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Cheesborough's Blog

Do you know what is the most frequently-asked question we hear? "How can I make my car last longer and still be safe?" That's why we decided to post important information on our website throughout the year. It's all about keeping you and your family safe and on the road. Be sure to check back often for new information, helpful safety tips, and great deals!

 

October 24, 2018
Best Cars For Snowy Conditions

When white stuff hits the ground, having four-wheel or all-wheel drive is an unmitigated blessing, right? Wrong.

When snowstorms hit, if you have an all-wheel drive vehicle, you may become overconfident. People drive faster than they otherwise would. Yet all-wheel drive doesn’t help you stop quicker. An all-wheel drive system is designed to keep you from getting stuck.

In addition to all-wheel or four-wheel drive, experts urge buyers to look for cars with these extras: electronic stability control (ESC), good ground clearance and a low center of gravity.

Winter Tires

There is another way, say experts, to improve the traction, performance and safety of any vehicle traveling in snow: winter tires. The need for winter tires is greater than before because the tires commonly installed on new vehicles have been getting wider. The wider the tread, the more difficult it is to dig down through the snow.

Snow tires are especially important for anyone who lives in the Ohio, the snow belt, because they provide roughly one-third better traction than all-season tires. The best ones use a softer compound and a molded-in sipe–a strategically placed groove in addition to the normal tire tread to help carry the water out. Rubber actually sticks to ice if you can get rid of the water.

Vehicles that most need winter tires are those that come with low-profile performance tires or “all-season” tires that carry V or W speed ratings. Both sacrifice performance on slippery roads.

 

Top Shopping Tips

Make sure there are snow tires available for your vehicle before you buy it since there are a few high-performance sport sedans and sports cars for which no winter tires are made.

Shoppers should also check with their insurance agent prior to purchasing a particular vehicle, since cars with snow tires may be eligible for vehicle safety discounts, which in many cases are established on the basis of winter accident and claims rates.

You should also consider specifically how much driving you plan to do in deep snow before deciding whether you need all-wheel drive. If you’ll be frequently encountering 10 inches of snow and still need to get to work, then all-wheel drive is the way to go. For four inches or less, your best option is a front-wheel-drive vehicle with snow tires, which will offer better fuel economy on milder days.

And while some people believe a heavy vehicle is better for snowy or slippery roads, lighter definitely is better.

If you have more weight, you have a better contact patch to get moving, but then you have that much more weight to stop. It’s actually harder to regain control.

In other words, while a heavier vehicle can get a deeper grip, more mass is going to be more difficult to stop and to steer.

To help address such problems, 87% of all new SUVs now come standard with ESC systems. These can reduce rollover risk by 80% or more.

And when whiteout conditions make spotting other motorists a challenge, visibility–both seeing and being seen–is crucial. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data, 2.7% of all driver fatalities occur in situations where vision is obscured.

Winter drivers must remain relaxed but focused and alert. To that end, some new vehicles come with features that add comfort and relieve stress, including heated mirrors, heated steering wheels, headlight washers, heated washer nozzles and heated windshields. Most of these conveniences tend to help, especially the heated windshields, which speed up the defogging process and eliminate some of the need to scrape; the headlight washers, which help keep away grime and dirt for bright beams; and heated washer nozzles, to help keep the windshield clear.

If you need a vehicle for extensive driving in deep snow, the more car-like SUVs, called crossovers are recommended. Some of the crossovers have good ground clearance and also a low center of gravity, which makes them better choices than truck-based SUVs.

Overall, if driven responsibly, a vehicle with all-wheel drive, decent ground clearance and a relatively low center of mass is best.

Vigilance is the key word here. Staying out of trouble on winter roads is determined more by attitude and driving style than by the car you drive. Good, safe winter driving requires careful changes in direction and smooth braking, respecting and maintaining precious traction. Once you lose it, you may not get it back.

 

September 24, 2018
The Basics of Automatic Transmission Troubleshooting

To perform automatic transmission troubleshooting as accurately and cost-effectively as possible, you should follow these steps in order before you decide to bring your car to the shop. If the problem is too advanced to fix yourself, pin-pointing the exact cause can still help to make repairs easier on you as well as the shop.

Step 1. Try to determine the problem first
Since you understand how your vehicle should feel and operate more than any other person, try to determine what the problem is firsthand. For example, look under your car for any leaks, shift between gears for any issues, or determine whether gears are slipping. Here’s a useful chart of common problems and what causes them:

Step 2. Check the transmission fluid
Checking the transmission fluid will be the next thing you’ll want to do, since the majority of transmission problems are caused by either low fluid levels or ineffective fluid. So, with that in mind, make sure you check both the levels and the fluid condition. If you don’t know how to check transmission fluid yet, here’s our useful tutorial on the process. Low fluid levels will mean that you’ll have to add more of the transmission fluid that is specified in the owner’s manual, while fluid that is contaminated, black, or burnt will require a complete fluid and filter change.

Step 3. Check on-board diagnostic codes
If the transmission fluid looks okay, or adding or changing the fluid hasn’t helped to solve the problem(s), the next step in automatic transmission troubleshooting is to check your car’s on-board computer for any OBD codes. There are a few places that offers free scans such as AutoZone and Advance Auto Parts (you could even try repair shops around your area), although they will only provide you with the OBD codes that come up. You can also purchase your own OBD scanner if you are going to use it frequently, and a few good, reasonably priced ones include the Autel MaxiScan MS300 and the Actron PocketScan. There are even apps that you can use with an Android phone (e.g. Torque Pro). If you are looking to find out what a specific OBD code is including repair advice, OBD-Codes.com offers lots of information on this topic.

