Reese's Tire & Automotive Tire Pros Blog recent posts.Thu, 29 Dec 2016 10:28:03 -0700en-ushourly1So You Think Some Traffic Laws Are Nuts?, 29 Dec 2016 10:28:03 -0700<p> Yes, there are plenty of traffic laws in certain areas that don&rsquo;t make much sense. Here, though, we present a collection of traffic laws from other parts of the world that are just bizarre:</p> <p> --In Thailand, the law states that no driver, male or female, shall ever drive without a shirt.<img alt="Weird Traffic Laws" src="" style="width: 300px; height: 200px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" /></p> <p> --In South Africa, &ldquo;the driver of a vehicle on a public road shall stop such vehicle at the request or on the signal of a person leading or driving any bovine animal, horse, ass, mule, sheep, goat, pig, or ostrich on such road.&rdquo; Or face a $500 fine.</p> <p> --Splashing a pedestrian with water is illegal in Japan.</p> <p> --In Montana, you can forget about driving with a sheep in the truck unless the sheep has a chaperone... and the state of Alabama had the presence of mind to make it illegal to drive while blindfolded.</p> <p> --On the island of Cyprus, it&rsquo;s illegal to raise a hand from the steering wheel. No waving at anyone, no eating or drinking anything while you drive.</p> <p> --Danish drivers are required to check under the car before starting it&hellip;just in case anyone is sleeping under there.</p> <p> --In Spain, if you need glasses to drive, you&rsquo;re required to keep a spare pair of glasses in the vehicle at all times.</p> <p> --In Singapore, it&rsquo;s illegal to ever come within 50 meters of a pedestrian. 50 meters equals about 162 feet. Good luck with that.</p> <p> So, do you still think there are some weird traffic laws in your locale??</p> /blog/view/so-you-think-some-traffic-laws-are-nuts/feed0A Brief History of the Tire, 15 Dec 2016 15:56:26 -0700<p> Ever wonder what the designations stamped on your tire sidewall actually mean? We&rsquo;d like to break it down for you.</p> <p> Let&rsquo;s take for instance, &ldquo;P195/60R15 87S&rdquo;. This is a full service description of a tire.</p> <p> In this case, &ldquo;87S&rdquo; denotes a tire&rsquo;s load capacity and speed rating. The higher the number, the greater the load capacity &ndash; an 87 load capacity means that tire can support 1,201 pounds. Speed ratings range from L (75 mph) through V (149 mph), and an S speed rating means the tire is good for 112 mph. W, Y, and Z-speed rated tires are available for extreme performance cars&nbsp;and are rated as high as 186 mph.</p> <p> As for the rest of the information:<img alt="Tire" src="" style="width: 300px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right; height: 180px;" /></p> <p> --&ldquo;P&rdquo; denotes Passenger Tire</p> <p> --195 is the tire&rsquo;s width from sidewall to sidewall... in millimeters</p> <p> --60 is the aspect ratio... the proportion of the height of the tire cross-section as compared to the width of the tread area</p> <p> --&ldquo;R&rdquo; stands for Radial construction</p> <p> --15 is the wheel size... in inches</p> <p> There&rsquo;s other information on the sidewall of a tire, such as its Mountain &amp; Snow rating (if applicable), date of manufacture code and maximum allowable pressure. For the average consumer though, it&rsquo;s good to know the meaning of the service description so you can be an informed tire buyer when it&rsquo;s time to replace them. Remember, your vehicle was designed for a very specific tire size, and it&rsquo;s best to stay with that size when you go shopping for new tires!&nbsp;</p> /blog/view/a-brief-history-of-the-tire-1/feed0Your Car’s an Investment – Protect It, 24 Nov 2016 15:18:49 -0700<p> You rely on your car every day, and you have a lot of money tied up in it. It&rsquo;s probably one of the more valuable things you own&hellip;so make sure you get the most out of that investment:</p> <p> <strong>Oil changes</strong>: Changing your motor oil at regular intervals will ensure long engine life by cutting wear and friction and helping to prevent the buildup of sludge <img alt="Antique Car" src="" style="width: 300px; height: 199px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" />and carbon on internal engine assemblies.</p> <p> <strong>Cooling system</strong>: Older cast-iron engines could overheat with no serious consequences, but not so with today&rsquo;s aluminum blocks and heads. Your engine&rsquo;s coolant has a finite life and should be changed and flushed at regular intervals to prevent accumulation of scale and corrosion in the radiator, heater core and water pump.</p> <p> <strong>Finish</strong>: A good coat of wax does more than keep your car looking good. It also helps prevent rust from forming, helps to repel debris and dirt and keeps the paint in good shape.</p> <p> <strong>Filters</strong>: The air filter is crucial to protecting your engine from dirt and particulates&hellip;but once the air filter gets clogged, it can smother performance (literally) and hurt fuel economy. The fuel filters and carbon canister filter should also be checked and changed if necessary.</p> <p> <strong>Timing belt</strong>: Many vehicles are designed with a timing chain to coordinate the crankshaft and camshaft; timing chains usually last the life cycle of the vehicle. Timing belts, however, have a finite service life and even a few thousand miles past that recommended change interval is borrowed time. A broken timing belt can very literally result in a wrecked engine.</p> <p> A little preventive maintenance and forethought can go a long way toward getting the most miles out of your vehicle!&nbsp;</p> /blog/view/your-car-s-an-investment-protect-it/feed0What To Do With Those Old Tires, 10 Nov 2016 15:03:18 -0700<p> Every year, about 290 million tires are discarded; of those, about 233 million are recycled in one way or another. Shredded tires can be used for playground surfaces, welcome mats, hot-melt asphalt, bark mulch and even made into building material for &ldquo;green&rdquo; construction.