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Remanufactured Transmissions Vs Rebuilt and Used Transmissions

Transmissions can sometimes be very costly to repair if they require a complete rebuild. When they require a rebuild, you are often asked to spend quite a bit of money to have a problem fixed that you probably don’t understand very well.

Transmission Repair Cost

Getting an accurate price quote for a remanufactured or rebuilt transmission is important. There are many different types of transmissions and each type requires different parts and different rebuild kits.

When a transmission requires an overhaul, there are generally three options that you have. The first is to remove your existing transmission and rebuild it, then put the same, newly rebuilt unit back in your car. The second option is to replace your existing unit with a remanufactured transmission. The third is to replace your existing unit with a used transmission.

Rebuild / Rebuilt Transmission

In an overhaul typically done at a transmission shop (also known as rebuilding a transmission), the transmission is removed from the vehicle and completely disassembled with the parts laid out on a workbench. Each hard part is inspected for wear and damage and then either cleaned in a special cleaning solution, or replaced with another part depending on its condition. Parts that have friction surfaces, such as bands and clutches are replaced as are all seals and gaskets. The torque converter is also replaced, usually with a remanufactured one. Upgrades are typically performed to fix any original design defects from the year of manufacture. Automobile manufacturers often make upgrade kits available to transmission shops to resolve these design defects.

Remanufactured Transmission

The remanufacturing process brings a transmission back to as “new” as possible (original equipment). Most internal transmission parts are replaced and any worn parts are brought back to original production specifications. Technical service bulletins are checked and performed. The remanufactured transmission is fully tested and usually comes with a 3 year or longer warranty. There are several brands of remanufactured transmissions sold by auto parts stores and repair shops.

Used / Junkyard Transmissions

Used transmissions normally have high miles and no guarantees. Added to that, the exact make, model, engine size and computer coded transmission has to be installed in your vehicle. Many times, you will be responsible for the labor costs (several hundred dollars) and fluid costs (around $50) of removal and reinstallation if the first unit does not work properly. For every unit that does not work properly, the costs of installing a junkyard unit will double. If the unit is found to have high mileage (there is no way to tell), the unit will fail at any time.

Choosing An Option

When choosing an option, try to be as informed as possible. There are many honest transmission shops and remanufactured transmission companies. But just remember one last piece of information: “Cheaper is not always better”.

Transmission Repair Financing Options

In my last article I talked about using Google AdWords and Bing Ads pay-per-click to drive customers to your website. One of the biggest complaints I get about Internet leads: Customers not having the money to fix their car.

A recent “call shops as a customer” study found:

– Around 65% of transmission shops are quoting at least a ballpark price for rebuilds on the phone.

– Around 80% of general repair shops are quoting ballpark prices for a reman or used unit installation.

– Around 40% of transmission repair shops offer no form of financing options.

The price range for a transmission rebuild or replacement is not a mystery to the Internet shopper. There are websites that give approximate cost information for used, rebuild and reman pricing online. Simply search “transmission repair cost” for an example. $1,800 to $3,500 is what shows up immediately.

An estimated 60K-80K visitors or more in the U.S. see this pricing on a monthly basis, based on search engine estimates. So the Internet shopper already knows, before they call around, what it is going to take to fix or replace a transmission.

When a customer knows up-front they cannot afford repairs using cash or a credit card, and you do not offer financing options on that initial phone call or on your website, they more than likely are going to keep shopping until they find someone who does. A customer without cash or available credit is going to consider used transmissions options or trade-ins if there are no transmission shops available to finance them.

Consider a $2,400 transmission repair: That amount can be tough for many to come up with (cash or available credit). They may call you, they may even set an appointment, but they may not show up for that appointment if a competitor offers financing.

In 2015 there are multiple options for financing, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. In our 2015 Marketing Survey that went out in January, we asked you who you were using for financing. These are the main financing companies used by transmission repair shops today in 2015:

– Synchrony Financial/CarCareOne

– Springleaf

– Cross-Check

– Easypay

– Globalcheck / ARC90

– Secure Payment Systems

– Local Title Loan

– In-House

Any financing program will have its various approval rates and details–but by having at least one or two financing options to mention on the initial phone call will result in more appointment show-ups and more completed vehicles.

As a manager, you should be familiar with the financing options, mention them to every customer, and make it as easy as possible for customers to get financed. If a customer mentions money troubles, you should get them processed and approved right away-before that customer starts thinking about other options.

The bottom line: Financing can help solve our customer’s wants and your wants at the same time. Having the right financing program for your customer type can make a big difference on YOUR bottom line!