Step 4. Refer to a repair manual or website
If no OBD codes pop up or you can’t find any solutions to it, what you’ll want to do next is refer to a repair manual or website for your particular vehicle’s make and model. Repair manuals often go much more in-depth although you’ll have to pay for them, and popular options include Haynes and All Data DIY. There are auto repair help websites online as well, which either offers free information (e.g. AutoMD, AutoZone) or consists of a question and answer forum (e.g. 10w40, RepairPal).

Step 5. Have a professional look at it
The last thing to do if all other transmission troubleshooting methods have failed is to have a professional transmission specialist look at your car. There are just some things that someone with more experience can help solve, and this is also recommended if a problem is too complicated to fix yourself.

 

August 23, 2018
Some Transmission Problems Can Be Expensive

If you drive a car with an automatic transmission you may have thought about what you would experience if the transmission started to fail. Here are 5 signs of transmission problems you shouldn't ignore:


1. Transmission Slipping
If you're experiencing automatic transmission slipping, it can feel like you’re driving in a certain gear and then it changes for no apparent reason. The noise from the engine may change in pitch or start to sound like whining. Your car may also seem like it’s struggling, is suddenly underpowered, or isn’t accelerating like it should.
      
2. Rough Shifts
Your car may feel like it’s refusing to change gears as it normally does, or the gear shifts aren’t very smooth. Sometimes you can feel or hear a noticeable “clunk” or “thud” when the car shifts gears. You may also notice the car has difficultly getting up to speed.
      
3. Delayed Engagement
If this symptom occurs, you’ll notice a delay before the car actually engages into drive and starts moving forward. When you shift out of “P” and into “D,” there may be a long pause where the car revs the engine as you give it gas, but it’s not moving forward as it should.
      
4. Fluid Leak
Transmissions are generally sealed units that should never leak fluid. If you’ve noticed leak spots on your driveway or garage floor, lay down cardboard under your car in the front and middle to determine if they’re active leaks. If your transmission is leaking - fluid is bright red, but can also be a dark red or brown - visit your auto service shop. Before refilling any transmission fluid; factory specifications should be followed because overfilling can create a bigger transmission issue.
      
5. Transmission Warning Light
A warning light alone, like the “check engine” light, typically doesn’t mean you have a transmission problem, but if any of the above symptoms are occurring in conjunction with an illuminated warning, have it diagnosed by a professional. A warning light typically means the computer is generating an error code that can be checked with a shop’s diagnostic equipment. For transmissions specifically, “P0700” is a code that can indicate a general transmission problem.

 

July 23, 2018
Troubleshooting Problems With Steering and Suspension

Your car's suspension system is an intricate network of cooperating (usually, anyway) components designed to give you a smooth, even, stable ride. Since the suspension is ground zero when it comes to road abuse, the parts wear out, and even break. If your car doesn't seem to ride like it used to, you may have a problem down below.

It may seem daunting to try to diagnose steering or suspension problems, but if you attack it systematically, you have a fighting chance.

Just find the symptom that sounds like you and see what the probable causes are.

Money Saver: Before you start replacing parts, it's a good idea to check all of the mounting nuts and bolts to be sure the problem isn't being caused by simple looseness!

Symptom: Pulling to One Side While Driving
Low or uneven tire pressure - check tire inflation.
Uneven tire wear - check front tires for even wear and replace both front tires.
Alignment bad - check and adjust wheel alignment.
Steering components bad - inspect tie rods and steering rack.
Sticking brake caliper - inspect brakes for uneven wear or excessive heat. Repair as needed.


Symptom: Flip-flop wheel shimmy. Wheels seem to wander and wiggle rapidly back and forth.
Low or uneven tire pressure - check tire inflation.
One or more wheels out of balance - have wheels balanced.
Uneven or excessive tire wear - inspect tires and replace in pairs.
Vehicle out of alignment - check and adjust wheel alignment.
Worn steering components - inspect tie rods and steering rack for excessive play and repair if needed.


Symptom: Porpoising over bumps or uneven roads. Porpoising, aka bouncing, dipping, diving. Car keeps going up and down after you go over a bump.
Worn shocks or struts - replace shocks and/or struts.
Broken or slipped leaf spring - inspect leaf springs and repair or replace as needed.


Symptom: Steering seems to be slipping.As you turn the wheel or hold it in a turned position, it feels like its slipping slightly back and forth.
Low power steering fluid - add fluid as needed.
Loose or worn power steering belt - tighten or replace belt.
Bad power steering pump - have checked for pressure and replace if needed.
Leaking power steering rack - inspect steering rack for leaks and replace rack if needed.
Broken steering rack mounts - inspect mounts for excessive play and repair as needed.


Symptom: Hard to steer. Wheel is hard to turn, especially while moving at slow speed.
Low power steering fluid - add fluid as needed.
Loose or worn power steering belt - tighten or replace belt.
Bad power steering pump - have checked for pressure and replace if needed.
Leaking power steering rack - inspect steering rack for leaks and replace rack if needed.

