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When Do My Shocks Need to Be Replaced?

Posted March 24, 2019 08:48 AM

A good suspension system gives a vehicle a smooth, even ride while providing Belton drivers with good handling and control. But like any system on your vehicle, parts of the suspension system can wear out, leading to a lower ride quality and safety concerns. So it's a good idea for drivers in Belton to remember their suspension system in their schedule of preventive maintenance. Springs do most of the work of the suspension system. The most common types of springs are coil and leaf, but air springs and torsion bars are becoming more common. The body of the vehicle is “suspended” by the springs.

If springs were the only working component in your suspension system, however, you'd spend your travel time bouncing up and down like a bobblehead. That's where your shocks come in. They keep the rebound, or bounciness, of the springs under control. Shocks also keep your tires on the road, which keeps the driver in control of the vehicle. Some vehicles have struts in their suspension system. Struts are a compact combination of springs and shocks. They do the same job but in a single package.

Shocks wear out gradually, so it can be difficult for Belton drivers to notice when they need to be replaced. There's no definitive point when a vehicle's ride goes from "smooth and controlled" to "a bit imprecise." To check if your shocks or struts are worn, you should first do a visual inspection on them. If they are leaking fluid, they need to be replaced.

There are other less obvious signs that your suspension system needs attention. For example, an uneven, cupping wear on your tires may indicate that your shocks are worn. If your vehicle feels “floaty” when you turn, or, in other words, you don't feel that you have full control of the vehicle, you should check your shocks. Also, if the front end of your vehicle dips noticeably when you stop, it's time for new shocks.

Your owner's manual gives recommendations on how often the shocks should be checked, usually between 15,000 and 30,000 miles (24,000-50,000 km). If one of your shocks does need to be replaced, you should replace all four. This will keep your suspension even and ensure good handling of your vehicle. If you carry heavy loads, tow a trailer or drive on uneven Belton area terrain, you might also consider upgrading to a heavy-duty shock.

Regular shocks contain hydraulic fluid. The fluid helps them absorb the bumps or “shocks” of the road so the impact doesn't transfer to the vehicle's body. Premium shocks are filled with compressed nitrogen gas, which costs more but does a better job of controlling body motions. Regular shocks can develop air bubbles that reduce their effectiveness; the premium shocks don't have this problem. So if you want higher handling performance, if you drive off-road around Texas or if you just want added comfort, you should consider upgrading to premium shocks or struts.

Replacing struts can put your vehicle out of alignment, so an alignment check should always follow this type of repair. Talk to your service advisor at Jones Automotive in Belton for more information.

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

 



Are There Blind Spots in Belton?

Posted March 17, 2019 08:44 AM

All Belton drivers have blind spots – and no, I'm not talking about the fact that you really don't sing like Adele. I mean the areas of the road that you can't see when you're driving around Belton.

First let's talk about our own blinds spots, and then we can talk about others...

To begin, we can greatly reduce blind spots by properly adjusting our mirrors to give the widest coverage possible. Make the adjustments in your vehicle before you start to drive.

First, Belton drivers should adjust their rear view mirrors to give the best possible view directly to the rear of their vehicle. Belton folks don't need it to get a better view of either side of the car, the kids in the back seat or their dazzling smile. It's pretty obvious, the rear view mirror should reflect the rear.

Next, lean your head until it almost touches the driver's side window. Adjust your side mirror so that you can just barely see the side of your car. Now, lean your head to the middle of the car and adjust the outside mirror so that you can barely see the right side of the car.

When Belton drivers adjust their mirrors this way, they'll have maximum coverage. Of course driving is a dynamic process – things change every second on Texas roads and busy highways. So it's wise to take a quick look to the side when passing to make sure that another vehicle hasn't moved into an area you couldn't see in your mirrors.

As you drive around the Belton area, avoid staying in others' blind spots. You can't count on them to be watching their mirrors and looking out for you.

Here are some tips for passing a heavy vehicle on Texas roads:

Avoid the blind spots. If you can't see the drivers face in one of his mirrors or in a window, he cannot see you!

