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by Sam Dillinger (comments: 0)

Why Are Transmission Repairs So Expensive?

internal transmission

This is a question that I get asked on a pretty regular basis, why are transmission repairs so expensive? There is a long answer (really long, technical, and boring, actually) and there is a short answer. First, the short answer: difficulty. By difficulty, I mean the difficulty of diagnosing the failure in a transmission. Believe it or not, taking a transmission apart, and putting it back together, isn't as hard as you think. It’s similar to a jig saw puzzle. There are a bunch of strangely shaped pieces that don’t appear to have any intelligent design, and don’t seem to fit together at all. Once you get passed that, and the monumental task of removing the transmission from the vehicle, rebuilding a transmission is a cinch! In all actuality, rebuilding a transmission is slightly easier than the diagnosis, but it’s still pretty complicated. Back to the question at hand though, the difficulty in diagnosing a transmission problem stems from the fact that you have 3 systems working together to make the transmission operate. Any of the 3 can fail and act exactly like one of the other 3 is at fault. Let me explain.

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by Sam Dillinger (comments: 0)

2001 Dodge Caravan 3.3 Liter Engine P0720

dodge p0720

This Pcode is talking about the most dreaded system of car repair: the transmission. I have more questions about transmission related Pcodes and repairs than anything else. I even have professional shops contact me for diagnostic assistance with transmission Pcodes and other failures. The reason for this is because a competent technician is well versed in all systems of the engine, fuel system, A/C, brakes, etc. The transmission is almost a whole separate field. It’s completely different than any of the other vehicle systems because it combines hydraulics, mechanical components, as well as electrical components to operate collectively… Just to engage drive correctly! Ok that statement is slightly over dramatic. In reality the transmission uses all of those components to do pretty much everything it does across the range of it’s functions. Transmission diagnosis and repair requires a dedication to that specifically because the amount of information for that “single” component is staggering in scope. Realistically to become proficient at transmission diagnosis and repair, you have to dedicate yourself to that solely, and you have to spend a LOT of time learning. Enough about that, let’s take a look at what our customer is bringing to us today.

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by Sam Dillinger (comments: 0)

A quick memo on tire pressure

what's the tire pressure for my car

I’ve noticed over the years that I’ve been fixing cars, sometimes I lose touch with what other people do and don’t know about the vehicles we all depend on for so much of our every day lives. Recently my wife called me to tell me that one of her tires was low on air and she wasn't sure how much to put back in to make it safe to drive on. I tend to take things like this for granted because I’ve had to put air in a tire probably 100,000 times in the last 20 years, so it’s absolutely second nature to me. Taking her call reminded me that sometimes the things I take for granted can be essential information that other people might not know. So in the interest of helping people in every way I can, let’s go over the basics of tire pressure, and related problems. You might be surprised at what you didn’t already know about it!

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by Sam Dillinger (comments: 0)

Mechanical Industry Standard Repair Times

mechanic times

How many times have you went to your local repair shop and gotten an estimate of several hundred dollars, then when you ask for an explanation of the charges, your mechanic says “that’s for parts AND labor” as if that should answer all of your questions about why you're spending this money? Well you're not alone. This is a pretty common practice. Not many repair shops, dealerships included, want the consumers to know that there is a specific amount of labor for each and every repair that can be done, for each and every vehicle. This is true for warranty repairs, too. The manufacturer pays the dealer for every repair that’s done to a vehicle under warranty. Let me explain how the system works, and how your mechanic gets paid. This information will help you protect yourself from being overcharged, when you do have to pay for the repairs to your vehicle.

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by Sam Dillinger (comments: 0)

2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee P0455

2001 jeep p0455

So let’s dive right in with a early 2000’s model Jeep Grand Cherokee with a 4.0 liter engine, automatic transmission, and a P0455. This Pcode deals with the evaporative emissions system of the vehicle, and is indicating a large leak in the system. The definition of the P0455 is “evaporative emissions system large leak detected”. The wording of the Pcodes isn’t hugely important. I say this because the name can vary from one scanner to the next. The most important thing is recording the Pcode correctly because that will lead you to the correct diagnostic information, regardless of the name the scanner being used assigned to the Pcode. In this instance, this was the very first submission to the website. The customer who wrote to me had already replaced the gas cap, as well as some other preliminary checks.

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by Sam Dillinger (comments: 0)

Holiday Travel Check List

'Tis the season for holiday travel! Thanksgiving is almost upon us, and that means a road trip to visit family and enjoy some great food. Shortly after will be Christmas and New Years, which will round out the holiday travel season. This stretch of 5 weeks is the most heavily traveled time of year for Americans. In 2013 94.5 million people traveled during the year end holiday season. An astonishing 85.8 million, or 91%, of these traveled by automobile. With the lowest gas prices our nation has seen in 4 years, this number is only going to increase this year. When you couple that statistic with the record cold and snowfall expected this year (and already being experienced in many places), you can see why vehicle safety needs to be the first item on your holiday travel checklist.

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by Sam Dillinger (comments: 0)

Before You Visit A Mechanic: Tips For Women

women at the mechanic shop

There is a very widely held perception among women that they're going to be treated unfairly at their local mechanic. I’m sad to report that the auto repair industry has, by and large, earned this reputation, and not received it in error. Whether it’s being over charged for needed repairs, being charged for repairs that aren’t needed at all, or even being charged for repairs that were never done, most everyone has heard stories of a woman they know being taken advantage of at the repair shop. Ladies, I’d like to formally go on record as saying that we’re not all like that. There are some of us that take pride in taking good care of all of our customers, regardless of gender.  There are technicians around that are more than happy to make sure you receive honest treatment when it’s time to have your vehicle worked on. Here are a few tips, from a professional technician, to help you find one of us that won’t take advantage of you.

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by Sam Dillinger (comments: 0)

Tips for Winterizing Your Car

tips for winterizing your car

This is the time of year that the days begin to get shorter, the leaves are turning beautiful shades of red and orange, and the weather is going to start getting colder seemingly by the hour (sometimes by the minute, depending on your location). Everyone has a variety of chores that need to be taken care of before the snow begins to fly. Things like: raking up all of that beautiful autumn foliage when it begins to fall, patching up any areas that cold winter wind can penetrate to, checking the state of the furnace and the filter that goes with it, just to name a few. There is one important thing that often goes overlooked however- the car/truck/suv that will carry you and your family through your daily lives in the winter. This is one of the most important things to check the winter readiness of. Here is a list of things to look at, some you most likely already know, and some you may not consider until you find yourself in need of them

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by Sam Dillinger (comments: 0)

Why Is My Check Engine Light On?

Why Is My Check Engine Light On

You're driving down the road on your way to work, you're already irritated (it's Monday, you argued with your wife/husband, the kids didn't want to go to school) and 10 miles after you've gone too far to be convenient to go home, it happens. You're check engine light comes on, the engine makes some strange noises, and then STOPS. Leaving you stranded and with a major problem to deal with on top of all the rest of the things you need to wrestle with today. Now you've got to call your boss and explain the situation, call a tow truck and wait for them to come save you, and most importantly: you have to decide where to have your vehicle towed to get repairs.

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Meet Sam Dillinger

My name is Sam Dillinger. I've been a professional, dealership technician for 18 and a half years. My first introduction to mechanical repair was when my own vehicle broke down in the fall of 1995. I was 18 and couldn't afford to pay to have it fixed. So I borrowed tools and asked a ton of questions and, eventually, was able to replace the clutch on my truck by myself. During the course of that project, I found that I really enjoyed having a wrench in my hand and figuring out the puzzle of disassembly and reassembly of a motor vehicle.

Meet Sam