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  • Affordable Transmissions Maintenance Tips: The Belt Goes On

    Jul 25, 2021

    drive All Brooklyn Park service advisors know that without the alternator, the battery will go dead in a few miles.

    The serpentine belt may also run the pumps for both the power steering and power brakes. And on many vehicles, the serpentine belt powers the water pump. The water pump circulates coolant through the engine to keep it within normal operating temperatures. (On some vehicles, the water pump is powered by the timing belt instead of the serpentine belt.)

    So you can see the serpentine belt does a lot of work. And it if breaks, it affects a lot of systems. That's why your vehicle manufacturer and your service advisor at Affordable Transmissions have recommended that it be changed every so often so that it doesn't fail.

    Your friendly and knowledgeable Affordable Transmissions service advisor can perform a visual inspection of the belt to see if it has any cracks that signal the belt could fail soon and will measure the amount of belt material to make sure there is enough.

    Your serpentine belt works in tandem with a spring loaded pulley attached to the engine called the tensioner pulley. Its job is to make sure there's a constant tension on the serpentine belt so that it doesn't slip. The spring can become worn and no longer provide the necessary pressure to keep the belt tight. At Affordable Transmissions in Brooklyn Park, we recommend that the tensioner be replaced at the same time as the serpentine belt.

    Affordable Transmissions
    6301 WELCOME AVE N STE 28
    Brooklyn Park, MN 55429
    (763) 533-1169
    http://www.affordabletransmission-mn.com




    Regular Schedule or Severe Service Schedule at Affordable Transmissions?

    Jul 4, 2021

    Today's Affordable Transmissions article focuses on severe service maintenance. Many Brooklyn Park drivers are not aware of them and yet there are also very vocal advocates in MN who think that severe service schedules apply to everyone. Somewhere between a complete lack of awareness and the dire blanket statements lies a reasonable approach to severe service maintenance at Affordable Transmissions.

    To back up a little, vehicle owner's manuals have schedules for preventive maintenance: things like oil changes, transmission service and so on. They say you should change your oil after a certain distanced traveled or after so many months. Brooklyn Park drivers understand this very well. What they may not know is that there are actually two service schedules: the regular schedule and the severe service schedule. The mileage and time intervals are lower on the severe service schedule.

    Now when you hear 'severe service,' you may think it doesn't apply to you because you don't feel your driving conditions are severe or extreme – it's just normal everyday driving in the Brooklyn Park area. So let's list some of the conditions that classify as severe so that you can make the judgment on your own driving.

    Before we start the list, here's a point of contrast that definitely is not severe driving. Driving down your nearest MN interstate at the highway speed limit on a 75 degree F/24 degree C day loaded only with your passengers. This is an easy trip for your vehicle: your engine is loafing along at low RPMs, no heavy loads to pull and moderate Brooklyn Park temperatures. Now let's look at some severe service driving conditions.

    Most trips around Brooklyn Park are less than four miles/six and a half kilometers. When your vehicle engine cools down, moisture condenses in the engine. This water in the oil doesn't get a chance to evaporate on short trips because the oil doesn't get hot enough. A lot of short trips in your vehicle means a lot of water build up. And water in the oil leads to the creation of sludge which can damage the engine. Changing the oil more frequently keeps sludge from building up. By contrast, highway driving warms the engine up and gets the water burned off.

    Here's another example. Most trips around Brooklyn Park are less than 10 miles/16 km and outside temperatures are below freezing. This is the same reasoning, but in very cold MN weather it takes even longer for the oil to get hot enough to evaporate the water, hence 10  miles/16 km as opposed to 4 miles/6.4 km.

    Next, you drive in very hot MN weather. The hotter it is outside, the more cooling the engine, transmission, brake fluid and so on becomes. The environment in which the fluids reside is more hostile, and the fluids simply break down faster. Therefore, the lower change interval.

    Another: driving at low speed most of the time. Every vehicle engine has what's called its power band. This is a range of RPMs in which it's most efficient. Low speed driving doesn't keep the engine in its power band so it's working harder. This is one of the reasons that ratings are worse in downtown than on the highway.

