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If you’ve ever had your car at a quick lube or the auto department at your local big box store, you’ve probably seen the signs offering to service your car’s transmission. Which begs the questions: Should you let them do it, or should you bring your car to a transmission specialist?

Generally speaking, when it’s time to have your transmission serviced, you’ll always be better off taking your car to a transmission specialist, such as your local Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care center.

Of course, that begs the question: Why? Why can’t a general repair shop handle a transmission service? After all, it’s just about draining out the old oil and replacing it with new, right?

Not exactly. Oh, sure, in the simplest terms, a transmission service is about changing the oil. But that’s really only a small part of the process.

The more important issue is about knowing what to look for. Is the old oil really burnt or just a little worn out? Is the material in the bottom of the sump indicate a problem or is it just from normal wear? And should you really be paying for a service… or is it too late for that?

These are important questions, and they go way beyond the simple “drain out the old oil and replacing it with new” mentality. Those questions require technical expertise that’s well beyond that of the average oil change worker. It requires the eye of a true transmission expert… like the ones at your nearby Cottman center.

So, before you ask the folks at your local quick lube or big box store to service your car’s transmission, consider whether they can offer you the knowledge and the experience to be sure your transmission is in good condition. Then give your local Cottman center a call.

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Q and A with Derik Beck – Vice President of Digital Marketing

What is your professional background?

Throughout my career, I have held various management roles within global organizations and within those roles I had the opportunity to lead interactive web projects, launched corporate and product websites, oversaw social media programs, including public relations efforts and have forged strong partnerships with key outside partners. My current position is vice president of digital marketing for Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care.

How has your background prepared you for your current role with Cottman?

Currently, I oversee all digital aspects specifically for Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care including SEO, social media and the national and local franchise websites. My responsibilities also include leading public relations and marketing efforts for the Cottman brand, budgeting P&L, as well as assisting in franchise development efforts.

How does Cottman differentiate itself from other auto repair franchises in the U.S.?

With franchised locations across the U.S., Cottman is a transmission and auto repair brand that services almost any make or model vehicle, foreign or domestic. Our services include complete transmission service, brakes, suspension, air conditioning service and more. As for the ways that our brand differentiates itself, we always make it a point to put our loyal customers and the community first. Not only do we commit ourselves to giving our customers excellent auto repair experience, we also have close ties to the community. Most of our franchisees are closely involved with their local charities, non-profits and hospitals. The way we see it, we cannot become a true community partner unless we are fully immersed within our neighborhoods and striving to make them a better place all-around.

Where do you see Cottman in the next five years?

In five years, we see Cottman only further solidifying its reputation as one of the nation’s most trusted auto repair centers. Since the brand’s founding in 1962, we have been welcomed into more than 50 communities throughout the nation and look forward to working with our centers on expanding their neighborhood footprint.

Who is your typical franchisee?

Our typical franchisee is passionate about owning a business and working within their respective community. While a person does not need to have mechanical or technical experience, they do need to be customer service oriented. Additionally, a franchisee should have an entrepreneurial drive and a desire to control their own destiny through business ownership.

What type of support does Cottman provide its franchise partners?

When a franchisee joins the Cottman team, they also gain a wide range of support from our dedicated home office and franchise system. We take great pride in giving our franchisees one-on-one attention, an excellent franchise training program and full marketing and PR support.

Do you have any advice for our readers who are exploring franchise opportunities?

When choosing the best franchise to invest in, it is imperative to make sure that the franchise’s mission statement is one that you can get behind and advocate for. Also, perhaps the most important piece of advice, is to ensure that the franchise you are committing yourself is something you can see doing for years to come. A franchise can be turn out to be a life-long commitment, so you want to ensure you make a wise investment for the long-term.

Could you tell us about Cottman’s Educational Video Series?

