(Announcer: This is Bumper To Bumper Radio, the car show. Drive in anxious and cruise out confident with the best automotive information for your vehicle. Bumper To Bumper, helping you and your car feel better. Now your hosts Matt Allen and Dave Riccio.)
Dave: Well good morning everyone, good morning! Welcome to Bumper To Bumper Radio. I am Dave Riccio, next to me is Matt Allen and we are your KTAR car guys heard every Saturday from 11 am-noon right here on NewsTalk 92.3. At Bumper To Bumper Radio we’re helping you, the motoring public, have a better overall car experience. If you’ve got car questions, we’ve got answers so we encourage you to give us a call and give us a call early at 602-277-5827, 602-277-KTAR you can also get a hold of us by texting us at 411923
Today on the Bumper To Bumper Roadmap: The Email Of The Week, we’re gonna be takin’ some open phones so if you’ve got car questions, give us a call and the 100,000 mile auto repairs, what should you expect? It never fails, I’m talking to somebody at like 130, 140,000 miles and they’re in my shop needing a transmission repair and they say, “I can’t believe it needs a transition repair Dave. I mean, I haven’t had to do anything to that car for, like, 10 years. It’s been fant-, it’s been perfect.” I mean, really?
Matt: Well that’s kinda when you wanted to say, you ever say something then after you say it, you go “Hmmm” It’s like at work, tease the guys once in a while, they have the microwave goin’, they make their soup for their lunch, the thing’s steamin’ and they go (Slurp noise) “Ahhh, that’s hot, it burns” Yeah you just took it out of the microwave, Both: Of course it’s hot.
Matt: Just, you know, so when you say that “Gee Dave, I’ve, I’ve never, how could I possibly need anything? I’ve never had to anything to that car.” “130,000 I’ve never done anything.”
Matt: Think about that for a minute, yeah you, you didn’t ‘cuz everything was perfect when you bought that car brand new and we’ve used it up a little bit and so it goes without saying, 130,000 miles you should be going, “Wow, I expected that because I planned for it. Let’s take care of it because I’m prepared.”
Dave: Well that’s the thing, that’s, we’re tryin’ to create the right expectations for auto repair, don’t be shocked if you have to do auto repairs at 100,000 miles. Don’t be surprised it’s part of the deal and as a matter of fact, if you’re doing the math right, you should- and you say, “Hey, I’m gonna buy this car, I’m gonna drive it to 200,000 miles.” Well, you need to save about $3,000, $5,000 up because anywhere between 80,000 miles and 130,000 miles there’s some stuff that’s gonna happen. Don’t be surprised if you gotta buy a fuel pump and I wrote a couple of the, the, uh, popular ones down. Matt: Well but let me interrupt for a second, this is w- of course throughout that first 80,000 miles you’re gonna have the normal stuff.
Dave: Oil changes.
Matt: Your oil changes, your transmission service, maybe a differential service depending on the car, uh, cabin air filters. That’s not what we’re talk- the, the normal to be expected that everybody thinks of as maintenance, we’re not talking about. We’re talking about the things that wear out and that, these are repairs that really you should be able to plan for cuz they happen pretty repetitive throughout, you know, a Suburban’s the same or is typically the same. An Accord or Camry, they’re gonna have their style of repairs. So these are maintenance but they’re not just common maintenance.
Dave: Well we want you to be proactive about auto repairs as opposed to reactive and “Oh man,: you know uh, “I can’t believe I’m havin’ to spend this money.” So you need to budget for this and I’m just gonna say the number right here is $5,000 so between 80,000 miles and 130,000 miles you’re gonna spend 5,000 bucks.
Dave: Now we can influence that number. We can influence that number by what we do leading up to 80,000 miles. Do we do all the services? When the guy comes up to you and he goes, um, you know, “You really need this fuel injection service.” And I’m not talkin’ about the quickie car wash type of thing. But you know, “Hey we see a lot of carbon on these, let’s go ahead and do a fuel injection service.” It’s gonna save you money down the road. You know, we can influence that number and if you can avoid all the things that happen at that 100,000 mile mark. great. So you gotta take care of your car ahead of time and back to the point, “100,000 miles, I haven’t had to do anything to this car.”
Matt: Well, and, and part of that Dave is the manufacturers market these cars and, to some degree, design them to 100,000 miles. We, you know, and in the late 90’s we came out with 100,000 mile coolant.
Matt: Now there’s 100,000 mile or lifetime transmission fluid, th- there’s 100,000 mile spark plugs.
Matt: So, the consumers have been trained almost to ignore their car ’till, ’till it hits 100,000 miles and then you’ve gotta pick yourself up off of the floor when someone actually tells the truth about your car.
Dave: (Laughs) It’s gotta be, it’s gotta be fixed. Well I noted some of the popular ones that happen in that little nitch of time. Motor mounts, you know motor mounts are made of rubber, they’re designed to wear out, they’re noted for the new tires. You’re gonna need a set of motor mounts, I threw those in there. Timing belt, a lot of these cars have a 90 or 100,000 mile service, it’s kind of a big ticket item, you know? Something like Volkswagen you may need to do a, uh, timing belt at 100,000 miles, which you gotta take the radiator out to do. So the next one I’m gonna talk about is the radiator. Radiators tend to last 10 years, 100,000 miles. A lot of these things start to pile up right at that time. We see fuel pumps go out, not always, you know you ‘re that kinda person that runs your gas tank low on gas all the time where it’s just (Slurping noise).
