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Make Those Tires Last!

June 15th, 2017

Your tires are a big investment, and while it’s easy to just take them for granted, you want them to last through their entire warranty phase (at least). Here are Car Tiressome tips on how to get the most life out of a set of tires:

Tire rotations: No vehicle has 50/50 weight distribution from front to rear, and front tires see a different set of stresses from braking and cornering. Rotating your tires at a 5,000-mile interval ensures even wear and good drivability and handling.

Proper inflation: Underinflated tires are bad news! They’ll wear unevenly due to their altered footprint, they’ll cost you money in terms of higher rolling resistance and poor fuel economy, and the stress from overheating can lead to premature tire failure. Check your inflation levels at leas ...[more]

  Tags: Tires, car alignment
  Posted in: Tires 101

How To Maintain A New Car

May 25th, 2017

So you got a new set of wheels – congratulations! You’re going to want to hang onto it as long as possible, so you’ll want to keep it maintained as well as you Car Maintenancecan. Here are some suggestions:

First, read the owner’s manual carefully and stick to manufacturer’s recommendations for service intervals. There are certain things that are critical enough that failure to adhere to recommendations can void a new car warranty. Don’t let that happen!

For instance, just about every manufacturer recommends synthetic oil for their engines; it provides better protection in just about every respect, and it’s more stable at high and low temperatures. If your owner’s manual prescribes a 10,000-mile oil change, stick with that and be sure to use the bra ...[more]

  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

What Tires Are Right For Your Truck?

May 11th, 2017

So you’re in need of a set of tires for your truck? No problem! The question is, though, what kind of tires are going to be best?Truck Tires

First, you’ll need to think about what you use that truck for. Will you regularly be hauling heavy loads or pulling a trailer? Do you expect to keep it on the pavement for the most part, or will you occasionally go off-road? If you go off-road, will it be on soft dirt or will you be plowing through brush, mud, and rocks? And finally…what’s your budget?

If you’re wanting to keep it on the pavement most of the time and your truck is a daily driver for errands, school, soccer, and grocery runs, all-season tires are probably the right choice. All-season light truck tires can rival the best passenger tires when it comes to noise level, ...[more]

  Tags: Tires, truck tires
  Posted in: Tires 101

Spark Plugs – How Often Should They Be Replaced?

April 27th, 2017

In the old days, a tune-up was necessary about every 35,000 miles. It would usually consist of setting the ignition timing, replacing the mechanical breaker points in the ignition, cleaning and adjusting the carburetor and replacing the plug wires and spark plugs. Today, of course, the carburetor’s job is done by fuel injection and the ignition timing and spark are controlled by the engine computer. Few vehicles still have plug wires anymore either, as the distributor was replaced by the computer and a coil-on-plug design which delivers a spark at each spark plug.

But what about the spark plugs themselves, though? How often do they need to be replaced now?

Manufacturers tout an 80k-100k mile service interval on spark plugs now, thanks in part to improvements in plug design and materials. That might be stretching it, however. Remember that if you have a 100,000-mile spark plug, its electrode is worn down 4/5 of the way at 80,000 miles. A worn ...[more]

  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

Reasons Why Tire Inflation Is So Important

April 13th, 2017

Even just a pound or two of underinflation in your tires can be a problem. Why, though? There are several reasons. 

Tire Inflation

Fuel economy: If you ever rode a bicycle with a low tire, you know that it feels like you’re riding through wet cement due to the added rolling resistance. The same thing is happening with your car, and compromising your fuel economy. Over the course of 10,000 miles per year, that can add up to 150 gallons of gas or $500 out of your pocket!

Handling: Low tire pressure means poorer control and longer stopping distances. At high speeds, in particular, this can be downright hazardous.

Premature tire wear: Underinflated tires are under a lot of stress, especially their steel ...[more]

  Tags: Tires, tire pressure
  Posted in: Tires 101

Uh Oh…My Check Engine Light Is On

March 30th, 2017

So you come out to start your car one morning and the Check Engine light on the dashboard comes on…and doesn’t go back off again. You can’t really notice any difference in the way the car runs and drives, but it’s on anyway.

What does it mean?Check Engine Light

Since the late 80s, most engine functions have been controlled by a central drivetrain computer. This includes emissions controls, fuel metering and delivery, ignition timing, shift points and many other elements of drivability and performance. The drivetrain computer relies on information from a chain of sensors that monitor exhaust composition, camshaft position, throttle position and many other factors.

The voltage readings from any of these sensors are supposed to fall within a certain range. When ...[more]

  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

Five Things You Didn’t Know About Tires

March 16th, 2017

Tires1. For performance and handling, the trend has long been toward fatter tires with a bigger footprint. That’s starting to change, though. Skinnier tires mean lower rolling resistance and better fuel economy, as well as a smaller aerodynamic profile. While fatter tires do handle better, tire engineers are making up the difference by designing skinny tires with a stickier tread formulation for traction and cornering ability.

2. Static electricity used to be a real concern for vehicles; if you’re old enough, you may remember seeing station wagons with a “ground strap” dragging along the pavement. It’s become a concern again, with newer tread compounds cutting back on the amount of carbon black in newer tires. The solution? Many tires are now designed with an “antenna strip” ...[more]

  Posted in: Tires 101

Get Your Car Really, Really, REALLY Clean!

February 23rd, 2017

It can be a lot of work and attention to detail to get your car really clean…especially if it’s pretty dirty to start with…but here are some ideas for truly thorough cleaning that you may not have thought of!Cleaning Car

--A cheap foam paintbrush can get into crevices (like A/C vents) that might be impossible otherwise. As you loosen up dust from these spots, keep a vacuum cleaner nozzle at work in your other hand to suck up the dust and prevent it from settling other places.

--A soft-bristled brush is perfect for cleaning around radio knobs and other buttons.

--While you’re cleaning, don’t forget to locate your cabin air filter and replace it. A dirty cabin air filter can lead to a lot of odd smells and stinks. Check your owner’s manual; cabin a ...[more]

  Tags: tips
  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

Can I Buy Just Two Tires?

February 9th, 2017

We know that a lot of drivers are working pretty hard to make a dollar go farther and that the outlay for a full set of four tires – even inexpensive tires – can be considerable. That’s why we run across drivers pretty often who ask if it’s okay to just replace a pair of tires, then buy the other pair when they can afford them.

The answer is…yes, but…New Tires

You’ll really need to pay attention to the size of the set of tires that you’ve already got and go with that exact same size of tires for your new pair. Having mismatched sizes of tires on your vehicle can result in squirrelly and unpredictable handling and ride quality. If your existing tires are all-season, go with all-season tires. If they’re winter tires, go with winter tires. Ideal ...[more]

  Posted in: Tires 101

Are You Ready For A Roadside Emergency?

January 26th, 2017

Yeah, yeah…your vehicle’s fairly new and you take care of it, and you’ve even got a membership in AAA. That doesn’t mean that your chances of Car troubleending up in a tight spot are zero. It’s just common sense to be prepared with a trouble bag in your car. Here’s a pretty good rundown of things you should keep in a car emergency kit:

Fully charged cell phone: You may want to consider a cheap prepaid “burner phone” with a long battery life and keep it strictly in the car. If nothing else, at least keep a charged-up power bank on hand.

First-aid kit: At a bare minimum, a first-aid kit should include gauze pads and bandage tape, aspirins, antiseptic wipes, scissors, antiseptic cream or ointment, Band-Aids, rub ...[more]

  Tags: tips
  Posted in: Auto Repair 101
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