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Bells Mill AutoCare Helps You Decipher The Menu Board: Part 2
Chesapeake service centers have a menu board that lists the services they provide. Some Chesapeake drivers may not be familiar with all of the items on the board so here is a quick description of some of the typical services that might be listed.
Bells Mill AutoCare fuel system cleaning: Over time, the pickup fuel system gets gum and varnish built up. A fuel system cleaning gets rid of that and cleans out the fuel injectors. Saves gas, by the way.
Bells Mill AutoCare headlamp replacement: Halogen and standard headlamps gradually fade. It’s usually good to change them every year or so.
Bells Mill AutoCare inspections: Chesapeake drivers get inspections for many reasons. Maybe they’re going on a trip or just want to make sure their vehicle’s ready for VA summer or winter. Maybe they just bought a used pickup and want to give it the once over. An inspection may reveal some things that are broken or are getting close to having a problem.
Bells Mill AutoCare oil change: – there are several options: Some Chesapeake centers offer just an oil change and new filter as an option. Most will also check and top off all of your other fluids and do a quick visual inspection with a full service oil change. In my way of thinking, the full service option is best because it makes sure you have adequate fluids and may uncover an emerging problem. There may also be options for higher mileage fluids or an upgrade to synthetic oil. Bells Mill AutoCare PCV valve replacement in Chesapeake: PCV stands for Positive Crankcase Ventilation valve. It’s a little part that releases pressure from the engine. It can get gummed up and that can lead to engine damage. Just needs to be changed now and then.
Bells Mill AutoCare power steering service: Often overlooked. Your considerate Bells Mill AutoCare technician will evacuate the old fluid, clean out the system and replace it with clean fluid. Keeps the pickup system running well for a long time. Bells Mill AutoCare serpentine belt service: That’s the belt that powers the pickup engine’s accessories like the alternator, air conditioner, power steering and brakes. You’ll want to replace the serpentine belt before it breaks, because that’ll shut you down.
Bells Mill AutoCare shocks and struts: This starts with an inspection of the suspension components. Shocks last a long time and wear out slowly, so many Chesapeake people don’t notice when it’s time to change them. If they’re worn or leaking, they need to be replaced. Bells Mill AutoCare transmission service: This involves removing the transmission fluid and replacing it with clean fluid. It’s like an oil change for your transmission.
Bells Mill AutoCare tire rotation and wheel balancing: The tires are rotated from front to back using the recommended rotation pattern. This helps tires wear more evenly. Wheels need to be balanced from time to time to keep them turning without any wobble or bounce. Helps the ride and saves tire wear.
Road Trip: Be Ready for Anything With a Trip Inspection at Bells Mill AutoCare
Road trip, anyone? Nothing spoils a great vacation for us Chesapeake motorists then ending up stranded on the side of the road or spending a week in a rundown motel while our vehicle sits in the shop. Long days on the road can bring out the worst in your vehicle, so before you leave, prepare it for the journey by getting an inspection at Bells Mill AutoCare in Chesapeake. After all, you wouldn’t travel without clean socks, why ask your vehicle to travel with a load of detrimental dirty oil?
The first step in a trip inspection at Bells Mill AutoCare is to look at your travel plans. What kinds of roads will you be driving on? Will you be in the VA backcountry or on the freeway? Will you be crossing mountains? Off-roading? What will the weather be like? How many miles away from Chesapeake will you be traveling? How much are you hauling? Will you be towing a trailer or lugging a rooftop carrier? Will you encounter dust, mud, snow or sea salt? All of these questions can help Chesapeake drivers ascertain which Bells Mill AutoCare services are the most needed. And don’t hesitate to meet with your Bells Mill AutoCare service advisor. He can give you good auto advice on what trip conditions are hardest on what systems of your car and what kinds of services your vehicle realistically needs. Start with the tires and review them for tread wear and proper inflation. Replace or rotate them as needed. If you need to change them out for winter tires, then do so.