</p> <p> But what can&nbsp;<em>you</em>&nbsp;do with your old tires? Here are some ideas:</p> <p> --Fill a tractor tire with sand to make a great sandbox for kids<img alt="Tire swing" src="" style="width: 300px; height: 200px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" /></p> <p> --Hang a tire from a rope as a tire swing</p> <p> --Stack a couple of tires on top of each other, bolt them together and paint them a cheerful color, then use them as a planter</p> <p> --Lay two rows of tires next to each other, somewhat staggered, and use them for broken-field running as part of football conditioning</p> <p> --Bolt two tires together, then affix a round glass top for an instant patio table</p> <p> --Tires can be hung or slightly embedded in the ground and used as planters (note: don&rsquo;t grow vegetable plants in tires)</p> <p> --With a little imagination and some other building materials, you can use old tires to set up an entire playground of climbing structures, obstacle courses, and other fun designs</p> <p> While tires are tough, they can still be cut with a Sawzall or other heavy-duty saw. Whatever you decide to do with used tires, it&rsquo;s important to recycle them somehow. Used tires collect water and can quickly become mosquito breeding grounds in the summer. You&rsquo;ll be doing your part to help the environment and make the world a better place.</p> /blog/view/what-to-do-with-those-old-tires/feed0So…Many…Kinds…of Tires, 27 Oct 2016 13:16:53 -0600<p> <img alt="Different Types of Tires" src="" style="border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right; width: 225px; height: 300px;" />Ever think about all the different vehicles that use rubber tires? Tractors, industrial equipment, everything else that rolls on rubber?</p> <div> <p> Each specialized type of tire requires a specialized design for its specific purpose. Aircraft tires, for instance, have to be very robust and handle a great deal of weight and stress, but for only a short period of time. Aircraft tires are often filled with an inert gas such as nitrogen, for more stable inflation levels, and are designed with specialized fusible plugs which provide a safer failure mode (rather than a sudden, catastrophic tire explosion). &nbsp;</p> <p> Off-the-road tires, for vehicles such as graders or mining equipment, operate at low speeds but have to be able to withstand severe service conditions while handling heavy loads. They&rsquo;re designed with tough, thick carcasses to resist cuts, tears, gouges and punctures while still providing decent control and ride quality for the operator.</p> <p> Agricultural tires are designed for good traction while not compacting soil too heavily. They feature a large footprint to disperse the weight of the vehicle, and may feature a paddle tread for tractor tires or a knobby design for turf machines such as mowers.</p> <p> Industrial tires, such as for forklifts, backhoes or dock equipment, often have to encounter chemicals and other substances that can be damaging to ordinary tires. They&rsquo;re tough and rugged and often come in solid, non-pneumatic designs.</p> <p> Tires for heavy duty trucks and buses need to put in long hours and many miles hauling heavy loads. They&rsquo;re designed to minimize dangerous heat buildup and offer good traction on wet or dry pavement. A relatively new innovation for heavy trucks is the &ldquo;Super Single,&rdquo; a wide single tire that replaces the dual rear wheels of older truck designs. Super Singles offer better fuel economy as well, with a weight savings of around 200 pounds per axle.&nbsp;</p> </div> /blog/view/so-many-kinds-of-tires/feed0Make Sure Your Car's Ready For Winter!, 14 Oct 2016 10:01:22 -0600<p> You know that winter and bad weather are coming. Is your car ready? Here&rsquo;s a quick checklist of things to get up to speed on:</p> <p> <strong>Motor oil</strong>: Motor oil has a tendency to thicken in cold weather, making it harder to circulate to upper engine parts at startup. If you haven&rsquo;t ever used synthetic oil <img alt="Driving in the Winter" src="" style="width: 300px; height: 161px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" />before, this might be a good time to start. The flow properties of synthetic oil are a lot more consistent, meaning it doesn&rsquo;t thicken in sub-freezing temperatures or thin out when it&rsquo;s hot outside.</p> <p> <strong>Wipers</strong>: Even the best windshield wipers only last about a year. If your wipers are showing cracks or chips or losing strips of rubber, go ahead and replace them. Don&rsquo;t forget to refill your washer fluid reservoir&hellip;you&rsquo;ll need it once the weather gets bad.</p> <p> <strong>Cooling system</strong>: If you can&rsquo;t remember the last time your coolant was changed, it&rsquo;s pretty easy for a technician to test its condition. Remember that coolant, a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and distilled water, prevents freeze-ups in wintertime as well as boilovers in hot weather.</p> <p> <strong>Heater and defroster</strong>: Since the heater is part of the cooling system, a flush of the system will help remove any scale or corrosion that may have built up in the heater core.</p> <p> <strong>Tires</strong>: Make sure your tires are in good shape, with plenty of tread depth, and check the inflation. Remember that air expands when hot, so be sure to check tire pressure when the tires are still cold. That also means they&rsquo;ll lose a couple of pounds of air pressure when the temperatures are really cold.</p> <p> You can&rsquo;t do much about winter weather, but you can at least up your chances of getting through it unscathed when your car&rsquo;s in good shape for winter driving! &nbsp;</p> /blog/view/make-sure-your-car-s-ready-for-winter/feed0No Spare Tire?, 29 Sep 2016 10:12:20 -0600<div> Believe it or not, many new vehicles come without a spare tire. Manufacturers have a few different reasons for that, including weight savings, space efficiency, <img alt="Spare Tire" src="" style="width: 300px; height: 169px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" />and cost. When you&#39;re stuck by the side of the road, though, none of that really matters much, does it?&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Instead, these vehicles come equipped with an inflation kit and/or a can of sealant.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Sealant is a gooey substance in an aerosol can that&#39;s designed to coat the inside of the tire due to centrifugal force once you get rolling again, hopefully sealing the puncture. These products, such as Fix-A-Flat, have been on the market for decades and tend to work pretty well on a minor puncture. They&#39;re not a permanent fix, however. Your speed should be limited after using Fix-A-Flat type products, and you should see about getting the tire repaired or replaced as soon as possible. In addition, most of these products freeze at temperatures below 32 degrees and may not be usable in cold weather.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The other alternative on new vehicles is an onboard compressor which usually plugs into the cigarette lighter. These little compressors actually work quite well and can refill a tire in a few minutes&#39; time, getting you back on your way again.