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The Harm In Skipping An Oil Change For Chamblee Drivers

People in Chamblee have been hearing a lot about higher oil change intervals these days. Maybe you’re wondering: What are the key issues?

Some new vehicle manufacturers in Chamblee are now recommending much higher oil change intervals than they have in the past. As much as 5,000 to 8,000 miles or more. This practice came under scrutiny when four of the largest new car manufacturers announced that owners like those in Chamblee were experiencing engine damage resulting from these higher oil change intervals.

The manufacturers’ standard oil drain service for particular vehicles was scheduled at around 7,500 miles. People following these recommendations were experiencing engine damage. It turns out that oil sludge was building up. This caused small oil passages to clog and engine parts to fail.

What causes oil sludge? It’s a factor of time and mileage. There are hot spots in every engine that cause oil burn off that leads to sludge. Also, water from normal condensation can build up in the oil. This water also creates sludge. Severe driving conditions lead to more rapid sludge formation.

Visit J&L Auto Service in Chamblee, Georgia 30341

Severe driving around Chamblee includes short trips under four miles or trips under ten miles in freezing conditions. The engine just doesn’t get warm enough for the water in the oil to evaporate.

Severe conditions are at the heart of the problem. Stop-and-go driving, towing, dusty conditions, heavy loads, very hot or very cold temperatures, a car top carrier – these are all conditions that would suggest that the severe service schedule should be considered.

The severe service schedule has much shorter oil change intervals. People in Chamblee just need to honestly evaluate how they drive to determine if they should change their oil closer to the severe service schedule, or to the standard schedule.

Some types of sedan will give oil change reminders. But it’s important to know how that reminder is determined. For some, the reminder simply comes when the standard mileage interval has rolled around. Others use a computer algorithm that takes into consideration the number of cold starts, trip length, engine temperature and so on. It’s programmed to approximate where on the standard/severe service spectrum you fall. Some more expensive vehicles actually have sensors that test the cleanliness and effectiveness of the oil.

For the rest of us, better safe than sorry should be the guiding principle. Talk with your Chamblee service advisor at J&L Auto Service and work it out together. Find out what kind of oil the factory sends out in your vehicle. Sometimes it’s a premium grade that costs more than standard oil – but it may be what’s needed to meet a higher factory recommended interval.

If you’re realistically conservative, standard grades of oil will take care of you year after year. If you want to push the limits, ask for a premium grade oil to give you extra protection.

So, what happened with those manufacturers with the problems from higher oil change intervals? They ended up extending the engine warranty for parts that were affected by oil sludge. But they had a stipulation – they lowered the oil change interval and the vehicle owner had to provide proof of oil changes at the new lower interval to keep the extended warranty.

Make Your Vehicle Last

We live in such a disposable society. It’s amazing all the stuff we throw away. New stuff comes out so fast, we just toss the old and move on. In the old days Georgia folks were real sticklers about taking care of their things. If something got lost or ruined by neglect, tough – they had to do without. Most Chamblee auto owners couldn’t afford new cars very often, so they had to make them last as long as they could.

It’s a good thing that cars are more reliable these days for Chamblee motorists. They just don’t break down as often. And the good news for us Georgia penny pinchers is that a modern car can easily go 200,000 miles/320,000 km with proper care. The engineering and the manufacturing quality is tremendous. The missing ingredient is us Chamblee car owners making sure we follow the auto maker’s recommended maintenance schedules.

Every time you go a couple thousand extra miles between oil changes you have created an opportunity for sludge to be formed and clog passages. Then some sedan parts don’t get properly lubricated and they start to wear out faster. Skip a cooling system service, and the corrosion inhibitors become depleted, and the radiator starts being damaged – one step closer to a failure. Same thing is true for transmission service, power brakes, fuel system cleaning – really everything on your schedule.

It is probably even more important for older sedans. Those engines and other systems have had more time to get dirty, so they are a bit more stressed anyway. But it is never too late to get back on track with your auto maintenance and to hold off further damage.

