Vannoy's Tires Inc Blog recent posts.Fri, 14 Oct 2016 10:01:22 -0500en-ushourly1Make Sure Your Car's Ready For Winter!, 14 Oct 2016 10:01:22 -0500<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 -0500<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/feed04 Things About Tires You May Not Have Known, 28 Apr 2016 08:13:18 -0500<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/feed0Self-Inflating Tires…Soon To Be A Reality?, 31 Mar 2016 14:40:22 -0500<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 -0500<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/feed0Mixing Tires – Bad Idea, 25 Feb 2016 07:52:10 -0600<p> In a perfect world, all four tires would wear out at the same time. In the same perfect world, everyone would be able to afford a whole set of tires all at once. Unfortunately, things often just do not work out that way.&nbsp;</p> <p> <img alt="" src=" tires.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 225px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 3px 10px; float: right;" /></p> <div> <p> Sometimes you may just have to replace tires as you can afford them, one or two at a time, but there are some important things to bear in mind if you have to do that.&nbsp;</p> <div> <p> If you can only afford to replace one or two tires, it&rsquo;s essential that you go with tires that are identical (or at least as close as possible) to the car&rsquo;s remaining tires. That means that internal construction, size, tread pattern and design should be close to the same. Don&rsquo;t mix winter tires with all-season tires, don&rsquo;t mix run-flat tires with standard tires, for instance. But why?</p> <p> Tires are all designed for different handling properties and traction, and are intended to work together as a set. Mixing sizes, tread patterns and designs can mean a car that has unpredictable, jittery, &ldquo;squirrelly&rdquo; handling, braking and roadholding properties, and that can be downright dangerous in a panic stop or other emergency situation.</p> <p> If you have to replace a pair of tires and decide on the same brand and model as the others, the new tires should go on the rear. That might seem counterintuitive to some, but consider this; if you mount the new tires on the front and end up on wet pavement, the new tires will easily disperse the water while the rear tires can hydroplane.</p> <p> Remember that the minimum tread depth for tires, by state law, is 2/32&rdquo;. At 2/32&rdquo;, you should be able to plainly see the wear bars that are molded at a right angle in the base of the tread grooves. If you&rsquo;re in doubt, insert a penny into the tread grooves, Lincoln head down. If the tread reaches the top of Lincoln&rsquo;s head, your tread is 2/32&rdquo; deep. Try again with a quarter &ndash; does the tread reach the top of Washington&rsquo;s head? That&rsquo;s a depth of 4/32&rdquo;. One more time with a penny&hellip;if the tread reaches the Lincoln Memorial, your tread is 6/32&rdquo; deep.</p> <p> If you&rsquo;re thinking it might be time for a set of tires, don&rsquo;t put it off&hellip;make an appointment and see what kind of price we can make you on a set of premium-brand tires.</p> </div> </div> /blog/view/mixing-tires-bad-idea/feed0Differential Service: Too Often Neglected by Drivers, 11 Feb 2016 07:50:20 -0600<div> Differential Service &ndash; Why Is It Important?&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <img alt="" src="" style="width: 300px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 3px 10px; float: right; height: 225px;" /></div> <div> Of all the various things on a vehicle that need regular service and maintenance, the differential is too often neglected. But what exactly is it, and what does it do?&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Visualize a rear-wheel-drive vehicle making a right-hand turn. As the car turns to the right, the left rear wheel will have to actually cover a longer distance and spin at a different speed than the right wheel. If the rear axle was delivering the same torque to both wheels, the left rear wheel would be binding and skittering as it made the turn. The differential is designed to allow the wheels to turn at different speeds around corners, eliminating that problem.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The differential uses an oil thicker than motor oil, somewhere between an oil and a grease in terms of its weight. Like any other assembly, though, the oil in the differential will become contaminated over time and will start to break down due to heat. Most differentials need a fluid change at about 50,000 miles. If left too long or if the fluid starts to run low, the differential will become noisy and can eventually fail. If that happens, the gears can seize, locking up the rear wheels and potentially causing a lot of damage or even an accident.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Differentials have a fill hole, sometimes covered with a rubber plug that makes it easy to check the oil level. They don&rsquo;t, however, have a drain plug, meaning that the only way to change the oil is to remove the differential&rsquo;s rear cover. This is inevitably a messy job that&rsquo;s best left to professionals. Remember also that on 4WD vehicles, there&rsquo;s a second differential for the front wheels. For 4WD vehicles, it&rsquo;s usually a good idea to perform service on both differentials and the transfer case at the same time.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> If you&rsquo;re in need of any kind of oil-change service, whether it&rsquo;s motor oil, transmission fluid flush or differential service, you can count on us. Your car&rsquo;s fluids are too important to neglect &ndash; make an appointment with us, and make differential fluid service part of your car&rsquo;s regular preventive maintenance schedule.&nbsp;</div> /blog/view/differential-service-too-often-neglected-by-drivers/feed0Get The Most Out Of That Set Of Tires, 28 Jan 2016 13:08:46 -0600<div> Your tires are a pretty big investment. Even with the cheapest set of tires, you&rsquo;re going to be spending upwards of $400 on the tires, mounting, balancing, disposal fees and taxes. Since you laid down that kind of money, doesn&rsquo;t it just make sense to make sure you get the most miles possible out of them?&nbsp;</div> <div> Here&rsquo;s some advice on long tire life:</div> <div> <img alt="" src="" style="width: 300px; height: 200px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 14px 10px; float: right;" /></div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Regularly check your tire pressure. This one is really, really important. Underinflated tires will wear&nbsp;</div> <div> <div> unevenly and reduce your fuel economy due to increased rolling resistance. That increased rolling resistance also means more heat, which will break down the tires&rsquo; internal structure and shorten their lives. All it takes to shorten a tire&rsquo;s service life by 25 percent is for it to be underinflated by 5-6 lbs.