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> This is all well and good, but...</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Many times, a tire which fails at highway speed is going to be shredded by the time you can get off the road, or at least permanently damaged and ruined. No inflation kit or can of sealant can help you in that case.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> No tire can be repaired if it has a hole in the sidewall or the shoulder. In that case, you&#39;ve got no other choice but to spring for a new tire.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> You can always invest in a spare tire and a jack if you&#39;re really concerned about it, but in many new vehicles, there&#39;s not even space for a spare. As if that weren&#39;t enough...if you do have a spare in your vehicle, remember spares can lose air over time and can even dry rot if they&#39;re never on the ground. Most experts now agree tires have a life expectancy of about six years before dry rot, ozone, and the sun&#39;s UV rays degrade them.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The upshot? You might want to just make sure your AAA membership is paid up!&nbsp;</div> /blog/view/no-spare-tire/feed0Things To Look For When Buying a Used Car, 15 Sep 2016 09:43:47 -0600<div> Buying a used car is somewhat less of a crapshoot than it was at one time. You can get detailed information on a vehicle&#39;s history via the CARFAX report, and a <img alt="Car for sale" src="" style="width: 300px; height: 274px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" />technician can use onboard diagnostics to get a good picture of what&#39;s going on under the hood and what problems might be coming up.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> It&#39;s always a good idea to get a mechanic to look over any prospective purchase, but there are things you can get a look at yourself before you spend the money for a professional inspection. These are things which will give you a pretty good idea of the kind of use and maintenance a vehicle has seen before you got it.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> -- Put your head against a fender and sight down the side of the vehicle with one eye. Look out for ripples or irregularities in the sheet metal which could point to a collision and body work. Look closely for mismatched paint on body panels, or paint which has an orange-peel texture.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> -- Closely look at the carpeting, upholstery, and pedals. The condition of these can tell you a lot about how a vehicle was cared for.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> -- Pop the hood and look for leaks anywhere on the engine. Start the engine, let it warm up to operating temperature and sniff carefully for unusual smells such as burning oil, burning transmission fluid or leaking antifreeze (all of which have a distinctive smell).&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> -- With the engine running, vehicle on level ground and transmission in Park, pull the transmission dipstick and get a close look at the fluid. The fluid should be magenta colored with a slightly sweet smell. Fluid that&#39;s darker or has a burnt toast smell means that the transmission has been overheated, poorly maintained and/or run with a low fluid level. Avoid.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> -- Take the vehicle for a test drive. Listen for clunks or thumps while going over bumps. Get a good feel for how it handles; a pull to one side on the highway or a tendency for the steering wheel to not center itself could mean front-end problems. Accelerate sharply and listen for any unusual noises. Does the vehicle have enough power and run smoothly when driven hard? Hit the brakes hard. Does the vehicle pull to one side while braking, lock up any of the wheels or have a pulsation through the brake pedal?&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> None of these constitute a detailed inspection, of course. They&#39;re all common-sense measures you can take, though, to pre-screen a prospective used car before calling a professional in for a thorough pre-purchase shakedown.&nbsp;</div> /blog/view/things-to-look-for-when-buying-a-used-car/feed0Which Type of Tire Tread Do You Need?, 25 Aug 2016 09:31:19 -0600<div> There are so many tire designs on the road -- all-season, high performance, touring, light truck -- and even within a specific tire design, there may be several <img alt="Different types of tire tread" src="" style="width: 275px; height: 183px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" />choices of tread patterns. What differentiates them, and what are the pros and cons of each tread design?&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> -- Directional tread has a pattern of grooves and chevron shapes, all pointed in one direction. This design makes it easy to direct water away from the tire&#39;s contact patch and prevent hydroplaning in wet weather, and also offers low noise and great road manners. The directional design means tires can only be rotated front-to-rear and not side-to-side or diagonally.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> -- Symmetrical tread patterns feature grooves or herringbone designs that are extremely uniform across the tire&#39;s tread face. Symmetrical designs are popular for touring tires due to their quiet ride, long wear and ease of rotation, making them a very versatile tread pattern.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> -- Asymmetrical tread patterns are a bit of a compromise. They&#39;re typically designed with a mix of tread patterns, often with a section at the middle and inside edge of a tire that&#39;s designed for wintry or wet-weather traction. The outside edge, on the other hand, has aggressive tread blocks for optimum cornering ability. Asymmetrical tires are marked with &quot;outside only&quot; and &quot;inside only&quot; on the sidewalls to preserve proper handling qualities.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> -- Directional/asymmetrical tires are the best of both worlds. They&#39;re usually designed with a V-shaped tread to direct water away from the footprint, and an asymmetrical section for dry-weather traction and handling. Directional/asymmetrical tires should be rotated in the same pattern as directional tires.