 

June 23, 2018
Ten Things to consider before buying a car

 Buying a car is a big and costly decision. It is important to make sure you have thought everything through. To help with this decision, we have compiled a helpful list of ten things you should consider before driving off the car lot, with a new and expensive responsibility:
 

1. Decide what you can afford: Make sure you have established a budget, and make sure you adhere to it. Also, it is important to make sure you can handle the additional costs of the vehicle, besides the initial purchase price.
2. Decide between new and used: Due to the high demand, the prices of used cars are actually skyrocketing. Right now, it may be more cost-effective to purchase a new car.
3. Decide on exactly what you want: Narrow down your list of prospective cars. Before you show up to your local auto dealer, have a good idea of what you want. To do this, we recommend checking out their website and reviews from owners.
4. Figure out your total cost: Once you have a few cars in mind, it would be a good idea to research the entire cost of owning this vehicle, from gas to insurance expenses.
5. Dealership financing may not be the best deal: Car dealers want people to take out car loans because they often get a commission. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Overall, when you go the dealership, use caution and your best judgment.
6. Be aware of the wholesale price of the vehicle: It is imperative to look up the wholesale price of the vehicle. This is the best way to start your negotiations.
7. Check out all discounts: Before heading over to the dealership, make sure you research all the discounts. Sometimes, you may be able to combine discounts.
8. Negotiate to the best of your ability: After completing your research, call or schedule an appointment for a test drive. This is way, you go into the car dealership knowing exactly what you want. When discussing price, keep in mind all the research you have done, which includes wholesale cost and applicable discounts.
9. Take your time during the test drive: Typically, you want to keep your car for at least five years. Take your time during the test drive,  and make sure this vehicle is right for you and your family.
10. Don’t make a hasty decision: Most of all, do not rush into anything. Take your time to make a decision. Visit the car more than once, if needed. 

 

May 23, 2018
The Main Enemy of your Transmission? Summer Heat!

Summer is starting up in the area but as we continue on this streak of warmer temperatures, you've got to watch out for your car. Did you know that an overwhelming amount of transmission problems and failures are caused by the car getting too hot? Overheating your car could cost you thousands of dollars in a transmission rebuild. As your car expels heat the hot air travels up from your engine to your transmission and transmission cooler. This also heats up the fluid in your transmission lines. Heated fluid can lead to malfunction of the clutch, burning of the seals, and formation of varnish.

How do you avoid unnecessary heating of the transmission? Below are a few tips from your friends at Cheesborough's:

1. Avoid stop and go traffic during hot temperatures. Continuous stopping can generate extreme heat and also causes your transmission to work harder.
2. Do not do any heavy towing during hot climate times. The extra weight from towing will have your transmission working harder in addition to already dealing with the hot weather.
3. Check fluid levels monthly. Leaks, or low fluid can contribute to the overheating of a car. Transmission fluid is critical to cooling and lubricating your vehicle’s transmission. When checking look for lack of fluid, burnt or dirty fluid.
4. Have your fluids changed regularly. Dirty, burnt fluids will not properly cool your car. Around every 30 thousand miles you will want to have your fluid changed out and replaced.
5. Make sure your solenoid is working. The solenoid regulates the amount of fluid that is distributed to the transmission. When the solenoid is defective not enough fluid will be pumped to the transmission.
6. Provide regular maintenance to your car’s radiator. The radiator’s job is to cool down the transmission- if it is not working then your transmission can quickly overheat.

 

April 24, 2018
How To keep cool in Your car during Summertime

Summer is here, so it is time we start thinking about ways to stay cool and comfortable in our car. Fortunately, Cheesborough's has you covered. We have compiled a helpful list of how to stay cool as a cucumber in the summer heat:
 

Park in the shade: Not only will you car thank you, but you will also feel much cooler.
Use a sunshade: These windshield covers keep the harmful UV rays at bay.
Cover up the leather: Ouch! Sitting on hot leather is painful, to say the least. To counteract this, cover up your car’s  leather with towels.
Keep an eye on the seat belts: The metal on the seat belts can get very hot. It is important to keep an eye on this before put them on you or your family.
Stay Dehydrated: Bring large bottles of water and ice to keep you and your family cool and hydrated during the summer heat.
We love to bring wine, food, or any other perishable on road trips with the family, but this begs the question: how do we keep it cool? Bring an ice cooler filled with ice packs to leave your perishables in. Ice packs are often better than loose ice, because loose ice is known to damage labels.

Also, we caution you not to leave your pet or child in the car. Children and pets are more prone to developing heat stroke than adults. In fact, children can develop heat stroke three to five times faster than adults. Sometimes, we can forget our dog or child is in the backseat. In order to counteract this, we recommend leaving your phone, purse, or briefcase in the back seat as a reminder.  If you ever see a pet or child in a hot car in the middle of summer, it may be wise to call the police. It is better safe than sorry!

 

January 24, 2018
Best Ways of Keeping Your Car on the Road

Cheesborough's wants you to be safe and wants you to have the option of keeping your car longer versus being forced to buy a new car. We've gathered some tips to help you make your car last longer.

1.

Don't Drive - Want your car to last? Don't use it. That sounds obvious, but it's worth keeping in mind. Chances are there are plenty of times when you currently use your car that you could be walking, biking, using public transportation or carpooling — choices that are better for the environment, your wallet, your health, and the car you won't be driving. It's simple: The less you drive, the longer your car will last. 

2.

