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  • Your Vehicle Is NOT Maintenance Free, MINNEAPOLIS Car Owners

    Aug 20, 2017

    A generation ago, MINNEAPOLIS drivers seemed to be more inclined to keep their vehicle's preventive maintenance on schedule. One reason for this may be that vehicles back then were a lot less reliable than they are today. Taking your vehicle in to your MINNEAPOLIS shop every year or two for repairs seemed to be a good reminder to keep the oil changed.

    For example, almost everyone in MINNEAPOLIS used to take their vehicles in for regular tune-ups. Vehicles had mechanical ignition systems, which meant ignition points, spark plugs and coils had to be replaced and the timing adjusted every few years. As long as the vehicle was in for a tune-up at Affordable Transmissions, the vehicle was inspected and you took care of any needed repairs at the same time.

    Today's engines have electronic ignition systems and engine control computers. Spark plugs can last for up to 100,000 miles/160,000 km. Vehicle reliability has vastly improved in the last few decades, and surveys report fewer problems with new vehicles than ever before. That also means that our vehicles don't experience a huge performance drop when they're ready for some care. But it doesn't mean that they don't need it.

    Modern MINNEAPOLIS drivers need to rely on calendars and mileage intervals to know when to schedule maintenance. Owner's manuals contain recommendations on when different types of maintenance should be performed. Also, Affordable Transmissions in MINNEAPOLIS can provide advice about auto maintenance schedules. At Affordable Transmissions in MINNEAPOLIS, we know that benefits of staying on top of preventive maintenance are substantial. First, you'll get better engine performance and fuel economy. Those two things alone return the cost of preventive maintenance: in fuel savings and safety. Also, routine maintenance has been proven to prevent major car repairs later on. Again, the cost savings can be significant. As the old saying goes, “Spend a penny, save a dime.”

    Modern vehicle engines may be more durable and reliable than their predecessors, but they're more sophisticated and complex as well. For this reason, preventive maintenance today is even more critical than the old tune-up. Modern engine systems have a lot of parts that have to stay lubricated. These parts can be made of aluminum, plastic or steel. Special additives in lubricants are required to keep each of these materials from breaking down or corroding. Over time, these additives are depleted, even if the vehicle isn't driven. This makes fluid changes a critical part of scheduled maintenance if you want to keep your vehicle on the road.

    As an example, coolant fluid in your engine is a sophisticated mix that not only keeps your vehicle engine cool but also protects and maintains its components. However, this fluid gradually gets contaminated and anti-corrosion additives are depleted. It can become corrosive and damage the vehicle's engine parts it was designed to protect. It can eat holes in your radiator and other engine parts. Changing the coolant could have prevented this damage, and it's a whole lot easier and cheaper than replacing a radiator.

    Timely oil changes are more critical for MINNEAPOLIS drivers than they used to be. Skipping just one oil change can start the build-up of oil sludge in your engine. Sludge can clog small engine passages, which cuts off the supply of lubricant to engine parts. Just this small bit of sludge can reduce the life expectancy of your engine. If the build-up continues, it could lead to engine failure within two or three years.

    One word of warning to anyone in MINNEAPOLIS who purchases used vehicles: take care when buying a leased vehicle. MINNEAPOLIS folks who lease vehicles only intend to drive them for two or three years, generally the years when the vehicle is least likely to experience any problems. One of the reasons people lease vehicles is that they don't want to be bothered with maintenance or vehicle care. Before buying a pre-leased vehicle, be sure to inspect it for signs of damage that result from lack of proper care.

    We can all be grateful for the improved reliability of our modern vehicles. With proper maintenance and care, we can expect them to last longer, perform better, get better fuel economy and require fewer repairs than ever before. We just have to be more conscientious about scheduling time for their care.

    Give us a call or send us an email for more helpful tips.

    Affordable Transmissions
    6317 WELCOME AVE N STE 1
    MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55429
    (763) 533-1169

     

     




    Fall and Spring Inspection at Affordable Transmissions

    Aug 6, 2017

    Good vehicle care for us MINNEAPOLIS residents has always meant taking our vehicles in every spring and fall for a check-up. Vehicles needed routine maintenance to prepare them for the changes in weather. Today's vehicles aren't quite as sensitive to seasonal changes. Older vehicles required different weights of oil for summer and winter. But today's engines can run on the same oil all year. Both the engines and the oils have been improved.

    Antifreeze—or coolant as it's also called—protects the engine from both freezing and hot temperatures and thus is required by the engine year-round. Modern coolants don't have to be changed as often as they did in the past, but your owner's manual has a recommendation for when it should be replaced to extend cooling system life.

