Car Care: Give Your Car Its Spring Physical

It’s the right time to have your vehicle serviced

Today’s cars and trucks last longer than ever. They are generally more trouble-free than ever before, also, and the best way to keep them that way is the automotive equivalent of a physical. Just as your doctor checks over your systems and structure, your dealership’s service department will look over your vehicle with expert eyes.

Don’t wait until a “Service Engine Soon” warning pops up on the instrument panel or a tire blows out. By then, it may be too late to avoid an expensive repair or considerable inconvenience. Prevent problems on the road with a spring checkup. Here are some items that should be included.

Electrical System: Your car’s battery and alternator should be checked to be sure the charging system is up to snuff, the battery is within its serviceable lifespan and has enough reserve, and all cables and connections are clean, tight, and corrosion-free. Belts should also be checked for tightness, cracks and excessive wear, as a broken belt will stop you in your tracks.

Tires and Wheels: Whack a few killer potholes lately? Modern tires are also better than ever before, but you need to keep an eye out for problems that can lead to tire failure. Have a trained technician examine your tires for cuts in the tread or sidewalls, bulges, bubbles, dry rot, signs of belt separation or other problems that could leave you stranded, and make sure tires are properly inflated. Wheel damage is common, too, so be sure to include them in the inspection.

Suspension and Alignment: At the same time your tires and wheels are inspected, your suspension and wheel alignment should also be examined. Shock absorbers can fail, steering components can bend or become loose, and bushings can wear out. Winter conditions can be hard on the parts designed to support you, as can rough roads or frequent trips into the back country. For predictable handling, even tire wear and maximum fuel efficiency, it’s important that all four wheels––not just the drive wheels–– are properly aligned. If you can’t remember the last time you had it done, now is the time to have an alignment performed. Your tires will last longer and you’ll avoid spending the extra money at the pump that can result from misaligned wheels.

Fluid Levels and Filters: Because today’s cars can click off tens of thousands of miles without problems, it can be easy to forget about checking, topping off and replacing its vital fluids. Coolant and brake fluid both have finite lifespans and require replacement, as indicated in your owner’s manual. Your dealership’s technicians have special tools to check the age and protection level of the engine coolant, and they’ll also have the coolant specified by the manufacturer for use in your car. Brake fluid needs attention as well, and your routine driving conditions––frequent towing, heavy stop-and-go driving, etc.––can make it necessary to have these systems serviced more frequently than indicated in the manufacturer’s basic schedule.

Spring is a great time to treat your car to an oil and filter change. Whether it’s hot or cold where you live, idling a lot, sub-zero temperatures or excessively hot conditions can all degrade engine oil, leaving delicate components more vulnerable to premature wear and corrosion. Moisture and acids can build up in the oil, as well, so getting it changed in the spring ensures proper protection. Don’t forget to have the engine’s air filter and, if equipped, the cabin air filter checked and replaced if needed. Also remember that necessary chassis lubrication is part of the usual “L.O.F.,” or “Lube, Oil, Filter,” service. Those parts are especially susceptible to wear and corrosion, whether salt is used on the roads where you live or not.

As the seasons change again, it’s a great time to rejuvenate your automobile. Good planning and preventative maintenance can ensure a worry-free summer ahead.

This article is presented by Jack Maxton Chevrolet in Worthington, Ohio.

Why do we recommend ACDelco dexos™1 certified engine oil?

DexosGM dexos™ Engine Oil Increases Engine Efficiency New for the 2011 model year, GM will introduce ACDelco dexos™1 certified engine oil as a factory fill and service fill for its gasoline engines worldwide. The new engine oil specification has been developed to help meet the increased demands for enhanced engine efficiency. dexos™ oil helps deliver increased fuel efficiency and reduced engine emissions. dexos™ is a GM proprietary engine oil specification that has been designed to:

  • Further improve fuel economy (to meet future Corporate Average Fuel Economy, CAFE, requirements) and fuel economy retention through improved viscometric properties that create less friction in the engine, which allows the oil to maintain its fuel economy benefits throughout the longer life of the oil
  • Provide a more robust formulation for added engine protection that offers improved oxidation and deposit-forming tendencies and aeration performance, which enables fuel-saving devices, such as January / February I 2011 January / February 2011 ACDelco News Page 2 Variable Valve Timing, to work optimally
  • Support GM’s Oil Life Monitoring System (OLMS) by resisting degradation between oil changes
  • Ensure worldwide availability of equal quality oil while reducing the duplication of a large number of internal GM engine oil specifications, replacing GM specifications GMLL-A-025, GM6094M and GM4718M. dexos™1 also is backward compatible for older vehicles; however, the owner manual oil specification in prior model years remains acceptable.

dexos™ Classifications

The dexos™ specification includes two classifications.