Matt: (Laughs) You’re lookin’ at me kinda funny there Dave.
Dave: (Laughs) Right? There at the end. My actual yellow light on my Empty actually burned out, it no longer works ‘cuz I drive around with that yellow light on. Water pumps like to go bad or just wear out. Shocks and struts and these are normal things, so you’re not shocked when you go the auto repair and they go, “Hey, you know, Mr. uh, Dan driving a fancy Lincoln.” I’m thinking of my friend who is sitting here uh, you know, “Your spark plugs need to be changed. 80,000 miles I know they say they’re due at 100,000 miles but we gotta pull ’em now before they get stuck in the heads.” And it’s gonna cost ya a chunk of change, you know? So don’t be surprised when you gotta go in and get those repairs. You should be budgeting it for ahead time and if it’s a vehicle you do want to keep for 100 or 200,000 miles? You know, set aside that money and know it’s coming and you’re gonna spend 5,000 bucks but you’re gonna get a whole other 100,000 miles worth of use out of that car.
Matt: And, and you say you’re gonna spend 5,000, you may not because like you said when we started Dave, depending on how you take care of the car leading up to it and then when you get in that range we can do things, do certain repairs that we can defer. We can, we can’t wait and help group them together or we might do something a little bit early. For example, uh, front wheel drive let’s just pick any import car, it doesn’t matter what you’re drivin’, You have to take the motor mount off to do the timing belt so if we see that mount at 75 or 80, 90,0000 miles it’s startin’ to get a little sloppy, we might just say, “You know what? It’s not gonna leave you broken down, we’ll get that in 10,000 miles when we do the timing belt.” You’re gonna save the labor. and we can help you be more economical with your car. One example we talked about Dave was a Toyota 4runner. For example when we do the timing belt on those, we take the radiator out of the car ‘cuz it’s more convenient for us. Now you’re doin’ that timing belt, maybe it’s the second time around, maybe you’ve got a 160,000 miles on the car this time and you’ve never replaced the radiator. You have to start to wonder this is proactive auto repair now, “Gee, I’ve got 10, 12, 13 years out of this plastic radiator. I’ve already got the one out, let’s just throw one in for a couple hundred bucks more.” And now you’ve made that good repair a great repair ‘cuz you’re thinkin’ to that 200,000-
Dave: Yeah, groupin’ ’em together.
Matt: Yes. Dave: Groupin’ them together.
Matt: Economies of scale, if you will, ‘cuz the labor’s free.
Dave: Well, I think of a Honda Odyssey, you know? You’re gonna do a timing belt, you know, I see the dealers pushin’ ’em up at 60, I see some independent shops on ’em at 1, you know, 100,000 miles. We’re at 100,000 miles, you know, the radiator’s 10 years old, you know? The water pump is something we should be considering at that time.
Matt: Oh, absolutely.
Dave: Belt tensioners, uh, timing belt tensioners, all that stuff. Well, let’s do the radiator now, let’s do the thermostat now, let’s do the water pump now. Let’s do that all at the same time because if you’re gonna keep that car to 200,000 miles, I can guarantee you that’s going to happen.
Matt: Well, yeah.
Dave: Why not do it now, save the bucks?
Matt: Yeah, you get to choose when you’re doing it so that you’re not havin’ uh, Murphy’s Law make the decision for you on the side of the 51 or on the side the I-10 with that broken radiator. Now, I mean, there’s, you never know when an alternator’s gonna go bad. You never know when something, I mean, something can always happen but we can certainly help keep you on the road and keep the car- The whole idea is to keep the car in great shape, keep it reliable, and help it maintain its value.
Dave: Well I built a tool because I’m so regularly counseling people through this decision because they are looking. They got cars with 130,000 miles, they’re at Tri-City Transmission, I don’t have any good news for ’em, they need to spend 3500 bucks. It’s just the way it is and they say, “Gosh Dave, should I spend 3500 bucks on this car?” So I put at tricitytransmission.com on the bottom right, there’s a Repair or Replace Calculator and it’s literally a self interview, so it takes you through, “Hey, do you feel embarrassed when you drive this car?” I mean, because that’s a reality, you know? Do you feel embarrassed or should we get another car? Does it serve the needs you have? Is it a 2 door convertible and now have 3 kids? Why do we need this car? Let’s go get a different car. Uh, things like that and then there’s actually a spreadsheet in there where you can look at all the perspective possible repairs that are coming up. You know, “Hey, does it need batteries? Is it gonna need brakes? Has it had this done? Has it had that done?” And you can kinda calculate that in your mind but what I see people do is they’ll take a $2500 problem and they’ll fix it with 35 grand. And that’s just no, I mean the Dave Ramsey math of it says, “Hey let’s keep driving this car. It’s cheaper to drive this one.” And it literally breaks it down to cost per mile. “Do I wanna drive a car that costs me $3 a mile or do I want a car, drive a car that costs me 15 cents a mile?” If you look at it that way, it’s gonna make sense to fix the old car.
