|We created this Money-Saving Vehicle Maintenance Guide for 2018 to remind ourselves and you how to avoid costly car repairs in the future.
Our tips are Cost-Effective and completely Hassle-Free. If you follow this guide, your car will be running at its best performance for many more years to come.
Here is a short overview:
- Regular Maintenance – Change regularly oil and filters for oil, fuel and air
- Keep it clean – dust can damage your paint and cause abrasions
- Go Easy During Startup – cold engine needs up to 30 seconds to get its act together, to get oiled properly and start running smoothly
- Make Fewer Short Trips – if not possible, change your oil more frequently
- Watch for Engine Warning Signs – especially for most dangerous ones (the engine oil light, the engine temperature gauge and the brake light)
- Unload Extra Weight – It places extra demands on our engine, and it creates suspension, braking and even exhaust problems
- Change Oil and Other Vital Fluids – Transmission, differential, brake, power-steering fluid; oil; and antifreeze
- Take Care of Your Tires – not only because safety issues, but also because gas consumption and some other things
- Get Problems Checked Out Sooner Rather Than Later – don’t let the cough turn into pneumonia
Please continue reading and we will explain exactly why taking care of your car is important and can save you money (not to mention how safer and happier you will be).
2.8 Million Miles…and more to go!
Meet Irv Gordon, a 73-year-old retired science teacher from Patchogue, N.Y. He holds the Guinness world record for the most miles driven by a single owner in a noncommercial vehicle.
His 1966 Volvo P1800 has more than 2.99 million miles on the odometer. The car still has the original engine (although it has been preventively rebuilt twice), transmission and radio.
|What’s the secret to his car’s longevity?
Gordon has always changed the oil and fluids — and performed other maintenance — according to the recommendations in the Owner’s Manual.
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.
Simply because there is no apparent problem with the car, it doesn’t imply that everything is likely to be fine with it. 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 vehicle owners — 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).
By the way, if you’re fretting over the ongoing cost of routine service, remember this: “It’s the stingy man who makes the most boat payments!”
Keep Your Car Clean
You must clean your car often. This serves two purposes – it keeps the car spotless and glistening, and it also protects the layer of paint from dirt which can cause abrasions.
Go Easy During Startup
A cold engine (one that’s sat for more than five hours) will have little or no oil left on the moving parts because it has all seeped down into the oil pan. It takes only a few seconds after start-up for the oil pump to adequately lubricate an engine. During those few seconds, however, is when you should keep engine RPMs down to a minimum.
Give the engine at least 30 seconds (longer if it has sat for more than 24 hours) before popping it in gear and roaring off.
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.
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.
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.
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 lights come on, pull over as soon as it’s safe to do so and shut off the engine. Failure to heed warning may result in an expensive engine rebuild.
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 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.
Change Oil and Other Vital Fluids
What fluids are we talking about?
Transmission, differential, brake, power-steering fluid; oil; and antifreeze.
Windshield washer fluid? Not so important. Blinker fluid? There’s no such thing. We just wanted to make sure you are paying attention. 🙂
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.
Regular transmission and differential fluid changes are often overlooked, but this service is very important. If you really want to keep your car forever, get these fluids changed as needed or more often. Fresh, clean transmission fluid assures that your car’s drivetrain stays cool and uncontaminated.
Some cars, by the way, have two separate differentials. 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 to flush your transmission fluid and replacement is much less expensive.
Take Care of Your Tires
When was the last time you checked your tires’ air pressure? Don’t remember? Or maybe it was done the last time you had an oil change (or at least you hope it was). Most people don’t care about tire pressure because they don’t notice “anything wrong” with their vehicle. Well it may seem that way, until you’re forced to quickly slow down and/or swerve to avoid an accident, be it on dry, wet or icy pavement.
When a tire is under-inflated, most of the car’s weight is concentrated on the tread that’s located just under the sidewalls, rather than being spread out evenly across the full width of the tire. This means that as the tire rolls, the sidewall gets continually flexed (squished, if you will) and heats up. This affects both performance and safety. In addition to degrading the handling of the vehicle (via the mushy steering response courtesy of the flexing sidewalls), a tire that’s considerably low on air can blow out due to the stress from the heat buildup and the constant flexing of the sidewall.
A tire with a scalped tread pattern on the tire will cause a grinding sound at speed over 45MPH. This tire condition is caused by a combination of worn struts or shocks and or tire imbalance. If a tire is controlled unevenly the tire will vibrate causing the tread to contact the ground inconsistently. This inconsistent contact with the road causes the tire tread to wear unevenly. To check for this condition (called ―cupping‖ – example on the right) take your hand and pass it over the tire tread, it should be smooth. If high and low points exist the tire is cupped and needs to be rotated or replaced depending on the severity of the cupping condition.
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.
► Voted Best Transmission Repair in Charlotte NC by CitySearch & MerchantCircle
Slipping gears? Grinding noises? Shuddering? No reverse? Harsh shifting? No overdrive?
