Modern automatic transmissions can be traced back to nineteen-o-four when the Sturtevant brothers of Boston developed a clunky, inefficient, failure-prone centrifugal gearbox. A crude beginning and nothing like today’s transmissions which shift smoothly, deliver great fuel economy, good performance and exceptional durability.
However, the sophistication of today’s transmissions means repairing or replacing a broken one now costs more than a whole fleet of cars did back in o-four. Transmission repair or replacement can be mind-numbingly expensive these days. To further complicate things long term financing on the vehicle may mean you owe more than your car is worth, so you can’t afford to trade and that means another maxed-out credit line looms.
Although repairs are expensive preventing them is cheap and makes the most sense. Maintenance used to mean dropping the transmission pan, replacing a filter and refilling with fluid. But that was a long time ago. Today, proper service is vastly different because the old method can actually shorten rather than increase the life of today’s transmissions. That’s because the old method didn’t clean anything inside the transmission, and it only replaced about a third of the fluid.
The old process leaves the transmission nearly as dirty as it was before the process began and still filled with two thirds old, oxidized fluid. The problem is that new fluid doesn’t always mix properly with the remaining old dirty fluid. Plus, without any cleaning the new more-detergent fluid softens deposits allowing fine particles to circulate through the transmission causing wear. Some of the dirt particles are so small they pass right through a transmission filter. That is, if yours even has a filter as many now opt for a filter-screen instead. Today, proper transmission service means flushing, which significantly extends transmission life. Unless you feel dirt and varnish is somehow beneficial to mechanical devices, I suggest you flush your transmission.
The most important part of a transmission flush is cleaning the inside of the torque converter. Because the torque converter spins at engine crankshaft speed it tends to act like a centrifuge. In case you don’t know, a centrifuge is a device that spins at high speed and applies centrifugal force to its contents. Its purpose, in a general sense, is to separate fluids of different densities or solids from liquids. In the case of the transmission torque converter the centrifugal motion tends to spin solids out of the fluid and collect them on the inside of the converter housing. If not cleaned away with a flush the solid materials will collect until they reach a point where they can no longer adhere to the inside of the converter housing and begin to circulate through the transmission.
As the dirt circulates through the tiny channels in the valve body, they partially clog some of the small passages that fluid flows through which alters the pressure that controls shifts. This altered pressure might feel great to you because the shifts may be buttery smooth, but buttery smooth often means slippage and slippage means wear on clutches. Wear on clutches means more debris which accumulates in the torque converter, which —- well, you get the picture!
The first step in flushing is adding chemical cleaners followed by running the car to soften and dislodge all the oxidized varnish and dirt built up in the transmission, torque converter, cooler and cooling lines. Then the car is connected to the transmission flush machine which captures and quarantines all the old fluid coming out of the transmission and sends fresh new fluid back into the transmission. In a transmission flush all the bad stuff is quarantined outside the car while in the old method all the bad stuff stays in the transmission. Plus, flushing replaces nearly one hundred percent of the fluid where the old method only replaces a quarter to a third.
When it comes to the fluids in your car there is nothing more beneficial than cleanliness. So, a flush should be done every two to three years or 24,000 to 36,000 miles. Also, contrary to what your dealer may have told you, there is no such thing as a fluid that lasts the life of the vehicle. Nothing lasts forever, all fluids wear out and when the fluid wears out the transmission soon follows.
There is also no such thing as a completely sealed transmission, they can all be flushed with proper adapters. Beware of shops that sell fluid exchanges calling them flushes. A fluid exchange is quick and highly profitable for the shop but a waste of your money. Fluid exchanges can be done in the service lane in about half an hour or less, where a flush requires about an hour and a half. A fluid exchange is done through the filler tube or fill hole and simply siphons some fluid out while simultaneously adding fresh fluid. Much like an old-fashioned drain and refill this process does not change all the fluid and leaves considerable dirty fluid in the transmission.
Beware when it comes to shops that claim all transmission fluids are the same or that they can add a can of goop to a basic fluid to make it magically change into the proper fluid for your vehicle. This is risky at best and deadly to your transmission at worst. The transmission fluid used should have the qualification number of the product required by your car on the container or data sheet. With good preventive maintenance and sensible driving an automatic transmission may well last the life of the vehicle. We have a C5 Vette in the shop today that we have maintained for years with its original transmission and an odometer reading of 189,090 trouble-free miles.
