for long periods and are more sensitive to weather extremes. Fortunately today's cars are up to the challenge – but they need a little help to keep on goin'.
Some owner's manuals don't specify service requirements at higher mileage. That doesn't mean it doesn't have to be done. In fact, it's more important than ever to stay on top of routine maintenance for cars with more than 75,000 miles.
First, just extend regular service intervals out: for instance a service that's recommended every 15,000 miles should be performed at 15,000, 30,000, 45,000 and 60,000 miles, and so on. Because of the additional stress older engines experience, the severe service maintenance schedule is more appropriate than the regular schedule – ask your service advisor. Watch for leaks – seals and gaskets dry out over time and don't hold the fluids as well as they used to.
It's also time to make sure you have a good Kissimmee Florida technician. There are some services and replacements that are scheduled after you put on some clicks, like timing belts, valve train adjustments, suspension, anti-lock brake service, air bags, etc. And unexpected repairs down the road are just par for the course. Check for unusual sounds, smells or the way your car feels. These could be hints that trouble's brewing. Better to catch it early before it turns into a costly repair.
And a regular wash and wax will help maintain your car's appearance. One of the things you can do to really help your high mileage vehicle is to begin using high mileage formulation fluids. There are special engine oils, coolants, and transmission and power steering fluids that are formulated for cars that have a few clicks on the old odometer.
High mileage oil is designed to condition seals and gaskets, reduce wear and avoid premature burn off. Older engines are dirtier inside – and dirty engines contaminate their oil faster. High mileage oil has special additives that clean the engine, removing sludge deposits over time. The result is less stress on the engine, better fuel economy and excellent wear protection.
Studies have even shown that using high mileage fluids early will actually prevent some of the problems of high mileage vehicles. So once you hit around 50,000 miles, consider stepping up to high mileage formulations. High mileage fluids cost a bit more than standard fluids because of the additional additives, but they can be worth their weight in gold in terms of preventing repair costs down the road. It does cost more to properly maintain a higher mileage vehicle – but it's way cheaper than a new car payment!
Posted in the Maintenance category
Lease verses Buy
Posted October 13, 2011 11:56 AM
Lease? Or buy? It's always a tough question for residents in the Orlando area. But here are a few ideas that'll make the choice more clear.
Either option gives you a choice of how you might finance your car. If you buy, you'll pay the full cost of the car, with maybe an initial down payment, then monthly payments on the balance that pays down the loan principal, and the finance charge.
If you lease, you're financing the portion of the cost of the car that's used up during the term of the lease. When the lease is up, you return the car to your local Orlando area dealership. You'll pay some money upfront; fees, security deposit, first month's payment and maybe a capital reduction. The month payments include a depreciation cost and a finance charge.
So how do you decide?
First, how big a down payment can you make? A lease would require a smaller down.
How much monthly payment can you afford? Again, lease payments will be much lower for any given down payment.
A lease needs you to have better credit, so that's a factor.
How long will you keep the car? If you tend to keep your cars around for a while, buying is cheaper. But just two or three years? Then leasing is the way to go.
If your car might suffer a ding or two, like, say a work truck would, then buying's better. The leasing company will want their merchandise back at the lease end in tip top shape, and if repairs are needed, you'll pay.
How many miles do you drive in and around the Orlando area? Important to consider because leases have a mileage limit, and if you go over, you pay a hefty charge per mile when the lease is up. So high mileage means a buy.
Will the car be used for business? Check with your accountant, but both financing options have different tax benefits, depending on your circumstances.
Over the short term, leasing is much cheaper. Medium term, leasing and buying costs are about the same. Over the long haul, leasing is always costs more.
Leases may sound a bit complicated, and the typical lease decision weighs more on the monthly payment, rather than price. So sometimes leasers may pay on a higher purchase price than a buyer would.
Here is a tip: If a salesman asks if you'll be leasing or buying, say you're not sure yet. Make your best deal, then look at financing options.
Here's another: With a buy or a lease, if you total the car, you'll owe the full amount of the loan, or the balance of the lease payments, and usually, it's less than the car's fair market value – and that's all your insurance company will pay. But ask your agent about gap insurance, which pays the difference between fair market value and what you owe. Big consideration for a lease.
Remember, you have to return your leased vehicle in excellent condition, and may need to do all manufacturer's recommended service and maintenance, or face penalties. So see your local Orlando service center on a regular basis, get the required work done and save the service records. It's well worth it.
Posted in the Automotive News category
Fall and Spring Checkup In Kissimmee
Posted October 7, 2011 11:00 AM
When I was a kid in Kissimmee, my dad always made sure he took the cars in for Spring and Fall checkups. I was telling a friend that it's about time to get into Don's Complete Auto Service for my checkup and he said that he read on the internet that modern cars don't need seasonal service.
My friend is (technically) right about some things, but from a practical standpoint, a seasonal check up still makes sense.
Back when my dad was teaching me about how to take care of the family Automobile, most cars used a different weight of oil in the winter and in the summer. But most of today's modern engines run the same oil year round. High-tech engines and high-tech motor oils are better able to handle the seasonal changes.
Your owner's manual or Kissimmee service advisor at Don's Complete Auto Service can tell you the right oil to use.
Of course, you're concerned about the coolant or antifreeze. You don't want to overheat in the Florida summer or freeze up in the winter. Your engine cooling system protects against both of these things. And modern coolant, or as it's sometimes called; 'antifreeze', is up to doing both very well. It's designed to last for more miles than most people drive in a year or two.
So how does a Spring and Fall check-up fit in? Let's start with Spring. Summer is coming. That means heat, more miles driven and road trips. It just makes sense to check your fluid levels and do a visual inspection to see that everything is up to snuff.
You may not be scheduled to drain and replace the coolant for some time, but you need to make sure you have enough coolant, and that you don't have any leaks or hoses that are about to fail.
That's pretty practical; a check-up to see if there are any problems or emerging conditions that could later become a problem, like a cracked belt.
And the same principle applies for getting ready for winter. Cold weather means lots of failed batteries. It takes more power to crank up a cold engine, and cold also decreases the available cranking power the battery has available.
So a battery test in the Fall could tell you if you've got a battery that is running on its last legs. And of course, if you live where winter temperatures get below 45 degrees or you have ice and snow, you'll want to consider changing to winter tires.
And odds are that you have one or more routine services that are due anyway. Like a transmission service, brake or power steering fluid, differential service – stuff like that. Are your wiper blades still good? Are your headlamps starting to dim?
So Spring and Fall: change your clocks, replace the batteries in your smoke detectors – and get a check-up for your cars.
See, dad was right again.
Come and see us at Don's Complete Auto Service for your Spring and Fall automotive checkup. Don's Complete Auto Service 508 E. Vine Street Kissimmee, Florida 34744 407-847-3427