Extend Winter Tire Life With Proper Tire Storage

The saying goes, March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, as winter finally gives way to spring. Depending on the weather in your area, now may be the time you are thinking about replacing your winter tires with your regular tires. When you switch out your tires, be sure to follow these tire storage tips to make sure they stay in good condition and will be ready when you need them again. 

tire storage

All tire types benefit from proper tire storage, and should be stored in a clean, cool and dry place. Avoid excessive exposure to sunlight and strong air currents. Although the rubber used to make tires is engineered to resist the effects of sunlight, ozone, and water, these elements still cause deterioration. Consider seasonal tire storage a time to give your tires a break and opportunity to minimize exposure to stresses.

Other tire storage tips include:

  • Tires stored while mounted on rims should be inflated to 10 psi.
  • Tires that are put in storage during warm weather should be inflated to about 15 psi to offset the pressure drop during cold weather months.
  • Cover or wrap tires for storage. Many types of covers are available from auto parts retailers.
  • If tires are mounted on rims, they should be stacked four deep underneath a tire cover.
  • Tires should be stored upright and under a cover if they are mounted on rims, rather than stacked or suspended from the ceiling.
  • Tires with whitewall or raised white lettering should be stored with the whitewall or raised white lettering facing each other to avoid black rubber staining.
  • It is best not to store tires outside, but it is unavoidable, keep them raised off the storage surface.

Follow these tire storage tips when storing your tires so they will provide you with years of safe service and performance.

Tire Noise – What’s Normal, What’s Not

The amount of noise you experience while driving can depend on a wide range of factors, from the condition of the road pavement to the construction of the vehicle and its components. In fact, a great deal of engineering and technology goes into vehicle design to specifically promote a smooth and quiet ride. This includes the development of tire technology. 

Tire Noise

While we can expect to experience some degree of noise when we are driving, we may on occasion hear something that doesn’t sound quite right. It is important to pay attention to tire noise that seems unusual or unfamiliar, as that noise may be a sign of trouble with your vehicle.

How much or what type of tire noise is normal? That is going to depend on the type of tires you have. For example, it is common for low-profile tires to create more noise since they have a lower amount of sidewall rubber. Also, the wider a tire is, the more noise it tends to generate, simply due to there being more in contact with the road. 

Tire Noise That Sounds Like Trouble

Hearing tire noise that doesn’t sound like what you normally hear on the road could be an indication that something is off. Alignment problems, suspension issues, or improper tire inflation can all cause strange or unusual tire noise that sounds a bit like thumping or bumping. 

Misaligned or underinflated tires might sound like squealing or screeching. Keep in mind that squealing that occurs when you stop might also be an indication of brake problems. 

Tire humming can be another sign of tire trouble. Humming may happen if tread wear is not even, or if there are problems with the wheel bearings.  

If you have been noticing tire noise that seems out of the ordinary, don’t ignore it. Taking just a little time out of your busy schedule to have your tires and vehicle inspected by a qualified auto pro could save you a lot of time, trouble, and expense.

Two Car Heating Problems That Could Leave You Cold

The recent cold snap has everyone thinking about the importance of being prepared for winter driving. Making sure your car’s heating system is functioning properly is essential – particularly if you are preparing for a long car trip. 

Vehicles in Snow

In this post, we will focus on recognizing two common car heating problems that can be avoided.

Understanding the Heater Function

Your car heating system depends on its heater core. The heater core serves as a heat exchanger, distributing heat into the cabin of the car. The car’s engine provides the original source for this heat, which increases as the engine operates.

Heat is transferred from the engine to the heater core through a liquid called coolant. Coolant pumps through the engine to cool it to protect it from overheating, and also recycles the heat it removes by sending it into the radiator and circulating it to the heater core.

Common Car Heating Problems

In the event of car heating problems, one of two issues is typically to blame:

  1. The coolant is not properly flowing through the heater core
  2. The air from the blower motor is not being directed through the heater core

Coolant flow issues can often be attributed to a plugged heater core. Air flow problems could be due to a malfunctioning, or stuck blend door. These doors are the flaps inside the ducts that open and close to allow heat or stop heat from coming through the vents into the passenger compartment.

If you notice any car heating problems or a heating irregularities, be sure to have your car checked out as soon as possible by your trusted auto technician. Getting the problem fixed will assure you don’t get stuck in the cold.