The transmission in your car is one of its most important components. Transmission issues can render your car motionless and you will be hunting for a ride or walking. If you take care of your car and its transmission, then it should last you a good long time. However, you do need to know which problems to look out for. With that in mind, read on below for a few of the most common transmission issues to be revealed.
What is a 4L60E Transmission?
The 4L60-E is an automatic shift, four-speed overdrive, longitudinally positioned transmission. It has been considered to be the best rendition of the finest overdrive automatic transmission ever produced. The 4L60-E is found in nearly every GM rear-wheel-drive application, including the C/K Truck, Sonoma, Jimmy, Tahoe, Yukon, Astro, Safari, Suburban, Bravada, Firebird, Camaro and Corvette
Before the Late 4L60-E transmission, there was the Turbo 700R, which was introduced in 1982. The 4L60-E is GM’s successful continuation of the ever-improving 700R4 (aka “4L60” since 1990), introduced in 1982. The 4L60-E is the “E”lectronically shift controlled version of the 4L60. The Late 4L60-E was released in 1997 in and fully phased into wide use through GM by 1998 in both RWD car platforms (including the C6 Corvette) and trucks in both 2wd and 4wd configurations. (Most transmission models are not distinctively noted with the “E” since all GM transmissions are now also controlled electronically.)
The 4L60E Transmission has went through many changes/improvements over the years since it first came out in 1982. From bells to valve bodies, added solenoids, changes in pump and convertors. The 4L60E transmission weighs 146 pounds dry, and 162 wet. It requires 8.4 quarts (9.64″ torque converter) or 11.4 quarts (11.81″ torque converter) of transmission fluid,
Top 30 Common 4L60E Transmission Problems and Repair
Below is a list of common transmission problems with the GM 4L60E Transmission and possible solutions to repair. Although you may have some of these symptoms / problems with your 4L60E Transmission, the repair solution may differ. This list is merely a guide to the possible solutions. For a complete diagnosis on your GM 4L60E Transmission problem, contact us for a Free Diagnostic.
1. Slow, slipping or no reverse: “lo-reverse” clutches are worn out, fluid leak in the reverse apply circuit, or broken sunshell. It is possible to remedy a fluid problem by removing the checkball from its cage in the case in the rear of the transmission may help (must remove valve body), or adding a high-viscosity additive or other seal restorer product. May also have worn boost valve (can replace in the pan).
2. 1-2 shift does not happen at WOT (Wide Open Throttle) until you let off the gas: Best case: try replacing the TPS. Middle case: leak in the 2nd gear apply circuit (servo assembly or 1-2 accumulator). Double check by using the pressure gauge and watch for a big drop when the PCM commands 2nd gear. Worst case: poor line pressure rise (see below).
3. 1-2 Shift shudder at WOT (Wide Open Throttle); delayed or abnormal 1-2 shift; There’s a problem ONLY on the 1-2 shift: 1-2 accumulator piston cracked or stuck cocked in the bore. Check the yellow spring inside the accum housing for breakage. Also, if the accumulator housing walls are scored, the housing must be replaced.
4. 1-2 shift is delayed and harsh, may not shift into OD: TPS needs to be checked for smooth and linear electrical response over the entire range of motion. If not, this must be replaced.
5. Trans does not upshift out of first, speedometer reads zero at all times: Could be VSS failure. Rear of transmission needs to be fixed. Transmission needs to come out in order to access VSS.
6. No 3rd or 4th gear: “3-4” clutches are worn out: Needs to be removed and rebuilt. The car is safe to drive (in 2) until you can get it fixed.
7. Sudden grinding noise with no prior warning primarily in 2nd gear, behavior in reverse may be abnormal: sunshell is fractured. Must be removed and rebuilt. Try not to run or drive the car or further damage could result.
8. 1st and 3rd only, no 2,4 or R: Sunshell is fractured or splines are sheared off. Transmission must be removed and rebuilt. Try not to run or drive the car or further damage could result.
9. No 2nd or 4th gear. 2-4 band is slipping: Servo seals may be damaged. Otherwise, 2-4 band is worn out. Transmission must be removed and rebuilt.
10. Trans shifts into gear harshly, car feels sluggish off the line, No 1st, 4th or TCC lockup available, Manual 2nd, 3rd and Reverse are only available gears, CEL is on: transmission is either in limp-home mode or has lost electrical power. If there are lots of error codes in the PCM, check the underhood fuse that powers the transmission, and if it pops again, look for a short in that circuit like an O2 sensor harness touching exhaust. Otherwise, check PCM codes for a particular fault in the transmission causing the PCM to put it in limp-home mode.
11. No 1st or 4th available; trans shifts 2nd to 3rd by itself in D or OD and locks the converter: ShiftA solenoid failed Or a wiring problem from PCM to trans or PCM. Needs diagnostic testing.
12. Car goes into gear but feels very sluggish like the brakes are dragging, but it will roll easily (starts out in 4th gear), you manually shift to 2 to get it moving, once it’s moving you put it back in OD and the car shifts 3rd to 4th on its own and locks the converter at the appropriate time: ShiftB solenoid failed: A wiring problem from PCM to transmission or PCM.
