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September 2020

Is My Car Speedometer Accurate?

Is My Car Speedometer Accurate? - Gearstar Performance Transmissions

Have you ever noticed the significant difference between your car speedometer that the speed communicated to you by your GPS or Sat-Nav (satellite navigation)? If you have, do not fret; nothing is wrong with your speedometer, at least not yet. So, is your speedometer accurate? Which is correct: your GPS or your speedometer? In most cases, your speedometer is inaccurate as it reports a much higher speed than your vehicle is traveling at. But then, let us look at how a car speedometer works.

How a Car Speedometer Works

A car speedometer works by measuring the rotations of the wheel, driveshaft, or axle. The speedometer measures how fast those wheels are spinning by using the speed sensor in the transmission. As you well know, speed is defined as the measurement of distance over time. But a speedometer does not measure precisely how fast you travel from one point to another. Your vehicle takes these recorded rotations and applies an excellent arithmetic dose, and the speed is displayed accordingly.

However, the accuracy of a car speedometer depends heavily on the wheels’ wheels or the wheels’ diameter. If you have owned a car for a few years, the speedometer readout will be different now than when you first drove it off the production line or car dealership. But that is if you have not changed the wheel since you purchased the vehicle. This implies that if you change the wheel or tires, the speedometer reading will also vary accordingly. If the new tires come with a larger diameter than the old ones, a faster speed is recorded, and vice versa.

Having under-inflated tires or smaller tires results in a much slower recorded speed. The diameter of the wheels can also change, depending on tire pressure, size, and wear. And these can throw off the accuracy of your speedometer. That is right; a minute change in your car tire’s diameter – by several millimeters – results in incorrect speed recording. This error margin is, however, factored in how vehicle makers calibrate their speedometers.

When you are traveling at 30 mph, the wheels will be rotating at least 6-7 times per second. And this can quickly make a considerable difference of several miles per hour. There is a difference between a speedometer and an odometer. The latter – i.e., odometer – reveals the distance your automobile has traveled while the speedometer shows how fast your car is traveling. Odometer readings are uniquely designed to be accurate, while speedometers are generally calibrated to fudge numbers a little.

Common Car Speedometer Problems

Speedometers can have issues that are generally caused by the numerous components that make up the mechanism. At times, a faulty speedometer head can lead to speedometers not working at all. Another common problem that the speed indicator has is linked to the ‘Check Engine Light.’ When this light turns on, the speedometer stops working. This usually happens when speed sensors no longer send information to the vehicle’s computer. The speed cable may need a replacement when this problem occurs.

Signs and Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Speedometer Sensor

If you are observant, you will notice a few signs which indicate that your speedometer is not working correctly. These include:

    • Check Engine Light going on and off.
    • The speedometer behaving erratically while you are still driving,
    • The speedometer stops working entirely,
    • Overdrive light turning on and off for no apparent reason.

When you notice these signs as displayed on your dashboard, it may be likely that your speedometer has stopped functioning correctly.

Is Your Speedometer Accurate?

Your car speedometer may have an error of plus or minus 4 percent in the United States. This indicates that you could be going faster than what the speedometer reading reveals to you for much lower speeds. But for higher speeds, you could be going 3 miles per hour slower at the minimum. Tires are primarily responsible for this, as under-inflated or over-inflated tires can significantly impact your speedometer’s readout.

The calibration of a speedometer is based on the factory tires of your automobile. After some time, the treads on your vehicle’s factory tires get worn down and will require replacement. Worn tires have been proven to throw off speedometer readouts. Replacing the old tires with new ones that are not remarkably rated for your car can also make your speedometer inaccurate. Here is the big question: how, rigorously, do you test your speedometer’s accuracy?

Testing Speedometer Accuracy

If you have several reasons to suspect that your speedometer is somewhat inaccurate, you can carry out this test while driving, as it is the best way to determine whether your speedometer is accurate or not.

    • Get your hands on a stopwatch.
    • As soon as you pass a mile marker on the highway, start the stopwatch.
    • Then, stop the watch when you pass the next mile marker.
    • You can take the second hand of the stopwatch as your speed. It would be an excellent idea to bring a friend along for the ride to avoid distractions.

A blown a fuse or damaged wiring is more than enough to throw your speedometer out of whack. A malfunctioning engine control unit or sensor could report erroneous speed. To take care of this, have an auto shop or technician look at your vehicle. If there is an issue with your speedometer, the mechanic will fix it for you ASAP.

The Bottom Line

So, is your speedometer accurate? Well, you have read all the reasons why your speedometer could be accurate or inaccurate. This is not to imply that you should not trust your speedometer. It only means that you need to be careful anytime you are driving on the highway. The type of tires you use could also impact the accuracy of your speedometer. Make sure you go for factor or model-specified tires for your vehicle. This ensures that your speedometer will give more accurate readouts than when you use unrated automobile tires.

Can Low Transmission Fluid Reduce Engine Power?