Feeling Salty? Protect Your Car from Salt on Roads

Salt on roads plays a key role in making winter driving safer by preventing accidents due to lost traction on slippery snow and ice. Salt lowers the freezing/melting point of water, making it a fast and inexpensive way to melt snow and ice on the road. The problem with salt on roads is that it is a highly corrosive element, which can be highly damaging to your vehicle.

Snowy Street Salt on Roads

Exposure to salt on roads throughout the winter is very hard on the metal components of your car. Most vehicles have an exposed underbody, so a great deal of salt damage occurs underneath the car, where it goes visually undetected. Rust on essential parts of your vehicle can leave you with huge problems ranging from brake system leaks to frame damage. While your rubber tires will suffer little or no damage from salt, your wheels are highly vulnerable, since the metal areas of your car are most at risk for  damage from salt on roads.

The good news is that the coatings and paint finishes used in today’s automotive manufacturing do a much better job of protecting vehicles against salt damage. The process of salt leading to corrosion and rust takes awhile, you fortunately have time to undo salt damage potential.

The best way to protect your car from road salt corrosion is to take it to the car wash for regular washings during the winter months. How frequently your car should be washed will depend on how much salt and road sludge you drive through on a regular basis. If you have really expensive wheels, consider swapping them out in the winter months, since salt is especially damaging to chrome.

Waxing seasonally will make your washes more effective and provide additional protection for your vehicle.

Understanding The Importance of Brake Maintenance

The Importance of Brake Maintenance, Part Two  

Brakes are critical to ensuring our safety on the road. Vehicle owners should have a general understanding of its brake system and the brake maintenance it requires. This is part two of our overview brake system and what services brakes require.

Brake Maintenance

Brake System Maintenance

Brake system maintenance allows your auto technician to evaluate the degree of brake pad wear and determine when replacement is necessary.

Brake Pads and Rotors

Brake pads and rotors are the point at which the braking system connects with the tires. Due to the stress of extreme friction, these components deteriorate more easily than others and need more frequent maintenance. It is important to inspect the condition and depth of the pads to make sure there is sufficient resistance.

Brake Fluid

A car’s brake system relies on a hydraulic fluid, commonly referred to as brake fluid. Flowing through the brake lines, brake fluid provides the power or force necessary to bring a vehicle to a stop. It is necessary to drain and replace brake fluid periodically because it absorbs moisture from the air and degrades over time. Changing brake fluid at recommended intervals will assure proper brake system functioning. Brake fluid changes are typically done every one or two years, however different vehicles will have different recommendations for best performance.

Since your vehicle’s brake system and brake fluid are so crucial to its safe operation, it is really important to have brake service maintenance done by a qualified professional automotive technician.

In addition having regular brake system maintenance performed, it is important to pay attention to any signs of brake problems and have them looked at right away.

Signs of trouble might include:

  • Strange Noises When Braking
  • Braking Causes the Vehicle to Pull to One Side
  • Brake Pedal Feels Odd or Spongy
  • Excessive Vibration When Braking
  • Jerking Sensation As Brakes are Applied

Along with these warning signs, the brake system service light on your car’s dashboard will illuminate if your on-board diagnostic system senses any problems. Take your vehicle in for a brake system inspection.

Understanding The Importance of Brake Maintenance

The Importance of Brake Maintenance  – Part One

We all know how important our brakes are to ensuring our safety on the road. What we might not keep in mind is the importance of brake maintenance. Drivers should have a basic understanding of their vehicle’s brake system and the brake maintenance our vehicles need. This two part post will give you a simple overview of how brakes work and what services they require.

Importance of Brake Maintenance

Types of Brake Systems and How They Work

There are three basic types of brakes: anti-lock brakes, emergency brakes, and service brakes. 

Anti-lock Brake Systems (ABS) are a safety feature included in most newer vehicles. This computer-controlled technology works with a vehicle braking system to decrease stopping distance and also increase control and stability. ABS monitors the speed of each wheel and automatically pulses the brake pressure. When hard and sudden braking occurs, ABS prevents the wheels from locking up, and keeps the tires from going into a skid. 