And it really does start with the oil change. When you get a full service oil change in Chamblee at J&L Auto Service, we top off all your fluids and check for other items that are on your maintenance schedule. It’s like your safety net. Go in for an oil change on time, and let your friendly J&L Auto Service service advisor help you keep track of the rest.

Some things are going to wear out along the way, things like alternators, water pumps, etc. But fixing those at J&L Auto Service is cheaper than a a steep new car payment for Chamblee car owners. And taking care of problems early means they have less time to mess with other things. It is like having high cholesterol – you don’t want to wait for a heart attack before you address it.

Maintaining Your Older Car In Chamblee Georgia

The government mandates a lot of equipment on cars in Chamblee Georgia: emission devices and control computers, safety equipment like airbags and crash worthiness requirements. All of this is great for the Chamblee Georgia motoring public, but it does add quite a bit to the price of a new car.

Because new cars are more expensive, people in the Chamblee area are driving their old cars longer. The average car is now over nine years old. Two thirds of vehicles on the road in Chamblee have more than 75,000 miles. As cars age, their performance drops, they have difficulty idling for long periods and are more sensitive to weather extremes. Fortunately today’s cars are up to the challenge – but they need a little help to keep on goin’.

Give J&L Auto Service a call to schedule your next maintenance.
3667 North Peachtree Road
Chamblee, Georgia 30341
770-457-4676

Some owner’s manuals don’t specify service requirements at higher mileage. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to be done. In fact, it’s more important than ever to stay on top of routine maintenance for cars with more than 75,000 miles.

First, just extend regular service intervals out: for instance a service that’s recommended every 15,000 miles should be performed at 15,000, 30,000, 45,000 and 60,000 miles, and so on. Because of the additional stress older engines experience, the severe service maintenance schedule is more appropriate than the regular schedule – ask your service advisor. Watch for leaks – seals and gaskets dry out over time and don’t hold the fluids as well as they used to.

It’s also time to make sure you have a good Chamblee Georgia technician. There are some services and replacements that are scheduled after you put on some clicks, like timing belts, valve train adjustments, suspension, anti-lock brake service, air bags, etc. And unexpected repairs down the road are just par for the course. Check for unusual sounds, smells or the way your car feels. These could be hints that trouble’s brewing. Better to catch it early before it turns into a costly repair.

And a regular wash and wax will help maintain your car’s appearance. One of the things you can do to really help your high mileage vehicle is to begin using high mileage formulation fluids. There are special engine oils, coolants, and transmission and power steering fluids that are formulated for cars that have a few clicks on the old odometer.

High mileage oil is designed to condition seals and gaskets, reduce wear and avoid premature burn off. Older engines are dirtier inside – and dirty engines contaminate their oil faster. High mileage oil has special additives that clean the engine, removing sludge deposits over time. The result is less stress on the engine, better fuel economy and excellent wear protection.

Studies have even shown that using high mileage fluids early will actually prevent some of the problems of high mileage vehicles. So once you hit around 50,000 miles, consider stepping up to high mileage formulations. High mileage fluids cost a bit more than standard fluids because of the additional additives, but they can be worth their weight in gold in terms of preventing repair costs down the road. It does cost more to properly maintain a higher mileage vehicle – but it’s way cheaper than a new car payment!

Keeping Your ‘Old Faithful’ Auto Running

At J&L Auto Service we’ve had a lot of Chamblee, Sandy Springs, and Doraville clients asking how they can make their vehicles last longer. These questions are actually a reflection of a trend that’s been building for several years in Georgia. The median age of personal vehicles is now over nine years. And 33 percent of all vehicles on the road have over 75,000 miles on them. It looks like it’s going to keep heading in that direction for a while. With high fuel prices, a lot of Atlanta folks are putting off buying a new car. Thanks to AutoNetTV, we can provide you with a video answer to this critical question.

