It’s Beginning to Look Like…Car Trouble

The Time For Winter Maintenance is Now

The winter winds are blowing, and with them comes car trouble. From heaters that won’t work to cars that won’t turn over, cold weather and the wear and tear that comes with it, can do a number on your vehicle. Don’t wait until you start experiencing these problems to bring your car into a mechanic. There’s a good chance you’ll blow your holiday shopping budget if you do.

Instead, stop into Duramx. We might not be Santa’s elves, but we do have a friendly and knowledgeable staff that can help you prep and safeguard your sleigh this season. From new wipers, to snow tires, we have a wide range of products and services that will weatherproof any ride.

Schedule Winter Preventative Maintenance

Don’t forget to ask us about our helpful diagnostics services. We can run a quick check on your vehicle to spot any problems that could be worsened by the winter weather. Think of this kind of like Rudolph shining a light through the fog. You’ll gain visibility into potential problems and be able to fix them before they derail your holiday plans.

Duramax offers both a digital diagnosis and a manual once over to make sure that all of the various parts of your vehicle are working together like a well-trained team of reindeer. If we spot something that is acting up or not working at all, we’ll help you fix it on the spot and in a jiffy. Your vehicle should get you to the holiday festivities, not keep you from them.

Traveling for the Holidays?

Duramax helps you plan for the unexpected during the holidays. No matter whether the roads throw you pot holes, or the winter winds hurtle a storm head on, you’ll be able to safely navigate the holidays.

Don’t be blindsided by bad weather or risk your family’s safety with balding tires. Make Duramax part of your pre-holiday checklist. We’ll handle checking this part twice. With your friends at Duramax, we’ll take your road trip from naughty to nice and enable you to enjoy your holiday travels without worry.

Get to your holiday get-togethers, parties, light up nights, and more thanks to the reliable parts, services, and staff at Duramax.

Car Enging with Belts

Ignoring Your Timing Belt Can Be Costly

Replacing Your Timing Belt Can Save You Loads On Potential Repairs

Take a moment to imagine a symphony, without a conductor, no one to tell each musician what to play, when to start, and how to play it.  Your vehicle’s timing belt is like the conductor for your engine.  It keeps everything in sync and performing as it should.  This means that when your timing belt is in need or repair or even routine maintenance, ignoring this could cause major problems for your engine.

At Duramax Transmissions, we’ve seen firsthand the damage that ignoring your timing belt can cause.  Yes, we’re here to help fix whatever car troubles you might have.  But by placing our customers first, we hope to help stave off these costly repair bills by offering high quality, affordable, routine maintenance.

What Damage Can a Little Timing Belt Do?

The unfortunate answer is, a fair amount. Timing belts help to control when valves in your engine open and close.  For your vehicle to work, the timing of these valves opening and closing is very important.  When the timing belt breaks, these valves won’t open at the correct time and their synchronization with the pistons of your engine will be off.

The amount and type of damage your engine might suffer from a broken timing belt depends on the type of engine that you have.  Some valves may become damaged, the camshaft or cylinder head or camshaft might experience damage.  Other vehicles may still experience other damage.

How do you Prevent Your Belt from Breaking?

The only way to prevent this from happening is to have your timing belt changed at intervals suggested by your car manufacturer.  Most often, car manufacturers will recommend having it changed at 60,000 to 100,000 miles.

If the belt breaks before this, with regularly scheduled car maintenance, it might be a manufacturer defect.  Volkswagen just underwent a class action lawsuit because certain vehicles had issues with broken timing belts before their suggested replacement window. If you have a Volkswagen or are curious to learn more about this class action, click here.

To schedule an replacement, give us a call at (503) 363-6888 or find more contact information here.

auto air vents - air conditioning service and repair

Air Conditioning Service and Repair

Get Your Air Conditioning Fixed Before You Feel the Heat

Are you battling the summer heat, in your car or vehicle? Have you been thinking that it might be worth getting an air conditioning service and repair? Here at Duramax, we specialize in the service and maintenance of vehicle air conditioning units, helping to keep our customers cool no matter what summer throws at us.

