November 25, 2013

The Importance of Tire Maintenance

Proper tire maintenance is crucial to the vehicle’s safety and durability when you travel. Inspecting and maintaining the tires on a regular basis can also help to extend the life of the tires as well. There are a few basic steps involved in maintaining the tires. There are also some important precautions that you can follow to help improve the life of the tires, as well as your own safety. Tires can last depending on how the vehicle is driven, where it is driven, and how much maintenance is performed for the vehicle and tires. If the tires have been worn down so they are no longer efficient, they should be replaced as soon as possible. Always make sure to bring your vehicle in for the recommended maintenances it needs. We can also inspect the tires to ensure they are in a good and efficient condition. Checking the air pressure, how they are wearing, and the alignment are important so the tires can be as effective as possible.   The right type of tire is important   The most important thing to do in tire maintenance is to select the correct type of tire for your vehicle. Always use the type of tire that is recommended for the vehicle. This information can usually be found and is listed in the vehicle owner’s manual, as well as inside the door of the vehicle. If you are unsure of what type of tire is the best for your vehicle, we can help advise and recommend the correct kind. Once the tires are installed on your vehicle, make sure to keep them lasting as long as possible by checking the inflation and condition of them on a regular basis. It is also recommended to rotate the tires so they can wear evenly with time and miles.   Inspect the air pressure regularly   The tire pressure is also very important in keeping the tires in good condition. It is recommended to check the inflation of the tires every time you fill up with fuel. This is also beneficial because most gas stations provide compressed air for inflation. All vehicles have a recommended inflation level listed inside the door, so you can be assured they are filled properly.   Have the tires aligned as well   While inspecting the tires, make sure they are properly aligned as well. The alignment should be checked on a regular basis, or after you hit an object. A vehicle that is out of alignment will cause uneven wear to the tires, and over time, it may lead to damage. The wheels may also need to be balanced, especially if you notice shuddering at high rates of speed. Also check the shock absorbers and struts, as they can affect the tire wear over time. Be cautious of the roads you travel on. Holes with frequent potholes can cause the vehicle’s alignment to slip and could cause damage to the tires. If you need to drive on these roads frequently, check the alignment often. This can help preserve the condition and life of your tires.
November 18, 2013

5 things to notice if the Brakes need to be inspected

The brakes are one of the most crucial parts to the vehicle. Paying attention to the warning signs that may indicate a need for service could help prevent an issue or accident from occurring. There can be some obvious signs that the brakes need servicing. This could include the brake light illuminating on the dashboard of your vehicle. Another sign could be that the vehicle is taking longer to stop than it should. If you notice anything that is out of the ordinary with your brakes, make sure to bring it in for a brake inspection as soon as possible.   Worn Brake Pads   A hydraulic system filled with brake fluid will trigger a set of padded clamps that are the calipers. This will then cause them to squeeze together on a disc that is the brake rotor. The friction that occurs between the pads and the rotor will eventually stop the vehicle. With age and miles, the pads will begin to wear thin, and become less effective at slowing and stopping the vehicle.   Strange noises or sounds   As you apply the brake pedal, you may notice a noise such as a squealing, squeaking, or grinding noise. These noises can indicate that you may need to have the brake pads replaced. Hearing a grinding noise could indicate that the brake pads have worn through completely. The noise is a result of the metal of the calipers grinding against the metal of the rotors as you apply the brakes. With worn brake pads, you have the possibility to damage the brake rotors, and it results in a more costly repair bill.   If you notice the vehicle pulling   As you apply the brakes, you may notice that your vehicle pulls in one direction or the other. The may be caused from a caliper that is sticking. The caliper could stick because it causes friction with one wheel and not the others. Then your vehicle would pull to the side where the caliper is stuck. While pulling does not always indicate an issue with the brakes, it is a good idea to bring the vehicle in. It could be caused from uneven or worn tires, or even tires that are poorly aligned. By bringing your vehicle in, we can help to resolve the issue so you can be provided a comfortable ride again.   Feeling Vibrations when applying the brakes   If the brake pedal vibrates when you apply it, try to bring your vehicle in as soon as you can. Typically, a vibrating brake pedal indicates warped rotors. The uneven surface will brush against the brake pads, resulting in the vibration feeling through the brake pedal. Brake rotors will usually warp when they are under extreme stress for an extended period of time. If the brakes have not been stressed recently, but the pedal still vibrates, the wheels might be misaligned. It is always best to have the vehicle and brake system looked at so you are provided a safe and reliable ride once again.   Issues with the brake pedal   If the brake pedal is mushy and goes almost to the floor before the brakes take hold, there could be an issue. It could indicate worn brake pads or an issue with the hydraulic system. There may be air in the brake link or a brake fluid leak. If the brake pedal grabs immediately with the slightest touch, there could also be an issue with the brake system. The rotors may have worn unevenly or the brake fluid has become contaminated.
November 11, 2013

