Four Signs of Manual Transmission Wear

manual transmission wear, worn transmissionYou can’t derive the true pleasure of driving unless you know how to operate a stick shift. That’s the sentiment shared by many manual transmission car owners. If you belong in this minority class, then you will need to be privy to the signs of wear in a manual transmission. We’ll examine the warning signs of a worn transmission.

Grinding Sounds

You may audibly hear the noise of gears grinding against one another. You could also hear this noise when you shift gears without fully engaging the clutch. However, if the noise persists even with proper manual shifting, then you might have a transmission wear problem.

Burning Smell

A burning smell is never a good sign and may be an indicator of an overheated transmission. The car probably lacks transmission fluid. This affects both manual and automatic transmissions. Fresh transmission fluid has a mildly sweet scent and should never have a burned smell. Continue Reading →

How to Spot Car Engine Sludge

engine sludge, oil oxidizationIs the motor oil in your car turning to thick and gooey sludge? Engine sludge has serious ramifications on car performance. The semi-solid gunk will also result in costly auto repairs down the road. Do you know how to spot engine sludge?

The Implications of Engine Sludge

Sludge causes engine combustion problems. As oil oxidization occurs, the oil solidifies and coats the cylinders, leading to stress and heat buildup with each stroke of the engine. Ultimately, the owner will have to replace the engine altogether or opt for an engine rebuild. Either option costs an arm and a leg.

Signs of Engine Sludge Buildup

The biggest telltale sign is the oil change light lighting up on your dashboard. You should also open the hood and look at the engine. Do you see thick black clumps anywhere on the outer part of the engine?

Next, remove the oil cap and use a flashlight to peer inside the oil pan. In a healthy engine, the oil should appear a metallic silver. If you see a lot of black gunk inside, then you have sludge. Continue Reading →

How to Identify the Varying Types of Car Leaks

car leaksAutomobiles have different types of fluids and oils, all of which can leak from the car. Which types of car leaks are serious and which ones are normal? Seeing fluid come out of the car undercarriage can be concerning. However, it’s not always indicative of a dire situation that requires immediate auto servicing.


If the liquid is clear and thin, then it’s probably plain H2O. This is simply water leaking from the air conditioner, which you can expect as you increase AC use this summer. This is a nonissue and no cause for alarm.

Transmission Fluid

This fluid is reddish to brownish in color and may drip from the center of the undercarriage. The fluid acts as a lubricant and coolant for the transmission. A leak is a sign of a broken or worn seal. While not urgent, you will need to bring the car to an auto repair shop to fix the seal. Continue Reading →

How to Remove a Stuck Lug Nut

stuck lug nutRemoving a tire seems like a straightforward task. However, many car owners find it’s hardly ever a smooth process. One of the most common problems is dealing with a stuck lug nut. No matter how much muscle you put into it, the bolt just won’t budge. What do you do?

The Cause of Stuck Lug Nuts

Various causes result in a stuck nut. The most common reason is corrosion, which locks the nut onto the threads.

During a tire replacement or adjustment, an unprofessional mechanic may also overtighten or use the wrong nut. The mechanic realizes the mistake but doesn’t fix it, knowing the owner probably won’t detect the problem for months. Car owners who are replacing a flat tire often face this problem, forcing them to call tow service. Continue Reading →

How to Fix a Stuck Parking Brake

stuck parking brakeHave you ever pulled or pushed the parking brake a bit harder than you should? This may not seem like a big deal, until you realize it’s stuck when you try to release it. Sure, you can try to fix it later and just drive with the parking brake in place. However, this will damage the brake system. A stuck parking brake may require auto service intervention.

What Causes a Stuck Parking Brake?

Were you’re channeling your inner Hercules when you applied the parking brake? The more-than-necessary force, combined with corrosion, can cause brake cable erosion. To prevent corrosion be sure to use the parking brake regularly, even when parking on a flat surface.

