BMW Servicing – People would tell you that German luxury cars are desperately unreliable. The truth is that they’re no more unreliable than their peers. They may break down more often than normal cars due to their complexity. Complexity arising from technology necessitated by consumer demand. All to remain competitive among the crowded market segment. People perceive BMW as one of the least reliable contemporary carmakers. They tell you to avoid BMWs at all costs, especially affordable used examples.
However, that would be oversimplifying the situation. As bad a rep as BMW has garnered from the public, it has garnered an ardent fanbase over its legacy. It’s also one of the last few car manufacturers not bought by someone else. And its fans would tell you that once you’re into BMW ownership, it’s addictive.
If you want to enjoy one though, they would also tell you that keeping up with maintenance is essential. Sure, BMW servicing is costlier than most normal cars in most cases. But it saves you more money in the long run and keeps your BMW running like new. Preventative maintenance is also key to a pleasant ownership experience. An M car will demand even more attention from its owner to keep it running in good shape. So, here are the benefits of keeping your BMW up-to-date with its service.
1. Saves Money
It doesn’t seem logical, but spending the time to pamper your BMW saves you money in the long term. BMW servicing costs aren’t affordable, but importantly it’s reasonable for a luxury car. German servicing doesn’t mean changing your oil and oil filter every 12,000 miles or a year as well. It means keeping up with your air, fuel, dust filters, ATF changes, coolant changes. Along with your differential fluid, tires, brake pads, and discs, and spark plugs. This also means regular underbody inspection for roadworthiness.
You may reckon that the numerous service items pushed to you at every service are to convert sales. But it’s the interval that the engineers optimized between cost and performance. Advancements in fluid refinement have vastly pushed service intervals beyond what was possible. It’s also wise to apply discretion in some cases, there’s no such thing as a lifetime operating fluid.
Regular maintenance can also catch issues before they become catastrophic. By observing the condition of the used fluids you can ascertain the health of your drivetrain. Excessive metal shavings found in your oil filter element? You might be in time to pull your engine out for an overhaul. Rather than being left stranded on the road, pending an engine replacement. Remember, you can schedule things your technician remarks before it complicates. This can be the difference between a brake system repair and a brake failure on the highway.
Additionally, keeping your engine healthy means it remains efficacious. Less friction between moving parts without misfires help with fuel economy and performance. It also translates to cleaner emissions.
2. Saves Time
You might think that skipping your major service saves you a day in the workshop. That couldn’t be further from the truth. An unscheduled breakdown is all it takes to ruin a weekend holiday. Definitely, omitting your 40,000 miles ATF change wouldn’t be immediately palpable. BMW ATF services aren’t exactly cheap after all. But another 10,000 miles down the road, you may start experiencing jerky shifts that only gets worse. In another 30,000 miles, you may need a new valve body along with a transmission fluid flush.
This means that you might’ve saved on a half-day job. Instead, it has now turned into a multi-day ordeal. Especially applicable is the battery of your BMW. Nowadays, workshops use a battery life indicator to know the battery condition. While your car starts fine, your battery may be failing. You may disregard the workshop’s advice to replace the battery. Then, in a few months, your battery might not maintain and deliver enough charge to start the car anymore. It takes half an hour to replace the battery, but now you need a tow and alternative transport. Some might try to jump-start the car, but that’s punishing for the alternator. Repeatedly running a car on a dead battery might cause your alternator to give up as well.
3. Preserves Used Value
A well-maintained car with service history to show contributes to its second-hand value. More so a BMW. As it has been reiterated multiple times, BMW servicing is expensive. Therefore a properly cared for BMW will retain its value much better than a neglected example. This is especially apparent in the nearly-classic BMW market, where E46s and E30s that are in good shape actually appreciates in value.
A nice example appeals to a broader audience. You’ll find it much easier to sell a tidy E30 at a higher price than a ratty example. Simply because it has become a car that enthusiasts actively seek out as a passion-driven decision. And most people like to spend time enjoying a properly sorted out car, rather than sorting one out themselves.
4. Maintains Your Warranty Status
It’s not a secret that most dealers actively seek out a reason to decline warranty work. It’s a lot harder to get something replaced under warranty if you’re not up-to-date with your routine maintenance. They can say it’s a problem caused by negligence to the vehicle, and that you’ll have to afford the repair out-of-pocket.
More than that, if the dealer sees you as a loyal customer, it’s possible to get parts replaced under goodwill. This means that even if it’s not covered under warranty, the dealer can cover the costs. The easiest way to convince them is a comprehensive service history at the same dealer.
Most people put off routine maintenance because it’s costly, time-consuming, and stress-inducing. However, dealers have made it much easier nowadays. They offer things like prepaid service plans (BMW Ultimate Care) and door-to-door services. There’s really no excuse to overlook your BMW servicing schedule. If you can afford a BMW, you should be prepared to pay for the ownership costs too.