Make Fewer Short Trips - Short trips of less than 10 minutes can be particularly hard on a car, resulting in excessive wear and tear. During a short trip, your car's engine never has a chance to reach its full operating temperature. So what? Here's why it matters: One of the byproducts of engine combustion is water. When an engine reaches its operating temperature that water turns to vapor and is expunged, either out the tailpipe or the crankcase ventilation system. On a short trip, however, that water stays inside your car's engine and exhaust. Unfortunately, water is one of only three ingredients necessary to make rust (you've already got the other two, oxygen and metal), and rust kills. Look at any of my brother's cars. A further complication of condensation and water is that it dilutes your oil, which then does a poorer job of lubricating the engine. If you can't avoid taking lots of short trips, we recommend you change your oil frequently, such as every 2,000-3,000 miles.

3.

Drive Gently - When you drive, do your car a favor and drive gently. Think of your car like your own body. What's more likely to land you in a full-body cast: A gentle walk around the park, or a season of rugby? We rest our case. What does "drive gently" mean? It means accelerating slowly, not snapping your head back. It means anticipating your braking so you can brake gently and avoid panic stops. It means not revving your engine in the driveway when it's cold, before the oil is warm and freely circulating. If it's below freezing outside, allow your car a minute or so to warm up before driving it hard. Then drive slowly for another minute or two, until the engine oil has warmed up and started to fully lubricate all the components. Finally, if your car is new, follow the break-in recommendations in your owner's manual. Regardless of the manufacturer's recommendation, we advise changing your car's oil after your inaugural 1,000 miles.

4.

Watch for Engine Warning Signs - It's OK to drive your car short distances with certain warning lights illuminated or gauges out of their normal range, but there are three that you dismiss at your car's peril: the engine oil light, the engine temperature gauge and the brake light. A few minutes of an excessively hot engine or low oil pressure and the groceries you're hauling in the back could suddenly be worth more than your car. A couple of minutes with the brake light on and you might end up playing bumper cars with the Cadillac Escalade ahead of you. The one being driven by Tony Soprano. In a bad mood. Get in the habit of glancing at your engine's temperature gauge and warning lights. If the idiot lights come on, pull over as soon as it's safe to do so and shut off the engine. You might just save yourself an expensive engine rebuild — much to the disappointment of your mechanic.

5.

Unload Extra Weight - Most of us know what it feels like to be hauling a few extra doughnuts around the midriff, so to speak. It places extra demands on our engine, and it creates suspension, braking and even exhaust problems. If you catch our drift. It's no different with your car. Extra weight adds stress to critical systems and causes premature wear. Check your car right now. What's in there that can come out? Toss out the four bowling balls, the barbells and the lead-lined box of plutonium fuel rods. You might even consider removing your mother-in-law — as long as she doesn't have to come inside the house, that is. You should also remove anything that causes additional drag. Creating aerodynamic drag is similar to adding weight in that it increases the demand on your engine, so think about removing the big, flat bug shield that sticks up above your hood. Remove any roof racks you're not actively using, and take the cargo carrier off the top of the minivan. We know it gives you some hope of looking cool, like you do something besides haul kids around, but it's killing your gas mileage and making your engine work harder. 

6.

Do Your Regular Maintenance - Skipping regularly scheduled maintenance intervals is one of the quickest ways to assure your car finds its way to an early grave. Regular oil changes and oil, fuel and air filter changes all help make sure your car has what it needs to run without problems: clean air and clean fuel, plus fresh, uncontaminated oil to prevent wear and tear. An added bonus to regular service? It gives good mechanics an opportunity to spot problems before they balloon into something more serious. If you're wondering how often to do these things, there's a book that explains it all to you. It's called the owner's manual. You'll find it in your glove box, shrink-wrapped in plastic, because — if you're like most of us — you've probably never looked at it. In the back you'll find a list of service intervals, and the services that are recommended during each of them. If intervals in the book stop at 120,000 miles, that doesn't mean you're done with maintenance. Go back to the beginning and start over (so, for instance, do all the services called for in the 7,500-mile service at 127,500). Nice try, though. By the way, if you're fretting over the ongoing cost of routine service, remember our maxim: "It's the stingy man who makes the most boat payments!" 

7. Change Oil and Other Vital Fluids - Your car's fluids will often be changed during regular service intervals, but it's important enough that we wanted to mention it separately. As you drive your car, and even if it just sits in the driveway, your car's fluids degrade. That's a problem because each of the fluids in your car is vital to the long-term health of the engine, transmission, steering or brakes. Simply keeping the fluids topped off isn't enough because over time they lose important properties — like their ability to remove heat and lubricate, as well as the ability to prevent rust and freezing. What fluids are we talking about? Transmission, differential, brake and power-steering fluid; oil; and antifreeze. Windshield washer fluid? Not so important. Regular transmission and differential fluid changes are often overlooked, but this service is very important. If you really want to keep your car forever, our suggestion is to get these fluids changed every 60,000 miles whether your owner's manual recommends it or not. Fresh, clean transmission fluid assures that your car's drivetrain stays cool and uncontaminated. Some cars, by the way, have two separate differentials. Be sure to ask your mechanic if yours is one, and make sure that both sets of differential oil get changed. It's easy to overlook this particular service, but you do so at your own peril: A cooked differential can cost thousands of dollars to repair. Routine maintenance service is much less expensive; it should cost about $150 to get your transmission fluid flushed and replaced, and another $100 to do both differentials. By the way, if your mechanic tries to sell you new blinker fluid, lace up your Pro-Keds and run out of there as fast as you can.
8.