    Stop and go driving in Brooklyn Park is another severe service condition. You're always accelerating, which works the vehicle engine and transmission harder. Then you're stopping, which works the brake fluid harder, causing it to get very hot. Highway driving, on the other hand, requires far less horsepower to maintain its speed than getting a stationary vehicle from a stop light up to 25 mph/40 kph. A lot of this and you'll need to follow the severe service schedule.

    Also on the list is operating your vehicle in dusty, polluted or muddy conditions. Obviously, your engine air filter and cabin air will get dirty faster and need to be changed more frequently as will your breather element. Some of this dust and dirt will make its way into your fluids. They will simple get dirty faster and won't protect the components as well as fresh fluids.

    Finally, you're driving under severe conditions in Brooklyn Park when you tow a trailer, regularly carry heavy loads or carry a car-top carrier. This is pretty obvious. You'll spend more time in lower gears so the engine and transmission work much harder and create more heat. Brakes will be more stressed stopping the heavier loads.

    Sounds like most of us in Brooklyn Park operate under severe driving conditions at least some of the time. How can Brooklyn Park drivers know which schedule to follow?

    Think of it as a spectrum with "always driving under severe conditions" on one end and "never driving under severe conditions" on the other end. Some will be at one extreme or the other, but most of us will fall somewhere in between.

    Carefully think about your driving conditions and decide if you should do your preventive maintenance closer to the severe service recommendation or the regular recommendation. Of course, your Affordable Transmissions service advisor can help you with your decision.

    Affordable Transmissions
    6301 WELCOME AVE N STE 28
    Brooklyn Park, MN 55429
    (763) 533-1169
    http://www.affordabletransmission-mn.com




    Can Your Car Last Another Year?

    Apr 18, 2021

    Have you checked out the price of new vehicles at Brooklyn Park car dealers? Ouch! Add financing and insurance and a new ride may not seem so attractive. A lot of Brooklyn Park, MN, folks are hoping to make their cars last a lot longer.

    Fortunately, with the current state of automotive engineering and manufacturing, there's no reason a modern vehicle can't be made to last for a 150,000 miles (250,000 kilometers) or more for smart Brooklyn Park drivers.

    The old adage: 'a stitch in time saves nine' is really true for Brooklyn Park residents when it comes to car maintenance. A great example is coolant service.

    Over time, coolant becomes corrosive and actually starts to damage your radiator and other parts. Smart Brooklyn Park drivers have their cooling system service taken care of right on schedule at Affordable Transmissions.

    Ditto for your power steering system, brake fluid, air conditioning system, differential and transmission. Of course, oil changes should be done right on schedule to avoid the build-up of harmful oil sludge.

    Don't let your brake pads go too long before they are worn to the point that your rotors are at risk. Preventative auto maintenance at Affordable Transmissions is a great way to keep your operating costs down.

    Replacing belts and hoses is much cheaper than repairing the damage that can be caused by failure.

    We know that this is a lot for busy Brooklyn Park area drivers to remember. Let the team of automotive professionals at Affordable Transmissions keep on top of this stuff for you. We can tell you what your vehicle manufacturer recommends and help you develop an affordable plan to take care of it.

    Bottom line – do routine maintenance on schedule and you will reduce operating costs, prevent repairs and maintain your warranty coverage.

    Let us take good care of your car at Affordable Transmissions in Brooklyn Park, and it'll take good care of you.

    Affordable Transmissions
    6301 WELCOME AVE N STE 28
    Brooklyn Park, MN 55429
    (763) 533-1169
    http://www.affordabletransmission-mn.com




    Hold the Oil! (Oil Pan Gasket Replacement)

    Feb 7, 2021

    You've likely heard how important oil is to your vehicle's engine. Did you know that there's one part that's responsible for holding that oil so you can use it every day? It's called the oil pan, and it sits at the bottom of the engine.

    The oil pan is a vital, though simple, part of your engine's lubrication system. Oil circulates through parts of your engine to keep them lubricated. It reduces friction so everything works smoothly. Without oil, friction would quickly destroy your engine. The oil pan keeps that oil contained in the lubrication system, so it's important that the oil doesn't leak out. Since it's a metal part attached to another metal part, there is a gasket between the oil pan and the part of the engine it attaches to.