Matt: Yeah I’ll, I’ll opt for the cheaper one and, and especially if you’re gonna buy a used car. I always say the best used car to buy is your own car. Take that used car you got and fix that because the used car market is very strong right now and it has been for years and you go out to buy another used car. I always tell people if you’re shopping it, it, it doesn’t matter if you’re buying a $15,000 car or a $5,000 car, nobody goes and does everything to that car and makes it perfect and says, “Gee I guess I’ll sell it.” They’re usually selling it because there’s something wrong with it that they don’t wanna fix and you’re gonna inherit that problem.
Dave: (Laughs) 602-277-5827, 602-277-KTAR You’re listening to Matt and Dave on Bumper To Bumper Radio.
Matt: Good morning and welcome back again to Bumper To Bumper Radio. I’m Matt Allen and he’s Dave Riccio and as always, we’re here every Saturday at 11 helping you with your car. So if you have a question or a problem or just want to talk to us, (Both laugh) I guess you can give us a call 602-277-5827 You can participate by text at 411923 And our topic today is really: Should I Repair My Car Or Should I Replace My Car? And, (Both laugh) It’s a tough question but you can influence that answer and maybe not even have to ask yourself that question if you plan,-
Dave: Took care of your car.
Matt: Budget, you’re proactive and you keep that car. I mean, you’re makin’ money. If you’ve got a car that is over 10 years old or 100,000 miles that you’ve taken care of, you are making money on that car because you are not spending money on the payment every month. The last thing you need or want, I don’t want a car payment. I mean. (Dave laughs)
Matt: No I’m gonna take care of the car.
Dave: I sleep better at night when I don’t, I don’t have payment books in front of me. Hey, I gotta take this text because this is totally self-serving, but this guy has a 2006 Honda Element, he’s asking, he wants to replace the wheels, should he gets steel wheels or alloy wheels? And hey, I’m gonna favor alloy wheels. Why? Because they’re less weight. Cars handle better with less unsprung weight, so as that weight is below the springs so I’m always gonna favor the alloy wheels. Not only that, I happened to switch the wheels on my Element and I have the old factory alloy wheels for sale. So if you (Laughs) wanna get a hold of us, bumpertobumperradio.com the Contact link and make a smokin’ deal for some alloy wheels for your Element. (Laughs)
Matt: Oooooh, is your Element cooler now Dave that you took the factory wheels off? (Laughs)
Dave: I, well, I, I put some 18″ uh, alloy wheels on it. Little shorter, little short, little better handling. (Matt laughs) But if I have, when I get to 100,000 miles, I’m gonna have huge repair bills because every time the light is green? Full throttle. Every time the light is red, I mean it goes, you know, full brakes. And so I’m gonna need motor mounts probably by 70,000 miles, maybe 60.
Matt: So what are, th-, what are those things that we besides those normal repairs, the things that creep up where you get, you know, you ignore the car till 100,000 then kabam-o, what do we have?
Dave: What, what are those things?
Matt: Some of those things. Motor mounts are one that you’re gonna spend 1200 bucks, 1,000 bucks.
Dave: On some of these cars, you definitely will spend that kind of money, uhhh, motor mounts is something you don’t wanna ignore and those are one of those repairs, if you’re, if you’re a person that’s just barely givin’ the car what it needs when sumthin’s like broken and fallin’ off, and you’re down at Virginia Auto Service and Matt says, “Hey you’re gonna need a set of mounts.” And you go, “You know, I really don’t have the money for that right now.” And I, and I get that. That’s a reality, but we gotta budget for it.
Matt: Wait, I, you know, let me-
Dave: Hold on, no, don’t-
Matt: No, wait, “Do i have the money?” (Slurp noise) $9 Starbucks they’re sippin’, (Dave laughs) they’re smokin’ a cigarette, they got their Marlboro and their coffee. Got $25 a day worth of garbage but they can’t fix their car. (Both laugh)
Dave: You’re st-, get off your box. (Both laugh) But, you’re having that conversation, well you ignore the bad motor mounts. What’s happening with the bad motor mounts is the engine is flopping around in there. I mean it’s not gonna pop out by any means they’re not designed that way, but there’s a lot of movement that’s stretchin’ all your radiator hoses, stretchin’ out all your electrical harnesses.
Matt: Rattlin’ the dash.
Dave: Rattlin’ the dash. By ignoring repairs and puttin’ them off as long as you can, you do more damage. That’s why we wanna budget for repairs ahead a time so when they do come up, we’re not surprised and we’re not like, “Oh man, I spent my last money on my Starbucks coffee for the last 3 years.
Matt: And my smokes. (Laughs) Dave: So, I’m gonna go with Mike in Mesa on a 2000 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Looks like it has a 3.8 liter. Go ahead Mike, you’re on Bumper To Bumper Radio.
Mike: Good mornin’ Matt and Dave, thanks for takin’ my call. Um, this just happened yesterday. We drove the car about 70 miles and then we started getting a whirring noise, like a turbine noise that I’ve never heard before and it would intensify with increased road speed and would reduce with reduced road speed. RPM didn’t seem to bother it. Now the weird thing is, we parked the car for a couple hours, had to go to the clinic and then drove away and it was fine after a 2 hour cool off. I was kinda thinkin’ maybe a wheel bearing, but I thought I’d ask you guys. (Sound clip: “It’s all ball bearings nowadays.”)
Matt: You blew out my ears there Dave. (Dave laughs) Well I was gonna say ball, I was, “ball bearings.” I was gonna say I think wheel bearings originally, but the cool down period. Dave: The cool down doesn’t make sense.