Buying Used Auto Parts

Buying used auto parts is usually an inexpensive alternative to buying new auto parts from your local car parts retailer or an on-line store. It may take some time and creativity to find the exact part, so be patient as there are many different ways to accomplish this goal. But, they fall into three basic approaches: junk yards, classified ads and on-line stores. Let’s look at each one.

Junk Yards

There is usually one part of the city where most of the salvage yards are located. These yards often sell used auto parts for low prices if you are able to remove the needed part yourself from one of their wrecked cars or trucks. And, you will need your own tools. Each junk yard is different so be flexible and be prepared to negotiate as you may be able to purchase whole assemblies as well as a series of parts. Call in advance about pricing and car/part availability. Lastly, you should verify the terms and conditions of the sale and any return policy. Not everything goes as planned.

Classified Ads

Traditionally, used auto parts could be found in the classified ads section of your local newspaper or grocery store pamphlet/publication. Today, you can add eBay, Craigslist and a few more such websites to this category. Depending on the part, the buyer will need to verify that the current condition will not affect its ability to operate properly as most of these sellers (with the exception of eBay) are anonymous to the buyer. Which means, no track record of their relationship with past buyers. If you are using eBay, be sure to check out the seller’s feedback ratings before buying any used auto part. The feedback ratings of buyers can provide you with insight into a seller’s reputation, reliability and selling history. And return policy.

On-line Stores

This newest method can be a very fast and convenient way to locate and purchase a specific auto part. Prices, descriptions, pictures and expanded details are usually available via a searchable database. Be sure to be creative when entering your search keywords so the search engine will give you the results you are seeking. The more exact the keyword match, the better will be the results.

In today’s marketplace, there are lots of options for used auto parts buyers. Old school and new. With a little effort, the exact part for your car will be available.

The Importance Of Regular Brake Maintenance and Shocks and Struts Repair

Most drivers are surprised to learn just how quickly brakes wear down. They buy a new car, and before the warranty has even expired, their mechanic is telling them they need new brakes. More often than not, the problem is in the front brakes. Because most of a vehicle’s weight shifts to the front when stopping, the front brakes absorb most of the impact. Friction does damage to the stopping system each and every time it is used. The good news is that this damage can be easily and affordably repaired if maintenance is done on a regular basis.

Replace the Pads

The single most common maintenance task is replacing worn-out pads. These steel cushions are attached to the calipers that clamp down on the brake discs and bring the vehicle to a halt. As you might imagine, they experience an awful lot of wear and tear during normal operation. But because they are inexpensive, pads should be replaced as often as needed.

Failure to replace pads can and will damage other parts of your braking system. Most mechanics will recommend replacing them when they wear down to less than 1/8th of an inch. Depending on your driving habits, this can take anywhere from two to five years. Good pads will last about forty thousand miles. When they are replaced on a regular basis, steel pads will protect brake discs, which are far more expensive. Worn-out pads will not provide the protection needed to prevent calipers from cutting deep grooves in discs, grooves that may cause the pedal to pulsate or seize when applied.

Shocks And Struts Repair

It might surprise you to learn that components outside of your braking system can have a dramatic effect on stopping distance. In particular, your shocks and struts are responsible for maintaining an even, steady ride. If your vehicle requires shocks and struts repair, it simply will not be able to stop on a dime. The problem? The excessive swaying and bouncing that commonly occurs when these components go bad can rob your car of at least 10 feet of stopping distance, according to testing.

The good news is that the average shocks and struts repair is a relatively simple, affordable automotive procedure. Even if the parts need to be replaced, the job shouldn’t cost you more than a few hundred dollars. That is a small price to pay for improved braking and driving performance. It is important to add that automotive professionals recommend getting these important components checked every 12,000 to 15,000 miles. On average, shocks and struts repair or replacement is needed every 50,000 miles.

In the end, taking proper care of your braking system and the components that affect it saves time and money. It also ensures that your vehicle will be safe to drive for years to come.

 

Selecting Gear Lube for Your Engine Parts

Gear lube is the type of motor oil used for transmissions, differentials, and transfer cases in trucks, automobiles, and other heavy equipment in order to prevent metal-to-metal contact that can cause severe damage. It has a higher viscosity, or thickness, than regular motor oil. This helps the lubricant to move through the moving parts when there are no pumps present to push it through the system, which is the case with much of the heavier equipment.

After viscosity, it is important to consider which type of gear lube you need. There are many different types, but most fall into these three broad categories:

Rust and Oxidation Inhibited (R&O).

This type does not include antiscuff additives or other agents, but it does a good job of preventing corrosion and excess foam. It is designed for moving parts that operate at high speeds but with low, consistent loads. It is not intended for use in engines that are prone to spikes in activity.