Maserati as a luxury automaker is intriguing as a whole. Over the years, Maserati has changed a lot as an automaker. One stark example is the Maserati Ghibli. Named after a Mediterranean wind, the Ghibli has seen many iterations over the years.
Maserati Ghibli (AM115)
Initially launched back in 1966, Maserati had a much different interpretation of the Ghibli. The original Ghibli is a sleek coupe built-in 2+2 configuration. Propelled by a delightful 4.7-liter quad-cam dry-sump V8 married to a 5-speed ZF manual. Maserati offered a 3-speed automatic as well. Producing 306 horses and 340 lb-ft of torque, it bellows a brawny tone befitting of a grand tourer bearing the Maserati nameplate. And if you thought the Ghibli looks cool, Maserati soon made a Spyder variant with a hard and soft top option.
It could break 60 mph in sub-7-seconds, an exclusive claim at the time. It doesn’t have the pedigree of the Ferrari Daytona. Nor can it quite compare to the Lamborghini Miura in pantomime. However, it has the panache of a bona fide Maserati. It will look as magnificent as the Daytona cruising about the Italian Riviera. And I reckon even today the original Ghibli would garner as much attention as a Miura.
Then again, Maserati couldn’t have messed up the Ghibli. Designed by a young Giorgetto Giugiaro who was working at Ghia, it had to be stunning. They didn’t care about the design rules implemented by the US. Giugiaro penned the design himself to outshine the competition including Bertone and Pininfarina. And in just 3 months, he drew up a fastback coupe appropriate for Maserati’s notion of a grand tourer. This landed Ghia the contract for a total of 1,150 coupes and 125 Spyders.
It’s not until a few years forward and an ownership change before Maserati conceptualized the ultimate Ghibli. In 1969, Maserati introduced the high-performance Maserati Ghibli SS. It followed the Maserati tradition for developing SS variants. Maserati stroked up the engine to 4.9-litre, resulting in an increase of 24 horsepower and 15 lb-ft of torque. A lengthy stroke limits the redline to just 5,500, but the torque comes in quick. This differentiates the Maserati Ghibli from the Ferrari and Lamborghini.
With that said, even by the standards of 1960, the Ghibli was archaic in suspension design. Hiding beneath the gorgeous body is a live axle suspension on leaf springs. By 1964, Lamborghini had already implemented fully independent coilovers in their cars. This translates to a particularly lively rear end should you push the Ghibli in the corners.
Maserati Ghibli (AM336)
Fast forward a few decades and yet more ownership changes, Maserati resurrected the Ghibli nameplate. Again, it had to be a 2+2 coupe. However, Maserati emphasized on both luxury and performance. Debuted in 1992 at the Turin Motor Show, Maserati revealed the Ghibli. It derived its body shell and interior from the Biturbo with a much-reworked drivetrain.
Available for the second-gen Ghibli was a 2.0-liter V6 and 6-speed manual for the Italian market. It produces 302 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque. For export, Maserati offered a 2.8-liter V6 with a 5-speed manual and optional 4-speed automatic. The export market promptly received the 6-speed in 1996. The 2.8 puts out 280 horsepower and 305 lb-ft of torque. While it touts a larger displacement, the 2.8 has less power due to stringent emissions law. That said, both engines will just about manage sub-6 seconds 0-62 mph sprint.
However, the Ghibli never amassed quite the attention the original did. While Marcello Gandini designed it, it didn’t look too dissimilar to the Maserati Biturbo. The special edition Ghibli that followed is more interesting though. To appeal more towards its racing roots, Maserati brought out the special edition Ghibli Cup. Think of it as the second-gen Ghibli SS. More impressive is how it produces 325 horsepower from a 2.0-liter V6. It was the record holder for the most specific power output, surpassing the Bugatti EB110 and Jaguar XJ220.
This Ghibli is a lot more forward-thinking in terms of technology. It follows the Italian tradition of a longitudinally mounted rear-wheel-drive layout. However, the chassis is optimized for the track. Touting a unibody construction with front MacPherson and rear semi-trailing arms. A Torsen limited-slip differential keeps the rear in check. This combination culminates in a balanced handling car with ample torque to maintain the pace.
It’s not as flamboyant and stylish as its predecessor. That said, it is much more capable around a track. In fact, Maserati capitalized on its track aptitude, hosting a single make Ghibli Open Cup to attract prospective racing teams.
Maserati Ghibli (M157)
This is the Maserati Ghibli that most people are familiar with. Initially debuting at the 2013 Shanghai Motor Show, the latest Ghibli is a four-door mid-size executive sedan. Despite the Ghibli moniker, it’s less of a Ghibli and more of a Biturbo successor. It’s also Maserati’s first mass-appeal production vehicle. Designed to compete in the German-dominated luxury sedan market.
