Get a Tow
Request an Estimate
Jones Logo

Keeping up with the Joneses

News and Helpful Hints from Jones Automotive.

Take the Scare Out of Winter Driving

When the weather outside is frightful, a little advance preparation will take the scare out of winter driving, says the Car Care Council. A few preventive vehicle maintenance steps will keep you from being stranded in severe winter weather.

The thought of a breakdown, an engine not starting or otherwise being stranded is scary as it is, but those things happening in freezing winter weather adds another level of fear. An investment of an hour or so to have your vehicle checked will pay off and help make sure your winter driving is less frightful and more delightful.

The Car Care Council recommends the following steps for winterizing your vehicle:          

  • Check the battery and charging system for optimum performance. Cold weather is hard on batteries.
  • Clean, flush and put new antifreeze in the cooling system. As a general rule of thumb, this should be done every two years.
  • Make sure heaters, defrosters and wipers work properly.
  • Consider winter wiper blades and use cold weather washer fluid. Typically, wiper blades should be replaced every six months.
  • If you’re due for a tune-up, have it done imediately. Winter magnifies existing problems such as pings, hard starts, sluggish performance or rough idling.
  • Check the tire tread depth and tire pressure. If snow and ice are a problem in your area, consider special tires designed to grip slick roads. During winter, tire pressure should be checked weekly.
  • Check the brakes. The braking system is the vehicle’s most important safety component.
  • Inspect the exhaust system for carbon monoxide leaks, which can be especially dangerous during cold weather driving when windows are closed.
  • Check to see that exterior and interior lights work and headlights are properly aimed.
  • Be diligent about changing the oil at recommended intervals as dirty oil can spell trouble in winter. Consider changing to “winter weight” oil if you live in a cold climate. Check the fuel, air and transmission filters at the same time.

Motorists should also keep the gas tank at least half full at all times to decrease the chances of moisture forming in the gas lines and possibly freezing. Drivers should check the tire pressure of the spare in the trunk and stock an emergency kit with an ice scraper and snowbrush, jumper cables, flashlight, flares, blanket, extra clothes, candles/matches, bottled water, dry food snacks and needed medication. 

Continue reading
2484 Hits

Why Does Your Car Drive Strangely and Make These Noises?

Why Does Your Car Drive Strangely and Make These Noises?

Q: What are the most important things about the suspension?


A: Shocks (Struts), Tie Rods & Ball joints are some of the most critical factors in your suspension system, the ball joints are what connects your steering knuckle with the control arm. The tie rods help your steering by pushing and pulling the front tires. Shocks and struts give you the ride-ability you need while driving. So, if you have bad shocks and hit the brakes, your front-end will dive down as opposed to if you have good shocks then it doesn’t.

Q: how would you know if your ball joints are going bad?

A: Some clues are squeaks and knocking noises. If you turn the wheel and you hear a squeaking sound, go over bumps and hear a squeak, or you hear a knocking noise when you turn.

Q: If the ball joints are bad what else would it cause?

72618 Jones Automotive 12

A: Wear on tires. For example, when you have a bad ball joint, and you are driving down the road and the ball joints move, and your tires change direction you might drift on the road a bit. It makes a big difference in controlling the vehicle.

Q: What about the Bushings and the Tie rods.

A: Tie rod and control arm bushings are what allow for the movement of your vehicle to go up & down. However, the bushings can get worn out and will cause it to move from side to side and give you shaking steering.

Q: how would you know if the tie rod is bad?

72618 Jones Automotive 10

A: By getting it inspected. You need to put it in the air and see if you can’t move anything without the system moving. If there is a bad tie rod, the tires can wiggle back and forth while it’s up in the air. Basically, it’s a ball that sits into a socket and rotates in the socket. They tend to wear out on roads with bumps and the potholes. Every time you hit a bump, it wears the ball, and with more and more wears it eventually causes the ball to start moving around in the socket.

Q: What are some of the signs of bad struts?

A: Excessive bouncing. When going over bumps, it would feel rough instead of feeling smooth.

Q: What are some extreme problems the struts can cause if they're bad?

72618 Jones Automotive 11

A: The biggest issue is with the braking performance if you hit the brakes and the struts are good the vehicle stays straight and leveled and stops. If you have bad struts and hit the brakes, the car will dive down in the front while lifting the rear and that will affect the brake-ability. If your rear end is up while your front tires are braking real hard, it will cause excessive wear on the brakes and also affect your ability to stop fast while keeping your car under control. If you hit the brakes, you want to stop where you are at, if you have bad shocks you can dive one way or the other and wear out your brakes causing you to travel a longer distance before you stop.

