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Distracted Driving

Posted March 26, 2018 03:41 AM

When asked, most people think they are good at multi-tasking. Scientific studies, however, reveal that only around 2% of the population can truly demonstrate the capacity to effectively multi-task. For the rest of us who are not so biologically wired, no amount of practice can increase our effectiveness at multi-tasking. Turns out, multi-tasking is almost a superpower. Think of fighter pilots: capable of maintaining their orientation in three dimensional space and performing specific and highly complicated functions while accessing life threatening situations and coming up with an appropriate response. Admit it – you can’t do that.

Yet when it comes to driving, we seem to think we are very capable of safely operating a motor vehicle with myriad distractions. 77% of young adults feel somewhat confident that they can safely text and drive while 55% claim it’s easy to text and drive. Can they possibly be right? Let’s look at some statistics.

Nearly 23% of all accidents in the United States involve cell phones. Every day, 11 people are killed and over 900 are injured in texting-related accidents. In fact, texting while driving is six times more likely to cause an accident than driving intoxicated. Just think back at your own experiences: how many of your “near misses” as a pedestrian or in a vehicle have involved a driver with a cell phone in their hand?

There are three types of driving distractions:

  • Visual (eyes off the road)
  • Manual (reaching for something or manipulating an object)
  • Cognitive (mind off the task of driving)

Of course, texting or using a cell phone involves all three. Eating, applying make-up, arguing and working on-board features like the stereo and navigation system are all very real distractions. You may be interested to know that hands-free cell calls are not substantially safer than using a handheld phone. Any time you glance away from the road (like looking at a text or incoming phone call) your eyes are off task for at least 5 seconds. At 55 miles per hour/90 kph, you will cover the length of a football field in that time. Would you ever consent to strapping on a blindfold and driving off down the road for that distance?

So what do you do? First, accept the fact that you are not part of the 2% of all the people on the planet who can truly multi-task (if you are one of the lucky ones you would know by now because your performance does not degrade no matter how many additional tasks are added). Next, don’t EVER drive distracted. Incoming text: it will wait for later. Juicy hamburger: eat it in the parking lot. No exceptions, ever. And don’t accept anything less from drivers of vehicles in which you are a passenger.

Another way to avoid distractions is to keep on top of scheduled maintenance and necessary repairs so that your vehicle itself doesn’t become a distraction. We can help you with that.

Give us a call.

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



Let Jones Automotive Help You Extend the Life of Your Car

Posted March 18, 2018 06:29 AM

If you haven't shopped in the Belton area for a new vehicle recently, you're likely to experience some sticker shock. It seems everything is costing more these days. And when you consider the price of auto financing in Belton, and insurance, the idea of hanging on to your old vehicle for a few more years gets even more attractive.

On the plus side, vehicles these days are engineered to last for 150,000 miles (250,000 km) or more. So why don't they? Usually it's because Belton drivers don't stay on top of preventive maintenance. Good vehicle care at professional automotive service centers like Jones Automotive in Belton is the key to getting the most mileage out of your vehicle.

Too often, Belton vehicle owners are inclined to wait until their vehicles develop an obvious problem and take them in for repairs instead of maintenance. Repairs can be expensive, but allowing routine vehicle maintenance to slide also has the invisible cost in shorter life expectancy for a vehicle.

For example, the fluid in your coolant system becomes corrosive over time and should be replaced periodically. If not, it can damage the radiator and other engine parts. Talk to our pros at Jones Automotive. Over time, this damage can build up until these parts have to be replaced.

The same goes for the power steering system, brake fluid, air conditioning refrigerant, differential fluid and transmission fluid. All of these fluids need to be replaced on schedule or you risk causing serious damage to your vehicle and shortening its life span.

If oil is not replaced on schedule, your engine can build up oil sludge, which can also lead to serious engine damage. Insufficient oil can also eventually cause your engine to seize. Brake pads should be replaced before they are completely worn down. This prevents expensive damage to rotors and/or drums. Again, your Jones Automotive pros can advise you.

Belts and hoses should all be inspected regularly. If they are showing signs of wear, they need to be replaced. If belts break or hoses begin to leak, the results can be repair bills. Again, this can significantly reduce the life expectancy of your vehicle.