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Rotate your tires regularly. No vehicle has even weight distribution from front to rear. The engine puts more weight over the front wheels; in addition, the front tires will wear differently as the vehicle&rsquo;s weight and momentum shifts to the front while braking. The front tires are also subjected to different forces while cornering. As a result, it&rsquo;s important to rotate the tires, shifting their positions on the vehicle to even out wear. Rotations should be done every 6,000 miles or so; many drivers have the rotation performed at the same time as an oil change, since the vehicle&rsquo;s already up on a lift anyway.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Check your wheel alignment. A vehicle that&rsquo;s in need of a wheel alignment will wear the front tires unevenly, as the out-of-spec wheel tries to drag the car in a different direction. That&rsquo;s what also causes the persistent pull to one side while driving in a straight line. Be alert to the signs of poor wheel alignment, and have an alignment performed if necessary.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Drive sensibly. That means no hard cornering and no wheel spin while taking off.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> </div> /blog/view/get-the-most-out-of-that-set-of-tires/feed0Winter Safety Tips – Don’t End Up In the Ditch!, 14 Jan 2016 13:07:01 -0600<div> Some people love winter. They love the snow, the snap in the air, the short days and cozy nights at home. Others can&rsquo;t stand it, for many of the same reasons. Regardless of whether you love it or hate it, though, chances are you&rsquo;re going to have to get out and drive in it at some point. We&rsquo;ve got a few suggestions to help you through the winter safely:&nbsp;</div> <p> <img alt="" src="" style="width: 300px; height: 225px; margin: 4px 10px; float: right; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid;" /></p> <div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Make sure you&rsquo;ve got a well-maintained car. This includes fresh windshield wipers, proper tire inflation, a strong battery, a properly-maintained cooling system and a fresh oil change. If your tires aren&rsquo;t up to the job of winter driving, you might consider switching to winter tires for a while &ndash; just&nbsp;</div> <div> <div> remember to switch back when temperatures get above 40 degrees. The softer tread compound of winter tires will wear quickly in warmer temperatures.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Make sure your car is thoroughly de-iced before you go anywhere. Hot water might seem tempting because it&rsquo;s quicker&hellip;but it&rsquo;s also almost guaranteed to crack your windshield, and room-temperature water is likely to just freeze again. Don&rsquo;t just carve a hole to see out of; make sure your whole windshield is clear. And don&rsquo;t forget the roof! In many areas it&rsquo;s actually illegal to take off with a mattress-sized pile of snow and ice on the roof of the car, waiting to fly off and hit other motorists.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Pack a trouble bag. A good selection of items for a trouble bag would include a sweater, socks, gloves, cap, first-aid kit, flashlight, Leatherman-style multi-tool, duct tape, high-protein snacks and highway flares. If you have room, it&rsquo;s also a good idea to carry a bag of sand or kitty litter as a traction aid if you get stuck.&nbsp;</div> <div> Now, for the actual driving tips&hellip;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Do everything more slowly. Snow changes the responsiveness and drivability of your vehicle. Drive more slowly, allow more room between you and the next vehicle, brake more slowly, use the gas sparingly and anticipate turns well in advance.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>If you go into a skid, don&rsquo;t panic. Don&rsquo;t stomp the brake or do anything drastic. Correct the skid by turning in the same direction as the skid, ease off the gas and get the car back under control again.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>If the roads are icy, stay home if you possibly can. No vehicle does well on ice. If you can&rsquo;t avoid getting out, just be even more careful than you would on snow.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Is your car ready for winter driving? Give us a call and make an appointment and let us help you make sure about that before the snow flies!</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> </div> </div> /blog/view/winter-safety-tips-don-t-end-up-in-the-ditch/feed0Winter Tires – Yea or Nay?, 31 Dec 2015 12:28:16 -0600<div> In a lot of parts of the country, the winters are tough enough that all-season tires just won&rsquo;t get the job done. All-season tires are a compromise; they offer good year-round traction with a quiet ride, good handling and road manners. They tend to perform well in wet weather and light wintry conditions, but when the snow is more than a couple of inches deep, all-season tires are out of their league. That&rsquo;s when it&rsquo;s time to consider winter tires.&nbsp;</div> <div> <img alt="" src="" style="width: 225px; height: 300px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 16px 10px; float: right;" /> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Today&rsquo;s winter tires are a long way from the heavy, noisy, clumsy &ldquo;snow tires&rdquo; or &ldquo;mud grips&rdquo; that your dad might have had on his station wagon 40 years ago. Modern winter tires are designed for noise, handling, steering response and road manners that rival grand touring tires, only with enhanced traction. They accomplish that with deeper, more aggressive tread grooves and a tread pattern that&rsquo;s designed to eject snow and slush for a clean &ldquo;bite&rdquo; with every revolution of the wheel.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> More importantly, the tread compound used for winter tires is substantially different. Grand touring or all-season tires can stiffen at low temperatures, reducing traction. Winter tire formulations are designed to stay flexible even when temperatures are at zero or below, meaning they can still deliver traction in winter conditions. Some winter tires come pre-drilled for studs, which can enhance traction even more in snow and light icy conditions.