Signs Your Vehicle is Due For a Transmission Flush

5 Signs That Your Car Needs a Transmission Flush

The 5 signs include:

1) Strange noises or even grinding coming from the transmission, 2) You experience problems shifting gears, 3) You experience some slippage when shifting gears, 4) Unexplained surging of you vehicle, and 5) Delay in movement after placing the vehicle in gear. Check your manufactures vehicle recommendations for when service is needed.

In most cases, getting a transmission flush every 30,000 miles, or every two years or so is sufficient. However, there may be times when you need to get a transmission flush sooner, in order to help protect your car’s transmission. There are some common signs that you need to perform a transmission flush on your car or truck.


Transmission Grinding or Strange Noises
A vehicle transmission that is contaminated with dirt, grease and sludge can display symptoms very similar to inadequate levels of transmission fluid. When driving your vehicle, if you notice your transmission grinding or making strange sounds, you should stop the vehicle and check the transmission fluid level while the engine is still running. Insure that the transmission fluid color is bright red and not brown or black because of grime or sludge. If the fluid level of the transmission is acceptable, your vehicle probably needs a transmission flush.

Problems Shifting Gears
Regardless if you drive an automatic or manual, your car requires clean transmission fluid that flows easily throughout your car’s transmission. A transmission that contains too much dirt or sludge will cause sluggish response in the transmission which will result in your vehicle changing gears too quickly or too late while driving. In manual transmission vehicles, you may find it very hard to change gears at all.

Slipping Gears
A dirty transmission may cause a lack of hydraulic power, much the same as not having enough transmission fluid will cause. In order to stay in the appropriate gear, the transmission must develop enough pressure. When a transmission is too dirty, contaminants may interfere with the flow of transmission fluid that helps with this. If you’re transmission has no other problems, and the fluid level of the transmission is full (or close to it), the problem is probably restricted fluid flow due to a buildup of dirt and contaminants that need to be flushed out.

Surging of the Vehicle
When your vehicle’s transmission is polluted with a lot of dirt and contaminants, and needs a transmission flush, you may notice unexplainable surging of your vehicle. Because your car’s dirty transmission does not allow for adequate transmission fluid flow, your vehicle may tend to jump or surge forward and fall backwards for no good reason. This is caused by inconsistent flow of clean transmission fluid that is needed to ensure smooth operation of the gears and other moving parts inside the transmission bell housing.

Delay in Vehicle Movement
Another sign that your vehicle may have contaminated transmission fluid is when the vehicle stalls for one or two seconds before moving after having been put in gear. If there are no other problems with the transmission, a transmission flush may help.

You should be aware that if the vehicle is displaying these symptoms, your dirty transmission may have already caused bigger problems.

Source: Cars Direct


Don’t Skip important Coolant Flushes and Services

Coolant Fluid

If your engine is the heart of your vehicle, then coolant is its bloodline. Engine coolant (or antifreeze) is typically a 50/50 mixture of ethylene or propylene glycol and water that absorbs engine heat and dissipates it through the radiator or heat exchanger (for your cabin heater in the colder days). Without a properly operating cooling system, your car can quickly overheat and do serious engine damage.

Water alone will cause damage

Though water is used in conjunction with coolant, water alone or an improper mix can still result in damage to your engine. Engine coolant carries rust inhibitors that prevent components in your cooling system from rusting, anti-freezing properties for cold climates to prevent cracking from freezing and expansion, and extra cooling proponents for hot conditions to avoid boil-over and evaporation over time. Coolant flows throughout your engine block, cylinder heads, water pump, radiator, thermostat and other cooling system components. Without the proper mixture of coolant, your engine can overheat, doing costly engine damage in the process and leaving you stranded on the side of the road

Cooling System/Coolant Maintenance

To ensure the longevity of your cooling system and trouble-free engine performance, regular preventative maintenance steps are recommended. Over time, the chemical properties that lend themselves to the cooling, anti-corrosive, and anti-cavitation aspects in coolant break down, diminishing the effectiveness. This leaves your cooling system and engine vulnerable to rusting and corrosion of components, overheating, or freezing and cracking in the colder months.

To ensure that your cooling system is protected, regular coolant services or coolant flushes are recommended. This service is best performed by certified technicians who will drain the existing coolant in the system, flush the radiator with a special machine that forces a pressurized chemical flush to clean corrosion and build-up, and refill the system with the proper type of coolant at the proper ratios, bleeding the system of air whenever necessary. Technicians will also inspect your coolant system components for leaks or other potential issues for early detection.

Source: Examiner

Photo Courtesy of Linear Automotive

Power Steering Fluid Flush Info and Importance

What Is This?



Power steering

In power rack-and-pinion steering, fluid pressurized by the pump pushes on either side of a piston mounted to the rack, helping you turn the wheels.

Simply put, power-steering fluid is the hydraulic fluid that transmits the power in power steering. Servicing it involves draining or flushing out your car’s old power-steering fluid and then adding fresh power steering fluid.

Should I do this service when it’s recommended?