Get Problems Checked Out Sooner Rather Than Later - This is like saying "Don't let a cold turn into pneumonia." If you have a small problem with your car, get it checked out sooner rather than later.
For example, a torn CV boot is a common problem and a simple repair. Delay getting it fixed, though, and you'll eventually end up by the side of the road, unable to drive and forced to fork over some additional money for a tow and a whole new axle.

That's just one example. There are many other problems that start small but balloon into something much larger if they're not addressed right away. Don't believe in this theory? Talk to the secretary of the Treasury Department.
Above all, make sure your car is safe to drive. If you have any doubts about such things as brakes, brake lines, ball joints, tie rods, airbags, seat belts or even the structural integrity of your car, get it checked out. Remember: Even though you want your car to last a long time, you still want to outlive your car. 

9.

Find a Repair Shop You Trust - Find a shop you trust intuitively. Think of maintaining your car as a partnership between you and your shop. Or, more precisely, between your bank account and the bank holding the loan on your shop's lease. Money only moves in one direction, and in exchange you get a car that runs reliably.

Having a good working relationship with your shop will enable you to make wise decisions when the time comes — and you won't have nagging doubts about the truthfulness of what you're being told. This is such an important point we wrote an entire feature on how to develop a great relationship with your Shop.

How do you find a great shop? When you find someone you think you like, ask for recommendations from longtime customers. Cheesborough's has an excellent reputation in the Agusta Georgia market and is a shop that you can trust in to be up front and only do what is necessary. All at a very reasonable price.

10.

Discuss Your Plans with your Shop - Not everyone wants a car to last for 200,000 miles. As a result, mechanics don't always have a long-term mindset when they perform routine service. If your shop knows you're in this for the long term, they'll spend a little more time looking things over when you bring in your car.You'll need to remind them regularly that you're hoping for a long, healthy life for your car. Ask them to keep that in mind as they work on your car.

11.

If You Can't Avoid Salt, Wash Your Car Frequently - By kick-starting rust, salt wreaks havoc on the body and other components. Our advice is simple: During the winter, when there's salt on the roads, wash your car's undercarriage as often as possible. You'll remove much of the salt that's eating away your car, and that's a good thing.

12.

Skip the Heated Garage - Garages and carports are great things. Do you want to spend 10 minutes every morning during the winter freezing your bolts off, scraping ice and snow off your car? Of course not! A garage allows you to avoid that supreme morning hassle, and it also helps slow the steady deterioration of your car's interior and exterior caused by bright sun and storms. However, there's a big exception to this rule: heated garages.

Our advice is to skip the heated garage, which can accelerate your car's march towards its grave. Here's why: Heat accelerates oxidation, also known as rust. You drive in the garage with snow and ice on your car, it melts, and the water and salt mix in hat nice, warm petri dish and, come morning, there's less of your car there. 

13. Be Proud - Owning an older car should be a source of pride. You're showing that you're sensible, not swayed by the latest models and capable of keeping your car well maintained. Who knows? That sort of no-frills common sense can be very appealing to members of the opposite sex. It might even land you a date! After all, who wants somebody who's always got his eye on a new model? Even if it doesn't score you the babe or hunk of your dreams, owning an older car can offer you something else: a truly liberating experience. You no longer care about scratches, dents or bird droppings. And, best of all? It's paid for! So who cares what your neighbors think? Shoot them a broad, smug smile the next time they eye your jalopy puttering down the street.

 

 

December 22, 2017
Transmission Fluid Additives That Cause Your Transmission To Fail

Sooner or later your automatic transmission will fail; just like any other mechanical device. They can simply war out or… they suffer from other problems like hard internal seals. An automatic transmission operates by applying friction components like clutches and bands that operate a series of gear sets. These clutches and bands are applied by hydraulic pistons. These pistons have rubber seals on them to contain the oil pressure.

Over time, these seals may become hard and brittle. In this condition they're unable to contain the hydraulic pressure so the clutches and bands develop delayed engagements or may not apply at all. Generally, this condition is worse when the transmission is cold. After the transmission warms up the seals will soften enough to operate properly.

This condition requires replacement of the seals in order to fix it properly. This is part of the rebuilding process. However, there are products on the market designed to soften these seals. You can find several brands of "transmission fix" at your local parts store.

Beware though, while these products do restore the sealing properties of the seals they will, over time, soften the seals to the point that they will fail. The fix, if you want to call it that, is a short-term remedy and withing a few months you can expect the transmission to fail completely.

Here's the danger: if you're in the market for a used car you may unknowingly find one that's had an additive used to fix leaks or shifting problems. Detecting these additives is pretty simple; they have a distinct "sweet" smell to them. If you've ever smelled automatic transmission fluid you will definitely recognize the difference with an additive. Just remove the dipstick and take a whiff. If you're unfamiliar to the odor of transmission fluid or feel uncertain about it then call Cheesborough's at 706-724-1451 and we'll be happy to check it for you.

Finally, not all transmission fluid additives cause these kinds of problems. Some are actually beneficial to the operation of your automatic transmission. Here again, you can ask us for more information regarding transmission fluid additives.