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> There are a few things to remember with winter tires, however:&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Winter tires often don&rsquo;t handle as precisely as all-season tires, due to their construction. That may not matter much in snow, when handling will be sloppy and treacherous anyway, but it can be a noticeable difference on dry pavement.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Winter tires tend to be noisier</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Winter tires are rather fragile. That same soft rubber compound that helps with traction in snow means that the tires will wear down much more quickly in warmer temperatures. For that reason, winter tires should not be used when temperatures are above 35-45 degrees.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>If you elect to go with winter tires, you&rsquo;ll need to get an entire set and not just a pair. Mixing designs of tires can result in poor traction, uneven and unpredictable performance and a &ldquo;schizophrenic&rdquo; car.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> With all that in mind, you&rsquo;re going to be the best judge of whether you really need winter tires or not. If your part of the country gets a few inches of snow that typically melts in a few days or a week, when the weather changes, winter tires might not be a real necessity. If you&rsquo;re in a place like the upper Midwest, New England or the mountains, with snow measured in feet rather than inches and winter temperatures that stay below freezing for weeks on end, winter tires might be a good investment after all. If you&rsquo;re leaning that way on the decision, call us and let us get you the best deal on quality winter tires that you&rsquo;ll find anywhere!&nbsp;</div> </div> /blog/view/winter-tires-yea-or-nay/feed0Squeeze a Few More Miles Out of That Gallon of Gas, 17 Dec 2015 12:26:39 -0600<div> If you&rsquo;re past &ldquo;a certain age,&rdquo; you might remember when gas was $1.50 per gallon, or $1.00 per gallon, or 59 cents, or what-have-you&hellip;but the truth is that everything has gotten more expensive. After all, when gas was $1.00 per gallon, a nicely tricked-out Chevrolet Caprice Classic was selling for about $6,000 brand new.&nbsp;</div> <p> <img alt="" src="" style="width: 224px; height: 300px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 14px 10px; float: right;" /></p> <div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Now that we&rsquo;re well into the 21st century, gas prices are likely to fluctuate, but one thing&rsquo;s for sure: gas is likely to never be &ldquo;cheap&rdquo; again. We know that everyone&rsquo;s trying to get a little more out of every dollar, and whether you&rsquo;re driving a big SUV or a subcompact, there are things you can do to help your vehicle&rsquo;s fuel economy:&nbsp;</div> <div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Watch your right foot. This is probably the most important thing on the list. It takes a lot of energy and fuel to get your car moving, whether it&rsquo;s a 5500-pound Chevy Yukon or a 2700-pound Mini. Every time you accelerate hard, you&rsquo;re unnecessarily dumping more fuel into the engine, which can cost you as much as 1 to 3 mpg around town. Remember that you&rsquo;re not in a race and you don&rsquo;t have anything to prove. Consider leaving a little early to get to your destination so that you don&rsquo;t feel like you have to stomp the gas pedal and drive hard to get there.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Think ahead. In many cities, stoplights are synchronized so that driving at a certain speed will get you nothing but green lights. If they aren&rsquo;t, though, or if you see a single red light a few blocks ahead, try to coast and slow down so that the light will be green by the time you roll through it. You can also keep your distance from other drivers and (hopefully) anticipate their next move so that you can avoid braking.</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Use your cruise control. Regardless of how steady your right foot might be, it can&rsquo;t keep your car at the same exact, consistent speed nearly as well as cruise control can. Cruise control can also help reduce driver fatigue on long trips. It&rsquo;s not advisable for heavy traffic, wet-weather or mountainous driving, but if you&rsquo;ve got a long, open expanse of interstate ahead of you, set that cruise control for a reasonable speed and let it save you money.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Slow down. It might be frustrating for some to drive slower, but it makes a big, big difference in fuel economy. Every 5 mph you are driving over the speed limit is costing you more money in fuel. For some vehicles, every 10 mph represents a 15 percent hit on your gas mileage. We know that on many stretches of highway, a driver keeping it at 70 is a rolling roadblock for other drivers, but keep your speed down, hang out in the right lane and let them blow past you. You might get there a few minutes later, but like we said before&hellip;just leave the house a little earlier. Besides, once you get more than 5 mph over the speed limit, you risk attracting the attention of state troopers.</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Unload your trunk. Especially in a minivan or SUV, it&rsquo;s easy to accumulate extraneous junk and forget about it, but every 100 lbs of unneeded weight can cost you one to two percent of your fuel economy. On a long trip, you might be hauling people and luggage, which is understandable&hellip;but around town, get a look in your trunk and chunk any concrete blocks, sandbags, lead ingots or bowling balls you might have forgotten back there.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Streamline your vehicle. Aerodynamic efficiency is a huge part of fuel economy&hellip;that&rsquo;s why our cars now look more like jellybeans than bars of soap. If your vehicle has a ski rack, bike rack, top-mounted cargo carrier or other accessories, take them off unless you really need them.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Cut your idling time. A car that&rsquo;s idling gets zero mpg, and does nothing but sit there and burn fuel. If you&rsquo;re going to be sitting for more than about a minute, just shut the engine off and start it again when it&rsquo;s time to move out. It may be uncomfortable in hot or cold weather, but it makes as much sense as shutting off the lights when you leave a room.