Welcome to another round of Q & A with the Auto Specialist. In this column, we continue to put your car problems under the microscope to figure out what’s wrong and how to fix it. The goal is not to be able to repair everything yourself. Rather, we want to build your knowledge about car parts and components that are integral to the smooth operation of your vehicle.
In the last segment, we looked at two issues. We narrowed one down to an air conditioning compressor that was failing and another down to cracked spark plugs. Today, we’ll help a reader understand her mechanic’s advice regarding her transmission. We’ll also try to solve another reader’s idling problem. There’s a lot to cover so let’s get started.
Question: I bought a 2003 Chrysler Sebring when it was new. I’ve got about 88,000 miles on it. I took it in to a local repair shop a few days ago just to make sure everything was in good condition. They told me that I needed to have my transmission flushed. I’ve never had that service done on my car before, so I didn’t know what to do. I left without having the service performed, but I wanted to ask whether it’s necessary. What do you think?
Answer: You don’t need to have your transmission flushed. This is one of those services that you don’t need, but it’s still promoted by a lot of repair garages and dealership technicians. Now, let me make a quick distinction. Flushing simply means hooking up your Sebring to a machine that pushes out the old transmission fluid. Again, it’s unnecessary. Regular servicing should include a drain of the torque converter, dropping the pan, putting in a new filter, and a fluid refill. That’s all you need.
Question: I have a Ford Mustang (2005 with 45,000 miles) and it has always driven fine. Recently, the battery died. It was my fault because I accidentally left the door ajar overnight (stupid, I know). I recharged the battery, but my car doesn’t idle right. It’s low. Does the car battery have something to do with it?
Answer: The recharge of the battery is causing the odd idling. The good news is that it’s not a serious problem. The computer needs to relearn the proper idling speed. That will happen naturally as you drive. In fact, you can encourage the computer to learn more quickly by driving more. Give it time and your engine will start idling like it did prior to your battery dying.
That’s all we have time for in this installment. Next time, we’ll have two new car problems to dig our hands into. We’ll take a look at a starting problem that one reader is having with his sedan. We’ll also help a reader deal with his car’s brake problem. If this is the first time you’re joining us, be sure to return for the next segment. Until next time, drive safely.