  1. GM will require dexos™1 for global factory fill in spark ignited engines worldwide and service fill for gasoline engines worldwide. It will replace the GM6094M specification for most GM gasoline engines.
  2. dexos™2, required for diesel engines as well as a service fill for gasoline engines in Europe, was introduced in Europe late last year.

GF-5 Standard

In addition to GM dexos™, a new International Lubricants Standardization and Approval Committee (ILSAC) standard, GF-5, was introduced in 2010. There is a new API engine oil service category – SN Resource Conserving. The current GF-4 standard was put in place in 2004. The GF- 5 standard will use a new engine fuel economy test, called Sequence VID (six D), which provides a statistically significant increase in fuel economy versus the Sequence VIB (six B) test that was used for GF-4. Like dexos™, the new ILSAC GF-5 standard will call for more sophisticated additives.

It’s expected that all dexos™1 approved oils will meet GF-5. However, not all GF-5 engine oils will necessarily meet the dexos™ specification.

Fuel Economy

Since CAFE standards were first introduced in 1974, the fuel economy of cars has more than doubled, while the fuel economy of light trucks has increased by more than 50 percent. Proposed CAFE standards call for a continuation of increased fuel economy in new cars and trucks. To meet these future requirements, all vehicle operation aspects are being looked at more critically than ever before.

New technology being introduced in GM vehicles designed to address vehicle efficiency and fuel economy include direct injection, cam phasing, turbocharging and Active Fuel Management. The demands of these technologies on engine oil also are taken into consideration when determining new oil specifications. Active Fuel Management, for example, can help to achieve improved fuel economy, however, alternately starting and stopping cylinders puts a lot of stress on engine oil.

To meet tough fuel economy mandates, the industry will shift toward lower viscosity oils. Testing has shown that thinner 0W-20 oil, for example, can provide as much as a 4-percent improvement in fuel economy over 15W-40 oil.

dexos™1 will be offered in these viscosities: SAE 0W-20, 5W-20, 0W-30 and 5W-30. dexos2™ will be available in SAE 5W-30, 0W-40 and 5W-40. Please check the appropriate vehicle owner manual for the proper viscosity grade.

Increased Service Intervals

To help reduce the consumption of oil while maintaining proper engine protection, many GM vehicles equipped with the GM OLMS have a maximum oil change interval that is much longer than what was considered a normal interval just a few years ago.

ACDelco News Page 3 If all GM vehicle owners follow the OLMS intervals in their vehicles as intended, GM estimates that more than 100 million gallons of oil could be saved annually.

The second generation OLMS will rely on significantly more engine operating information than the current system, which, combined with dexos™ certified oil, could allow a significant extension of the maximum oil change interval. dexos™ specifications call for improved oil robustness to support extended drain intervals over a vehicle’s lifetime.

When the OLMS determines that an oil and filter change is needed, the driver is notified by a Change Oil message on the instrument panel. The oil change should be performed within 600 miles (1,000 km). The OLMS must be manually reset when the oil is changed.

dexos™1 Availability: Currently, ACDelco Synthetic Blend dexos™1 5W30 engine oil is available through the GM Oil Program in 55 gallon drums (which can be pumped into bulk tanks). Quart-size packaged product is now available. Orders may be placed through your local ACDelco oil distributor

More Information can be found at

Car Care: Back to School Maintenance

Routine maintenance will help your vehicle run smoothly for the entire school year

A woman calls for assistance using her mobile phone, after her car broke down on the road side

Whether you’re ferrying a brood to preschool or sending an older child off to college this fall, it’s a great time of year to check out your vehicle. The last thing you need in the middle of the term is the distraction of car trouble. While you take the time to check off the school supply list, here are a few items to ensure your vehicle can keep up with you.

