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Monthly Archives: January 2018

Dual Clutch Transmission

The main disadvantage of having a dual clutch transmission in your car is the price. Replacing this type of system requires skill. It is a complicated clutch kit system that needs electronic and mechanical knowledge.

The dual clutch transmission is also known as a semi-automatic transmission. This transmission provides the functionality of two manual transmissions in one. Once the driver changes from one gear to another gear in a regular stick shift car, the first thing that should be done is to press the clutch pedal. This will disconnect the engine from the gearbox and at the same time, it will disconnect current from the transmission.

The driver uses the stick shift to select a new gear as speed increases and torque decreases, which will involve moving a toothed collar from a gear wheel to another gear wheel which has different sizes. Furthermore, there is a device called the synchronizer that helps match the gears so that there is no grinding. Mechanically, it makes sure that the gears are engaged.

The clutch kit includes a disc or grip pressure plate; although some clutch kits have pilot bushings or pilot bearings. All these items have specific functions that are included in the clutch kit.

The flow of power from the engine to the wheel does not exist in a conventional manual transmission. During gearshifts the power will turn on and off then back on again. This will cause a shift shock or what is called a torque interrupt. Sophisticated electronics and hydraulics control the clutches just like in a standard automatic transmission. Clutches operate individually when using a dual clutch transmission, one will control the odd gears and the other will control the even gears.

 

Paintless Dent Repair

In comes paintless dent repair. Paintless dent repair has been around for over ten years and was first started at local car dealerships for fixing used cars and increasing used car revenues (like headlight restoration). Paintless dent removal is the repairing of small dents and dings by massaging them out.

Paintless dent technicians are trained with tools similar to pry bars, mirrors and special lights to gently return the bent and stretched metal to its former shape. This may seem difficult, but actually most repairs can be done in 20 -30 minutes and the results are nothing short of amazing. Unless the dent is on a door edge or a difficult crease, the result will be like the dent or ding was never there. It is completely removed.

The average cost is around $50 per ding or dent. Obviously a used car dealership with a lot of inventory will have lower volume prices around $30 per dent. Paintless dent removal, like headlight restoration, is a high profit margin business that any automotive business can use to add to their bottom line. Many businesses actually pay their entire lease or rent from these add-on businesses alone.

All about Tire Safety Piece

What kind of car do you drive? The wear and tear you put on a tire is proportionate to the weight and power of the car you drive. Some types of cars have types of tires specifically designed for them.

Where do you live? If you’re located in a more rural area and do a lot of off-road driving, you might need tires that have more traction and resilience. Similar needs can arise if you live in an area that has lots of ice on the roads – you’ll need tires designed for that environment, or that can easily handle snow chains. For that matter, plenty of tires are designed to work best on dry pavement, perfect if you’re in the city or suburbia.

How often are you willing to maintain your tires? Some types of tires might need frequent rotation or replacing – which is difficult for people who are more interested in getting in and driving away.

There are many other features to look for in tires as well. First, if you’re looking at older tires, try not to buy anything more than six years old. Second, check your owner’s manual to see what tire size is recommended for your automobile. Third, when you’re looking at the environment where you live, as mentioned above, you might want to check with a dealer to see what type of tread is typically used for that area.

It’s also a good idea to have some idea of the standards for federal tire quality grading. All new tires have a paper with their federal grading molded into their sidewall. This system is not the same as a safety rating, but it does provide a means of comparison between different brands of tires.

The three categories within this system are treadwear, traction and temperature resistance. “Treadwear” uses a 100-point scale to determine how long a tire would last while driven on the same road by the same driver for a period of time. “Traction” uses grades of “A,” “B” and “C” to determine how well the tire would be able to stop on a wet road. Finally, “Temperature Resistance” also employs an A-B-C scale to determine how well a tire might respond to overheating from being driven at a high speed.

Oil Monitoring Systems

Mercedes calls their unit a “Flexible Service System”. The FSS on some Mercedes vehicles monitors actual oil quality as well as operating conditions (such as the number of cold starts, average engine temp, mileage driven, oil sump level, rpms, etc.). To measure oil quality, there is actually a sensor that measures the electrical conductivity of the oil. The higher the conductivity of the oil, the greater the need for an oil change, according to Mercedes. Of course, this isn’t likely a perfect model, and will not be nearly as accurate as an actual oil analysis in determining true oil quality, but it is better than no measurement at all.

At any rate, as electrical conductivity increases, this value is combined with all of the operating condition data and run through a special algorithm to determine if the oil is ready for a change. When a change is necessary, a light will flash on the instrument panel indicating such.