Underneath the hood is a Maserati-designed Ferrari-assembled 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6. It puts out between 325 horsepower and 424 horsepower. The torque figure ranges from 369 lb-ft to 428 lb-ft, respectively. A first in Maserati history is the optional 3.0-liter twin-turbo diesel V6 borrowed from Fiat. While it only offers 271 horsepower, it gives back in 443 lb-ft of torque throughout its rev range. In 2020, Maserati unveiled the Ghibli Hybrid with a 2.0-liter turbocharged mild-hybrid inline-4. It makes 325 horsepower and 450 Nm of torque. All third-gen Ghiblis are supplied with the commonplace ZF 8-speed transmission.
While some might argue that the new Ghibli isn’t deserving of its badge, it’s Maserati’s best seller yet. Maserati understands that they can’t get by with just the niche Quattroporte and GranTurismo. It needs a mass-market model. The Ghibli fits the bill, a sporty Italian luxury sedan adorned with Maserati’s distinctive design philosophy.
It’s efficacious too, as the third-gen Ghibli was Maserati’s best-seller. Especially noteworthy is how popular it is in the US, with double the sales compared to the whole of Europe. Combining Maserati’s exclusivity and modern approachability, the Ghibli is necessary for Maserati. Only the Levante would outsell the Ghibli for Maserati.
Still, the Ghibli S is an invigorating Italian luxury sedan. The higher output 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 provides enough zest for it to get you into trouble. It also shares the underpinning of the well-established Quattroporte. Bar a shorter wheelbase which contributes to a more agile feel.
The original Ghibli compared to the latest Ghibli is a major departure. The latest Ghibli might be a controversial one, but it signifies Maserati’s willingness to follow the tide. Without the Ghibli, Maserati might not even stay afloat.
Audi Servicing Tips – If you are new to continental cars, then the initial ownership experience can be daunting. The fact that luxury European cars are commonly associated with miserable ownership experience doesn’t help. Some would argue that Audi is one of the worst to own, but it’s largely dependent on who you ask. People are likelier to complain about issues rather than praise carmakers for what’s done right. If you are an Audi owner, whether new or used, then there are a few Audi servicing tips you should know. It should also provide some insight into Audi ownership.
1. Regular Services
As per usual, regular services are paramount in maintaining any engine. It’s doubly important for your expensive European luxury car, where periodic maintenance work is essential. It goes the distance in saving you money. If you’re surveying a used Audi, ensure that it touts a lengthy and detailed service history. As long as it’s taken care of, they can be laudably reliable. They share powertrain technology with their parent, Volkswagen, after all, who’s plenty knowledgable on the topic of building enduring engines and transmissions.
Audi US’s own recommended service interval is every 10,000 miles or 1 year, whichever comes first. That’s relevant for their new or lightly used models, but it doesn’t hurt to reduce the intervals. If you have a high mileage used on your vehicle, you should definitely get yours serviced earlier rather than later. Service intervals also differ from country to country, as operating condition varies.
A good tip if you have a nice pre-owned Audi or a new Audi, you can also apply for Audi Care. It’s a prepaid scheduled maintenance service that Audi themselves provides, pertinent for 4 services or 4 years. Right now they’re accepting models that were initially in-service from 2010. Over time, Audi Care can save you a fair amount from a normal unscheduled dealership visit. Visit your local Audi dealer to know the specifics.
Otherwise, for a normal oil and filter change, it should cost somewhere around $100-$200 to service your Audi. A major Audi servicing that occurs once every 40,000 miles includes transmission fluid change will cost around $300 to $400. If you own an older model Audi, it’s worth it to look for a solid, reputable independent European or Audi workshop to take care of your car. It’ll cost a bit more, but you’d want people that know what they’re working on. Get on good terms with a reliable tech and you’ll thank yourself for it.
Even if you have Audi Care, it’s good practice to get your oil changed in between scheduled services. Stick to fully synthetic oil from recommended manufacturers only.
2. Know What to Expect
This is an important part of any car owner. There are plenty of community forums and discussion boards for Audi owners to congregate and share their experiences. In fact, there will almost certainly be a model-specific section for your particular Audi, with the ardent following Audi has gathered over the years. They’ll also be more helpful than general car forums, as only Audi owners know what to expect from Audi servicing costs and problems.
Over the years, there have been multiple well-documented VAG design flaws that have also impacted Audi models. Therefore, it’s prudent to read up about your own model and know what known faults you should look out for. This gives you an idea as to what you can expect, and what other repairs you can carry out simultaneously to streamline your ownership experience.
For example, two very well known issues with the earlier iteration EA888 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 engines are premature timing chain tensioner failure and excessive oil consumption. The former of which had a class-action lawsuit filed against VAG that was settled a year ago and an updated tensioner to address it. The latter hasn’t had an official disclosure from VAG, but it’s known to be caused by faulty piston ring design that starves oil flow.