Please subscribe to Goss’ Garage on You Tube, follow us on Facebook and for more car tips, tricks and money saving ideas visit www.goss-garage.com. Watch for the new Wynn’s Goss’ Garage show coming soon on You Tube and Facebook. If you would like to have a question or topic discussed on Wynn’s Goss’ Garage, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be safe, drive gently, see you next time right here in Goss’ Garage.
© copyright 08/06/2021 pat goss all rights reserved
Dear Mr. Goss,
To begin with I am a big fan!!! I just finished watching one of your videos titled Leaded fuel for older engines? I inherited a1949 Chevy Styleline and a 1966 Chevy Impala that I have been fretting about for some time regarding adding lead to the gas. Your advice in the video actually make me think that is what my Dad would have advised me to do since he maintained both vehicles since he bought them brand new. Those were his babies.
Many years ago, maybe around 1987 I brought a 1977 Chevy Caprice to your shop. I had just purchased it from my In-laws and I wanted to put it back to new. It was the two door model with that fancy rear window. I had it repainted and it was a beautiful chevy!!! Anyway, your crew gave it the once over and came up with a fairly long list of things that needed attention. I said OK do everything on the list. The mechanic seemed a bit surprised but of course agreed and I left the car at your shop for 3 or 4 days. To make a long story longer, I ended up bringing the car back 13 times. When it was all over I received a package in the mail with a card signed by everyone at your shop thanking me for my patience and a box of some fancy pretzels. Having previously seen you on TV I felt confident that eventually you would find that last leak which turned out to be a leaking valve on top of the transmission. I drove that car until 2005 without any problems and sold it for what I paid for it. So thank you for that too. :o)
Three times this week I’ve heard the same silly statement from three separate drivers about noises their cars were making. Each driver said that a noise was annoying, so they turned up their radios and went into ignore mode. There was a time when I would have thought this was just the punch line to a sick joke but over the years, I’ve learned some people actually do it! Please don’t it could be dangerous or lead to a giant expense. Ignoring noises can lead to serious damage to the car or in some cases accidents and even death.
The proper thing to do is not turn the radio up or ignore the noise but instead turn the radio down and pay close attention to the noise. Then, head immediately to your favorite shop. If the noise gets noticeably worse on the way, stop and have the car towed. Towing is usually much cheaper than what might happen if a part fails and takes out other parts with it or causes an accident!
Unless you absolutely know what’s going on and what the consequences are don’t be human and rationalize, it’s just one more block or it’s just one more mile to the shop because you could be in for an ugly surprise. Many times when you push a noisy part till it totally fails it damages other parts. A good example of that is the engine’s water pump. The water pump circulates coolant between the engine and the radiator to keep the engine from getting too hot. Often when water pumps fail it’s due to a bad bearing which makes a rumbling noise under the hood. As the bearing gets worse so does the noise which can be loud. Such was the case this week with one of the drivers that cranked up his radio. This sad and awfully expensive story began with a failing water pump bearing that was begging for help by making an annoying grinding noise. As luck would have it the young man who owned the car had a bit of a dilemma, a serious cash flow problem. He didn’t have any money and without the car he couldn’t get to work to earn the money needed to fix his car. So, he did what every red-blooded young person would do, he turned up the volume on his radio, actually he was streaming to his Bluetooth adapter feeding his head unit playing through his amp but, same thing, music covers engine noise every time. As the noise got louder the music got louder until one day, he knew he had to get it fixed but less than a mile from my shop his car lurched, made a horrifying noise and stopped dead in its tracks.
The water pump had seized as in, metal parts getting so hot they melted and welded themselves together, two pieces of metal became one. And because this water pump was driven by his timing belt the pump seizure snapped the timing belt. This set a catastrophic chain of events in motion as valves hit pistons breaking one valve and shattering a piston! Bye, bye little engine.
Don’t ignore noises in your car unless you know they aren’t dangerous to you or your bank account. In this case loud music to cover up a noise and the driver’s “ignore mode” cost an extra thirty-five hundred dollars. And, he still had to buy a water pump for his new engine! Thanks for reading, please subscribe to Goss’ Garage on you tube, follow us on Facebook and for more car tips, tricks and money saving ideas visit goss dash garage dot com. Drive gently, see you next time right here in Goss’ Garage.
© Copyright 06/28/21 Pat Goss all rights reserved
Sam has been a Goss’ Garage customer for many years. For the most part Sam is a smart guy what with being a doctor and all but occasionally, he comes up with a ridiculous idea! Like when he came in to show off his new car. He was so proud that he had found just what he was looking for.
