Buy, Lease, or Own:

Affordably Owning a Vehicle in an Uncertain Economy

With uncertain financial times ahead of us, many people are opting to keep their current vehicle rather than take on a new car bill.  Keeping your current car can be a smart and affordable way to help manage your expenses while maintaining your ability to get around.

While public transportation might be the most affordable method for transportation it just isn’t an option for many.  In most areas, mass transportation is only available in the city.  And when they do, they are a dubbed a “park and ride”, meaning you drive to the bus stop. This means that if you live in the suburbs you almost definitely need a vehicle.

In recent weeks, as a matter of public health, many public transportation authorities are being forced to cut the number of buses or train rides offered.  Which now makes it difficult for people who typically could utilize public transportation to rely on it.

Leasing a Car

If you want the luxury of a new car without the big price tag, leasing a car can be a more affordable way to go.  However, if or when things do get a bit tight financially, you still have the monthly burden of a car payment.  Before signing a lease, carefully read through the contract and talk to the finance specialist at the dealership to make sure options like deferring a month’s payment are included.

Buying a Used Car

If you don’t yet have a car, this can be one of the most affordable methods of getting one.  Be sure to purchase the vehicle through a reputable dealer.  Also, do your research on the actual vehicle you are considering purchasing to determine whether it has been in previous accidents.  Do your research to find out what this car should cost for the age and mileage that is has on it.  And lastly, make sure you fully understand the terms of the sales agreement.

Keeping your Clunker

If you do have a vehicle, keeping it running is the most affordable and safe option in this uncertain market.  Regardless of whether your car is a clunker or in great shape, investing in your car now can keep it on the road for many miles to come.  Simple routine maintenance is the most assured way of spotting potential problems before they happen and keeping repair bills low.

Is your car making a noise?  Does it have a certain smell when you turn the engine over?  Are you worried about a potential problem or need to have something fixed?  Give us a call and let our staff help you keep your car in tip top shape…and your wallet too!

Grey car parked by flowering trees in spring

Spring Cleaning Your Vehicle

You Take Steps to Get Your House Cleaned Up and in Working Order in the Spring, Why Not Your Car?

Routine maintenance isn’t something we tend to look forward to or to get excited about. However, it’s one of those things that can stave off expensive car repair bills which are even less exciting. Routine maintenance can also help to get your car back to optimum performance and make it more enjoyable to drive, especially when the weather turns.

Rather than viewing it as something you have to do, make time for your regular 30k, 60k, or 90k mileage maintenance as the weather breaks. When you make plans for spring cleaning this year, put a stop into Duramax on your list.

Why Should Routine Maintenance Be on Your Spring-Cleaning List?

Check Engine Lights

Your mechanic will be able to run a diagnostic check on your vehicle and determine the cause for any check engine lights or other signs that your car might not be performing optimally. Think of it like a checkup or a physical for your car, truck, or SUV. Looking under the hood regularly can make sure that you spot potential problems before they develop into costly repairs. It’s kind of like walking around your house and inspecting it for issues once the weather breaks.

Oil Change

We tend to drive more when the weather breaks which means more wear and tear on our engines. This makes spring is a great time to refresh your oil supply too. Emptying out the sludge like oil that can back up your engine and replacing it with fresh new oil can protect your engine and keep it functioning optimally.

Tire Rotation

Much like changing your oil, changing or more accurately, rotating your tires this spring can keep you safe during spring showers. During your routinely scheduled maintenance, your mechanic will make sure that your tread is wearing evenly to get the best traction and keep your family safe during trips to the park, soccer games, and more. During a tire rotation your vehicle’s mechanic will also check the dept and the wear pattern of your tire’s treads for your family’s safety.

Break Inspection

While the weather isn’t as harsh during the spring, there are still changing weather conditions. Your regularly scheduled maintenance will include a break inspection to ensure that you are safe and able to stop rain or shine.

Cabin Filter

Spring is the time when pollen is at its peak! Make sure that your car is prepared with a new cabin air filter. This filter will be checked during your routinely scheduled maintenance which makes spring the perfect time to schedule this service for your vehicle. Enjoy the weather without the itchy eyes and runny noses this year.

Engine Air Filter

Equally as important, your engine air filter will need replacing routinely. By making your regularly scheduled maintenance part of your spring-cleaning routine you can ensure your vehicle is in tip top shape! Just like your house!