So let’s say you’re one of the average car owners in the Atlanta area; you’ve got a nine year old car with 80,000 miles on the odometer. What can you to do make it last another year or two?

Let’s start with the premise that there’s no reason that a modern car can’t run for 200,000 miles with proper care in Chamblee. The engineering and manufacturing quality is there.

Of course, some parts will wear out along the way, but there’s no reason for a catastrophic meltdown if smart Chamblee drivers stay on top of their recommended car maintenance. The maintenance schedule in some auto maker’s owner’s manuals runs out at 60,000 miles or so: how do Chamblee motorists know what to do when they’re way past that?

It is a challenge, for example: If a service is recommended every 15,000 miles for the first 60,000 miles you can just keep getting it done at least every 15,000 miles after you hit 60,000 miles. But, it gets more complicated because older engines lose some efficiency, are dirtier inside and are just more stressed. That means it’s very important to not miss any scheduled services. Skipping just one oil change at J&L Auto Service in Chamblee, for example, leaves an opportunity for detrimental sludge to build up. Talk to your honest J&L Auto Service service specialist.

So all the usual things like oil changes, transmission service, coolant service, brakes, power steering, fuel system cleaning – all that stuff needs to be maintained. People responsible for fleet vehicles around Chamblee are sticklers for scheduled maintenance. They know that money spent on maintenance saves them three ways:

  1. it keeps gas mileage from decreasing;
  2. it prevents expensive repairs, and;
  3. they can postpone purchasing new vehicles.

Having the oil changed may be the most critical thing drivers can do. A full-service oil change at J&L Auto Service means that all of your other fluids get topped off so they are never low enough to cause damage. It also gives your honest J&L Auto Service tech a chance to spot problems in the early stages so that you can fix them before they get costly. And it gives you a touch point with an automotive professional along the way to remind you of things that aren’t scheduled as often – things like differential service and timing belt replacement.

If you live in the Chamblee area and have an older vehicle, you may need to follow the severe service maintenance schedule. Check your owner’s manual and talk with your service specialist at J&L Auto Service. Conditions inside an older engine, transmission and cooling system can arguably be considered severe – so shorter intervals could well be called for.

And, the team at J&L Auto Service strongly encourages Chamblee motorists to consider using high mileage formulation fluids. They’re fluids like engine oil, transmission fluid and coolant that are formulated for older engines. They have special additives to clean deposits, and to condition and restore seals and gaskets that dry out with age. Some Chamblee auto owners start using higher mileage formulations at around 50,000 miles as a preventive measure.

Of course you also want to still look marvelous in your older car as you drive around Atlanta. Salt and road grime wreak havoc on your paint job and can lead to body rust – so regular washing is very important. Also, a good quality waxing is recommended at least twice a year.

Give us a call for more information:

J&L Auto Service
3667 North Peachtree Road
Chamblee, Georgia 30341
770.457.4676

Gas Savings In Chamblee: Sharpen Your Pencil

High gas prices in Chamblee increase the cost of living for Georgia car owners. You’ve probably budgeted a certain amount for vehicle related expenses. Increased fuel costs now consume a larger portion of our incomes, causing some Chamblee vehicle owners to skimp in other areas – like scheduled maintenance.

According to Georgia 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.

Gas Savings In Chamblee: Sharpen Your PencilIn this area, we can take a lesson from professional Chamblee vehicle owners. I’m talking about fleet owners and operators. You know, Chamblee 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 economy may put their Chamblee business in the red.

So what does this mean to Chamblee drivers? Well, there’s a ninety percent chance that you’re missing some service that would improve your fuel efficiency. 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 Chamblee drivers 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 J&L Auto Service. 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 Chamblee is driven about twelve thousand miles a year. If you get twenty miles per gallon in your sedan, 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.

GAS PRICE
$3.50
$4.50
$5.50
20 MPG
$165
$255
$345

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 Chamblee 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 Chamblee. Take a look at this table to see where your savings could lie.