The Cottman Man Educational Video Series was released back in February, and we added additional videos for April in honor of National Car Care Month. Featuring the brand’s signature Cottman Man as an animated character into the videos provide user-friendly tips on topics relating to car care, such how to address annual car service needs, routine maintenance, road trip precautions and many more relevant consumer preventative and proactive car care tips. He’s an image of the very best in each of us: our centers and ourselves. And he’s someone we want to emulate every day in our centers, all across the country. Presenting him as an animated character for our web sites allows us to breathe new life into our most cherished concept: serving the motoring community.

We created this video series as a fun and informative way for our loyal and growing base of customers to learn more about how to avoid car problems, and what to do if they occur. Putting the animated Cottman Man to work in these short videos helps to demystify car care for our customers by solving common car problems. We strive everyday to garner respect from our consumers, and the video series is a sincere way for us to show the depths to which we care.

The video series can be found at http://www.cottman.com/videos/.

Where can we keep up with Cottman over social media?

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/cottmantransmissionandtotalautocare

Twitter:
@CottmanAutoCare

LinkedIn:
https://www.linkedin.com/company/cottman-transmission-and-total-auto-care

Youtube:
https://www.youtube.com/user/CottmanAutoCare

In Celebration of Summer and Road Trip Season, Auto Repair Brand Releases Money-Saving Strategies

As car owners shift gears and transition into summer, it is also time to plan all types of getaways to enjoy the season. Whether a weekend escape or a cross-country road trip is on the agenda, fuel efficiency should be top of mind.

Due to lower fuel prices, the American Automobile Association (AAA) just predicted that 2016 will be a record-setting year for gasoline consumption and total miles traveled. In response, Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care, revered across the nation for the honesty and integrity that defines each and every customer experience, today released a list of auto care tips to help drivers save money on fuel.

Covering everything from tire pressure to oil changes, Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care lists best practices to maximize any budget:

Schedule a Pre-Vacation Check: To help avoid car troubles while on the road, a driver should schedule a pre-vacation check. The appointment should include a complete safety check with a thorough underhood check.

Tire Pressure Check: Proper tire pressure helps increase gas mileage. As a matter of fact, it can even improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent.

Use Recommended Motor Oil: Every car owner manual should have the recommended grade of motor oil needed for the automobile. If followed correctly, gas mileage can be improved by 1 to 2 percent.

Another resource available to drivers interested in fuel efficiency is Cottman Man’s Educational Video Series, which was recently released as an informational resource about relevant consumer preventative and proactive car care tips.

“Now that’s time for summer, we get a lot of questions about saving money on fuel. It’s a hot topic because many of our customers are taking extended road trips,” said Derik Beck, vice president of digital marketing for Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care. “For this reason, we take a lot of pride in directly responding to those concerns with some of our most effective suggestions.”

To view The Cottman Man Educational Video Series, visit http://www.cottman.com/videos/. And, to learn more about Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care, please visit www.cottman.com.

There’s really no other way to say it: Having a transmission rebuilt or replaced is an expensive proposition. If you’ve had one done recently, the last thing you want is to have to buy another one anytime soon.

That’s okay: There are a lot of things you can do to protect your transmission and keep it working great for years to come.

You probably already know that having your transmission serviced regularly is one way to make sure it stays healthy. But did you know that there are some driving tips that’ll add years to your transmission’s life? It’s true, and most are fairly simple:

  1. Come to a complete stop before shifting gears — You start your car, back out of the driveway, and drop the transmission into drive. Did you wait until your car was stopped, or did you shift into drive while the car was still rolling backward?

If you didn’t wait to come to a stop, you put a lot of stress and wear on the forward clutches. To get more miles out of your transmission, always come to a full stop before shifting directions.

  1. Help it shift — You probably already know that having a heavy foot on the throttle can cost you at the gas pump. But did you know it can also cut miles off your transmission’s life? It can, because the additional torque puts more load on the clutches each time it shifts gears.

