Thursday, March 31, 2016

April is National Car Care Month

Be Car Care Aware sponsors a National Car Care Month every April.  Many of you are already completing some spring cleaning in your own home, why not let that extend to your car(s)?

"Neglected vehicle care almost always means much higher costs down the line in the form of more extensive repairs or lost resale value.  These results show that the majority of vehicle owners could save money by being proactive in the maintenance of their second largest investment," said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Counsel.

You depend on your car every day to get you to work, school, kids' activities, errands, and so much more.  In order for that car to not let you down, you need to also make sure that it's being taken care of.  This could start with something as simple as taking your car to the car wash to wash all the dirt, salt, and grime off from winter.  Your car may look like a brand new car after that car wash.  You should also be checking for other possible repairs and maintenance that the cold of the winter months may have taken a toll on, such as: oil change, timing belt, drive belt, alignment, regular maintenance service, or any other concerns you may have.  Bring your car over to Jake's Auto, and we will gladly look it over.

Alignments -- What? Why? When?

At one time or another, we've all had a car that has needed an alignment.  We may have hit a pot hole, endured a cold winter with lots of freezing temperatures, or even just had some repair work done on a vehicle.

As such, you might be wondering what exactly an alignment is or does. An alignment adjusts the angles of the tires on your vehicle to ensure the most efficient and safe drivability. There are three components to an alignment: the camber, caster, and toe.

The camber is the angle of the wheels in proportion to the road.  If a tire is perfectly perpendicular the camber would be 0 degrees.  If a tire leans in toward the vehicle, it would be negative camber, and if a tire leans out away from the vehicle, it would be positive camber.  Each make and model of vehicle has it's own specifications set up by the manufacturer as to the degree of camber.

Caster is the angle of the tire as attached to the vehicle.  You will have a zero degree caster if the point of contact is perpendicular to the road.  The caster will be positive if the angle of the point of contact is angled forward, and negative if the point of contact is angled backward.

Finally, toe is the angle the tires are turned in towards the car and towards each other.  You can see the toe when you look down at the tires from above.  Positive toe is when the tires are angled in toward each other, and negative toe is when the tires are angled away from each other.

Having your tires properly aligned extends the life of your tires, steering, and suspension systems.  A vehicle that is not properly aligned, will wear tires.

What are some signs that your car might need an alignment?  Some signs that you car may need an alignment are:
  • Pulling in one direction
  • Excessive bouncing
  • Visible damage to a tire(s) or uneven tire wear
  • Loss of control when driving
  • Off-center steering wheel
  • Low tire pressure
Last December, we were able to add an alignment machine to our shop.  This way we can better serve you, our customers.  There are some repairs that require an alignment to be completed once the repair has been completed.  With our new alignment rack, now you will only have to make one stop before your car is back up and running smoothly.

Timing Belts and Chains

A timing belt or chain does exactly what it sounds like it would; it keeps things in time in the engine.  It coordinates the pistons coming up and the valves going down.  The valves need to close before the pistons come up, to prevent major engine damage.  Over time with the heat and the cold and just regular wear and tear, the timing belt will become cracked, stressed, or even break.  A timing chain will become loose and could also possibly break.  It's important to replace the timing belt before it breaks, because of the damage that could incur with a broken belt.  Plus, the cost of the repair will increase substantially without proper replacement.

It's not easy to tell if a timing belt needs to be replaced just by looking at it.  It's hard to get to the timing belt because it's behind the serpentine belt and a protective cover.  Also, when a timing belt is replaced, the water pump, tensioner, and pulleys should also be replaced.

Generally timing belts should be replaced between 60,000 and 90,000 miles.  If you do not have record of when the timing belt was last replaced, we strongly encourage you to have the timing belt checked and possibly replaced.  You'd rather have a timing belt in good condition, rather than be stranded and stuck with costly repairs.

The great news is Jake's Auto is very proficient at replacing timing belts.  We want to be sure that your car is maintained and safe for you to drive.  Please feel free to call us if you have any questions regarding your timing belt.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

What are shocks/struts?

Shocks (or shock absorbers) are mechanical devices designed to smooth out rough roads. The devices do this by converting kinetic energy to another form of energy. Properly working shocks reduce the effect of traveling over rough ground, leading to improved ride quality and vehicle handling. When shocks develop problems, driving on poorly leveled roads becomes unpleasant, and your vehicle may sway when turning. To have your vehicle's shocks diagnosed and repaired, visit Jake's Auto & Truck Repair today.

Much like a shock absorber (shocks), your car's struts provide a dampening effect as you travel over a road's surface. By absorbing the shock of the road, struts allow passengers to ride in a car without constant and uncomfortable motion. Struts work a bit differently than shocks in that they provide structural support for your car's suspension. This means that struts support your car's weight, unlike shocks which only regulate the speed at which the weight is transferred. Struts usually last around 50,000 or 60,000 miles. This is simply because the damping characteristics of the parts gradually deteriorate over time. 

Inspect shocks and struts for leaks, damage and loose mounting hardware. Replace if worn, damaged or leaking. Have your shocks/struts checked by a professional at least once a year.

Are Your Wiper Blades Ready for Spring Showers?