GAS PRICE $3.50 $4.50 $5.50
10 MPG $480 $660 $840
20 MPG $165 $255 $345
30 MPG $60 $120 $180

 

So catch up on those services you’ve been neglecting at J&L Auto Service. Get a couple done now and a couple next time. Chances are you’ll save a lot of bucks at Chamblee gas pumps this year – and a lot more on repairs in years to come.

 

 

The Importance Of Chamblee Drivers Following Service Intervals

Today in our J&L Auto Service blog, we’re going to talk about following recommended service intervals. Your sedan isn’t the only aspect of your life in Chamblee with recommended intervals: Let’s start with twice yearly dental check-ups and regular physical exams. How about laundry, watering the lawn and paying the bills?

Now, what would happen if you didn’t follow these intervals? Well, you’d get more cavities. You’d may not discover health conditions that could be more effectively treated with early detection. And you’d have to wear dirty clothes, be embarrassed by your brown lawn and have your utilities shut off.

The Importance Of Chamblee Drivers Following Service IntervalsClearly, there are some things in life that we have to take care of regularly. If we don’t, there are negative consequences. Our quality of life in Chamblee takes a hit and it inevitably costs more money.

So why is it so hard to remember to follow regular preventive maintenance on our sedans? Probably a couple of reasons. One is that automotive maintenance items just don’t seem that urgent. All our Chamblee neighbors can see our dead lawn, but no one knows how dirty our transmission fluid is. It’s easy to put off. The other reason is that we’re just not as familiar with automotive maintenance, so it’s a bit intimidating.

From a practical standpoint, Chamblee people don’t need to memorize their sedan owner’s manuals. You can let your J&L Auto Service advisor remind you of the guidelines established by manufacturers: he has checklists of what the manufacturer recommends and can find potential problems when he inspects your sedan. You really can rely on J&L Auto Service professionals to help you make good automotive decisions.

For Chamblee drivers who want to be more proactive with their sedan care, here are some simple ways for Chamblee drivers to remember what has a maintenance interval.

First: Fluids. If it’s liquid, it’s got a replacement schedule. Oil, transmission fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid, differential fluid, etc.

Then think tires. They need air, rotation, balancing, and alignment. And while you’re thinking tires, don’t forget brakes and shock absorbers.

And what makes your sedan go? Air and fuel. Air filter replacement, fuel filters and fuel system cleaning. Of course there are more items, but if Chamblee car owners remember to take their car or truck in to J&L Auto Service for these things, their service advisor will help them with the rest.

And if you don’t follow recommended service intervals? You get lousy gas mileage, your sedan doesn’t run as well, your safety is compromised and you’ll spend more money in the long run. So it’s the same as everything else: The quality of your motoring life takes a hit and it ends up costing you more.

Reason enough for me to follow recommended service intervals.

Budget For Maintenance in Chamblee

Sometimes busy Chamblee residents dream about going back to the “simpler” days of our grandparents. But if you could travel back in time and take a road trip around Atlanta in a Model T, you might change your mind. The improved designs and quality of today’s automobiles have significantly reduced the amount of time Chamblee car owners spend at the side of the road during breakdowns. With proper maintenance, today’s vehicles can stay on the road longer than ever before.

Some of those improvements, however, have led to higher repair costs. For example, older cars often broke down from vapor lock. Gas vaporized while traveling from the gas tank to the fuel pump. No gas, no power. The car quits going. The solution was simple — you just sat by the road until the car would start up again. Today’s Chamblee motorists would hardly tolerate that kind of inconvenience; and it’s likely that yesterday’s Chamblee motorists didn’t care much for it, either. So on today’s vehicles, the fuel pump is actually located inside the gas tank. Problem solved. No more vapor lock. The downside is that now it costs a lot more to repair or replace a fuel pump at Chamblee area auto service centers.

