Caring For Your Automatic Transmission

This post aims to show you the ropes when it comes to maintaining your automatic transmission.

Clunk! You know that sound. It is what happens when your transmission slips. Your RPM gauge red lines but your car doesn’t move. This can be caused by a variety of different things going on in your transmission. Transmission repair and replacement is very expensive. So be sure to follow these guidelines to keep some money in your pocket.

Maintaining your vehicle is imperative to prolonging the life of your vehicle. The fluids and filters are usually where we start. Every 3,000-5,000 miles we change our oil filter, and every 15,000 miles we change our fuel filter. Our transmission filter and fluid are no different.

Your automatic transmission utilizes gears to make efficient use of the engine’s torque and to keep the engine running at suitable speeds. The fluid in your transmission ensures optimum operating temperature and keeps the gears lubricated. The filter, keeps out dirt and debris. Something to note is that transmission maintenance varies for different vehicles. Many newer vehicles no longer have a transmission filter, or the transmission requires minimal maintenance like a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission). In this post, we will discuss care for a transmission which does have a filter and requires regular maintenance, but be sure to consult your owner’s manual for your specific vehicle requirements.

For vehicles with a transmission filter and fluid requiring flushing, it is important to make sure that you keep the fluid and filter well maintained so that you do not encounter transmission issues in the future.

Some symptoms of transmission issues include:

  • Leaking, red fluid
  • Vehicle will not go into gear
  • Hesitation when shifting gears
  • Vehicle slips out of gear while driving*

(*Note: If this does happen to you, don’t try to continue driving. Find a safe place to pull over as soon as possible and have your vehicle towed to your local service station.)

Make sure you bring your vehicle to a service shop that can perform a proper transmission flush. This includes hoisting the vehicle up, removing the pan, replacing the filter and draining all the fluid. By doing this, a skilled mechanic is able to see if there is any metal debris accumulating in the bottom of the pan. This could indicate a larger problem. Although a small amount of debris is normal, you need to clean it out so that it does not clog up the transmission system, leading to shifting issues or gear slippage.

By changing your transmissions fluid and filter every 50,000 km or so, you can prolong the life of your vehicle. But of course, as we always say, consult your owner’s manual for proper maintenance schedules.

If you are interested in the finer details of how the transmission operates in your vehicle, head over to HowStuffWorks.

Sources: AAMCO, HowStuffWorks, Yahoo, and Popular Mechanics

Don’t forget that if you are a DIYer you will need some tools – check out the assortment here that you may need.

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How to Install an Air Intake Manifold

You don’t need a mechanic to change your air intake manifold!  You got this!!

Alright gear heads, today we’re going to install an air intake manifold. When you install a performance air intake system, you gain a more efficient and powerful engine. A greater amount of oxygen is supplied to your engine’s combustion chamber, generating greater torque and more horsepower. Installing a performance intake also increases your gas mileage, and who doesn’t like having extra money.

The installation job itself is pretty darn simple, but it does take some elbow grease. You most definitely do not need to pay a mechanic to install an air intake system, plus we’re handy people, we’re going to do it ourselves. Follow directions and pay close attention to what is being removed, and from where, so that you can be confident in where to reattach everything when installation is complete.

The following directions should serve as a general guide to installing a cold air intake system:

Open your product’s packaging and make certain all necessary installation materials and hardware are accounted for. You don’t want to be stuck without an important part in the middle of an installation.

  1. Turn off your vehicle’s ignition, and disconnect your battery cables. Remove your radiator cover/dust shroud and remove your intake tube. If applicable, you will also need to remove your engine cover. Remove your crank case hose, and disconnect your vehicle’s electrical air flow sensors. Lastly, remove your air box and disconnect the mass air flow sensor from it.
  2. Assemble your intake’s heat shield. This will usually require attaching mounting brackets and rubber trim and then connecting your mass air flow sensor to its underside. Sometimes, you will be required to cut the rubber trim to the proper size. Remember to make absolutely certain you are following your product’s exact directions during this step, as the particular intricacies of each system differ. The most important consideration in this step is that you properly assemble your heat shield exactly as laid out in your product’s instructions. There should be a large tube end available to connect the air filter to the intake tube.
  3. When the heat shield is properly assembled, attach the air filter to the instructed position opposite where the intake tube will be attached (as the filter will feed directly into the tube). Tighten all necessary connectors. At the end of this process, you should have a piece of equipment similar in size to the air box which you previously removed. Your new system will fit into the vacated air box cavity.
  4. Install the heat shield/air filter combo into your engine cavity. Do what is necessary in this process to retain and properly use key components such as splash guards and mounting brackets. The factory mounting positions from which you removed your air box should be used to mount your new heat shield and filter, as your new intake system will be made specifically for your vehicle.
  5. Attach any vent fittings and remaining connective parts to your intake tube. Once ready, connect your intake tube to your heat shield/filter combination on one end and to your engine on the other. This may involve attaching and securing silicone hose ends, one to your throttle body and the other to the far end of the tube itself. However it is managed, this step entails seemlessly connecting your filter and heat shield to your throttle body.
  • Tighten and secure everything: all hose clamps, all gaskets, all bolts and fasteners. When we say tighten, we mean as tight as humanly possible. Under no circumstance is it advisable, or even acceptable, for these connectors to come loose at any moment during vehicle operation.
  • Reattach all vents and sensors unhooked in Step #2, including crank case vent hoses, battery cables, electrical sensors, engine covers, and/or radiator covers.
  • Make sure everything is properly attached and fully tightened. When you have determined this is so, start your engine and listen to that baby purr! It is recommended that every couple hundred miles you check your gaskets, fasteners, and hose clamps to ensure they’ve retained their tightness, at least through the first thousand miles. You can never be too careful, and bad things WILL happen if this system comes undone during operation.

Click Here for a video from K&N with detailed instructions

That is it! You are done. Doesn’t she sound great?

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