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Monthly Archives: August 2015

Gear Up: Transmission Service at Northtown Auto Clinic in North Kansas City

The transmission system in your vehicle allows you to change gears. Lower gears are power gears. They get your vehicle moving and get it up hills. Higher gears get the vehicle up to speed and get it rolling faster. If you have a standard transmission, then you have to do the work of shifting gears yourself. But with an automatic transmission, the vehicle shifts gears on its own. It automatically starts out in low gear and automatically shifts to high gears as it gets rolling. Again, it will automatically shift to a lower gear to climb hills or when you need a burst of speed. How does it know when to change gears? Today’s automatic transmissions are computer-controlled. The computer gathers information about what the vehicle is doing, and changes the gears as needed. Automatic transmissions are becoming more sophisticated all the time. More gears, or “speeds” are being added. Almost all vehicles have four at least speeds ... read more

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Transmission

What’s Up With Diesels in North Kansas City?

Would you be surprised to learn that about half of the passenger cars in Europe have diesel engines? You might also be surprised to learn that most manufacturers produce a variety of diesel-fueled cars for purchase abroad. Diesel-fueled vehicles haven’t been as popular in the North American markets like Missouri. But that won’t be true for long. North Americans are seeing a lot more diesel-fueled vehicles on the road. And we’re not talking about buses and trucks. These vehicles will be passenger cars, pick-ups and SUV’s. There are two reasons for this. The first is a recent change in environmental laws that have upgraded emissions standards for diesel fuel in North America. Diesel fuel in North America used to have higher sulfur content than European fuel, meaning that it was a dirtier fuel to burn. That was okay for larger vehicles, but the lighter-weight engines in passenger vehicles just couldn’t tolerate it. ... read more

The Northtown Auto Clinic Guide To Servicing Your Differential

Differential? What’s that? And what’s it for? I’ve been told by my service specialist that I need to get it serviced, but is that on the level? Do these questions sound familiar? They’re not uncommon for North Kansas City car owners. A lot of us in North Kansas City don’t know what a differential is or what it’s for. Every vehicle has a differential, and, yes, it does need to be serviced. In fact, it’s more vital to the operation of your SUV than the air conditioner or windshield wipers. A differential allows your SUV tires to move at different speeds. This happens more than you think. The best example is when a vehicle is turning. The inside wheel travels a much shorter distance than the outside wheel during a turn. This means the outside wheel has to move faster than the inside wheel. Without a differential, your tires would hop and skip while turning. They would also lose traction in sand or snow. The l ... read more

Time Out: Suspension Problems in North Kansas City

Your vehicle’s suspension system has two essential jobs: to prevent the passengers from getting tossed around inside the vehicle every time it hits a bump in the road and to keep the tires firmly planted on the road around every corner and over every bump. To see your suspension system, you’ll have to look under your vehicle. Anything that connects the wheels to the vehicle’s frame is part of the suspension system. They’re heavy-duty parts that work hard while you’re driving and take a lot of wear and tear. Because of this, you should have your friendly Northtown Auto Clinic tech look at them once a year as part of your preventive maintenance routine. A good time for a diagnostic examination is every time you get your alignment checked. If your suspension is in trouble, you often feel it in how your vehicle drives. If the vehicle pulls to one side or wanders, if the steering is erratic, if your ride isn’t as smooth a ... read more

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Suspension

Your Vehicle is NOT Maintenance Free, North Kansas City Car Owners

A generation ago, North Kansas City auto owners seemed to be more inclined to keep their vehicle’s preventive maintenance on schedule. One reason for this may be that vehicles back then were a lot less reliable than they are today. Having your SUV in to your North Kansas City shop every year or two for repairs seemed to be a good reminder to keep the oil changed. For example, almost everyone in North Kansas City used to take their vehicles in for regular tune-ups. Vehicles had mechanical ignition systems, which meant ignition points, spark plugs and coils had to be replaced and the timing adjusted every few years. As long as the SUV was in for a tune-up at Northtown Auto Clinic, the vehicle was inspected and you took care of any needed repairs at the same time. Today’s engines have electronic ignition systems and engine control computers. Spark plugs can last for up to 100,000 miles. Vehicle reliability has vastly improved in the last ... read more

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Maintenance