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Automobile Fluids For Your vehicle

Posted May 26, 2019 10:38 AM


If you've walked through the automotive fluids section of an auto parts store in Belton, you'll know how overwhelming the sheer number of products available can be. How do you know what's right for your vehicle?

As you know, these fluids all serve a function in making your car run as you drive around the Belton area. Your vehicle manufacturer has specified a particular type of fluid for every system from the motor, to the cooling system, brake fluid and so on. When you realize that not every variation is applicable to your vehicle, the task becomes more manageable.

First let's talk about why there are so many varieties. Starting with motor oil, we see that manufacturers match the properties of a particular weight or type of oil with the design needs of the engine. For example, engines with sophisticated valve trains often require a thinner weight of oil.

Some vehicles around Belton come from the factory filled with synthetic oil and the recommendation to use it for life. The safe bet is to always use what the factory recommends. The recommendation is what's been proven to work in function and durability tests. The recommended oil is also a factor in determining oil change interval schedules.

Sometimes fluids are developed specifically to meet the needs of a particular family of engines. An example would be coolant. Because of the different materials used to build the cooling system, the coolant has to be formulated to protect those parts, which vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, from corrosion. We've seen special coolant in Texas for General Motors, Volkswagen, Chrysler and others.

The same is true of transmission fluid and brake fluid in recent years.

The really good news is that the friendly and professional service advisors at Jones Automotive have databases that tell them the recommended fluids for your vehicle. This takes all the guess work out. If you have some special needs, like a higher mileage engine or want enhanced performance, ask your service advisor for upgrades or additives that'll meet your needs while being consistent with the manufacturer's recommendations.

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



Bad Vibes

Posted May 19, 2019 07:27 AM

Your vehicle has a way of letting you know when something's wrong. Consider a vibrating steering wheel. It certainly didn't do that when it was new, so that shake is trying to tell you something.

There are a few things that can cause your steering wheel to vibrate as you drive down the road.  One of the most common is out-of-balance tires.  You may not only feel that wobble in your steering wheel, you might also feel it in the tires.  Sometimes it's not there when you're driving at lower speeds through residential areas, and sometimes it starts when you hit highway speeds. 

So what is tire balance anyway?  Well, you have a rubber tire that fits around a metal wheel.  It should have the same weight all the way around.  If it doesn't, it will start getting the shakes.  Ever load your washing machine so that all the clothes are at one side of that drum that spins?  When it hits the spin cycle, it can throw that washer against the wall. 

That's the same thing that's happening with an out-of-balance tire/wheel combination.  A technician has special equipment to figure out where to put small weights on the wheel to get things back in balance again.  But it could be that you hit a pothole some time ago and bent the rim.  Or your tire isn't as round and even as it once was.  That could be due to age, damage or wear and tear. The technician will know and offer you options.

Another possibility for that vibrating wheel is a faulty brake, such as warped rotors or a sticky caliper.  All of these issues can be evaluated as part of regular, routine maintenance with us.  There are many things that cause vibrations in your wheels.  But you don't want any bad vibes when it comes to your vehicle. 

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


Wishy-Washy in Belton

Posted May 12, 2019 09:29 AM

Perhaps you've found yourself driving when something all of a sudden splashes on your windshield, obstructing your view. You know that sinking feeling when you try to turn on the windshield washers and no fluid comes out. Now you're blinded even more. What can you do?

The best thing is to make sure your windshield washer fluid is always topped off and ready for these situations. You probably figure you'll grab a bottle of that blue stuff you see in the store. But is that really the right choice?

One thing you know ISN'T the right choice is plain water. It can freeze when temperatures drop. Plus, when it's close to the freezing mark outside, spraying water on your windshield can freeze, turning it literally into frosted glass and blinding you suddenly. Water freezing in your vehicle's washer lines can also damage them.

There are different types of windshield washer fluid made for different climates. Many have alcohol to prevent them from freezing; their label will usually tell you at what temperature they'll start to freeze.

Some washer fluids will have detergents in them so they can cut through contaminants and dirt. Still other washer fluids have a chemical in them to prevent streaking.