</div> /blog/view/which-type-of-tire-tread-do-you-need/feed0Tips On How To Keep Your Car Organized!, 11 Aug 2016 09:17:00 -0600<div> For some, the idea of an &quot;organized car&quot; is almost blasphemous, but having your vehicle set up so you can actually find things can be pretty nice. The bigger the <img alt="" src="" style="width: 300px; height: 225px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" />vehicle -- minivans, SUVs -- and the more people they haul, the more disorganized they can get. Don&#39;t let your minivan turn into a rolling dumpster -- here are some great ideas for keeping it organized.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> -- While newer vehicles have come a long way in terms of driver and passenger ergonomics and an abundance of cubbies and cupholders, you can use a simple shower caddy across the back of a seat and make it easier for back seat passengers to keep toys, snacks, and other stuff within easy reach.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> -- Doesn&#39;t it always seem like you have way, way too many plastic grocery bags? Keep them organized by stuffing them into an empty Kleenex box...empty grocery bags are very handy for trash, diapers and other assorted stuff.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> --Everyone has had the experience of pawing through the glove-box for something they really need, and not being able to find it. Personal-sized portfolios of folders can be very handy for keeping insurance papers, receipts and other important documents organized and easily &#39;get-at-able&#39; in the glove compartment.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> -- Do you travel with a dog sometimes? Consider rigging up a hammock or sling by fastening the corners of a blanket or comforter to the front and rear seat headrests, keeping Fido comfortable and keeping pet hair and dirt from muddy paws off your upholstery.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> -- A simple purse organizer can provide plenty of space for your wallet, change, sunglasses and other odds and ends, conveniently placed between the front seats.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> -- Find a tote with multiple compartments ... they can be great for organizing Legos, crayons, snacks, Hot Wheels cars and all the other stuff that naturally seems to be in a minivan or SUV.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> First step? Thoroughly clean out your car. Get everything out of there, figure out what things you really need in a vehicle and then it&#39;ll make it a lot easier to come up with the best ways to organize!</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Tubeless tires debuted in the 1950s, and tire design continued to evolve with improved rubber formulations, better tread patterns and a variety of new tire designs such as the all-season tire, UHP tires, grand touring tires and other newer developments. Today, things like the run-flat tire and tire pressure monitoring systems have made tires more reliable, safe and long-lasting than ever before!&nbsp;</div> /blog/view/tips-on-how-to-keep-your-car-organized/feed0A Brief History of the Tire, 28 Jul 2016 08:41:20 -0600<div> The tire is such a commonplace item -- it&#39;s on every car, every truck, every bicycle, every aircraft. It&#39;s easy to not give the tire a second thought, but like every&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 12px;">other <img alt="" src="" style="width: 300px; height: 219px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" />technology, the tire has an interesting history of advances and failures.&nbsp;</span></div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In the 19th century, carriages and wagons used steel strips for &quot;tires&quot; on their wheels, with the punishing sort of ride that you&#39;d expect. In later years, they were shod with strips of natural rubber, which was an improvement but was still problematic. Solid rubber still rode pretty rough, and the natural, uncured rubber would get gummy in hot weather and shrink and harden in cold temperatures. Charles Goodyear was able to help with the invention of vulcanized rubber, but the modern tire was still several years off.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> By the 1880s, the bicycle was becoming much more popular, and in 1888 Scottish engineer John Dunlop was watching his son struggle with the bone-shaking ride of his tricycle. He then devised the first-ever air-filled pneumatic tire, and a few years later Edouard Michelin developed the first &quot;clincher&quot; pneumatic tire, easily removable for repair.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> These advances coincided with the development of the horseless carriage, of course, and soon speeds were starting to pick up and more was expected from tires. Things like inner tubes to hold air and grooved tread patterns for tires soon followed. By the 1910s, engineers were designing tires with angled layers of cotton cord beneath the rubber surface, adding durability and strength, and the bias-ply tire was born. Bias-ply tires would soon become the industry standard and would remain so until the 1960s.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The next big step forward in tire design was Michelin&#39;s radial tire, which featured steel belts and fabric plies that were set at a right angle to the tread instead of layers which crisscrossed at angles. Radials offered longer wear, better handling and road manners and soon became the standard in Europe, but they didn&#39;t really catch on in the US until the 1970s.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Tubeless tires debuted in the 1950s, and tire design continued to evolve with improved rubber formulations, better tread patterns and a variety of new tire designs such as the all-season tire, UHP tires, grand touring tires and other newer developments. Today, things like the run-flat tire and tire pressure monitoring systems have made tires more reliable, safe and long-lasting than ever before!&nbsp;</div> /blog/view/a-brief-history-of-the-tire/feed0What's Leaking From My Car?, 14 Jul 2016 08:01:57 -0600<div> You go out to your car, start it up, pull out of your parking space and see a puddle of...something...where you were parked a moment ago. This is never a good <img alt="" src="" style="width: 300px; height: 225px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" />feeling. What could it be?&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Fortunately, some automotive fluids are dyed different colors to make this a little easier to narrow down.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Does it appear to be water? Were you recently running your A/C? Chances are that&#39;s just condensation from the A/C system, which drips out through a rubber tube and is perfectly normal. No worries there.