Rather than wait until things get bad, or worse, if you spot any of the signs below you can bring your vehicle in for service and smaller repairs which means smaller bills and more savings for you. With graduation parties, vacations and summer cookouts, more cash in your wallet is a wonderful thing. The warning signs are easy to spot, if you know what to look for. So, we’ve pulled together a short description how and what to spot when it’s time to have your AC serviced or repaired rather than replaced.

Warning signs that your air conditioning unit is in need of service.

It doesn’t work the way it used to.

Do you find yourself cranking the fan higher, or running the air conditioning for longer periods of time? These are signs that your car or trucks AC Unit is no longer functioning fully and that it could either have a leak, or be headed for a total breakdown.

There’s something there that wasn’t there before.

Have you noticed anything other than cold air coming from your vents? Is there a noise like a clanging or banging? Or maybe you’ve noticed a bit of a smell…something like mildew? Rather than crank up the volume or plug in an air freshener, this is a good time to get things checked out.

Puddles are pooling, inside your vehicle.

Keep an eye out for persistent puddles in the foot wells. While some may actually be the result of wet shoes on a rainy day, a clogged drain hose can cause your air conditioning to “leak” water from built up condensation.

Keep an eye on your sensors.

If your car or truck’s interior or exterior temperature sensor is bad, it may keep your air conditioner from turning on. When these sensors don’t work, your vehicle can’t take an accurate reading and therefore won’t respond properly.

A/C isn’t just for Summer!

Did you know that air conditioning in the winter helps dehumidify the air, reducing fogged up windows, making it safer to drive. It also helps control the temperature, keeps the A/C system components in better condition, and helps control the loss of refrigerant.

If your car or truck is experiencing any of these signs, don’t sweat, just give us a call and stay cool!

broken down volkswagen beetle in daffodils - spring care care

Spring Car Care

It’s spring car care time! Spring is here, and summer is just around the corner. With the beautiful weather comes changes in road conditions, temperature, and other factors that affect your vehicle. Here are a few things that you should check on this spring.

Brakes

Pull off your wheels and have a look at those brakes. The last thing you want to have fail on your vehicle is the brakes. If you aren’t comfortable checking the pads / discs / drums depending on your vehicle then have a mechanic look at them. They can determine the remaining life expectancy of your brakes and advise you on when they should be serviced or replaced.

Battery

Checking your battery regularly is important even outside of the winter. If your battery is not sealed, make sure the fluid level is high enough. The terminals should be free of corrosion and the top of the battery should not have any discharge around it. If your battery doesn’t look healthy, let a professional mechanic inspect it and determine if it needs to be replaced.

Rubber

Changes in temperature will eventually wear out any parts made of rubber. Tires, belts, and hoses should all be checked. If you have separate winter and summer tires, make sure to do a quick glance over for any bubbles or defects that could be forming as this could be a sign of a damaged tire. Uneven wear calls for an inspection by a certified mechanic that can properly diagnose the issue. Watch your belts while the engine is running and make sure there is no lateral movement or “flutter”. Flutter or cracking in the belts / hoses requires a replacement.

Fluids

Check all the fluid levels in your vehicle. Ensure that your oil is at the appropriate level and is a nice amber. Add extra oil if it is below the fill level and change it if it looks black and nasty. Check your transmission fluid. Depending on if you have an automatic or manual transmission vehicle, this step will vary.  If you have a manual vehicle with a hydraulic clutch, check the clutch fluid level. Your coolant level should be checked, and the contents tested for the water to ethylene glycol ratio with a simple tester that can be found at any auto store. Make sure your brake fluid is at the appropriate level and not dark and nasty looking. If so, have your mechanic flush and refill it. If your car is equipped with power steering, then make sure your power steering fluid is topped off and doesn’t look dirty.