 

 

November 24, 2017
The Real Cost of Transmission Repair

You see it all over the internet: "Rebuilt Transmission, $799 for most cars", or articles that talk about the high cost of transmission repair. In the articles you'll read that a reasonable price for rebuilding an automatic transmission might be as high as $1,500. The reality is much different but might lead you to believe you're getting ripped off if a shop quotes a price much higher than that.

As with any purchase you want to get the best value for your dollar. If you have an older vehicle you might have to consider whether it's worth investing in the cost of a rebuilt transmission. Perhaps a repair might be a better choice. But if you're thinking about investing in a quality transmission repair understand that a $1,500 rebuild would be like buying a 50" flat-screen TV for $99; it's not realistic and the quality just won't be such that the repair will last very long.

OK, you like the car you have and you'd like to keep it for awhile but the transmission went out. Cheesborough's can help you understand the cost of rebuilding your transmission. If you're thinking of trading in your car make sure you check out our Fix or Trade Calculator. It'll help determine whether keeping your car and getting it fixed might be a better choice than replacing it with a new or used car.

You have a lot of choices when it comes to transmission repair. Take a few moments to learn more about the cost before you spend the money. We won't mislead you with information that is not in your best interest.

 

 

October 23, 2017
What is a Transmission?

Your car's transmission is the most complicated and least understood major component in your car or truck. In today's cars, the transmission is a combination of sophisticated hydraulics and computer-controlled electronic components.'

The transmission is a mechanical component designed to transmit power from a vehicle's engine to drive the axle, which makes the wheels drive the vehicle.

By varying the gear ratio, the transmission alters the levels of power and speed to the wheels. For example, in low ranges, the transmission provides more power and less speed; in high ranges, just the opposite is true. This reduces the load on the engine, while increasing the vehicle's speed and fuel economy.

Some vehicles a use clutch to connect and disconnect the transmission to the engine, controlled through a foot pedal next to the brake pedal. These vehicles have a manual transmission. If your car doesn't have a clutch pedal, it has an automatic transmission.

Automatic transmissions depend on a special fluid – called ATF – to cool and lubricate the moving parts inside. But the fuid does more than that: In fact, it's no exaggeration to say that the fluid actually drives the vehicle. So there's little doubt that the fluid is very important to the transmission's operation. This is why it's important to check the transmission fluid level and condition regularly (check your owner's manual) and to have your transmission serviced at least every couple years.

Later model front wheel drive cars also incorporate another major component into the body of the transmission itself: the differential or final drive. These types of transmission are know as transaxles.

Front wheel drive configuration improves fuel economy and handling, and reduces manufacturing costs. But because of the additional components in the transaxle, it's generally more expensive to repair than a transmission when it fails.

 

September 25, 2017
How can I Avoid Scams and Ripoffs when Purchasing Transmission Repair?

Automatic transmission repairs are expensive; some can easily cost $2000 or more. So it's more important than ever to find a shop that will provide quality repairs at a fair price. Here are few ways you can avoid getting cheated when searching for a transmission repair shop:

1. Get recommendations - Ask friends and family to recommend a shop where they were treated well and were happy with their work.
2. Look for a Professional Appearance - A clean, organized shop indicates a professional attitude. And that usually carries over into all phases of business… including their repairs and job pricing.
3. Avoid Phone Estimates - Today it's virtually impossible to give an accurate estimate over the phone. Any shop that will give you a price before they see the car is probably low-balling you. Expect the price to go up considerably before the job is finished.
4. Ask for a Detailed, Written Estimate - After checking your car thoroughly, the repair center should have a fairly good idea of what's wrong with your car. They should be able to provide a written estimate that specifies what's wrong, and what it'll cost to repair it.
5. Look for Membership in Consumer Organizations - Look for their Better Business Bureau rating. Not every repair goes as planned but what is most important is how the shop handles problems that can happen. You can also see if the shop is a mamber of ATRA (Automatic Transmission Rebuilders Association). Membership shows that they employ ASE Certified Technicians who take their jobs very seriously.

 

August 24, 2017
Manual or Automatic? Which Transmission Saves More?

As consumers face rising prices at the gas pumps, more and more people are looking into buying a car equipped with a manual transmission instead of an automatic. But that change may not provide the desired effect for most drivers.

That's because today's automatics are lighter and more efficient than those of just a few years ago. So much so that only a highly motivated driver will have any hope of wringing substantially higher gas mileage our of a manual transmission.

What's more, the back-end costs of a manual will quickly eat away at any savings you might receive at the pump. Most drivers can expect to have the clutch replaced as often as every 30,000 miles or so. And when it comes time to sell or trade the car, they can expect a dramatic drop in value with a manual transmission.

For most people, an automatic transmission is a far better choice when buying a new car. They're more efficient, easier to drive, and last longer than those of just a few years ago.

 

 

July 25, 2017
Extend Transmission Life by Reducing Heat

The most common cause of automatic transmission failure is heat. You can get more miles out of your transmission by reducing the heat heat builds up during normal operation. Here are a few things you can do to help reduce heat, and keep your transmission working longer:

1. Avoid Jackrabbit Starts - Hard accelerations create a lot of friction and heat in the transmission. Take it easy on the gas, and your transmission will live longer.
   
2. Help the Shift - Most of the friction and wear in the transmission takes place during the shifts. Get to know when your transmission shifts normally. Then, just before the shift, back off on the gas just a bit. That'll reduce the load on the clutches, and eliminate much of the friction during the shift.
   