We’ve had a lot of moisture this past winter, and so your windshield wipers were probably used a lot!  It’s a good idea to check them periodically to make sure they are still in good working order for the upcoming spring rain.  Watch for streaks, or patches the blades seem to miss completely.  Listen for scraping or clattering noises, especially when there is plenty of moisture on the windshield.  When you take your car in for a wash, check the blades, and make sure they are clean too.  Wipe them down with a clean rag, and look for nicks or cracks.  Also, be sure to check your windshield wiper fluid, and top it off.  Windshield wiper blades are usually pretty easy to install, but if you need some help, stop by Jake’s we’d love to help out.  Also, be sure to see the Rain-X Windshield Wiper Special that’s running this month on wiper blades!

Monroe Shocks & Struts Special

Monroe Shocks & Struts
get up to a $100 VISA prepaid card

  • Get A $50 Visa® Prepaid Card* with purchase of four (4) qualifying Monroe® or Rancho® shocks. 
  • Get a $75 Visa® Prepaid Card* with purchase of two (2) qualifying Monroe® shocks and two (2) qualifying Monroe® struts.** 
  • Get a $100 visa® prepaid card* with purchase of four (4) qualifying Monroe® struts.**
**Includes Monroe® Quick-Strut® Replacement Assemblies
Offer valid February 22-May 31, 2016

Rain-X Windshield Wiper Special

Buy one pair of Wiper Blades
and receive up to $20 in Free Service
Offer expires 4/30/2016

How to Tell if Your Car is in Need of an Alignment

Correctly aligned tires will reduce wear and ensure that your vehicle travels straight and true (without “pulling” to one side).  Always pay attention to that “pulling” to one side.   It’s also a good idea to check your tires frequently, both during routine maintenance (by a qualified automotive technician) and by making a habit to look at your tires and noticing any new damage or differences.  You can always come in to Jake’s Auto, and we are happy to check alignments, if you are unsure or have questions.  It’s also a good idea to have the alignment checked regularly to prevent wear and tear on the tires.

Is Your Car Making Your Allergies Worse?

Spring is one of my favorite times of year!  I love seeing the world come back to life after being asleep for the winter.  I love the tulips and daffodils, and the little buds on the trees as they slowly turning into leaves and flowers.  The only thing I don’t look forward to each spring is my allergies!  The itchy eyes and nose, the persistent coughs and sneezes.  Sometimes I go inside just to find relief from those pesky allergies.  

What about your car though?  If you’re driving, will your allergies be better or worse in your car?  Just by changing the cabin air filter, you can reduce allergens in your car!  The cabin air filter collects dirt, dust, and pollen.  A dirty or clogged cabin air filter can also affect the efficiency of your air conditioner.  A cabin air filter should be checked and inspected every year to help you and your passengers breathe easy.

Car Emergency Kit - Is Yours Stocked Up?

We all know Murphy’s law, if something can go wrong at the least convenient time, it will.  No one wants to be stuck on the side of the road unprepared, regardless of rain, snow or heat.  Although you can’t prepare for everything, here are some things you can keep in the car to make those unexpected stops shorter, and more comfortable.
  • Cell phone charger – More than likely, you’ll have your cell phone with you when you walk out the door, but is it fully charged?  If you are stopped unexpectedly, you’ll want to have a charged cell phone to call for help. 
  • Tire changing tools – If you have a flat tire, you’ll need to know where the jack in your car is located.  You will also need a wheel key, wrench, flat board and wheel chock.  Also, be sure to check your spare tire regularly to be sure it’s ready to be used.
  • First Aid Kit – You’ll want to make sure that you have a fully stocked first aid kit in your car: gloves, band-aids, reflective heating blanket, cooling packs, basic over-the-counter medications, and specific family medications (i.e. inhalers, epi-pen, etc).
  • 3 Reflective Warning Triangles – These will be helpful both during night and daylight hours.  Warning Triangles, will help increase your visibility as you are pulled off to the side of the road.  They can also be spread out to warn other vehicles to give you some extra space.
  •  Jumper cables – Hopefully anyone who stops to help you would already have jumper cables in their car, but if we’re going on Murphy’s Law, they probably won’t.  It’s always safer to keep a set of jumper cables in your car so if you need them, you’ll know you have them.  Then not only will you be able to use them if your car needs help starting, but you’ll also have them to help others.
  •  Flashlight – If you are stranded at night, you’ll need a flashlight to be able to see anything under the hood or to change a tire.  Also be sure to have a set of extra batteries, just in case.
  •  Blanket – A blanket can help regardless of the weather.  It can help keep you warm in the winter, or on a cool night.  It can provide shade during the hot summer months.  It can also be a ground cover in case you have to look underneath the car.

These items are most critical.  You should also be sure to include water, nonperishable snacks, and a radio.  These items will help in many emergencies.  We can’t always be sure we’ll have everything we need, but getting started and working on it a little bit at a time, will ease the burden if you are in an emergency situation.

Summer Driving Series: Don't Leave Your Kids in the Car!

Summer is here!  You are hopefully enjoying your air conditioner as you drive through town. (If not, make sure you call Jake's Auto to h...