    Getting a spring and fall checkup at Affordable Transmissions in MINNEAPOLIS for your vehicle is still good auto advice.

    First of all, there is a lot of preventive auto maintenance involved in properly caring for a vehicle. Dropping your vehicle off twice a year at Affordable Transmissions for a quick inspection and routine maintenance is still part of good vehicle care. The changes in the MN seasons can provide a good reminder that it's time to get the vehicle serviced, just as they remind us that it's time to take care of the furnace or air conditioner, purchase school clothes or bathing suits, drag out or put away the coats and boots.

    There are other advantages to spring and fall maintenance for MINNEAPOLIS residents. Springtime signals the advent of warmer weather. Although modern coolant is designed to last longer than one season, it's a good idea to check it regularly to ensure you have enough. While you're at it, your vehicle should also be checked for leaks and worn hoses in the cooling system.

    Summer is the time when most of us MINNEAPOLIS residents take vacations or go on road trips. So a spring check-up for our vehicles can lead to a stress-free summer and better memories on the road.

    Fall, of course, signals the advent of colder weather in the MINNEAPOLIS area. This is a good time for a routine battery check. The hot weather of summer takes a toll on battery life – then comes winter. Cranking up a cold engine takes a lot more battery power than starting a warm one. So before that cold weather hits, it's a good idea to check your battery and replace it if necessary. But your tires aren't completely adapted to changing weather conditions. If you live where temperatures drop below 45°F (7°C) in the winter, or if your commute frequently takes you through snow or ice, you may want to consider changing to winter tires in the fall.

    A fall check-up at Affordable Transmissions, just like a spring check-up, can keep you on the road no matter what MN weather brings. Consider how much a worry-free summer vacation and a less stressful MINNEAPOLIS winter commute are worth to you. Then, spring and fall, reset your clocks, change the batteries in your smoke detectors and take your vehicle in for a check-up.

    Affordable Transmissions
    6317 WELCOME AVE N STE 1
    MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55429
    (763) 533-1169




    Following Recommended Intervals for Your vehicle

    Jun 20, 2017

    If you're reading this article in MINNEAPOLIS, MN, then you probably care about your vehicle and how it runs. Even though you care, there is still that moment of dread when your professional service advisor at Affordable Transmissions tells you the manufacturer recommends some additional service. Your heart beats a little faster, your blood pressure rises. You worry about spending more money than you had planned. And you worry that if you say "no," you might be harming your vehicle or risking your family's safety.

    At the risk of sounding like your dad, you really should have done your homework. Service recommendations are in your owner's manual. But it is not like you want to keep your vehicle auto maintenance schedule on your nightstand for bedtime reading.

    Vehicles are complicated machines and it takes some effort for MINNEAPOLIS residents to keep them running well. That is why they have maintenance schedules that explain how to keep your vehicle performing efficiently and prevent breakdowns. In a typical owner's manual you'll find: oil change, brake fluid and pad change, coolant system service, transmission service, battery electrolyte levels, cables and terminals, tire pressure and wear, CV boots, cabin air filter, air conditioning, heater, fuel filter, air filter, belts and hoses, power steering fluid, differential service, fuel system cleaning and wheel alignment. And then there are mechanical service requirements like timing belt changes, valve adjustment, steering function, engine and exhaust leaks - yeah, it is a really long list!

    Fortunately, this isn't a test: MINNEAPOLIS residents don't need to have it memorized. Your friendly advisor at Affordable Transmissions has access to your manufacturer's recommendations. Don't be surprised when your service advisor at Affordable Transmissions reminds you something is due. Your manufacturer has taken great care in putting together your maintenance schedule. Let Affordable Transmissions help you stay on top of maintenance. You can expect them to suggest recommended services and tell you what problems they find under the hood. We'll also explain how urgent these services are so you can work them into your budget.

    Affordable Transmissions
    6317 WELCOME AVE N STE 1
    MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55429
    (763) 533-1169




    Busting Automotive Myths in MINNEAPOLIS, MN

    Dec 13, 2016

    Myths passed around our MINNEAPOLIS, MN community start with a grain of evidence and are then built up with a lot of imagination and very elastic logic. And the internet is a breeding ground for automotive myths. Some bloggers recall the vehicles of yesteryear and declare their modern decedents to be virtually maintenance free and that anyone who says otherwise is out to rip you off.

    To get the truth about auto myths you hear around the MINNEAPOLIS area, come over to Affordable Transmissions.


