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  • Trickle Down Technology

    Apr 14, 2019

    Recently, Nissan introduced the latest version of its Leaf, the company's electric car. It has many new features, including something called e-Pedal. It allows the driver to let up on the accelerator and, unlike a gasoline engine car, the Leaf doesn't just slowly lose speed; letting off the throttle pedal brakes the car in a very controlled way, using regenerative and sometimes friction brakes. With practice, a driver can go for a fairly long time without touching the brake pedal.

    Another system, similar to those found in self-driving vehicles, can steer the car to keep it in the center of the lane using a camera and radar. It literally watches the lane markers and, of course, doesn't work well in snow that obliterates those markers. But the technology is impressive and can greatly reduce fatigue on long trips.

    In fact, much of this technology has "trickled down" from research on autonomous vehicles, such as adaptive cruise control that slows down your vehicle (even to a stop) if the vehicle in front of you decelerates or stops. And we can expect these features will eventually find their way into all price levels of vehicles if the past is any indication.

    There was a time anti-lock brakes were only found on premium vehicles; now they are on nearly all new vehicles. Traction and stability control are also prevalent, helping drivers reduce slippage and maintain control, thanks to computers.

    With SUVs and trucks so popular, rear backup cameras help drivers see behind their tall back ends, reducing injuries, deaths and property damage. Bumper sensors and cameras allow drivers to be visually and aurally aware of their surroundings with 360° protection.

    Many of these features improve our vehicle's safety and efficiency, and we can expect new technologies to crop up in the future. But just like the mechanical systems in your vehicle, it's important to maintain the electronic and computerized systems. Technicians at Affordable Transmissions constantly train to keep up on these latest developments. Make sure all your vehicle's components are maintained in top condition.

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




    The Maintenance Free Myth

    Mar 31, 2019

    Sometimes we hear people in Brooklyn Park say, "What's up with all this maintenance stuff? Modern cars just don't break down." While it is true that today's vehicles are extremely reliable, they are also becoming increasingly complicated and use more exotic materials than ever before. All that complexity demands higher tolerances for everything. For example, most Brooklyn Park drivers don't realize how high tech automotive fluids have become,  fluids such as engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant and brake fluid.

    Did you know that a modern engine would not run for more than a few months using motor oil formulas from 30 years ago? Today's automotive fluids contain a much higher percentage of additives to protect your vehicle's components from premature wear and corrosion. Time and distances march on for all of our cars. Please don't think we're using scare tactics to get you to take care of your maintenance - but here are some personal stories we've heard to emphasize and show how important it is to get things done when they are due. Names are withheld to avoid embarrassment to those who should know better. Even though they should know better, it usually comes down to real life: time and money. But they are tales of a stitch in time saves nine.

    The first comes from someone who bought a used pick-up truck for his son. The oil was clean and all the fluids were topped off. A short time later, the truck overheated on a highway in MN and shut down. The repair shop diagnosed the problem: the radiator pan was corroded and dumped the coolant. Even though the coolant level was correct, it was clear that the coolant had never been completely replaced - just topped off from time to time. While this kept the engine cool, all of the anti-corrosion additives had worn out; the coolant became acidic and ate through the radiator pan. The cost: hundreds of dollars and four days in the shop. This demonstrates the need to get your coolant exchanged on schedule.

    Another story involves the true cost of skipping an annual inspection. This guy took his SUV in for the MN safety inspection to renew his registration. At the Brooklyn Park inspection station, he learned that the law had changed and that his newer rig only required an inspection every two years. He was very happy to save the money. The problem was, his rear brake pads were very worn. Two months later, it was bad enough that he could hear the grind - over the radio, DVD player and the kids. He took it in to get the bad news. Both of the rear brake rotors were damaged. The left one could be resurfaced. The right had to be replaced. So saving a little on his safety inspection turned into an extra $500 over what brake pad replacement would have been. Moral of the story for Brooklyn Park drivers: don't skip your annual inspections. The irony is that many Brooklyn Park service centers would have done a brake inspection for free.

