How to Extend the Life of Your Transmission

If your car were a person, your car’s transmission would be the heart. Whether you’re behind the wheel of an automatic or a manual vehicle, taking care of your transmission can significantly prolong its life. Here are some tips to keep your transmission healthy.

Warm Up
It’s never good to start exercising without warm ups. Cold transmission fluid can slow down gear engagement. Give your car a couple of minutes to warm up before hitting the road.

Keep Cool
Remember that high temperatures affect both your engine and transmission. Regularly maintain your cooling system to prevent overheating. Proper coolant levels and a well-functioning radiator are essential.

Push Park
Engage the parking brake, especially when parked on hills. Avoid stressing the parking pawl and other transmission components. A little extra care goes a long way.

Be Easy
Aggressive driving accelerates wear and tear on your transmission. Opt for smooth acceleration and gentle shifts. Even when your car is at operating temperature, avoid hard-driving habits that can shorten its lifespan.

Downshift Thoughtfully
Downshifting can prevent brake overheating, especially on hilly terrain. However, excessive downshifting can strain your transmission. Strike the right balance between engine braking and minimizing wear.

Full Stop
Before changing directions (such as shifting from “Park” to “Reverse”), bring your vehicle to a complete stop. Moving while shifting places unnecessary stress on your transmission.

Check Up
Even sealed transmissions require attention. Come see us regularly so we can check fluids and filters, replacing as needed. Proper maintenance ensures optimal performance and longevity.

Remember, a well-maintained transmission not only keeps your car running smoothly but also contributes to your overall driving experience. When you take care of your transmission, you extend its life, and the life of your car. At Norris Automotive, we’re here to help you keep your whole vehicle in tip top condition. Just think of us as your primary care provider for your car!

When to Repair vs. Replace Your Car: A Practical Guide

At Norris, we can fix pretty much anything. But we’re realistic, too. Eventually, you’ll face the decision: repair or replace? Here are some practical ways to help you make that choice:

  1. Cost of Repairs vs. Car Value:
    • When the cost of repairs or ongoing maintenance exceeds the actual value of your car, it’s time to consider a replacement.
    • Older cars tend to require more expensive repairs, so keep an eye on those repair bills.
  2. Safety Considerations:
    • Older cars lack modern safety features found in new vehicles, such as advanced airbags, stability control, and rearview cameras.
    • If your car is showing its age and safety is a concern, it might be time to upgrade.
  3. Fuel Efficiency:
    • As cars age, their fuel efficiency tends to decline.
    • If your car is guzzling gas and mileage is suffering, consider a replacement. Newer models are more fuel-efficient.
  4. Future Repairs:
    • Look beyond the current repair. Ask yourself: What’s likely to break next?
    • Ask us to help you assess looming problems and estimate future repair costs.
  5. 50-Percent Rule:
    • Use the “50-percent rule”: When repairs cost 50 percent of your car’s value, it’s time to replace.
    • Determine your car’s worth using tools like Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds.
  6. Parts Availability:
    • If parts for your car are becoming scarce or expensive, it may be time to move on.
    • Newer cars have readily available parts and better reliability.
  7. Habitual Repairs:
    • If your car has been nickel-and-diming you for years, it’s time to evaluate.
    • Repeatedly repairing an aging car may not be cost-effective.
  8. Safety Features:
    • Consider the safety features in newer cars: blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warnings, and collision alerts.
    • These features enhance safety and reduce the risk of accidents.
  9. Engine and Transmission:
    • If your car needs a new engine or transmission, it’s a significant expense.
    • Evaluate whether it’s worth investing in major repairs.
  10. Trade-In or Retail Value:
    • Know what your car is worth before making repair decisions.
    • Use online tools to estimate trade-in or retail value.

Remember, the decision to repair or replace depends on your individual circumstances. If you’re doing a lot of the repairs yourself, you may be able to keep your car longer. Whether you choose to pamper your old car or invest in a new one, Norris Automotive is right here to help you!

PS Trying to decide on a used vehicle? Read this guide to deciding on a car with less mileage or less age.

Why You Should Rotate Your Tires Regularly: A Guide from Norris Automotive

The wheels on your car go round and round around the axle, but did you know they should also go around and around your vehicle, too? Tire rotation is a simple procedure that involves moving your tires from one position to another on your vehicle, such as from front to rear or from left to right. This helps prevent uneven tire wear, which can affect your car’s performance, safety, and fuel efficiency.

Why Rotating is Necessary

Longer Life. Tire rotation extends the life of your tires. By rotating your tires, you ensure that each tire wears out evenly, which means you don’t have to replace them as often.