    Let's examine a couple of the more popular rants and look at the truth behind them.

    The first one is that the chassis no longer needs lubrication for suspension, steering and the driveline. They declare that anyone who has charged you for lubrication is a charlatan.

    The truth on which this myth is based is that many new vehicles come from the factory with sealed joints and cannot be greased. However, there are still some grease points on many cars around MINNEAPOLIS. A grease fitting may have been installed in conjunction with a repair. And most trucks and truck-based SUVs driving in MINNEAPOLIS still require chassis lubrication. This is because they are more heavy duty and proper greasing is still required to keep them going.

    Another common rant you'll hear around MINNEAPOLIS is that modern vehicles don't need tune-ups. That depends on your definition of a 'tune-up', which has changed as technology has progressed. Before engine control computers, electronic ignition and fuel injection, a tune up meant replacing mechanical parts that wore out. Service technicians at Affordable Transmissions would manually adjust fuel and air mix and timing. When these adjustments were off, spark plugs would foul and need to be replaced.

    This definition just doesn't apply to modern vehicles. Service centers like Affordable Transmissions generally consider a tune-up to be the major service visit, recommended by your manufacturer, every 30,000 miles (50,000 kilometers) or so.

    Of course you can't lubricate a sealed joint. Of course you can't adjust a carburetor if your car doesn't have one. You probably don't need to change spark plugs every year if your manufacturer says they can go 30,000 miles (50,000 kilometers). What are these bloggers getting so worked up about?

    The danger with these modern-day myths is they prevent people in our local MINNEAPOLIS community from taking care of the routine preventive auto maintenance that manufactures recommend. Check out this partial list of things you still need to do to take care of your car. How many of them are really any different today than they were 20 or 30 years ago?

    Oil change, cooling system service, transmission service, tire balancing, tire rotation, wheel alignment, suspension service, power steering service, proper tire inflation, brake service, differential service, battery maintenance, engine air filer, PCV valve, breather element, fuel filter, belts, hoses, timing belt, windshield wipers . . .

    You get the picture. Your vehicle is still a machine that needs to be maintained. And, hey, your service advisors at Affordable Transmissions have always adapted to keep pace with automotive technology. Next time you come across an angry voice about your car care, talk to your MINNEAPOLIS service advisor at Affordable Transmissions, or do some research of your own.

    Affordable Transmissions
    6317 WELCOME AVE N STE 1
    MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55429
    (763) 533-1169




    Commitment to Make Your vehicle Last at Affordable Transmissions

    Dec 6, 2016

    These days many people in the MINNEAPOLIS area are really committed to making their cars last a long time. First thing: you've got to start with what you've got. It'd be ideal if people started with a brand new car, never missed a scheduled service item, paid attention to the severe service maintenance schedule and had regular inspections. But if you've had the vehicle for a while or bought it used, its maintenance history is what it is; and that's where you start.

    Go through the maintenance schedule for your vehicle and see what's been done and when. Have your MINNEAPOLIS service advisor at Affordable Transmissions do an inspection and come up with a list of stuff that needs to be done. Review the list and prioritize the work, talk about budget and make a plan to get caught up.

    Making a plan is so important. Suppose you go in for an oil change and learn you need your cooling system serviced, a transmission service and are coming up on a timing belt replacement in the next 5,000 miles/8,000 kilometers. You might be pretty overwhelmed.

    To make it even more stressful, these are all very important systems that are expensive to repair if there's a failure. In a consultation with your Affordable Transmissions service advisor, you might decide to take care of the transmission on this visit, set an appointment for the cooling system service next month and get an estimate for the timing belt replacement so you'll be prepared for it in a few months.

    Having a plan for taking care of these important services will set your mind at ease.

    For advice on how to make your vehicle last longer, visit us at Affordable Transmissions.


    Affordable Transmissions
    6317 WELCOME AVE N STE 1
    MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55429
    (763) 533-1169




    Keys to a Long Lasting Vehicle

    Nov 6, 2016



    We live in a disposable society. Everything from elaborate packaging to our clothing. Even cell phones are disposable. When replacement is cheaper than repair, the term "built to last" goes by the wayside. An exception is our vehicles. They're still a very big investment and MINNEAPOLIS drivers want to make them last as long as possible.  We also want to make keeping them running as cheap as possible. When talking vehicles, it's all about preventive maintenance. There is an old saying that says, "A stitch in time saves nine," and that is really true when it comes to taking care of your vehicle. A great example is coolant service in MINNEAPOLIS.