13. No TCC (Torque Converter Clutch) lockup: Brake pedal switches improperly adjusted (always on), TCC solenoid failed, TCC clutch worn out (must remove transmission and replace TC).
14. TCC (Torque Converter Clutch) always locked: TCC apply solenoid circuit shorted to ground, TCC solenoid blockage, or TC broken (must remove trans and replace TC).
15. Horrible noise in 4th and feels like the brakes are on: overrun clutches are applying due to a cracked or leaking forward piston. Overrun clutches will be worn out after 30 seconds of this behavior. Car can be safely driven in D. Transmission must be removed and rebuilt.
16. Soft shifting, gradual performance degradation: Poor line pressure rise due to leaking boost valve, clogged EPC filter screen, failing EPC solenoid, or worst case: leaky seals throughout. Seal restorer may fix last problem, but probably remove and rebuild needed.
17. No forward movement in OD or D, but L2, L1 and R work: Forward sprag is broken. Transmission must be removed and rebuilt. Try not to run or drive the car or further damage could result.
18. Extremely harsh shifts from P or N, normal shifts at WOT: EPC (Electronic Pressure Control) solenoid failed. Fix as soon as possible or hard parts will eventually break.
19. Loud bang, grinding sound, loss of all gears, and a binding driveshaft: Snapped output shaft. Try to wiggle driveshaft – if more than 0.020″ play, that’s the sign. Must be removed and transmission rebuilt.
20. Trans seems noisy when moving in 1st and Reverse, noise goes away instantly if you shift to N or the transmission goes into 3rd gear: Reaction planetary is worn out due to high miles or insufficient lubrication. Not a critical failure, but not a good sign either. Transmission must be removed and rebuilt, sooner rather than later.
21. No movement in any gear: pump failure, or total loss of fluid. Remove transmission and rebuild, or refill pan and find the leak. If out of fluid, avoid running the engine until the transmission is refilled to avoid pump damage. To check for pump failure, check fluid level with the engine off, then start the engine and recheck fluid level. If level does not go down when engine is running, the pump is broken.
22. Transmission does not shift automatically, only manually. New PCM, check wiring, check other sensors such as VSS and TPS.
23. 3rd gear starts, can manually shift through all gears. When car has been turned off for a bit, then back on it will run normally.: VSS dropoff w/ Hi-stall converter. The rpms are too high, but VSS is showing no movement. Happens after a tire burning take-off. Doesn’t store a code, will not throw a CEL (I’ve heard that it will store a code if it happens 3 or more times). Cure: Reprogram PCM for VSS dropoff.
24. Fluid leak out of the front of trans where the converter connects; partial or full loss of movement: Front pump bushing walked out. Transmission must be removed and rebuilt. May have to replace converter also if hub is scored. Note that a leaking front seal usually means the bushing is walking out.
25. Torque converter shudder in 4th while lockup is engaged; problem goes away when the brake pedal is pressed slightly to unlock converter: Need to verify line pressure, and provided no valves in the TCC (Torque Converter Clutch) hydraulic circuit are worn, replace the torque converter.
26. Shift suddenly become very hard. When going from park to either reverse or drive it slams into gear. 1-2 and 2-3 shifts are also harsh. All gears seems to work. Problem may be intermittent: Check TPS for smooth electrical response. If the response is jumpy or erratic at all, replace TPS (Throttle position sensor).
27. All fluid pumped out through the vent tube: Plugged cooler line. Flush the transmission cooler and cooler lines. Also could be overfiled transmission.
28. Car acts like it’s in OD in neutral, car is locked stationary in R, engine feels loaded in P, all four forward positions work fine: Transmission must be removed and rebuilt. Internal crossleak feeding the forward clutches all the time. Most likely a cracked input housing, or cracked forward piston means forward clutches are fused together. Car can safely be driven gently in forward gears until the repair.
29. Needle bearings in the pan, first gear and/or reverse may be noisy: Either a torrington bearing or a planetary bearing is on its way out. Transmission will eventually die a loud, catastrophic death. Cheaper to rebuild now (saves further damage to hard parts), but requires removal and rebuild. It is drivable until it breaks.
30. 1-2 or 2-3 shift is slow/soft above part throttle: Transmission is on its way out. Transmission must be removed and rebuilt.
Twin Automotive & Transmission, Charlotte’s Transmission Specialist, provides free transmission repair diagnostics (diagnostic is free with repair of the transmission). Twin Automotive offers Charlotte NC ‘s Longest Transmission Rebuild Warranty – 3 Years / Unlimited Miles.
The above top 30 common problems with the 4L60E Transmission and possible solutions for repair are merely a guide. Although you may have a similar problem as those listed above, the repair may differ based upon a visual inspection of the vehicle. Transmission problems only worsen with time. If you have any problems with your GM 4L60E Transmission, it is best to speak with a professional transmission repair expert. Still looking for answers?
Check out this INFOGRAPHIC: Five Common 4L60-E Transmission Problems