Then review your shocks or struts for wear. Replace them if needed. You’ll want that extra comfort on your trip. Be sure to check your alignment. Steering a vehicle that is out of alignment is tiring, and dangerous. Don’t overlook your brakes. With extra passengers and baggage, your brakes are going to get a workout. You want them in top condition.
In addition, survey belts and hoses. If any of them are close to wearing out, have them replaced before your long trip does them in.
Change your engine air filter if it needs it or if it’s close to needing it. For every gallon of gas you burn, your air filter processes 12,000 gallons of air. A clean air filter will protect vital electronic sensors that effect how your engine runs.
Get an oil change at Bells Mill AutoCare in Chesapeake if it’s coming due. Make it a full-service oil change while you’re at it. That way, all of your fluids will get checked and topped off. Change any dirty or old fluids. Chesapeake auto owners don’t want to overstress their cooling systems or transmissions with detrimental dirty fluid during a long trip.
Does your vehicle smell? Check the cabin air filter. The bad smell could also indicate an exhaust leak, which can be fatal on a long trip. So don’t ignore bad odors; check them out.
If your air conditioning hasn’t been up to snuff, then give it an overhaul. You want your vacation to be relaxed and pleasant, and that means keeping the passenger compartment comfortable.
And be sure to survey your wiper blades and your headlamps. You may find yourself driving in unfamiliar territory at night after a long day. You’ll want to be able to see as much as possible.
Of course, almost everything listed here is just part of critical preventive maintenance for smart Chesapeake drivers. If you keep up with your car care on a regular basis, a trip inspection will be a breeze at Bells Mill AutoCare.
Taking care of your vehicle before you leave for a road trip will pay you back in safety, peace of mind, improved comfort and better MPG. It will also help your vacation go as planned by keeping you on the road and headed for that next great adventure. Just don’t forget to pack your socks.
Serpentine Belt Service At Bells Mill AutoCare In Chesapeake
If you’ve ever heard a squealing sound under your pickup hood, chances are it was your serpentine belt. Your serpentine belt is a long belt that’s driven by your engine. It winds around several accessories that power important automotive systems in your pickup. Let’s go over them.
First, the serpentine belt drives your air conditioning system. It spins the compressor that makes the cool air that takes the edge off the summer heat in Chesapeake. More importantly, the belt powers the alternator. The alternator creates electricity that’s used by your pickup’s electrical systems and also charges your car battery. Without the alternator, the battery will go dead in a few miles.
The serpentine belt may also run the pumps for both the power steering (some are electric) and power brakes (some use vacuum boost).
And, on most pickups, the serpentine belt powers the water pump. The water pump circulates coolant through the engine to keep it within optimal operating temperatures. On some Chesapeake cars, the water pump is powered by the timing belt instead of the serpentine belt.
When they understand what it does, Chesapeake auto owners realize that if it breaks, it affects a lot of systems. That’s why auto manufacturers outline recommended replacement guidelines in the owners manuals. If this important maintenance component is not included in your owners manual, come see us at Bells Mill AutoCare.
At Bells Mill AutoCare in Chesapeake, your considerate service professional can perform a visual inspection of the belt to see if it has any cracks that signal the belt could fail soon. If the belt has more than three or four cracks every inch, has deep cracks that penetrate half the depth of the belt, is frayed, is missing pieces or has a shiny glazed look, it needs to be replaced regardless of age or mileage.
If it has lost a significant amount of thickness, it also needs to be replaced. Talk to your considerate service professional at Bells Mill AutoCare. There’s a special spring-loaded pulley attached to the engine called the tensioner pulley. Its job is to make sure there’s a constant tension on the serpentine belt so that it doesn’t slip. The spring can become worn and no longer provide the necessary pressure to keep the belt tight. At Bells Mill AutoCare, we recommend Chesapeake motorists that the tensioner be replaced at the same time as the serpentine belt.