Matt: Didn’t make sense but one thing, one of the ways you can tell maybe it’s a wheel bearing? Uh, just do some light swerving, make sure there’s nobody on the road or you’re in an open parking lot or a wide enough street where you can be goin’ 10 or 15 miles an hour and just lazy steer to the left and then lazy one to the right and if that tone changes when you’re doing that? That’s a good indication it’s a wheel bearing, so if you’re swerving or steering slightly to the right, you’re loading to the left. So if that noise gets worse? You’re gonna start thinkin’ of a left side wheel bearing ‘cuz you’re puttin’ the strain there.
Matt: Anything else Dave that you would think of? I don’t-
Dave: When he first started talking he said it wasn’t affected by RPM but I thought maybe he had a transmission issue because on that particular car, when that thing’s been drivin’ for a long time and it, it, uh, it sets a torque converter code and that’s common, you know? For some of these cars with some miles on them. It will ramp up the pressure in the pump and you’ll get a pump line but he said it wasn’t affected by engine RPM so I kinda canceled out that idea and then the wheel bearing came up and.
Matt: But, I’ll tell you what, if you were standing across the counter for me in my shop, that’s good information.
Matt: You gave us good details. But, you know Mike, I think really what’s gonna happen is that needs to go get a test drive. We see you’re in Mesa, one of the Bumper To Bumper shops maybe in your neighborhood is Mesa Autoworks. Look them up, you can find them at bumpertobumperradio.com and there’s some other guys in Mesa too that can help you. But somebody is really just gonna need to test drive that.
Dave: We’re gonna sneak in John in Phoenix on a 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt. Go ahead John, you’re on Bumper To Bumper Radio. John: Yeah, I’ve got a question, um, I’ve got some rattling in my, uh, steering wheel and I was told by a mechanic that uh, it may be uh, a wheel out of balance or maybe I threw a wheel weight. What do you guys think?
Dave: When you say rattling, is, is the steering wheel kinda jiggling back and forth a little bit when you’re driving it?
John: Correct, yes.
Matt: Is there a noise? A rattle I typically think of as a noise, so is it a vibration and a feeling or a noise?
John: It’s a, it’s a vibration.
Matt: Ok, I’m, I’m thinkin’ uh, right along with you Dave, uh, I mean if you’re going 10 or 15 miles an hour, even very slow, 5 miles an hour and you have a wobble? We would, we would think your tire has a what we would refer to as an egg in the tire, it’s got a, one of the belts separated, it’s got a, just an egg So at very low speeds, you get this very strange wobble but then at higher speeds, what 45 Dave? Then you get that vibration that you can drive through maybe?
Dave: Right and it may just be for a, just a range, you may say, “Hey you know, it, uh 55 to 58 miles an hour I feel that little shimmy but as I go a little faster it goes away.” A lot of times that is a tire vibration and that’s typical you know? Hey, and that’s one thing people like to confuse is tire vibrations and wheel alignment. Two totally different things, people come in and say, “I just had everything aligned down at Discount Tire.” “No you didn’t, they balanced your tires but they didn’t align anything.”
Matt: Or they come in say, “I have this vi- I wanna get an alignment.” So we start doing that 20 questions where you know, we, we need to know information. “Why, why do you need an alignment?” “Oh I’ve got this shake when I’m going 55 miles an hour.” Be careful what you ask for. (Both laugh) Because you may end up with an alignment and then they’ll balance the tires to fix it, so.
Dave: That’s why you always want to describe your symptom and don’t come in saying, “Hey I need this,” because when you say, “Hey I need this,” you’re gonna get a repair and we were talking about it last week, the most expensive repair is the one you didn’t need in the first place. So yeah, they’re gonna, you know, go in, you say, “I want an alignment,” they’re gonna align it whether you need it or not because you think you do but you need a tire balance ‘cuz you got a little shimmy. So when we come back we’ve got Chad, Sergio, John, and Mick. 602-277-5827
You’re listenin’ to Matt and Dave on Bumper To Bumper Radio.
Dave: Well welcome back to Bumper To Bumper Radio. I am Dave Riccio and he is Matt Allen and we are here to help you with your car. We are self-proclaimed experts, (Matt laughs) bein’ a little facetious, we do love auto repair and we are very up to date. At least we think so.
Matt: Hey, I’m an ASE Certified Master Technician, I, I know my way around Dave.
Dave: (Laughs) You know your way- Matt: You know that, yeah.
Dave: Well I’m only ASE Certified in transmissions. Yeah, manual and automatic. (Laughs)
Matt: Well, we’ll work on that for you Dave.
Dave: We’ll work on that. But I would be positive, if I went down, I could probably pass all those tests.
Matt: I know you can pass them, it’s not so much that you’re ASE Certified or not, but you know what you’re talking about, you understand real world, you’ve been in this environment as well as have and we know cars, we know common sense, and we know how to take care of people and that’s really the key. Dave: Definitely the key so some people have certifications but they don’t know what they’re doing.
Dave: It’s true. That might be your case, I don’t know. (Matt laughs) Well I’m lookin’ at some of these texts and we got a whole gang load of texts and the first one right on the top, you know. “I have a 2002 Nissan Pathfinder with 150,000 miles. Should I be changing the timing belt?” or “I’m going to change the timing belt. What else should I change at that time?” I guess I read it a little wrong, but he is on the right path and we almost talked about timing belts today.