Seems Sam needed a car for his daughter to take to college and he wanted something extremely safe. To make sure he bought a safe car he went to the internet and found a website hosted by one of the guys out there on the lunatic fringe of automotive wisdom and followed that lunatic’s advice to the “T”! The loonie told him to look for a car from the late sixties to mid-seventies because they’re very safe thanks to solid steel frames and heavy gauge steel body panels making older cars a safety dream come true.
Oh-My-God this loonie is so wrong in so many ways. In my opinion, for telling a concerned father that a car like this would be safe for his daughter should land him in jail. But he’s on the internet and the internet is like the wild, wild west in the days of old and there really isn’t anyone to control such people. So, be incredibly careful and make sure you know the integrity of the source of your Internet information, or you might get ripped-off or hurt, literally.
But back to the car and why it isn’t the safest car to buy. It was a nineteen seventy-one Chevrolet Malibu four door in genuinely nice condition, and it ran like new but safe it was not. Many people seem to think that heavy steel frames and tough steel body panels make a car safe but, they do just the opposite. In an accident there are huge amounts of energy that must be dissipated. In modern cars that happens using designed-in crumple zones, easily deformed high-strength steel or aluminum body panels and a host of other safety features.
In an accident, whatever speed of the vehicle at the time of impact is also the speed of the people inside the vehicle. When a car is too stiff and non-deformable it stops very quickly but the people and things inside the vehicle keep moving at the same speed as the car until they hit something to slow them down. Hit something? At just about any speed that’s going to hurt or worse.
In a modern car the ability to deform allows the car to come to a stop more slowly and to dissipate the energy of the crash throughout the car’s body. This fraction of a second slower stop allows a tick more time for your body to slow before hitting something and even then, your body will hit a compliant airbag or multiple airbags rather than hard, rigid steel. Additionally, the steering wheel will be energy absorbing and the body structure will be designed to move the crash energy around you rather than through you. The engine mounting will be designed so if the engine is dislodged in an accident, it moves down and under you rather than moving straight back to crush your legs or lower body. Granted the old car will probably show a lot less damage and you might think that means safer, but safety is not about the beauty of a car following an accident, it’s about saving your life. Usually, the newer the car is, the safer the car is! Thanks for reading, please subscribe to Goss’ garage on you tube, follow us on Facebook and for more car tips — tricks and money saving ideas visit goss dash garage dot com. Drive gently — see you next time right here in Goss’ Garage.
© Copyright 06/24/21 Pat Goss all rights reserved
In Goss’ Garage
by Pat Goss
If you have a late model car it probably has some very sophisticated safety features. Things like parking aids, blind spot monitoring, autonomous braking with pedestrian recognition, anti-lock braking, traffic signal recognition, adaptive high beam assist, lane keeping assist and maybe even radar cruise control.
These are all wonderful systems that can help you avoid accidents, but did you know that unless these systems work properly, they can give you false information and cause an accident. Not good but that begs the question, how do you keep them working properly? More to the point, how would they get out of calibration so they would lie to you? There are many ways, and you might be driving a car with a problem right now.
First you must consider how most of these systems work. Usually mounted under the plastic shield that surrounds the attachment of the inside rearview mirror is one or more cameras. These cameras look out at the white lines on the sides of the lanes and send a signal to the car’s computer telling it where you’re positioned within those lines. Or they look straight ahead and report on the things they see within your path. Some will be on one or both outside mirrors and look for vehicles in your blind spot and post a picture on your center video display.
Then come the radar sensors that are mounted in the grill or front bumper and the sonar type sensors mounted in the bumpers and lots more on some cars. All these cameras and sensors must know their position relative to the rest of the car to work properly. So, you get that crack in your windshield and it has to be replaced and guess what, the new windshield does not come with a camera. That means the camera or cameras mounted to the inside of the old windshield must be transferred to the new windshield.
Sounds simple enough but the cameras are mounted in plastic holders that may not be precisely glued to the inside of the new windshield. Because of allowable tolerances in manufacturing every time a windshield is replaced the calibration of the cameras has to be checked. On some cars the system will perform its own calibration but on most you will have to have the calibration done with a special machine. That machine is called an ADAS calibration machine. ADAS stands for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems.