    Your coolant not only protects your engine from overheating and freezing, it must also protect cooling system components from corrosion. Over time, coolant becomes corrosive and actually starts to damage your radiator and other parts. That's why you need to have your cooling system serviced on a regular schedule.

    The same is true for your power steering system, brake fluid, air conditioning system, differential and transmission. And of course, MINNEAPOLIS vehicle owners shouldn't forget those oil changes right on schedule. Skipping even one change can start the build up of harmful oil sludge.

    Our engines are full of gaskets and seals. Fresh fluids condition those gaskets and seals to keep them from drying out and leaking. Automotive fluids contain additives that help clean and lubricate the various systems they protect. Over time, the additives are used up and the fluid just does not provide the protection it did when it was fresh. And don't forget the mechanical systems. Changing brake pads before they are worn to the point that they cause damage to rotors is a great way to keep your operating costs down.

    Replacing serpentine belts and timing belts on schedule is much cheaper for MINNEAPOLIS drivers than repairing the damage that can be caused by failure. Also, air filters, fuel filters, PCV valves and batteries are all important. Regular wheel alignments, tire rotation and balancing will make your tires last longer. And don't forget to replace your shocks and struts when they wear out. Your fuel system needs regular cleaning to keep running well, prevent mechanical damage and improve fuel economy.

    Now this is a lot to remember for MINNEAPOLIS drivers - too much, really. But it is your MINNEAPOLIS automotive technician's job to keep on top of this stuff. At Affordable Transmissions we can tell you what your manufacturer recommends and help you with a plan to take care of it. We can advise you about which  maintenance schedule you should use - the regular schedule or the severe service schedule - depending on the kind of driving you do. We also know the right fluids for your vehicle and may even suggest higher mileage formulations for your older vehicle.

    Bottom line - take care of this stuff on schedule and you will reduce operating costs, prevent damage and maintain your warranty coverage.

    Of course, you want your vehicle to look as good as it runs. Regular washing will prevent rust and protect your finish. Take advantage of cleaners, waxes and protectants for your interior and tires. Your vehicle will look great and you'll be proud to drive it longer.

    Most of us in MINNEAPOLIS can't afford to throw away our car when it breaks down. By budgeting for regular preventive maintenance, we can prevent many inconvenient - and expensive - problems down the road, and can keep driving "old faithful" for years to come.

    Affordable Transmissions
    6317 WELCOME AVE N STE 1
    MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55429
    (763) 533-1169




    New School: Automotive Affordable Transmissions Technician Training

    Aug 28, 2016

    MINNEAPOLIS consumers are demanding. We want a safe, reliable vehicle that handles well and is comfortable to ride in. Oh, and we want good fuel economy, too. We also want vehicle repairs that are cheap, fast and easy. Unfortunately, one usually comes at the cost of the other.

    Today's vehicles have made significant improvements in reliability and performance over the last few decades. They also deliver more power to MINNEAPOLIS drivers more efficiently than ever before. For example, some of today's 4-cylinder engines are equal to yesterday's V-8's. Our vehicles also offer an amazing range of features that make them more comfortable and convenient than ever before.

    But all of that improvement has come at a price for MINNEAPOLIS vehicle owners. Our vehicles are more complicated and difficult to repair than ever before. They have numerous mechanical and electrical systems. Fuel systems are so complex they have to be run by a computer. Our vehicles are covered with sensors and high-tech electronic equipment. Our dashboards rival the control panel of the first manned space flight.

    With all that complicated equipment, it's no wonder we call mechanics service technicians these days. You can't learn to repair vehicles in the backyard with your dad anymore. Today's Affordable Transmissions technicians have to go to school. School may come in the form of classroom instruction, online courses or both. Technicians are also trained on-site at the MINNEAPOLIS service centers where they work (including Affordable Transmissions) to keep them abreast of constant improvements in vehicle engineering, diagnostic equipment and repair techniques.

    Today's technicians need to be certified to work on our vehicles. They can earn a variety of certifications in MN, but the highest of these is Master Technician. It's like a graduate degree in auto repair.

    Vehicle repair at Affordable Transmissions in MINNEAPOLIS requires more than just training and certification, though. It also takes information and creative thought. MINNEAPOLIS area auto service centers subscribe to data services, technical libraries and online repair communities in order to get the information they need to: work on various makes and models of vehicles, get recommended maintenance schedules, learn about non-standard features and locate hard-to-find parts in an unusual engine. They also use this information to help diagnose rare or difficult vehicle problems. Many auto repair problems also require a bit of creative thinking for the team at Affordable Transmissions to solve. MINNEAPOLIS service technicians at Affordable Transmissions act much like doctors in these situations. They're given a set of symptoms, and they have to come up with a diagnosis and treatment that will fix the problem. This process becomes as much of an art as it is a science.