Check the lights: It doesn’t take more than a few minutes to walk around the car in the driveway and make sure everything that lights up or blinks does what it should. It’s not uncommon for position lamps or directional indicators to have blown bulbs without the driver noticing. Don’t forget to check the headlamps, taillamps and brake lamps. Get a helper to make it go faster.

Check the tires: This is another inspection that’s pretty quick. Start with the visuals. Are there obvious nicks or cuts in the sidewall or the tread? Any signs of impact? Look at the tread itself. Is there good tread depth? Is tread evenly worn? If wear isn’t even, it means there could be an alignment problem that can be both costly and dangerous. Get yourself a tire pressure gauge and make sure tires are inflated to the level the manufacturer recommends. All cars have a conspicuously located sticker, often on a door jamb or under the fuel filler cap, with recommended tire pressure. Check your owner’s manual if you can’t find it. Finding anything lodged in the tire or obvious bubbles in the sidewall should send you immediately to get repair.

Check the fluids: Coolant, oil, transmission fluid. These are the lifeblood of your car. Make sure you check them properly and fill as needed. Winter will be here sooner than you think, so don’t forget to top off the windshield washer fluid and put a spare bottle in the car, along with an ice scraper and snow brush. If you don’t want to maintain fluids yourself, your dealer’s service department can make sure everything is as it should be. It can also be convenient to roll this whole exercise into an oil and filter change.

Replace the wiper blades: Most people can’t tell you the last time they replaced their windshield wiper blades. These little strips of rubber are crucial pieces of safety equipment when it rains, sleets and snows. If you don’t know when the last time you changed them was, or if they are leaving streaks or making annoying noises as they wipe, it’s time to change them. Reduced visibility due to defective equipment is a totally preventable hazard.

Other checks: The back-to-school season may coincide with your vehicle’s service schedule. Roll it all together into a single visit, and make sure your vehicle has attention paid to all these areas and whatever else your manufacturer recommends. Going in for an oil change, check of the brakes, suspension, and steering components, and a general once-over is a good way to make sure you and your passengers stay safe.

If you have any questions, or you simply prefer the experts here at the dealership to perform the work, stop by today.

This article is presented by Jack Maxton Chevrolet in Worthington, Ohio

Car Care: Wheel Alignment

One of the most important and yet neglected factors influencing the handling, and the fuel efficiency, of any car or truck is the wheel alignment. Your vehicle’s ability to go, stop and change direction is affected by the direction each of the wheels is pointing, and, whether you drive a compact car or full-size SUV or pickup, the directional control you get where the rubber meets the road is important for safety.

At any given moment only a small patch of rubber, often smaller than the palm of your hand, is supporting the weight of the vehicle and transmitting all of the forces from the engine, brakes and steering to the pavement. Proper wheel alignment helps ensure all of those forces are going where they belong and the tires aren’t being overworked.

While it may look to the naked eye like all of the tires are pointed straight ahead, they are all at slight but important angles. There are three different angles that affect wheel alignment: camber, caster and toe.

“Camber” is the degree to which a wheel departs from vertical (or perpendicular with the road), as viewed from the front. The top of each wheel is usually angled slightly inward. On an average car or truck, the angle is usually less than a few degrees, and you need special measuring equipment to determine the angle. The camber angle compensates for the way tire rubber stretches and deforms when cornering, and helps to make sure that the tire’s contact patch remains in full contact with the road, including while going around corners.

“Toe” is the degree to which a wheel departs from being parallel to the other wheel on the same axle. If the front wheels (and the rears, if the vehicle has independent rear suspension) are angled slightly towards each other (as viewed from above) it’s called “toe-in.” “Toe-out” is when the wheels are pointing slightly away from each other. This is to counter the forces that push the wheels back into a more straight-ahead angle while driving.

Finally, “caster” is the frontward or rearward angle that the steering pivot point has from vertical, as considered from the side. The forces from the caster angle are what give the steering wheel a self-centering capability when you go down the road or relax your grip after going around a corner.