    Next: a teenage daughter and a curb. Daddy's little princess smacked a curb when she turned into a shopping center and popped the tire. The problem came when Dad didn't get an alignment. The impact was hard enough to ruin the tire - so it was enough wreck the alignment. But instead of an alignment after the first tire, Papa ended up buying a second tire a few months later - and then an alignment.

    Situation: son and wife with cars from the same vehicle manufacturer with essentially the same engine. Our staffer checked the son's maintenance schedule and saw that it needed a timing belt replacement at 90,000 miles/145,000 km. He had it done - it cost several hundred dollars. His wife's car had about 60,000 miles/97,000 km, so it should be ok for a while. Right? Wrong. The problem was that the wife had the turbo charged version. Its belt was scheduled for replacement at 60,000 mi/97,000 km. At 63,000 mi./101,000 km, the belt snapped on the interstate. The valves all crashed down into the cylinders at high speed, the entire head was shredded and it had to be replaced. The cost: several thousand dollars. Does he wish he had checked the vehicle manufacturer’s maintenance schedule? You bet he does - every time he passes a big-screen TV.

    The team at Affordable Transmissions in Brooklyn Park recommends taking care of little things before they become big things. And when you take care of the little things, you can make your car run better.  Plus, it is more economical to operate in MN. Remember to save those maintenance records. It'll show potential buyers that you've taken care of your vehicle and it will help you get a better price. Or when you buy a used car, check those records. If there aren't any, assume that the maintenance hasn't been done and take it to Affordable Transmissions in Brooklyn Park for an inspection. Take care of unperformed routine maintenance sooner rather than later.

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




    I Can See Clearly Now: Wiper Blade Replacement in Brooklyn Park

    Feb 17, 2019



    About 90% of our driving decisions in the Brooklyn Park area are based solely on what we see. So having a good pair of windshield wipers is extremely important.

    Most Brooklyn Park drivers have experienced the frustration and fear of not being able to see clearly during a storm, or when our vehicle windshield is just dirty. In fact, it's estimated that 46,000,000 drivers across the nation are driving with wipers that can't adequately clear their windshield in a storm.

    It seems like our wiper blades are always at their worst when we need them the most. If that sounds like you, you've got plenty of company in the Brooklyn Park area. 78% of drivers only change their wiper blades after the blades function so poorly that they become a safety hazard.

    Brooklyn Park drivers need to change their thinking. Instead of blades being something to replace when they fail, we need to consider wiper blades as vehicle safety component. Then we'll stay ahead of the storm.

    Brooklyn Park vehicle owners really ought to replace wiper blades twice a year; in the spring and the fall. If you live in the colder parts of MN, you may even want to get special winter blades in the fall.

    Winter blades are made to resist freezing. Speaking of winter and freezing Brooklyn Park conditions, if your vehicle has been sitting for a long time and the windshield becomes frozen, don't use your wipers to clear off snow and ice. That can shred your blades and may even damage the wiper motor.

    Your wiper blades live outside in the freezing cold and blistering sun. Over time, they become hard and brittle, and then tear. They also lose their flexibility and just don't clear the vehicle windshield effectively. Worn wiper blades aren't just a safety hazard for Brooklyn Park drivers; they can also scratch their windshield. That may require replacing the entire vehicle windshield – that's the consequence for neglecting such a small part.

    Affordable Transmissions recommends Brooklyn Park drivers replace worn blades right away. We can provide you with a quality replacement blade. At Affordable Transmissions, they cost about the same as they would at the store – but installation is included.

    Of course you also need washer fluid to help your blades do their work. Even though Affordable Transmissions will top off the washer fluid with a full service oil change, it is a good idea to have some extra fluid at home. Take it with you if you're heading out on a road trip.

    Always use windshield washer fluid. Plain water, even that fancy French bottled water, just doesn't cut it. It can freeze in the fluid reservoir or on the windshield itself, making things worse. Besides, water won't clean your windows as well.

    So follow these tips to keep your windshield clear and your eyes on the road.

