Frequently Asked Questions
How often should I rotate my tires?
Your tires should be rotated every other oil change, or every 6000 miles. Neglecting to rotate tires is a major cause of premature tire wear.
Is it really necessary to replace my timing belt at the recommended interval?
YES. The failure of a timing belt in many cars can result in major engine damage. The cost of repairing an engine with a broken timing belt is much greater than the cost of a timing belt replacement.
What does it mean if my "check engine" or "service engine soon" light comes on?
There are many sensors and computerized components that manage your vehicle's engine performance and emissions. When one of these fails, the "check engine" light is illuminated. Although your car may seem to run fine, it is important to have the issue addressed to prevent long-term problems.
What should I do if my car starts to overheat?
This is a very serious problem - if your car overheats for too long, you can damage your engine. As soon as possible, find a safe place to pull off the road and shut the engine off! Do not attempt to check the fluid level in the radiator; the hot fluid can cause severe burns. The best thing to do is have your car towed to the nearest, trusted auto repair facility.
When should I get my oil changed?
You should get your oil changed every 3000 miles or as recommended in your vehicle's owner's manual.
Why is engine oil milky brown?
Milky brown engine oil is an indication of coolant in the oil. This can be caused by a blown head gasket (or other gasket), a failed transmission cooler, or cracked casings. This condition is very serious and needs to be checked by a professional technician immediately.
How do I make sure my car battery has a good electrical connection?
Battery cables and terminals should be cleaned and inspected periodically to make sure they provide a good electrical connection.
Should I consider using synthetic motor oil in my vehicle?
Synthetic motor oils can be a good choice for high output, turbocharged or supercharged engines. Or for vehicles that are used for towing (especially during hot weather), and vehicles that operate in extremely cold or hot climates. Although more expensive than mineral-based oils, synthetic motor oils can improve fuel economy and provide longer intervals between changes.
When should I replace my car's fuel filter?
To help ensure dependable, trouble-free performance, replace your car's fuel filter approximately every 30,000 miles or as recommended in your vehicle's owner's manual.
When should I change my spark plugs?
For maximum fuel economy and peak engine performance, your spark plugs should be replaced every 30 months or 30,000 miles, unless your vehicle is equipped with 100,000-mile platinum tipped spark plugs.
I need to replace a burned out fuse, what should I do?
Always replace burned-out fuses with ones of the same amperage (printed on the fuse) and note that if a fuse continues to "blow," you should have the circuit checked professionally by one of our technicians for defects.
Transmission FAQ'sHow to Extend the Life of Your Transmission
- Check Your Transmission Fluid Regularly: Check your vehicle's owner manual to ensure you check it correctly. If your fluid is low, you have a leak!
- Service Your Transmission Regularly: Transmissions should be serviced once a year or every 30,000 miles, whichever comes first. When it's time to have your transmission serviced, bring your vehicle into Palouse Country Transmission & Auto Care
- Maintain External Coolers: One of the main causes of transmission failure is from excessive heat. Maintaining your external coolers will help extend the lifespan of your transmission!
- Problems Checked Right Away: Having a problem checked right away may save you money in the long run. Transmission problems usually start out small and can escalate quickly to a more serious problem. If you are experiencing any problems with your transmission, bring your vehicle into Palouse Country Transmission & Auto Care right away!
What Can Decrease the Life of Your Transmission?
- Driving Before the Engine is Warm: Especially during the winter months, it is important to let the fluid inside your transmission warm up to operating temperature (usually takes about 30 seconds).
- Rocking Your Vehicle When Stuck: Doing this can make your vehicle's transmission heat up quickly and can damage internal parts.
- Shifting Into Reverse While Your Vehicle is Still Moving Forward: Make sure you always stop completely before shifting into another gear to avoid grinding the gears in your transmission.
- Racing: Doing so can severely damage the drivetrain.
- Using an Ill-equipped Automotive Service Center to Repair Your Transmission: An under qualified technician may not be familiar with the most up-to-date repairs/machinery available or even how to diagnosis your problem correctly. When having transmission repairs done it is always important to seek help from repair centers who specialize in these problems. The expert technicians at Palouse Country Transmission & Auto Care use the latest technology and skills to address all of your transmission needs!