These issues have reflected on the prices of pre-2012 2.0/1.8 TFSI models. In fact, excessive oil consumption issues still plague many TFSI owners. If you’re one of them, get an official oil consumption test done by your Audi dealer. If your engine uses up more than half a quart per 500 miles, then your dealer should acknowledge that there’s an issue, where repairs can then be arranged. Do not ignore this oil consumption issue, as it will cause bore scoring and ruin your engine, where you will then need a replacement engine.
Of course, those are just some of the most well-known issues with Audi models. If you’re experiencing a recurring problem or overt premature wear of a major component, look up a forum with your problem and there should be discussion around it. Otherwise, starting your own thread can garner attention from like-minded individuals.
Because many components are tricky to access standalone, it’s advisable to replace relevant wear and tear items and seals whenever you’re getting a difficult job carried out. If nothing else, it’s peace-of-mind and helps to save on labor costs in the long run.
3. Know Your Community
Other than going on forums and relevant discussion boards, you should get to know your local Audi or Volkswagen enthusiast clubs. They can provide you with a personal insight as to how it’s like to own an Audi and valuable information. It also helps to know which local workshop is trustworthy and who to go to for your Audi specialist needs.
Tire choice is important, and even more so when you have a Quattro. Don’t mismatch tires on an axle, and ensure that they don’t differ too much in size. This means that you have to keep tabs on the inflation pressure as well, which should be simple enough with the tire pressure monitoring system. Otherwise, this can wear out your complicated differential quickly.
If there comes a time when you need to tow your Audi, ensure that you call in a flatbed if you have a Quattro. Towing the car on its wheels at any decent speed will quickly destroy your AWD differential.
Regardless of the oil consumption issues that affect certain Audi models, you should always keep track of your oil level. Even if you keep up on your Audi servicing, carry a bottle of quality 5w40 oil in your trunk to top up your Audi on the road. Keeping the engine well-fed with lubrication contributes towards long service life.
If it sounds like hard work maintaining an Audi, the truth is that it’s not all too different from owning any new modern car. It’ll be more expensive, definitely, but fair for someone that can afford an Audi. The experience and driving quality of an Audi are why people continue to buy and keep them, and once you’ve experienced driving one, it is worthwhile.
Importance Of Oil Change – The topic of today’s article is the importance of an oil change. A week ago we received a customer’s call about their vehicle not starting. This customer towed their vehicle to our shop for a diagnostic. During the diagnose process, our technician removed the valve cover and noticed the engine was filled with sludge.
This often occurs when people are not consistent with changing their vehicle’s oil. One of the brands such as BMW recommends changing the vehicle’s oil every 10,000 miles or 12 months whichever occurs first. However, not many follow the regulations and end up waiting until they’ve reached their 12,000 miles or more. After you’ve reached certain miles, in this case, 12,000 miles, without changing the oil, the engine will create sludge until it starts to fail.
Here at Prestige Auto Tech, we like to take it up a notch and recommend our customers to change their vehicle’s oil every 6,000 miles. That way, the engine is well maintained, clean, and prevents future internal failures which could end up costing a fortune in the long run.
Every brand such as Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and many other European brands have their own service manuals. At the end of the day, your vehicle will be safer with less risk of malfunctions if you change your oil earlier than expected. That is why we recommend our customers to schedule their oil change every 6,000 miles instead of 10,000 miles.
European Vehicle Service – We at Prestige Auto Tech specialize in European vehicles.
The majority of the brands that we work here are Mercedes-Benz and BMW. There are many European vehicles in Miami, FL. Currently, in the market, one of the European that is rising in sales is the Maserati Ghibli. We’ve noticed a high demand for maintenance service and minor repairs for Maserati Ghibli, it’s an economic vehicle from the brand Maserati and accessible to the middle class.
We’re focusing and making efforts to aim our shop into becoming a one-stop-shop. If a customer is seeking bodywork, we offer it. If a customer is seeking an interior repair, we offer it. The only exception is if we were requested to do any type of performance.
We are a certified Bosch Center which means it allows us to offer benefits. One of the benefits is offering a line of credit with six months free of interest.
Prestige Auto Tech has been affected by the COVID-19 but that doesn’t mean it stops us from providing and helping our community. Just recently we made a campaign statement “If you or someone you know works as a First Responder or Medical Staff, Prestige Auto Tech is offering free car wash as a gratitude gesture for risking your lives to care and help for others during this COVID-19 crisis”.
We also offered and provided free towing services to pick up the customer’s vehicle from their house and bring it in for repairs and maintenance. Once the job was done, we would drop it off at the customer’s house free of charge.
We continue to work on new ways to help our community and provide European Vehicle Service. In such times as this, we want to make sure we’re doing everything within our reach to support our community.