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> For years, antifreeze was dyed a bright green to make it easy to identify. Today, other antifreeze formulations can be colored pink or orange, but it&#39;s still not hard to figure out -- antifreeze has a sweet-ish, unmistakable smell due to its ethylene glycol content.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Gasoline is a pale yellowish or orange color, and also has a distinct smell that you&#39;ll recognize right away. Gasoline evaporates quickly and may feel cool on your finger if you dip it into the puddle. It&#39;s also, of course, very flammable!</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Motor oil is honey-colored or perhaps darker, depending on how long it&#39;s been in the engine, and is slippery when rubbed between thumb and forefinger. Transmission fluid has the same slippery feeling as motor oil, but is dyed a magenta color and may have a somewhat sweet smell.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Power steering fluid is clear and often may feel more slippery than motor oil. Brake fluid is also very slippery and may have a more hazy yellowish color.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <strong>What To Do About A Leak</strong></div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> If you regularly see a puddle under your vehicle that&#39;s bigger than an inch or two across, slide a sheet of cardboard under the engine and between the front wheels when you park it in the evening.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Leaks can be difficult to pin down on a vehicle that&#39;s already grimy and oily underneath (especially since the path of the leak will be blown backwards while driving). One way to isolate the source of a leak is to safely lift and secure the vehicle, get underneath it and clean the bottom of the engine and transmission with brake cleaner or a similar solvent. Spray the entire area with foot powder, which should then clearly show where the leak is originating.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Leaks can be troubling, but older vehicles with high mileage tend to have gaskets and seals which dry up and shrink, causing at least minute leaks. Got any concerns? Make an appointment with us and let us track down that leak and fix it!</div> /blog/view/what-s-leaking-from-my-car/feed0A/C Problems Demystified, 30 Jun 2016 13:53:01 -0600<p> <img alt="" src="" style="width: 250px; height: 188px; float: right; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 8px;" /></p> <div> Believe it or not, the A/C system in your vehicle is fairly simple in principle and design. Like your refrigerator, it operates on a cycle of compression and expansion of a gas, known as refrigerant. The compressor turns the gas into a liquid, and as the gas evaporates it provides cooling. Like your refrigerator, its main components are:&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <ul> <li> Compressor</li> <li> Condenser&nbsp;</li> <li> Receiver/dryer</li> <li> Thermostatic expansion valve</li> <li> Evaporator</li> <li> Refrigerant</li> <li> Blower&nbsp;</li> </ul> <div> The good news is most automotive A/C systems have become very robust and reliable compared to cars from a generation ago. Most of the time, poor performance is due to low refrigerant levels due to leaks in the system around the O-rings, gaskets, seals, and lines (which can all dry out and shrink). Low refrigerant can mean other problems though. Since refrigerant contains oil which lubricates the compressor, low levels of refrigerant can mean an overheated compressor sending tiny shards of metal through the rest of the system to wreak havoc.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> These are sure signs of problems:&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <ul> <li> A/C that&#39;s barely cooler than the air outside</li> <li> A/C only blows cold while car is moving, not at idle&nbsp;</li> <li> Metallic clicking under the hood, as the compressor&#39;s magnetic clutch cycles the compressor on and off</li> <li> Musty, &quot;dirty socks&quot; smell from air vents</li> <li> Volume of air from vents is never enough</li> </ul> <div> Obviously, all these components can potentially fail...but often they fail due to low refrigerant levels, and even a late model vehicle can lose five to ten percent of its refrigerant over a year&#39;s time. Why take chances? Recharging the system with refrigerant is easy and inexpensive, and should be part of your A/C system&#39;s (and your car&#39;s) routine maintenance!&nbsp;</div> /blog/view/a-c-problems-demystified/feed0So You Get A Flat Tire...What Now?, 16 Jun 2016 09:58:35 -0600<p> <img alt="Flat Tire" src="" style="width: 275px; height: 183px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; float: right; margin: 5px 10px;" />Nobody ever looks forward to a flat tire, and nobody ever says &quot;well, that was a really good time&quot; after having one. You can at least minimize the damage to your tire and danger to yourself, though.</p> <h3> Flats vs Blowouts</h3> <p> If you get a blowout, you&#39;ll know about it right away. Sometimes the tire can fail dramatically, with a bang as loud as a shotgun going off. Other times, it might just be a loss of air and a sudden change in your car&#39;s handling, followed by vibration, noise and a pull to one side. If it&#39;s a front tire that fails, your car might be a real handful to drive until you can get to a stop.</p> <p> In either case, your first job is to pull off the road as quickly (but safely!) as you can. Don&#39;t jam on the brakes or make any sudden moves, just get over to the shoulder and the flattest, hardest surface you can find.</p> <p> Turn on the emergency flashers and set the parking brake. Locate the jack and tire wrench, remove the wheel cover and break loose the lug nuts with the wrench. Find the proper spot for jacking the car and raise it no higher than necessary to remove the tire and install the spare. Put the spare on, tighten the lugs, lower the vehicle and tighten the lugs the rest of the way once the vehicle is on the ground. If your vehicle is equipped with a space-saver or temporary spare, keep your speed at 55 mph or lower and replace it with a standard tire as soon as possible.</p> <p> Often it&#39;s not possible to safely jack the vehicle up and change the tire yourself -- in which case you should just take advantage of your AAA card and call for help. Also, you may as well kiss that failed tire goodbye -- even if it survives the flat without shredding the sidewall, chances are that the heat and low inflation have destroyed it internally.