As mentioned, a squealing sound could alert you that the serpentine belt needs to be replaced. It may be loose if you hear a slow, slapping sound when idling your pickup.
All in all, the serpentine belt’s is important to the operation of your pickup. And it’s not that pricey to replace at Bells Mill AutoCare – so it’s good to do so before it fails.
Gas Savings In Chesapeake: Sharpen Your Pencil
High gas prices in Chesapeake increase the cost of living for VAdrivers. You’ve probably budgeted a certain amount for vehicle related expenses. Increased fuel costs now consume a larger portion of our incomes, causing some Chesapeake vehicle owners to skimp in other areas – like scheduled maintenance.
According to VA news reports and automotive industry studies, this is becoming increasingly more common. In fact, nine out of ten personal vehicles on the road have at least one maintenance or repair item that hasn’t been done. Some of these items pose serious safety risks. Others are just more likely to make it more expensive to drive.
In this area, we can take a lesson from professional Chesapeake vehicle owners. I’m talking about fleet owners and operators. You know, Chesapeake folks like the trucking companies and delivery services. Because their livelihood depends on it, they have gotten scheduled maintenance down to a science. And the last thing they skimp on is regular maintenance.
Why is that? Well, for one thing they know that routine maintenance prevents expensive repairs and costly breakdowns. They also know that a well-maintained vehicle uses less fuel. For them, even a small decrease in fuel efficiency may put their Chesapeake business in the red.
So what does this mean to Chesapeake drivers? Well, there’s a ninety percent chance that you’re missing some service that would improve your gas mileage. Here’s a quick reminder list:
Fuel system cleaning, transmission service, differential service, engine air filter, wheel alignment, oil change, tune up. Ring any bells? Can most Chesapeake motorists honestly say that there isn’t at least one thing on the list that hasn’t been done?
Let’s suppose you chose to spend one hundred and fifty dollars and get caught up on some of these services at Bells Mill AutoCare. Figure that they combine to improve your gas mileage by fifteen percent. What would that mean to your pocketbook?
Well, the average personal vehicle in Chesapeake is driven about twelve thousand miles a year. If you get twenty miles per gallon in your pickup, over the course of one year you would pay for the hundred and fifty dollars worth of service and save an additional hundred and sixty five dollars if gas is at three dollars and fifty cents. If gas is four fifty, you would save two hundred and fifty-five dollars. And you’d rack up savings of three hundred and forty five dollars with gas at five and a half bucks.
From this you can see that the more fuel costs, the more it pays to keep up on scheduled maintenance. Some of us drive trucks in Chesapeake for work or recreation – or want a large SUV for family needs. A fifteen percent improvement in fuel efficiency can generate huge savings – six hundred and sixty dollars a year if gas is four fifty a gallon in Chesapeake. Take a look at this table to see where your savings could lie.
So catch up on those services you’ve been neglecting at Bells Mill AutoCare. Get a couple done now and a couple next time. Chances are you’ll save a lot of bucks at Chesapeake gas pumps this year – and a lot more on repairs in years to come.
Go Big or Go Home: Upsize Your Wheels at Bells Mill AutoCare
A lot of us Chesapeake auto owners like our vehicles to reflect our personalities. We’re picky about color and body style. We’ll customize anything from floor mats to window tints to license plates. One popular way for VA car owners to customize a vehicle is to get new wheels.
Wheels come in thousands of designs. Custom wheels can add personality, style or sass to a vehicle. Many of these customizations involve getting a bigger wheel.
Fifteen or sixteen-inch wheels used to be the factory standard, But today, because a lot of Chesapeake drivers like the look of larger wheels, many vehicles are available with seventeen or eighteen-inch wheels. Optional wheel packages of twenty inches or more are also available in Chesapeake.
If you want to upsize the wheels on your current vehicle, however, you should know it’s not a do-it-yourself project. There are vital factors involved in ensuring your wheel change doesn’t jeopardize the safety of your vehicle.