When Should You Have Your Vehicle Checked?
- Shifting Problems: Problems can come as a delay in shifting (such as when it takes a few more seconds for your vehicle to shift into a new gear), an unexpected shift or a rough shift, such as a "clunking" feeling when it goes into gear.
- Slipping While Driving: You may notice your vehicle is not accelerating normally. If you notice this problem with your vehicle, bring it into Palouse Country Transmission & Auto Care to service right away!
- Vehicle Just Won't Go: This can be a sign of a major problem; your fluid maybe low, overheated, or an internal problem may be occurring.
- Transmission Leak: If you notice red fluid in your driveway or your transmission's fluid is low, you may have a leak.
- Check Engine Light is On: Sometimes this light indicates a transmission problem.
- Unique Sounds: Sounds such as a hum, a low whine, rumbling, clunking, chattering, or squealing can indicate a transmission problem.
What Other Problems Look Like Transmission Problems?
- Engine requires a tune-up
- Electrical problems
- Broken transmission or engine mount
- Poor fuel system adjustment
- Dirty fuel injectors or filter
- Defective oxygen sensor
- Computer sensor malfunction
- Clogged catalytic converter
What is a transmission?
The transmission takes the power from the engine to the wheels by using gears. In other words, your car won't move without a transmission. What should I do so my transmission doesn't fail? Most importantly, you should have your transmission serviced every 30,000 miles. Check the fluid regularly; making sure it is full and red. Check your owner's manual for information about any specific transmission fluid your vehicle may require.
What is a torque converter?
The torque converter distributes the power from the engine to the transmission. The torque converter allows the car to remain stopped while the car is in gear.
How do I know if something is wrong with my transmission?
There are many assumptions of a failing transmission. A strange noise, a slipping transmission, no reverse or skipping gears. These can all be signs of a failing transmission.
Why does it cost so much to have my automatic transmission repaired?
It doesn't. At least, it doesn't when you understand what we need to do to repair your transmission. You see, repairing an automatic transmission is not as simple as changing the spark plugs or adjusting the carburetor. Today, automatic transmissions -- particularly those with front wheel drive technology or computerized systems -- are extremely complicated units. There are over 3,000 parts in today's average automatic transmission. And the parts for some late model imports can cost ten times as much as parts for older, larger cars. Just getting to the parts you need to see to find out what's wrong often calls for major surgery -- especially in smaller cars where the manufacturer has tightly packed different mechanical systems on top of and around each other.
Why can't you tell me what it's going to cost to fix my transmission over the phone or without seeing the vehicle first?
Aside from the fact that a consumer might easily miss a symptom a trained mechanic would see or hear when the vehicle is brought in, can you tell the difference between a rattle, buzz, grind, whine and a slip? And do you mean the same thing by those words that we do? Over 50% of the vehicles that customers bring in for transmission issues, don't need a transmission. The problem is somewhere else in the vehicle. The plain truth is, we simply can't be sure of what's wrong with your transmission until we take a look at the vehicle. Nobody can.
How do I know I am not getting ripped off?
There are several things you can do to protect yourself from dishonest transmission repair shops. First, ask your regular automotive mechanic to recommend a transmission shop. Then check with your local Better Business Bureau to see if that shop has had any complaints filed against it. But there's an even simpler way: check to make sure that your automatic transmission shop is a member of ATRA - the Automatic Transmission Rebuilders Association.
What is ATRA?
ATRA is a nonprofit organization for the automatic transmission repair industry. Its members comprise the world's oldest and largest network of independent transmission rebuilding firms, with over 2000 members in the U.S. and Canada alone.
How does ATRA take the worry out of my repair?
ATRA requires that its members employ experienced personnel whose skills have been tested and certified by the Association. To make sure they stay up to date on the latest automatic transmission models, ATRA also requires members to attend annual training seminars. When you take your car to an ATRA member's shop, you can rest assure that you are dealing with technicians who know what they are doing.