Matt: This is gonna go down a different road that we weren’t plannin’ on talkin’ about but it’s gonna to take us there so I’m gonna talk about it when you’re done.
Dave: I had a friend that actually used to work at Tri-City, she was our bookkeeper. She had a 2001 Pathfinder and she was at that 160,000 mile mark and her timing belt broke. So for people that are listening, you don’t want a broken timing belt, it’s very expensive. And she ended up, that’s what we call a valve crasher, so she ended up, uh, having to get another engine. She had it done at Arizona Imports, he did a great job for her. He ended up installing a, a low mileage used engine for her but, uh, he’s doing the timing belt, what else should he expect? What is on the front of that motor mount?
Matt: Well and this is where you’ve got to, there, there’s two things here. There’s you’ve got to be careful of that lost leader coupon $499 for the timing belt but they don’t tell you the rest of the story, that’s just the timing belt. So this is a perfect answer or question you always wanna ask that up front. What else am I gonna do with that timing belt? Well behind those timing belt covers on that Nissan you have a timing belt tensioner more likely. You’ve got at least one. maybe two idlers, you’ve got the water pump. Now 150,000 you’re either, you’re either 30,000 miles late or 40,000 miles late or you’re a little bit early. It’s hard to tell, that’s kind of an odd mileage, uh, depending on when you did the first one. If you’ve never done one, (Chuckles) yeah, go right now, but the water, the water pump is behind there. It’s all the same labor to replace that water pump as it is to do the timing belt. So we’re gonna do the water pump when we’re doing the timing belt. On that particular Nissan the thermostat is a nightmare to get to.
Dave: Wouldn’t you know?
Matt: You’ve gotta take the hoses off, do the upper and lower radiator hose, there’s a bypass hose that always breaks on there and squirts water right into the distributor, you want to do that. And so this timing belt job on this car, you can’t really think it- of it as a “just the timing belt,” it, it, it’s like a Coke or a Pepsi, it’s just it’s the timing belt but there’s so much more that goes with it to make that. I guess I would call it a engine maintenance or something. But the second part of that, I’ve, I’ve seen this, I’ve heard of it and it bothers me is we’re gonna let you take advantage of those, what I call, economies of scale. We’re in there, you get to take advantage of that little bit of labor extra to do the water pump now versus not doing it later. But I’ve heard of some shops that people, national chains, um, you know, people that provide road service, uh, you know, all these different shops and they don’t give you that benefit. They write up the timing belt? Full price 4 hours. Water pump? Oh that’s 4 1/2 hours. Upper and lower hose? 6/10, 7/10, thermostat. Now, they’ve just padded that thing so big, they didn’t give you any of that advantage of your economies of scale there. We’ve got the old hoses off, why are we charging you? Or why are they charging you to put new ones on?
Dave: You’re talkin-
Matt: It doesn’t make sense.
Dave: You’re talkin’ about time , most other shops use a time for a job as a reference. So, and a lot of shops charge by the hour. So when you see it’s this much money to go do the timing belt, well there should be just a little bit of extra labor to do the water pump because it is right there but some shops will charge you full price to do the timing belt, full labor that 4 hours that you just said and then they’ll charge you 3.7 hours to do the water pump on top. Which, I mean, I guess that’s their prerogative, but you should really, is, is there any labor, that’s a good question, is there any labor savings to do it at the same time? So as the consumer, great question. Matt: Well those people are at the Sleep Center trying to figure out how to swee- sleep well at night (Dave laughs) and the Sleep Center can’t prescribe anything because it’s not apnea, it’s bein’ crooked. That’s why they can’t sleep. It’s just-
Dave: Bein’ crooked and the people that can’t sleep are the people with a new car payment. (Matt laughs) You know? Repair or replace that old car? So that’s a great question. We are gonna go with, uh, Alvin in Surprise on a 1998 Mercedes. Go ahead Alvin, you’re on Bumper To Bumper Radio.
Alvin: Hi! Uh, just, uh got a transmission problem where, um, where I come to a stop, it will come out of gear and then it’ll quickly go back in, um, and of course if you come to a stop quick and give it gas, then it slams which is not good so, obviously I never try to do that. Um,
Matt: Dave is, Dave knows it right there but it sounds like you’ve got one more question.
Alvin: (Laughs) Um, and,I, I, know it’s it’s one of those that they said it’s a sealed system, never supposed to be changed, stuff like that but, I did buy a dipstick for it, which it doesn’t come with it. Um, I checked it and it was a little bit low. I did add the fluid, um, but it still does the same thing and I have not changed the transmission rotor on it. Uh, just curious if this is a common thing or, or, just your idea about it.