Each of these can be adjusted with links that are part of the suspension system. However, small variations in the angles can have a big effect on how the car drives and on tire wear. Sometimes hitting a big pothole or sliding into a curb can be enough to affect the toe or camber angle by a single degree or less, causing the vehicle to continuously pull in one direction or the other.

In addition to causing the vehicle to pull in one direction or the other, alignment problems also cause abnormally high, often uneven, tire wear. This can lead to a blow-out that could cause an accident, excess vibration that can be felt throughout the vehicle and reduced tire life.

Since checking and adjusting wheel alignment requires precision equipment, it should only be done by your dealer’s service department. You should never attempt to adjust the alignment by hand at home. While most service facilities offer both front-wheel-only alignment and four-wheel alignment, it is usually best to go for four-wheel alignment.

On rear-wheel drive cars and trucks with a solid rear axle, there usually aren’t any adjustments available for the rear wheels. However, even in this case, four-wheel alignment is important because the front wheels will be adjusted relative to the rear wheels so that everything is pointed in the right direction. Doing a front-only alignment can still leave the car pulling in one direction or the other.

One way to determine if your vehicle needs an alignment is to drive it down a straight, flat road with little or no crown (the fall-off toward the outer edge). The car should track straight ahead without you having to tug on the steering wheel. If the vehicle diverges from straight ahead without steering input, get it serviced soon.

You should also do a regular visual inspection of all four tires for uneven wear. The tread depth should be relatively consistent. You can quickly check the depth using a penny stuck into the grooves. If the top part of Lincoln’s head is covered by the rubber in each groove, you have enough tread left. However, if the depth is significantly different on the inner or outer edge of the tire, you could have an alignment problem that needs to be corrected.

Most alignment work can be done quickly and often doesn’t require any parts replacement unless the vehicle has hit something severe and bent a suspension link. A proper alignment and a regular tire rotation with each oil change will help your tires last longer and make your vehicle safer and more enjoyable to drive.

This article is presented by Jack Maxton Chevrolet in Worthington, Ohio.


Get Your Vehicle Serviced By Jack Maxton Chevrolet

Proper service is key to keeping your vehicle running efficiently

Even if your automobile is out of warranty, your dealer’s service department is the best place to have it maintained and repaired. There are many good reasons to choose a dealer over your neighborhood garage.

Vehicles built in the past two decades have become vastly more sophisticated and complex as the engineers who develop them strive to meet ever more stringent safety, fuel economy and emissions regulations. Networks of computers in vehicles manage everything, including engine and transmission systems, fuel delivery, brakes, airbags, heating and cooling and even audio systems.

Today each carmaker uses its own unique systems and proprietary technology, and understanding how it all works takes specialized, brand-specific training. In addition, maintaining, diagnosing and repairing these systems requires specialized tools and equipment. Many systems in modern vehicles are interconnected––for example, vehicle stability management systems often comprise braking, throttle control and traction control functions––so understanding how they all work together is critical to ensuring they all continue to work as they are designed to.

The service technicians that work at dealerships get extensive factory training and certification on a regular basis to ensure that they are thoroughly familiar with every model that automaker sells. They learn how all the systems work and how to use the proper tools keep them running.

As new vehicle propulsion systems are invented and more technologically advanced vehicles are developed – such as battery electrics, plug-in hybrids and eventually hydrogen fuel cells and even autonomous vehicles – specialized training will be more important than ever.

You depend on your vehicle to get to work, school and the grocery store safely and reliably. In addition to properly trained technicians, dealer service departments also use the same original-equipment replacement parts that went into the vehicle at the factory. Automakers spend years developing and testing new vehicles and every component that goes into them. They also conduct thousands of crash tests to make sure drivers and passengers are protected during an accident.

Third-party replacement parts may look like the originals, but it’s often what you can’t see that makes the difference. Non-original electronics and sensors are often not built to the same standards, and body and suspension components may be produced from different material grades that don’t hold up as well as factory parts. Saving a few dollars on third-party replacement parts can often cost you far more down the road.

The dealer service department will almost always provide a warranty on both the labor performed on your vehicle and the replacement parts the technicians install, something you often won’t get from an independent shop. Whenever possible, it’s best to have your vehicle serviced by the experts that know it best, with training from people that built it. The peace of mind you get will be worth it.