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Tips For Extending The Life Of Your Transmission

Your transmission is a vital part of your vehicle, and it is so important to keep yours in the best of conditions. It’s especially important to ensure the health of your transmission is this Texas heat. Leif Johnson Ford is here with some tips on how to keep that transmission in tip-top shape!

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Change Transmission Fluid

This is vital for lubrication and good performance.

Check your transmission fluid levels. Low fluid levels or fluid levels that drop quickly might mean you have a leak.

Also check your vehicle’s radiator and coolant levels. The radiator controls your engine heat, but it helps your transmission stay at a proper temperature as well.

Low or dirty fluids will increase chances of wear and overheating.

Change every 15,000 miles or once a year (See owner’s manual). If you have a vehicle that does heavy towing regularly, you will want to check fluids monthly.

Use a high-quality synthetic transmission fluid. These will be less likely to degrade at higher temperatures.

Use Brakes 

Do not downshift to slow down car.

Downshifting in lieu of braking puts unneeded stress on vehicle.

Transmission parts are usually more expensive than new brake pads.

Pay attention to overheating 

Overheating is the most dangerous factor for a vehicle’s transmission.

As the internal temp of your transmission climbs, transmission fluid begins to degrade.

Your transmission’s lifespan decreases by a factor of two for every 20 degrees over 200 degrees.

Follow speed limit  

Excessively fast driving puts unnecessary strain on your vehicle’s transmission.

“Peeling out” is especially harmful for your transmission.

Following the speed limit is beneficial not only for your transmission, but also your fuel economy.

Make overall wise driving choices 

Always make sure to drive in the right gear, whether you have an automatic or manual.

Use overdrive only when driving at highway speeds.

Use lower gears only when you need the power for going up hills or if you are towing a heavy load.

If you need any help with your transmission or if you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to call us at 512-454-3711. We would love to help ensure that your vehicle is healthy and prepared for these dog days of summer!

Sources:
https://mainlinetransmission.com/help-your-cars-transmission-beat-the-summer-heat/
https://www.jcwhitney.com/

 

 

 

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5 Top Austin-Area Camping Spots

Welcome back, friends! Last week we shared with you the essentials needed for a camping trip. This week, we’ll be giving you our top picks for family-friendly camping spots in the Austin area. Get your tents and your adventuring pants ready!

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  1. Cedar Breaks Park

Located on Lake Georgetown, this gorgeous spot offers 59 campsites to reserve. Boating, fishing and hiking the trails are all great adventures to partake in when camping at Cedar Breaks. Not only is this one on the water, mesquite trees provide shade to 90% of the scenic sites. That makes this is an absolutely perfect summer location!  Camping fees are $26.

2. Ink Lakes Park

If you’re a camper looking for a more guided experience, this is the spot for you. Get a history lesson at the visitor’s center and learn even more at the Civilian Conservation Corps. There are both campsites and cabins to choose from. Hike nine miles of forests and hills, go fishing, rent a paddleboat and so much more at this Burnet go-to. The water level stays pretty consistent so this is a great place to cool off year-round! Entry fees are $6 and camping fees range from $11 to $23.

3. Pedernales Falls State Park

Camp, hike, picnic, kayak, tube, swim, bird watch and more while camping at Pedernales Falls in Johnson City! Explore nature and enjoy so many fun activities, all in a day’s fun! Entry fees are $6 and camping fees begin at $10.

4. McKinney Falls State Park

Seven hundred acres of beauty, all located within city limits. From waterfalls to gorgeous greenery to hiking trails and swimming, there is something for the whole family to enjoy exploring here. Water, electricity and – if you really don’t feel like roughing it – even cabin rentals are available at this popular camping spot. Admission is $6 per person and $20 to reserve a campsite.

5. Windy Point Park

This Austin spot offers everything from free WiFi to a boat launching spot to rinse off showers. Get away from the crowds to soak in the Lake Travis views, BBQ with the family, take a dip in the lake and even go scuba diving at this chill local spot. Entry fees are $8-15 a person, $10 for camping and $15 for boat launching.

Happy camping, happy campers! 

Texas Camping Road-Trip Essentials

 Planning a camping trip this summer? Leif Johnson Ford would love to help! Welcome to part one of our two part camping trip blog. For our first post, we’ll be covering camping essentials to bring with you on your road-trip. For part two, we’ll cover five of our favorite camping spots in the Austin area. Buckle up, friends!

Note – This list is meant for longer camping road-trips. You may need less items for a weekend trip, but this list will still be regardless in gauging what items you’ll need.