Spring cleaning means cleaning yes, but it also means replenishing your cleaning supplies. You need the right fluids to clean your windows and make sure your home is running properly – just like your vehicle. During your regularly scheduled maintenance your mechanic will go through, replacing or replenishing all the fluids from your windshield to your breaks!


You might be able to sit on your porch and enjoy the spring showers, but when they happen on your next drive make sure you’re prepared with new wiper blades. Spring cleaning your vehicle includes a wiper inspection to make sure that you have exactly what you need to be safe on the roads this season.

Emergency supplies for travel/cars

What to Keep in Your Car for Emergencies

You Never Wish For an Emergency, But It’s A Good Idea to be Prepared For One Just in Case.

No one ever likes to dwell on what could potentially happen, but if something does go wrong, being prepared can make all of the difference. If you got stuck on the side of the road due to an emergency right now, would you be prepared to handle it? Would you have what you need in the car?

What to keep in your Vehicle in case of Emergency:

  • Flashlight
  • First Aid Kit
  • Road Flairs
  • Warm Gloves, Hat, Jacket
  • Glass Hammer
  • Tire Pressure Gauge/Air compressor
  • Snacks
  • Jumper Cables/Battery Charger
  • For Dog Owners: a spare serving of food in a sealed container.
  • Dog Leash/Harness

Flashlights: Whether you need to pull over and check on a tire, or you’re stuck on the side of the road at night, a flashlight is a versatile tool to have on hand. Flashlights that can be charged by winding, or other mechanical motion are a great idea as you’ll always be able to use them. If you keep a battery powered flashlight in your car it’s a good idea to keep a spare pair of batteries in your car with the flashlight and check them regularly.

First Aid Kit: From car crashes, to minor scrapes while you’re out and about having a first aid kit on hand is a must. If you’ve had one in your car for a while now, pull it out and check to make sure that it’s stock and that the meds inside aren’t expired. If you don’t have one, get one. You may never pull it out in an emergency, but if you or a loved one is hurt, it can make all of the difference until trained medical professionals arrive.

Road Flairs: Staying safe is being seen. If you’re having car trouble on the side of the road, even in daylight, setting out flairs can alert oncoming traffic to give you room. Make sure these are stored in a place/way that they’ll stay dry. If they’re wet, you won’t be able to use them when you need them.

Warm Clothing: If you live in an area where the temperatures can drop, even if it’s just at night, it’s a great idea to have some spare gloves, hat, and even a jacket stashed in your vehicle. If you are stuck for some time before a response truck or team can get to you, this clothing will come in handy.

Glass Hammer: While the sound and look like something out an action movie, these glass breaking tools are good to have on hand. They’re specifically designed to break automotive glass with ease in case of emergency. While you might not go sliding off of the road and into a lake or ocean, you might find yourself in a wreck with a jammed door.

Tire Pressure Gauge and/or air compressor: One of the most common issues that strand drivers on the road are flats, punctures, or tires with low air pressure. Having a tire pressure gauge on hand can tell you if you can safely drive on your tires until you can make it to an air compressor, at a gas or service station. If your tire pressure is too low, you could call a tow truck…or you could have a portable compressor on hand that can plug into your car and save the day.

Snacks: Whether you keep them at arm’s length (in your glove compartment or center console) or stash them away in another compartment having snacks on hand can save the day. Snacks can make the difference if you have to wait for roadside assistance, keep kids occupied, and help maintain blood sugars if you’re traveling with a diabetic.

Water: Keep a few extra bottles or a jug of water on hand is a good safety precaution. Yes, there is the obvious reason, staying hydrated is a must, especially in hotter climates/temperatures. But water can also help to cool off various parts of your engine and keep your car from suffering some serious heat damage.

Emergency Supplies for Dog Owners:

Dog Food: Much like snacks, if you’re traveling with a canine companion, it’s a great idea to keep a serving or two of their food (pre-portioned) on hand. If you get stuck in traffic, hit bad weather and will arrive home late, or break down, your furry friend will thank you. Dog food does have a shelf life so make sure you cycle through this regularly. It’s also great on hand in case you find a lost dog. A little bit of food can help you gain their trust and achieve their rescue.

Dog Leash/Harness: Another must have if you are traveling with your dog, even on short trips, is a leash. Keeping a leash in your vehicle will ensure that if you ever have to leave your vehicle, make an emergency potty break stop, or crash somewhere for the night, that your dog is safe and secure with you.

Christmas tree with ornaments

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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: 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!