Courtesy Car Wash – In this article, I want to talk about the extra services we provide to our customers that could benefit your shop. As an owner, we thrive to give our customers the best, and to be the best in doing so.
We specialize in European vehicles such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Porsche, and so forth. A good 80% of our intake vehicles are brands we specialize in but we too, take in Asian and domestic vehicles.
One of the many extra services we automatically include for our customers is a courtesy car wash. Every vehicle that drives in receives a car wash whether it be for a minimal job such as changing a headlight bulb. This technique alone has brought good feedback.
When you provide a free car wash to your customers, it gives a better impression of your shop. First of all, who likes or has the time to wash their own vehicle? very few. Therefore, allowing your shop to provide an extra hand to your customers as washing their vehicles is an added bonus. Another thing we have to keep in mind is that some jobs, unintentionally, can leave a messy area in the customer’s vehicle and be left as is. No customer likes to receive their vehicle worse than it was, I know I don’t. Therefore, we as professionals must think ahead and give beyond that. A happy customer is a returning customer and a returning customer reflects on the quality of our services.
The way we manage this; our shop has a dedicated person that handles the car washes, maintains, and cleans the lobby and offices. Here and there, will offer smaller extra jobs. With these tasks.
Having and maintaining a well organized and clean shop gives boldness and shows we mean business. If you were to walk into a restaurant with greasy floors, dirty tables, and moody waitresses, would you feel comfortable in staying? I doubt it. Appearance speaks louder than words, not all shops are meant to be dirty and unattractive.
To finalize, go the extra mile to provide extra services to your customers. make a budget to add a staff person to wash cars, or look around for a place that can make a simple car wash. The goal here is to leave the customer satisfied and go home with a cleaned vehicle.
“You have to think big to be big.”
Coronavirus Small Business Update – Hi my name is Ramiro and I’m currently the owner of Prestige Auto Tech located in Miami, FL.
During this pandemic phase with COVID-19, I’ve had time to give thought of how the world is currently processing. A good population of small businesses were required by law to shut down if it’s services and products were not considered essential, because of this; other businesses were also affected due to decrease in customers and resulted in shutting down as well. Over the years in the line of business, we have seen great moral support and network spread for restaurants, retail stores, real estate etc., however, very few reach out within the mechanical side. I believe a business in a mechanical repair shop is just as important as a restaurant, retail, and any other business.
That being said, I want to share with my readers how we’re managing to keep our heads just above the waters in Prestige Auto Tech during this hard time. Now don’t get me wrong, we too have been affected by the changes leading us to let go of multiple employees and left standing with no more than 10 staff. Instead of giving in, we’ve decided to look at the bigger picture. Now that we are slow, have more time on our hands to think outside the box for creative measures to reach out to the public for our services. One of the ideas we came up with as a group was to offer pickup and drop off for mechanical repairs but didn’t have much of a success. This led us to the works of social media.
As the owner of Prestige Auto Tech, I’ve come to the understanding that we live in the 21st century whether it’s for you or not. We live in a generation where everything is moved and done through the internet. To think that you can survive with techniques from the past such as referrals, word of mouth and not putting your money to use for expansion is not sufficient enough to stay on top of the game. For that very reason, many businesses closed down. We have to keep up with the now and that is through your mobile devices. Mobile devices have become a major necessity, through it we order, shop, monitor and many things. We lose our phones and all hell breaks loose.
To succeed, we have to think big and be enthusiastic. Believe that your business is at the top of its game and work with that mindset. Our mind is our biggest battle if you can change your state of mind; you can do anything.
This is my 1st article of our series Coronavirus Small Business Update. I will continue to write about the changes we’ve applied to our shop and how we’re making it work. New projects are in stand by as we speak. I strongly believe that every shop is different in their own way and what might work for us does not always work for you. We have to consider all the factors but it’s important to at least try and not give up than to be left with the “could of, should of, would of”.
Radiator Replacement Cost – Contemporary internal combustion engine cooling is one of the world’s current engineering marvels. While an engine’s cooling system was originally conceived as a method to extend vehicle operating time by essentially dissipating excessive heat from the engine. Nowadays though, a properly developed engine cooling system is capable of bringing an engine up to operating temperature quickly, maintain it at its peak efficiency.
A popular misconception is the notion that an engine is better off running cool than hot. While that keeps your engine running, it’s not exactly what one calls efficient. With emissions becoming increasingly stringent, an engine should be at just the right temperature for optimal efficiency.
What keeps the coolant circulating throughout your entire engine is the coolant pump, but what actually cools the coolant is the radiator. Somewhat akin to a house heating radiator, a radiator for your engine exchanges heat with its surroundings. Quite astonishingly, a well-designed high-performance radiator can efficaciously quell coolant temperature in engines that runs hard for hours at a time.