Can Low Transmission Fluid Reduce Engine Power? - Gearstar Performance Transmissions

From getting to work to getting the kids to school to getting to your best friend’s house, you depend on your vehicle in a vast number of ways. To have a smooth run of your vehicle, all the entire architecture and engine mechanism must perform optimally. To start with, the engine – which is the heart and also a delicate part of the vehicle, must be in a healthy state all times.

How do you feel when you have your foot on the accelerator and you there is a drag in the movement of the vehicle? Frustrating. Transmission could be responsible. In days-gone-by of ancient vehicles, mere changing of the spark plugs, plug wires or even the carburetor would bring about a drastic change in the ‘drag’ movement. In modern vehicles where sensors are embedded, there are all kinds of culprits behind your car reluctance to accelerate.

You could be confused how transmission and/ transmission fluid is very important to vehicle’s engines. Here is why. But before getting to know the importance of a transmission fluid, this is what transmission means. Transmission refers to a gearbox that makes use of gear and gear trains to provide speed and torque conversions from a rotating power source, the engine, to another device – wheels.

Transmission fluid, on the other hand, is used to lubricate the components of a car’s transmission for optimum performance. If you have a faulty transmission, it will affect the smooth run of your engine which in turn makes you frustrated. In a situation where there is leakage or low transmission fluid, the engine would not provide maximum speed your vehicle.

What Is Engine Power?

To fully understand how engine works, knowing the power your engine can produce is important. Engine power is the amount of twisting force available at the crankshaft in the engine. The more torque you have, the more pulling power the engine has; hence, the force you feel when accelerating your vehicle.

The torque measurement provides an indication of how fast the engine will be able to move your vehicle’s weight. When driving and you have “engine power induced” light on, most times, it is the transmission losing its fluid. Also, the “check engine” light may pop on. Do not panic yet. Remain calm when driving your vehicle.

Ideally, when these lights come on, they mean your vehicle’s performance has been reduced to avoid damaging and wearing off the engine. And most modern cars are with series of sensors, which makes the electronic control unit to trigger the Reduced Power Mode after it has detected a system failure in the engine.

What Triggers the “Reduced Engine Power” Warning Light?

There are lots of reasons why your reduced engine light is on and you may be confused on how to make it go off. However, one of the most common causes of this problem is a fault with your electronic throttle actuator system. Modern cars utilize this in the stead of a tradition mechanical throttle body. In a throttle actuator control system, the Engine Control Unit masterminds two accelerator position sensors to determine your desire to accelerate. The device calculates the appropriate throttle response from two throttle position sensors.

Once it has the necessary information from the sensors, the Engine Control Unit uses an actuator motor to maneuver the throttle, thus controlling airflow into your vehicle’s engine. Any problem with your throttle actuator control system can easily trigger the “reduced engine power” warning light on the dashboard of your vehicle. For quick instance, the problem could be one of the vehicle’s sensors, the throttle body or even the accelerator pedal assembly.

Solutions to Reduced Engine Power Light

When you start your vehicle and you notice the Reduced Engine Power light is on, it is very much advisable not to drive. And if you are already at top speed on the highway, it is expected of you to visit a technician immediately. When you notice the light is off, the next thing is for you to scan your vehicle.

Sometimes, error codes and faults that occur are stored within the systems of your vehicle even if the scan occurs after the light goes off. In days-gone-by, older vehicles do not have computer systems which makes detecting fault more difficult. And finding these faults could be very expensive as well.

How do you fix this problem; reduced engine power light? Before driving to the mechanic or a technician, you could handle this yourself. If you drive a reduced engine power car, it could cause more problems before you get to the mechanic that will have your vehicle fixed. Here are the simple steps you can take:

1. Replace the Air Flow Sensor

There are couple of ways to detect if your vehicle’s air sensor is not working properly. When you start the engine, open the hood or bonnet. Try to locate the air flow sensor and tap severally. If the engine falters slightly, the air flow is dirty. Alternatively, stop the engine and disconnect the sensor.

Start the engine afterwards. The engine will sense the removal of the air flow sensor and will go into a back-up running mode. This is a simple fault with a pretty simple fix. Replacing the air flow sensor is the best alternate when you discover it is dirty and enjoy a return to your standard engine power!

2. Replace Air Filter

Another step in having a healthier engine is to make sure you have a clean air filter in perfect working condition. In almost all modern cars, the air filter is located in a rectangular box. It is placed to one side of the engine block just near the fender. Remove the filter itself and have a check under a light.

If no light or very little light comes through, that means the air filter is clogged and must be replaced immediately. When engine response to distorted conditions begins, transmission fluid is one of the major things to replace immediately. Hence, the reduction in engine power which would make the engine wear and tear in no time.

Five Things To Never Do To Your Ford’s Automatic Transmission

Automatic transmissions in Ford are pretty much standard nowadays — if you want a manual, you may have to request for it or get it custom built. Automatic has made driving seamless and easier than ever, and not to forget the added power output, which manual models can’t deliver. But just because it has revolutionized the way we drive, doesn’t mean it will work as smoothly as new for years to come. You will need to do a lot of things to keep it in tip-top shape. But you will also need to avoid a few things to prevent its breakdown.