Dave: Well the first thing, and I would still, I don’t know if we’re checkin’ the fluid right, I known when there’s a Mercedes, they you don’t give you a dipstick, you gotta go by the stupid thing for $80, which is to me, is just, I mean are they savin’ a bunch of money on thousands of cars? I guess they are. The really don’t want the average consumer checking fluid, so they take the dipstick away. The first thing, when you said it, I figured it was low on fluid because if you picture a, let’s just say you put a fish tank in the back seat of your car and you come up to a stop. Well, all the water in that fish tank is gonna go to the front of the fish tank and as soon as you give it gas, it’s gonna slosh the back of the fish tank. The same thing is happening in your transmission pan where all the oil is and that’s where the filter picks up the fluid into the pump. So when you come to a stop, and it goes into neutral, what’s happening is that the filter is taking a gulp of air and the transmission’s not making any pressure and if you get right back into it, it’ll engage hard and abrupt and it never feels good. So I am still thinking low fluid. The other thing I’m thinking is that possibly maybe you have the right amount of fluid in it, but possibly we have a, an O-ring where the f-, where the filter connects to the barb on the pump, that O-ring could be bad so you might have the right level in it. So what I would recommend doing, if it was me, is I would overfill the transmission by 2 quarts just to eliminate that problem. It sounds like you’re gonna need a service anyway ‘cuz it hasn’t been done. You can get the fluids back out later but if you put 2 quarts in it and the problem disappears, then we’ve got a level issue or a filter problem.
Matt: But the important thing Dave, and for Alvin, putting 2 quarts in and making the symptom go away did not fix it.
Dave: Didn’t fix it.
Matt: That is a test, that’s what we do in the shop to figure it out. I don’t know Dave. can you damage the transmission by over filling it? I guess maybe you might make it start leakin’ out of places it, it normally wouldn’t see fluid-
Dave: You’re not really gonna damage it but you are gonna cause leaks if you left it at, you know, over full over time. But, I mean I had a car in my shop and one of my technicians came in and he said, “This Jeep has a low fluid symptom but I look at it and it’s totally full, it’s right on the money,” and I s-, and I s-, I drove it. And so I drove it and it definitely had a low fluid symptom, I pulled the dip stick out and it was definitely full but it said right on the side of the dipstick, “Fill only with ATF Plus 4.” This was a ’98 Cherokee and, uh, ATF Plus 4 wasn’t invented until 2000 so I knew it had the wrong dip stick in it. (Both laugh)
Matt: Oh hey, good catch Dave. Well the other thing too is, is my, my Toyota Pickup, you have to check the transmission fluid at a certain temperature. It isn’t just go pull the dipstick out and check it after you’ve been driving for 4 hours either. Uh, I don’t know the exact number, I don’t remember but on my truck it, it wanted to check the transmission fluid at 127 degrees or something like that. If you’re checkin’ at 160, it could give you a false reading, it’s not the same thing. So, very specific.
Dave: I’m really holding back from telling on Matt ‘cuz he brought a car to my shop the other day for a transmission problem. We checked the fluid and it was low and I’m like, “Matt, the fluid’s low on this thing.”
Matt: That was the one that was leaking, we already put 4 quarts in it before we brought it to you (Dave laughs) and it leaked a quart out before we got there.
Dave: (Laughs) Mr. ASE Master Technician. Matt: So don’t try to parkin’ the bus on top of me. Chad in, uh, we don’t know where Chad’s from but he’s got a 2007 Jeep Cherokee, hopefully he doesn’t have a transmission problem. Chad, what’s up?
Chad: Hi guys, no I don’t have a transmission problem.
Matt: Thank God.
Chad: I have. I have one of the very few Grand Cherokees that has a 3 liter turbo diesel engine.
Matt: Did you import it from Italy or something? (Laughs)
Dave: I’ve, I’ve never seen one of those.
Chad: Um, back, well, back when Mercedes owned Chrysler, they put a few of these into Grand Cherokees.
Dave: Mmm, I remember some Liberty’s like that.
Chad: No, the Liberty had a little 4 banger Cummins engine and this is a 3 liter V6 Mercedes.
Chad: Um, I’m at 72,000 miles and I’ve got some, I’m starting to get some oil seepage right at the back, it looks like main oil seal. Um, dealer says 100 bucks for diagnosis which I think is fair and they estimated $1100 to repair that. I’m, what my question is, is that, does that sound like a, a fair price to repair um, a leaking main seal and if it is, what else can I do at this time cuz I’m planning on keeping thing. My last Cherokee I drove to like 175,000 so I’m looking at another 100,000 I want to get out of it. What else do I replace now if I’m gonna have this main seal?
Dave: Well the question is really two part, so is that a fair and reasonable price? The only way you’re gonna get to the rear main seal is to pull the transmission out of the vehicle or to remove the engine from the vehicle because it’s directly between the two. So, that is reasonable pricewise uh, to do that. Is there other stuff you should be doing? Well, the thing that would make me nervous, at a transmission shop, a lot of general repair shops say, “Hey this car needs a rear main seal but we gotta pull the tranny, we don’t like pullin’ trannies so can you guys do it?” And we say, “Yeah sure we can.” One thing we like to do is to go ahead and replace a front seal in the transmission, you know? Because the last thing we wanna do is put that transmission back in you know, after we’ve done the rear main seal and have a leak. So the transmission should be resealed externally at that point, change the fluid and filter while you’re there. It’s a nice clean job, you know, you’re only talking about, you know maybe, an extra hundred bucks.
Dave: Plus the fluid.
Matt: Well if you’re up against a hard budget, it doesn’t necessarily should be done but in his case were talkin’ proactive auto repair. We’re gonna take advantage of having this transmission on the bench and, and you said front seal Dave, but why is that? Because when you’re pullin’ that out, you may remove the torque convertor and just there’s always a chance that seal tears or-
Dave: It all, it’s pretty common and it happens for people especially that don’t pull transmissions on a regular basis. They t-, they cock the torque converter. If the crankshaft on the engine, the pilot on the torque converter, and the hub on the torque converter are all in perfect alignment, the seal will definitely leak. So we kinda just disrupted the seal a little bit, now we fixed our oil seal leak and now 10,000 miles later we got a transmission leak.
