About Us
Contact Us

(850) 438-4955

Photo - Discount Mufflers and Brakes

Questions / Feedback


Questions? Ask Us! askdad@discountmufflersandbrakes.com

Are You Ready For The Road?

An average of 13,000 Americans are killed between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day, some as a result of unperformed vehicle maintenance, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Each year, neglected maintenance leads to more than 2,600 deaths, nearly 100,000 disabling injuries and more than $2 billion in lost wages, medical expenses and property damage.

Most mechanical failures can be traced to neglected maintenance. For example, the U. S. Department of Transportation reports the leading cause of mechanical breakdown on our nation's highways is overheating, a condition that is easily avoidable. Other deficiencies that are simple to detect include low antifreeze/coolant, worn or loose drive belts and defective cooling system hoses.

Checking tire pressure and inflating a tire costs nothing, yet an average of 21 percent of cars inspected in check lanes during National Car Care Month have under inflated tires. This can lead to a blowout and a serious accident.

Fuel Saving Tips

Condition Effect MPG Penalty up to

Under inflated tires

Increase rolling resistance


Dirty air filter

Causes excessively rich fuel/air mixture


Worn spark plugs

Cause inefficient combustion, wasted fuel


Worn O2 sensor

Unable to detect and adjust air/fuel mixture


Dirty or substandard engine oil

Increases internal engine friction


Loose gas cap

Allows fuel to evaporate


Potential loss in fuel economy if all of the above were neglected


The Car Care Council offers these fuel-saving tips:

  1. 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.

  2. Under inflated 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.

  3. 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 plug causes misfiring, which wastes fuel. Spark plugs need to be replaced as recommended by the manufacturer.

  4. 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 20 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 10 to 66 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 limit -- Gas 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.

WIPERS - In the 2001National Car Care Month vehicle check lanes, 21percent of participants had wipers that smeared, streaked or chattered across their windshields. Although climates vary, wipers generally need replacing every six months. An easy reminder is to change wiper blades in the spring and fall when you change your clock. Be sure the windshield washers are working properly, too, and keep the reservoir filled with solvent.

LIGHTING - Another important pre-trip check should be exterior and interior lighting. Vehicle check lanes revealed an overall failure rate of over 25 percent in the lighting category. The Car Care Council reminds motorists to check their lights monthly. Other suggestions from the Council include turning on headlights both day and night. This helps define your car's position on the road, and its distance from other drivers. When your vehicle's lighting is defective, other motorists may not get the message that you intend to stop or turn. The end result could be disastrous.

10 Minute Pre-Trip Checkup Can Pay Off

Car Care Council offers three suggestions for a traveler's 10-minute pre-trip checklist:

  • Check all fluids. There are several fluids, in addition to antifreeze, that require attention, including engine oil, power steering, brake and transmission fluids and windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant.

  • Check hoses and belts. A belt that fails can affect the electrical system, air conditioning and power steering, as well as the cooling system. Cooling system hoses may be deteriorating from within, so old hoses and clamps in marginal condition might need to be replaced.

  • Check the tires. Check tire inflation and inspect the tread for uneven wear, indicating the need for wheel alignment. Also look for bulges and bald spots.

"While a last minute checkup is better than no checkup, motorists should plan ahead to allow time to perform necessary maintenance themselves or at the local service facility. A properly maintained vehicle is safer and more dependable and will even save a few dollars at the gas pumps," said the Car Care Council's Executive Director, Rich White.

Not only can a pre-trip inspection help reduce chances of costly and possibly dangerous road trouble, it also provides an opportunity to have repairs made at home, with one's own technician who knows the vehicle. Especially important, it provides peace of mind. While no inspection can guarantee a car's performance, it's comforting to know proper precautions were taken.

Helpful Stats & Information (VIN Decoder)

Want to know if your car is the subject of an ongoing defect investigation? Check out the latest information on compliance testing, recalls and technical service bulletins from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The Vehicle Identification Number commonly found inside the windshield or door jam, can be used to verify vehicle information such as body style, engine, drivetrain, transmission, as well as year, make, model, sub-model information.

This VIN decoder contains information for vehicles dating from 1981 - 2004, and includes all major makes and models of import and domestic passenger cars, sports cars, light trucks, SUV's and vans, representing 99.8 percent of all vehicles on the road. Enter the complete 17-character VIN number, or at a minimum, the first 10 characters of the VIN number, and press Submit for the complete vehicle configuration.

Material Loss Affects Belt Performance

Recent test of serpentine belt performance by the supplier of NAPA Belts/Hose product have proven that even the slightest loss of rib material - as little as 5% - will cause loss of tension that can result in belt slip. This affects the overall performace of the drive system components and can lead to their failure. Because the belt powers several systems (electrical, cooling and steering), minor losses in performace are amplified, putting a strain on the other componenets, ultimately impacting durability, drivability and efficiency. The tests were conducted on vehicle applications with combinations of new and worn components, using serpentine belts constructed of EPDM material - the type of belts most commonly found on all major manufacturer's vehicles today.

Belt Material Changes Mean New Wear Diagnostics

According to NAPA's supplier, the change from neoprene materials to EPDM by all major OEMs in the last 10-15 years has led to a significant increase in belt life. These improved belts can run 100,000 miles or more without showing the wear symptoms - cracking and rib chunk out common the their neoprene predecessors. The common rule-of-thumb, "Three cracks in threee inches" will not accurately diagnose wear on newer serpentine belts. EPDM serpentine belts lose rubber material over time - similar to the ways tires wear out - resulting in the gradual reduction of the rib width. These changes in the belt profile can result in slippage, excessive belt vibration and increased tensioner arm motion. Because EPDM belts don't exhibit the traditional obvious signs of wear, they can be misdiagnosed and left on the vehicle past their service life, putting additional strain on the systems powered by the belt.

Adverse Effects of Belt Wear on Accessory Belt Drive System Components

When a serpentine belt is worn past its service life, reduced traction, system drag and belt slip will reduce engine performacnce and can cause significant damage to other components of the system.

Belt slip - When traction is lost between the belt and its mating surfaces - componenets pulleys, the belt tensioner and idlers - several symptoms appear which can cause a host of problems. When slip occurs, significant stress is placed on component bearings, shafts and mounts when traction is suddenly regained. A poor fit between the belt ribs and pulleys will allow hydroplaning to occur when water is splashed into the engine compartment. This can allow a complete loss of traction to the driven components, which can generalte false codes and/or illuminate the "check engine" light, which can mislead the service diagnostic effort.

Excessive Heat - Increased heat cause by belt slip - as much as an additional 50 degrees F - can be transferred through metal pulleys in the bearings, reducing the effectiveness of the bearing lubrication. If sufficiently overheated, the grease can boil out of the bearings and destroy the alternator, water pump, tensioner, A/C compressor or other components.

Vibration - Excessive vibration also places additional strain on the pulleys, bearings and mounts and can lead to shortened service life or premature failure of the affected components.


Home | About Us | Product Lines | Directions | Specials | Feedback | Links | Contact Us
Copyright 2009. Discount Muffler & Brakes. All rights reserved. Web Design by Sunshine Technologies.