    Various things can put stress on the oil pan and gasket, including weather extremes, the speed you're traveling and the condition of the oil. You may drive over a couple of bad roads and kick up debris onto your oil pan. All this wear and tear, heat and time can take their toll. So after a while, the gasket can just wear out and start leaking. It usually starts pretty slowly. If you see oil visible under your vehicle where you park it, that might be a sign of a leaky oil pan gasket. Another sign? You smell burning oil coming from your engine. If the leak is bad and your engine has lost a lot of oil, you may eventually see the oil light go on.

    Let your service advisor know if you are experiencing any of these things. Driving with insufficient oil can badly damage your engine. And it can do it quickly. A Affordable Transmissions trained technician will check to find the source of the leak. It may just be a gasket, but it also could be the oil pan is damaged and needs replacing as well.

    This is a repair you should get taken care of. Your engine needs its lubrication system intact to provide you many years of service.

    Affordable Transmissions
    6301 WELCOME AVE N STE 28
    Brooklyn Park, MN 55429
    (763) 533-1169
    http://www.affordabletransmission-mn.com




    Keep Your Brooklyn Park Car Breathing Free: Engine Air Filter

    Jan 10, 2021

    Hey Brooklyn Park - this is something really amazing: Your vehicle uses 12,000 times as much air as fuel when you drive it. All of that air has to be filtered to keep your engine clean.

    That's like 100 gallons (380 liters) of air every block! The engine air filter is just another example of a very important but inexpensive part that has to do a tremendous amount of work. And when it works, everything goes well. But, when it doesn't, well, it can lead to problems. Of course, your vehicle manufacturer recommends how often to change your air filter. But like most service intervals, where and how you drive your vehicle in MN affects when your filter needs to be changed.

    Dusty conditions around Brooklyn Park or polluted city driving means you'll need to change your filter more often. Our trained professionals at Affordable Transmissions can check your filter for you. In fact, it's often a routine part of an oil change.

    When you think about it, a clogged air filter won't allow as much air through as a clean filter. Your vehicle needs this air to efficiently burn its fuel, giving you better fuel economy and performance.

    Dirtier filters don't work as well as clean ones. A filter can only hold so much; after that, it allows dirt to pass right into your engine. Air filters come in all shapes and sizes. They also come in different grades. There are high performance air filters available for most vehicles. These high performance filters cost a little more, but they increase horsepower and may improve fuel economy to boot.

    So it's important for Brooklyn Park drivers to make sure and have their air filter checked. If it needs replacing, it doesn't cost very much at Affordable Transmissions in Brooklyn Park and it should easily pay for itself in better fuel economy before your next oil change.

    Affordable Transmissions
    6301 WELCOME AVE N STE 28
    Brooklyn Park, MN 55429
    (763) 533-1169
    http://www.affordabletransmission-mn.com




     




    The Easy Way to Save Cash in Brooklyn Park

    Dec 20, 2020

    The hottest MN news story may be different every day, but there's one topic that seems to come up over and over again – the price of gas in Brooklyn Park. If you feel like most of your paycheck goes into your gas tank, this post is for you. Here are several basic things people in Brooklyn Park can do to greatly reduce their gas consumption, save money, and help the environment. You can really improve your fuel economy by how you drive – but first, here's a review of things you can do for your vehicle that'll save gas no matter how you drive.

    The first one for Brooklyn Park drivers is keeping tires properly inflated. That can save 2 miles per gallon/.85 km per liter. Driving on low tires is like driving through sand – your car just has to work harder. Most Brooklyn Park service centers will fill up your tires for free, so just ask Affordable Transmissions. Also, make a habit of checking your tire pressure whenever you fill up. Many Brooklyn Park gas stations have an air hose you can use for free.

    Another important item is to keep your air filter clean. An air filter all clogged up with dirt and bugs doesn't let enough clean air through to efficiently burn fuel. Using a dirty air filter will cost you almost 2 miles per gallon/.85 km per liter in reduced fuel economy. And worn spark plugs can cost about the same. A spark plug can fire as many as 3,000,000 times for every 1,000 miles/1,600 km driven. Check the vehicle owner's manual for replacement recommendations.