Emergency or Parking Brakes function apart from the service brakes and are typically non-hydraulic, using cables to mechanically apply the braking function. How emergency brakes are applied can vary from vehicle to vehicle. Some emergency brake systems are operated using a stick lever, some with a floor pedal, and some feature a button or handle near the steering column.

Service Brakes refers to the overall brake system used to decrease speed and bring the vehicle to a stop. In most cases, service brakes include a four-wheel disc or a combination of disc on front and drums on the back wheels. They are activated when the brake pedal is pressed, distributing hydraulic force to all wheels. Front brakes provide more force than the rear brakes for stopping the vehicle since braking propels the weight of the vehicle forward onto the front wheels.

Disc brakes use calipers, brake rotors, and brake pads. Each disc brake has a brake pad on both sides that push against the brake rotor when pressure is applied to the brake pedal. Drum brakes are enclosed within the wheel cylinder and have brake shoes that press out against the drum when pressure is applied to the brake pedal. 

In part two of this series, we will take a look at brake maintenance and signs of brake problems.

Make A Resolution to Take Better Care of Your Tires

Are you making a New Year’s Resolution to take better care of yourself? Consider also making a resolution to take better care of your tires! 

New Year's Resolution 2021

Here are some simple ideas that will help your tires perform better and last longer. Additional benefits you will enjoy include better gas mileage and greater safety on the road.

Check Your Tire Tread 

Follow three simple steps to check your tire tread depth on a regular basis:

  1. Hold a penny so that “In God We Trust” appears across the top. Insert it into five different sections of the tire, taking note of the visibility of Lincoln’s head.
  2. If you can consistently see the top of Lincoln’s head, your treads are excessively worn, and it is time to go shopping for a new set of tires.
  3. If the top of Lincoln’s head (to about the forehead hairline) is covered throughout the tread grooves, the tread is in good shape and your tires probably do not need replacement.

Keep an Eye on Your Tire Pressure

Check your tire pressure at least once a month.  While it doesn’t take long to do, it could save you big by improving your tire life and gas mileage. Refer to your owner’s manual to confirm the ideal pressure for your vehicle’s tires. Keep in mind that the maximum pressure is not the same as the recommended pressure.

Get Tire Alignment Service

Improper tire alignment will not only decrease the life of your tires due to uneven tread wear, it will also compromise the safety of your vehicle. Have the alignment checked regularly, and also any time you notice problems with your vehicle’s handling.

Have Your Tires Rotated

Having tire rotation done on a regular basis is a tire maintenance service that will significantly extend tire service life. Refer to your owner’s manual to see the specific tire rotation recommendations for your make and model.

Have Tire Balancing Done 

Tire balancing should be part of your regular maintenance routine. Check your owner’s manual for the recommended schedule, but tire balancing is typically done with tire rotation. Tire balancing promotes a smooth ride and even tread wear by correctly adjusting the wheel weight distribution around the vehicle.

Check on Your Spare Tire 

It is important to monitor the condition of your spare tire so you can be confident it will be ready when you need it. Check the pressure of your spare with your other tires. If you do have to use your spare, remember that it is intended for temporary use only, and replace it with a regular tire as soon as you can.

 

Three Ways to Get in Your Car and Give This Season

It has been a difficult year for everyone. 2020 has had us facing serious crises, both health and economic. Looking back through the challenges and hardships, they have also brought us opportunities to pull together and help one another.

Santa in Car

It is that spirit that inspires this post, and hopefully may inspire with some creative ways to give and serve this holiday season.

1. Help someone by taking their vehicle for maintenance.

In many cases, people are not using their cars as they normally do. This could mean that much needed maintenance is being neglected. People with health conditions that put them at high risk may be reluctant to take their care in for service. A great way to help a friend or family member this season might be to offer to take their vehicle in for them. Many auto service shops are currently offering pick up and delivery of cars for service. You might be able to assist someone with making these arrangements.

2. Help someone by giving them a ride.

In response to the health crisis, businesses and restaurants are now offering “curbside pick-up” or “drive-up” services. Unfortunately, many of the people in our community who rely on public transportation are unable to take advantage of these accommodations. It is challenging for those in this situation to do things ranging from grocery shopping, to getting a COVID test, to picking up a meal at a fast food restaurant. Providing a ride could be a wonderful way to help out.