Q: Are those things that should be checked out during an inspection?

A: Yeah, they usually have a mileage rating similar to the tires on your vehicle. When you buy tires, there are 100,000 miles or more before they should be replaced. There is typically a rating on all the struts, and your manufacturers should have recommendations on when to replace them. Struts are generally 60,000 - 100,000 miles. It just depends on the manufacturer - It's all measured by mileage they, and not all parts are expected to last.

Continue reading
6885 Hits

Don’t drive yourself crazy

Don’t drive yourself crazy. Here are (4) small things you can have done to keep your vehicle in good shape.

Have you ever felt that your car was doing something awkward or weird, and your first reaction is "Shoot, I bet this is going to be expensive?” Well, sometimes it is not as big as you think it is. Don’t neglect the small stuff. Small things that you should pay attention to and get checked out can keep you from having bigger problems and if you get to them as soon as possible, you will be able to save yourself some money. Here are four things you should do to avoid massive car issues.


1. Get your battery checked.



Battery You should always stay alert and aware of how your vehicle is performing. Depending on the climate in your area, your battery might not be supplying enough energy. Colder weather causes thicker oil and your battery will need the power to get it cranking. Batteries can be stressed by extreme heat as well!


2. Get your oil changed

Oil Change


The oil in your engine is what keeps it running smoothly. All new cars have that attractive purring sound that sounds reliable and strong. As time goes by that purr begins to lose its appealing sound. Good news is that to prevent your engine from having internal issues, you should stick to the recommended schedules for oil changes. Oil leaks can occur, however, leaks can be fixed thus keeping your engine full and in good shape.


3. Check your engine coolant (antifreeze)



Coolant Rather than open the cap on the radiator, just check to see whether the liquid reaches the “Full” line on the side of the coolant over flow reservoir. It’s part of the coolant recovery system. If the liquid doesn’t reach the “Full” line, open the bottle and add the recommended coolant until it does. Some coolants require mixing with water, so check the bottle to see whether you need to add water or just use it as-is. Use caution! Never add coolant to a hot engine! If you need to add more liquid, wait until the engine has cooled down to avoid the possibility of being burned or cracking your engine block. Don’t open the caps on either of these systems when the engine is hot; if you do, hot coolant may be ejected.


4. Check your Power Steering

Power Steering


Although you should check all your fluids, the power steering fluid seems to be neglected. You should keep your power steering system in good condition. The power steering allows you to turn corners smoothly, park easily and go on long trips without a stiff steering wheel. Other components of the power are the power steering pump and pulley; if all are in excellent condition then you will be steering to your destination with no problems.


Keeping up with the maintenance on your vehicle will keep you from experiencing severe conditions that could have been prevented. Touching back on the point of getting your battery checked. reported that in 2017 the number of car owners with battery issues has risen by 44%. Although a percentage of these are factory related problems, getting it checked out will give you a better insight on what is going on with your vehicle.


If you feel that your car needs maintenance, try not to put it off for too long. The longer you stall, the worse things can get. It is always better to be safe not sorry.



Gorzelany, J. (2017, March1). Why JD Power Reports 44% More Car Owners Are Having Battery Problems. Retrieved from Forbes:

How to Optimize Your Oil Change. (2018, April 17). Retrieved from Car Care News Service:

Continue reading
7938 Hits

8 Signs Your Car Has Pothole Damage

A pothole can be your car’s worst enemy. These holes or pits on a road’s surface can seriously damage a vehicle’s ride control system.

If you do drive over a pothole, have your car’s shocks or struts checked to make sure they aren’t damaged.

Shocks and struts control how vehicles ride and handle. The shock absorbers, or struts act as a cushion to dampen the bouncing action of a car’s springs. The springs absorb the road bumps; without them, the vehicle would continually bounce and bound down the road, making driving extremely difficult.

Shocks and struts also control spring and suspension movement to keep the tires in contact with the road. This affects steering, stability and braking. A broken shock or strut could alter the steering and handling of a vehicle and create driving dangers. It’s important to be aware of the warning signs that your vehicle’s shocks or struts may need to be replaced.