Antiscuff.

This is also known as an extreme pressure (EP) lubricant, and it performs far better than R&O oils. The antiscuff lubricants contain special additives that make them stronger and able to carry larger loads. One of these common antiwear additives is sulfur phosphorous, which works to alter the machine surface to prevent the adhesive in boundary lubricants from wearing away. Other additives include molybdenum-disulfide (moly), graphite, and borates. An advantage to these additives, compared to sulfur phosphorous compounds, is that their activation does not depend on high surface temperatures. However, sulfur phosphorus additives can eventually harm machine surfaces, especially yellow metals. Engines that perform well with antiscuff gear lube are those that operate under heavy loads or at slow speeds, as well as those that have regular spikes in activity.

Compound.

This type of lube is mixed with a synthetic fatty acid to increase its strength and lubricity. It is commonly used in worm gear applications, where the gears move in a regular sliding motion and are built from metals that may corroded if antiscuff lubricants are used. Compound lubricant is also known as cylinder oil, since it was originally used for steam cylinder machinery.

Finally, you will want to choose a base oil that’s suited to your particular equipment and application.

Mineral Base Oils: This type is suitable for most uses. It allows for greater film thickness in certain applications. However, the inherent properties of this type make it unsuitable for many high-temperature applications. After the refinement process, many inorganic compounds remain. Three in particular-oxygen, sulfur, and nitrogen-can allow oxidation, acid development, and sludge formation.

Synthetic Oils: This type is an engineered product designed to generate a chemical reaction based on the machine’s pressure and temperature. The high-purity chemical components have strong molecular bonds, so they are less likely to break down or allow oxidation. These strong bonds also keep the lube from getting too thick when it’s cold or too thin when it’s hot. They generally offer more consistent protection in sliding applications.

When considering the type of gear lube for your vehicle or heavy equipment, the owner’s manual is the first place to find the recommended viscosity, type, and base oil. Alternatively, a service professional should be able to recommend something for your machine, based on the type of equipment and your use. Having the right lubricant is essential to keeping your machines running efficiently and effectively for many years.

 

Do I Need A New Muffler

It’s not difficult to know if your muffler needs replacement, generally your car will be louder than normal. Mufflers are not repairable, they wear out, rust out or sustain damage and replacement is your only alternative.

Where should I take my car for a new muffler?

A few decades ago there were muffler shops all over town. Mufflers are better engineered and last longer than they used to, which has led to a decrease in the number of muffler shops across the nation. There are still plenty of places to get your muffler replaced.

Muffler shops still exist because not every auto repair shop is equipped to replace mufflers. Most mufflers need to be cut off and the new muffler welded in place. In addition to welding, muffler repair shops have tube bending equipment to custom bend a new exhaust pipe from your engine to your tailpipe if needed.

Some general auto repair shops will be equipped to replace your muffler. If you suspect you do need a new muffler, ask your mechanic if this is a service they perform. There are literally thousands upon thousands of muffler shops in the United States.

Choosing a muffler

Generally speaking, car mufflers usually don’t go out while the vehicle is still under warranty. They last quite a bit longer. When it does come time to replace your muffler you have many choices. You can take your car to the new car dealer to get the exact replacement part for your vehicle, but be prepared to pay more than you would at a muffler specialty shop or a general auto repair shop.

You need not replace your muffler with the exact part number from the Ford dealer or Toyota dealer. Replacement mufflers are designed to replace the original mufflers from the vehicle manufacturers no matter what year, make and model of car you have.

There are also a wide variety of brands of mufflers, some are engineered to let the engine breath better giving you a boost in horsepower. Consult with the repair shop performing the repair to see which mufflers are available for your specific vehicle. Keep in mind, the muffler is part of the emissions system, you don’t want to void your factory warranty or do anything to keep your vehicle from passing a smog check or emissions testing in the future.

Catalytic Converters

The catalytic converter is an integral component of your exhaust system. Its function is to convert toxic gases into less toxic gases before emitting them from your exhaust pipe.

Catalytic converters do fail. One of the most common failures is clogging. When the converter becomes clogged, you may find that your vehicle does not accelerate as well. If the fuel system cannot release burned fuel, it cannot take in as much fuel to burn.

If the converter rusts, you will also have a noisier exhaust system and may smell fumes in the car’s interior. The converter is normally located just under the divider behind the front seats.

Don’t try to diagnose a bad catalytic converter. Most often your car will have drivability problems that lead to diagnosis of a bad converter. Many times you will find out when your vehicle does not pass emissions testing or an annual smog check.