3. Help someone by delivering a holiday surprise.

Some people are just feeling sad, lonely, and isolated from the world. Many are missing celebrations with family and friends, and not attending traditional events they normally look forward to at the holidays. Think about the people in your circle of friends, family, and acquaintances, and consider surprising them with an unexpected doorstep delivery. Festive food items, a small potted Christmas tree, or a gift bag full of holiday dvds could brighten their season more than you can imagine!

If you are not sure about how to find people in need, try contacting local churches or community organizations to see if they have a volunteer program for helping people with transportation challenges. You can also try connecting with your community by using the free NextDoor app.

Wishing you very happy and healthy holidays!

Planning a Thanksgiving Road Trip? Expect Lighter Travel

According to the American Automobile Association Travel Forecast, the number of travelers hitting the road for Thanksgiving this year will be much lighter than normal. This is no surprise considering the effects of COVID-19 travel restrictions. Julie Hall, AAA Public Relations Manager states, “With health and government officials stressing that staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from getting sick, AAA anticipates at least a 10% drop in travel – the largest one-year decrease since the Great Recession in 2008.”

Thanksgiving

Every year, AAA makes projects for travel numbers based on various models. Mid-October models indicated there would be up to 50 million Thanksgiving travelers, down from 55 million in 2019. Given the ever-evolving landscape, which includes rising COVID-19 positive case numbers, renewed quarantine restrictions and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) travel health notices, AAA now projects that the actual numbers will be even lower this year.

If you are among those who are healthy and do still plan to travel, make sure you are prepared. Look up state and local guidelines where you are, along your route, and at your destination to learn about any restrictions that may be in place. If you are set to proceed, here are a few preparation tips that will be helpful for any auto journey:

  • Be sure your vehicle is ready for the trip with a service check. Things to inspect include: battery, brakes, wipers, lights, oil, coolant, fluids, and tire pressure.
  • Download an app like GasBuddy to help you find the best gas prices along the way.
  • Be sure your maps are current, whether it’s updating your GPS or getting the good old paper kind.
  • When packing the car, you may need to remove things you normally keep in the trunk in order to make room for crockpots, casserole dishes, and luggage. Just be sure not to leave behind your roadside emergency items such as jumper cables or a folding shovel.

Have a safe road trip and healthy Thanksgiving holiday!

Why It’s Important to Choose a Certified Technician

Choose a Certified TechnicianHaving auto work done can be a bit of a stressful experience, since most of us do not know a lot about the inner workings of a vehicle. That is why it is very important for you to have the utmost confidence in the experience, capability, and professionalism of your auto service provider. What is the best way to have that confidence? Choose a Certified Technician to do your auto service and repair.

What Makes a Certified Technician Different? 

An independent non-profit organization called the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), has established standards to improve the quality of vehicle repair and service by testing and certifying automotive professionals. In addition to passing an ASE Certification test, certified technicians must have completed two years of on the job training or one year of on the job training and a two-year degree in automotive repair to qualify for certification.

According to ASE.com

“The tests are challenging. Only two out of every three test-takers pass on their first attempt. To remain ASE certified, professionals must retest every five years to keep up with ever-advancing automotive technology.”

How Do You Benefit From Choosing a Certified Technician?

You will have confidence knowing that your technician knows how to service or repair your specific vehicle make and model. ASE technicians receive comprehensive training on parts used in a diverse range of makes and models. Some technicians also earn original equipment manufacturer (OEM) certifications to perform repairs on globally recognized vehicle brands. These OEM certifications assure that an auto body technician has not only been trained to repair specific makes and models, but they are also tested and evaluated.

Along with up-to-date training, certified technicians understand and use the latest technologies when servicing your vehicle. Shops that use the most advanced technologies will complete your services and repairs with speed and precision.

Another advantage of using certified technicians is their commitment to best practices. Since certification standards must be met, certified auto body technicians develop and implement car repair best practices to keep their shops accountable. 

Perhaps the most important way that you benefit from choosing a certified technician is that your work will be done by a professional who cares about you and your vehicle. Technicians work hard to achieve and maintain their credentials, and they do so to provide you with confidence in their abilities and satisfaction with their work.

Don’t stress about car repair or put off essential vehicle service because you are not sure where to go! Choose an ASE Certified Technician with confidence.