Most Belton drivers recognize the wisdom of keeping up with preventive maintenance. But we also have a lot of other responsibilities on our plate. Vehicle care just doesn't get to the top of our list until it becomes an emergency. Unfortunately, that emergency usually means repair bills, which always seem to add up to more than the preventive maintenance at Jones Automotive would have cost us.

So take some good auto advice and develop a relationship with a certified service center located near your Belton area neighborhood. At Jones Automotive, we value the relationships we have established with our clients. We keep track of our customers' vehicle needs and help them keep its maintenance on schedule. We know you have a lot of other things to keep track of.

As far as car care goes, the old adage “a stitch in time saves nine” holds true. At Jones Automotive, we rephrase it as “a dollar now saves $10 later.” Or $20. Or $100. Or more.

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



The Jones Automotive Guide to Caring for Your Transmission

Posted March 11, 2018 03:28 AM

Most vehicles have automatic transmissions, yet a lot of Belton drivers only have a fuzzy understanding about what a transmission does. Think back to the last time you rode a bike in Belton. You started out in a lower gear and shifted to higher gears as you went faster. Down shift for hills, stuff like that. Think of your legs as the engine – there's an ideal speed you can pedal and you change gears to leverage the work you're doing.

Lower gears for power on hills or for starting out. Higher gears for more speed. That's what the automatic transmission does – it automatically starts in lower gears and shifts up to higher gears to go faster on Texas roads. And it automatically shifts back down to climb Belton hills, pass or start up again.

Vehicle automatic transmissions have certainly gotten more sophisticated in recent years. They have more speeds than before: the base is four speeds, five is very common.

At Jones Automotive, we routinely service transmissions with six speeds and several have seven or even eight speeds. As you can imagine, this means more parts. Any they all have to fit into roughly the same space.

Transmissions are computer controlled these days, with some high end transmissions having two or three computers. Transmissions are engineered to last. But they are also engineered to tighter tolerances. If a portion of the transmission is starved for lubrication, it can lead to failure.

Not enough fluid can starve the transmission, or dirty transmission fluid can clog small passages in the transmission. Then the lubricant is blocked and can't get to all the parts to protect them, so they wear out prematurely. The technicians at Jones Automotive see far too many transmissions that needlessly failed due to neglect.

And, as you can imagine, repairing one of these new transmissions at any Belton service center can be quite costly. That's why owner’s manuals have a schedule for how often you should change the fluid and what type of fluid to use.

It's really important for Belton area drivers to carefully follow the manufacturer's transmission service schedule.

At Jones Automotive in Belton, we hope you never become shiftless in Belton because you didn't take care of your transmission.

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

 



Coolant/Antifreeze Service in Belton, Texas

Posted March 05, 2018 10:56 AM

Belton auto owners may know that most automotive failures in Belton, Texas, are tire related, but do you know the second most common cause of vehicle failure? Nope, it's not teenagers. It is the coolant system. But if you take good care of your vehicle coolant system, it will take good care of you.

A vehicle's engine creates a lot of heat - so much heat, that if it is not properly cooled, the engine can lock up, resulting in massive damage and repair bills. But when everything is working right, your vehicle engine operates at the proper temperature and all is well. Without antifreeze in your cooling system, the water could freeze and cause vehicle engine damage. This could be very expensive, not to mention inconvenient.

The right mix of water and antifreeze protects the engine against damage from freezing and overheating. Antifreeze also protects the coolant system against corrosion that could cause the system to fail. The thing to remember is this: coolant system failure is very common, but it is also very easy to prevent. Your Belton service center knows the manufacturer's recommendations and can tell you when the coolant needs to be changed. At Jones Automotive in Belton, we can perform a coolant system service.

Belton auto owners can add water or antifreeze to the bottle themselves but should be careful. First, you never want to open the radiator pressure cap. The steam could severely burn you. Second, try to get to Jones Automotive in Belton immediately if your coolant is low. If that is not possible, follow the directions in your owner's manual. Third, remember that you need a proper mixture of water and antifreeze or you will damage your engine. If you make an emergency addition to your cooling system, follow-up with a service advisor at Jones Automotive where they can make necessary corrections. Fourth, not all cars use the same type of antifreeze.

Belton technicians will need to check their vehicles owner's manual to make sure they use the right kind. Mixing antifreeze types or using the wrong kind of antifreeze may void the manufacturer’s warranty on your vehicle cooling system. If you're not sure, ask your friendly and knowledgeable service advisor at Jones Automotive for guidance.

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