    A proper diagnosis, even by a highly qualified technician, can take time. And a technician's time is going to cost us. It's just the price of progress.

    Of course, the best vehicle care for MINNEAPOLIS vehicle owners is planned preventive auto maintenance. This is also the least costly way to keep your vehicle in good repair. Regular inspections and replacement of worn parts will prevent most repairs from ever being needed in the first place.

    And with the amazing complexity of today's automobiles, isn't it good to know there's someone out there with the knowledge, training and skill to give us good auto advice? Whether we need preventive maintenance or repairs, the team of automotive professionals at Affordable Transmissions can help us keep our vehicles on the road. We just can't do it on our own anymore.

    Affordable Transmissions
    6317 WELCOME AVE N STE 1
    MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55429
    (763) 533-1169




    Which Item Is Most Stolen from Vehicles in MINNEAPOLIS?

    Jul 20, 2016


     

    Which item is most often stolen from vehicles in MINNEAPOLIS?

    Is it:

    1. Stereo
    2. Wheels
    3. Air Bag
    4. DVD System

    Well, if you said stereo – you used to be right. But airbags have now surpassed stereos as the biggest target for theft in MN – approximately 50,000 a year are stolen across the country. New airbags cost about $1,000, but go for $50 to $200 on the black market in MN.

    Stolen airbags are making their way back into cars that have been in an accident. Of course, the danger to the consumer of having a stolen airbag installed is that you can never be sure what may have previously affected them and if they will work right when you need them.

    Contact us at Affordable Transmissions for more information about where to get your airbags checked or replaced.
    Find us at 6317 WELCOME AVE N STE 1, MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55429
    You can reach us by phone at: (763) 533-1169

    There are reports that 1 in 25 airbag replacements are stolen or salvaged airbags – or no airbag is installed at all.

    That is definitely one car part you don't want to take a chance with, so Affordable Transmissions recommends following these guidelines:

    • Use a reputable collision repair center that employs ASE certified mechanics (we can offer recommendations at Affordable Transmissions).

     

    • Inspect the invoice to ensure that the repair shop purchased the airbag from a manufacturer, dealer or recycler. If you can inspect the airbag prior to installation, it should be packaged in a sealed container from the manufacturer.

     

    • You will see the SRS light (Supplemental Restraint System) when you first start your vehicle up. This tells you that the airbag system is activated. If you do not see the SRS light, there is likely a problem with the airbag system.

     

    Affordable Transmissions
    6317 WELCOME AVE N STE 1
    MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55429
    (763) 533-1169




    Are Modern Vehicles Maintenance Free?

    Jun 28, 2016

    In our auto video today we'll be talking with Alan Peterson about myths surrounding automotive maintenance. You can lump these myths into the statement that "modern vehicles are so reliable, they are virtually maintenance free."

    Any good myth has some elements of truth. No offense to MINNEAPOLIS Bigfoot fans, but this maintenance-free myth has more evidence than most. If we look at some isolated areas of auto maintenance, we could conclude that maintenance isn't so important. But other areas would just as easily lead you to believe that maintenance is more important than ever.

    Here are some examples for our friends in MINNEAPOLIS.

    • Some vehicles in MINNEAPOLIS no longer require chassis lubrication. They're made with self-lubricating materials and have sealed joints. There's literally no way to grease those joints.

    -Chalk one up for the myth.

    On the other side, some vehicles come with sophisticated variable valve timing. A lot of complicated parts are up in the valve train that didn't even exist not that many years ago. These parts are very vulnerable to oil sludge.

    • So, skipping an oil change here and there could lead to very expensive damage.

    -A point to maintenance.

    • Electronic ignition has eliminated replacing points.

    -Myth gets a point.

    • Fuel injectors on direct injection engines are very expensive to replace so one must be sure to get a fuel system cleaning on schedule.

    -Point for maintenance.

    I think you get the picture. As automotive technology advances, it eliminates or reduces some maintenance requirements. And maintenance becomes more critical for some items. Most others remain very similar to what they've always been.

    So the maintenance mindset is still important for car owners in MINNEAPOLIS if we want our vehicles to last a long time. The checklist may change over time, but there'll always be a check list. Your friendly and professional service advisor at {[ Shop }} can answer any questions you have about your vehicles maintenance schedule.

    Affordable Transmissions
    6317 WELCOME AVE N STE 1
    MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55429
    (763) 533-1169