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Use your car&rsquo;s travel computer. If your car&rsquo;s equipped with a computer that indicates real-time fuel economy, average fuel economy and Distance to Empty, pay attention to it, especially when your real-time mileage is dropping to single digits when you accelerate. The math on those devices is pretty accurate!</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Check your tires. You&rsquo;ve undoubtedly heard this one before. Underinflated tires mean more friction and rolling resistance, and that hurts your fuel economy. Tires lose a pound or so of air pressure every month, so regularly check your inflation levels and add air if needed. You can find proper inflation levels on your car&rsquo;s driver&rsquo;s door frame, under the hood, inside the fuel filler door or in the owner&rsquo;s manual. If it&rsquo;s almost time for new tires, consider going to low-rolling-resistance tires.</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Keep your car well maintained. If your Check Engine light is on, have it diagnosed and fixed. If you can&rsquo;t remember the last time your air filter was changed&hellip;change it. Newer cars are designed for light grades of motor oil, and heavier grades can actually cut the engine&rsquo;s efficiency.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Use your A/C sparingly. At one time, the rule was to avoid A/C altogether on the highway. That&rsquo;s changed somewhat, as newer A/C systems don&rsquo;t put as much parasitic drag on the engine and vehicle aerodynamics have improved to a point where running with the windows down at highway speed actually creates more drag. Still, if it&rsquo;s a nice day, roll those windows down and enjoy the breeze while you&rsquo;re tooling around town.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Don&rsquo;t drive. If you need a couple of things from the convenience store and it&rsquo;s only three blocks away, just walk down there and back. You can also take the bus, carpool to work, ride a bike and come up with all kinds of other options that don&rsquo;t involve a single person driving a 4000-pound vehicle for a mile or two.&nbsp;</div> </div> </div> /blog/view/squeeze-a-few-more-miles-out-of-that-gallon-of-gas/feed0The Holidays Are Coming – Is Your Vehicle Ready?, 26 Nov 2015 12:23:00 -0600<div> Where did this year go? Before you know it, it&rsquo;s going to be time for the holidays, and that can mean travel in some pretty trying conditions (and we don&rsquo;t just mean restless kids in the back seat). Is your vehicle ready for some interstate miles?</div> <p> <img alt="" src="" style="width: 300px; height: 199px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 14px 10px; float: right;" /></p> <div> <div> <div> &nbsp;</div> </div> <div> <div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Tires: It&rsquo;s a good idea to have your tires rotated every 5,000-7,000 miles to ensure even wear. With that in mind, it&rsquo;s easy to just schedule a tire rotation with every oil change, since the vehicle will be up in the air on a lube rack anyway. Have you checked your inflation lately? Your proper&nbsp;</div> <div> inflation levels will be on a sticker on the driver&rsquo;s side door frame, inside the fuel filler door or in the owner&rsquo;s manual &ndash; always check the inflation when the tires are cold. How about the tread depth? 2/32&rdquo; is the minimum tread depth allowed in most states. Here&rsquo;s an easy way to check your tread depth: take a penny and insert it into the tread grooves, Lincoln head down. If the rubber comes up past the top of Lincoln&rsquo;s head, your tread is at 2/32&rdquo; or more. Try it again with a quarter; if the tread reaches the top of Washington&rsquo;s head, it&rsquo;s at 4/32&rdquo;. Now, one more time with a penny; if it reaches the Lincoln Memorial, your tread is 6/32&rdquo; deep.&nbsp;</div> </div> <div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Alignment: It&rsquo;s tiring to fight with a vehicle whose steering wheel constantly wants to drift to one side, but it&rsquo;s more than that. Poor wheel alignment means poorer fuel economy, as one wheel is dragged along by the others. It also means money wasted through uneven tire wear&hellip;have you had your alignment checked lately?&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Finish: Snow, ice and winter weather are pretty rough on your car&rsquo;s paint and body. A coat or two of wax before winter really sets in can help your car shed water and protect your finish.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Wipers: Even the best windshield wipers are only good for about a year, before the elements and the sun&rsquo;s UV rays start to take their toll. Examine your wipers carefully for dry-rot, cracking, strips, chips or chunks missing. Hint: a fresh application of Rain-X on your vehicles windows and windshield can help wet-weather visibility immensely.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Fluids: As part of your vehicle&rsquo;s regular preventive maintenance schedule, check the last time you had an oil change, transmission fluid flush and coolant flush. If it&rsquo;s time&hellip;get &lsquo;em done!&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> We hope that the holidays for you and your family are great this year. You can&rsquo;t control everything, but you can help eliminate one worry by making sure you&rsquo;re got a solid vehicle to take on holiday trips &ndash; make an appointment with us and we&rsquo;ll make sure you&rsquo;re good-to-go.&nbsp;</div> </div> </div> </div> /blog/view/the-holidays-are-coming-is-your-vehicle-ready/feed0Winter Tires? Or All-Season Tires?, 12 Nov 2015 12:21:35 -0600<div> Winter tires versus all-season tires&hellip;which is the right choice for you?</div> <div> <div> <img alt="" src="" style="width: 300px; height: 199px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 16px 10px; float: right;" /></div> </div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <div> The two designs are quite different and deliver different levels of performance and winter-weather traction, so let&rsquo;s discuss.&nbsp;</div> <div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>All-season tires are designed as an all-around compromise. They feature a tread pattern that evacuates water from the tire&rsquo;s contact patch to prevent hydroplaning, with plenty of small, textured slits (sipes) to add extra biting edges for traction in wet or slushy conditions.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>All-season tires are designed with a harder tread compound that can deliver a long service life and long wear.