</p> <h3> Preventing a Flat</h3> <p> Check your tires&#39; condition regularly and look out for foreign objects, dry rot on the sidewalls, bulges or cracks, tread separation or uneven wear.</p> <p> Rotate your tires regularly -- every 5,000 miles -- to ensure even wear patterns.</p> <p> Keep your front end aligned properly to prevent premature wear.</p> <p> Probably the most important...check your tire inflation regularly! Under-inflated tires mean more rolling resistance, more heat buildup and more wear, which will lead to tire failure.</p> /blog/view/so-you-get-a-flat-tire-what-now/feed0Regular, Synthetic or Blend...What Kind of Oil Do I Need?, 26 May 2016 10:34:49 -0600<p> <img alt="" src="" style="width: 300px; height: 225px; float: right; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 5px 10px;" />At one time, there were only a couple of choices for motor oil. Today, that is no longer the case, and hasn&#39;t been for quite some time. Here&#39;s a quick breakdown of what you need to consider when it&#39;s time for an oil change:</p> <ul> <li> <strong>Viscosity</strong>: Viscosity is how thick your oil is, and how it retains its pour properties at various temperatures. In this respect, synthetic oil is far superior. Conventional oils will thicken in cold weather and thin out when very hot, while the viscosity of synthetic is much more uniform. Check your owner&#39;s manual -- many newer models require a thinner, lower-viscosity oil, which also helps the engine run more efficiently. Viscosity is expressed as a numerical value -- the lower the number, the thinner the oil. Many are designed to work at various viscosities, i.e. a rating like 5W-30.</li> <li> <strong>Premium Conventional Oil</strong>: For most vehicles, premium conventional oil is just fine. Conventional oil does a good job of protecting engine parts from wear and overheating, and is available with various additive packages and viscosities for different applications. Just remember to adhere to a more stringent oil change schedule -- every 5,000 miles is a good rule of thumb.</li> <li> <strong>High Mileage Oil</strong>: Vehicles are lasting longer, and more than 2/3 of the cars on the road have more than 75,000 miles on them. High mileage oil is formulated with conditioners that can swell gaskets and seals to stop leaks around valve covers and other areas where gaskets may have shrunk or cracked. High mileage oil is designed for better viscosity properties, helping to quiet noisy valve-train parts, reduce upper-end engine wear and provide better protection at piston/cylinder clearances which may be a bit looser due to age and wear.</li> <li> <strong>Synthetic Blend</strong>: Like the name suggests, synthetic blend oils split the difference between conventional and synthetic, both in protection and price point. Synthetic blend oils are popular for trucks and SUVs, especially when drivers subject them to towing or hauling heavy loads.</li> <li> <strong>Full Synthetic</strong>: The jury is in, and synthetic oil outperforms conventional oil in just about every respect. Synthetic is purer and more stable and uniform at the molecular level, meaning better viscosity properties (as mentioned above). Synthetics are factory-recommended for about every new vehicle; they protect against deposits better, are kinder to seals and gaskets and are less prone to vaporize and evaporate. The down side is synthetics are considerably more expensive by the quart, but that&#39;s offset somewhat by their 10-12,000 mile oil change interval.</li> </ul> <p> Still in doubt? Be sure to check your owner&#39;s manual for manufacturer&#39;s recommendations.</p> /blog/view/regular-synthetic-or-blend-what-kind-of-oil-do-i-need/feed0The Latest in Green Tech Innovations for Tires, 12 May 2016 10:10:02 -0600<p> <img alt="" src="" style="width: 200px; height: 199px; float: right; margin: 5px;" />When it comes to your car, oil isn&#39;t the only thing there&#39;s a finite supply of. Rubber has its limits too, and it&#39;s estimated by 2020, the supply of natural rubber in the world may be outstripped by demand. And of course, tires require a great deal of oil to produce as well. Tire manufacturers are constantly looking for ways to innovate and conserve resources in tire production. Here are some recent advances:</p> <ul> <li> <strong>Dandelions</strong>: Yes, those humble yellow flowers you try to eliminate from your yard. Dandelions actually contain a minute amount of latex in their milky oil, and research shows they can actually produce about as much latex, pound-for-pound, as rubber plants. German scientists have cultivated 1-foot-tall dandelions for just this purpose. This isn&#39;t a new development, either -- in WWII, American companies were growing and cultivating Russian dandelions to cope with rubber scarcities due to wartime conditions.</li> <li> <strong>Silica</strong>: Tires are a complex blend of many different ingredients. Tires require friction for traction and control, but too much friction means heat buildup and rolling resistance, which hurts fuel economy. Engineers have discovered that mixing silica, the main ingredient in sand, in with carbon black and other elements can cut rolling resistance for better gas mileage. Too much silica means poor tread wear and traction, but manufacturers are aiming to strike the right balance between silica and carbon black in recent designs.</li> <li> <strong>Orange oil</strong>: In the search for alternatives to fossil fuels, a major manufacturer has taken the lead in using oil derived from orange peels in tire formulations. Orange oil has been used in cleaning products and other applications for years, but engineers have now figured out how to use it for lowered rolling resistance and better flexibility in tires.</li> <li> <strong>Soybean oil</strong>: While it&#39;s still in the development stages, it has been discovered that soybean oil can add up to ten percent to tire life, and can reduce fossil fuel use by up to 8.5 million gallons per year.</li> <li> <strong>Recycling</strong>: Vulcanization of rubber has been around since the 1830s. Vulcanized rubber is harder and more serviceable, but unfortunately vulcanization also means rubber which can&#39;t be recycled into tires again. Ironically, the same source that discovered this process has now uncovered a means to &quot;de-vulcanize&quot; rubber so it can be recycled for tire use. Currently, the recovery rate is about 80 percent; if the process can be scaled for mass-market use, it could mean a great solution for recycling the 800 million tires which are scrapped every year.