Don't follow too close. If you can't see one of the truck's mirrors, you're too close.

Make sure there is plenty of room to pass. Trucks are long and take time to get around. If you're on one of our local two-lane highways, wait for a passing zone.

Don't linger when passing. Because the blind spots are so big on the sides, you want to get through them quickly. If you can't pass quickly, drop back.

Pass on the left whenever possible. A trucks' blind spot is much larger on the right.

The team of automotive professionals at Jones Automotive want you to watch those blind spots – but feel free to sing in the shower all you want.

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



Cruisin' on Down Main Street

Posted March 10, 2019 10:17 AM

When automakers first came out with cruise control, it was a real luxury item.  The older cruise controls used a mechanical vacuum system but it worked.  Well, some of the time. 

Now days, cruise control is all electronic, thanks to computers.  It's reliable and a real convenience on long trips.  Cruise control is offered on most vehicles and standard on a lot of them.  Because it's electronic, when it breaks, it's usually some electronic component.  Your vehicle's cruise can be the victim of a blown fuse. Or your vehicle's speed sensor, which—not surprisingly—measures your vehicle's speed, can also stop working.  And that will cause your cruise to stop cruising. 

Vehicles with cruise control also have a built-in feature that, when the brakes are applied, turns off the cruise.  With electronic cruise control, that happens thanks to the brake pedal switch, and if a problem develops in that switch, the cruise might not work.

The newest cruise control is called "adaptive." What that means is that it will maintain your vehicle's speed as well as the distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you.  That means if a car ahead of you slows down, your vehicle will slow down to the same speed and even stop if the car ahead stops.  Pretty cool, right? As you can imagine, adaptive cruise control is more sophisticated and has many more components than standard cruise.  The systems vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but they use on-board radar units and cameras to calculate what your vehicle should do to maintain a safe distance and speed. 

Finally, there are still some of the older style cruise controls out on the roads.  They'll stop working when the vacuum actuator develops a problem, a vacuum hose starts leaking or breaks or the cable between the actuator and the throttle kinks, breaks, seizes up or becomes detached. 

If your cruise control isn't working, your service repair facility will be able to determine what kind your vehicle has and what it will take to fix it.  Good news for the cruise blues.

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

 



Wheel Balancing at Jones Automotive

Posted March 03, 2019 04:17 AM

So you love your job, and your family life is great. Congratulations! You have achieved balance. But can you say the same for your wheels? Belton drivers can tell if their tires are out of balance by vibrations at higher speeds on Texas roads. If one of the front tires is out, you feel the vibration in the steering wheel. If it's a back tire, you'll feel the vibration in your seat.

Tires and wheels are pretty heavy. When a tire is mounted on a wheel at Jones Automotive, it is usually not perfectly balanced. So the technician will spin the tire on a machine to determine where it's too heavy. He will then place weights on the wheels in strategic locations to balance it out. When a tire is out of balance, it actually bounces down the road instead of rolling smoothly. Since the average size tire rotates at about 850 revolutions per minute at 60 mph/97 kph, it is actually slamming into the pavement 14 times a second. That's where you get your vibration.

Most people in Belton are surprised at how smoothly their car rides after balancing all four wheels.

Most high-quality tires sold in Belton hold their balance pretty well. They just get out of balance gradually with normal wear and tear. If you suddenly feel a vibration, it is probably because you lost a wheel balancing weight along the way. Definitely get a balance at Jones Automotive in Belton if you feel a vibration, change your rims or have a flat repaired. Putting off a needed balance job leads to excessive and tire wear, wear to your shocks, struts, steering and suspension parts. Wheel balancing not only improves your ride and handling, but also can save you some repair bills and possibly an accident. Additionally, you will get better fuel economy.

Some Belton area drivers have their tires balanced at every rotation. Others do it every other time. Check your owner's manual for your requirements, or ask your friendly service advisor at Jones Automotive. Doing this will put you on the path to mechanical wheel balance.

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