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>All-season tires can deliver the same sort of low noise, comfortable ride and good handling as most touring or grand-touring tires. They offer straight-line stability, good road manners and good road feel on asphalt.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Now, let&rsquo;s compare-and-contrast all-season tires with winter tires&hellip;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Winter tires use a softer tread compound that&rsquo;s designed to stay flexible at low temperatures. Below 15-20 degrees, all-season tires can stiffen and lose traction, while the flexible rubber of winter tires can conform more easily and continue to grip in the cold and snow.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Winter tires use a more aggressive tread pattern with deeper grooves and a denser sipe pattern to push away slush and dig into soft or packed snow. Many all-season tires come pre-drilled to accept metal studs for traction on ice.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>On dry pavement, winter tires tend to be noisier and rougher-riding than all-season tires, with less-precise handling. That may not be a concern in winter conditions, though, since handling is going to be sloppy and treacherous on snow anyway.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>The soft tread compound of winter tires makes them fragile. At temperatures above freezing, winter tires will soon start to wear prematurely; it&rsquo;s important to change them as soon as the weather starts to warm up.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> So which will it be? All-season tires may be great for most weather conditions, but the truth is that in more than an inch or two of snow, they&rsquo;re not so great. Winter tires are the only tires that can deliver real traction and performance in harsh winter conditions&hellip;and it&rsquo;s important to remember that just because your vehicle has AWD or 4WD, that&rsquo;s no guarantee that it will perform well without the right tires.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> If you live south of the Mason-Dixon line, or in an area that might see a couple of inches of snow that melts a few days later, chances are you&rsquo;re going to be just fine with all-season tires year-round. If you live in, say, the upper Midwest, New England or the mountains, where snow is measured in feet rather than inches and temperatures might stay in the 20s or lower for days on end, winter tires are almost a necessity. If you&rsquo;re in need of tires before winter sets in, whether you choose all-season or winter tires&hellip;call us and let us help you out!</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> </div> </div> /blog/view/winter-tires-or-all-season-tires/feed0Don’t Forget Your Spare, 29 Oct 2015 12:19:28 -0500<div> Oh, the lowly spare tire. It doesn&rsquo;t get much respect.&nbsp;</div> <div> <img alt="" src="" style="width: 300px; height: 225px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 14px 10px; float: right;" /></div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Today, a lot of vehicles don&rsquo;t even come with a spare tire anymore, not even the little &ldquo;donut&rdquo; space-saver spare. Instead, to cut weight and free up space, they come with a compressor and a can of a Fix-a-Flat-style product in hopes that you can get back on your way again. Great idea, unless your tire has a sidewall puncture or is shredded&hellip;</div> <div> <div> Anyway, if your car is equipped with a spare, you shouldn&rsquo;t just ignore it. Tires have a shelf life, and time will take its toll on any tire, including ones that are never on the ground. Even brand-new tires have a sell-by date; the industry agrees that tires that are older than six to eight years old are probably unsafe due to degradation of the rubber. Your spare can sit in the trunk or under the vehicle and dry-rot over time, and even if it doesn&rsquo;t, it can lose air to the point where it&rsquo;s useless.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> If your vehicle has a full-size spare, it&rsquo;s a good idea to include it in the tire rotation schedule, actually putting it on the pavement from time to time. If not, at least check on the poor old lowly spare and let it know that someone cares about it. The alternative, after all, is being stuck by the side of the road with a flat tire and a flat, worthless spare both.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> </div> /blog/view/don-t-forget-your-spare/feed0Winter is Coming, 15 Oct 2015 12:17:35 -0500<div> The days are getting shorter, there&rsquo;s a snap in the air, and before you know it, the winter months are going to be upon us. Is your vehicle ready?&nbsp;<img alt="" src="" style="width: 173px; height: 239px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 30px 10px; float: right;" /></div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Wipers: Even the best windshield wipers are only good for about a year; normal wear, the sun&rsquo;s UV rays and the elements take their toll on them. Get a good look and check them for chunks, strips or chips missing, and replace if necessary for a streak-free field of vision in wet weather. Hint: a fresh application of&nbsp;</div> <div> Rain-X on your windshield and window glass can help visibility greatly.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Brakes: Are you hearing any squeaks, squeals or grinding noises when you apply the brakes? Are you noticing that the pedal goes farther to the floor before the brakes engage? It&rsquo;s important to go into the winter months with a good set of brakes!</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Tires: Most manufacturers recommend a tire rotation every 5-7,000 miles to ensure even tire wear; it&rsquo;s easy to just schedule a rotation with every oil change, since the vehicle&rsquo;s already off the ground. Be sure to check your tread depth and overall condition of the tires, too.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Coolant: If it&rsquo;s been a couple of years since your coolant was changed, it&rsquo;s time to have a flush performed again. Coolant will degrade and lose its effectiveness over time, as it starts to pick up corrosion and contaminants from the radiator and water pump; starting out the winter with fresh coolant and a clean system will help get your car ready for cold weather. After all, a healthy cooling system will also produce more robust heat through the car&rsquo;s heater. While you&rsquo;re at it, make sure that the serpentine belt, hoses and hose clamps are all in good shape as well.