</li> </ul> /blog/view/the-latest-in-green-tech-innovations-for-tires/feed04 Things About Tires You May Not Have Known, 28 Apr 2016 08:13:18 -0600<p> Tires all look sort of the same&hellip;round and black&hellip;and people tend to think tires don&rsquo;t change much over the years. That&rsquo;s really not true, though &ndash; engineers and designers are constantly working on advances in tire designs for more miles, better fuel economy and better performance.</p> <p> Here&rsquo;s a rundown of current trends in tire technology you may not have been aware of:</p> <p> <img alt="" src="" style="width: 300px; height: 200px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 0px 10px; float: right;" /></p> <div> <ul> <li> <b>Tall, skinny tires are coming back.</b> If you&rsquo;ve ever ridden a beach cruiser bike vs. a racing bike, you know that skinny tires have lower rolling resistance. Carmakers are going in that direction, too &ndash; the BMW i3 electric/plug-in hybrid uses Bridgestone Ecopia tires, with higher inflation pressure and a taller, skinnier profile. Tall, skinny tires also reduce the car&rsquo;s frontal profile for lowered wind resistance and aerodynamic drag. It isn&rsquo;t just the BMW i3, either&hellip;the Corvette Z51 is going with taller, skinnier tires.</li> <li> <b>Static electricity can be a problem with tires.</b> Static electricity and an inadequate electrical ground can be a real concern when you&rsquo;re refueling, or when you&rsquo;re sliding out of the car. Modern tire compounds feature less carbon black to cut rolling resistance and weight, but that also means a tire that&rsquo;s less conductive for an electric ground between the vehicle and the road surface. The solution is an &ldquo;antenna tread&rdquo; in the tire&rsquo;s surface &ndash; a thin, continuous strip of rubber that serves as an efficient conductor between the tire and pavement so the vehicle is always grounded.</li> <li> <b>Run-flat tires can make it another 100 miles or more after losing pressure.</b> Tire manufacturers design run-flat tires to cover 50 miles at 50 mph, but at slower speeds you can get a lot more miles than that out of them. The idea is to lessen the amount of heat generated by the tire and reduce the fatigue in the belts and the rubber. Imagine flexing a paper clip&hellip;if you bend it back and forth quickly, it&rsquo;ll break quickly, but if you flex it slowly, it&rsquo;ll last longer.</li> <li> <b>There are more than 200 materials in a modern tire.</b> You probably know about Kevlar and nylon and rubber and steel, but you probably didn&rsquo;t know rubber batches also include metals like cobalt and titanium which help the compound bond with the steel belts. Silane (silicon hydride) is being used to help inorganic silica bond with organic polymers for enhanced traction in wet or wintry weather. Silica is a major ingredient in low-rolling-resistance tires, and silica compounds like silane have been used a lot in the last 10-15 years to enhance performance. Tire companies are also using &ldquo;green&rdquo; materials for tires, such as citrus oil to control how tread viscosity and flexibility changes with temperature.</li> </ul> </div> /blog/view/4-things-about-tires-you-may-not-have-known/feed0Cars That Last 250,000 Miles or More, 14 Apr 2016 16:24:52 -0600<p> <img alt="" src="" style="width: 300px; height: 169px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; float: right; margin: 5px 10px;" />If you&rsquo;re old enough, you probably remember the cars from the late 70s and early 80s that weren&rsquo;t good for much more than 120,000 miles before they started to develop real problems and were junkyard bound. Today, thanks to improvements in design, metallurgy, manufacturing techniques and machining, those days are over and it&rsquo;s not at all unusual to see vehicles with well over 200,000 miles on the odometer and still running strong.</p> <p> Here&rsquo;s a quick rundown of some vehicles to consider which have a track record of being good for 250k miles or more:</p> <ul> <li> <b>Toyota Corolla:</b> Probably not a surprise to fans of Toyotas, the simple, no-frills Corolla hasn&rsquo;t changed much since the early 00s&hellip;but Toyota&rsquo;s approach to the tried-and-true Corolla is, &ldquo;if it ain&rsquo;t broke, why fix it?&rdquo; The Corolla has a reputation for just soldiering on down the road with little need for anything more than routine maintenance.</li> <li> <b>Honda Civic:</b> The Honda counterpart to the Corolla, Civics offers sedan, coupe, hybrid and sporty Civic Si models, all with a reputation for great longevity and driver satisfaction.</li> <li> <b>Subaru Outback:</b> Is it a wagon? A crossover? Who cares, the AWD Outback is a strong runner, and the majority of the Outbacks ever made since the 90s are still on the road today.</li> <li> <b>Acura TL:</b> This midsize entry from Honda&rsquo;s luxury brand can easily put in 200,000 miles or more with the right maintenance, and is available in front-wheel-drive or AWD editions.</li> <li> <b>Ford Crown Victoria:</b> True, the Crown Vic hasn&rsquo;t been made for a few years, but it relies on simple, old-school technology like a pushrod V8, body-on-frame construction and a lack of high-tech cabin accessories. The result is a car that police departments would run to 130,000 miles, then taxi services would buy them and drive them for 250,000 miles more. The same goes for the Vic&rsquo;s stablemates, the Lincoln Town Car and Mercury Grand Marquis.</li> <li> <b>Ford Taurus:</b> Comfortable, spacious and reliable, the new generation of Ford Taurus can easily make it past the 200,000 mile mark with many more good miles left in it.</li> <li> <b>Dodge Grand Caravan:</b>Not sexy or flashy, the Grand Caravan offers dependable, practical and comfortable transportation. Earlier generations of the Grand Caravan were prone to transmission problems, but later GC&rsquo;s have a reputation for easily putting in a quarter-million miles or more.</li> <li> <b>Nissan Altima:</b> The Altima&rsquo;s been around for over 20 years, in a few different iterations, but it&rsquo;s still the same comfortable, reliable Nissan it&rsquo;s always been, with the same reputation for quality and long service life.</li> </ul> /blog/view/cars-that-last-250-000-miles-or-more/feed0Self-Inflating Tires…Soon To Be A Reality?, 31 Mar 2016 14:40:22 -0600<p> Driving around on underinflated tires is just a bad idea all the way around. Underinflated tires increase a car&rsquo;s rolling resistance, meaning a drop in fuel efficiency since it takes more energy to move the vehicle down the road.