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Fuel Saving Tip: Car Weight and Your Texas Driving

Posted December 30, 2018 11:38 AM



Weight is the enemy of fuel economy. Everyone from Belton knows this makes sense.

Some of us in the Belton area carry a bunch of unnecessary weight, and I'm not talkin' what you see in the mirror.

Guys: sports equipment and tools. Ladies: well, just take a look around the passenger compartment and trunk. I think my car has about 45 pounds of french fries on the floor.

All that extra weight wastes gas as you drive between here and there, and everywhere else.

Lose the junk and save some money.

...And you really only need one of those spare tires.

Jones Automotive
103 N Main Street
Belton, Texas 76513
(254) 939-3785



Following Recommended Intervals for Your vehicle

Posted December 23, 2018 09:52 AM

If you're reading this article in Belton, Texas, then you probably care about your vehicle and how it runs. Even though you care, there is still that moment of dread when your professional service advisor at Jones Automotive tells you the manufacturer recommends some additional service. Your heart beats a little faster, your blood pressure rises. You worry about spending more money than you had planned. And you worry that if you say "no," you might be harming your vehicle or risking your family's safety.

At the risk of sounding like your dad, you really should have done your homework. Service recommendations are in your owner's manual. But it is not like you want to keep your vehicle auto maintenance schedule on your nightstand for bedtime reading.

Vehicles are complicated machines and it takes some effort for Belton residents to keep them running well. That is why they have maintenance schedules that explain how to keep your vehicle performing efficiently and prevent breakdowns. In a typical owner's manual you'll find: oil change, brake fluid and pad change, coolant system service, transmission service, battery electrolyte levels, cables and terminals, tire pressure and wear, CV boots, cabin air filter, air conditioning, heater, fuel filter, air filter, belts and hoses, power steering fluid, differential service, fuel system cleaning and wheel alignment. And then there are mechanical service requirements like timing belt changes, valve adjustment, steering function, engine and exhaust leaks - yeah, it is a really long list!

Fortunately, this isn't a test: Belton residents don't need to have it memorized. Your friendly advisor at Jones Automotive has access to your manufacturer's recommendations. Don't be surprised when your service advisor at Jones Automotive reminds you something is due. Your manufacturer has taken great care in putting together your maintenance schedule. Let Jones Automotive help you stay on top of maintenance. You can expect them to suggest recommended services and tell you what problems they find under the hood. We'll also explain how urgent these services are so you can work them into your budget.

Jones Automotive
103 N Main Street
Belton, Texas 76513
(254) 939-3785



Keys to a Long Lasting Vehicle

Posted December 16, 2018 08:08 AM



We live in a disposable society. Everything from elaborate packaging to our clothing. Even cell phones are disposable. When replacement is cheaper than repair, the term "built to last" goes by the wayside. An exception is our vehicles. They're still a very big investment and Belton drivers want to make them last as long as possible.  We also want to make keeping them running as cheap as possible. When talking vehicles, it's all about preventive maintenance. There is an old saying that says, "A stitch in time saves nine," and that is really true when it comes to taking care of your vehicle. A great example is coolant service in Belton.

Your coolant not only protects your engine from overheating and freezing, it must also protect cooling system components from corrosion. Over time, coolant becomes corrosive and actually starts to damage your radiator and other parts. That's why you need to have your cooling system serviced on a regular schedule.

The same is true for your power steering system, brake fluid, air conditioning system, differential and transmission. And of course, Belton vehicle owners shouldn't forget those oil changes right on schedule. Skipping even one change can start the build up of harmful oil sludge.

Our engines are full of gaskets and seals. Fresh fluids condition those gaskets and seals to keep them from drying out and leaking. Automotive fluids contain additives that help clean and lubricate the various systems they protect. Over time, the additives are used up and the fluid just does not provide the protection it did when it was fresh. And don't forget the mechanical systems. Changing brake pads before they are worn to the point that they cause damage to rotors is a great way to keep your operating costs down.

Replacing serpentine belts and timing belts on schedule is much cheaper for Belton drivers than repairing the damage that can be caused by failure. Also, air filters, fuel filters, PCV valves and batteries are all important. Regular wheel alignments, tire rotation and balancing will make your tires last longer. And don't forget to replace your shocks and struts when they wear out. Your fuel system needs regular cleaning to keep running well, prevent mechanical damage and improve fuel economy.

Now this is a lot to remember for Belton drivers - too much, really. But it is your Belton automotive technician's job to keep on top of this stuff. At Jones Automotive we can tell you what your manufacturer recommends and help you with a plan to take care of it. We can advise you about which  maintenance schedule you should use - the regular schedule or the severe service schedule - depending on the kind of driving you do. We also know the right fluids for your vehicle and may even suggest higher mileage formulations for your older vehicle.

Bottom line - take care of this stuff on schedule and you will reduce operating costs, prevent damage and maintain your warranty coverage.

Of course, you want your vehicle to look as good as it runs. Regular washing will prevent rust and protect your finish. Take advantage of cleaners, waxes and protectants for your interior and tires. Your vehicle will look great and you'll be proud to drive it longer.

Most of us in Belton can't afford to throw away our car when it breaks down. By budgeting for regular preventive maintenance, we can prevent many inconvenient - and expensive - problems down the road, and can keep driving "old faithful" for years to come.

