Chrysler Readies Nine-Speed Auto Transmissions to Cut Fuel Consumption

November 23, 2012

Pre-dates Obama and his stupid EPA … It’s been known for decades how to do this, just space out the gears for lower of-the-line grunt, then lower the cruise RPM with overdrive ratios for better fuel economy. The new Mercedes designed Chrysler built 3.6 liter six is the perfect engine for this match-up.

Jeep Grand Cherokee is set for the 8-speed up grade this coming January.

A 16% improvement in fuel efficiency is expected from nine-speed transmission

Automakers are pulling out all the stops and looking to squeeze every single mile per gallon out of their automobiles by any means necessary. Automakers are looking at more fuel-efficient engines with smaller displacements, but they’re also looking at reducing the weight of vehicles and increasing the number of forward gears used in car/truck transmissions.

Adding forward gears to a transmission makes a lot of sense because the slower the engine spins, the less fuel it consumes. In years past automatic transmissions used in vehicles commonly had four or five forward gears. More recent vehicles are moving up to six-speed and in some cases even eight-speed automatic transmissions in luxury vehicles. Chrysler is eyeing even more gears inside with nine-speed gearboxes for more mainstream vehicles.

According to Mircea Gradu, vice president transmission powertrain driveline engineering, Chrysler will roll out its first nine-speed transmission by the first half of 2013. “I’m convinced that, sooner or later, others will come up with similar solutions,” Gradu said in an interview from his office in Auburn Hills, Michigan, where Chrysler is based. “Hopefully, the time will be as long as possible until they catch up with the technology.”

Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne believes that the automaker and its various brands will be able to meet looming fuel-efficiency standards by using technology that improves traditional gasoline engines combined with better transmissions rather than moving to plug-in hybrids and pure electric vehicles. CAFE standards will reach 54.5 mpg by 2025.

Michael Omotoso, a powertrain analyst at LMC Automotive, said, “They’re [Chrysler] doing basically the bare minimum to satisfy government regulations. Their strategy is to meet the standards with minimum investment.”

Bloomberg reports that the nine-speed transmission Chrysler is developing could boost fuel economy of certain models by as much as 16%. Chrysler has already scored a 15% boost in the highway fuel economy of the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger by adding an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Source: Business Week


A Very Dangerous Sign: Consumer Reports Survey Reveals Almost Half of Drivers Postpone Repairs

March 4, 2012

According to a recent Consumer Reports survey 40% of drivers aged 18 to 34 years old are putting off their maintenance repairs on their primary vehicles.   The big issue is not only are they delaying and/or postponing their repairs, but these are the safety repairs.  The Brake Pads, rotating tires, and even purchasing new tires.

Delaying or postponing routine maintenance, especially on a safety item like brakes and tires will generally end up costing the driver in the long run.

Source Aftermarket News: As part of the Bendix Brakes for Teen Safety – the following tips that technicians service writers and shop owners should share with their customers:

· Squealing brakes are a sign that brake pads need replacing, while grinding noises are the sign of a much more serious problem. Both should be checked out by a certified technician immediately to prevent more damage and higher repair costs.

· Washington is the new Lincoln. Consumers can forgo the traditional penny and do a tire tread test with a quarter. If a motorist can see the top of the general’s head, it’s time for new rubber. Proper tread is essential because it is pivotal for maintaining contact with wet or icy pavement.

· Antifreeze is an essential part of a vehicle’s cooling system and should contain a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze. Motorists should have a certified technician check the levels and recommend when a flush is needed.

· Visibility is critical. Wiper blades should be changed whenever the oil is changed, with fluid reservoirs checked once a month during the winter driving season. Schedule routine vehicle inspections with a licensed technician to ensure proper vehicle function and safety.

“Driving is hard enough with a properly maintained vehicle,” said Shannon Lara, senior manager, marketing communications for Honeywell Friction Materials. “Add in bad weather and neglected safety features, and a driver is putting their safety and others on the road at risk. By arming drivers with proper car care tips and advice, we are hoping to promote safe driving habits that start before they even turn the key.”

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