To reduce clutch wear and extend your transmission’s life, pay attention to the shift timing. Then, right before the transmission is ready to shift, back off the gas just a bit. The reduced throttle will lighten the load and limit the wear on the clutches.

  1. Anticipate traffic changes — Each time you come to a stop, your transmission shifts back into first gear. Then, to reach cruising speed, it has to shift all the way through the gear ranges again. And each shift means more wear on the transmission.

To reduce that wear, look ahead and anticipate what’s coming. See a red light up ahead? Back off the gas and let the car coast. Maybe the light will change before you get there and reduce the number of shifts necessary to bring the car back to cruising speed.

Simple, right? And those few, simple driving techniques can add years to your transmission. Combine them with a regular maintenance schedule, and there’s a good chance you’ll never have to pay for a new transmission again.

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The event took place at the Texas Roadhouse in Hamilton, New Jersey on May 17. This marked the first of six Cruise Nights. A large crowd attended and enjoyed food, music, and a good time in support of a good cause.

All the proceeds generated by the event went to the Capital K9 Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing ballistic body armor and other safety equipment for police working dogs. Police dogs are a vital part of law enforcement, and their safety contributes to the safety of the community they protect. Three dogs were presented with bulletproof vests thanks to the funds raised by Capital K9 Association.

There will be five more Cruise Nights, all taking place at the Texas Roadhouse in Hamilton from 6pm-10pm. If you want to support your community and the Capital K9 Association, we encourage you to join us on. Don’t miss out on a chance to help protect those who protect us.

Cottman Transmissions is honored to provide support for our community, our police, and their dogs. For more information on the Cruise Nights or this worthy cause go online to capitalk9.org.

5-25-16 - Cottman of Trenton a proud sponsor of Cruise Nights to benefit the Capital K9 Association - 2

There are dozens of things that can reduce the life of your car’s transmission, from poor driving habits to inadequate service intervals. But the leading cause of damage to automatic transmissions is heat.

The transmission cooler is designed to help extract heat from the transmission: Transmission fluid runs through the cooler, releasing heat to the coolant in the radiator. That coolant, in turn, releases heat to the air passing over the fins. The cooled transmission fluid then returns to the transmission, to keep it running cooler.

For most normal driving, the factory cooler is adequate to keep the transmission safe. But under extreme circumstances you may need more cooling capacity than the factory cooler can provide.

What kind of circumstances? Towing, for one. If you have a camper, trailer, or boat, towing it will increase the heat in your transmission dramatically.

Another source of excess heat involves where you drive. On generally flat roads, the factory cooler should be fine. But if you do a lot of driving on extreme grades, such as through the mountains, your transmission will be working overtime. And if you’re towing a trailer at the same time, well, that could be the kiss of death for your transmission.

In those cases, your best bet is to have an auxiliary transmission cooler added to the system. An auxiliary cooler is like a little radiator that mounts in front of the regular radiator. Transmission fluid gets piped through the cooler to remove more heat than the factory cooler can, and it’ll keep your transmission running cooler in even the most difficult terrain.

Your local Cottman center will be happy to discuss your driving situation, and they’ll let you know whether you should consider adding an auxiliary transmission cooler to your car. And if you do need one, they can get the right one for your specific needs and install it for you.

Heat can be a killer for your transmission, but the folks at your nearby Cottman center can help protect you from that heat, and keep you on the road for miles and miles.

The International Advertising Competition has just announced that Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care has won two categories in the 2016 competition:

The annual competition is the creation of the Web Marketing Association (WMA), an association of “internet marketing, advertising, PR, and design professionals who share an interest for improving the quality of advertising, marketing and promotion used to attract visitors to corporate web sites,” according to their web site.

“Winning these awards is extremely gratifying, as it comes from marketing professionals,” says Sue Burg, Cottman’s senior director of advertising. “These are people who understand what great internet communications should look like, and they found ours to be exceptional.”