Chamblee auto owners should certainly should be grateful for the improvements in auto design that keep us off the side of the road, but it comes at a price. Car care in Chamblee is simply more costly than it used to be. So if you think about it, Georgia car owners can avoid many costly sedan repairs by preventive maintenance. If we plan for maintenance, we can avoid a lot of costly repairs.

Edmunds.com has a great calculator to help you estimate car repair costs. Atlanta auto owners can enter the year, make and model for your vehicle, and the calculator will give you an estimate of what it will cost to service and repair your vehicle for the next five years. It also estimates the costs for depreciation, financing, insurance, taxes and fuel.

These estimates can be used to set up a reasonable budget to manage your car repair and maintenance expenses. Of course, they are just estimates. All Sandy Springs car owners know that life hands out a lot of surprises — some good, some bad, so there’s no way to know exactly what your sedan will need. But a good estimate helps you make a good budget, and a good budget is always helpful when it comes to car repairs.

Let’s look at one example. For a 2003 Toyota Camry, here is Edmunds’ estimate for the cost of repairs and maintenance for the next three years (as of the time of this writing):

Yr. 1 Yr. 2  
Yr. 3 
3-Yr. Total  
Maintenance 748    
225      
794     
1767  
Repairs 352      
409 476 1237  
                           Total 1,100 634 1,270 3,004  
Monthly Average 92 53 106 83  

According to this estimate, the owner needs to set aside about $83 a month to defray the costs of car care. That sounds like a lot until you compare it to the payment on a new automobile. And even if car repairs are more expensive than expected, that $83 is going to make the bills a lot less painful.

Just a bit of auto advice from J&L Auto Service: If you like new cars and can afford them, then buy them. But if you are buying a new car every few years because you’re afraid of the higher repair costs for older vehicles, then you ought to take a second look at the numbers. You can save a lot of money on car payments and Georgia auto insurance with an older Chamblee vehicle, and preventive auto maintenance can help you avoid most car repair bills. And if you budget for vital preventive maintenance in Georgia, it can become as routine as a car payment — only a whole lot less expensive!

Your Vehicle is NOT Maintenance Free, Chamblee Car Owners

A generation ago, Chamblee drivers seemed to be more inclined to keep their vehicle’s preventive maintenance on schedule. One reason for this may be that vehicles back then were a lot less reliable than they are today. Having your sedan in to your Chamblee shop every year or two for repairs seemed to be a good reminder to keep the oil changed.

For example, almost everyone in Chamblee used to take their vehicles in for regular tune-ups. Vehicles had mechanical ignition systems, which meant ignition points, spark plugs and coils had to be replaced and the timing adjusted every few years. As long as the sedan was in for a tune-up at J&L Auto Service, the vehicle was inspected and you took care of any needed repairs at the same time.

Today’s engines have electronic ignition systems and engine control computers. Spark plugs can last for up to 100,000 miles. Vehicle reliability has vastly improved in the last few decades, and surveys report fewer problems with new vehicles than ever before. That also means that our sedans don’t experience a huge performance drop when they’re ready for some car care. But it doesn’t mean that they don’t need it.

Modern Chamblee car owners need to rely on calendars and mileage intervals to know when to schedule maintenance. Owner’s manuals contain recommendations on when different types of maintenance should be performed. Also, your Chamblee service center can provide advice about auto maintenance schedules. At J&L Auto Service in Chamblee, we know that benefits of staying on top of preventive maintenance are substantial. First, you’ll get better engine performance and fuel efficiency. Those two things alone return the cost of preventive maintenance: in fuel savings and safety. Also, routine maintenance has been proven to prevent major car repairs later on. Again, the cost savings can be significant. As the old saying goes, “Spend a penny, save a dime.”