Also keep in mind some washer fluids are made to be put in your fluid reservoir as is; others are made to be diluted.

No matter what washer fluid you pick, make sure you have plenty of it in your vehicle. Our pros at Jones Automotive can top off your levels with the right kind of fluid. That's also a good reminder to have your windshield washer system working properly. Your technician can check not only the washers but the wiper blades and motor to make sure all are in top condition. The worst time you can discover it is usually when you need it most.

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



When "Oh, no!" Turns Into, "All right!"

Posted May 05, 2019 03:03 AM

Things we don't expect happen to our vehicles. And let's face, no one really wants to spend money on an unexpected repair. But if you are putting off going to your vehicle repair facility because you're dreading bad news, you might just be putting off some good news.

There was one minivan driver who'd had the same van for years and never had a problem with the power sliding doors.  Then one day, the electrical switches in the door pillars stopped working.  The key fob would still open them, but the door switches wouldn't do a thing.

Of course, the van driver feared the worst: an electrical problem, a major computer failure, mice chewing up the wires.  So, he put off going into the repair facility for a couple of months.  One day, it was time for his regular oil change and the service advisor asked him if there was anything else going on with the van.  The owner mentioned the door problem but said he didn't want to spend a fortune on it.

He waited for his van, and it wasn't long before the service advisor came out with good news. The doors weren't working because a switch on the overhead console had been turned off.  (It was a safety feature to allow parents to disable them.) The owner had accidentally switched it when he was unloading the van.  It was the first thing the technician had checked. Flip the switch back and all was working as usual.

Another example? A mother was driving a minivan with her two kids inside on a hot day when she felt the front end shaking violently as she drove down the road. Fearing something major had broken in the van (and fearing for the safety of her kids), she pulled into a fast-food restaurant parking lot and started to look underneath to see if it was anything obvious she could see.

She couldn't see any broken parts, but she also didn't feel safe getting back in the van with her kids.  So, she called her local service facility and asked if they could send someone to look at it.  When the technician arrived, he took it for a test drive on the same road on which she'd described having the trouble.  Then he put her van up on the lift.  His conclusion?  Nothing was wrong with her van.  It was the street she was driving on.  Crews repairing it had left the surface full of potholes, and that was causing her rough ride.

Ultimately, what these two drivers feared would be an expensive trip to the shop resulted in each driver getting different news than they had expected.  One learned something new about his vehicle.  The other?  Well, the technician saw that her tires were badly worn and convinced her to get them replaced, perhaps preventing an accident and giving peace of mind for a mom with two kids.

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


Why Wheel Balancing and Tire Rotation Save You Money on Tires

Posted April 28, 2019 08:21 AM



Belton drivers want their tires to last as long as possible. Two ways to extend tire life are wheel balancing and tire rotation.

When wheels are out of balance, they wobble and vibrate. That makes the tires wear in a cupping pattern. If a front wheel is out of balance you'll feel it in the steering wheel. If it's a rear wheel you'll feel it through your seat. To fix this, your technician at Jones Automotive puts weights on your wheels to balance them out.

That brings us to tire rotation. The front tires on a vehicle wear out faster than the rear tires. As they push through turns, the shoulders of the front tires wear down. So rotating front and rear tires allows them to all wear at about the same rate over the life of the tire.

Proper tire inflation will also help Belton folks' tires last longer. Underinflated tires wear more on the shoulder and may even overheat. This could cause tire damage or a blow out. Overinflated tires wear too fast in the middle.

Four-wheel-drive trucks and SUV's tend to wear their tires more unevenly so rotation is even more important with them. Give Jones Automotive a call to get our recommendation for your vehicle.

See your owner's manual or ask your service advisor at Jones Automotive for your recommended tire rotation schedule. It's usually every 5,000 to 8,000 miles, or 8,000 to 13,000 km.

Tires are among the most important safety components on your vehicle. Take care of them and they'll take care of you.