If you’re looking to save on your radiator replacement cost, it’d be important for you to understand how a radiator works beforehand. This will help you troubleshoot engine cooling debacles, concurrently saving you from a potentially flawed diagnosis that necessitates a complete radiator replacement. Obviously, a radiator is an all-mechanical component that can predominantly be located at the front of your vehicle. At its core, the radiator has a multitude of hollow channels surrounded by paper-fine fins. It’s capped off at each end by radiator tanks, which have flow paths leading off towards different directions.
What makes the radiator so efficient are those numerous heat fins that facilitate rapid heat exchange between the coolant and ambient air – convection. Also due to this, there’s no need for your radiator to physically pump coolant throughout. Cold coolant is denser than hot coolant, so chilled coolant naturally flows downwards to be recirculated again. At the back of the radiator is a radiator fan, which forces air to flow through whenever air movement is insufficient.
There are two types of radiators in the market nowadays. There’s the down-flow radiator and cross-flow radiator. One flows from above to below, while the latter goes from one side to the other side. The application is really more towards specific car application and design, as the advantages in cooling on either is quite negligible. Typically, cross-flow radiators are more expensive, as they’re designed to be used in premium cars that need the lower, wider structure to preserve sleek and sporty lines.
Because the radiator has such a simple and brilliant construction, it’s scarcely the cause of your cooling woes. However, when a radiator leaks it can swiftly pin your coolant gauge needle to the red. If you’re smelling something sweet and asphyxiating coming through your climate control vents, it’s a significant indicator that your car is leaking coolant. The big question is whether if it’s your radiator leaking or not. A leaking coolant sounds simple to diagnose, but it could be such a subtle leak that only surfaces at excessive coolant pressure.
If you’ve pinpointed the leak to your radiator, ascertain where exactly the coolant is leaking out of. A pressure tester is irreplaceable here. What commonly occurs are big cracks at the radiator tanks, as those are commonly plastic and sustains extended high-temperature operation. These plastic tanks are generally crimped onto the radiator core and thus are separately replaceable by a competent radiator serviceman, in which case it may be more affordable. Aftermarket performance radiators often have welded metal tanks though.
If you have a car with an ATF cooler, then your radiator may be leaking coolant without you even knowing. Some manufacturers integrate the ATF cooler into the car’s primary coolant radiator, and when the built-in ATF cooler cracks coolant can begin to leak into the ATF system. This can really wreak havoc in your automatic transmission, other than potentially resulting in an overheat. Coolant and automatic transmissions are miscible, and the results are catastrophic transmission failure. If you feel your transmission slipping, stop and take a gander at your ATF dipstick, see whether if it’s milky. Catch this problem in time, and you may get away with just a radiator replacement and ATF system flush. Major savings on your radiator replacement cost.
In lieu of a big crack with coolant spewing out of it, you may also have a hairline, barely noticeable crack. A controversial solution to this is to rely on a radiator stop leak product. You might’ve heard of the classic method of adding an egg to a leaky radiator. What you do is crack an egg into the radiator, and heat from the coolant will cook the egg, and the egg white will cork up the leak. What a stop leak product does is essentially that, but it’s designed specifically to harden and plug up leaks. This is a stopgap measure at best, but it might just be good enough for a cheap runaround. It’s also invaluable in an emergency when you need to get to the shop though.
Admittedly, there really isn’t much you can do to really save on your radiator replacement cost. What you can attempt though is to carry the job out yourself. It’s model-dependent, but a radiator replacement isn’t all too difficult. You just have to prepare sufficient coolant to refill your system and remember to bleed it afterward.
Here’s the truth, if you want to avoid issues with your cooling system, frequent monitoring of your coolant level and regular maintenance is crucial. Depending on the coolant used, manufacturers may recommend intervals between 30,000 miles to 100,000 miles, over a time period of 2-3 years upwards to 10 (!) years. Adhere to this schedule, but as the saying goes be earlier rather than later. It’s also imperative that you use the proper recommended mixture of antifreeze to distilled water otherwise you’re causing more harm than good. Excessive water content leads to boils and corrosion, while too much antifreeze means that your cooling system won’t function at all. Typically, a 50/50 mix is recommended, but it varies due to climate.
Regular cooling system upkeep will save you money in the long run. More importantly, it’ll save you from that phone call you have to make when you’re stranded on the roadside. Never drive an overheating car, as it’ll develop further complications that lead to a hefty bill. Always stock up on spare coolant in your car just in case. If you want to save on radiator replacement cost, prevention is the best measure after all.
Bad Catalytic Converter – Modern-day commuting is all about emissions and efficiency. Nowadays, the single top priority for any car-maker is improving emissions, beyond performance, comfort and refinement. The simple fact is that the world is moving towards a greener landscape, and the internal combustion engine is a prime contributor to gas emissions. Without the proper electrification infrastructure in place just yet, stifling and improving gas emissions from the internal combustion process is crucial. And thanks to catalytic converters, internal combustion engine nowadays are mustering impressive emissions without choking power.