A/C

An aging A/C unit can be easily pushed over the edge by a balmy day leaving you to cook in your car. Also, consider turning off the A/C in your car a couple minutes before turning off the engine. This gives the heat condenser time to cool off and prevents excess moisture from accumulating in your vents which can result in mold / fungi growth and a foul smell.

Wash

Give your vehicle a nice bath. Hit all the hard to get spots with higher pressure water to knock off any extra material that your car is carrying around from the winter months. Check all the locations in your vehicle that you don’t often see for damage that may have gone overlooked. Cleaning your engine bay also makes it much easier to spot potential leaks.

Infiniti QX350 - Variable Compression Engine

INFINITI’s New Variable Compression Engine

Car Maintenance - New Year's Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions

Taking care of our bodies is important and we set new year’s resolutions to help us improve so how about a few New Year’s Resolutions for your car?

Beauty & Looks

Dirt left on your carpet and seats can tear the fibers so set a regular weekly vacuum schedule and take care of major dirt when it occurs.

Don’t forget to dust and occasionally add a protectant to your surfaces to reduce fading from the sun.

The exterior of your car (paint, chrome, trim, etc) can rust, scratch, and fade without regular washing and sealant/protectant.  Find a local detailer and you will be amazed at what they can do with your car or watch a YouTube video and learn for yourself.

Windows and visibility are key for safe driving. Ensure that your windows are clean inside and out and consider using a water repellant to help with rainy weather. Making sure you have wipers that are working well is a must!

Your lights are important for visibility and signaling to the drivers around you that you are stopping or turning. Recently, my daughter’s headlights were only partially working. The issue was a switch that was turned off when she had a body repair. A simple flip of a switch and her nighttime visibility (and safety) was improved tremendously.  It would be a good idea to check your lights on a regular basis.

Nutrition for your Car

You take your body for check-ups and physicals with your doctor so make sure to follow routine and maintenance recommendations. And schedule tune-ups to keep your car in optimal condition.

If you feed your car good fuel, check fluid levels, and perform regular oil changes, it helps keep the “inside” of your car running smoothly and reduces mechanical failures.

Exercise & Use

Just like your body needs to move, a car that isn’t driven for a while can develop issues. Driving your car or body too hard or under the wrong circumstances, however, can also have detrimental effects.

  • Make sure to check your tire pressure using the sticker on the inside of the driver’s door for the PSI. You need good shoes to exercise and good tires to drive safely and efficiently. Rotate your tires every 5,000 to 10,000 miles – depending on your vehicle.
  • Drive the speed limit – driving aggressively is not only unsafe, it can increase fuel consumption by as much as 35 percent.
  • Drive Sober & Buckle Up – just like you take care of your body – you need to take care of yourself and others when you drive. Safety First!

Here’s a link to an English and Spanish version of a guide to help you get started and track maintenance: http://www.carcare.org/car-care-resource/car-care-guide/. Or, if you’d prefer, you can make a checklist or set up tasks on your calendar to help you remember to take care of your car.

Call Duramax Transmissions for all of your automotive needs! (503)363-6888

frozen windshield wipers | common winter car problems | duramax transmissions

5 Common Winter Car Problems + How To Avoid Them

Taking care of your car can be quite a hassle at times, but with a few simple steps, you can ensure your vehicle will run smoothly throughout the wintertime. We’ve taken the time to list out 5 of the most common winter car problems along with tips to avoid them.

Decreased Tire Pressure

Cold temperatures cause tire flattening over time, so it is best to check your tire pressure regularly. Using the manual for your car, make sure the tires are in the acceptable range. This will not only increase the efficiency of the vehicle but also help when driving under less-than-ideal weather conditions.

Ice in Fuel Line

We recommend keeping the gas tank half full during the winter because some tanks can develop ice from moisture in the air. Even if this isn’t motivation enough, you never know when a storm or other catastrophe will occur. As the saying goes, it’s best to be safe than sorry. So, don’t run your car on an empty gas tank this holiday season.

