When do I need Clutch Service?

A clutch typically lasts anywhere from 30,000 to 150,000 miles before needing serviced, depending on the habits of the driver. There are are a few things that can cause a clutch to fail and we are going to go through some of the signs so that you can get your clutch maintenance as soon as is needed.

Sticky Clutch

A sticky clutch occurs when you need to press hard on the clutch pedal to get it to engage. This is caused by a failure in the hydraulic links, which causes a hydraulic leak that needs to be repaired.

Slipping Gears

If your vehicle slips out of gear for no apparent reason that is a sign of wear and usually requires a clutch replacement. It could also mean there’s an oil leak from the crankshaft.

Noisy Shifting or Jerking

You might hear strange noises when shifting gears, or the vehicle may jerk into gear with proper clutch use. This typically indicates oil or other contaminates on the gears or clutch. Failing to address this issue will cause wear on the clutch and cause more damage later on.

Burning Odor

A foul burning smell while driving can be caused by friction produced by a worn out clutch, resulting in overheating. This is typically caused by riding the clutch, the most common bad driving habit for manual transmissions. Have your vehicle seen to immediately.


Transmission Fluid

Regular Transmission Fluid Checks

Transmission Fluid Checks & Maintenance

Checking your transmission is an important part of vehicle maintenance, so you should develop a routine of checking your transmission fluid regularly to detect any problems.  This will also help you avoid leaks and low fluid levels. Follow these easy steps to check the transmission yourself:

  1. Prepare a clean white cloth
  2. Park the vehicle on a level surface. If your car sits on an incline, you’ll get an inaccurate reading on the dipstick.
  3. Start the vehicle and allow it to warm up, unless the owner’s manual states otherwise.   (Note:  Some vehicles gain an accurate reading differently).
  4. Pop the hood and locate the transmission fluid dipstick (check your owner’s manual).
  5. Caution, fluid may be hot! Carefully pull out the dipstick, wipe clean, and re-insert. Pull out the dipstick again and note the markings. There should two marks, an upper and lower fluid limit. The fluid line should be between the two markings. If the fluid is below the lower mark, you’ll need to add more fluid to avoid problems.
    • Refilling fluid: Carefully add your fluid to the transmission reservoir, using a funnel will make it easier. Continually recheck the dipstick to ensure it does not overfill.
  6. Check Color, Smell, and Consistency
    • Color: Transmission fluid needs to be bright to dark red or light brown in color. The newer the fluid, the brighter red it will be. Fluid that is a dark brown color indicates you should get a fluid change, and a black color can be a sign of transmission problems.
    • Smell: New transmission fluid is odorless or clean smelling. You or your mechanic needs to check out any burning smell immediately.
    • Consistency:  You will notice signs of car trouble in the consistency of transmission fluid so look for visible shavings or large particles. You can also tell that the wrong fluid was used if it appears foamy. If your transmission fluid is a thick consistency, don’t worry, that is sign of healthy fluid.

When you’re done, reinsert the dipstick and close the hood. Now you know how to check your transmission fluid for better car maintenance and prevention.

Call Duramax Transmissions for an expert opinion:  503.363.6888.  Visit us @ www.duramaxtransmissionsautorepair.com.

Used car lot with beautiful orange BMW

Tips for Buying a Used Car

Used Car Maintenance & Warranty

Buying a used car can save you a lot of money but there are a lot of things to consider, such as how much you’re willing to spend, whether it’s in good condition, and if you want a warranty or not. Having a budget will help you narrow down your search. Keep in mind that used cars can require additional maintenance and more money down the road. If you want a warranty, you’ll have to get a Certified Pre-Owned vehicle from a dealer. These vehicles are usually less than 5 years old and are more expensive, but, they have a long-term warranty from the manufacturer. If a warranty isn’t a big concern for you, privately-sold vehicles usually have the cheapest prices, but you’ll have to do some more homework before you buy. Even when purchasing from the dealer you can follow these steps to ensure you’re getting the used car that’s right for you.

1. Research

Look for the car brands that have good used ratings, such as Honda or Toyota, and that fall into your budget. Once you find some options, look into each vehicle’s history. All you need is the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and you can find out what kind of damage the car may have taken in the past, usually for a small fee. You’ll probably want to avoid anything with a salvage title, which means was totaled in some sort of accident and the insurance company declared the repair cost worth more than the car itself. This can indicate future mechanical problems and make it more difficult to sell again. Also ask for maintenance records as well to ensure the vehicle has been kept up properly.

2. Communicate with the seller or dealer

If you find the car in an ad, such as on craigslist or in the paper, be sure to call and talk to the seller beforehand and ask any questions you may have. You don’t want to waste time looking at the vehicle if there’s a deal breaker. Ask why the vehicle is on the market. You can use the information to prepare your offer, and you are also less likely caught off guard by something you weren’t expecting. Find out everything you can before you test drive.

3. The Test Drive

There are several things you can look for when test driving a vehicle. Talk to your mechanic or look online for common symptoms of a vehicle that needs repair. Take the car for a drive and take notice of your comfort level, any engine or warning lights, whether the AC & heater works, whether it has good visibility while driving, and if anything smells suspicious. After you drive, check under the hood and make sure nothing is steaming or smoking. You can also have your mechanic look at the vehicle for a modest fee.

4. Negotiating and Closing the Deal

After you’ve done all the research on the car and found an average paying price online or through another source, decide what you’re willing to pay ahead of time. You can make an offer that’s slightly lower, but also within reasonable price for the vehicle and its condition. Support your offer with facts and if the final offer from the seller is close to the average paid price, you’re good. As you close the deal, make sure all the titles, registrations, and warranties are properly in place from the seller.

Do you need a transmission specialist for truck transmission work?

truck transmission

Truck Transmission Repair Specialist

Trucks are built for tough terrain and heavy loads, which makes a truck transmission more complex and trucks more expensive.  To protect your investment, when it comes to truck transmissions, you want an expert to do your transmission repair.   Choosing the right specialist will generally provide you a better warranty, faster service, and a more highly trained and certified mechanic.  Ask your service center or Transmission shop if they have Truck Transmission Repair Specialists available for your make and model when you set up your appointment.  A specialist will be trained by the manufacturer and have the tools, knowledge, and expertise to keep you on the road.

When is it okay to use a general service center?

For transmission service such as flushes, fluid replacement or transmission gasket replacement, a general service center will be more cost effective.  However, if you need a repair, call on the experts to ensure the longest life for your truck transmission.