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



Automotive Tips from Jones Automotive: Making a Battery Last Longer

Posted April 21, 2019 08:49 AM

One thing all Belton drivers can do to extend the life of their battery is to keep it clean. A greasy, dirty battery holds in damaging heat. Same goes for removing corrosion from the terminals. Jones Automotive can help maintain your battery.

Allowing your battery to be deeply depleted – like from using your headlights when the engine is off – is very harmful to your battery. Most automotive batteries can only take that about 10 times before they are ruined.

Also, making sure you have a full charge every month or so extends battery life. Either an extended drive at freeway speeds around the Belton are or using a battery charger will preserve your battery’s ability to hold a full charge.

Give us a call.

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



Belton Drivers: Is It Time to Replace Your PCV Valve?

Posted April 14, 2019 01:10 AM

The crankcase is the lower part of the engine where the crankshaft is housed and where the engine oil lives. The crankshaft is connected to the pistons that power the engine.


When you are diving around Belton, fuel is burned in your vehicle engine, it pushes the pistons down and the crankshaft rotates and sends power to the transmission. Some of the explosive gases from combustion squeeze past the pistons and down into the crankcase.

Now this gas is about 70% unburned fuel. If it were allowed to remain in the crankcase, it would contaminate the oil and quickly turn it to sludge. Sludge is like Vaseline and clogs passages in the engine, leading to damage.

Also, the pressure build up would blow out seals and gaskets. So in the old days, there was just a hose that vented the crankcase out into the air. Obviously, not good for our air quality in Belton, Texas.

Enter the PCV valve. It's a small, one-way valve that lets out the gases from the crankcase and routes them back into the air intake system where they are re-burned in the engine. Fresh air comes into the crankcase through a breather tube. This makes for good circulation in the crankcase. And that gets the air out. As you can imagine, however, the valve gets gummed up over time.

Your vehicle manufacturer usually recommends they be changed somewhere between 20,000 to 50,000 miles/30,000 to 80,000 kilometers. Unfortunately, PCV valve replacement is left out of some vehicle owner's manuals, but your friendly service advisor at Jones Automotive, we will make sure your PVC is replaced if needed.

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



New Life for Your Older Car in Belton

Posted April 07, 2019 02:19 AM

Isn't it amazing how much of our stuff is disposable these days? Clothes, electronics, housewares, furniture.

Remember the days when Belton families mended their clothes, polished their shoes and neatly put away their toys every night? If something was lost or ruined through neglect, your parents just told you to do without, that you should have taken better care of it. They considered the loss a “life lesson.”

But today many Belton drivers tend to neglect one of the more expensive and important purchases we make: our vehicles. Vehicles are a lot more reliable today than back when we polished our shoes, and that reliability can sometimes make us take them for granted. Drivers in Belton neglect good vehicle care practices and procrastinate when it comes to preventive maintenance. What we're really doing is heading straight for one of those dreaded “life lessons.” Eventually we'll pay for our neglect in repair bills and a shorter life for our vehicle.

Is procrastinating on routine maintenance really so terrible? Consider what happens when you procrastinate on brushing your teeth, washing your clothes or getting the dishes done. Gunk builds up, makes the job harder and ultimately damages your teeth, clothing or dishes. It's the same with your vehicle. Some of the best auto advice out there for Belton drivers is to stay on top of routine oil changes by bringing their car into Jones Automotive. Even a little extra interval between oil changes can result in oil sludge, which can clog passages in your engine. This means oil can't get to some of the engine components, and they'll wear out faster without lubrication. Every time you put off an oil change, the problem gets worse, eventually cutting years off the life of your engine.

The same is true if you skip cooling system service. Corrosion inhibitors in the fluid become depleted over time, opening the system up to damage. Consistent neglect will lead to holes in your radiator. Talk to your friendly service advisor at Jones Automotive for suggestions and feedback.

Neglect of other fluids can also result in engine damage. Brake fluid, transmission fluid, differential fluid—all of these need to be serviced on a regular basis. In addition, your fuel system needs periodic cleaning or it can start to break down and cause permanent damage to your engine.