Modern sedan engines may be more durable and reliable than their predecessors, but they’re more sophisticated and complex as well. For this reason, preventive maintenance today is even more critical than the old tune-up. Modern engine systems have a lot of critical parts that have to stay lubricated. These parts can be made of aluminum, plastic or steel. Special additives in lubricants are required to keep each of these materials from breaking down or corroding. Over time, these additives are depleted, even if the sedan isn’t driven. This makes fluid changes a critical part of scheduled maintenance if you want to keep your car on the road.

As an example, coolant fluid in your engine is a sophisticated mix that not only keeps your sedan engine cool but also protects and maintains its components. However, this fluid gradually gets contaminated and anti-corrosion additives are depleted. It can become corrosive and actually damage the sedan engine parts it was designed to protect. It can actually eat holes in your radiator and other engine parts. Changing the coolant could have prevented this pricey damage, and it’s a whole lot easier and cheaper than replacing a radiator.

Timely oil changes are more critical for Chamblee car owners than they used to be. Skipping just one oil change can start the build-up of oil sludge in your engine. Sludge can clog small engine passages, which cuts off the supply of lubricant to vital engine parts. Just this small bit of sludge can reduce the life expectancy of your engine. If the build-up continues, it could lead to engine failure within two or three years.

One word of warning to anyone in Chamblee who purchases used automobiles: take care when buying a leased vehicle. Chamblee folks who lease vehicles only intend to drive them for two or three years, generally the years when the vehicle is least likely to experience any problems. One of the reasons people lease vehicles is that they don’t want to be bothered with maintenance or car care. Before buying a pre-leased vehicle, be sure to inspect it for signs of damage that result from lack of proper care.

Chamblee car owners can all be grateful for the improved reliability of our modern vehicles. With proper maintenance and care, we can expect them to last longer, perform better, get better fuel efficiency, and require fewer repairs than ever before. We just have to be more conscientious about scheduling time for their care.

The Easy Way To Save Cash In Chamblee

The hottest Georgia news story may be different everyday, but there’s one topic that seems to come up over and over again – the price of gas in Chamblee. If you feel like most of your paycheck goes into your gas tank, this post is for you. Here are several basic things  Chamblee drivers can do to greatly reduce their gas consumption, save money, and help the Atlanta environment. You can really improve your MPG by how you drive – but first, here’s a review of things you can do for your car that’ll save gas no matter how you drive.

The first one for Chamblee drivers is keeping tires properly inflated. That can save two miles per gallon. Driving on low tires is like driving through sand – your car just has to work harder. Most Chamblee service centers will fill up your tires for free, so just ask your J&L Auto Servicetechnician. Also, make a habit of checking your tire pressure whenever you fill up. Many Chamblee gas stations have an air hose you can use for free.

Another important item is to keep your air filter clean. An air filter all clogged up with dirt and bugs doesn’t let enough clean air through to efficiently burn fuel. Using a dirty air filter will cost you almost two miles per gallon in reduced fuel efficiency. And worn spark plugs can cost another two. A spark plug can fire as many as 3,000,000 times for every thousand miles driven. Check the sedan owner’s manual for replacement recommendations.

The biggest item is the oxygen sensor. This device provides the engine management computer with essential information it needs to fine-tune the fuel/air mix. When that’s messed up it can cost Chamblee motorists up to three miles per gallon. And of course, there’s detrimental dirty or substandard oil. Dirty oil causes extra drag. The wrong grade may be too thick. That’s another .4 miles per gallon right there.

One item Chamblee residents seldom think about is their gas cap. A worn, loose or missing gas cap can cost another two miles per gallon. Adding up all of these worn, missing or sub-par items leads to a total of almost 11.4 miles per gallon in reduced fuel efficiency! And with current gas prices in the Chamblee area, the cost really adds up. Taking care of these simple maintenance items will save Chamblee car owners cash at the pump. 

Now most Chamblee car owners aren’t missing on all of these items, but think about which ones might affect you right now! And don’t forget tune-ups, dragging brakes, low transmission fluid, fuel system cleaning, wheels out of alignment, PCV valve, fuel filter and other important services spelled out in your owners’ manual.