<img alt="" src="" style="width: 300px; height: 225px; border-width: 2px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" /><br /> <br /> A single tire that&rsquo;s down by ten pounds of air means a 3.3 percent drop in fuel economy&hellip;multiply that by all four tires, and you can figure on giving up ten percent of your gas mileage. The added friction and rolling resistance also means more heat is generated, and heat is the enemy of the internal structure of a tire. That heat will damage a tire to the point of failure. Studies show that underinflated tires are a full 25 percent more likely to fail, and at least half of one-car accidents involve a tire problem as a factor. And still, it&rsquo;s estimated that 60 to 80 percent of the vehicles on the road are rolling on tires that are low on air.<br /> <br /> The tire pressure monitoring systems on newer cars are all well and good, but what can be done to stabilize tire pressure in vehicles, especially when many drivers just ignore it?<br /> <br /> Self-inflating tires are on the horizon. For military vehicles and heavy trucks, self-inflating tires have been around for a while, but they always involved a compressor or air reservoir on the vehicle to supply air. There are now a couple of new, innovative designs for self-inflating tires:</p> <ul> <li> A system from SIT uses a tube chamber near the bead of the tire wall. At its lowest point, the tube is kept closed with the normal deformation of a tire due to the weight of the vehicle. The portion that&rsquo;s squeezed closed constantly changes as the tire rolls. If the tire pressure drops, sensors and an automatic pressure regulator kick in and the squeezing/releasing action of the tube begins to suck in atmospheric air. When the tire reaches its proper pressure again, a check valve prevents the tube from introducing any more air. The SIT design actually won the 2009 Tire Technology of the Year award at the Tire Technology Expo.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li> &nbsp;A system designed by Halo uses a pendulum-type mass that&rsquo;s suspended at the center of the truck wheel. As the wheel rolls, the pendulum swings and drives a self-contained pump which adds air until the desired air pressure is reached. This five-pound unit mounts directly to the wheel&rsquo;s axle cap, not unlike a hub odometer. While it&rsquo;s currently only available for heavy trucks, buses and tractor-trailers, the Halo system has been tested for over 8 million miles on various vehicles.</li> </ul> <p> While these self-inflation designs may not be widely used yet, they point the way to a time when having to worry about tire inflation will be a thing of the past. What kind of shape are your tires in? Have you checked their inflation level lately? Give us a call and make an appointment at the shop and let us have a look at your tires!</p> /blog/view/self-inflating-tires-soon-to-be-a-reality/feed0Questions You Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Ask Your Auto Repair Tech, 17 Mar 2016 19:44:01 -0600<p> Often, drivers are mystified by how their cars actually work. It&rsquo;s to be expected. Even an older car is a complex machine with many sub-assemblies that all work together to move it down the road.<img alt="Car questions? Ask them!" src="" style="width: 300px; height: 243px; float: right; border-width: 2px; border-style: solid; margin: 20px 10px;" /></p> <p> As a result, drivers tend to be a little intimidated by auto repair and often tend to not inform themselves by asking the necessary questions of a tech or a garage. Too often, that ends up being a big mistake. Here are some examples of the kinds of things you really should know before any auto repair work starts:</p> <ul> <li> <strong>Does your shop work on any kind of vehicle?</strong> Of course, most shops can service a product from GM, Ford, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota and the other leading makes. Some makes, however, require a lot more training and experience, or even factory certifications. Vehicles from Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, BMW and certain other makes often require specialized tools and training; that&rsquo;s why many towns have repair shops that are for specific makes of vehicles.</li> </ul> <ul> <li> <strong>What kind of equipment does your shop have?</strong> Every model year, vehicles and systems get more sophisticated, requiring specialized and up-to-date equipment for diagnostics and repair. Some equipment is dedicated to specific makes of vehicles. It&rsquo;s important that your auto repair shop stays current with technology, and this is a question that&rsquo;s certainly worth asking.</li> </ul> <ul> <li> <strong>What kind of certifications does your shop (and your techs) have?</strong> Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is a trade group that sets standards for auto repair with testing and certifications for techs; the blue ASE seal means that a tech has met the group&rsquo;s levels of expertise. Many auto repair shops and techs also have factory certifications for certain makes of vehicles.</li> </ul> <ul> <li> <strong>What kind of replacement parts are you using?</strong> Not all replacement parts are the same! There are plenty of inferior parts on the aftermarket, and are usually a &ldquo;you get what you pay for&rdquo; proposition. Your shop should only be using factory or at least factory-quality parts to repair your vehicle. You also have the right to ask to see the part that failed and was replaced, and any good shop should be willing to let you.</li> </ul> <p> And while we&rsquo;re at it, here are a few others that don&rsquo;t really need elaboration&hellip;</p> <ul> <li> <strong>What&rsquo;s your warranty policy?</strong></li> <li> <strong>What would you do if this was your vehicle?</strong></li> <li> <strong>What are your shop rates for labor?</strong></li> <li> <strong>Do you do free estimates?</strong></li> <li> <strong>Do you provide shuttle service or a loaner car for while mine&rsquo;s in the shop?</strong></li> </ul> <p> &ldquo;Forewarned is forearmed,&rdquo; and it&rsquo;s important to know what you&rsquo;re getting into with any auto repair shop. By asking the right questions before any wrenches are turned, you can at least make auto repair into a somewhat less overwhelming experience. At <span id="BugEvents">our shop</span>, you know you can expect not only expert auto repair for a wide range of cars, minivans, light trucks and SUVs, but also top-notch customer service. It&rsquo;s what we&rsquo;ve built our business on &ndash; give us a call and make an appointment for your next auto repair or maintenance job.</p> /blog/view/questions-you-shouldn-t-be-afraid-to-ask-your-auto-repair-tech/feed0