Hours of Operation:
Monday-Friday: 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Saturday Closed until Sept. 1st

Car Care

Article from the National Car Care Council:

It's All in the Timing

With automotive engines as with many aspects of daily life, timing is critical. One vehicle component often overlooked during routine maintenance is the engine timing belt. If it fails, the engine will stop and the car will coast to a stop. The lucky motorist will only have the inconvenience of being stranded on the side of the road until the car can be towed to a repair facility to have the timing belt replaced. On the other hand, the engine might suffer severe, if not catastrophic, damage to its internal components.

This potential disaster can be avoided easily and relatively inexpensively by replacing the timing belt within the required replacement interval.

Timing belts resemble an engine accessory serpentine belt in appearance, only they typically have square teeth on the inside surface. They usually are constructed of rubber reinforced with nylon. The timing belt transfers the rotation of the crankshaft to the camshaft. The rotating camshaft activates the valves, which provide air and fuel to the cylinders and expel combustion gases to the exhaust system.

The valves and pistons are constantly moving up and down at very high speeds. When the pistons are down, the valves are open; when the piston is at the top of its travel, the valves are closed. Some engines don't allow clearance between a valve at its lowest point and a piston at its highest. The timing belt, therefore, is the critical link to ensure that these components don't collide. If collision occurs, damage to the valves, pistons, cylinder head and cylinder walls can result. This can be an expensive repair.

Timing belts usually are protected from foreign objects by a cover, making visual inspection impossible.

Many domestic vehicles built within the last several years and the majority of imports are equipped with a timing belt. Other engines rely on a timing chain rather than a belt. Refer to your owner's manual or take your car to a repair facility if you are unsure. The owner's manual maintenance schedule is a source of timing belt replacement intervals, typically every 60,000 to 90,000 miles.

Timing belt replacement usually requires removal of the engine drive belt that operates the alternator, water pump, power steering pump and air conditioner. Consider replacing this belt, or multiple belts, when having a new timing belt installed.

Take Control of Rising Gas Prices: Don't Let Your Money Evaporate

Fight skyrocketing gas prices by taking control of your vehicle's unnecessary fuel consumption, advises the Car Care Council. Consumers can add miles to every gallon they pump by following a few easy and inexpensive maintenance steps with their car, SUV, minivan or pickup truck.

"Most motorists don't realize that it's the little things that don't take a lot of time or cost much that can really make a difference when it comes to saving money at the pump," said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. "Loose or missing gas caps, underinflated tires, worn spark plugs and dirty air filters all contribute to poor fuel economy."

The Car Care Council offers gas saving maintenance and driving tips that really work:

  • Vehicle gas caps - About 17 percent of the vehicles on the roads have gas caps that are either damaged, loose or are missing altogether, causing 147 million gallons of gas to vaporize every year.
  • Underinflated tires - When tires aren't inflated properly it's like driving with the parking brake on and can cost a mile or two per gallon.
  • Worn spark plugs - A vehicle can have either four, six or eight spark plugs, which fire as many as 3 million times every 1,000 miles, resulting in a lot of heat and electrical and chemical erosion. A dirty spark plus causes misfiring, which wastes fuel. Spark plugs need to be replaced regularly.
  • Dirty air filters - An air filter that is clogged with dirt, dust and bugs chokes off the air and creates a "rich" mixture - too much gas being burned for the amount of air, which wastes gas and causes the engine to lose power. Replacing a clogged air filter can improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent, saving about 15 cents a gallon.

Fuel-saving driving tips include:

  • Don't be an aggressive driver - Aggressive driving can lower gas mileage by as much as 33 percent on the highway and 5 percent on city streets, which results in 7 to 49 cents per gallon.
  • Avoid excessive idling - Sitting idle gets zero miles per gallon. Letting the vehicle warm up for one to two minutes is sufficient.
  • Observe the speed limitGas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. Each mpg driven over 60 will result in an additional 10 cents per gallon. To maintain a constant speed on the highway, cruise control is recommended.
  • Combining errands into one trip saves 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 truck. An extra 100 pounds can cut fuel efficiency by a percent or two.

As part of the "Be Car Care Aware" education campaign, the Car Care Council is also offering a free service interval schedule to help take the guesswork out of what vehicle systems need to be routinely inspected and when service or repair should be performed. The schedule can be printed for free from the Car Care Council's Web site at http://www.carcare.org/service_schedule.shtml .

Are Dirty Cabin Air Filters Preventing You From Breathing Easily in Your Car?

During the hot summer months, contaminants, such as pollen, dust, mold spores and smog, can easily enter a vehicle's passenger compartment through the air conditioning, heating and ventilation systems, making the air in the car six times dirtier than the air outside, cautions the Car Care Council.

Motorists can protect themselves and their passengers from these containments by replacing the vehicle's cabin air filter annually or more often in areas with heavy containments, or whenever heating or cooling efficiency is reduced. Cabin air filters clean the incoming air and remove allergens - especially beneficial to people who suffer from allergies.

If your vehicle is model year 2000 or newer, there's a good chance it is equipped with a cabin air filter.

"There are about 30 million vehicles in North America that currently have cabin air filters," said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. "However, most people have never heard of a cabin air filter or don't know if their vehicle is equipped with one. Vehicle owners should refer to their owners' manuals for this information."

If the cabin air filter is not replaced, it can cause musty odors in the vehicle, and over time, the heater and air conditioner may become damaged by corrosion. A dirty or clogged cabin air filter can also cause containments to become so concentrated in the cabin that passengers actually breathe in more fumes and particles when riding in the car compared to walking down the street.