  • The vehicle rolls or sways on turns.
  • The vehicle’s front-end dives when braking.
  • The vehicle’s rear end squats when accelerating.
  • The vehicle bounces or slides sideways on a winding, rough road.
  • The vehicle “bottoms out” or thumps on bumps.
  • The vehicle sits lower in the front or rear.
  • The vehicle is leaking or has signs of physical damage, such as rusting or dents.
  • There’s a loss of directional control during sudden stops of the vehicle.

Many components affect a vehicle’s handling. Having your car inspected, if you experience any of the above signs, is good preventive maintenance and can help its parts wear less and last longer.

“If you think you may have a worn out or broken shock or strut, don’t wait,” said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. “Whether you replace it yourself or take your car to a professional service technician, this situation should be taken care of right away.” 

Please call us if you have any concerns after hitting a pothole and we will preform a thorough check of you vehicle. 402-345-8383

Continue reading
8188 Hits

As Temperatures Drop, Check Tire Pressure More Often

You may notice when the weather turns colder, the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) light on your dashboard lights up more frequently. The Car Care Council recommends checking your tire pressure regularly during the winter to help keep the TPMS light off and your vehicle safe.

"It's typical at this time of year for motorists to get TPMS warnings and then get worried about their tires," said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. "Often drivers will see this in the morning when it's coldest. If the temperature warms, the light could turn off but it's likely that tires will still be a few PSI under inflated. This is why it's important to check tire pressure regularly."

According to the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association, for every 10 degree drop in temperature, tire pressure decreases one to two pounds per square inch (PSI). Checking the tire pressure is important for vehicle safety, tire life and gas mileage.

Incorrect tire pressure can lower gas mileage by 0.3 percent for every one PSI drop in pressure of all four tires and improve fuel efficiency by up to 3.3 percent when the correct tire pressure is maintained.

"Tire pressure should be checked at least monthly. It is important to note that newer cars with tire pressure monitoring systems may not alert you until the tire is significantly under-inflated, so you may want to check it more frequently," said White. "It is important to check tire pressure whenever there is a significant weather change and more often during the winter months."

The Car Care Council is the source of information for the "Be Car Care Aware" consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers.

BETHESDA, Md., Nov. 28, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/

Continue reading
4442 Hits

Vehicle Neglect Takes the “Pun” Out of Thanksgiving

Don’t let gas prices gobble up your hard earned money this Thanksgiving weekend; carve out some time to perform some simple fixins on your vehicle for better gas mileage, advises the Car Care Council. Or how about:

•Before stuffing your family in the car…
•Don’t hit the road on a wing and a prayer…
•Get a leg up on the traffic by…
•More miles per gallon is all gravy…
•The dinner and the driving – it’s all about the gas…

OK, had enough? Put a fork in it already? Got your attention? Seriously though, Thanksgiving is one of the most heavily traveled holidays by vehicle. Your gas mileage can be easily improved by checking a few basic items on the car.

Start with the tires and make sure they are inflated properly. When they aren’t, it is similar to driving with the parking brake on and can cost a mile or two per gallon. Tire pressure should be checked at least once a month and don’t forget the spare.

Air filters should not be clogged with dirt, dust or bugs. A dirty filter will choke off the air and create a “rich” mixture – too much gas being burned for the amount of air – that wastes gas and causes the engine to lose power. A rule of thumb is to have the air filter inspected at each oil change and replaced when dirty, torn, water or oil soaked, or when showing other signs of wear. Replacing a clogged air filter will improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent.

Spark plugs are an often-neglected maintenance item because of their long-life expectancy. They are one of the hardest working parts of the engine and when functioning properly, they improve reliability and maximize engine performance and fuel economy. Plugs that are worn or fouled can cause the engine to lose power or misfire, which wastes fuel. The replacement interval for spark plugs can range from 30,000 to 100,000 miles.

A check of the spark plugs is usually part of a routine tune-up during which your automotive technician makes sure other ignition system and/or emission system parts, as well as the on-board computer control system, are working properly. A well-tuned engine delivers the best balance of power and fuel economy and produces the lowest level of emissions.

Gas caps should not be damaged, loose or missing. About 17 percent of the vehicles on the road have loose, damaged or missing gas caps, causing 147 million gallons of gas to vaporize every year.

In addition to proper vehicle maintenance, motorists can also get better gas mileage by avoiding aggressive driving, which can lower gas mileage by as much as 33 percent on the highway and five percent on city streets, and avoiding excessive idling as a vehicle gets zero miles per gallon when sitting idle. Letting the vehicle warm up for one to two minutes is sufficient.