Safer Driving. Tire rotation improves your car’s handling and traction. Uneven tire wear can cause your car to lose balance and stability, which can affect your steering, braking, and cornering. By rotating your tires, you maintain optimal tire pressure and tread depth, which improves your grip on the road and reduces the risk of skidding or hydroplaning.

Better Economy. Tire rotation boosts your fuel efficiency. Uneven tire wear can increase the rolling resistance of your tires, which means your engine has to work harder to move your car. This results in more fuel consumption and emissions. By rotating your tires, you reduce the rolling resistance and improve your gas mileage.

The frequency of tire rotation depends on several factors, such as your driving habits, your vehicle type, and your tire specifications. However, a general rule of thumb is to rotate your tires every 5,000 to 7,500 miles, or every six months, whichever comes first. You can also check your owner’s manual or your tire manufacturer’s recommendations for more specific guidelines.

If you are looking for a reliable and affordable place to rotate your tires, come to Norris Automotive! We have the experience, equipment, and expertise to perform tire rotation for any vehicle make and model. It’s just one of the many ways we keep your car in good shape and maintained, saving you money and making you safer!

To schedule an appointment for tire rotation or any other tire service, contact us today.

Car Antifreeze and Animals: What You Need to Know

Car antifreeze is a toxic liquid that prevents your car’s engine from freezing or overheating. It has a sweet taste and smell that attracts animals, especially dogs and cats. If they drink it, even a little bit, it can cause kidney failure, seizures, coma, and death.

Antifreeze poisoning is common in pets, and can happen any time of the year. Some signs of antifreeze poisoning are vomiting, drooling, weakness, staggering, depression, thirst, urination, and seizures. If you think your pet has ingested antifreeze, call your vet or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 right away. Antifreeze poisoning is an emergency, and every minute counts.

The best way to prevent antifreeze poisoning is to keep antifreeze away from animals. Here are some tips:

  • Store antifreeze in closed containers, and keep them in a safe place where animals can’t reach them.
  • Clean up any antifreeze spills or leaks immediately, and dispose of them safely.
  • Use antifreeze products that have propylene glycol instead of ethylene glycol, as they are less harmful to animals. But still be careful with them.
  • Check your car for leaks or damage, and fix them as soon as possible.
  • Don’t let your pets roam outside, especially near roads, garages, or other places where antifreeze may be.
  • Tell your family, friends, and neighbors about the dangers of antifreeze to animals, and ask them to do the same.

At Norris Automotive, we’re all about keeping you safe – and that includes the four legged members of your family, too. If you have any questions, let us know!

New Year’s Resolutions for Your Car

Car maintenance in the new year

Forget diet and exercise. This year, make some resolutions for your car, and call it a day – or should we say call it a year! Your car is an important part of your life, and it deserves some attention and care. So here are some new year’s resolutions for your car that will help you keep it in top shape and save you money and hassle in the long run.

Check your oil regularly
Oil is the lifeblood of your engine, and it needs to be checked and changed regularly to prevent damage and ensure optimal performance. You should check your oil level at least once a month, and change it according to your owner’s manual or your mechanic’s recommendation.

Keep your tires in good condition
Your tires are (hopefully!) the only part of your car that touches the road, and they affect your safety, handling, and fuel efficiency. Make a goal to inspect your tires regularly for signs of wear, damage, or low pressure. You should also get your tires rotated and balanced every 6,000 miles or every six months, to ensure even wear and prevent vibrations.

Clean your car inside and out
A clean car is not only more pleasant to drive, but also more valuable and more durable. This is the year to resolve to keep it clean. A clean car will make you feel more comfortable, confident, and proud of your ride.

Maintain your brakes.
Your brakes are one of the most important safety features of your car, and they need to be checked and serviced regularly to prevent accidents and costly repairs. You should pay attention to any signs of brake problems, such as squeaking, grinding, pulsating, or soft pedals, and bring it to us if you sense a problem. You should also check your brake fluid level every few months, and top it off if needed.

Follow your maintenance schedule
Your car’s manufacturer has a recommended maintenance schedule for your car, based on the mileage and age of your vehicle. This schedule tells you when to change your oil, filters, spark plugs, belts, hoses, fluids, and other parts that need regular attention. There are even car maintenance apps to help you keep track.

By following these new year’s resolutions for your car, you will be able to enjoy your car more, save money on gas and repairs, and extend the life of your vehicle. Your car will thank you for it, and you’ll be happy, too. Happy new year, and happy driving from all of us at Norris Automotive!

Gifts for Car Lovers

We all have that someone who is almost impossible to buy for. Chances are pretty good that they have a car. For those car lovers, here are some suggestions will make them happy, and are also useful, practical, and affordable.

