Unless you live in Death Valley, you really don’t hear much any more about cars overheating. That’s because cooling systems in vehicles have been much improved. That doesn’t mean you can’t overheat your SUV engine, though. Without proper preventive maintenance, you could still find yourself on the side of the interstate in Ashland waiting for your SUV engine to cool down.
When you service your cooling system at Duffy’s Repair Service, your service professional will check the condition of the coolant. It can become corrosive over time, which can damage a radiator — leading to an overheated engine. Changing the coolant periodically is good car care. Your SUV owner’s manual can give you guidelines on how often to replace it.
If your engine overheated, your friendly service specialist will also check your coolant system for leaks. Check the SUV radiator for cracks and the radiator hoses for leaks. He’ll also check your water pump. They don’t need to be replaced on a regular schedule, but they do need an inspection regularly. They can and do wear out.
The water pump is a critical component of your SUV cooling system. It pumps the coolant to keep it circulating through the engine. The coolant is cooled in the radiator, then it travels through the engine, where it absorbs heat, then it returns to the radiator, where it releases the heat. And so on. But a water pump is something of a misnomer. The fluid pumped through your SUV cooling system is not just water. It also contains coolant, which is actually poisonous. You should never consider your radiator as an emergency water supply.
There are many types of coolant. It varies from vehicle to vehicle, and using the wrong kind could damage your engine. Your service specialist will know which kind your vehicle’s manufacturer recommends. The team of automotive professionals at Duffy’s Repair Service is always a good source for auto advice. We’ve been providing quality automotive services at our convenient location in Ashland for 30 years.
Keeping your cooling system in good repair will help keep your engine running well, and keep you out of the Richmond repair shop. This means that a regular cooling system inspection should be on your schedule for routine preventive maintenance of your vehicle. Your owner’s manual will tell you how often you need to do this. It varies depending on what kind of car you drive, what type of driving you do and where you live in Virginia.
At Duffy’s Repair Service, we help you keep your cool which will keep you in the driving lane.
Gear Up: Transmission Service at Duffy’s Repair Service in Ashland
The transmission system in your vehicle allows you to change gears. Lower gears are power gears. They get your vehicle moving and get it up hills. Higher gears get the vehicle up to speed and get it rolling faster. If you have a standard transmission, then you have to do the work of shifting gears yourself. But with an automatic transmission, the vehicle shifts gears on its own. It automatically starts out in low gear and automatically shifts to high gears as it gets rolling. Again, it will automatically shift to a lower gear to climb hills or when you need a burst of speed.
How does it know when to change gears? Today’s automatic transmissions are computer-controlled. The computer gathers information about what the vehicle is doing, and changes the gears as needed.
Automatic transmissions are becoming more sophisticated all the time. More gears, or “speeds” are being added. Almost all vehicles have four at least speeds. Five or six is common. Some auto manufacturers are even increasing to seven or eight – up to ten. Adding gears has a lot of advantages for Ashland motorists: it improves gas mileage and increases performance.
But there is a drawback for Ashland drivers: more gears equals more parts and a more complex transmission system. Plus, all those parts need to fit into the same space as older, less complex transmissions. This means that today’s transmissions are engineered to much tighter tolerances. In other words, they demand meticulous care from Ashland motorists. Transmissions are designed for durability. But that durability can be compromised if they aren’t given proper care.
That’s why changing transmission fluid is such a vital part of preventive maintenance for Ashland car owners. Transmission fluid lubricates the transmission and keeps it in good working order. But if the fluid runs low, transmission parts will wear out quickly or suffer expensive damage due to increased friction. The transmission can even fail.
Dirty transmission fluid can clog the small passageways in the transmission, blocking lubricant from reaching all of its parts. Again, this can lead to increased wear, damage or failure.
New transmissions aren’t cheap. Repairing them isn’t cheap either. But changing transmission fluid is fairly inexpensive for Ashland motorists at Duffy’s Repair Service. That’s why responsible car care includes maintenance on the transmission system at Duffy’s Repair Service. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that periodic fluid changes aren’t just good auto advice, they actually pay for themselves by preventing pricey transmission repairs.
Have you ever noticed that your auto maker has a schedule in your owner’s manual for what is called “severe service” maintenance? Let’s define what severe driving conditions aren’t: The easiest driving a vehicle experiences is traveling on the interstate for twenty miles or more at a constant rate of 65 miles per hour in 75°F weather with only passengers on board. Change any one of those parameters and you are adding stress to your engine. Change them significantly, and you are driving under severe conditions.