    The biggest item is the oxygen sensor. This device provides the engine management computer with information it needs to fine-tune the fuel/air mix. When that's messed up it can cost Brooklyn Park vehicles up to 3 miles per gallon/1.3 km per liter. And of course, there's dirty or substandard oil. Dirty oil causes extra drag. The wrong grade may be too thick. That's another .4 miles per gallon/.17 km per liter right there.

    One item Brooklyn Park residents seldom think about is their gas cap. A worn, loose or missing gas cap can cost another 2 miles per gallon/.85 km per liter. Adding up all of these worn, missing or sub-par items leads to a total of almost 11.4 miles per gallon/4.85 km per liter in reduced fuel economy! And with current gas prices in the Brooklyn Park area, the cost really adds up. Taking care of these simple maintenance items will save Brooklyn Park drivers at the pump. 

    Now most vehicles aren't missing on all of these items, but think about which ones might affect you right now! And don't forget tune-ups, dragging brakes, low transmission fluid, fuel system cleaning, wheels out of alignment, PCV valve, fuel filter and other services spelled out in your owner's  manual.

    Affordable Transmissions knows all this stuff and can tell you when you're scheduled to take care of each item. Create a system of your own to track your service schedules, or just use the computer system at Affordable Transmissions – which may also be updated with recall notices and maintenance schedule items from your vehicle manufacturer.

    Affordable Transmissions
    6301 WELCOME AVE N STE 28
    Brooklyn Park, MN 55429
    (763) 533-1169
    http://www.affordabletransmission-mn.com




    Looking Down the Road - Headlamps

    Sep 27, 2020



    If you've ever been driving around Brooklyn Park and had a headlamp go out, you've probably just wanted to replace the bad bulb. If your car uses halogen headlamps, they dim over time. So if you just put in one, they won't have the same brightness, which can be distracting and will affect your field of vision.

    To have your headlights inspected, visit us at Affordable Transmissions. We're at 6301 WELCOME AVE N STE 28 in Brooklyn Park, MN 55429. Or give us a call at (763) 533-1169.

    Experts at Affordable Transmissions recommend replacing your halogen headlamps every year. It's easy to remember if you do it when Daylight Saving Time changes in the fall. That way you'll have bright headlamps for those long MN winter nights.

    There are other types of headlamps in addition to halogen. There are the old standard bulbs that have been around for decades. These are OK, but you can usually upgrade to halogen. They cost a little more but you can't believe the difference. If you do a lot of night driving you might want to use a premium halogen bulb that filters out the yellow hues and gives a very white light that's a lot like daylight.

    You may have noticed those bluish headlights on luxury cars. They are high intensity discharge or, HID lamps. They really light up the road. You can upgrade to HID on some vehicles. These cost quite a bit, but they'll last for the life of your car. If you want your friends to think you have HIDs, you can get halogens with a bluish tint - no one needs to know.

    Seriously, though, night driving is all about reaction time – time to stop – time to get out of the way. You can't react to what you can't see. You need headlamps that'll give you a good view down the road and good peripheral vision as well. Your headlights need to be aimed correctly so you can see and to keep your lights from shining off into oncoming traffic.

    You may have seen older vehicles with headlights that are awfully dim and maybe even yellow. That's because the plastic headlight lenses have gotten cloudy and yellowed with age. They can be replaced, but many Brooklyn Park service centers offer a service to restore the lens that's a lot cheaper.

    You can't drive if you can't see. AAA reports that nine out of ten vehicles have dirty or yellowed headlamps. So run the window squeegee over your headlights when you gas up to clear the dirt and bugs. Get your lenses restored if they need it and don't forget to replace your standard or halogen bulbs every fall.

    Affordable Transmissions
    6301 WELCOME AVE N STE 28
    Brooklyn Park, MN 55429
    (763) 533-1169
    http://www.affordabletransmission-mn.com




    Make Your Vehicle Last

    Jun 7, 2020



    We live in such a disposable society. It's amazing all the stuff we throw away. New stuff comes out so fast, we just toss the old and move on. In the old days, MN folks were real sticklers about taking care of their things. If something got lost or ruined by neglect, tough - they had to do without. Most Brooklyn Park drivers couldn't afford new vehicles very often, so they had to make them last as long as they could.