Spark Plug Degradation

Going to work in the morning may take a lot longer with the time to scrape ice off the windows. However, this does not mean it’s a good idea to let your car warm up. Doing so can cause a myriad of problems ranging from wasted fuel to damaged spark plugs. Cars were not meant to idle for long periods of time, so we recommend investing in some de-ice spray if scraping is a difficult task.

Frozen Windshield Wipers

Do you ever see streaks on your windshield when using the wipers? This is a sign that your current wipers are getting old and inefficient. Take the hint, and replace them so as to prevent issues during inclement weather. Newer wipers are also able to handle the temperature drop better because they have fewer cracks for moisture to build up.

Dead Batteries

No one wants to end up stranded on the side of the road with a dead car battery. Make sure your battery is charged and thus able to handle tougher starts in the cold. It may even be a good idea to keep an extra battery in the garage for future use. Even still, always have jumper cables in your trunk in case your battery does die.

 

We aren’t sharing these common winter car problems to scare you. Instead, we want you to be as prepared as possible and have a safe, enjoyable holiday season. So, take our advice and check out these simple things to avoid issues in the cold weather.

 

If you have any questions, give us a call at (503) 363-6888. Happy Holidays!

Old Shell Gas Pumps - Premium and Regular - Gas Mileage

Improve Your Gas Mileage

Improving gas mileage is simple. Follow the recommendations below, and you will save money and increase the life of your vehicle. As with anything related to your car or truck, regular maintenance and oil changes are necessary to achieve top performance.

Gas Mileage Thieves

Incorrect Tire Pressure:  You can find an inexpensive pressure gauge like this one (pic) and periodically check your tire pressure.  The manufacturers recommended pressure levels are on the driver’s side doorplate.  Don’t use the “Maximum Pressure” numbers on the tire.

Tire Gauge - Gas Mileage

Bad Oxygen Sensors: Replacing malfunctioning sensors can improve your gas mileage by as much as 10%.  Oxygen Sensors regulate the mixture of air and fuel and are generally rated to be replaced at 100,000 miles. Make sure you have a mechanic perform diagnostics to be certain that this is the issue.

Poor Air Filtering: Ensuring that Air Filters are unclogged can improve your mileage per gallon by as much as 20%.

Broken Spark Plugs: Make sure the spark plugs are firing correctly.

Spark Plug - Gas Mileage

Leaking Fuel Injectors:  You’ll want to confirm the functioning of your fuel injectors to ensure they aren’t negatively affecting your gas mileage.

Low Quality Motor Oil: The wrong motor oil can affect your gas mileage up to 12%.  Make sure you choose an oil that is high in reducing friction.

Loose Gas Caps: Check that your Gas Cap is screwed on tight.

Driving Habits

  • Accelerate and break steadily.
  • Drive the speed limit.
  • Use cruise control on the highways.
  • Idling wastes fuel. It takes only 30 seconds to warm up the engine. Also, if you are waiting for someone, put the car in neutral.

Before You Buy

If you’re looking for a new or used car, you can go to this site to check on the fuel economy of the Model by year:  http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/findacar.shtml.

Old Car with Gear shift on the column - Manual Transmissions, Automatic Transmissions

Automatic or Manual Transmission?

Automatic transmission vehicles are becoming the most common to drive, while manual transmissions are going more out of style. First we’ll look at the main differences then some common myths surrounding the debate of automatic vs. manual transmissions.  This will help you decide what’s best for you.

Manual Transmission

A manual transmission is controlled via the stick shift and clutch. You change gears by pushing in the clutch and moving the stick shift to the appropriate gear. In the 1940s vehicles typically had only 3 gears, but now they commonly have 6, or even 7 for many sports cars. Learning to drive a manual transmission is a bit more tricky, but once you do you can drive almost any vehicle in the world.  This is particularly useful for countries where manual transmissions are the primary type of car. Also, most people find manuals more engaging to drive.

