The intent of the show is to really give you some added value, to educate and help you, the car owner save money with tips and advice on how to get the most out of your vehicle for the least amount of cost. This is not a DIY show. Instead we show you how to get this done using professionals….the right professionals, giving you the peace of mind that the work done to your car was in fact needed and that your vehicle will be safe and reliable for years and miles to come.
The One Component Under Your Hood That Powers Everything is your Serpentine Drive Belt
The engine is the power plant for your vehicle but did you know that it can't work properly without all of the accessories that it drives? How does it do that?
The serpentine belt, also known as the drive belt or multi-rib belt, is a single, continuous belt used to drive multiple accessory devices attached to the vehicle’s engine. These can include the alternator, power steering pump, water pump, air conditioning compressor as well as options like superchargers. Without the serpentine belt, there is no way to drive power to any of these devices. A serpentine belt should be replaced as soon as it shows any signs of fraying, is cracked or gets contaminated with oil. Most manufacturers recommend replacement every four (4) years or 50,000 miles as preventative maintenance. Especially in climates like here in New England where we experience extreme temperature variations. When a serpentine belt breaks, all drive power to whatever it turns is lost. This means the water pump stops circulating coolant through the engine, the alternator quits producing power and no longer is charging the vehicle’s battery, the power steering pump ceases to assist in the steering of the vehicle, and the air conditioner quits cooling and dehumidifying the windshield. Continued driving without power to your water pump will result in engine overheating and engine failure, requiring costly repairs and possibly even engine replacement. Ignoring serpentine belt replacement has a high safety impact, as you will lose the ability to steer the vehicle. You will most likely be stranded with no warning when the belt breaks. When replacing the serpentine belt it is highly recommended that we replace the belt tensioner at the same time as these hold spring pressure on the belt keeping it in place. These tend to weaken over time and mileage and need to be replaced periodically as well.
Please read more about this service here.
Water pumps, timing belts and vital fluid services
How to Properly Care for and Service the Vital Fluids in Your Vehicle.
In this episode of Auto Care Corner, John and Rich discuss not only why and when you should service your vehicles vital fluids but also by what methods. They also discuss water pumps and timing belts and why it is mission critical to service these 2 items together on certain vehicles.
John also explains why it is so important to have a competent shop with experienced master technicians using the proper equipment to properly flush out your vital fluids. Very important that the flushing equipment is non invasive meaning it uses the vehicles pumps to exchange the fluid. Much like a blood transfusion uses the body’s heart (pump) to pump out old blood and intake the new blood, a coolant, transmission or power steering fluid exchange machine uses the vehicles pumps to pump out the old fluid and intake the new fluid. Done properly, the vehicle never knows that there is a machine attached to it. Always a good idea to run a fluid conditioner (detergent) through the system first as this cleans it out and extends the life of the new fluid as it doesn’t have to deplete it’s own detergents as soon as it is injected into the vehicle.
The water pump is driven off either the engine’s serpentine belt or the engine’s timing belt. When driven off the timing belt it very important to replace the water pump when servicing and replacing the timing belt. Most timing belt replacements are very labor intensive and because they are usually serviced around the 90,000-100,000 mile interval it makes economic sense to replace the water pump because their life expectancy is just about 100,000 miles. If you don’t replace it and it leaks shortly after then the coolant leaks out of the water pump and contaminates your timing belt which will cause it to fail in short order which is exactly what you are trying to prevent in the first place. On most engines, timing belt failure will result in severe engine damage.
Preparing Santa’s Sleigh (your car) for the Christmas Road Trip
In this episode of Auto Care Corner, John and Rich discuss what you need to do to ensure your car is ready for a trouble free drive this Christmas holiday season. Considering items such as antifreeze (coolant), winter tires, drive belts, timing belt, hoses, cabin heating system, essential fluids like engine oil and transmission oil and the effects that cold temperatures have on these fluids. Some of those forgotten fluids like your power steering fluid and your brake fluid.
If your car has a timing belt and it is 6 years old or has 90K miles then it is time to have it replaced. Timing belts tend to fail at this interval especially under harsh conditions like cold winter weather or long road trips. Most timing belts are driven off the engine’s water pump and you should always replace the water pump at the same time as this will save you money in labor costs. The drive belts have to come off to do this job so unless they are fairly new, now is also a good time to have them replaced. The cooling system also gets flushed out during this service so you will be ready for harsh winters and hot summers.
How to Prepare Your Vehicle for Winter
In this episode of Auto Care Corner, John and Rich discuss what you need to do to ensure your car is ready to provide you with trouble free driving in the harsh winter weather conditions. Considering items such as antifreeze (coolant), winter tires, belts, hoses, cabin heating system, essential fluids like engine oil and transmission oil and the effects that cold temperatures have on these fluids.
Flushing your radiator and cooling system is very cheap insurance to ensure your engine’s vital components like the water pump, radiator, heater core, thermostat, radiator hose and cylinder heads stay clean and prevents scale and build up on these vital components which leads to premature wear and failure!
Belts and hoses have a life span of about 6 years in the harsh weather conditions of New England. Long road trips will build up under-hood temperatures which can cause catastrophic failure of these vital components. If a coolant hose fails, the coolant is under pressure and will leak out almost immediately causing the engine to overheat which can cause severe engine damage. Belts don’t crack and show wear like they did on your fathers Oldsmobile but they do wear out. Much like a tire they have a tread depth that wears down and then the belt can slip off or break. Most cars have only one belt called a serpentine belt because of the way it snakes around all of your engine’s accessory pulleys. They drive things like your Power Steering Pump, your Water Pump, your Alternator which powers your car and charges your battery. If you lose the belt then you lose power steering, water pump and engine power!
Your tires are the single most important safety item on your vehicle. It is the only thing between you and the road. Tires enable you to start, stop, turn corners and drive down the road. If they are worn then they can’t do any of these things effectively. For example, if tires are worn then you can lose contact with the road in wet weather conditions causing you to lose control of the vehicle. Worn tires decrease your ability to start off in wet or snowy conditions. They drastically increase your stopping times and distance.
Winter tires for example are far superior to all season tires for:
Driving in temperatures below 45 degrees. (i.e. all winter)
Driving on ice and snow
Starting distance is drastically reduced
Stopping distance is drastically reduced (6-15 feet) big difference between crashing and not!
For more on snow tires please check out John’s blog on that subject here
Preparing Your Car for a Road Trip
In these Covid Pandemic times people are choosing more and more to travel by car. In this throwback episode of Auto Care Corner, John and Rich discuss how to prepare your vehicle for that extended road trip, be it to the relatives for Thanksgiving or Christmas or that vacation or ski trip to the white mountains. John compares those normal commutes to work vs the longer road trips to walking a mile vs running a 5K or even a full out marathon. Just like your body your car needs conditioning to make the trip. Listen in as John explains what items should garner your attention and what services you should have performed prior to your excursion out on the road.
Here is a link to John’s blog on this subject as well.
Snow Tires vs All Season Tires
John is talking about the differences between snow tires, winter tires and all season tires. This was our inaugural Facebook live stream of Auto Care Corner segment on Girard At Large radio show.
3:50 Three (3) Types of Tire Compound, All season, summer and winter.
5:20 Tire Tread design differences 8:50 What happens to winter tires above 45 degrees? What happens to all season tires below 45 degrees?
10:45 Installing 2 tires vs. 4 tires…don’t do it! You should always install 4 tires. Never install the tires with more traction on the front of a vehicle, ever! Listen to find out why.
(And don’t worry – it’s just the first minute of the video that was sideways. #maidenvoyage)