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Trouble bag: You hope you won&rsquo;t have any problems this winter, but it&rsquo;s better to have the trouble bag and not need it than to need it and not have it. Consider including a flashlight, first aid kit, protein-rich snacks, a sweater, blanket and gloves, some cash in small bills and change, a charged-up cell phone, flares or reflective triangle, duct tape and a few rudimentary tools (or maybe a Leatherman-style multi-tool).&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Battery: Cold weather is really tough on a car&rsquo;s battery. Motor oil thickens, making it harder to turn the engine over, and the chemical reaction that goes on inside the battery&rsquo;s cells slows down in extreme cold. At 5 degrees F, a fully-charged battery can only deliver about half its capacity and cranking power. Have your electrical system checked for proper charging, and make sure the battery&rsquo;s posts and cable clamps are in good shape and free of corrosion.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Winter conditions are hard on any vehicle, but if you&rsquo;re prepared, your car will take good care of you all winter. Make an appointment with us and let us take care of your car&rsquo;s winterization needs before the cold really sets in!</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> </div> /blog/view/winter-is-coming/feed0How To Update Your Auto Repair Routine, 30 Sep 2015 11:23:15 -0500<div> Time has a way of sneaking up on everyone, and so does mileage on a vehicle. If you have a long commute or regularly put lengthy interstate trips on your car, you can easily rack up 15-18,000 miles a year. Even though today&rsquo;s cars don&rsquo;t need as much maintenance as cars from a generation ago, it&rsquo;s still something you can&rsquo;t neglect. Here&rsquo;s a reminder of some important milestones for service on your vehicle:&nbsp;</div> <div> <div> <img alt="" src=" Blog2.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 200px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 20px 10px; float: right;" /></div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Monthly&nbsp;</div> </div> <div> <div> &bull; Check tire inflation</div> <div> &bull; Check oil and transmission fluid levels</div> <div> &bull; Check all lights</div> <div> &bull; Check windshield washer fluid</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Every 5,000 Miles</div> <div> &bull; Oil change (if using conventional motor oil), to prevent deposits from forming inside engine and accelerating wear on moving parts</div> <div> &bull; Tire rotation, to ensure even wear on all four tires by switching their positions on the vehicle</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Every 15,000 Miles</div> <div> &bull; Replace air filter</div> <div> &bull; Replace cabin air filter</div> <div> &bull; Replace carbon canister filter (if applicable)</div> <div> &bull; Replace wiper blades</div> <div> &bull; Check battery for reserve starting power, check battery cables for good secure fit and clean corrosion and deposits from posts and battery clamps</div> <div> &bull; Check engine&rsquo;s serpentine belt for signs of cracking, fraying, chunking or excessive wear</div> <div> &bull; Check all vacuum lines and hoses for wear and secure connections</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Every 30,000 Miles</div> <div> &bull; Flush and replace transmission fluid, change transmission filter</div> <div> &bull; Flush old coolant from radiator, perform pressure test to check for leaks, replace coolant</div> <div> &bull; Run diagnostic check on engine &ndash; sometimes the engine&rsquo;s computer can still register a trouble code without illuminating the Check Engine light.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull; Lubricate door hinges, hood hinges and any other lubrication points on vehicle chassis and undercarriage</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Every 60,000 Miles</div> <div> &bull; Repeat all above services from the 30,000 mile increment</div> <div> &bull; Replace engine timing belt, if applicable. Some manufacturers&rsquo; recommendations for timing belt replacement might vary from this interval; also, many vehicles are designed with a timing chain, which won&rsquo;t need replacement for the life cycle of the vehicle.</div> <div> &bull; Check condition of brake pads and rotors</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Every 100,000 Miles</div> <div> &bull; Replace spark plugs. This is something which used to be needed much more frequently, but today&rsquo;s vehicles can easily go 100k miles on a set of spark plugs.</div> <div> &bull; Replace coil-on-plug coil packs if needed, and if applicable.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull; Perform a compression check on all cylinders</div> <div> &bull; Check wheel bearings and CV joints on front-drive vehicles</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> These are all important service intervals to keep in mind in the life cycle of any vehicle. The good news is with this sort of scrupulous attention to maintenance, you can easily keep a vehicle on the road for 200-250,000 miles. It&rsquo;s a pretty far cry from cars of the 1970&rsquo;s and 80&rsquo;s that would be ready for the salvage yard at 120,000 miles. If you&rsquo;re approaching any of these milestones with your vehicle, give us a call and let us take care of your service and maintenance needs!&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> </div> /blog/view/how-to-update-your-auto-repair-routine/feed0Are All-Season Tires Really All-Season?, 11 Sep 2015 11:21:18 -0500<div> We frequently get questions about all-season tires when consumers are trying to make the right purchasing decision for &nbsp;a set of new tires. As the title of the blog asks&hellip;&rdquo;are all-season tires really all-season?&rdquo;</div> <div> <div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The answer is: it that depends on what part of the country you&rsquo;re living in.</div> <img alt="" src=" Blog1.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 212px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 16px 10px; float: right;" /> <div> &nbsp;</div> </div> <div> <div> All-season tires are a compromise from the very start. They&rsquo;re designed for a forgiving ride, low noise, decent handling and good road manners. Maybe not as much as what a good set of grand touring tires can deliver, but pretty respectable&hellip;and also with an aggressive tread pattern which&nbsp;</div> </div> <div> <div> channels water away from the tire&rsquo;s contact patch for wet-weather traction. All-season tires also have a network of sipes, tiny slits which provide hundreds of extra biting edges to dig in and provide traction in light snow or slush. Their tread compounds are designed to stay flexible in a wide range of temperatures. All in all, if your area has no more than a few inches of snow every year, chances are you can do just fine with all-season tires.