    Find us at:

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




    Gas Savings in Brooklyn Park: Sharpen Your Pencil

    Oct 21, 2018

    High gas prices in Brooklyn Park increase the cost of living for MN drivers. You've probably budgeted a certain amount for vehicle related expenses. Increased fuel costs now consume a larger portion of our incomes, causing some Brooklyn Park vehicle owners to skimp in other areas – like scheduled maintenance.

    According to MN news reports and automotive industry studies, this is becoming increasingly more common. In fact, nine out of ten personal vehicles on the road have at least one maintenance or repair item that hasn't been done. Some of these items pose serious safety risks. Others are just more likely to make it more expensive to drive.

    In this area, we can take a lesson from professional Brooklyn Park vehicle owners. I'm talking about fleet owners and operators. You know, Brooklyn Park folks like the trucking companies and delivery services. Because their livelihood depends on it, they have gotten scheduled maintenance down to a science. And the last thing they skimp on is regular maintenance.

    Why is that? Well, for one thing they know that routine maintenance prevents expensive repairs and costly breakdowns. They also know that a well-maintained vehicle uses less fuel. For them, even a small decrease in fuel efficiency may put their Brooklyn Park business in the red.

    So what does this mean to Brooklyn Park drivers? Well, there's a 90 percent chance that you're missing some service that would improve your fuel economy. Here's a quick reminder list:

    Fuel system cleaning, transmission service, differential service, engine air filter, wheel alignment, oil change, tune up.
    Ring any bells? Can most Brooklyn Park vehicle owners honestly say that there isn't at least one thing on the list that hasn't been done?

    Let's suppose you chose to spend $150 and get caught up on some of these services at Affordable Transmissions. Figure that they combine to improve your fuel efficiency by 15 percent. What would that mean to your pocketbook?

    Well, the average personal vehicle in Brooklyn Park is driven about 12,000 a year. If you get 20 miles per gallon in your vehicle, over the course of one year you would pay for the $150 worth of service and save an additional $165 dollars if gas is at t$3.50. If gas is $4.50, you would save $255. And you'd rack up savings of $345 dollars with gas at $5.50.

    GAS PRICE
    $3.50
    $4.50
    $5.50

    20 MPG
    $165
    $255
    $345

    From this you can see that the more fuel costs, the more it pays to keep up on scheduled maintenance. Some of us drive trucks in Brooklyn Park for work or recreation – or want a large SUV for family needs. A 15 percent improvement in fuel economy can generate huge savings – $650 a year if gas is $4.50 a gallon in Brooklyn Park. Take a look at this table to see where your savings could lie.

     

    GAS PRICE

    A) $3.50, B) $4.50, C) $5.50

    10 MPG: A) $480, B) $660, C) $840

    20 MPG: A) $165, B) $255, C) $345

    30 MPG: A) $60, B) $120, C) $180

     

    So catch up on those services you've been neglecting at Affordable Transmissions. Get a couple done now and a couple next time. Chances are you'll save a lot of money at Brooklyn Park gas pumps this year – and a lot more on repairs in years to come.

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

     




    Technician Training at Affordable Transmissions

    Oct 14, 2018

    Your vehicle is important to you, and keeping it running properly is important to your lifestyle. That's why you're smart enough to have it serviced regularly at Affordable Transmissions in Brooklyn Park. And even though it may just be routine maintenance, you want it done right by automotive professionals.

    It's also very important to your Brooklyn Park service center to keep you happy and on the road. You might be surprised at the amount of money our Brooklyn Park auto service center spends annually to make sure our friendly and knowledgeable technicians are properly trained.

    Affordable Transmissions offers a variety of automotive services for many kinds of vehicles. We need to be current on the latest techniques and parts so that we can give you quality service. Our Brooklyn Park service centers subscribe to data services that list the high quality parts and fluids recommended by your manufacturer.

    And each service has a checklist of standard procedures. Affordable Transmissions technicians follow these procedures so they can safely deliver a consistent level of high-quality service.

    Some services at Affordable Transmissions require the use of specialized equipment. Affordable Transmissions technicians are trained extensively on this equipment so that they can service your car quickly and efficiently.

