Smooth Shifting in North Kingstown, RI: Transmission ServicePosted August 30, 2016 3:33 AM
So you have some exciting plans for the weekend. You're going to take some of your 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. However, there is something even more important than the cleanliness of the interior: you want to make sure that your vehicle maintenance is up to date.
Think about it – heavy traffic on the way out of North Kingstown. There's hilly terrain as you get to the lake. Some dirt roads – and it's going to be pretty hot in RI this weekend. And all the time you'll be towing around a lot of extra weight. 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. A fun little blast to the local RI 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, it's important for North Kingstown drivers to have it serviced by automotive professionals like the team at Hans Imports to make sure it runs efficiently.
An automatic transmission contains a maze of passages through which the fluid must pass to keep it shifting smoothly. North Kingstown drivers who neglect regularly scheduled transmission service risk the passages clogging up and starting to have problems.
Those who neglect their transmission for too long will eventually experience transmission failure. You really don't want to pay for a major transmission repair.
This reminds us of how much of our driving around North Kingstown, RI, 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 and driving in very hot or very cold RI weather. Dusty roads and city driving around North Kingstown add to the strain. Basically, any driving that's not at highway speeds or under ideal conditions can be considered severe conditions.
While you have your vehicle in, ask for a trip inspection. Your friendly and knowledgeable service advisor at Hans Imports will check your belts and hoses and let you know if your brakes are in good shape.
Now, don't forget the sunscreen.
7275 Post Rd
North Kingstown, RI 02852
Keep Your Cool in North Kingstown: Air Conditioning ServicesPosted August 22, 2016 2:37 AM
Most North Kingstown drivers don't even think about their air conditioner.
Now here's a tip for North Kingstown vehicle owners: Run your air conditioner every so often during RI winters. This circulates the lubricant to help keep the seals from drying out.
The air conditioner actually removes some of the moisture in the air. So if you have trouble with fogging on your vehicle windshield during RI winters or during a rain storm, running the A/C on the defrost setting should help. Now on some North Kingstown cars you can't run the A/C at the same time as the defroster. Don't ask me why, but I suspect lawyers were involved.
Also, air and water can get into the A/C system. That can reduce the efficiency of the system and also lead to corrosion that causes damage. North Kingstown drivers should periodically purge the system and replace the refrigerant to remove the air and water.
RI drivers would be wise to learn the early warning signs of A/C trouble: 1) The air's not as cold as it used to be. 2) It makes unusual noises when the A/C cycles on. Those are signs to get your vehicle into Hans Imports in North Kingstown before the damage gets worse.
By following the recommended service intervals in your vehicle owner's manual, you can help prevent mechanical failure of your air conditioning system. Your A/C system contains some components like the compressor, condenser, dryer, etc. Anything North Kingstown car owners can do to lengthen the life of their A/C is well worth it.
7275 Post Rd
North Kingstown, RI 02852
The Maintenance Free MythPosted August 14, 2016 9:04 AM
Sometimes we hear people in North Kingstown 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 North Kingstown 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 RI 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 RI safety inspection to renew his registration. At the North Kingstown 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 North Kingstown drivers: don't skip your annual inspections. The irony is that many North Kingstown 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 Hans Imports in North Kingstown 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 RI. 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 Hans Imports in North Kingstown for an inspection. Take care of unperformed routine maintenance sooner rather than later.
7275 Post Rd
North Kingstown, RI 02852
Good Timing: Proper Timing Belt Replacement Saves Money for North Kingstown DriversPosted August 7, 2016 8:41 AM
Knowing how their engine works can help North Kingstown drivers make informed decisions about auto care and prevent repairs to their vehicles. This is especially true when it comes to timing belts.
An engine's power is generated in the cylinders. Inside the cylinder is a piston that moves up and down while the engine is running. Power is generated in a cycle that includes four strokes of the piston. First, the piston drops and a valve at the top of the cylinder opens to let in fuel and air. The piston then rises, which compresses the fuel and air. At this point, the spark plug fires, igniting the fuel and pushing the piston down. This downstroke transfers energy to the engine, which provides the power it needs to run. The piston rises again, and a valve opens to release the exhaust.
All of this movement is orchestrated by a timing belt. The timing belt is so named because it keeps the pistons and valves operating in synch with each other, just as a conductor keeps all of the instruments in an orchestra in time with one another. Thus, the timing belt is critical to the proper operation of your engine.
Not all vehicles in the North Kingstown area have timing belts. Some have timing chains. A timing chain is more durable and rarely breaks, but timing belts are cheaper, so many use them to save money.
Timing belts wear out and break, so part of preventive maintenance for North Kingstown drivers is to replace the timing belt on schedule.
The results of failure of a timing belt depend on the type of engine in your vehicle, but they are always inconvenient and can be very costly for North Kingstown auto owners. If your engine is a non-interference engine and the timing belt breaks, the engine simply stops running. Now that can be an incredibly inconvenient situation depending on where you are driving around North Kingstown when it breaks, but it won't cause any engine damage. On the other hand, if your vehicle has an interference engine and the timing belt breaks, the valves on your cylinders will actually fall into the path of the pistons. Then things start getting chewed up by the motion of the engine and it will cost thousands of dollars to get everything sorted out again. Compounding the problem is that there aren't any warning signs before a timing belt breaks. A visual inspection of the belt is difficult also. In some vehicles, parts of the belt may be visible, but most vehicles hide the belt under a cover.
The timing belt doesn't even have to break to cause major engine damage. If it slips, even one notch, the result could be engine damage with repair costs in the thousands of dollars.
Our only car care option is to simply replace the timing belt periodically. You can check your owner's manual to find out how often your timing belt should be replaced. Many vehicles need a replacement at 60,000 miles (100,000 kilometers), but the recommended replacement mileage could be as high as 90,000 or 100,000 miles (145,000 to 160,000 kilometers). If your owner's manual recommends replacement at 60,000 miles (100,000 kilometers), however, don't wait until 65,000 miles (105,000 kilometers) to get it done. Remember what you're risking.
Replacing a timing belt is not a cheap part of preventive maintenance for North Kingstown vehicle owners. The belt is usually difficult to get to and often requires removal of some of the engine accessories. The cost of the replacement, however, is a lot less than what the repairs may cost if the timing belt fails.
For more auto advice on timing belts and other engine components, you can always consult with your service advisor at Hans Imports. When it comes to car care, ignorance is not bliss. It can end up costing you in a big way.
7275 Post Rd
North Kingstown, RI 02852