Matt: Now, and I start to think of other things and I can’t think of an exact example on this particular Jeep, but now when you’re standing underneath that thing with the, the transmission out and the back to the engine exposed, we might see some funky, uh, heater core hose that’s really a bear to get to.
Dave: Freeze plugs.
Matt: Yeah, but, I mean he’s takin’-
Dave: I’m lookin’ at freeze plugs and I’m also looking at motor mounts ‘cuz when the transm- He’s shakin’ his head like he doesn’t know I’m talkin’ about. I do this every-
Matt: No I shake my head like I KNOW what I’m talking about and you don’t. (Laughs)
Dave: I pull transmissions every day and Matt does like,
Matt: We’re hav-
Dave: I dunno, every so often, but we look at-
Matt: That’s all you do Dave, see that’s the problem, (Dave laughs) we do it all. (Laughs) But I wouldn’t be looking at, at, uh, freeze plugs unless that cooling, if the cooling system’s really nasty and the car hasn’t been maintained? But if they’re seeping or you’ve seen the one behind the starter’s already been replaced or one of the other ones?
Both: Now is a good time.
Dave: So all that stuff should be checked out. When we come back, we’ve got some more phone calls and we got the Email Of The Week. You’re listening to Bumper To Bumper Radio.
(Music: Hot Rod Race – Arkie Shibley)
(Announcer: Bumper To Bumper on NewsTalk 92.3 KTAR)
Dave: Well welcome back to Bumper To Bumper Radio, I am Dave Riccio and next to me is Matt, he’s a little bit hot today because I’ve been pickin’ on him, he said, “You’ve been drivin’ the bus over me.” He said, “You just better watch out there buddy.” (Matt laughs) So we’ll see what he’s got. Matt: I got your number Dave! I got your number.
Dave: We’ve got Carmela, Gary, Robert, Ray, and Sergio. If we don’t get to your call during the show, we will take your call after the show, so hang tight, don’t go away. We appreciate all the phone calls and we got some more texts to get to. This one’s right on topic so I’m gonna mention it. “2005 Camry with 170,000 miles, quoted 1200 bucks to do mounts, can I do 2 at a time?” And I think that’s a great question. I, totally, I, I kinda treat ’em like tires, you know? You buy tires at least 2 at a time.
Matt: Oh, so you’re the, you’re the onesie guy Dave, huh?
Dave: Unless, unless you’re the, uh, unless you’ve got an all wheel drive on tires. But on the mounts, I usually like to replace the opposing mount, so if i’m looking at the mount underneath the radiator? Well I know the mount back on the firewall has been, you know, ‘cuz the front one might be broken.
Matt: One, the one by the radiator’s gettin’ pulled on, the one by the radiator is gettin’ pushed on.
Dave: Correct. So one of ’em, if one of ’em’s broken, the other one’s bein’ abused, so I’ll do ’em in pairs. There’s one at the transmission and there’s one in the passenger uh, fender, you know, at the front and back. You know, one’s at the transmission in the front of the engine, so I would do ’em as pairs. The dogbone mount, which is up top that you mentioned, that one’s pretty easy to change and pretty inexpensive and I don’t think your $1200 is comin’ from that one.
Matt: No, no, not at all and $1200 is an appropriate price on engine mounts I always want to use the factory mount, the original equipment mount. There is not a good aftermarket mount, in my opinion. and this is a perfect conversation to have with your shop. “Hey I just don’t wanna stomach $1200 right now. What makes sense? How do we split this up?” and that should be a very easy conversation.
Dave: Well up first this smeg- segment (Laughs) Matt: Blub, blub. Dave: We’re gonna go with Carmella in Peoria on a ’97 Chevrolet Cavalier. Go ahead Carmella.
Carmella: Hey, I got a ’97 Cavalier and this car will not cold start. Will not cold start. It’ll start and it’ll die, but later on in the day when it warms up? You can turn it over and we’ve done everything you can think of: fuel pump, mass air sensor, and it, they think it has something to do with the theft system. It’s not disengaging.
Matt: What’s odd is it, it’s just cold so you go get the car started and go drive it for half hour, go run some errands, park it for a little bit, does it start ok then?
Carmella: Usually then, yes. It’s just in the morning, when you first wanna start it. It turns over but it just dies, like it’s getting no gas.
Matt: And is the theft light flashing?
Carmella: It, well yeah, it has been on.
Matt: Ok. Carmella: We can’t seem to get it off.
Matt: Well, yeah, you, probably what we’re looking at there is, is maybe a key in tumbler, there’s a, the. GM calls it a passkey. So your key probably has a little chip in it and when you put that in the ignition, it reads that chip to allow the, allow the information to go through the computer and power up the fuel pump or power up the ignition system, whatever it may be. So, ignition switch possibly, key in tumbler, or even the passkey module, but that’s….
Dave: Before she said the theft thing, I was thinkin’ temperature sensor on the engine.
Matt: Yeah and I think that’s, I was thinkin’ the earlier, the late 80s or 90s.
Dave: Mr., Mr. ASE Big Boy Pants. No, I’m thinkin’, I’m thinkin’ temperature sensor. Matt: I’m gonna slap you.
