Watching Your Check Engine Light
Posted January 28, 2018 04:24 AM
Did you know that most of the cars driving around Belton, Texas, carry more computer power than the Apollo 121 Lunar Module that landed on the moon in 1969?
New cars sold in the Belton area have as many as 12 networked computers and over five miles (eight kilometers) of wiring. In fact, for the last decade or so, auto computers have been controlling about 85 percent of your vehicle's functions.
Cars have sensors for manifold air temperature, coolant temperature, manifold air pressure, airflow, throttle position, vehicle speed and oxygen content. All of this electronic wizardry is pretty complicated. So how do Belton drivers know when there is a problem?
It's simple; the Check Engine light comes on. The computer monitors all the sensors and uses that information to decide what to adjust such as the fuel mix, spark timing and idle speed. In addition, the computer monitors its own circuits. When it finds a fault, it turns on the Check Engine light and stores a trouble code in the computer.
It can be pretty disturbing for Belton drivers when the Check Engine light comes on. We wonder just how urgent it is. Generally speaking, it is not critical like a temperature or oil pressure light. When you get one of those it means STOP NOW! When the Check Engine light shows up, you should come in to Jones Automotive in Belton to find out what the matter is as soon as possible.
Since 1996, there has been a strong emissions control component to the Check Engine diagnostic. But if your Check Engine light flashes on and off, you know that it is more urgent and you need to get it checked immediately to prevent damage. You should slow down and avoid towing or heavy loads until you can get it checked out.
Your friendly and knowledgeable technicians at Jones Automotive have special diagnostic equipment that will retrieve the trouble code from the computer and help him determine what is wrong. From there, we can fix it and get you back on the road.
Stop by if you're Check Engine light is on.
Automotive Tips from Jones Automotive: Timing Belt Overview
Posted January 23, 2018 10:48 AM
In your engine, valves over each combustion chamber open to allow fresh air in, close during the combustion event, and then other valves open to let out the exhaust. All of this happens over and over thousands of times a minute when you are driving around Belton. The timing belt’s important job is to make sure that all of this happens as it should – at precisely the right time. If the timing is off, your engine won’t run efficiently or maybe not at all – so a good timing belt is important. If it should break, you could end up at Jones Automotive with expensive engine damage.
Ask your friendly and professional Jones Automotive service advisor when your timing belt is scheduled for replacement.
Give us a call.
103 N Main Street
Belton, Texas 76513
Fall and Spring Checkup in Belton
Posted January 14, 2018 06:03 AM
When I was a kid, my dad always made sure he took the cars in for Spring and Fall checkups. I was telling a friend that it's about time to get into Jones Automotive for a checkup and he said that he read on the internet that modern cars don't need seasonal service.
My friend is (technically) right about some things, but from a practical standpoint, a seasonal check up still makes sense.
Back when my dad was teaching me about how to take care of the family vehicle, most of them used a different weight of oil in the winter and in the summer. But most of today's modern engines run the same oil year round. High-tech engines and high-tech motor oils are better able to handle the seasonal changes.
Your owner's manual or Belton service advisor at Jones Automotive can tell you the right oil to use.
Of course, you're concerned about the coolant or antifreeze. You don't want to overheat in the Texas summer or freeze up in the winter. Your engine cooling system protects against both of these things. And modern coolant — 'antifreeze' as it's sometimes called — is up to doing both very well. It's designed to last for longer distances than most people drive in a year or two.
So how does a Spring and Fall check-up fit in? Let's start with Spring. Summer is coming. That means heat, more driving and road trips. It just makes sense to check your fluid levels and do a visual inspection to see that everything is up to snuff.
You may not be scheduled to drain and replace the coolant for some time, but you need to make sure you have enough coolant and that you don't have any leaks or hoses that are about to fail.
That's pretty practical: a check-up to see if there are any problems or emerging conditions that could later become a problem, like a cracked belt.
And the same principle applies for getting ready for winter. Cold weather means lots of failed batteries. It takes more power to crank up a cold engine, and cold also decreases the available cranking power the battery has available.
So a battery test in the Fall could tell you if you've got a battery that is running on its last legs. And of course, if you live where winter temperatures get below 45 degrees F (7 degrees C) or you have ice and snow, you'll want to consider changing to winter tires.
So Spring and Fall auto checkups at Jones Automotive are practical reminders to get ready for the demands of the hot and cold seasons to come.
And odds are that you have one or more routine services that are due anyway. Like a transmission service, brake or power steering fluid, differential service — stuff like that. Are your wiper blades still good? Are your headlamps starting to dim?
So Spring and Fall, change your clocks, replace the batteries in your smoke detectors and get a check-up for your cars.
See, dad was right again.
Come and see us at Jones Automotive for your Spring and Fall automotive checkup.
Automotive Tips from Jones Automotive: Serpentine Belt Tensioner
Posted January 07, 2018 08:30 AM
The serpentine belt tensioner applies pressure to the serpentine belt, maintaining optimal tension to drive the accessories like the alternator and A/C compressor. At Jones Automotive we know that the service life of the belt tensioner is the same as the belt itself, so they should always be replaced together. A worn tensioner prevents the accessories from spinning properly, leading to premature wear and noise for Belton drivers.
Your vehicle manufacturer has a recommended mileage interval for serpentine belt replacement. A complete accessory drive system service replaces the serpentine belt, the belt tensioner and any idler pulleys your car might have. Your friendly and professional Jones Automotive service advisor can inspect your system and let you know if it’s time for a replacement.
Give us a call.
103 N Main Street
Belton, Texas 76513
On Board Diagnostics for Belton Motorists
Posted January 03, 2018 09:26 AM
Some Belton vehicle owners wonder why Jones Automotive and other Belton auto repair shops charge a fee for vehicle diagnostics.
Receiving a diagnostic charge at Jones Automotive for a tricky automotive problem shouldn't be a surprise. In the Belton area, automotive diagnostics can cover quite a range. If you hear a noise in your vehicle brakes when you slow down in rush-hour traffic on a busy Texas road, you pull off at the next off-ramp and take a quick visual check. That is usually enough to know what needs to be done. If you're having an intermittent problem with your vehicle engine, however, a Jones Automotive diagnosis may be much more involved.
Much of the Belton driver's confusion comes when the problem involves the Check Engine light. The Check Engine light comes on when the engine management computer has sensed a problem.
There's a common misconception among Texas drivers that the trouble code tells the Jones Automotive technician exactly what's wrong. They wonder why there is a diagnostic charge because the scanner quickly gave the diagnosis.
In reality, it is not that easy and straightforward. The computer monitors many sensors throughout the vehicle. When one of these sensors has a reading that's out of parameters, the computer will record a trouble code and turn on the Check Engine light.
The vehicle computer's trouble code just tells the Jones Automotive technician what engine parameter is out of range, not what's causing it. The technician needs to determine the underlying problem that's causing the malfunction.
There are many problems that could cause a troublesome sensor reading for Jones Automotive customers. The service advisor makes a list of the most likely causes and begins tracking down the source of the problem. This takes time.
Belton service centers subscribe to databases that document possible causes for all the possible trouble codes. The databases outline procedures for confirming a diagnosis and provide the documented repair. These databases are specific to each vehicle and engine combination.
Some diagnoses are quick and easy. Others are more involved, time-consuming and difficult. Of course Jones Automotive wants to figure out what's wrong with your vehicle and get you back on the road as quickly as possible.