Some catalytic converters are bolted on and some are welded on from the factory. Either way a quality repair shop can replace the catalytic converter for you.

Muffler repair components

Pipes leading to a muffler, from your catalytic converter often rust out and need replacement. Tailpipes will sometimes rust the muffler connection. Hangers also break. If your exhaust system is lower than normal, or dragging under your vehicle, you probably need new hangers. This is usually a low cost repair, but should be performed quickly. Dragging exhaust system components will damage them. The metal can also produce sparks that might start a fire.

You can extend the life of your exhaust system by ensuring that you drive far enough during wet or cold weather to heat up and dry the exhaust system. If you only drive a few miles every day your exhaust components may actually wear out quickly. When you first start your vehicle in cold or wet weather, moisture forms inside the pipes. If the moisture is not removed by heating the exhaust system, the pipes will rust prematurely.

How to Avoid Expensive Auto Repairs

If you do not take good care of your car, you are very likely going to incur great costs when you head to the auto repair shop for repairs, replacement and other maintenance needs. Your car is an important part of your life, and you should strive to ensure that you do everything possible to keep it in good shape, and in doing so, avoid expensive auto repairs. Here is what you should do:

Follow the maintenance schedule as outlined in the owner’s manual.

The manufacturer of your car includes a maintenance schedule that is to direct you on how and when to touch up your car for maintenance purposes. This schedule is your best guide as it comes from someone who understands the car properly, and all its components and the needs of every one of them.

Fix problems soon enough

Pay attention to your car so that you can detect when something is amiss. And if at all you detect something wrong, get it checked out immediately. If you allow little problems to exist without getting fixed, they will escalate into something much bigger that will not only be expensive to fix but dangerous to your safety as well.

Change fluids, filters and spark plugs as recommended by the manufacturer

You might think you are saving some money by not changing these as recommended, but waiting longer than the time the manufacturer has stipulated only serves to damage your vehicle. So that in the long run you end up spending more money in getting your car repaired.

Inflate tires properly

Tires that contain too little air or too much of it are dangerous not just to your car, but your safety as well. This is because such tires are prone to excessive wear and tear which can result into a blow-out.

Synthetic oil

Consider upgrading your motor oil to a high-performance synthetic oil which will not only prevent certain problems associated with common motor oil, but improve your car’s performance as well.

Unusual noises

Unusual noises on your car might be an indication that something is wrong, and for this reason you should check the owner’s manual to ascertain what is usual and what is unusual. If the unusual noises persist, take your car to an auto repair shop where the repair professionals can check to see what is amiss.

Drive carefully

Avoid expensive auto repairs by driving your car carefully, so that you can minimize the chances of wrecking your vehicle, which would definitely necessitate extensive repairs. If someone borrows your car, make sure they are careful drivers and remind them to handle your vehicle well. This is especially important if you are lending your car to someone who has just started to drive.

Know what you can handle and what you cannot

If your car needs some repairs, do them only if you are sure you can adequately deal with them. Otherwise, let the auto repair shop deal with auto repair problems that are beyond your scope. Tinkering with your car when you are not sure about what needs to be done is only going to worsen the problem, and lead to expensive auto repairs.

Be in Control of Your Steering and Suspensions

The most important control mechanism in your car, as a driver, is the steering wheel. The cozy and smooth ride that you enjoy is usually the product of good steering and a good suspension system. Many people also don’t know that a broken suspension system can affect the steering wheel which means the problems you’re experiencing with the steering wheel might have originated from the suspension system.

More importantly, both of these parts play a critical role in your car: good steering ensures that a car is safe for the occupants, while the suspension makes the passengers comfortable and keeps the car from falling apart a lot faster. This is why the steering and the suspension should be checked regularly.

Steering Wheel Problems

When there are problems with the steering wheel, the car may pull itself in a particular direction. The wheel can also shake as you drive which can make it harder for you to keep the entire vehicle along your intended path. At other times, the steering may completely get locked in a single position, making it impossible to steer. This, of course, can result in immediate and catastrophic disaster in cases where the car ends up veering off the road at high speeds. A steering wheel that is in perfect working order will make steering more accurate, safe and reliable. Other steering wheel issues include fluid leakages and overly tight belts.

Steering problems can be caused by a broken suspension system. A vibrating wheel is also usually the most obvious indication that the wheels are loose or unbalanced. This is why a steering problem requires such immediate and serious attention. It is usually a sign that things are terribly wrong in another part of the car.