Here are a few things you should never do to Ford’s automatic transmission:

Don’t drive through deep water

It’s tempting to test your new Ford truck’s ability to cross a creek. Or perhaps, the roads are flooded, and you have no way around to get home. But if you drive through deep water, the chances of transmission damage quadruple. Water can go into the vents of your Ford’s auto transmission and may destroy the transmission beyond repair. Sure, you may get lucky, but it’s usually not worth the risk, as transmission repairs are heavy on pockets.

Avoiding going straight from reverse to drive when the vehicle is mobile

Many drivers whip the transmission into drive while they are backing up, thinking it’s fine to do it. But you might want to change this habit or avoid it in the first place. When you switch from reverse to drive or vice versa without stopping the vehicle completely, you put pressure on the transmission bands and clutch plates, which can ruin the transmission and lead to hefty repairs. It’s best to stop the vehicle first and then switch to reverse from the drive and vice versa.

Avoid leaving the transmission in the drive when idling

Whether you stopped your Ford because of traffic or any other reason, leaving the transmission in drive can lead to overheating inside it, which can impact its lifespan. So, when you are idling the vehicle for a while, make sure to shut the transmission down completely. This way, Ford’s auto transmission won’t be sending power, which prevents overheating.

Don’t forget to change the transmission fluid

Many people overlook the importance of replacing automatic transmission fluid (ATF) under normal driving conditions. However, it’s a blunder that invites plenty of transmission issues, including its complete failure. As a rule of thumb, it’s best to avoid driving with dirty transmission fluid. Always replace it as per the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Don’t coast down in neutral

Many drivers think of saving gas when coming downhill by coasting down in neutral. However, that’s not true. While it may work with manual transmissions, Ford’s auto transmission may deliver more gas to the engine to prepare for the start because of the increase in the ROM while in neutral. So, you are not saving gas but using more by coming downhill in neutral.

It’s also vital to avoid driving your Ford when you are noticing transmission fluid leaks. In such cases, the best course of action is to visit a repair shop immediately and get the leaks fixed.

If you are looking for automatic transmission for your Ford, get in touch with us and discuss your requirements. We are a team of experts who custom build Ford’s auto transmission to improve your driving experience.

3 Symptoms Of A Failing 4L60E Transmission And How To Diagnose The Problems

The 4L60E transmission by General Motors first came onto the scene in 1992 where it served as a replacement or upgrade to the 700R4 transmission. Although both transmissions were quite similar, it was the first time when GM shifted from a hydraulically-controlled transmission to an electronically-controlled one. The transmission was used in a large number of vehicles, including GM vans, SUVs, trucks, as well as many rear-wheel-drive cars. Some of the most popular cars that used the transmission include the Chevrolet Corvette, Camaro, Impala, and more.

Just like any other transmission, 4L60E can also experience problems and might require an upgrade. For better performance, get automatic transmission rebuild kits. Here are 3 symptoms of a failing 4L60E transmission and how to diagnose the problems:

  • No Third Gear – You put the vehicle in drive, start off the transmission, and shift to second gear. Everything works fine until you go to the third gear. When you put your vehicle in third gear, the engine runs away as if it’s in neutral. The problem? 3-4 clutch pack failure! Take the bell off, pull the pan, take out the filter and solenoids, pull the pump and drone, separate the drone, and what you will see is a burned up 3/4 clutch pack. But what causes it? The 3/4 piston rubber seals shrink from heat and age. Hydraulic pressure blows around it and the clutch pack fries. What you need are a new piston and a clutch pack.
  • No Second Gear/Reverse – The second most common symptom of a failing 4L60E transmission is your inability to shift to second gear and go reverse. The reason? A broken drive shell! Open the shell. After the drums are removed, remove the snap ring, pull out the planetary gearset, remove the input ring gear, and check the drive shell. Though the shell is supposed to be one piece, not only can it break off, but it can also strip out the splines.
  • Hard Second Gear– The third most common symptom of a failing 4L60E transmission is the difficulty in shifting to the second gear. The second is so hard that it almost feels like a shift kit has been installed. A diagnostic scan comes up that shows code 1870 internal slippage. The reason? A worn TCC regulator valve! The “check engine” light might turn on. The problem is in the valve body. Pull the pan and the filter, remove the solenoids and wiring harness, remove the valve body bolt, lift the valve body, and turn it over. The TCC regulator valve is located there. It wears out and causes the converter clutch to slip.

Repair Choices

  • Get an oversized replacement valve and reamer.
  • Use the spring provided in high-quality automatic transmission rebuilds kitsJust remove the clip in plug and valve assembly and replace the spring, valves plug, and clip. This essentially fixes the problem. The spring prevents the valve from moving this and stops leakage.

Looking for high-performance automatic transmissions for your vehicle? Gearstar is the place to go! Find the right transmissions for your model and get the most out of your car.