A Dash Cam: A dash cam is a device that records everything that happens on the road. It can be a great gift for car lovers who want to capture their driving adventures, or who want to have evidence in case of an accident or a traffic violation. A dash cam can also provide security and peace of mind for car owners.
A Car Vacuum: A car vacuum is a handy tool that to help keep vehicles clean and tidy. It can suck up dirt, dust, crumbs, pet hair, and other debris from the seats, floor, trunk, and other hard-to-reach places. A car vacuum can also improve the air quality and the appearance of the car.

A Car Detailing Kit: A car detailing kit is a set of products and tools for restoring, protecting, and enhancing the appearance of a vehicle. It can include items such as car wash soap, wax, polish, microfiber towels, brushes, sponges, and more. A car detailing kit can help car lovers maintain their car’s shine, color, and performance. A gift certificate to a local car detailing business is also a great idea.

A Car Charger: A car charger is a device that can charge your laptop or other gadgets while you are on the road. It can be a lifesaver for road warriorswho need to stay connected, entertained, or productive while driving. If your loved one spends time in the car line picking up kids – get this one.

A Car Organizer: A car organizer is a product that can help car lovers keep their belongings organized and accessible in their vehicles. It can include items such as trunk organizers, seat organizers, console organizers, visor organizers, and more. A car organizer can help car lovers save space, reduce clutter, and find what they need quickly and easily.

An Oil Change Kit: For the DIY’er, consider giving everything they need for an oil change. This would include an oil filter, a drain plug washer, a funnel, a wrench, a drain pan, and the appropriate amount of oil for the car. If you don’t know the type of oil and filter, a gift certificate would do!

AAA membership. AAA is a service that provides roadside assistance, discounts, travel planning, and other benefits to its members. AAA stands for American Automobile Association, and it has over 60 million members in the United States and Canada. They offer roadside assistance, too!

A gift certificate to Norris Automotive! Ask us, and we’ll help you get the one size fits all gift that everyone needs sooner or later!

These are just some of the gifts that you can get for car lovers this holiday season. Of course, you can also get them something more personal, such as a personalized license plate, a custom car mat, or a car-themed mug or t-shirt. Whatever you choose, we are sure that your car lover will appreciate it and enjoy it. You don’t have to tell them that it was our idea, but we would consider it a gift to us if you referred them to us for car inspections, maintenance, and repair!

How to Dispose of Motor Oil

We do a lot of oil changes at Norris, but we also know that many of you change your own oil at home. It’s truly not a hard job once you learn how.

When you finish the job, however, you’re stuck with used motor oil that needs to be disposed of in a responsible way. Disposing of used motor oil improperly can cause serious harm to wildlife, water sources, and soil. Used motor oil can be refined and reused as new oil, reducing the need for crude oil extraction. And – spoiler alert – at Norris, we’re happy to take that used motor oil off your hands!

Here’s how to do it.

  1. Contain it. Collect the used motor oil in a clean, leak-proof container. You can use the original container that the oil came in, or any other plastic or metal container with a tight-fitting lid. Do not mix the oil with any other fluids, such as antifreeze, brake fluid, or gasoline. This can contaminate the oil and make it unsuitable for recycling.
  2. Bring it. Find a drop-off location (like us!) that accepts used motor oil for recycling. You can search for motor oil recycling locations online or go to Earth9111 to find a drop-off location near you. Some common places that accept used motor oil are auto parts stores, service stations, and municipal waste facilities. Some of these places may charge a small fee or have certain restrictions, so it is best to call ahead and confirm before you bring your oil. At Norris – we accept it for free.

It really is that easy. By recycling used motor oil and oil filters, you are helping to conserve natural resources, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and prevent pollution. Thank you for doing your part to keep our planet clean and green! And thank you for choosing Norris as your drop off point!

In the Market for a Christmas Car?

New Car Shopping

Will your teen see a car with a bow in the driveway this Christmas? If so, you’re probably already in the market! There are many factors to consider – safety, reliability, affordability, fuel efficiency, comfort, and – of course – style. Here are some tips on what to look for in a vehicle for a new driver:

Safety is Always First: It was just yesterday that safety meant keeping your child in a carseat. For a child who is now in the driver’s seat, safety is still the first priority. Look for vehicles that have high ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). These ratings are based on crash tests and other safety features, such as airbags, anti-lock brakes, stability control, and blind spot detection. You can check the ratings of different vehicles by clicking on the links and entering the make and model of your car .