Motorists should observe the speed limit as gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. Each mph driven over 60 will result in an additional 10 cents per gallon. Cruise control helps maintain a constant speed on the highway.

Combining errands into one trip will also save gas and time. Several short trips taken from a cold start can use twice as much fuel as a longer multi-purpose trip covering the same distance.

Avoid carrying unneeded heavy items in the trunk as an extra 100 pounds can cut fuel efficiency by a percent or two.

Call us today for a winter check-up, 402-345-8383.

Continue reading
3425 Hits

Beware of Potholes!

They’re back and they’re bad. Potholes have returned and hitting one with your car can do a number on tires, wheels, steering and suspension, and alignment. To help determine if hitting a pothole has damaged your vehicle, watch for the following warning signs provided by the Car Care Council.

  • Loss of control, swaying when making routine turns, bottoming-out on city streets or bouncing excessively on rough roads. These are indicators that the steering and suspension may have been damaged. The steering and suspension are key safety-related systems. Together, they largely determine your car’s ride and handling. Key components are shocks and/or struts, the steering knuckle, ball joints, the steering rack/box, bearings, seals and hub units and tie rod ends.
  • Pulling in one direction, instead of maintaining a straight path, and uneven tire wear. These symptoms mean there’s an alignment problem. Proper wheel alignment is important for the lifespan of tires and helps ensure safe handling.
  • Low tire pressure, bulges or blisters on the sidewalls, or dents in the rim. These problems will be visible and should be checked out as soon as possible as tires are the critical connection between your car and the road in all sorts of driving conditions.

“Every driver knows what it feels like to hit a pothole. What they don’t know is if their vehicle has been damaged in the process. If you’ve hit a pothole, it’s worth having a professional technician check out the car and make the necessary repairs to ensure safety and reliability,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council.
Potholes occur when water permeates the pavement - usually through a crack from wear and tear of traffic - and softens the soil beneath it, creating a depression in the surface of the street. Many potholes appear during winter and spring months because of freeze-thaw cycles, which accelerate the process. Potholes can also be prevalent in areas with excessive rainfall and flooding.

Jones Automotive can exam your car for any damaged from a pothole. 402-345-8383

Continue reading
5180 Hits

An Ounce of Protection...

Change the Oil Regularly
First up is the simple oil change. Bottom line – if you change your oil on schedule, your engine will be properly protected. Go past the recommended mileage interval, typically every 3,000 to 5,000 miles depending on driving conditions, and sludge begins to build up in your engine. This sludge can clog small oil passages that keep important parts of the engine from being cooled and lubricated. That is never good for your engine. If your engine has variable valve timing, as most do nowadays, or a turbocharger, then these expensive components are at high risk for failure and expensive replacement. If you’re not sure how often you should change your vehicle’s oil, please give us a call.

Change Timing Belts and Chains Timely
Many vehicles come equipped with a timing belt. These belts wear out over time and must be replaced, along with the belt tensioner and other system components. If this belt breaks, you could end up with extensive engine damage that can cost thousands in repairs. Most manufacturers recommend changing the belt or chain every 60,000 to 100,00 miles, depending on the make, model and age of the vehicle. If you don’t know if your engine has a timing belt, as opposed to a timing chain, or when it should be replaced, we would be happy to look this up for you.

Clean Fuel Systems Regularly
More than half of all new vehicles sold have Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) engines, which can be susceptible to extensive hard carbon buildup on the intake valves. Regular fuel system cleaning can keep the deposits in check, and improve fuel economy, performance, and emissions at the same time. Neglecting this important service for too long may require an engine teardown to media blast, or “sandblast,” the carbon deposits from the valves and cylinder head. And yep, that costs a lot.

Trust Your Check Engine Light
This last item may seem harmless, but it could have serious consequences: your vehicle’s Check Engine Light. Many of the troubles that can trigger a Check Engine Light are related to emissions. The light warns you when the engine is not running efficiently, due to unburned fuel and oil vapors accumulating in the exhaust system’s catalytic converter. When these accumulations get hot enough, they can burn up and damage the catalytic converter. The initial problem may be something as simple as a failed oxygen sensor or even an extremely dirty engine air filter. Ignoring that Check Engine Light could lead to some very expensive repairs.

Continue reading
6051 Hits