Let’s look at the critical parameters one a time. First, the length of the trip. Short trips around Ashland are harder on an engine than longer ones. As your engine cools down, water in the air condenses onto the engine. When you heat the engine again, the water evaporates off. This is healthy. But on short trips, the engine doesn’t stay hot enough long enough for all of the water to evaporate so it starts to build up in the engine oil leading to sludge, which can clog up your engine and lead to serious engine damage. If most or all of your trips around Richmond are less than four miles, you should reflect on using the severe service maintenance schedule. Changing your oil more frequently at Duffy’s Repair Service in Ashland will help prevent the formation of sludge.
Each SUV engine has a “power band,” or the range of RPM’s in which it runs most efficiently. Generally this power band falls in the range of Virginia highway speed driving. So if you’re driving around town in Ashland all the time, your engine has to work harder. That’s why MPG ratings are so much better on the freeway than in the city. Again, this type of driving is considered severe and requires more frequent maintenance for your transmission, cooling system and brake fluid.
Most of us Ashland auto owners think of severe Virginia weather conditions when we think of severe driving conditions. And we’re right. Cold Richmond area weather takes its toll on the oil in your vehicle. Remember how water has to evaporate out of the oil to keep your engine healthy? It can take up to ten miles of driving for an engine to get hot enough to get rid of moisture in the oil when the weather is cold.
Hot Ashland weather is also dangerous for SUVs. When an engine runs, it gets hot. The longer it runs, the hotter it gets. If it gets too hot, it breaks down. So it has to be constantly cooled to keep running. Hot Virginia weather means your cooling system has to work harder to keep your engine from getting too hot.
Another critical element of severe driving is the conditions we drive through. Dusty, polluted Ashland areas are detrimental to your filters. Dirt, dust and contaminants will also get into your fluids, and they’ll get dirty faster, so they’ll need to be changed more often as well. Finally, when you’re pulling a trailer around Ashland, carrying heavy loads or using a car-top carrier, you are putting more stress on your engine. The engine, transmission and brakes are all working harder to handle the extra load.
So, in the end, most of us Ashland drivers drive under severe conditions some of the time. Smart Ashland motorists will ask themselves the question: “Should I follow the severe service maintenance schedule?” An honest evaluation of our driving habits is the best way to determine which schedule to follow.
Check Engine Light Diagnosis At Duffy’s Repair Service
Hello Ashland auto owners. Have you ever had your check engine light come on? Did you panic? Or just scowl and ignore it? What should you do? Pull to the side of the road and call a tow truck? Or just keep driving? What does that little light really mean for Ashland car owners?
First of all, the Check Engine or Service Engine light does indicate that something is wrong. That’s why it is called a warning light. But the something that is wrong might be a loose gas cap, or it might be serious SUV engine trouble. That’s why Richmond motorists often don’t know how to respond to it.
The check engine light has two modes: it flashes or it stays on. A flashing light is serious. You need to get your vehicle to Duffy’s Repair Service in Ashland ASAP. No, you don’t need to call a tow truck, but, yes, you can’t wait to get your car serviced. If your check engine light is on and flashing, you should not tow trailers, haul heavy loads or drive at Virginia interstate speeds. Any of these could lead to serious damage that could result expensive repair bills for Ashland motorists who ignore it.
A steady check engine light is less serious, but that doesn’t mean it can be ignored by Henrico motorists. You should plan to get your vehicle inspected at your local Ashland automotive service center the first realistic opportunity. Not the first convenient opportunity, but the first realistic one.
Before you take your SUV in, however, check the gas cap. A loose gas cap can trigger the check engine light. If it is loose, twist it until it clicks three times. If that was the problem, your Ashland engine light will reset after several days. However, if it stays on, then you need to schedule an inspection at your Ashland auto repair center center or Duffy’s Repair Service.
Modern automobiles have a computer in the engine that monitors and controls many of the engine functions. When the computer senses something wrong, it first tries to fix the problem itself by adjusting the SUV engine. If the problem persists, the computer signals the check engine light to come on.
This process stores a trouble code inside the SUV engine’s computer. Your service advisor scans the computer and reads the code. This does not tell the service professional exactly what is wrong with the car, but it gives him a good idea as to where to start looking.