Absolutely. The fluid is the cheapest component of your power-steering system. Changing it can help to prolong the life of other, more expensive power-steering components such as the power-steering pump and the stratospherically expensive power-steering rack.

Why do I have to do this?

Over time, the seals, O-rings and internal power-steering components will wear out. When they break apart, they contaminate the power-steering fluid, which forces the power-steering pump to work harder (having to pump little chunks instead of just fluid) and eventually break down.

What happens if I don’t do this?

You’ll eventually chew up your power-steering pump. It’ll have to be replaced at a cost of several hundred dollars, or you’ll have no power steering — and you can’t easily drive a car that’s equipped with power steering when the power-steering system fails. You also may damage the rack, which will require you to take out a small home-equity loan to replace.

Is there any maintenance required between intervals?

If you hear a whining or moaning noise when you turn the steering wheel, you should have your power-steering system checked. Your power-steering pump may be about to fail.

Also, if you notice a leak of any kind, you should definitely check your power-steering fluid level and make sure you keep it topped up. Running out of fluid will cook the pump, too.

Source: Car Talk

illustration by

Is brake flushing really necessary?

If you’re like most drivers, you don’t think about your brakes until they stop working (and hopefully you’re not careening down a mountain road when this happens). But, if you’re smart, you’ll take good care of your brakes. You’ll replace the pads and resurface the rotors as needed. Still, when your mechanic recommends that you get your brake system flushed, do you think you should you do it or save the cash?

Do it.

Brake Fluid

Braking systems aren’t indestructible. Parts, like the rubber in the valves in the master cylinder, calipers and wheel cylinders deteriorate. All the nasty little bits that flake off end up in your brake fluid. Plus, the fluid itself can get old and worn out. Moisture can also get in the system. That leads to rust, which leads to more nasty bits in your brake fluid. All this adds up to a brake system with compromised effectiveness and decreased stopping power.

Think of it this way: You wouldn’t skip changing your car’s engine oil, right? It’s the lifeblood of your engine, and when it gets contaminated by impurities, you put the entire engine at risk. It’s the same with brake fluid. Let it get dirty and you won’t be able to stop as well. So while it may not seem like a big deal when you’re standing at the service desk and the mechanic asks if you want him to flush your brakes, but when you’re careening down that mountain road, you’ll understand why it’s an important part of vehicle maintenance.

A good rule of thumb is to have your brakes flushed about every 30,000 miles (48,280 kilometers) or so. Note that brake flushing and bleeding the brakes are two different procedures. Brake flushing involves removing all the brake fluid from the system and getting all-new, clean fluid inside. Brake bleeding just means removing enough brake fluid to get air bubbles out of the brake lines. So, make sure you get your brakes flushed regularly.

And, if you ever notice your car or truck has decreased stopping power, have it inspected by a certified mechanic right away — even if you’re not planning a drive in the mountains.

Source: How Stuff Works

Signs Your Alternator is Not Performing Correctly

6 Symptoms of a Failing Alternator

If you experience flickering headlights, stalling or strange noises when driving, your car isn’t haunted; chances are it’s just a failing alternator. The alternator is a key component in your car’s electrical system, turning the energy from the crankshaft into useful electricity to power your vehicle’s electrical systems and to help the battery recharge. When it starts to fail, it can create a domino effect of electrical problems that can ultimately cause a breakdown.

How do you know when you have a failing alternator? Here are six symptoms to watch for.alternator

  1. The indicator light

It’s quite likely that your vehicle is equipped with a warning indicator light in the dashboard titled “ALT” or “GEN.” This is often the first indicator that the alternator is going bad. Don’t ignore this indicator, even if you are experiencing no other symptoms. Take the vehicle to a reliable automotive specialist for a diagnostic.

  1. Headlights are dim or flickering

Flickering or dim headlights are a strong signal that your alternator may not be working correctly. The alternator provides power to the headlights, so the flickering usually means the alternator is struggling to perform.

  1. Other electrical failures

When the alternator is going bad, other systems that are powered by the alternator may start to act up. These can include the power windows, power locks, dashboard lights, air conditioning, even your car radio. Other things might be causing these failures, but it’s worth taking it to a trusted auto repair service to have it checked out.

  1. Strange noises

This seems like a vague symptom–after all, lots of things can cause unusual noises in the car. However, sometimes alternator failure can cause some of the bearings to fail in the engine, creating unusual rattles. The alternator might be the culprit, especially if accompanied by some of the other symptoms we’ve mentioned.

  1. Car stalls or has difficulty starting.

Your car isn’t just running on gasoline; it also runs on electricity (even though it might not be one of those hybrid vehicles). The alternator provides power to the spark plugs that ignite the gasoline in your engine. When the alternator is failing, there might not be enough power in the spark plugs to keep the engine alive, which can cause it to stall for no reason while running, or to have trouble starting. Ignore this symptom, and your car eventually won’t start at all.

  1. Battery dies

Obviously, batteries sometimes fail on their own–but a bad alternator can actually cause the battery to drain because it’s failing to recharge it. If your battery goes dead, have the alternator checked when replacing the battery so it doesn’t happen again.

Source: Lloyd’s