    Classroom, video and hands-on training is provided by the company and outside trainers. It's not only important that friendly and knowledgeable technicians be able to perform a given task, they also need to be thoroughly trained in inspection and diagnostic techniques. One of the great services they perform is to detect potential problems before they become serious.

    The automotive service industry has standards for classifying and communicating problems. For example, it's one thing to learn that your manufacturer recommends that you change your serpentine belt every 30,000 miles/48,000 km and another to learn that the belt is on the verge of failure. These standards help you understand the urgency of recommendations, letting you make better automotive service decisions.

    MN folks may be interested to know that service technicians (including those at Affordable Transmissions) are trained in compliance with federal and local Brooklyn Park laws and regulations, including environmental regulations regarding the disposal of used parts and fluids.

    It's the goal of Affordable Transmissions to provide fast, courteous service. You should feel free to ask your friendly and knowledgeable technician or one of the managers about your service or for more information about their recommendations.

    At Affordable Transmissions, well-trained service providers, established procedures, industry standards and, of course, great people, combine to give you the best auto service in Brooklyn Park.

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




    Hey Brooklyn Park Drivers; What Is the Most Distracting Food?

    Sep 30, 2018



    So what is the most distracting food to have in the car while driving around Brooklyn Park?

    Is it:

    1. A Hamburger;
    2. Coffee;
    3. A Soft Drink, or
    4. Gummy Bears?

    Well, you may be surprised to learn that all but the gummy bears are in the top ten most distracting foods when you are driving. But if you chose 'coffee,' then give yourself an extra two points.  Coffee is the number one food distraction for drivers in Brooklyn Park and around the country.

    Food distractions cause 25 percent of all car accidents; over a million and a half each year!

    You'll notice that all of the top ten distracting food items are messy. Messy foods are the types of food you might spill (very distracting!), then try to clean up (a safe-driving impossibility!). If you gotta eat on the run, take five-then drive. You'll thank yourself later for two reasons: one, that you can actually relax for just a moment in our fast-paced world, and two, you won't have to worry about getting that cinnamon roll frosting out of your dashboard after that near miss.

    Keep drinks in spill-proof containers, too, so you can keep your eyes on the Brooklyn Park road without worrying about where that spill is headed.

    So, taking a food break… or filling out accident reports. We don't have to ask you which you prefer; it's a no brainer.

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




    Change Your Wiper Blades Twice Yearly at Affordable Transmissions

    Sep 23, 2018

    Because 90% of our driving decisions are based on visual information, unobscured vision is paramount. Which brings us to the topic of today's Affordable Transmissions article: wiper blades. While this isn't the most exciting automotive subject, it's important. You wouldn't drive at night in Brooklyn Park with your headlights off, but a dirty or streaked vehicle windshield can catch the glare of the sun or on-coming headlights and make it just as difficult to see.

    Most of us in Brooklyn Park replace our wiper blades when they no longer do the job. They are so worn, hard or brittle that they can't clean the windshield. They may even be falling apart. In other words, we deal with our wiper blades from a failure perspective. We address them when they no longer function. The theory, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," doesn't apply here. Instead, we should think about wipers blades as an important safety system that we should maintain rather than repair.

    MN automotive experts recommend that we change our wiper blades twice a year, in the spring and fall. That way you have functional blades for those Brooklyn Park spring showers and winter storms.

    When we use our wipers a lot, they get worn from the Brooklyn Park road grime and bug juice. Even if we don't use them very often, they're exposed to the sun, heat and cold, and air which cause them to dry out, become brittle and break.

    And of course, you need a good windshield washer fluid in your vehicle to help the wipers do their job. Always use washer fluid because plain water doesn't work as well and it can freeze in the reservoir. If you're driving where there are a lot of bugs in MN, you can pay a little more and get fluid that does a better job of clearing them. If you live where you have extremely cold winters, you can get fluid that resists freezing.

    Like everything else in the automotive world, there've been some big advancements in wiper blades, both in terms of the design and the materials from which the blade is made. If you are a local Brooklyn Park driver that has a need for better than average windshield wipers, you can pay some more for an upgraded wiper. And if you live where there's a lot of snow and ice in MN, they make special winter blades that don't clog up and freeze like standard blades.