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Winter tires, on the other hand, are designed for the sort of winter weather you might see in New England or the upper Midwest &ndash; lots of snow and very cold temperatures. They&rsquo;ve come a long way from the heavy, clunky &ldquo;snow tires&rdquo; or &ldquo;mud grips&rdquo; which might have been on your dad&rsquo;s station wagon, but they still feature deep tread grooves and a tread design that&rsquo;s intended for real winter conditions. Winter tires use a tread formulation that stays flexible at low temperatures for traction, but they shouldn&rsquo;t be used when temperatures get above 40 degrees. In warmer temperatures, winter tires are notorious for premature wear, heavy handling properties and noise. Still, they&rsquo;re good for slush and snow-packed roads, or even light icy conditions. Some snow tires are available pre-drilled for studs for traction in nasty weather. In heavier ice conditions, no tire does well and you should probably just avoid driving altogether.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Summer tires, on the other hand, are intended for warmer temperatures and feature a soft, &ldquo;sticky&rdquo; rubber formulation which offers great traction on wet or dry pavement. They&rsquo;re pretty close in design and tread compound to performance or ultra-high-performance tires; their down side is they shouldn&rsquo;t be used in temperatures below 50 degrees, and usually do not carry the same lengthy tread wear warranty of touring or all-season tires.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> So, to answer the question.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Are all-season tires really all-season? If you live in areas that have a moderately tough winter with some wintry precipitation, the answer will probably be yes. All-season radials are a good enough fit for most drivers that many new cars come equipped with them.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Got questions? Thinking it might be time for a set of all-season tires for your car? Give us a call and let one of our service advisors set up an appointment for you!&nbsp;</div> </div> </div> /blog/view/are-all-season-tires-really-all-season/feed0Mark Auto Repair off Your Back-To-School To-Do List, 27 Aug 2015 11:19:13 -0500<div> The kids are going to be headed off to school again before you know it, and then of course, the holidays will start coming one after another between Labor Day and the end of the year. There&rsquo;s a lot to stay on top of, and auto repair should be one less thing for you, the grownup, to worry about as the year marches on. Here are some suggestions for things you might want to take care of before it all starts rolling again:&nbsp;</div> <div> <img alt="" src="" style="width: 300px; height: 199px; margin: 17px 10px; float: right; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid;" /></div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &bull; Oil Change &ndash; Can&rsquo;t remember the date of your last oil change? Then it might be a good idea to go ahead and set up another one. Dirty motor oil is so loaded with carbon and other contaminants it will begin to form sludgy carbon deposits on internal engine assemblies and moving parts.&nbsp;</div> <div> <div> <div> <div> <div> Clean motor oil and changes at regular intervals are your single best tool when it comes to keeping your car on the road for a long time.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull; Tire Rotation &ndash; No vehicle has 50/50 weight distribution between front and rear, and front tires are subjected to different stresses than rear tires due to braking and cornering physics. Tire rotations ensure even wear on all four tires as you change their positions on the vehicle. Tire rotations are recommended at 5,000 mile intervals&hellip;make it simple and just schedule a tire rotation along with an oil change.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull; Electrical Checkup &ndash; Weather extremes put a lot of stress on your car&rsquo;s battery. It&rsquo;s a good idea to have the battery&rsquo;s reserve starting power checked along with the alternator. In addition, we can check the battery cables&rsquo; connections and clean any corrosion or deposits which might be building up around the cables and posts.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull; Engine Diagnostics &ndash; Is your Check Engine light illuminated? Even if you vehicle seems to be running fine, the Check Engine light shouldn&rsquo;t be ignored. It can mean something minor like a leaking vacuum line under the hood or a loose gas cap, to a bad misfire or an emissions problem which can wreck your car&rsquo;s catalytic converter. Our technicians at can diagnose and fix any issues which might be triggering that Check Engine lamp.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull; Belts, Hoses and Filters &ndash; It might seem minor, but a blown hose or a failed serpentine belt can stop you cold. Your air filter, on the other hand, can compromise fuel economy and performance if left too long. Back-to-school is a good time to go ahead and inspect the belt and hoses, and it&rsquo;s easy enough to just replace that air filter and cabin filter while the hood&rsquo;s up.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> They all might seem like little things, but little things can add up to be one big thing&hellip; and a &ldquo;little thing&rdquo; doesn&rsquo;t seem so little if you&rsquo;re stranded in a parking lot or on the side of the road waiting for help. Schedule an appointment and let us take care of your back-to-school auto repair concerns so it won&rsquo;t be one more thing for you to worry about.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> </div> </div> </div> </div> /blog/view/mark-auto-repair-off-your-back-to-school-to-do-list/feed0Do Your Homework on Tire Safety, 13 Aug 2015 11:16:35 -0500<div> We see it all the time&hellip;people tend to not think about their tires until something goes wrong. Sometimes, this can mean sitting on the side of the road waiting for help, and other times it can mean more serious consequences. Here are a few things to remember for tire safety as the summer winds down and back-to-school season starts.