Tips & Advice

We’ve created this reference sheet for you to jot down your vehicle’s information to help make communication with your mechanic easier. Click the image to print. This is a handy guide to keep in your glove box. 

Driving Force

One of the most overlooked maintenance items on a vehicle is the serpentine belt. Periodic visual inspections to gauge the condition of the serpentine belt is essential because no one wants to be stranded on the side of the road with a busted belt. About 20% of vehicles on the road today have worn belts that need to be replaced. Most belt failures happen on vehicles with more than 85,000 miles.

Your serpentine belt drives the accessories in your car, such as the A/C compressor, alternator and power steering pump. The belt may also run the cooling fan and the water pump.

Serpentine belts do a lot of work! They are made of tough material that can last for thousands of miles– how many thousands of miles will depend on your vehicle. A visual inspection of the belt will determine when and if your belt needs to be replaced.

Today’s belts start out with a “V” profile and as they wear the “V” turns into a “U”. Once the belt is worn, it will have less surface area contact with the pulley and begin to fail or make noise. Noise can also be caused from belt misalignment or from not having proper tension.

In some cases when the serpentine belt is being replaced, it is also recommended to have the tensioner pulley replaced as well.

Warning signs to look out for with a worn serpentine belt would be a squealing noise from under the hood when starting and/or accelerating. A loose belt might give you a slow slapping sound.

If you are experiencing these symptoms– or just want a belt check, call us!

How often should I rotate my tires?
Your tires should be rotated every other oil change, or every 5000 miles. Neglecting to rotate tires is a major cause of premature tire wear

Is it really necessary to replace my timing belt at the manufacturer recommended interval?
YES. The failure of a timing belt in many cars can result in major engine damage. The cost of repairing an engine with a broken timing belt is much greater than the cost of a timing belt replacement.

What does it mean if my “check engine” or “service engine soon” light comes on?
There are many sensors and computerized components that manage your vehicle’s engine performance and emissions. When one of these fails, the “check engine” light is illuminated. Although your car may seem to run fine, it is important to have the issue addressed to prevent long-term problems or failure of emission tests.

What should I do if my car starts to overheat?
This is a very serious problem – if your car overheats for too long, you can damage your engine. As soon as possible, find a safe place to pull off the road and shut the engine off! Do not attempt to check the fluid level in the radiator as it can burn you. The best thing to do is have your car towed to a repair shop.

When should I get my oil changed?
You should get your oil changed every 3000 miles or as recommended in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. If intervals are extended, ensure you use oil that is capable of extended mileage changes.

What is that milky brown engine oil?
Milky brown engine oil is an indication of coolant in the oil. This can be caused by a blown head gasket (other gasket), a failed transmission cooler, or cracked casings. This condition is very serious and needs to be checked by a professional technician quickly.

How to make sure my car battery has a good electrical connection?
Battery cables and terminals should also be cleaned and inspected to make sure they provide a good electrical connection.

What is synthetic motor oil?
Synthetic motor oils can be a good choice for high output, turbocharged or supercharged engines, vehicles that are used for towing (especially during hot weather), or vehicles that are operated in extremely cold or hot climates.
Synthetic motor oils, though several times more expensive than mineral-based motor oils, can improve fuel economy and provide longer intervals between changes. They also provide instant lubrication on start-up.

When should I replace my car’s fuel filter?
To help ensure dependable, trouble-free performance, replace your car’s fuel filter approximately every 30,000 miles or as recommended in your vehicle’s owner’s manual.

When should I change my spark plugs?
For maximum fuel economy and peak engine performance, your spark plugs should be replaced every 30 months or 30,000 miles, unless your vehicle is equipped with 100,000-mile platinum tipped spark plugs.

I need to replace a burned out fuse, what should I do?
Always replace burned-out fuses with ones of the same amperage (printed on the fuse) and note that if a fuse continues to “blow,” you should have the circuit checked professionally by one of our technicians for defects.


2804 Deborah Avenue
Zion, IL 60099