Monday, June 23, 2014

Transmission Fluid flush frequency

Modern transmissions are designed to have “fill-for-life” fluids, however transmission experts recommend transaxle/transmission fluid be flushed/changed periodically to prolong working life of the transmission.

Traditionally, the transmission is FLUSHED every 30,000 miles [48,000 km] or every 2 years (24 months) whichever comes first.

Automatic transmission fluid should be CHANGED every 10,000 miles [16,000 km] or every 8 months whichever comes first.

Replacing the transmission fluid is recommended because of these reasons:
- driving in the city (frequent stop-and-go)
- hauling heavy loads
- trailer towing
- snow plowing

The above reasons will cause the transmission fluid to overheat and deteriorate faster.

Overheating causes breakdown of the transmission fluid which in turn causes transmission failure. This is indicated by a dark or cherry red color of the fluid and bubbles appearing on dipstick, meaning that its viscosity started to wear down as well as fluid showing signs of deterioration.

This will eventually cause the friction clutch plates inside the transmission gearbox to fail their frictional holding ability and start to slip. Once the slipping happens, the transmission fluid will become hot.  This will lead to failure in shifting gear. The radiator or cooler is not sufficient to cool down this overheating problem.

It costs around $100 to $200 for a transmission flush.

It costs around $3,000 to $5,000 to rebuild a transmission.  Do the recommended maintenance routine to avoid getting to this point.

*** 2008 KIA SPORTAGE ***

For example purposes, according to the 2008 KIA SPORTAGE owners manual, these are the recommended fluids:

1.  Engine oil --> API Service SJ, SL or above; ILSAC GF-3 or above  [SAE 5W-20, 5W-30 for temperatures -30 to 50 C (-10 to 120 F)]

2.  Automatic transaxle fluid --> DIAMOND ATF SP-III or SK ATF SP-III  [Replace every 32,000 km or 16 months]

3.  Power steering fluid --> PSF-III

4.  Brake/Clutch fluid --> FMVSS116 DOT-3 or DOT-4

5.  Coolant --> Ethylene glycol base for aluminum radiator

6.  Fuel --> Unleaded gasoline with AKI 87 or higher


The problems with flushing can be:
1. Introduction of foreign particles, grit, or dirt when backflushing, draining and changing the filter.
2. Replacement of ATF fluid that is not compatible with factory fluid, thereby losing fluid friction properties (for holding clutches).
3. The clutches in the AT will wear in the passage of time and wear particles actually help keep the transmission from slipping as it ages.
4. When you flush, the tranny loses those wear particles and thus cause slipping.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Google Maps Driving Directions Online Simulators

1. Gaiagi Driving Simulator

2. Google Maps Street View API Driving Directions

3. Google Maps Street view Player

4. Google Earth Plug-in Driving Simulator

5. Gmap 3D

6. Guzman - Drive your car in Google Earth

7. A Travel

8. University of Louisiana at Lafayette

9. Google Earth Library - Google Earth Vehicle Simulators

10. Frame Synthesis 3D Driving Simulator

11. Street View Traveler Android App

12. MapFactor Navigator Free
Download the Setup Utility, Language, Voice and Map for your Region.
There is a PC Navigator for Windows computers and a mobile version for smartphones.
After you download the above, you can search your start and destination routes.
Best thing is --- you can Simulate Driving Route (this is the cool feature that I like...!!!)
Thank you for making this GPS Navigation software for free to the public use.

Driving while Parking Brake is On

The following will result when you FORGET to disable your Parking Brake and therefore engaged while driving:

1. Damage to Parking Brake
- overheating from friction
- melting the brake lining adhesive
- wear down brake linings
- warping of parking brake elements

2. Damage to Main Brakes
– friction and overheating results in damage to main brakes if used as emergency brake

3. Additional Engine Load
- slower speed than normal
- engine works harder to overcome braking power of parking brake
- more fuel consumption than normal

4. Wear on Tires
- faster wear on tires where parking brake is installed

5. Smoking

6. Smell of burning

7. Vibrations

8. Axle seals and bearings possible damage

9. Replacement of brake pads and draining of brake fluid

10. Cost from $150 up to $500 depending on severity of damage

Important Before Putting your Gear Shifting Lever to Drive (D):
1. Disengage the Parking Brake - it should be parallel (flat, horizontal) and NOT ANGLED.
2. Visually check your Parking Brake to ensure it's NOT ON.
3. Before you drive, check your Dashboard for Red Alerts from the car's computer.

Feel your car, if you feel something is out of the ordinary, feeling a resistance to the vehicle's normal movement/speed, you might have forgotten to de-activate your parking/emergency brake.

A helpful advise to learners and new drivers (seasoned drivers as well)... don't be overly excited to drive that car, check your parking brake and take care of yourself and your vehicle... so it can take you to wherever you want.  If your car were a live horse, it surely will feel hurt and complain!