Fortunately, modern cars have components within the braking system that protect the parts from moisture. Nevertheless, a stuck brake can occur in any vehicle, including hybrids and classic cars. Continue Reading →

Does Your Car Require an Enhanced Flooded Battery?

enhanced flooded batteryA common complaint we have received over the years is the relatively short lifespan of replacement car batteries. In many of these instances, we realize that car owners are using the wrong battery type for their vehicle. Those that drive a newer model may require an enhanced flooded battery.

Cars with Stop-Start Technology Require an Enhanced Flooded Battery

Here’s the lowdown: if your car has stop-start technology, then it requires an enhanced flooded battery.

Stop-start technology is a feature that cuts off the engine when the car is stationary at a stoplight or in bumper-to-bumper traffic. The technology helps curb fuel consumption and emissions. The engine immediately restarts when the driver engages the clutch.

By 2022, 55.4 million cars worldwide are expected to have stop-start capabilities, up from 8.8 million in 2013. Continue Reading →

Does Your Car Require a 150-Point Inspection?

150 point inspectionMany auto repair services advertise a 150-point inspection. The number may be different; some offer a 100 or 50-point inspection. What exactly is this, and should you bring your car to the auto service for one of these checkups?

150-Point Inspection Explained

A 150-point inspection is simply a comprehensive auto check-up, where the mechanic inspects 150 different components of the vehicle. This may include a look at the check engine light or at engine performance under normal operating temperatures. The 150 points may differ slightly from shop to shop. However, they all generally cover the components that are crucial for safe and optimal car operation. Continue Reading →

Transmission Repair Vs. Transmission Service; Know the Difference

transmission serviceMost customers believe that transmission repair and transmission service are two terms that refer to the same reality. The two actually entail different kinds of work we provide at our auto service. We’ll explain the specifics of each, and how a transmission service can prevent the need for a much costlier transmission repair.

What Is a Transmission Service?

A transmission service is preventative maintenance performed at regular intervals, which are usually specified in the vehicle’s user manual. Here is what you can typically expect when bringing in your car for transmission servicing:

  • A fluid change—Though the mechanic may recommend a fluid flush to completely remove contaminants.
  • A filter change—This may include new seals, if the mechanic also has to remove the pan in the process.
  • Electronic check—The mechanic may also check the car’s ECU for error codes. This may include deleting the computer’s history of stored codes. This way, the computer relearns your driving and shifting habits.

Continue Reading →

Car Tire Toe Alignment Explained

tire toe alignmentMost people have a general idea of tire alignment and the implications of a misalignment. You may hear mechanics and auto enthusiasts use the terms “toe-in” and “toe-out” when discussing car tire toe alignment. We’ll explain what they all mean.

Wheel Toe-In and Toe-Out

Toe-in/toe-out refers to a tire’s geometry and how much it’s turned with respect to the center-line axis of the car.


When the wheels are toed-in, the front part of the tires are pointed inward.


The front part of the wheels is turned slightly outward.

See this image for a visual representation of a toe-in vs a toe-out. Keep in mind that the toe alignment is not the same thing as a tire balance. Continue Reading →

Is Tire Siping Good for Your Tires?

tire sipingNow that winter is just about here, some car owners may consider the switch to winter tires. Alternatively, some people choose instead to sipe their tires. Never heard of tire siping? We’ll explain what it means and whether the process is safe for your tires.

What Is Tire Siping?

Tire siping is the process of cutting small slits across the tire surface. Supposedly, this improves traction, especially when driving under wet and snowy roads. The slits also keep the rubber from overheating by letting air into the tread. The process can be done for all car makes and models, including classic cars with retrofitted tires.

Auto services that specialize in modifications may provide tire siping. The question, though, is twofold. Does siping really improve traction, and do the slits harm the rubber?

The Validity of Tire Siping

According to a research by the testing firm Mobility Research, siped tires increased traction by 33 percent. The result also showed that siping improves stopping distance.

Tire manufacturers, however, discourage car owners from siping their tires. Prominent tire companies, such as Bridgestone and Goodyear, warn against such alterations since it can invalidate the warranty. Others also believe that while siping may be beneficial in cold weather, it can actually decrease performance on dry roads. Continue Reading →