Okay so ADAS must be calibrated after a new windshield has been installed but that’s not all. In most cases the systems will need calibration when the car has been involved in an accident or fender bender, often after bumper cover replacement and in some cases after outside mirror replacement and the list goes on.
The big thing here is that you need to be aware of the systems your car has and what services they may need and when they need those services. If you cut corners or the shop fixing your car cuts corners you could wind up with an unsafe vehicle.
Consider you have your windshield replaced and the ADAS calibration is not performed which could leave you with a lane keeping system that is out of calibration relative to the lane marking lines at the center and edge of the road. You have become accustomed to the system keeping you between the lines and now instead of doing that it steers you off the road. Or how about failure to calibrate your blind spot monitoring system? You’re on the Interstate moving along with traffic (literal interpretation, moving very fast) and need to make a lane change. Over the time you’ve owned your car you have become accustomed to the system warning you when there is a car in your blind spot but this time it doesn’t because it’s calibration is off. Any idea how bad the accident can be at high speed when you try to change lanes and the back quarter of your vehicle hits the front quarter of another vehicle. It’s an easy way for people to get very hurt or worse.
My point here is that all this new safety equipment is wonderful but there is a learning curve that goes with it and included in that learning curve should be an understanding of what systems you have and what questions to ask if your car needs repair.
If you would like to see an example of the equipment needed to calibrate ADAS systems, feel free to stop by our Lanham MD shop and we’ll be happy to show you our brand-new system.
Copywrite 03/22/2021 Pat Goss all rights reserved.
by Pat Goss
So you want some racy cross-drilled or slotted brake rotors? But do you really? After learning the pros and cons of glamour rotors
most drivers decide not to spend the extra money. The positives of slotted and cross drilled rotors are mostly great looks when the car
is standing still. They may also have some advantages at the track — but even that’s limited because slotted and drilled rotors have
more negatives then positives when used with modern ceramic based brake pads.
Specialty rotors do not make a car stop in a shorter distance because what actually controls how well a car stops is its tires. As long as
the brakes can lock up they’re doing all brakes can do. Drilled and slotted rotors may actually increase stopping distances because
they reduce the contact area between the pads and the rotor surface. More holes less rotor surface for the pads to grab. But do the
holes help dissipate heat? No!
The rotor is a metal heat sink that dissipates braking heat. Drill holes in the rotor and you reduce the amount of metal to absorb and
dissipate heat. More holes less heat transfer. Some say the holes create air cooling — WRONG! Metal transfers a lot more heat than
air. So — if you want the look buy drilled or slotted rotors but don’t buy them thinking your car will automatically stop better.
© Copyright 08/19/16 Pat Goss all rights reserved
Okay, I’ve done it again. I’ve pissed off a bunch of you self righteous, think you know it all car people! But then, I seem to have a knack for doing that lately. Like David who called my story about using the proper oil “pathetic”. He says and I quote “good, better and best. Are you kidding? If an engine block is made of iron you use conventional, if the block is aluminum you use synthetic.” That’s so utterly ridiculous that I thought it was a prank, but he was serious / called me pathetic. There actually are three general quality-levels of engine oil and they have nothing to do with what metal the engine is made of. Conventional which is good, synthetic blend which is better than conventional, and full synthetic which gives the best protection — good — better — best. Although he was totally wrong he was nasty and disrespectful. Oh well, then there were the folks who are in love with the oil that begins with “a-m” who showed all kinds of hate because i didn’t use a bottle of their oil. Hey “a-m” oil people do you really think nasty comments and threats will make me recommend your oil in the future? I guarantee it won’t!
Oh, and let’s not forget those nasty, non-thinking people who trashed my tire rotation video…what a mess. Seems i’m an idiot, moron, fool, fake, and a criminal. A criminal? Really? Come on folks, it’s just tire rotation! There is an old myth about tires that says you can’t switch a radial tire from one side of the car to the other side because the tire will turn in the opposite direction, which will cause it to blow out and possibly kill you. One nut-job even said I ought to be put in jail for endangering people’s lives. Anyway, about that myth, it started back in the seventies when Firestone had an issue with internal corrosion of the steel belts in one of their tire models. The belts corroded and ultimately caused tire failure. But, because rotating the tires did cause the already weakened belts to separate more quickly most people assumed rotation was the cause. Although this myth has been proven wrong time and time again it still lives on in the minds of drivers and technicians alike. But, it’s false and always has been false, it was a tire issue not a rotation issue. So, if you want to get the longest life out of your tires rotate them using the modified “x” pattern every six thousand to seventy-five hundred miles. On front wheel drive cars move the right rear to the left front, the left rear to the right front and the two fronts move to the back but on the same side of the car, the rear wheel drive pattern is reversed. No, this is not my idea it’s from the people who make tires. So, use your brain, think about it, if rotation causes huge numbers of tire failures and kills people do you really think tire manufacturers would recommend it? Yeah, didn’t think so. All this insanity begs two questions. Why is common sense no longer common and when did people become so damn mean and hateful? For more car tips, tricks and money saving ideas check out more of www.goss-garage.com.