3. Keep the Cooling System in Good Shape - Your car's radiator also provides cooling for your transmission. And heat damage will take place in the transmission long before the engine appears to overheat. So regular cooling system service can help your transmission run cooler... and last longer.
   
4. Add a Transmission Cooler - If you travel a lot in extremely high temperatures or carry a lot of weight in your car, an auxiliary transmission cooler is a great way to reduce heat and add years to your transmission's life.

 

June 23, 2017
How do I know if I need a New Transmission

Your transmission suddenly isn't shifting right. So what's wrong with it? Do you need your transmission rebuilt? Good questions. Unfortunately, the answer is: No one knows. At least, not yet.

To find out what's causing your transmission problem, a technician is going to have to perform a series of tests. Basically, these tests are designed to answer the simple question: "Is it inside or outside?" That is, is the problem inside the transmission, or in one of the many control systems that operates the transmission?

That's because there's a lot more to transmission operation than the transmission itself. Nearly every transmission on the road today is controlled by a computer system. That system is integrated into the rest of the vehicle. So a problem in the engine - or for that matter, even the brakes - could have a dramatic effect on transmission operation.

In fact, today's transmissions are so integrated with the rest of the vehicle that many technicians with years of auto repair experience can have a difficult time determining whether a problem is inside the transmission or not. Until a properly trained and experienced transmission technician examines the vehicle and performs the necessary tests, there's no way anyone can tell you for sure what's wrong with your car's transmission. Once those tests are performed, a qualified technician should be able to tell you precisely whether you're dealing with a transmission problem or not. And he (or she) will be able to let you know what it'll take to fix your car and put it back into proper running condition.

The really great news is the vast majority of customers who bring their cars in with transmission problems don't actually need their transmissions rebuilt. In most cases the problem turns out to be external, which usually costs far less than a transmission rebuild. But the only way you can be sure you're only paying for the work you need is by bringing your car to a qualified transmission repair shop, such as Cheesborough's Automatic Transmissions.

 

May 24, 2017
Buying a Safe Car for your Teen Driver

Most parents look for the best used car when shopping for their teen to save money, but although you may need to make compromises to stay within budget, don’t skimp on safety. Make sure the vehicle you buy has advanced safety features such as electronic stability control (ESC) and curtain airbags, as well as good crash-test results.

Choosing the best used car for a young driver will usually involve compromises among budget, desirable features, and the wants of an image-conscious teen. The best bet is to buy the newest, most reliable model with the most safety equipment you can afford. Do not even consider a car without antilock brakes. If you can reach a little deeper and get a car equipped with side and head-protection curtain airbags, antilock brakes, and electronic stability control, so much the better. The lifesaving assistance those systems can provide is worth every penny in an emergency situation, and they can be especially beneficial to an inexperienced driver.

As far as what type of vehicle is best, large pickups and SUVs are not recommended for young, inexperienced drivers because they are more prone to roll over than other vehicles. Sports cars increase the risk of speeding and have a higher rate of accidents, and consequently, they carry tuition-sapping insurance premiums.

Reliability is key when choosing a used car because it probably will not have the warranty protection common on new cars. Further, you may intend for your teen to drive this first car for years to come, while money is funneled to college and starting independent adult life.

But keep in mind that every used car gets treated differently. The older a car gets, the more its care and maintenance history will affect its overall performance and reliability. Once you have narrowed your shopping list to cars that are likely to be smart choices, have the specific car you are considering purchasing thoroughly inspected by a qualified automotive technician before you make the purchase.

 

April 21, 2017
Preventing a Transmission Breakdown

The Importance of Transmission Care

Prevention is better than cure. You've probably heard that said plenty of times. The phrase is most often used to talk about health and medicine, but it is just as valid to apply it to vehicles. It's great if your problem can be sorted without much trouble, but even better not to have a problem in the first place. This is especially true when it comes to your vehicle's transmission, as this can be one of the more specialized parts to repair. Not all transmission problems require an extensive overhaul, but they will all cause at least some trouble and inconvenience. Avoiding transmission problems is clearly preferable to even the problems that are quickest and cheapest repair. This is why it is important to ensure you take good care of your transmission. This will help prevent problems and keep it working smoothly. Ideally, it will mean that it doesn't develop any faults at all. Even if it does eventually go wrong, however, it is entirely possible that good care will mean the fault is less serious and easier to repair than it would have been otherwise.

Looking After Your Transmission

Good transmission care starts with simple but important things like making sure you don't neglect to check your transmission fluid regularly. This should be done roughly every 1,000 miles. As well as checking the level, pay attention to color and smell. If the color is unusually dark or the smell resembles burning, this could indicate the start of problems. The fluid should also be changed every 15,000 miles or every other year, depending on which comes first. Theoretically, transmission fluid has a much longer life than this. In practice, however, relatively simple things such as stop-and-go traffic or short journeys can drastically shorten its lifespan. For most drivers, assuming a lifespan of 15,000 miles or two years is the safest option. Certain driving practices can also help keep your transmission well cared-for. These include such easy steps as not overloading your vehicle and allowing it to warm up thoroughly on cold mornings. It is also important avoiding rocking between gears if your vehicle becomes stuck in mud or on ice. If you must rock, do so as gently as possible and make sure the wheels have stopped moving before each gear change. This will drastically reduce the strain placed on the transmission.

What if you Still Develop a Transmission Problem?