Automatic Transmission

Automatics used to only be available in luxury model cars.  Now they’re more common than manuals and are available at a similar price point. There are two types of automatic transmission, hydraulic and dual-clutch. Both change gears without requiring anything from the driver, although now many automatics now allow you to choose gears as well. It is more difficult to stall an engine with an automatic transmission and it tends to make for smoother driving, particularly in stop-and-go traffic.
Manual Transmissions - Automatic Transmissions
Myths

  1. Manuals get better fuel mileage. This used to be the case, but with advancing technology some automatics are now even surpassing manuals in fuel efficiency.
  2. Manual vehicles cost less. While this still holds true for most models, it isn’t always the case. Some vehicle models cost the same whether they have automatic or manual transmission. And today over 50% are not even produced with manual transmissions.
  3. Automatic transmission is always an option. There are a small group of specialized vehicles that are only produced with manual transmissions, such as the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 or Ford Focus RS. Your dream car may not have an automatic option.

Which should you choose?

If you have the choice, the type of transmission you should drive depends mostly on your driving style and commute, but let’s face it, what you enjoy driving plays a huge part in your decision. If you have to go through a lot of stop-and-go traffic, an automatic is probably a better choice since you don’t have to constantly step on the clutch and shift. If you’re looking for a more dynamic experience, a manual transmission is the most interesting and fun to drive, which makes it good for longer distances. Maintenance costs are similar on both types. Although it’s typical for automatic transmissions to be easier to maintain, it really depends on the vehicle.

Do your research, check the cost of the car & maintenance; and, ultimately, choose the car that fits your lifestyle and that you will enjoy driving!

Tire Maintenance = $ Saved

Buying new tires for your vehicle is an expense we’d all like to avoid as much as possible. Luckily, there are some simple tire maintenance tasks and driving habits you can practice to
extend the life of your tires.

Tire MainOld rusted truck tire showing poor tire maintenance.tenance

Check your tire pressure about once a month. Having the proper amount of pressure ensures against a blowout, reduces tread wear, and also prevents getting fewer miles to the gallon due to under-inflated tires. Check tire pressure in the morning while it’s still cool to get a more accurate reading. You can find the recommended tire pressure for your vehicle on the driver’s side door jam. Never follow what’s written on the side of the tire, this is the maximum amount of pressure the tire can handle.

About every 5,000 miles or six months your tire maintenance should include rotating and balancing your tires to make sure they wear evenly. You can also check how often the automaker suggests rotation for your particular vehicle. Rotation is especially important for front or rear-wheel drive, when the front or back tires take the most toll. Balancing tires ensures that the heavy spots in each tire do not cause unnecessary wear and vibration. At the same time, you can also adjust the alignment of your suspension, which can cause the tires to rotate inward or outward and cause uneven wear on the tread.

And take a look at your tires. Notice if the tread is wearing low or if there are cracks in the sidewall. These can be indicators that it’s time to purchase new tires.

Driving Habits

How you drive can have a big effect on the longevity of your tires. The most important things to be aware of are starting and stopping. When starting, do not accelerSky blue Volkswagon Bug with beautiful tires and white wheels - great tire maintenance!ate too fast. The black marks on the road are caused by little bits of rubber coming off of your tire. When stopping, don’t brake to hard. This can also cause rubber to peel off of the tire. It is best to accelerate easily and brake steadily and not too fast when possible.

Tire Storage

Whether they’re mounted on your car or stacked in the garage, it’s important to store tires properly if you want them to last longer. Experts say the best place is out of the sun, away form ozone, and in a stable temperature environment. Ozone is caused by things like electric motors and furnaces, so be aware of what’s in your garage. If you’re removing the tires from your vehicle, place them in a plastic bag (airtight if possible) and stand them upright to prevent extra strain.  It’s also a good idea to clean your tires regularly and keep them dry.