Therefore, if you have a failed catalytic converter, in most major places throughout the world your car would fail car inspection. That said, a bad catalytic converter is certainly not a common failure point considering it’s ingeniously simple and functional. However, there are signs that you should be able to identify before your next inspection to tell whether if your catalytic converter is functioning normally.
Understanding how a catalytic converter works help with diagnosing emission woes. To begin with, at its very core, the catalytic converter is designed as an emissions control device that minimises pollutants emanated during the internal combustion process. It functions through a chemical redox process, in which both oxidation and reduction occur. Essentially, it converts harmful gases to relatively harmless gases. During the combustion process, an engine produces carbon monoxide, unburned hydrocarbons which are then converted to carbon dioxide and water. Modern three-way catalytic converters also reduce especially deadly nitrogen oxides into nitrogen gas.
This process is made possible thanks to a combination of precious metals, such as platinum, palladium and rhodium. They’re catalysts coated onto a honeycomb ceramic support structure via a carrier that maximizes the surface area to allow better red-ox efficiency. In a sense, a catalytic converter can be thought of as an oxygen storage with catalysts that readily promotes oxidation and in turn, reduction, to happen. Because it’s a chemical process, catalytic converters naturally function optimally during operating temperature. Hence manufacturers deftly utilize different strategies to achieve the wanted result.
Therefore, from this description, it can be understood that there really is very little to fail in a catalytic converter. What may happen though is carbon clogging, where excess soot that has failed to react deposit onto the surfaces of the catalysts. Over time, this will cripple the efficacy of a catalytic converter. To mitigate this issue, and thus extend the service life of a catalytic converter, manufacturers incorporate a regeneration process. Raising exhaust temperatures to burn off exhaust soot and promote reaction rate as well. In modern cars, this process happens whenever the oxygen storage capability of a catalytic converter is compromised. Typically, this is done through lambda monitoring, where the combustion process is intentionally altered in a controlled manner and lambda rate of change is gauged by the ECU.
That said, failure is a problem for everything, even the seemingly very well optimized catalytic converter. When your converter fails in a normal car, this is quickly ascertained by your engine control unit which then notifies you via a check engine light. In some cars, there’s also a dedicated catalytic converter warning light to tell you that your catalytic converter isn’t working properly or is overheating.
You don’t necessarily need an active indication to tell you your catalytic converter is malfunctioning though. Since a catalytic converter is only good at processing gas, any sort of contaminate such as coolant or oil can still clog one quickly. If left remedied, this will result in an asphyxiated engine which will manifest as poor engine performance and sluggish acceleration. You may even notice an excess of dark exhaust as you accelerate, a clear indication that your catalytic converter isn’t doing its job anymore.
Another clear determiner of a failed catalytic converter is if you start smelling a rotten odor from your exhaust. This actually originates from the hydrogen sulfide, which comes from the minute sulfur content from your fuel being burnt. Normally this will be converted into sulfur dioxide by the catalytic converter.
In especially grievous cases, you may be able to physically tell a bad catalytic converter. Take a peek underneath your car and look for a big, round cylinder close to your exhaust manifold. If it’s warped or even discolored, chances are the construction of the converter has been damaged and it needs to be replaced. This only happens due to egregious exhaust overheating, which can be caused by a multitude of mechanical malfunctions from misfires, engine knock and even leaking exhaust valves. Normally though, what causes this is unmonitored engine modifications that induce uncontrolled exhaust after burning. Anti-lag is one such example that quickly undermines a catalytic converter. It may also just happen due to prolonged high-load operation though.
Obviously, the easiest and most direct method to tell a bad catalytic converter is via an emissions test. This requires specialist tools that more often than not most people would not have. This tool extensively gauges what constituents are being exhausted from your vehicle, and it’s what inspection tests use.
More often than not though, a faulty converter is actually a result of another failure point in your vehicle that has been left unchecked. In fact, a catalytic converter’s performance is a good indicator of how well your car is running. If you can’t put a converter in your car without it going bad within a month or so, there’s a good chance that the problem lies elsewhere within your car that you must get resolved first. A prime candidate is the oxygen sensors or lambda sensors that provide valuable feedback to the ECU to optimize converter performance. If one goes bad, then your car’s computer would just end up chasing itself in an endless circle attempting to correct things off from faulty data.
Something you may not realize though is that leaded gas, rare nowadays, will destroy catalytic converters very quickly. Catalytic converters are not built to handle any sort of leaded gas. It’s scarce nowadays, but attempting to use leaded gas, even just a few gallons, is highly detrimental to a catalytic converter’s lifespan.
As a verdict, it’s plain to see that the catalytic converter is a critical component for any modern-day internal combustion engine. You may be able to ignore the telltale signs for a moment, but it is advisable to get your converter replaced. At the same time, be sure to give your engine a check through to ensure everything is functioning as intended.