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Texas Summer Camping Road-Trip Essentials 

  • Tent with Rain Fly and Footprint
  • Tent poles and stakes
  • Extra tarp or canopy
  • Repair kit for tent
  • Sleeping Bags
  • Camp Pillows
  • Quick dry towels
  • Umbrella
  • Camera
  • First Aid Kit
  • Flashlight and/or Lantern
  • Trash bags
  • Food storage containers
  • Bug Spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Toothbrush + Toothpaste
  • All Purpose Tool
  • Light blankets (or camp blankets. Perfect for summer!)
  • Backpacks, small suitcase and/or large rolling duffle
  • Hot/Cold bag
  • Cooler
  • Fishing hooks, road and bait
  • Flexible cutting board
  • Tupperware
  • Good knives
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Spatula
  • Bin or container for cooking related items
  • Small and large boiling pots
  • Wine bottle opener
  • Strainer
  • Portable mini-burner and extra fuel
  • Firewood
  • Oven mitts
  • Water bottles
  • Can opener
  • Travel mugs/ Thermos
  • Sponge, dishcloth and dish towel
  • Non-stick pan
  • Tongs
  • Marshmallow/ hot dog roasting sticks
  • Dish soap in carry on bottle
  • Wash cloths
  • Cast Iron Pan
  • Large tub or pot for washing dishes
  • Camping stove + fuel for stove
  • Lighter or matches
  • Biodegradable soap
  • Olive oil
  • Seasonings
  • Tin foil
  • Sweetener
  • Instant coffee or portable coffee maker + coffee
  • Plates, bowls, utensils, cups
  • Hot dogs/Burgers/ Buns/ Marshmallows/ Etc
  • Food storage container bags
  • Wipes and paper towels
  • Portable Hammock
  • Portable chairs
  • Hiking + walking shoes + comfy shoes
  • Hiking + walking clothes + comfortable clothes
  • Swimsuits

 Are you already packing up your Ford?! We’ll see you next week with our top camping destination picks!

How To: Flush Your Radiator & Change Coolant

While the official start to summer is still about a week away, those of us in Texas are definitely already feeling the heat. Having a vehicle A/C that works properly is absolutely a must with this 100+ degree weather. That’s why it’s vital to ensure that your radiator has recently been flushed and that your coolant has been changed. Not sure how to do the flushing or change? Your friends at Leif Johnson Ford are here to give you simple and step-by-step instructions!

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  1. Open the radiator fill cap. This can usually be found on the top of the radiator. If your vehicle has a plastic tank or reservoir for coolant, go ahead and open that too.
  2. Now it’s time to check your vehicle’s owner manual. First, look for the location of the radiator petcock. (Petcock = Small valve) Position the petcock underneath this area to capture the antifreeze.
  3. Open the drain and let all coolant drain into this container until it ceases to flow. Proceed to close the petcock/drain.
  4. Now it’s time to pour your radiator flush product (such as Ironite ThoroFlush 468-9110-16) into the radiator. Take your garden hose and fill the radiator until it’s about one inch below radiator neck. From there, follow the directions on your radiator flush product.
  5. Close the caps to your radiator and reservoir.
  6. Turn your heater on high and run your engine for approximately ten minutes after it reaches operating temperature. Turn car off until your engine and radiator are cool to the touch.
  7. Close the petcock or drain after you have drained the radiator. Refill the system with water and put caps back on. Once the engine has reached operating temperatures, run the heater on high again for ten minutes. Let cool once again.
  8. Remove caps and repeat step 3.
  9. Place used coolant in a closed container and drop off at your closest recycling center. You will probably have a lot of diluted and used coolant by the time you are finished with this process.
  10. Now it’s time to refill your radiator with pre-diluted coolant! Make sure that it’s the type approved by your vehicle’s manufacturer. (If you are using a full strength coolant, use diluted water. It’s a good rule of thumb to use 50/50 water and coolant in most climates.)
  11. Run your engine until the cooling system ceases to bubble and the coolant level begins to rise. Put the radiator cap back on the system. If your car has a coolant bleed screw, use this in lieu of the radiator cap method.
  12. Check the radiator coolant level once again. Add more coolant in the radiator and the plastic tank if the coolant isn’t reaching the “full level” indicator.
  13. You’re almost done! Go ahead and close and tighten the radiator cap and reservoir cap. Check the coolant a day or two later to ensure it is still looking nice and full.
  14. That’s all, folks! In the winter, consider using an antifreeze tester to check the lowest possible temperatures that your coolant can reach without freezing. Other than that, you should be good to go. This is a relatively simple process that is safe for beginners to tackle!

If you need absolutely any help at all, feel free to call your friends at Leif Johnson Ford with questions or to schedule an appointment! 

 

5 Summer Road-Trip Spots Outside of Austin

It’s time to start planning those summer vacations! If you don’t have much PTO or just don’t have the time or money to escape for long, your friends at Leif Johnson Ford are here to help. We have five mini road-trips from Austin that will leave you feeling like you’re on vacation miles from home!

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  1. Krause Springs

This gorgeous camping and swimming site in Spicewood, Texas is an awesome addition to your summer agenda. Don’t miss the butterfly gardens while you’re there!

2. Magnolia Silos

Waco, Texas was put on the map by Chip and Joanna Gaines, and there’s a good chance you’ve heard of their famous Magnolia Silos. It’s very much its own little world full of shopping, food, a garden and games. Expect big crowds at the market and eateries, but know the treats, sights and Instagram photos are well worth your time!

