I need advice on radiator flushing...

Hi Everyone,
I have 45,000 miles on my 2400 Elantra GLS. I'm having the transmission fluid changed on Wednesday and a new filter installed at the dealer (I called AAMOCO and the manager kept on trying to insist
that a "Universal Oil" would work as well as SPIII.) I ended up telling him about this group and its warnings about using the right fluid and, and I decided not to go there (must be my female voice that lessens the impact of what I say to some mechanics?)
Anyway, I'm taking the advice of this group on maintenance and I'm going to have my radiator flushed somewhere. Are there any certain "specs" for the radiator fluid or, can I get it done at Jiffy Lube ($60 vs who knows how much at the dealer). I'd appreciate your advice.
Also, I want to give a positive report to this group: I had a tune-up done at my friendly, corner mechanic: spark plugs, air filter and oil change all for $123.00. Not bad!
I'm also hearing a slight vibration noise from my rear wheels that goes away when I step on the brakes. I have had the same brakes for 45,000 miles. Could it be the wear indicators?
Again, I trust this group and thank God you guys are out there! I read every post!
Thanks, Andrea
PS I get about 22 miles to the gallon, but I commute back and forth to work about 80 round trip miles a day back and forth through Boston traffic. I have snow tires on my car. Does that mileage sound right? I can actually read while I'm driving in the stop and go traffic, and sometimes play Scrabble Blast on my cell phone while waiting to crawl.
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I don't think the issue is that shops don't want to listen to you. I think it's that the place you called doesn't want to spend the extra money it costs to use the correct fluid. Good job not allowing them to service your transmission.
There's nothing special about the coolant. Regular aluminum-safe ethylene glycol will be fine. I haven't checked lately, but anything you can find should fit that bill. It's easy to bleed your cooling system, so it'd be hard for anyone to mess up too badly. Jiffy Lube should be fine for this.
The noise from the rear could be your brake pad wear indicators. The tend to make a squealing sound whose frequency varies in proportion to vehicle speed. I wouldn't be surprised if that were the noise.
22 MPG sounds a little low, but it's probably due to the conditions under which you drive. Sitting in traffic kills fuel economy.
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Thanks so much. I respect your advice!
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hyundaitech wrote:

One thing I found with my own car is that the original rear brake pads fit WAY too tight in the calipers, which caused them to stick, rub and wear out prematurely. This seems to be a common problem, but I'm curious if you've run into it. When I installed the replacement pads, I filed the "ears" slightly to get a proper fit, which hopefully will prevent premature wear.
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I have an update to report! I bought my car back to the dealer and I certainly get excellent service there, but, the price is out of this world!! My rear brakes had about a month "left" on the pads. I have 46,000 miles on the car. they changed the pads ($200.00) They also did a transmission "drain and fill" and they reported that my fluid was black!! I should have had it changed at 30,000 miles, but, I was searching for a job at that time and was lucky I could still make the car payment and gasoline to go for interviews, never mind the luxury of changing transmission fluid! They also cleaned my fuel filter and reported it was full of carbon deposits. So: rear brakes, a drain and fill, and fuel filter cleaning for the tune of $459.00. The bill states the labor was $358.86. My question, I was there for an hour and a half, does this mean they had two mechanics working on my car? My front brakes have about 3-4 months left on them, which I'm happy about: that means I will have gotten about 50,000 miles from my front brakes and 46,000 on the rear.
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I've never heard of "black" fluid. Something is wrong. I've seen it brown, but that is under extreme circumstances and many more miles than you have. He is either BSing you or there is some other problem. Do keep an eye on it over the next few thousand miles to see if it darkens. I don't know about the Elantra, bu t the Sonata, the 30,000 mile change is only under severe conditions. I've driven cars for 200,000 miles and never changed fluid and it was still nice and pink.
but, I was

OK, Now I know he was BSing you.
So: rear brakes, a drain and

This is why I don't go to dealers for normal service. Many shops (both dealer and independent) charge a flat rate regardless of actual time. They use a flat rate manual and the mechanics can make a forutne if th ey beat the time and most do. There is too much incentive to cheat and shortcut. Typical shop rates today are $60 to 980 per hour. Some much more in high rent districts. The $100 in parts is very much in line.