First of all, it’s vital for VA auto owners to understand rolling diameter. The rolling diameter is the overall height of a tire. If you increase the rolling diameter of your tires when you upsize your wheels, you may have to modify your suspension to make sure the larger tires fit in the space and don’t rub in turns or over bumps. If that’s more work than you’re willing to do or pay for, then you need to maintain rolling diameter when you change your wheels.
It’s not as hard for Chesapeake auto owners as it sounds. Imagine a doughnut. That doughnut represents rolling diameter, so you can’t make the doughnut bigger. However, you can increase the size of the doughnut hole. That gives you a bigger wheel. Tires with reduced sidewall on larger wheels will preserve your rolling diameter.
Rolling diameter is vital because your wheels and tires still need to fit inside the wheel well. Also, your speedometer, odometer and anti-lock brakes are all programmed to work with a specific rolling diameter. You’ll throw off the readings on your speedometer and odometer if you change your rolling diameter. And for your anti-lock brakes to work properly, your rolling diameter has to be within 3% of factory recommendations. While some Chesapeake motorists who upsize may not be concerned about meter readings, throwing off the brake system is a serious safety hazard.
Further, many vehicles in Chesapeake are now equipped with electronically controlled suspensions. Changing the rolling diameter will negatively affect this system as well, which can lead to a less smooth ride and lower handling performance as well as dangerous safety concerns.
Your considerate Bells Mill AutoCare tire professional may be able to reprogram your vehicle’s computer to adjust for a larger (or smaller) rolling diameter.
So to maintain rolling diameter, you’ll need tires with a shorter sidewall. These tires will be designed to give the sidewalls the strength they need to maintain ride quality. Consider that doughnut again. As the wheel (the doughnut hole) gets bigger, the sidewall of the tire (the width of remaining doughnut) gets shorter. That means the tire holds less air. The sidewalls have to be made stiffer to compensate for the decreased air capacity.
To improve their strength, the shorter tires will also be slightly wider than your previous tires. But this means you’ll have a larger contact patch, or, in other words, a larger area of tire making contact with the road. This can actually increase your handling performance and decrease braking distances. Many VA auto buffs customize their wheels just for this reason—they want the improved performance rather than looks or style. If you drive a truck or an SUV around Chesapeake, you might be interested in the extra control an upsized wheel can provide.
Now, that larger contact patch still has to fit inside your wheel well without rubbing when cornering or when bouncing over bumps or potholes on Chesapeake roads. This is termed fitment, and you may need a few vital adjustments so your new wheels will fit properly. You may need spacers so that your brakes will fit inside the new wheels, as well.
Bells Mill AutoCare tire professionals are experts at mounting, adjusting and customizing wheels. They can give you a lot of good auto advice about wheels and tires and how they affect driving performance and car care. They can help Chesapeake motorists select wheels and tires that will suit their driving needs and habits.
For example, if you drive off-road around Chesapeake, you should consider a higher profile tire. This type of tire will protect your rims from costly damage while you’re bouncing over rocks. Or, if you tow a trailer or haul heavy loads around VA, you’ll want a tire with a load rating equal to your demands. Your considerate Bells Mill AutoCare tire professional can help you with these types of concerns.
Once you’ve got your new wheels, have your considerate Bells Mill AutoCare technician inspect to see if you need an alignment. You don’t want those new wheels and your higher performance compromised by poor alignment. Get the most out of your investment by getting the work done right at Bells Mill AutoCare in Chesapeake.
Last but not least, remember tire pressure. With larger wheels, your new tires will hold less air and they’ll need slightly higher pressure. You’ll need to stay on top of critical preventive maintenance and keep them properly inflated. Be sure to review their pressure at least once a week. If you don’t keep your tires at their correct pressure, they will wear out really fast. It will also reduce your braking and handling performance.
So smile and show off your vehicle around Chesapeake. Make it all yours. Bumper stickers, vanity license plates, custom wheels — strut your stuff!