How To Save On Transmission Replacement Cost – Car ownership can be thrilling at times. While one day your car can be seemingly completely fine, the next day you might be dealing with a catastrophic engine failure. This is one of the main reason why people would advise you to set aside an emergency sum of cash to brace yourself for such a possibility.
One such problem that poses a major headache is transmission failure. Automotive transmissions nowadays are such a complicated component with thousands of intricate parts that have to all work together flawlessly to deliver an optimal experience. Then again, it’s a monumental challenge to reduce the amount of moving parts in a transmission. And with many manufacturers phasing out the manual transmission, automatic is the way forward. Nowadays, to match stringent emissions law, manufacturers have to increase the number of gears available, from 7-speed to 9-speed, and eventually 10-speed.
With more moving parts, complex hydraulic circuitry and comprehensive electronics managing the transmission, there’s an even bigger concern for a transmission failure than ever before. A hefty bill comes should your transmission fail. In most cases, a transmission failure translates to a complete replacement. However, there are some ways one can save on transmission replacement cost.
The one way, and perhaps the only way for some to go on about their transmission failure is to get rid of their car. This means either you have to find someone willing to take your car or scrap it. The latter might be the way to go if you have a really tired, clapped-out banger. Here, replacing the transmission or attempting repairs often proves fruitless since it generally costs more than the car itself. When you combine the headache from sourcing the right transmission, labor and time spent parked, it’s just not worth it.
However, if you have something that’s a bit newer, with perhaps only a hundred thousand miles or so, then selling it off might be the better option. A car with a transmission issue isn’t worth all that much to dealers, but you can expect a thousand dollars or so for your trouble. This is all dependant on your mileage, model and year of course. If you wish to fetch a bit more cash, then you’d have to opt for selling it privately. This means posting it for sale and playing the long game.
Committed to getting your car repaired? Don’t fret, there are still methods you can take to help ease the pain on your bank account. Source a used transmission from either a local used parts store, online or junkyard. The quickest and easiest way is definitely getting one from a local spares dealer, but if you have a particularly exotic model it might prove tricky to find one nearby. Therefore you’d have to resort to online forums, used parts store or with a bit of luck, the local junkyard.
Of course, the good thing with finding one locally is that you can actually scrutinize the transmission in person. Additionally, any reputable used spare parts store would offer a warranty period, ranging from a month to half a year. While short, it’s better than nothing at all, something you have to deal with if you locate your transmission online or even from the junkyard. The junkyard is one of the most affordable ways to go, but junkyard stocks are inconsistent and you’d have to remove it yourself.
All three means of finding a replacement transmission though have one qualm, it’s not entirely reliable. With a local spares dealer, it’s not as blind. Nevertheless, you’re taking a risk whenever you buy something that’s pulled off from a half-cut or a scrapper. With something like a transmission unit, you’d only know whether if it’s working properly or not after getting it fitted, so that’s a lot of trouble to go through to face yet another failure. In some cases, it might be worse, where you encounter a failure down the road, rather than at the shop.
To avert that, you can have your current transmission sent to a transmission repair specialist to get it looked at. Be sure to stick with a dependable specialist, because transmission repair is a highly convoluted job that’s very time-consuming to do properly. Compared with transmission replacement cost, this can turn out to be much more expensive in the end, but done by an experienced specialist this will last you a long time. They often provide a warranty on their job as well. If you have a rare car, this is the way to go. Just be sure to find someone trustworthy to carry out this job.
However, getting a transmission rebuilt takes a long time. Therefore, if you can’t wait, you can try your luck at finding a rebuilt or remanufactured transmission. A transmission rebuild is carried out by a technician or specialist, where wear and tear parts and the problem root is fixed. A remanufactured transmission is a complete restoration, where every component is labouriously inspected against original specifications, where known failures are dealt with. The whole process is tedious, but local repair shops or even the remanufacturer may have your model on the shelf if its a common one. They will also offer a considerable warranty for their workmanship.
All of the above are just options one can take to get sort their transmission issue out. Of course, these stand true for transmission replacement cost only. It’s entirely possible that your supposedly failed transmission is just down to a shift solenoid, or sheared selector lever. You can certainly save a lot more if either you or your friend is handy with a wrench. In most cases, replacing a transmission is more affordable than repairing internal faults.
Nowadays, getting a remanufactured transmission direct from a remanufacturer is an increasingly plausible and popular option. You save on the markup that’s incurred by your local transmission dealer or dealership. Furthermore, a remanufactured transmission is pretty much a brand new transmission, where everything is restored back to factory specifications.
Just be sure that whichever option you decide to opt for, you stick with big names. It’s not worth the trouble of saving some money just to be left stranded on the side of a road once again due to a bad transmission. Save on transmission replacement cost, but be smart about it.