    It's a good thing that vehicles are more reliable these days. They just don't break down as often. And the good news for us MN penny pinchers is that a modern vehicle can easily go 200,000 miles/320,000 km with proper care. The engineering and the manufacturing quality is tremendous. The missing ingredient is us Brooklyn Park vehicle owners making sure we follow the vehicle manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedules.

    Every time you go a little farther between recommended oil changes, you have created an opportunity for sludge to be formed and for clogged passages. Then some vehicle parts don't get properly lubricated and they start to wear out faster. Skip a cooling system service and the corrosion inhibitors become depleted; the radiator starts being damaged - one step closer to a failure. Same thing is true for transmission service, power brakes, fuel system cleaning - really everything on your schedule.

    It is probably even more important for older vehicles. Those engines and other systems have had more time to get dirty, so they are a bit more stressed anyway. But it is never too late to get back on track with your auto maintenance and to hold off further damage.

    And it really does start with the oil change. When you get a full service oil change in Brooklyn Park at Affordable Transmissions, we top off all your fluids and check for other items that are on your maintenance schedule. It's like your safety net. Go in for an oil change on time, and let your service advisor at Affordable Transmissions help you keep track of the rest.

    Some things are going to wear out along the way, things like alternators, water pumps, etc. But fixing those at Affordable Transmissions is cheaper than a new car  payment for Brooklyn Park drivers. And taking care of problems early means they have less time to mess with other things. It is like having high cholesterol - you don't want to wait for a heart attack before you address it.

    Affordable Transmissions
    6301 WELCOME AVE N STE 28
    Brooklyn Park, MN 55429
    (763) 533-1169
    http://www.affordabletransmission-mn.com




    Brooklyn Park Drivers Severe Service Maintenance Schedules

    Apr 12, 2020

    Since driving requirements and lifestyles differ among Brooklyn Park drivers, your vehicle manufacturer publishes two auto maintenance schedules: the regular schedule and the severe service schedule. Which schedule should Brooklyn Park drivers follow? Here are some questions to ask yourself:

    Are most of your trips less than four miles/six kilometers around Brooklyn Park?
    Are most of your trips less than 10 miles/16 kilometers in below-zero MN temps?
    Are most of your trips off-highway in MN?
    Do you drive often in dusty Brooklyn Park areas?
    Do you regularly tow a trailer or carry heavy loads around Brooklyn Park?
    Do you drive in very hot or very cold MN weather?


    Think about your typical week. Do you live by your nearest Brooklyn Park on-ramp and enjoy a non-stop commute? Or, do you drive the neighborhood car pool in stop-and-go traffic on Brooklyn Park surface streets?

    Let's suppose your owner's manual says the severe service oil change recommendation is 3,000 miles/5,000 kilometers and the standard recommendation is 5,000 miles/8,000 kilometers. You know that you need to change the oil somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 miles/5,000 and 8,000 kilometers. Analyze your driving patterns and Brooklyn Park weather and road conditions to determine which end of the spectrum you're closer to.

    Why should Brooklyn Park residents care about this? Normal condensation causes moisture accumulation in the engine oil. Short trips around Brooklyn Park or winter driving means that the engine doesn't heat up enough for the moisture to evaporate. The water in the oil turns to oil sludge that clogs up your engine and doesn't let the oil protect it adequately. That's why MN residents need to change their oil more often – to clean the sludge out before it causes problems.

    Carrying heavy loads (with or without a trailer) in MN summer weather causes your engine and transmission to run at higher temperatures and with more stress. The fluids will break down more quickly. Additives that clean and prevent corrosion will be depleted sooner. Air pollution and dust cause fluids to get dirty faster. Ditto for filters. All of these things can lead to premature wear and eventual repairs. If you want some expert advice, talk with your friendly and knowledgeable Affordable Transmissions service advisor. We can help you restore your vehicle to good working order and help you know the best schedule to follow.

    Affordable Transmissions
    (763) 533-1169
    6301 WELCOME AVE N STE 28
    Brooklyn Park, MN 55429
    http://www.affordabletransmission-mn.com