The good news is that it's never too late to get on track and start getting good, regular preventive maintenance for your vehicle at Jones Automotive. You may not be able to reverse damage that's already been done, but you can prevent further damage.

It really does all start with an oil change. With a full-service oil change at Jones Automotive, your fluids will be checked and your car inspected for wear and tear. Our pros at Jones Automotive can also advise you of other inspections and maintenance items that are coming due. If you're on top of oil changes, your service advisor will keep track of your maintenance schedule and remind you what needs to be done.

Older vehicles are going to need repairs. But with good maintenance, those repairs will involve fairly routine stuff like alternators, water pumps, belts and batteries. The cost of these replacement parts at Jones Automotive is much cheaper than the repair bills that come with serious engine damage, and they're certainly less than the cost of a new car.

We may not need to polish our shoes anymore, and tossing out that outdated cell phone may not be such a loss. But when it comes to our vehicles, they're just too valuable to be treated as disposable. Let's take a step back, listen to our parents and take care of our stuff. If we don't, we could be on our way to a “life lesson” involving our bank account and a bus pass.

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



When You Hear the Crash in Belton: What to Do After an Accident

Posted March 31, 2019 10:25 AM

Motorists in North America drive about 3 trillion miles/4.8 trillion kilometers every year. There are over 250+ million licensed drivers, and approximately 6.2 million accidents happen every year. Unfortunately, if we're going to drive vehicles, there are going to be accidents. Knowing what to do in case of an accident can help reduce the stress and cost of the situation. It can also protect you from false claims, incorrect judgments and unjust liabilities.

Never leave the scene of an accident. This is a crime, even if the accident is not your fault. If you leave the scene, it is referred to as a “hit-and-run,” and the fines are steep in Texas. You can even lose your driver's license or spend some time in jail. If someone has been injured in the accident, most laws require you to help them. You must call for help. If you can, you must also render first aid.

Call 9-1-1 or get someone else to call 9-1-1 as soon as possible. Tell the operator if there are injuries or any circumstances that require fire services, such as leaking gas, broken utility lines or, of course, flames. Put out flares, turn on your flashers or lift your hood to warn other Belton motorists that there's been an accident.

File a police report. This can seem like a hassle when there are no injuries and only minor damage to vehicles. But you'd be surprised at the lawsuits and false claims that can arise from fender benders. You want a police report to protect yourself.

Don't talk about the accident with anyone except the police. After an accident, adrenaline is pumping and emotions are running high, and our first reaction is often to relive and recount our experience. Don't. Again, people can and will use your words against you, and in a highly emotional state, you may not say exactly what you mean. Entire court cases have hinged on the meaning of one misplaced word. Talk to the police. Don't admit guilt or fault, not to the police or to anyone else. People often feel guilt after an accident, but later, when details are analyzed, it turns out not to be their fault. Don't say, “I'm sorry,” but rather, “Can I help? What can I do?” Sympathy has often been misconstrued as an admission of fault. On paper, your words will sound more sterile than at the accident, and they can be used against you.

Collect contact information from everyone involved in the accident. Get the officer's name and badge number. Get the other driver's name, address, phone number, date of birth, driver's license number and expiration and insurance information. Get a description of the other vehicle as well as its license plate number and vehicle identification number (VIN). Most insurance companies don't keep records of license plate numbers, so the VIN is the best identifier you have of another vehicle.

This is going to be too much to remember once you're in an accident. So write down or make a note on your phone with the information you need.

Ask witnesses to wait for the police to arrive. If they can't, then get their contact information. Ask them to jot down what they saw. If witnesses refuse to give you their names, write down their license plate numbers. That way the police can find them if necessary.

After the accident, call your insurance company. Also, if you have or think you might have an injury that did not require immediate care at the accident, contact your physician right away.

There's a lot Belton drivers can do to prevent accidents. Defensive driving. Good car care and preventive maintenance. But if an accident does happen in the Belton area, we should be prepared to handle it well. It will ease the stress of the situation and protect us from potential legal and financial harm. Be prepared. It's good auto advice in every situation. Ask our pros at Jones Automotive for more safe driving tips the next time you visit.

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



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