Dave: (Laughs) I’m thinkin’ the computer, uh, still think, you know, thinks the engine’s hotter than it is, so it’s not givin’ it enough gas. So when it’s cold like that, you’re really gonna be chokin’ off a little bit of the air and feedin’ it more fuel and as she said, mass air flow sensor, she said a bunch other stuff, but I never heard temperature sensor.
Matt: Right. Exactly.
Dave: (Laughs) Anyway I gotta go to the Email Of The Week because I promised you. It is from Sharon and she was talking about uh, “Brakes over the years have got-” Oh, that’s my response. (Both laugh) I wanna read her question. She’s got a 2012 VW Tiguana? Tiguan? I dunno.
Dave: Tiguan! “I have taken it to the dealer twice because of squealing brakes whenever I slow down. The dealer tells me that foreign brakes are made differently and safer than U.S. brakes”
Matt: Oh my God.
Dave: “and will always squeal to greater or lesser extent.” Have you ever gotten advice like this from the dealer?
Matt: Did that guy try and sell you a piece of a bridge or some swamp land in Florida or something? (Dave laughs) Gimme a break.
Dave: “Is that accurate? I find it hard to imagine that owners of foreign high end cars like Mercedes do and must tolerate squealing brakes.” So my, yeah. (Matt sighs) I guess we can make that a Fact Or Fiction.
Matt: (Laughs) We’ve already blew that one.
Dave: (Laughs) German car brakes should squeal much more than American car brakes. Fact Or Fiction?
Matt: Big old fat Fiction there Davey. (Both laugh)
Dave: Well my resp-
Matt: My response to the guy is, “Ok, that’s normal. This, since we’re at a Volkswagen dealer, I open it, beg to say that we probably have some more Tiguans on the lot.” (Dave laughs) “So what do you say you and me randomly go grab 3 or 4 of ’em and let’s go for a ride? And if they all squeak then I’ll buy your line.”
Dave: That’s pretty good for-.
Matt: “And if not, then we’re not.” Dave: That’s pretty good for a book smart tech. (Both laugh)
Matt: I’m gonna slap that beard right off your face. Dave: You know, brakes have gotten so much better over the years but they’re not perfect and they go through a lot of different conditions. Matt was sayin’ before the show I thought it was a good point, you know you should say that during the air.
Matt: What do you want? You want col- Dave: Because they’re, they’re hot, and they’re cold and you’ll get ’em all dusty and when they get dusty, they make a little noise. But most of the time I drive 30 cars a week and most of the time I don’t hear squeaking. Doesn’t matter if it’s Asian, doesn’t matter if it’s, uh, (Laughs) German. (Matt laughs) Doesn’t matter if it’s U.S. For the most part, I don’t hear squeaky brakes anymore. Every now and then I get a little peep out of ’em but it’s just not very common. The old days it was like a regular business.
Matt: If you can set your watch by it or it’s gonna do it every time there, there’s an issue there. If it backs, if it does it when it backs out of the garage, no big deal. Does on your first stop or two? No big deal, brakes like heat. In some cases the hotter they are, the better they work and they’re just gonna make some noise when they’re cold.
Dave: So if you’re looking for a Tiguana, apparently, according to the, (Both laugh) the dealership, you just gotta be prepared for squeaky brakes.
Matt: We better get Robert, he’s been on hold a long time Dave.
Dave: Go ahead Robert, you’re on Bumper To Bumper Radio.
Robert: Hey guys, how you doin’?
Matt: Good, go for it Robert, what do you got? Robert: (Laughs) Quick question for you guys, ’07 um, Camry, uh, just picked it up, it’s got 35,000 miles on it so not many miles. My question is, is, is it a mileage thing or a time thing when I gotta start looking at. you know, replacing things, um changing the oil, I got a, you know, do I use just a, a regular oil or do I look at a synthetic oil? What are some of the things I need to maybe worry about because it is a 7 year old car but it only has 35,000 miles on it?
Matt: How was that car stored? Where was it kept? What’s the, what’s the history of the car? Is that one of those sun, Sun City beauties?
Robert: Yeah. actually it was. I, I got all the, um, paperwork showing it was, the oil was changed every 5000 miles, auto service was done on it and, uh, it has been garage kept ‘cuz the car looks like it just came off the showroom floor.
Matt: Ok. Well, you might have to follow us up with an email at bumpertobumperradio.com on this one but Dave, we, we got some time to, to c-, talk about it. I wouldn’t, w- coolant would be the first thing that’s
Matt: gonna go bad with age. Otherwise, I’d get some miles on it, get it into a shop, just say, “Look at everything, tell me about everything you can tell me a, about this car.”
Dave: And the thing about those Sun City Queen cars, I mean, they never get driven, they kinda run from the inside out. So this one actually is not that old, but I see some that come in that are 10 years old and you know, they’ve barely been driven but coolant is the biggest thing that I see corrode. So, thanks so much for joining us. If you’re lookin’ for a great shop to start a relationship with, you can find them at bumpertobumperradio.com You can also find the Contact link, uh, where you can email Matt and I any of your questions. And we’re fairly timely gettin’ back.
Matt: Hey and check out, we got a bright new shiny website, let us know what you think.
Dave: (Laughs) Give us your feedback. Thanks Peter for runnin’ the dials. Remember never to text and drive. Matt and Dave, Bumper To Bumper Radio.