That is pretty good really. Most fo the time the fronts go far quicker as the front is heavier and takes most of hte braking force. Brake wear depends strictly on use. I can drive 26 miles to work and hit the brakes just three or four times, but where I used to live and work, I'd use them over 100 times in 15 miles. Everyohe is different in ther drive patters and driving habits so check them at 10,000 miles and depending on wear at that time, perhpas more frequent.
Check that tranny fluid too. Repairs can be very expensive. If you can get 46000 miles from a set of brakes, I doubt you fall into severe driving and the fluid should still look fresh, not black at that time.
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A few thoughts - some of which may seem contradictory. For one - if you fluid was black, then shame on you. Did you read your owner's manual? Owning a car requires some attention. If you felt you could just get in and drive then shame on you. That said - you did/do have every right to expect that a new car (not just new to you), should meet certain expectations. If it's a new car, even if it's past the "recommeded" intervals in some cases (such as tranny fluid), one should not expect to see catastrophic conditions. At 46K, I would not expect to see "black" fluid. I'd be throwing that right back at the dealer. Obviously, something is wrong with the tranny and having the fluid changed at 30K would have done nothing more than to (possibly) mask the problem. But... you own the car. It remains your responsibility to keep an eye on things. If you really think you can just drive a car and all is well, then I consider you to be...well, let's just say... naive.
You clearly have a tranny problem if ithe dignosis is correct. I'd hold the selling dealer accoutable if appropriate. If all this dealer did was change "black" fluid, then I'd have a whole bunch of other concerns. Transmission fluid does not become black without other problems - all, repeat... ALL of which require attention. This smells bad.

At once, tough and no-so-tough. Your financial problems are not the issues of the dealership. If you can't afford the mainenance for your car then you should expect to pay the price on the back end - if there is a legitimate price to pay. But - like I said, these are not magic intervals and something is not smelling right about your story. Either there is more that you are not telling, or you got taken badly. Either option is equally probable. There is no such thing as "Luxury" when it comes to maintaining your car. Either you maintain it or you pay the cost of repairs for not maintaining it. Some times those costs are negligible to nill for short term stretches, and sometimes those costs are huge. Regardless - they are your decisions, and you costs.

Bull. Nothing more to say other than "BULL".

Billing is based on book rate. There is a book rate dictated by the manufacturer for what any given job should be worth, in terms of repair time. If the mechanic can do it in less time, more power to him. The job is worth $N and $T (time), and if he can do it in less time, then he's simply more efficient. You're paying for the job - not for the mechanic's time.
Your front to rear time intervals are way out of whack. Front brakes wear about 2:1 against rear brakes - worst case. In other words, you rear brakes will go far longer than you front brakes if everything is correct. Think about this - which way does your car dive when you apply the brakes? Does it nose dive or does it set back on the rear springs? It nose dives! 80% of your braking is done by the front brakes. They will wear faster than rears.
I want to steer you to looking at your dealer in a favorable light, in that their rates have a reasoning behind them. They will always be more expensive than an independent shop and they will never match up to book rate, but a good dealer (despite these discrepancies) is still a good bet for the casual car driver/owner. At the same time, there are dealers out there that really screw people. I'm just trying to throw my two cents in so that you'll see where you are getting screwed and encourage you to continue to seek out a good dealer. They're out there. You have to carry your end of the bargain as the car owner, but having done that you should be able to expect fair and reasonable service from the dealer.
--

-Mike-
snipped-for-privacy@alltel.net
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Why not try the guy that did the tuneup? I'd trust him over some Jiffy Lube kid.

Could be, that is pushing the brake limits in miles. While you have the car in for the radiator flush, get him to check the brakes. If you found a good, relialbe, independent mechanic, stick with him and he is less likely to jack the bill on you. Heck, ask him about the transmission change also.

Yeah, the heavy traffic is a killer on mileage. When you are sitting still you are getting 0 MPG. If you live anywhere near Northbridge, get Bill's Radiator to do the flush for you.
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Thanks for the advice. I did ask my friendly mechanic that I trust. He said he doesn't do transmission or radiator. I'll check to see how far away Bill's Radiator is!
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