Archive for October 24, 2012

Exclusive Motors On Your Serpentine Belt

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

The power steering and power brake pumps are driven by the serpentine belt in most vehicles. Those pumps make the pressure that assists your steering and braking.

In many vehicles, 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 Placentia California, the water pump is driven by the timing belt.

The radiator cooling fans on some vehicles are also driven by the serpentine belt. Some have separate electric motors. That’s really a lot of 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 work, but they’re tough and can last for thousands of miles.

Just how long will they last? That’ll vary for each individual car in the Placentia California area. Your 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 can reveal a belt that’s getting close to failing.

Exclusive Motors 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? It’s out of there.

What’s involved in replacing the belt? 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 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 recommends replacing 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 Placentia California 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 our local Placentia California freeway, it can be a little scary. Often the first thing you notice is that you 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 very critical 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. Pull over as quickly as you safely can. Open your windows and turn the heater on full blast to provide a little engine cooling and pulled over as soon as possible.

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 won’t run and will just shut off. You don’t want that to happen while you’re driving in our local Placentia California traffic.

Remember, this does not have to happen if you replace your serpentine belt on schedule. Ask your technician at Exclusive Motors to check your belts and hoses from time to time so you can take care of them if they need to be replaced prematurely.

Exclusive Motors
1961 E Miraloma Ave # A
Placentia, California 92870
(714) 795-3065

Differential Service

Here at AutoNetTV, we have viewers, like you, from all across the country who write to us with questions or feedback. One common question we’re asked is: What is a differential and what does it do? You may have been told your differential needs service, or seen it as an option up on the service menu. Differential service covers a lot of things, so let’s first talk about what a differential does.

As you drive through a turn, your outside wheels and inside wheels turn at different speeds. Kind of like the cars going around a race track – the ones driving in the outside lanes have a greater distance to travel than the cars in the inside lanes. The differential is what allows the outside and inside drive wheels to rotate at slightly different speeds so that the tires don’t hop or skip while taking corners, or lose traction in dirt or snow. Differentials have gears in them that transfer the power from the drive train to your wheels – which is why they’re often referred to as gear boxes. The gears need to be very strong to do this work, and they need to be properly protected so that they’ll last.

All vehicles have some form of differential. If you have a front-wheel drive car, your differential is often called a transaxle and is located in the front. If you have rear-wheel drive, the differential is in the back of the car. If you have a four-wheel drive vehicle, you will have a differential in the front and the back – and in the middle as well. The center differential adjusts for differences in speed between the front and rear wheels.

Differential fluid lubricates and cools the gears. Over time, the fluid can get dirty from bits of the gears grinding off. The additives that keep the fluid clean and protect the differential break down over time. So your vehicle manufacturer has scheduled intervals for you to have your differential fluid changed.

Differentials are hard working mechanisms, and, along with the gears in a manual transmission, need to be serviced regularly with high-quality, replacement fluid. Your Yorba Linda automotive service advisor can give you more information as to when your next differential service is recommended. You can also ask if they have a record of when the service was last completed.

As with most service intervals, if you are driving under more severe conditions, you will want to service your differential more frequently. “Severe service” conditions are defined in most owners’ manuals, and include: frequent starts and stops, short trips, cold weather, hot weather and towing. All these conditions add to the stress of the vehicle and its parts. Also, off-roading in California can be especially hard on differentials, especially if you cross streams. Proper service will extend the life of your gears and keep them running more smoothly. If you have never had your differential checked, visit http://www.exclusivebenzlex.com/contact.html for more information.

Fuel Saving Tip: Gas Caps From Here To Anaheim

DO NOT POST THIS VIDEO – THIS NEEDS AN EDIT FROM LANCE. THE VIDEO CONTAINS INFORMATION THAT NEEDS ADJUSTING. -CARY

This fuel saving tip is so simple, no one from here to Anaheim will believe it. It has to do with your gas cap.

The first thing is to make sure it’s screwed on tight. If it’s loose, gas vapor will be constantly leaking out; wasted gas.

Gas Cap This could cause the check engine light to come on as well.

A worn gas cap can have the same effect. If you constantly smell gas when you walk by your tank, you might need a new gas cap.

So, twist your cap until it clicks three times – that means it’s on tight. Have your Anaheim area service advisor at Exclusive Motors inspect the cap to see if it needs to be replaced.

See, I told you it was simple.

Don’t forget to call Exclusive Motors at (714) 795-3065 for an appointment to optimize your Mercedes – Lexus for better fuel economy. Ask us about Factory Scheduled Maintenance.

Exclusive Motors Tire Safety: Washington vs. Lincoln

Welcome to the Exclusive Motors blog. Today, let’s talk about the effect of tire tread depth on braking. When talking about stopping power, most of us Villa Park drivers tend to focus on our brakes. But our tires are where the rubber meets the road. So having good brakes isn’t enough. Safe Villa Park drivers need to have tires with enough traction to translate braking power into stopping power.

Exclusive Motors Tire Safety Washington vs. LincolnLet’s focus on stopping in wet Villa Park conditions. In order for a tire to have good contact with the road, it has to move the water out of the way. If it can’t move the water, the tire will actually ride on top of a thin film of water.

That’s called hydroplaning. If it’s really bad, Villa Park drivers can actually spin out of control. At best, you won’t stop as fast.

So how does a tire move water? It has channels for water to flow through. Look at your Mercedes – Lexus tire and you’ll see channels: channels that run around the tire and channels that flow across the tire. They’re designed to direct water away from the tire so it can contact the road better.

And the deeper the channel, the more water it can move. A brand new Exclusive Motors tire has very deep channels and can easily move a lot of water. As the tire wears down, the channels become shallower and can move less water. When it wears down enough, it can seriously affect your ability to stop your Mercedes – Lexus on wet Villa Park roads.

So that’s why it’s so important to replace our Mercedes – Lexus tires when they get worn. Consumer Reports and other advocate groups call for a standard of 3/32 of an inch and they have the studies to prove it.

By comparison, you’ve probably seen the wear indicator that’s molded into tires. When tires are worn 3/32 of an inch, the tread wear bar is visible. So the recommended standard has twice the tread depth as a completely worn out Mercedes – Lexus tire.

At Exclusive Motors, we want our customers to know that the deeper recommended tread depth makes a big difference. Stopping distances are cut dramatically on wet Villa Park roads. A safe stop from California freeway speeds with 4/32 of an inch of tread would result in a crash with worn out tires.

There’s an easy way to tell when a tire’s worn to 4/32 of an inch. Just insert a quarter into the tread. Put it in upside down. If the tread doesn’t cover George Washington’s hairline, it’s time to replace your Mercedes – Lexus tires. With a Canadian quarter, the tread should cover the numbers in the year stamp.

Many Villa Park car owners have heard of this technique using a penny and Abe Lincoln’s head. That measure gives you 2/32 of an inch – half the suggested amount. Of course, Mercedes – Lexus tires are a big ticket item. Most of us in Villa Park want to get as many miles out of them as we can. But there’s a real safety trade-off. It’s your choice.