Unfortunately, there is no foolproof way to prevent transmission problems altogether. If this does happen, it is still possible to minimize the inconvenience it will cause. One of the best ways to do this is to ensure you have adequate and appropriate breakdown cover from your insurer. Of course, for most people this is a balancing act with price. This is where insurance comparison sites are very useful. They display not only prices, but the details of what each company offers, allowing you to compare how appropriate different packages are for you. This makes it far easier to find the best balance of cost and features. Before settling on a company, it is also important to find out more about their customer service and how helpful they are in the event of a breakdown. A bad insurer, that will take forever to pay for repairs or produce other promised features such as a courtesy car, will only add stress and trouble to your breakdown experience. Search for reviews of various providers online. This will allow you to read honest and independent feedback from independent bodies, and from everyday people who have used the company in the past.

Catching Problems Early

Once again, there is no way to completely guarantee your transmission will not develop a fault. However, even when a fault does begin to develop, there is still an element of problem prevention. Catching transmission problems early can prevent them from worsening and prevent further trouble from developing. This can potentially mean a simple repair instead of a major one. As such, it is vital to get any potential trouble looked at by a professional. It is also important to play it safe. If you think a problem is developing but you aren't sure, it can be better to get it checked by an expert than to wait until the problem gets bad enough to leave you in no doubt. If you notice anything odd about your transmission or sudden changes to the way your car drives, get it looked at by professionals. If you notice any changes to the way your transmission works, such as trouble changing gears or a delay before the gear seems to shift, get it looked at promptly to avoid further inconvenience.

 

March 23, 2017
Do ATF Additives Really Work?

As you stroll along the isles of your local auto parts store, you'll stumble across a section dedicated to automatic transmission fluid additives. The labels on these additives offer promises that range from simply making your transmission last longer, all the way up to a rebuild in a can.

The question is: Do these additives really work?

In most cases, unfortunately, the answer is no. In general, the additives that you'll find on the shelves of a consumer-oriented parts store won't really deliver on their extravagent promises. So what do these additives do? In general, they soften and swell the seals in your transmission. Over time, the seals inside an automatic transmission can become hard and brittle; losing their sealing qualities. These additives soften the seals so they begin to work again. The problem is they continue to soften and swell the seals to where they simply fall apart.

So, you have a minor leak or a delayed engagement problem in the morning. You add a can of Super Fix and in a day or so you notice the leak is gone and the transmission works much better. In a couple of months though, your transmission begins acting up and in six-months time it fails completely.

That's not to say all transmission additives are snake oil... far from it. There are some highly effective additives on the market that can significantly extend the life of your transmission. But chances are you won't find them on the shelves of your local auto parts store.

These effective additives are usually only available through your local transmission repair center. They make more realistic claims, such as:

Neutralize acids that build up in the transmission fluid.
Provide additional resistance to the effects of heat.
Prevent or reverse fluid oxidation.
Prevent or reverse fluid sheer.
Modify friction characteristics to improve transmission performance.
Provide additional lubrication to moving parts.
Soften and remove varnish from internal components.

While not as exciting as the claims made by the additives on the consumer shelf, these additives have the advantage of being able to deliver on their promises. Because of this, they can improve transmission operation and increase transmission life.

Give Cheesborough's a call for more information on transmission additives that really work as advertised.

 

February 19, 2017
How Driving Conditions and Habits Affect Your Automatic Transmission

"1986 Chevrolet, 45,000 miles, only driven to the grocery store by elderly woman"

If you were in the market for a used car, this, ad might sound pretty goad. But it may not be as good a deal as it first appears. Vehicles driven occasionally or for short distances are often, subjected to unusual wear and strain. For example, cars that are consistently driven short distances never have the opportunity for the engine to warm up to normal operating temperature. This can cause excessive engine wear.

Low mileage transmissions subjected to city or stop-and-go miles usually experience far more wear than transmissions with the same number of highway miles. The mileage doesn't create as much wear as the number of times the transmission shifts up and down through its gear ranges.

Many other seemingly normal driving conditions can affect transmission life, such as extreme temperatures, mountainous terrain, snowy or icy roadways, and dirty air quality. Under normal driving conditions, vehicle manufacturers recommend servicing your transmission as seldom as every 100,000 miles. But what constitutes normal driving conditions?

If you check through the owner's manuals of the various auto manufacturers, they'll usually include most of these conditions as part of their description of normal driving conditions:

About 12,000 15,000 miles per year.
Engine. and transmission operating at normal operating temperature most of the time.
A mix of about-1/3 city driving, 2/3 highway.
Outside temperature usually moderate; not too hot or too cold.
Road surfaces dry and clear.
Relatively straight and level roadways; occasional, moderate hills or valleys.
Air quality moderate and clean.
No excessive speeds, jackrabbit starts, or hard braking.
Light to moderate loads; one or two passengers.: with very little weight added to the trunk or cargo space.
Tire pressures set properly and all at correct levels and condition.

As you can see, very few cars actually operate under normal driving conditions... which makes the term normal something of a misnomer. And variations in either direction tend to increase wear and damage to the vehicle.

If you operate your vehicle under more extreme conditions -- as most people do -- you'll want to reduce the time and mileage between maintenance services. Having your transmission serviced once a year, or at very least every other year, seems to be the consensus among transmission repair professionals.

Under the most extreme conditions, even more often may be advisable and you may want to install an external transmission filter and cooler for additional protection.