It's Time for the 21st Century Tune-up

Times are changing...cars are changing. One of the biggest changes in today's automotive industry is the perception of a "tune-up." Ask 10 vehicle owners their definition of a tune-up and chances are there'll be 10 different answers. The classic "tune-up" was once the heart of the automotive business and contrary to some beliefs, today's modern vehicles still need tune-ups to keep them performing at the most efficient levels.

The tune-up was historically associated with the routine replacement of key ignition system parts like spark plugs and ignition points, along with some basic adjustments to help "tune" the engine. Mounting pressure for increased fuel economy and lower emissions drove the car manufacturers to adopt electronics and to do away with ignition points in the '70s, along with the carburetor in the middle '80s. This eliminated the need for the replacement and adjustment of a growing number of ignition and fuel system parts.

As the pace of technology quickened, the procedures required to perform a traditional tune-up changed dramatically. Highly sophisticated ignition and fuel systems are now the norm, using one or more onboard computers to control critical engine and transmission management functions. Things that were once handled mechanically are now controlled electronically through the widespread use of onboard computer technology.

Because vehicles have changed so much over the years, the Car Care Council has introduced the 21st Century Tune-up. This program is designed to help re-define and educate motorists as to what a tune-up should consist of on today's modern vehicles.

"There is a misconception that today's modern vehicles don't need tune-ups because they never break down, but that simply is not true," said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. "If you're at work and your computer goes down, you can't get any more work done. It's the same with your vehicle. If the vehicle isn't being properly maintained, you're not going to get where you want to go."

As part of the 21st Century Tune-up on today's modern vehicles, the following systems should be inspected:

  • battery, charging and starting
  • engine mechanical
  • powertrain control (including onboard diagnostic checks)
  • fuel
  • ignition
  • emissions

Vehicle owners ask for tune-ups for a variety of reasons, including improving performance, maintaining reliability, planning a vacation, preparing for winter/summer or because they're giving the car to a friend or family member.

To help ensure good performance, fuel economy and emissions, the Car Care Council also recommends that motorists take the time necessary to become familiar with their vehicle from every aspect. Study the owner's manual to become thoroughly acquainted with the operation of all systems. Pay special attention to the indicator lights and instruments.

"The 'Be Car Care Aware' campaign is about helping motorists make informed decisions about their vehicles' care and maintenance," said White. "With the 21St Century Tune-up, we will continue to help vehicle owners make great strides in reducing vehicle neglect."

Following are tips about service straight from the mechanics of Bottom Line Auto Repair

The single most important thing a vehicle owner can do to build the foundation for a trouble-free vehicle is changing the oil and oil filter. There are many different thoughts on oil change intervals but one fact can not be disputed. Changing your oil too often will never hurt your engine, but not changing it enough certainly will. We suggest the following intervals based on driving in and around the Saginaw, MI area:

Using a regular mineral-based multigrade oil: change every 3000 miles*
Using a semi-synthetic multigrade oil: change every 3-4000 miles*
Using a full synthetic multigrade oil: change every 6000 miles*
*Oil should be changed every 6 months if recommended mileage is not reached in that time.

The rest of the fluids are also very important to trouble-free driving. Brake fluid, engine coolant (anti-freeze), transmission/transaxle/differential fluid, power steering fluid, all perform their respective functions when kept clean. In most cases, a flush or exchange of each fluid is all it takes to keep the components in good working order for many miles.

Timing belts (for vehicles equipped with them) are one of the most forgotten maintenance items of all. Unless an owner has read the maintenance schedule in their owner's manual, or had previous experience with a timing belt, they probably don't know this item exists. It is totally covered and can not be seen without making a special effort to do so. When a Timing Belt breaks, the engine stops running on the spot, and very often internal engine damage occurs. Each vehicle model has a published recommended mileage interval for replacement of its timing belt. It can be found in your owner's manual or contact us for this information.
Belts and hoses is another area with varying opinions as to when replacement is necessary. Our feeling is that there is no rule of thumb due to the variety of driving conditions different vehicles are exposed to. One person drives their car around the local community, to and from the store, with an occasional trip out of town. They may accumulate 30,000 miles in 4 or 5 years of driving. The next person is on the road for work 5 days a week logging 30,000 miles in one year. The belts and hoses are stressed in totally different ways, so we suggest having them checked and replaced as needed.
Check back to our service tips page from time to time for new information. As always, if you have a question, feel free to contact us anytime. We will be happy to answer any and all inquires.

Call us at 989-799-5314 or email
bottomline2779@hotmail.com with any questions!


Auto Repairs:

No Appointment Needed for Lube, Oil, Filter Change

  • Tune-Ups
  • Clutches
  • Coolant  & Transmission Flush
  • Wiper Blades
  • Front-End Work
  • Fuel Injection
  • Air-Conditioning
  • Electrical Testing  
  • Exhaust Systems
  • Brakes, Shocks & Struts
  • Replace Batteries & Light Bulbs
  • Oil, Chassis Lube, & Filter
  • Scheduled Maintenance
  • Computer Diagnostics
  • Differentials & Transaxle
  • Transmission & Engine Replacement


Visit our shop for repairs by certified mechanics today!
(989) 799-5314

Hours of Operation: Monday-Friday: 8:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
Saturday Closed until September 1.

The Bottom Line Auto Repair
2779 Bay Rd.
Saginaw, MI 48603
Phone: (989) 799-5314
Fax: (989) 799-5322