Average Life of Cars

Most modern gasoline-powered cars built after 2001 will last an average of 10 years or 150,000 miles (240,000 km).

The statement above is true if the car is well-maintained and properly taken care of.

With regular maintenance recommended by manufacturers such as oil changes and fluid changes, all cars according to certified mechanics will have an average life of 200,000 miles (320,000 km) up to 250,000 miles (400,000 km).

Japanese cars are proven to easily achieve and surpass these average life expectancies.

Honda is known to be still in good running condition after 300,000 miles (480,000 km).

Toyota can also reach 300,000 miles (480,000 km).

Mazda and Kia also easily make it to 200,000 miles or 320,000 kilometers.

Ford is able to get to 200,000 miles (320,000 km) if properly maintained.

With most vehicles, the key to long and productive life is:
1. Proper maintenance and repair.
2. Good driving habits.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

30 Things to Look for when Buying a Used Car

1. Tires - car is on level ground, no tires sagging
         - worn evenly and they should match
         - surface of tire feathering (bad alignment)=worn steering/suspension components, pothole down the street, frame damage
         - spare tire - compare the tread to other tires

2. Paint job - rust spots, dents or scratches, waviness, roughness

3. Trunk -  rust, water entry, cracks or holes

4. Under Hood - dents, damage, rust, decal VIN missing=fender replaced

5. Hoses and belts - cracks, radiator hoses not soft

6. Seats - tears, rips, stains, or other type of damage

7. Air-conditioning - R134 coolant are 1993 or newer, sticker AC Condenser

8. Odometer - mileage, 10,000 to 15,000 miles a year

9. Test drive - drive in ramp = ultimate test of a vehicle (test hard, don't be gentle!!!)
              - ability to accelerate
              - suspension
              - Kia, Jetta (bad reputation?)
              - Accelerate hard
              - Corner sharply
              - Brake quickly
              - Brake hard - pedal feels spongy while braking hard = bleeding
                           - stiff and unyielding = bad brake booster
                           - pedal shakes beneath your foot = need new rotors
              - Car not shaking at high speed (shaking=bad alignment, control arms, bushings, tie rod =costs hudreds of dollars $$$$$$)
              - Automatic transmission - jolts into gear when you accelerate evenly = bad transmission, NOT FIXABLE

10. Service history - past accidents, performances, repairs, problems, odometer discrepancy

11. Brakes - pressing down hard=not slide, no vibration, no strange noises, not swerve

12. Engine - leaks, corrosion,
           - engine block - dark brown oil stains=gasket leak
           - brake fluid
           - brake fluid reservoir - not leaking
           - belts should look new - no cracks, not drying

13. Oil - remove oil filler cap=no foam residue, no head gasket leak, not chocolate Frosty

14. Coolant - clear, if brown coolant=not flushed, leaky head gasket

15. Transmission fluid - pull dipstick, should be pink or red, not dark, not look or smell burnt, be full (check with the engine running)

16. Brake fluid - clear to slightly yellowish, tea-colored, not dark

17. Timing belt - most important belt in the engine, costly to replace
                - steel timing chain, lifespan timing belt 60-100+ thousand miles

18. Body Frame - Never buy a frame damaged car
               - Check saddle (connects the front fenders and holds the top of the radiator)=not welded on either side, it should be bolted in
               - Top of Fender bolts inside the hood - no scratch marks (fenders not replaced or realigned (after a crash))
               - Door jambs - no welds

19. Trepidation - Check for small trepidation (trembling, shaking, vibration) at 45 / 55 / 65 / 75 mph
                - Slight trepidation during small speed interval=wear of mechanical parts $1500 repair (joints/arms, uneven wear front tire(s)

20. Sounds Check - sounds, trepidation, clunking noise when making 90 degrees turn at low speed=wear at the front of car: joints need change

21. Computer - check errors
             - temperature, oil pressure, battery gages not maxed out

22. All Lights, Radio, CD, etc - check when car not moving

23. Exhaust system or under-body rust - under the car=black spots on the exhaust system (leaking)
                                      - inspect frame, unibody damage, chassis damage

24. Bring trusted friend or mechanic

25. Do not pay sticker price - price is negotiable item
                             - offer lower price (if price is $10,000, negotiate at least $1500 off: 15% off)

26. Private Car preferable - how much cost to repair if you buy it (repair cost reduce the asking price)

27. Buying car from reputable service center - if buying from dealer with no service center = have the car checked out by your mechanic!

28. Safety Certifications

29. Emissions tested (failed inspection=can not be registered by vehicle registration agency)

30. WARRANTY & ASSURANCE - "you're saying the car is in good condition... if there are issues and problems, can your repair it free?