Cottman Wins Two Awards - photo of actual awards - Low Res

While most corporate websites focus on sales, the Cottman Man is about people; providing them with a clear explanation of their cars and how to ask for service. This is important because, in any type of service situation, communication is critical for accurate diagnosis and repair.

“Our goal with these sites was to help educate the consumer,” explains Derik Beck, Cottman’s VP of digital marketing. “Cars aren’t the same as they were 20 or 30 years ago, and of course, neither is keeping those cars running dependably. Educated consumers can enjoy more trouble free miles out of their cars, and they can make smarter decisions when they do need repairs.”

“Today’s cars are extremely complex,” explains Cottman President Randy Wright. “There’s no way the average consumer can keep up with the changes taking place. The Cottman Man blog and video series take these highly technical subjects and makes them clear to everyone, regardless of their technical background. It fills a critical need and helps consumers become more comfortable when they need to speak with a technician or service advisor.”

The blog has posts with information on a wide variety of subjects, including service recommendations, preparing for a road trip, saving money on your car, and even how to explain a problem to your local technician. They’re written in a clear and friendly manner, without relying on jargon or acronyms that have no meaning to anyone outside the repair industry.

This isn’t the first time the Cottman Man Blog has been singled out for high praise. It’s actually received two other awards in its short life:

  • 2015 Automotive Communications award from the Car Care Council Women’s Board (WB) and the Automotive Communication Council (ACC)
  • Named Top 50 Automotive and Mechanics Blogs in a list compiled by Direct Capital.

For more information, visit the Cottman Man Blog on line at www.TheCottmanManBlog.com, or view the Cottman Man Educational Videos on the Cottman web site at www.Cottman.com/videos.

Every time you watch the news lately, it seems some area is flooding. Texas just went through the worst flooding in recorded history, causing damage will end up costing billions to repair.

But housing and road damage are only a part of the effects of flood waters: They can also create irreparable harm to your car or truck.

The water is bad enough, but flooding isn’t just about water: The rising tides bring silt, sewage, and all kinds of blech! — any one of which can hurt your car. When combined, they can create a level of damage that can never be fully repaired.

Naturally, the easiest way to prevent flood damage is to avoid it. If you hear a flood forecast, move your car to higher ground. And avoid driving during flood warnings: There’s no way to tell whether that water ahead is just a puddle or a small lake!

If your car did get caught in a flood, don’t try to start the engine!

That’s because, once it starts, any dirty water in the engine, transmission, or brake system will spread around and get mixed with the fluids. What could have been repaired with a simple oil change may now require a major flush or rebuild.

Automatic transmissions are particularly susceptible to water damage. The clutches in your transmission are hygroscopic — that is, they’ll literally push oil out of the linings to absorb water. Even if the transmission works for a while, it won’t be long before it fails.

Instead, have your car towed to your local Cottman center, and have them check for water contamination. They can change the fluids before they start the engine, and improve the chances of saving your car.

Of course, even if you remember these rules, you still may not be able to get your car back on the road. The water and contaminants can do a real number on the car’s electronics and computer systems. But remembering not to start the engine could give you a chance at saving your car after a flood.

Franchisees and Corporate Leadership Collaborate to Continue Company’s Leading Position in the

Auto Repair and Maintenance Services Industry

The spirit of unity filled a weekend of productive educational and networking sessions during the 2016 Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care National Convention. Held recently at the Hilton Myrtle Beach Resort, the convention was the year’s most anticipated event for the franchise system.

“There’s nothing better than bringing the Cottman family together,” said Randy Wright, president of Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care. “Our annual convention is an important time to collaborate and discuss innovative ideas for the future, and one we look forward to every year.”

The convention celebrated several key accomplishments and inspired all attendees – franchisees, local market team members and corporate leadership – to think big, strive for excellence and garner close ties to the community. The event also included extensive sales and marketing training, educational seminars and breakout sessions.

