Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Take Care of Your Vehicle This October

October is Fall Car Care Month, and the Car Care Council reminds motorists that checking their vehicles before the temperatures drop is a sensible way to avoid being stranded out in the cold and the unexpected expense of emergency repairs.

“The last thing any driver needs is a vehicle that breaks down in cold, harsh winter weather. Winter magnifies existing problems like hard starts, sluggish performance and rough idling,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Whether you perform the check or maintenance yourself or go to the repair shop, it’s a small investment of time and money to ensure peace of mind, and help avoid the cost and hassle of a breakdown during severe weather.”

The Car Care Council recommends the following Fall Car Care Month checklist to make sure your vehicle is ready for cold winter weather ahead.

Heating, Wipers & Lights
  • Make sure heaters, defrosters and wipers work properly.
  • Consider winter wiper blades and use cold-weather washer fluid. As a general rule, wiper blades should be replaced every six months.
  • Check to see that all exterior and interior lights work and headlights are properly aimed.

Tires & Brakes

  • Check the tire tread depth and tire pressure of all tires, including the spare. If snow and ice are a problem in your area, consider special tires designed to grip slick roads.
  • During winter, tire pressure should be checked weekly.
  • Have the brakes checked. The braking system is the vehicle’s most important safety item.

Gas, Oil & Filters

  • Keep your gas tank at least half full throughout the cold weather to prevent moisture from forming in gas lines and possibly freezing.
  • Be diligent about changing the oil and filter at recommended intervals. Dirty oil can spell trouble in winter. Consider changing to “winter weight” oil if you live in a cold climate.
  • Check the fuel, air and transmission filters at the same time.

System Checks – Charging, Cooling & Exhaust

  • Have the battery and charging system checked, as cold weather is hard on batteries.
  • Clean, flush and put new antifreeze in the cooling system. As a rule of thumb, this should be done every two years.
  • Have the exhaust system checked for carbon monoxide leaks, which can be especially dangerous during cold weather driving when windows are closed.

Pack the Essentials

  • Make sure that your ice scraper and snow brush are accessible and ready to use.
  • Stock an emergency kit with jumper cables, a flashlight, blankets, extra clothes, bottled water, nonperishable food and a first aid kit with any needed medication.

Source - carcare.org

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

9 Tire Myths: Fact or Fiction?

People may know a lot about cars but when it comes to tires, it's a big zero. Today we will be busting some myths about tires.

  • Myth: Tires should be inflated according to the pressure indicated on the tire sidewall. 
  • Fact: Indication on the sidewall is the tire's maximum inflation pressure, not the recommended pressure. Follow inflation pressure recommendations in the Car owner's manual or written on the door post.
  • Myth: A tread pattern is required for great traction on dry roads. 
  • Fact: A tire without any tread provides the best results dry traction due to the maximum amount of rubber touching the road. A tread pattern, with its groove voids, actually lessens this traction on dry roads. The role of tread is to act as a squeegee in wet conditions and removes water from under the tire and channels it through the grooves for improved wet traction. 
  • Myth: Performance tires wear out faster because of the sticky compounds. 
  • Fact: Partly true but tread rubber polymers aren't the reason. In fact, advancements like new polymers and ultra-tensile steel constructions make performance tires last longer now. Performance tires average about 45,000 miles in tread life, comparable to the figures for family-car passenger tires. Fast wear is usually due to high speeds and aggressive driving. 
  • Myth: Wide tires provide better traction under all weather conditions. Installing oversize snow tires on a car delivers better snow traction. 
  • Fact: Completely wrong. Wide tires have a tendency float on deep snow, and the tread lugs are unable to dig through to the road surface and gain traction. Narrow tires provide better traction in snow conditions. Narrow tire cut through the snow easier and provides traction. 
  • Myth: All-season tires sufficient for even winter season. 
  • Fact: Can be true for certain regions but in places where snow remains on the roads for days winter tires are the best. 
  • Myth: Tires should not be rotated from side to side, only front to back. 
  • Fact: Radial tires can be crossed from side to side in the rotation pattern unlike the bias ply tires. Regular tire rotation every 6000 to 8000 miles ensures uniform wear for all tires on a vehicle. 
  • Myth: New tires should be put on the drive-wheel position to get the most traction. 
  • Fact: True only on a rear-drive vehicle. Always, install new tires on the rear axle. Most tire buyers purchase new tires for the drive-wheel position to get the most traction. However, by doing so they transfer most of their traction capabilities from the rear. The vehicle is more prone to over steer. 
  • Myth: The government tests tires for traction, temperature resistance, and treadwear and assigns grades molded onto the sidewall. 
  • Fact: Uniform Tire Quality Grading is a federal law that makes it mandatory for tire manufacturers to grade their own tires for tread wear, traction, and temperature resistance. Tire manufacturers test tires and assign their own grades and not some government authority. 
  • Myth: An undulation on a tire sidewall is supposed to be a weak spot and can lead to tire failure. 
  • Fact: An undulation is created where materials overlap each other in the tire carcass, and it actually is the strongest part of the tire.