It is NOT good auto advice to deal with a check engine light by disconnecting the battery. Yes, this makes the light go off, but it doesn’t solve the problem. It’s rather like trying to put out a fire by disconnecting the smoke detector. Also, disconnecting the battery will erase your SUV’s computer memory. An engine’s computer, over time, learns to adjust for peculiarities of the specific SUV engine, for driving conditions in your Ashland area, and for your driving habits. Losing its memory means it has to learn and adjust for these things all over again.
Also, don’t buy a cheap consumer scanner or get a trouble code read at your nearest Ashland auto parts store, then try to fix a problem yourself — unless, of course, you are a trained Richmond mechanic. Today’s auto repair equipment is fairly high-tech and knowing a code is only an indication of where a problem might be, not the answer to what is wrong. Trying to save a little money by doing it yourself may end up costing you big in the long run.
Of course, the best thing to do is to keep that pesky check engine light from coming on in the first place. Good car care and routine preventive maintenance go a long way to keeping your SUV out of your Ashland auto repair shop. But, if that light does come on, be smart. Take care of the problem early, and take care of it professionally.
Differential Service in Ashland, Virginia – What You Need To Know
Scratching your head? Don’t worry, if you don’t know what a differential is – you will in a moment. That fact is that if you drive a car anywhere in Ashland, Virginia, you have a differential. Whether your vehicle is front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, you have a differential. Some Ashland drivers might even have two or three.
Not surprisingly, a differential’s job is to compensate for differences. Specifically the differences in wheel speed when turning. For instance, imagine taking a corner near your Ashland, Virginia home. Your inside wheel has a shorter distance to travel than the outside wheel as you turn the corner. That means that your outside wheel has to turn faster to keep pace with the inside wheel.
The differential allows the wheels to turn at different speeds while still providing power to your vehicle. Without a differential, Ashland auto owners’ tires would scrub and hop along the pavement during turns like the early cars.
Ever noticed the big bulge in the middle of the rear axle on trucks? That’s the differential. Rear-wheel drive vehicles have a differential in back. Most four-wheel drive trucks and SUVs will also have a similar differential on the front axle. Front-wheel drive vehicles’ differential is called a transaxle because it combines the differential and transmission in one unit. An all-wheel drive vehicle will have a differential or transfer case that adjusts for speed differences between the front and rear drive wheels.
It can seem a little complex to some Richmond motorists – but you can see that all of the engine’s power is routed through your differentials. They’re strong enough to handle the work, but- we’ve said it before – they need to be properly lubricated in order to stay strong. So from time to time, you need to schedule a differential service in Ashland at Duffy’s Repair Service. The used fluid is drained and replaced with clean fluid. Some vehicle manufacturers advise certain differentials to have special additives installed.
Get your differential serviced at Duffy’s Repair Service in Ashland.
Recommendations for the time and mileage interval for servicing your differential can vary greatly by vehicle. A front-wheel drive vehicle’s transaxle will need servicing more frequently than the rear differential on a pick-up truck, so check with your Ashland, Virginia Duffy’s Repair Service service advisor or your manufacturers owner’s manual for recommendations.
How and where you drive in Ashland will have an essential impact as well. If you drive on dirt roads or through streams around Richmond, Virginia, you’ll need to service your differential much sooner than if you always stay on Virginia highways.
We are a NAPA AutoCare Center in Ashland Virginia, providing the following services:
OIL CHANGE & LUBE
VEHICLE PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE
FULL BRAKE SERVICE
AIR CONDITIONING SERVICE
VEHICLE CLEANING & DETAILING
TRAILER SERVICE & REPAIR
FULL ELECTRONIC SERVICE
DIESEL SERVICE & REPAIR
FRONT END WORK
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION REPAIR
STABILITY & TRACTION CONTROL SYSTEM
SRS/AIR BAG DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR
COOLING SYSTEM FLUSH
COMPLETE DIAGNOSTIC SERVICE
PCM & MODULE REPROGRAMMING
REPLACEMENT CAR BATTERY
BELT & HOSE REPLACEMENT
SMOG & EMISSION TESTING
SUSPENSION & SHOCK REPAIR
24 HOURS TOWING
MAKE & REPAIR HYDRAULIC HOSE
EQUIPPED TO HANDLE LARGE VEHICLES INCLUDING MOTOR HOMES