Suspension Problems

When the suspension system has issues, your car will not handle bumps and rough roads as well as it generally should, and the tires will wear out unevenly. You might also hear noises when you go over bumpy surfaces. You might ignore the problem thinking that your car can hold out for some time before you visit the garage, but this is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. A suspension problem often causes problems in other parts of the car. In general, your car will wear down much faster, which means ignoring suspension problems will eventually result in more visits to the garage than necessary over time.

If you are someone who expects the very best performance from your car, there is no choice but to have your car undergo a thorough inspection of the suspension and the steering wheel to ensure that they are in perfect condition. Essentially, steering wheels and suspension systems are important for cars because they ensure safety and comfort for the passengers, longevity for the car, and a considerably reduced maintenance budget. Be in control of your car’s steering and suspension system through regular inspections, and you will be certain to enjoy its life of service.

 

Automotive Services The Importance of Proper Wheel Alignment

Automotive Services The Importance of Proper Wheel AlignmentAfter gas and insurance, tires are often the single greatest expense of owning an automobile. Even a safe driver who observes the rules of the road must replace them from time to time. According to the experts, the average set of wheels lasts around 40,000 miles. Since the average American motorist drives about 12,000 miles a year, they must replace all four tires every three to four years.

Annual Expense

Depending on the size, brand, and performance quality, tires can range in price from $50-$200 each. If replaced as a set, as recommended, the average driver would have to shell out $200-$800 each time. That’s about $60-$230 a year! Fortunately, there are inexpensive automotive services that can greatly extend the life of your tires.

What Is Wheel Alignment?

In spite of its name, wheel alignment has little to do with the rubber that hits the road. A trained mechanic will actually work on your car’s suspension system during this common automotive services procedure. His objective is to adjust the angles of the tires so that they are parallel to each other and perpendicular to the ground. This helps ensure that they make full and complete contact with the road.

The Benefits

Because tires are designed to distribute stress evenly, poor alignment invariably results in increased wear to one particular part of the tread. When ignored, the problem almost always results in premature replacement. As we mentioned, this can cost a pretty penny. Alignment helps you avoid unnecessary waste for a fraction of the price. It also helps improve driving performance, fuel economy, and driving safety.

Poor alignment can also be quite dangerous. The reason? Because when wheels are uneven, the vehicle tends to pull to one side. This can make handling your vehicle on a rocky surface particularly challenging since you will be fighting the steering wheel and the road at the same time. It is also a fact that drivers have actually lost control of vehicles on sharp turns when their alignment was terribly out of whack. Last but not least, the lack of a solid base often causes vibrations at top speeds that make driving uncomfortable for all occupants. There may even be an increase in road noise because of vibrations that enter the cabin near affected areas.

The Costs

The good news is that alignment is a fairly straightforward procedure any experienced mechanic can complete. It is not nearly as expensive or as time-consuming as brake or engine work. Most mechanics will only charge $50-$70 for a complete alignment job. As we saw earlier, that’s nothing compared to the price you’d pay for four new tires.

An alignment, one of the most affordable automotive services, can save you big money on tires and repair costs.

Inspecting Your Car Before a Long Trip

Before making a long summer trip, you need to make sure that your vehicle is in perfect running condition. For this purpose, you may just need to first make a short trip to a car inspection station as professionals will check your car in detail and you will be all set to hit the road without any roadblocks.

Car inspection usually requires several things. Following are some of the key aspects of a vehicle inspection process:

Are there are Any Major Works Required?

Primarily you need to get your car inspected for any major repairs that you might have been ignoring for some time. It is suggested to get this done at least a month in advance at a car inspection station in your area. This will give you enough time to monitor any issues that may arise after the servicing or repair.

Checking Your Auto’s Coolant

Next, comes checking and maintaining your car’s coolant, which is a mixture of antifreeze and water. Coolant is required to prevent overheating. At the same time, your vehicle needs to have the right amount of antifreeze if your destination has much lower temperatures than where you live.

Checking the Tires

A long journey is the ideal time to know whether or not your car needs new tires or not. A reputed car inspection station will always give you the best advice on this. Many have ASE certified technicians, who can provide quality service and share great maintenance tips at the same time. Getting your tires checked from a professional is specifically important on long journeys as high speeds can lead to blowing off your tire if it is not in a good condition. While the health of your tires is being gauged, make sure that your spare tire is also handy as emergencies may pop up any time.

Scheduled Maintenance

Many car owners often neglect the importance of scheduled maintenance. However, they need to keep in mind that this is what keeps vehicles in perfect condition. It also ensures safety and saves expenses in the long run. So, just a week before your journey, check if your car is due for any maintenance.

When heading out for a long trip, getting your car inspected from a reputed automotive service center beforehand is always a good idea. This is important for you and your family’s safety that shows immense responsibility towards your loved ones.

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