© Copyright 03/16/17 Pat Goss all rights reserved,
Every week I get oil questions like, the guy who changes my oil says I should be using thicker oil in my car. I trust him, but I don’t know about this advice. What should I do? It seems far too many people who change oil know more than the engineers who design engines. These morons keep telling drivers to use thicker oil for better protection. But, better protection doesn’t come from thicker or thinner oil. It comes from the right oil the engine was designed to use.
Don’t be a moron and do it because two morons don’t make a genius. Changing oil, no matter how many times anyone does it, won’t magically morph them from oil changer to oil engineer or chemist. Nor will changing oil teach anyone the steps used in a refinery to change crude oil or synthetics into something that can protect the parts inside your engine. This means protection during cold starts, blazing hot days in traffic, and every situation in between. Sadly, changing oil will not make a tech into a metallurgist that can study the amount of expansion of engine parts as it heats up. Nope, changing oil or even repairing engines won’t give anyone the knowledge necessary to make recommendations to switch from the oil recommended by the manufacturer to something not recommended by the manufacturer.
The primary job of oil in an engine is to keep moving parts from touching one another. This is done by means of a thin film of oil in gaps between parts that keep them from touching. But, heres the rub, as engines have become more precise due to sophisticated computer controlled machining….the space or gap for this film of oil has become smaller.This means these engines need thinner oil to pass through those smaller gaps and still provide the film of oil necessary to keep parts from touching. Also, nearly all engines these days have variable valve timing which works off oil pressure. Changing to a thicker oil changes the pressure needed to move oil through the engine. That increase in oil pressure can confuse the car’s computer…which controls the variable valve timing leading to lowered performance, lower gas mileage, or in some cases even a check engine light. Bottom line, changing oil or repairing cars does not give anyone (myself included) the knowledge to determine if a change in oil thickness will be good/bad/indifferent for an engine.
In other words, don’t reinvent the wheel. The manufacturer has spent millions in testing and engineering to determine the right oil for your car. Did the person changing your oil spend millions of dollars to develop their suggestion or is it just mental fantasy or outdated wacko bull? Unless the vehicle manufacturer issues a bulletin telling you to do something different, always use the oil recommended in your owner’s manual. Very few people are smarter than the engineers who designed the engine and typically they won’t be changing your oil.
I think there may be more fake stories about cars then politics. Myths like, buy a used car and all you’re getting is someone else’s problems. That’s pure garbage. I don’t know if that ever was true, but I do know it isn’t true today. Sure, some used cars are dogs, but many late model used cars are creampuffs due to leasing.
Lots of Drivers lease their new cars to get a lower payment or tax advantage. The typical lease is three years and comes with very strict requirements for maintenance and appearance care. When these cars are turned back in at the end of the lease, the great ones usually become certified pre-owned or C-P-O cars. CPO cars are generally good deals, because they’re thoroughly checked out. Someone else has also paid the big, or in many cases, huge initial depreciation hit for you! Plus, CPO’s have a warranty that may be better than the new car warranty. You also still save some money!
On a three year old luxury or near-luxury CPO, you might save twenty to forty percent or more compared to new. You can choose between paying less money or the same money and step up to a higher level of car. Of course, always get a Carfax vehicle history report, have any car checked from bumper to bumper by a qualified technician before you buy. But do it right, and you will be driving a car where someone else paid your initial depreciation for you. Now that’s smart!
Second location now open!
Easily located at 1101 State Route 3 (Click here for map) in Gambrills/Crofton, MD 21054.
ASE Master Technician Anthony Weber has partnered with Pat Goss, to bring Goss’ Garage to your area!
We’d love to see you, stop by and say hi and see the new shop firsthand!
Call 410-451-4677 (GOSS) to make your appointment
Thank you so much for being with us on this wonderful journey,
and for continuing to be part of Goss’ Garage.
We look forward to seeing you soon!