    At one of your fall and spring oil changes, ask your Affordable Transmissions service advisor which is best wiper blade for your driving conditions. Replace your blades on schedule so you never have to struggle with your vision when you switch on your wipers.

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




    Maintaining Your Older Car in Brooklyn Park, MN

    Sep 2, 2018



    The government mandates a lot of equipment on cars in Brooklyn Park, MN: emission devices and control computers, safety equipment like airbags and crash worthiness requirements. All of this is great for the Brooklyn Park motoring public, but it does add quite a bit to the price of a new vehicle.

    Because new vehicles are more expensive, people in the Brooklyn Park area are driving their old vehicles longer. The average vehicle is now over nine years old. Two thirds of vehicles on the road in MN have more than 75,000 miles (120,000 km) on them. 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'.

    Give Affordable Transmissions a call at (763) 533-1169 to schedule your next maintenance.

    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 (120,000km).

    First, just extend regular service intervals out: for instance a service that's recommended every 15,000 miles (24,000 km) should be performed at 15,000, 30,000, 45,000 and 60,000 miles (24,000, 48,000, 72,000 and 96,000 km) 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 technician, like those here at Affordable Transmissions. 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 (80,000 km), 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!

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




    Severe Service Requirements

    Jul 22, 2018

    A lot of Brooklyn Park drivers have asked whether or not they should use their severe service maintenance schedule, which is listed in their vehicle's  owner's  manual. It can be somewhat confusing, so we decided to consult an expert. Cricket Killingsworth is from QMI/Heartland, a manufacturer of automotive products and fluids. She's been in the automotive business for over 30 years and is a speaker, a trainer and a writer.

    Cricket says there's so much confusion on this topic because, "Most owner's manuals actually have two maintenance schedules. Sometimes these are called 'regular service' and 'severe service.' Sometimes they're simply called Schedule 1 and Schedule 2. A severe service schedule recommends that things like an oil change, air filter replacement and transmission service be done more often: either in fewer miles or in less time."

    Foreign and domestic vehicle manufacturers create a specific schedule for each vehicle they manufacture. So there isn't one generic schedule that applies to all vehicles. In addition to your owner's manual, Brooklyn Park automotive repair centers (including Affordable Transmissions) subscribe to information services that provide the auto maintenance schedules for every vehicle - so they can help Brooklyn Park drivers know when to take care of needed services. Below is a typical definition for severe service.

    • Most trips are less than four miles/six and a half kilometers
    • Most trips are less than 10 miles/16 km and outside temperatures are below freezing
    • You drive regularly in very hot MN weather
    • The engine is at low speed most of the time (not on the freeway)
    • Stop and go driving
    • You drive in in dusty or muddy conditions
    • You routinely tow a trailer, haul heavy loads or carry a car-top carrier around Brooklyn Park

    It's common sense for Brooklyn Park drivers: Just a few minutes at higher speeds allows the moisture in the oil to evaporate. Very short trips, or trips of less than 10 miles when it's very cold, don't allow the engine to heat up enough to get rid of the water. And water in the oil leads to damaging sludge. Also, towing and heavy loads raise operating temperatures and cause fluids to break down faster. Dusty and muddy driving around Brooklyn Park means that more dirt will get past the air filter to contaminate the fuel system and engine oil.

    The bottom line is that you need to decide for yourself if the regular or severe service schedule is right for you, based on your driving habits. Look at your owner's manual or talk with your Affordable Transmissions service advisor who can help you know which schedule to follow.

    Here is what a fleet manager said recently: "Since city miles are generally tougher on vehicles than highway miles, we use the manufacturer's severe service schedule as the basis for our preventative maintenance program. We massage those schedules over time, increasing or decreasing the service intervals so that they make the most sense. There is a little bit of art to go along with the science."

    Make an honest evaluation of your driving habits. Unless you do mostly MN highway driving in moderate weather, you'll likely have a fairly good amount of severe service mixed in. Some Brooklyn Park drivers just want to play it safe and follow the severe service recommendations, rather than analyzing how they drive each month.

    Ask us for help evaluating your driving and service needs.

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