3. Hamilton Pool

A beautiful and natural pool created when the dome of an underground river collapsed, this popular attraction boasts arguably the most incredible waterfall in the Austin area. Look out for a variety of birds and rare plant species when you’re there. Reservations only for this one!

4. Enchanted Rock

Climb to the top of Fredericksburg’s ancient dome and you will be rewarded with some of the most spectacular views of the Texas Hill Country! Hiking, rock climbing, bird watching, stargazing, and picnicking are just some of the options for having a rockin’ day at Enchanted Rock.  Make sure to get there early on the weekends as the park often closes due to capacity.

5. Wimberley Market Days

The oldest market in the Texas Hill Country offers more than 475 booths of incredible things! Drive out the first Saturday of every month to enjoy live music, tree-shaded paths and plenty of shopping. Hours are 7am to 3pm during the summer months.

Which of these do you want to visit first? Have you visited a few already? Or are you planning to hop in your Ford (or other vehicle, we don’t judge.) and drive out to one of these spots? Let us know in the comments below! 

Summer Organizational Tips For Vehicle

Summer is officially upon us. This means the kids are out of school, and road-trips, sports games, slumber parties and new adventures are probably in the works. This also might mean that your car is a mess, or has the potential to be that way soon. But with all of the upcoming car rides, this is also the time that it’s best to have a well-organized vehicle. Leif Johnson Ford is here with some easy ways to keep your vehicle organized and ready for all of the fun summer has in store!

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  1. Grab a box with a lid from the dollar store and pack all of your summer necessities. Think sunscreen, bug spray, extra shoes, extra clothes, swim suits, sun hats, baby powder for removing sand, etc.
  2. Keep a durable and labeled folder with important items such as your insurance and registration safe in the glove compartment. These are items that often seem to disappear right when we need them most, and this simple trick helps ensure that doesn’t happen!
  3. Hang a shoe organizer and use as backseat pockets for toys and miscellaneous items.
  4. Make a ‘Summer Ouch Kit’, aka a first aid kit especially for your car. Use an old baby wipe’s for your kit’s base. Pack assorted sizes of Bandaids, instant ice packs, Neosporin, gauze, Ibuprofen + Tylenol, Benadryl, Antiseptic spray, a flashlight, non-latex gloves, a roller bandage, scissors, tweezers, a thermometer, extra sunscreen and anything else you think could be needed in an emergency!
  5. Buy fabric bins from the dollar store or Walmart and place emergency items such as jumper cables, an umbrella, an extra phone charger, and a flashlight inside. Store in the back seat or in the trunk.
  6. Recycle an empty and plastic Folgers coffee can by turning it into a car trash can. You can use it as is or have fun and paint/decorate before using in your vehicle.

Whatever your destinations this summer, these simple organizational tools will help your get there in style!

How to Replace A Vehicle Air Filter

Your vehicle’s air filter helps protect your vehicle by preventing harmful contaminants such as pollen, dirt and sand from being sucked into your vehicle’s engine. There are warning signs to look for that indicate your air filter is dirty. Look for poor gas mileage, a misfiring or idling engine, gasoline smell, black smoke, the check engine light illuminated and decreased engine power, throttle response and acceleration.

Your air filter should be changed every 12,000 miles or 12 months to best protect the engine. Luckily, the process of changing an air filter is relatively simple. Your friends at Leif Johnson Ford would love to walk you through the steps!

airfilter

  1. First, purchase an air filter that matches your vehicle’s make and model. If you need help with this, do a quick internet search or call your friends at Leif Johnson Ford!
  2. Mark your new filter with today’s date. This will help you remember how long it’s been since your last filter change.
  3. Make sure the your vehicle is secure. Park the car on level ground and apply the parking brake. Shift into first gear (manual) or Park (automatic), and turn off the ignition.
  4. Raise the hood and look for the air filter housing box. Oftentimes this is a black plastic box with a hose coming out of it, and can be found near the front of the engine compartment. However, if it’s an older vehicle with a carburetor, look for a round air filter in a metal housing that fits over the carburetor.
  5. You will now need to figure out how the cover on your vehicle’s air filter housing box is removed. There are usually two clamps, wing nuts, or screws holding it in place. Go ahead and release and remove cover.
  6. Now it’s time to remove the old filter. Make sure to take note of which direction it was installed, as this is important for air flow. Look over your old filter, checking for dirt and debris. If it looks clean and at least somewhat new, it most likely does not need to be replaced quite yet. A rule of thumb – If it’s in good enough shape, you should be able to see light through the filter.
  7. Compare the old and new filter to ensure that they match.
  8. Place your filter in the filter box in the same direction as the old one was installed.
  9. Replace the filter box and make sure that is secure.
  10. Check your air filter again in 30 days to keep your car’s engine in the healthiest shape!

This is usually a fairly simple process. But if you have absolutely any questions or something isn’t going quite right, ask for your Leif Johnson Ford service pals at 512-454-3711. We would be more than happy to help!