J&L Auto Service knows all this stuff and can tell you when you’re scheduled to take care of each item. Create a system of your own to track your service schedules, or just use the computer system at J&L Auto Service – which may also be updated with recall notices and critical maintenance schedule items from your vehicle manufacturer.

J&L Auto Service On Your Serpentine Belt

Today we’re going to be talking about serpentine belts for our Chamblee, Georgia customers. Let’s start by talking about the accessories that are driven by the serpentine belt. First is the alternator. That’s the important device that makes electricity to power the sedan and recharge the battery. Then there’s the air conditioning compressor that makes cool air for you while you’re driving around Georgia in the summer.

The power steering and power brake pumps are driven by the serpentine belt in most Chamblee drivers’ vehicles. Those pumps provide vital pressure that assists your steering and braking.

In many sedans, the water pump is driven by the serpentine belt. The water pump is what circulates the coolant that protects your engine. In some cars around Chamblee, Georgia, the water pump is driven by the timing belt.

The radiator cooling fans on some sedans are also driven by the serpentine belt. Some have separate electric motors. That’s really a lot of essential work for one belt.

But modern engine design has a single belt that snakes around the front of the engine and drives most if not all of these accessories. Serpentine belts do a lot of essential work, but they’re tough and can last Chamblee motorists for thousands of miles.

Just how long will they last? That’ll vary for each individual car in the Chamblee, Georgia area. Your vehicle manufacturer will have a recommendation for when it should be changed, but it could need it sooner. The good news is that a visual inspection at J&L Auto Service can detect a belt that’s getting close to failing.

Your friendly J&L Auto Service technician can look at the belt: if it has more than three or four cracks per inch, it needs to be replaced. A deep crack that’s more than half the depth of the belt – replace. Frayed, missing pieces, a shiny glazed look? Toss it.

What’s involved in replacing the belt at J&L Auto Service? First the old belt is removed. Then a new one is fitted around all the pulleys for the accessories and the drive. There’s a special pulley called a tensioner.

This pulley is mounted to the engine block with a spring loaded arm. Its important job is to apply the correct amount of tension to the belt to keep it from getting loose and maybe slipping off. Because the spring in the tensioner pulley wears out, AutoNetTV and the automotive professionals at J&L Auto Service recommend Chamblee auto owners replace them at the same time as the belt. It just makes sense.

What are the warning signs that there’s a problem with the serpentine belt? You may hear a squealing sound from under the hood when accelerating around our Chamblee streets. A loose belt might give you a slow, slapping sound.

What do you do if your belt breaks? If you’ve actually had that happen on a busy Chamblee freeway, it can be a little scary. The first thing Chamblee drivers usually notice is that they have no power steering or power brakes. Don’t panic – you can still steer and brake, but you’ll have to do the work. It’ll be harder to steer and you’ll need more time and effort to stop, so plan accordingly.

Your dashboard will light up will all kinds of warnings. You’ll see a warning about your cooling system if you have a water pump that’s driven by the serpentine belt. This is vital because without your cooling system working, your engine will overheat. If you don’t stop you’ll have massive engine damage, maybe to the point that you need a new engine. Open your windows and turn the heater on full blast to provide a little engine cooling. Pull over as quickly as you safely can!

The battery light will come on because the alternator isn’t working. If your car’s water pump isn’t driven by the serpentine belt, you’re not in danger of overheating so you can drive a little further if necessary. But the battery will run down to the point where the car will just shut off. You don’t want that to happen while you’re driving in our local Chamblee, Georgia traffic.

Remember, Chamblee auto owners can avoid this stressful scenario if they replace their sedan serpentine belt on schedule. Ask your friendly J&L Auto Service tech to check your belts and hoses from time to time so you can take care of them if they need to be replaced prematurely.

J&L Auto Service
3667 North Peachtree Road
Chamblee, Georgia 30341
770-457-4676


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