“We have made tremendous strides as a franchise this year,” said Wright. “While upholding the honesty and integrity that defines every experience at Cottman, our team has collectively earned the trust and respect of the communities we serve. The convention is one way we like to recognize these achievements and also plan ways to push ourselves to the next level for our loyal customers.”

The most emotional portion of the gathering was the awards dinner. Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care bestowed honors on top-performing franchisees and their team members in attendance for best practices, leadership initiatives and excellent customer service over the past 12 months.

During the dinner, Wright presented the “President’s Award” to Rick White, owner of Cottman of Raleigh. He earned the brand’s highest honor with a series of strong marks in all criteria judged, including total revenue, revenue increase, operations and participation within the franchise system.

“To be awarded such a prestigious recognition is a tribute to my entire team, which works incredibly hard along with me,” said White who opened his Cottman center 19 years ago. “I look forward to sharing this honor with all who have been part of our successes.”

The “Cottman Man Award,” given to the franchisee with the highest gross sales for the previous year, went to Jim Dietvorst, owner of Cottman of Denver and Cottman of Wheat Ridge.

Santo Albanese from Cottman of Stroudsburg, was recognized as “Manager of the Year,” one of the chain’s highest honors. Albanese exemplifies the highest standards in professionalism, dedication and sales.

Cassey and Clay Beacham, owners of Cottman of Greenville, were honored with the “Person of the Year Award.” This award goes to franchisees who show a burning desire to be the best through their actions. Given that sales at Cottman of Greenville has grown substantially for three consecutive years, it is apparent that Casey and Clay developed a plan of action and saw it through.

Doug and Mary Scott, owners of Cottman of Gladstone and Cottman of Independence, received “The Transmission Physician Award” for their industry knowledge. The two are not only successfully managing in their own center, but they are also consistently supporting fellow Cottman owners and establishing long term market relationships with both outside accounts and retail customers alike.

Named after the Cottman founders, “The Founders Award,” presented to Beth Burns, owner of Cottman of Trenton. The award is given to an individual who has overcome adversity. As an owner, Burns has had her share of trials and tribulations but throughout her career has never shrank from any opportunity presented to her, making her a perfect fit for the honor.

Given to three outstanding franchisees, the recipients of the “Top National Account Development Award” included Ron Vinduska, owner of Cottman of Jacksonville, Greg Dittbrenner, owner of Cottman of New Castle, and Clay Beacham. This honor is awarded to proactive and dedicated owners who work hard to acquire and retain national accounts.

The “Top Business to Business Customer Development Award” was given to John Hilgar, owner of Cottman of Feasterville, and Michael Morrison, owner of Cottman of Spartanburg. Both franchisees have shown a strong commitment to developing and nurturing these types of accounts. In the past year, they have added new business while also maintaining existing accounts.

This year, two franchisees received the “Technical Proficiency Award” for demonstrating exceptional technical knowledge of the automotive industry. The honorees were Duke Caulk, technician at Cottman of Wilmington and Damon Broadway, technician at Cottman of Gladstone.

In addition, 14 Cottman centers were honored with a “Customer Service Award” for providing excellent service to its respective communities. The honorees included:

  • Cottman of Lansdale
  • Cottman of Spartanburg
  • Cottman of Denver
  • Cottman of Brandon
  • Cottman of Wheat Ridge
  • Cottman of Stroudsburg
  • Cottman of Cincinnati
  • Cottman of Lancaster
  • Cottman of La Place
  • Cottman of Louisville
  • Cottman of The Woodlands
  • Cottman of Waldorf
  • Cottman of Fern Park
  • Cottman of St. Peters

To learn more about Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care, please visit www.cottman.com.

About Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care

With locations across the U.S., Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care is a transmission and auto repair brand that services almost any make or model vehicle, foreign or domestic.  Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care centers specialize in complete transmission service, brakes, suspension, air conditioning service and much more.  Cottman’s headquarters is based in Horsham, Pennsylvania.  For more information, please visit www.Cottman.com and www.TheCottmanManBlog.com.