Don’t Get Stranded: You don’t want your teen stranded on the side of a road with a broken down vehicle. Look for vehicles that have a good reputation for durability and dependability, and avoid those that have a history of recalls, complaints, or problems. Bring the car or truck to us, and we’ll give it a once over before you best. We’re reliable, too!

Avoid Sticker Shock: Many parents expect their teens to pitch in to pay for vehicles. Look for vehicles that have a low sticker price, low insurance costs, low depreciation, good gas mileage, and low ownership costs. Especially remember to check out how much insurance will be for a new driver on any vehicle you buy.

Plan for the Pump: Don’t saddle your child with a vehicle that they can’t afford to fill up. Look for vehicles that have a high miles per gallon (MPG) rating. Younger children often are very environmentally aware, and they may want a hybrid or electric vehicle that uses less or no gas.

Get Comfortable: Look for vehicles that have enough space, legroom, headroom, and cargo capacity for your child’s needs. Will they be carpooling with siblings? Will the vehicle need to haul hunting gear or band equipment? What features are important to your child – leather seats, sunroof, navigation system, or backup camera?

Ride in Style: Some of the best vehicle styles for teen drivers are compact and midsize sedans, hatchbacks, pickup trucks, and SUVs. Fun, classic cars are also a hit with younger drivers and their friends. Most kids will be happy with any sort of beater, but you have to remember that the car will be sitting in your driveway!

Of course, the best vehicle for your teen will depend on your personal needs, preferences, and Santa’s budget. Test drive different vehicles and bring them to us for a checkup before making a final decision. Happy holidays – and happy shopping!

E85 Gas: What You Need to Know


You’ve seen it on the signs – E85 fuel. It stands out because it’s cheaper than the other types of fuel. But what is E85 gas and how does it differ from regular gasoline? And – should you use it?

What is E85? E85 gas is a type of alternative fuel that consists of a blend of ethanol and gasoline. Ethanol is a renewable, bio-based fuel that is made from corn or other biomass sources. Gasoline is a fossil fuel that is derived from crude oil. The ratio of ethanol to gasoline in E85 gas can vary from 51% to 83%, depending on the season, the region, and the availability of the fuel. E85 gas is compatible with vehicles that are designed or modified to run on flex fuel, which means they can use either E85 or regular gasoline.

Here’s the Good News.
  • Ethanol burns cleaner than gasoline and produces less carbon dioxide, which is better for the environment.
  • Ethanol is domestically produced in the US from corn or other crops, which reduces the need to import oil from other countries.
  • Ethanol has a higher octane rating than gasoline, which means it can resist engine knock and improve combustion.
And the Bad…
  • Ethanol is more expensive than gasoline on an energy-equivalent basis, which means that a vehicle using E85 gas will spend more money on fuel than a vehicle using gasoline. Additionally, E85 gas is not widely available across the country, especially in regions where ethanol production is low or nonexistent.
  • It can cause corrosion and compatibility issues with some vehicles and equipment. Ethanol is more corrosive than gasoline and can damage some metal components and rubber seals in older or non-flex-fuel vehicles and equipment. Ethanol can also attract water and cause phase separation in fuel tanks and lines, which can lead to engine problems and poor performance.

A vehicle using E85 gas will need more fuel to travel the same distance as a vehicle using gasoline.

So – should you use E85? Find out in our next blog post!

Should You Use E85 Fuel?

E85 fuel is a type of alternative fuel that consists of a blend of ethanol and gasoline. Ethanol is a renewable, bio-based fuel that is made from corn or other biomass sources, while gasoline is a fossil fuel that is derived from crude oil.

So, should you use E85 gas for your vehicle? The answer depends on several factors, such as your vehicle’s compatibility, your driving habits, your budget, your environmental preferences, and the availability of the fuel in your area.

Vehicles that should not use E85 fuel are those that are not built as flex-fuel vehicles. Flex-fuel vehicles are designed or modified to run on either E85 or regular gasoline, and they have special components and systems that can handle the high ethanol content of E85.

Older vehicles (prior to 2008) and non-flex-fuel vehicles are not compatible with E85 fuel, and using it can damage vital engine parts and the fuel system. It can also void the manufacturer’s warranty. Therefore, it is recommended to check your vehicle’s manual or label before using E85 fuel, and only use it if your vehicle is certified as a flex-fuel vehicle by the manufacturer.

If you have a flex-fuel vehicle, you can try both E85 and regular gasoline and compare their performance, cost, and convenience. You can also check the U.S. Department of Energy website for more information on E85 gas, flex-fuel vehicles, and alternative fuels in general.

Or you can ask us. We’ll talk to you about the pros and cons, take a look at your vehicle, and help you decide what ‘s best for you and your vehicle.

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