Jones Automotive
103 N Main Street
Belton, Texas 76513
(254) 939-3785



What Is That? Check Engine Light Service at Jones Automotive

Posted December 10, 2018 09:04 AM

Okay. You went to your local Belton car wash, and while your vehicle was under the dryer, the Check Engine light started flashing. Panic! What did you just do? Something is seriously wrong with the vehicle! You head for the nearest Belton service center, but on the way, the Check Engine light stops flashing and just glows red. Hmm. Maybe things aren't as bad as they seem. You decide to wait until payday to take your vehicle in to get serviced. In the meantime, the Check Engine light goes off. What? You decide the light must be faulty; maybe when it comes on it doesn't mean anything, or maybe it's just in your vehicle as some sort of scam to get you to pay for unnecessary repairs. You're glad you didn't take your car to the Belton repair shop and resolve to ignore that Check Engine light in the future.

Whoa! Let's look at what really happened. Your vehicle was under an air dryer. Your air intake sensor measured too much air running through the engine. It sent its report to the engine computer, where a warning was triggered; there shouldn't be that much airflow when the vehicle engine is idling. This is a serious problem that could cause permanent engine damage. Warning! The Check Engine light starts flashing, letting you know you need to take immediate action to prevent that damage.

You drive out from under the dryer, and the air intake sensor sends a new message to the computer. The computer realizes that everything is normal and tells the Check Engine light to stop flashing. The vehicle doesn't need immediate attention; but there was a problem, and it should be checked out by your Jones Automotive service advisor. After a few days the computer senses that the problem is gone, so it turns off the warning light.

You may think this story illustrates the uselessness of a Check Engine light, but you should remember that a computer can't think for itself; it can only follow its programming. It doesn't know the difference between a car wash air dryer and a serious malfunction in your vehicle engine. That doesn't make it useless. It just means you have to be the smart one.

Being smart doesn't mean ignoring your vehicle Check Engine light. It lets you know when something is wrong, and you can prevent a lot of damage to your vehicle by paying proper attention to it.

Your engine computer is constantly collecting data about what is going on inside your vehicle engine. It knows what parameters are normal and when a reading may indicate a problem. It uses the Check Engine light to let you know when something isn't right. It then stores a code in its memory — which a technician can retrieve — that indicates which reading was abnormal.

The technician uses this code as a starting place to find out what's wrong with your vehicle. It's like going to the doctor with a fever. The fever is the reading that is abnormal — your temperature is too high — but the doctor still has to figure out what's causing it. It's probably an infection, but what kind? Sinus infection? Appendicitis? Flu? The problems and their solutions are quite different. But a fever also tells a doctor what's NOT wrong with you. Fevers don't accompany stress headaches, ulcers or arthritis, so there's no sense in testing for those conditions.

The pros at Jones Automotive respond to a trouble code in your vehicle's computer in the same way. The code doesn't say exactly what's wrong, but it does give the technician a good indication of where to start looking —and where he/she doesn't need to look.

Now, you wouldn't consider diagnosing yourself with a serious medical problem — good medical advice unless you're a doctor. So you shouldn't consider trying to diagnose your vehicle's troubles by yourself — good auto advice unless you're a trained mechanic.

There are cheap scanners available on the market, and some Belton auto parts stores offer to read trouble codes from your vehicle engine's  computer for you. But these are really not good alternatives to taking your vehicle to a qualified service center such as Jones Automotive in Belton. Your engine's computer has both short-term and long-term memory, and there are some codes that are specific to a particular make of vehicle. Cheap scanners can't read an engine computer's long-term memory nor can they interpret manufacturer-specific codes. That's why our manager at Jones Automotive spends a lot of money on high-end diagnostic tools.

It's as if you had a choice between a doctor who had a tongue depressor and a thermometer and one who had all the latest medical diagnostic equipment on hand. Honestly, which would you choose?

Getting your codes read at your Belton area auto parts store isn't really a money-saver, either, unless you're a trained mechanic. You'll end up with a code that tells you a symptom. What usually happens next is that the Belton area parts store sells you something that directly relates to the symptom. It may or may not fix the problem. It's actually cheaper to just go to Jones Automotive and get things fixed right the first time.

Remember, a fever can indicate a sinus infection or appendicitis. An antibiotic may be okay for that sinus infection, but it likely won't help your appendicitis. Is it really wise to wait around to see if the antibiotic helps when you might have appendicitis?

Part of good vehicle care is knowing where you can get a problem fixed — and fixed right. Preventive maintenance goes a long way to keeping you out of the repair shop, but eventually, we will all have a problem that needs fixing. Let's do it right the first time at Jones Automotive.

Jones Automotive
103 N Main Street
Belton, Texas 76513
(254) 939-3785

 



Automotive Tips from Jones Automotive: Battery Testing

Posted December 02, 2018 07:26 AM

The simple fact is that 70% of car batteries fail within 4 years. They just need to be replaced at Jones Automotive when they are no longer able to hold a full charge.

Batteries are a big ticket item for most Belton drivers and it’s tempting to put off buying a new one as long as possible. But a battery that cannot hold a full charge requires the alternator to work extra hard, causing it to wear out prematurely.

Your Jones Automotive service advisor can test your battery to see if it should be replaced. Testing is a good idea for Texas drivers because a battery might still be good, but become dead because of a bad alternator or even a worn serpentine belt and tensioner.

Jones Automotive
103 N Main Street
Belton, Texas 76513
(254) 939-3785