How to drive safe on ice

As winter gets closer, the chance for poor conditioned roads will begin to increase. There are several different ways you can help to prepare for the winter ahead. It is important to keep safe while driving on icy roads this winter. To help have your vehicle in the safest condition possible, make sure to go to regular scheduled maintenances. Also make sure that the windshield wipers are functioning properly. This is important incase any precipitation occurs because then you will be able to clear it away to insure better visibility as you drive. The windshield washer fluid should also be filled to the amount recommended by the reservoir. Also check the front and rear defrosters to ensure they are working properly. Once your vehicle is ready for winter, make sure you drive safely on icy or snow covered roads. Use the vehicle’s lower gears when traveling on icy roads. Try to avoid using cruise control on your vehicle while driving on poor roads. By not having cruise control on, you will be able to control your vehicle better if you hit an icy patch.   Get traction for the tires   Before the winter, make sure the tires are properly inflated and have plenty of tread left on them before driving on icy roads. You may also likely need to switch to snow tires before winter. The snow tires are made of a softer rubber than that of all weather tires. This helps to give the snow tires a better grip on the road. Snow tires also have specially designed tread patterns to provide better traction on ice and snow. You can also invest in snow chains for your vehicle. This is another way to get better traction on the icy roads. However, with snow chains, you will not be able to drive as fast as you could without them. So it is not recommended to keep them on your tires all winter, but you can store them in your vehicle incase you need them in an emergency situation.   Reduce driving speeds on ice   Speed can be dangerous no matter what the driving condition is. Speed and ice is also a bad combination while you travel. On ice or snow covered roads, make sure to take proper precautions and drive at an appropriate speed, even if it means slowing down significantly. Driving slower and being able to keep your vehicle under control is more important that driving at the exact speed limit and risk your vehicle going in the ditch or having an accident. That is why traffic will typically slow down anywhere from five to forty percent of the average speed in a heavy snowstorm. At higher speeds, you do not have as much time to react if someone brakes ahead of you. Since it will then take twice as long to stop on icy roads, you may find yourself in an emergency situation. You will also have less control of the vehicle at the higher speeds when the weather is bad. If your vehicle has an anti-lock braking system, you should maintain a steady pressure on the break pedal and the ABS will handle the braking for you as it adapts to the road conditions. If you start to skid, remember to stay calm and steer gently into the skid until the tires regain traction once again.   Be careful as you drive on black ice   Black ice actually looks like clear ice. This is because black ice will form with very few air bubbles, which makes it transparent. The black ice is much harder to see than normal ice when you drive. In fact, most people usually mistake black ice for wet pavement while driving. It is dangerous because drivers are unprepared to react to the slippery conditions when they encounter the black ice. Research has shown that black ice was five times more dangerous that driving in normal conditions. Apply the brakes on black ice can also take up to nine times longer to stop than normal.
November 4, 2013

Tips for driving in rain

If you have to drive on a rainy day, make sure you take the necessary precautions needed. Check the traffic reports to make sure the route you are taking is not affecting by flooding, construction, or road closures. If it is raining hard, it may impair your visibility of the road and those around you. Also, an excessive amount of water on the road could cause you to hydroplane or increase the chance of losing control of your vehicle. Knowing some simple things to do can help prevent issues, and make driving the rain a more pleasant experience.   Be safe while driving in the rain   Drive safe and smart in the rain by turning on the vehicle’s lights. This can help improve your visibility if it is dark out. It is also beneficial because by having the lights on, other drivers are able to see you. Also, increase the distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. This can help incase they have to slam on the brakes. You will be able to have ample room to stop or get in another lane safely. Watching for brake lights ahead can also give you proper warning if you need to slow down or stop. It is also recommended that you slow down as the wet weather increases. This is because it typically takes longer to stop if the roads are covered in precipitation. Always check the windshield wiper blades for the condition they are in. Blades that are not cracked or ripped can help to clear away the window effectively. If you notice any issues, make sure to replace the wipers as soon as possible. This can improve the visibility as you drive.   Be careful of hydroplaning    If you start to hydroplane, the first thing to do is to keep calm. Also, try to avoid slamming on the brakes, as they will typically not be effective in the situation. If you are driving straight when the vehicle loses traction, keep steering the wheel straight. While holding the wheel straight, also let off of the gas. Do not stomp on the brakes, this may only cause more issues. Once the tires are able to grip the road again, you will be able to have control of the vehicle. If you are turning when the tires lose contact, then the vehicle will likely drift further into the turn. It is recommended to steer into the skid while also letting off the gas. Hydroplaning can sometimes be avoided by just slowing down the speed at which you are traveling.   Keep your vehicle well maintained   Having a well-maintained vehicle is beneficial no matter what time of the year it is. Going to regularly scheduled maintenances is important to keep all the parts in an efficient working condition. The tread should also be checked on the tires to ensure they can grip the road properly. The air inflation of the tires is also an important thing to check regularly. This can help provide proper traction as well as the best fuel efficiency for your vehicle.