</div> <p> <img alt="" src="" style="width: 300px; height: 216px; float: right; margin: 3px 10px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid;" /></p> <div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Check your tire pressure regularly. This one is really important. Your car&rsquo;s tires will lose air through the valve over time, and an underinflated tire will hurt fuel economy due to added rolling resistance. Low tires also affect handling and will generate enough heat that they can shorten the tire&rsquo;s lifespan. Get a quality tire gauge (the dial type, not the pencil type) and check the inflation of all four tires once a month. Make sure to check inflation while the tires are cold, and inflate them to the manufacturer&rsquo;s specifications. Tire inflation levels can be found on a sticker, either under the hood, on the driver&rsquo;s door jamb or inside the fuel filler lid.&nbsp;</div> </div> <div> <div> &nbsp;</div> </div> <div> <div> &bull; Don&rsquo;t mix tires. If you have a tire which fails altogether and can afford to only replace that tire, make sure it&rsquo;s the same size and tread pattern as the rest, and preferably the same brand. It&rsquo;s best to replace all four tires at once, or at least in pairs. Mixing sizes and designs of tires can result in a vehicle that&rsquo;s never going to drive, handle or ride correctly.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &bull; Rotate your tires regularly. No vehicle has even weight distribution from front to rear, and front tires will always be subject to more wear due to cornering and braking forces. Switching the positions of the tires regularly ensures even wear and long tire life. Tires should be rotated at 5,000 mile intervals; since oil changes should also fall at around the same interval, it&rsquo;s easy enough to just schedule them both for the same appointment.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &bull; Inspect your tires&rsquo; tread depth. 2/32&rdquo; is considered the minimum safe tread depth in most states. Here&rsquo;s an easy way to check that: take a penny and insert it into the tread grooves, Lincoln&rsquo;s head down. If you can see any portion of the top of Lincoln&rsquo;s head, you&rsquo;re below minimum tread depth. Now, try the same test with a quarter. Can you see the top of Washington&rsquo;s head? You&rsquo;re below 4/32&rdquo; tread depth. Insert the penny into the tread again &ndash; if the rubber reaches the Lincoln Memorial, your tread depth is under 6/32&rdquo;.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &bull; Inspect the tires&rsquo; condition. Look closely for damage or foreign objects. Examine the tires closely for uneven wear and run your hand along the tread surface to feel for irregularities; any of these could indicate alignment or suspension problems.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Don&rsquo;t let tires be one more thing for you to worry about as you shuttle the kids back and forth to school. Got any questions, or feel like maybe it&rsquo;s time to just break down and buy another set of tires? Make an appointment with us and let us help you out.&nbsp;</div> </div> /blog/view/do-your-homework-on-tire-safety/feed0Seven Things You Need To Know About Tires, 31 Jul 2015 12:09:50 -0500<p> We often see customers who are a little overwhelmed by the tire buying process. There are so many types of tires for different vehicles and different driving styles, all at different price points. Here are a few things every driver needs to know about tires:</p> <p> <img alt="" src="" style="width: 300px; height: 200px; float: right; border-width: 2px; border-style: solid; margin-left: 2px; margin-right: 2px;" /></p> <p> &middot; &nbsp; A tire is constructed from the inside out, starting at the inner liner. There are 20 to 25 different components in every tire; fabric belts are wrapped around the inner liner, with steel belts, more fabric belts and other materials layered between the tread surface and the inner liner. These layers provide strength, noise suppression and ride quality.</p> <p> &middot; &nbsp; Newer low-profile tires are popular with many drivers, if only for aesthetic/style reasons. It&rsquo;s important to know low-profile tires may handle better and offer better steering response and cornering performance, but they will also have a harsher ride quality than traditional designs with taller, softer sidewalls.</p> <p> &middot; &nbsp; Along with budget, think about your driving style and expectations. Do you prefer a quiet, smooth-riding tire? If so, grand touring or touring tires may be the way to go. Do you like better performance? Consider summer or UHP tires, but remember they will also wear faster than all-season or touring tires. Do you anticipate driving in light winter weather? All-season tires may be a great fit.</p> <p> &middot; &nbsp;Remember your vehicle left the factory with a certain size of wheel and tire, and the car&rsquo;s handling, steering response, braking performance and ride quality were all tuned for that specific size. Changing anything in that equation should be done carefully. &nbsp;You&rsquo;re better off in most cases staying with manufacturer&rsquo;s recommendations for tire and wheel sizes.</p> <p> &middot; &nbsp;Gas prices may fluctuate, but they are probably never going to be cheap again. Tires are an important part of fuel economy, and some industry experts contend drivers can see as much as a 15-20 percent difference in fuel economy depending on which tires they select. Low-rolling-resistance tires continue to evolve and improve&hellip;and of course, proper inflation to recommended air pressure is crucial to fuel economy.</p> <p> &middot; &nbsp;If you drive a light truck, be mindful of how you&rsquo;re going to use that truck. The tire&rsquo;s load rating is important if you expect to haul heavy loads or do any towing. Also consider how often you might want to leave the pavement &ndash; many all-terrain tires are good for light off-road use while still offering a civilized ride and road manners.</p> <p> &middot; &nbsp;Tires are still a &ldquo;you get what you pay for&rdquo; proposition. Don&rsquo;t get us wrong, there are plenty of great-quality tires at lower price points, but tires that seem too good to be true price-wise, usually are. Do your due diligence in looking up consumer reviews and ratings before making your decision. And of course, our service advisors will always be happy to help point you in the right direction.</p> <p> We hope this helps a little in your tire buying process &ndash; if it&rsquo;s time to get some new tires on your vehicle, make an appointment and we&rsquo;ll be happy to get you set up.&nbsp;</p> /blog/view/seven-things-you-need-to-know-about-tires/feed0