The other Mercedes FSS unit, which will be somewhat less accurate, does not actually measure the electrical conductivity of the oil, so it is not testing the quality of the oil in any way. It does, however, measure all of the operating conditions and uses the algorithm to predict when an oil change will be necessary.

This is actually how the GM oil monitoring system works. It does not measure oil quality via electrical conductivity or via any other means. It simply measures operating conditions and “calculates” when an oil change should be necessary based upon those conditions.

So, How Accurate Are These Units? Can They Be Trusted?

That’s a tough question to answer at this point. First off, these systems haven’t been in use long enough to really have much in the way of hard statistics comparing vehicle/engine life with or without these systems in place. Second, many drivers do not trust the longer drain intervals recommended by these units and change the oil sooner anyway, offering, again, little data to show whether the drain intervals recommended by these systems are conservative enough to maintain engine protection equal to that attained with shorter change intervals.

Since these units do not FULLY measure oil quality, in the same way that an actual oil analysis would, it is unlikely that they are completely accurate, but there is good reason to believe that they are fairly accurate.

The problem, from my perspective is, how were the limits set? Quite frankly, it’s in the best interests of vehicle manufacturers to have their engines begin to decline in performance somewhere shortly after the 100,000 mile marker. Many people these days don’t expect a vehicle to perform well much beyond 100K, so building a vehicle and recommending maintenance practices that will help the vehicle perform longer than that is not in the best interest of the OEMs.

So, I would be willing to bet that, if you are an individual that likes to keep your vehicle as long as possible, oil quality limits have been set to a lower standard than would be appropriate to getting the absolute most mileage from your vehicle. It really only stands to reason.

How many companies do you know of these days that build MORE quality into their products than their typical customer expects? Not many. In fact, unfortunately, I’d be willing to bet that most of us could count on one hand the number of products we’ve purchased over the past year that offered quality/durability that was BETTER than we expected. Although this is a sad commentary on the business world we currently live in, it is a pretty accurate reflection of the attitude of most companies these days. Why would today’s automobile manufacturers be any different?

Of course, that being said, I have no proof of the above statements. There do not appear to be any websites out there collecting oil analysis data from GM and Mercedes owners to compare the ACTUAL oil quality to that “measured” by the oil life monitors. I looked. In fact, if you happen to know of one, please let me know – I’d love to see the results. I’m guessing I know what they’d be, but I’m certainly open to the possibility that I’m wrong.

I think the main thing to remember is, nobody yet REALLY knows just how accurate these oil monitoring systems are nor how conservative their oil change interval recommendations are. So, be careful how much trust you put on their oil change interval recommendations.

Syn vs. Petro – Does INITIAL Oil Quality Affect Recommendations

Well, that’s an interesting question. As it turns out, these systems can’t tell whether you’ve got synthetic or petroleum oil in the crankcase, and, this DOES make a difference. In fact, we can see this in the light of a class action lawsuit that was filed against Mercedes Benz a few years back.

Apparently, the MB FSS assumes the use of synthetic oil in the engine. Most Europeans are using synthetic oil by default, since typical oil drain intervals in Europe are MUCH longer than those recommended here in the states (although that gap is closing). In contrast, most North American drivers are still using petroleum oil.

Well, there were no significant warnings given to these MB owners with regard to the FSS units and the use of petroleum vs. synthetic oils. So, many users were utilizing petroleum oils and using the FSS as a guide for when to change their oil. Unfortunately, since the FSS was designed to recommend SYNTHETIC oil drain intervals, severe sludging was occurring in these vehicles. The petroleum oil simply couldn’t hold up for the oil change intervals the FSS was recommending. Bad news for your engine.

In the end, the vehicle owners won their suit and there was a 32 million dollar settlement issued against Mercedes. It is my understanding that MB is now very careful to make it explicitly clear what type oils should be used in order to rely on the results of their FSS monitor.

So, clearly it makes a difference. And, since these systems can’t tell what type of oil you’re using, you’ll need to adjust accordingly. The way I understand it, the GM units assume petroleum oil usage (with the exception of vehicles which specifically require synthetic lubricants – such as the Corvette). So, if you’re using synthetic oil in a GM vehicle that does not specifically require it, the oil life monitor will likely “go off” much sooner than necessary.

I have heard that you can have the dealership adjust these units to account for the fact that you’re using synthetic oil, but, even then, there are significant differences in quality from one synthetic to another, so this may still not be completely accurate. If you’re using a premium synthetic oil which is designed for much longer oil drain intervals (such as AMSOIL’s 25,000 mile oils or Mobil 1 Extended Performance 15,000 mile oils), the unit will very likely “trigger” sooner than necessary. However, at least you’ll know that you have a considerable margin of error due to the enhanced quality that is built into those oils.