March 27, 2015

Spring Cleaning for Your Vehicle

  As the temperature outside begins to rise, many components on your vehicle can change, making routine maintenance especially important. Your tires are one of the most important features on your vehicle and so they require close attention. The tires are the only part that will have direct contact with the surface of the road. If the tires are starting to wear down, it can cause the vehicle to have poor fuel mileage and efficiency. This is because the vehicle will have to use more fuel and power to have the vehicle run properly. Get the Tires Ready for Spring Often the tires are one of the most overlooked parts of a vehicle, but one of the most important. An under-inflated or over-inflated, worn down tire can be extremely dangerous, particularly in warm weather. As temperatures rise, tire pressure changes with the rising temperatures. All models run differently when it comes to the appropriate amount of tire pressure. Consult your owner’s manual to see what your tire pressure would be and check it with a hand pressure gauge to ensure the correct amount. Next, check for any bulging in the sidewalls of the tire. If any bulging is overlooked, heat and pressure can eventually allow for the tire to blow. Having an over-inflated tire makes for less contact with the road and can lead to hydroplaning in wet conditions. You should also check the tread on your tires. If your tread is worn, you should take your vehicle to one of our technicians. Have the tires replaced as well as adjusted for proper alignment and balance. Make sure the Tires are Right for the Season When it comes time to replace the tires, it is important you choose the right ones for your vehicle and the type of driving you do. If you do more highway driving, high performance tires should be your focus. High performance tires use a softer rubber compound for increased traction, keeping you on the road when you are cornering at high speeds. If you live on gravel roads you may want to consider sport tires, because they allow for a more comfortable ride and provide you with better traction on uneven ground. Choosing the correct tires for your vehicle is imperative in that it accounts for the main part of your vehicle’s performance, efficiency and safety. Increase the Life of the Tires on your Vehicle Purchasing tires can become costly, which is why you should take caution year round to get more mileage out of them. You can start by making sure your tire pressure is consistent with what your owner’s manual says is right for your vehicle. When maintaining proper air pressure in your tires your car will run more smoothly and handle better, making for a safe ride. Do not forget to check your tires regularly for cuts, cracks and holes. By taking these precautions, not only will your vehicle handle better, but also it will improve your gas mileage and not pose a danger each time you get behind the wheel.
March 20, 2015

Why the Tires should have an Alignment Done

While it is often referred to simply as an alignment or wheel alignment. It is really complex suspension angles that are being measured and a variety of suspension components that are being adjusted. This makes an alignment an important suspension tuning tool that greatly influences the operation of the vehicle’s tires. Out-of-alignment conditions occur when the suspension and steering systems are not operating at their desired angles. Poor alignment conditions are most often caused by spring sag or suspension wear on an older vehicle. They can also be the result of an impact with a pothole or curb, or a change in vehicle ride height on any vehicle regardless of age. Incorrect alignment settings will usually result in more rapid tire wear. Therefore, alignment should be checked whenever new tires or suspension components are installed, and any time unusual tire wear patterns appear. Alignment should also be checked after the vehicle has encountered a major road hazard or curb. An Alignment is Needed for All Four Tires The different types of alignments offered today are front-end, thrust angle, and four-wheel. During a front-end alignment, only the front axle’s angles are measured and adjusted. Front-end alignments are fine for some vehicles featuring a solid rear axle, but confirming that the front tires are positioned directly in front of the rear tires is also important. On all vehicles with four-wheel independent suspensions, or front-wheel drive vehicles with adjustable rear suspensions, the appropriate alignment is a four-wheel alignment. This procedure squares the vehicle like a thrust angle alignment, and also includes measuring and adjusting the rear axle angles as well as the front. The Camber is Important The camber angle identifies how far the tire slants away from vertical when viewed directly from the front or back of the vehicle. Camber is expressed in degrees, and is said to be negative when the top of the tire tilts inward toward the center of the vehicle and positive when the top leans away from the center of the vehicle. Appropriate camber settings that take into account the vehicle and driver’s aggressiveness will help balance tread wear with cornering performance. The Caster should be Inspected The caster angle identifies the forward or backward slope of a line drawn through the upper and lower steering pivot points when viewed directly from the side of the vehicle. Caster angle settings allow the vehicle manufacturer to balance steering effort, high speed stability and front end cornering effectiveness. Increasing the amount of positive caster will increase steering effort and straight line tracking, as well as improve high speed stability and cornering effectiveness. Recommendations for an Alignment An accurate wheel alignment is critical to balance the tread wear and performance a vehicle’s tires deliver. Regular wheel alignments will usually save you as much in tire wear as they cost, and should be considered routine, preventative maintenance. Since there are acceptable ranges provided in the manufacturer’s recommendations, we can recommend the correct alignment for your vehicle.
March 13, 2015

When Oil Changes are Needed

To help keep your vehicle operating in the best condition possible, you should change the oil on a regular basis. By changing the oil, the new clean oil will help lubricate the moving parts of the engine. Without oil, these parts can have friction and cause stress with one another. Also know what other parts should be inspected and changed on your vehicle. With overall maintenance done on the vehicle, you can keep it lasting as long as possible when you travel. If you are not sure of the correct maintenance schedule or oil change that you need, make sure to bring the vehicle in and we can recommend the schedule. Checking the Oil in the Engine One important task to do is to check the oil in the engine regularly. Make sure to do this on a monthly basis. The oil should be in the best condition possible. This way it will allow new clean oil to lubricate the parts of the engine. This helps to prolong the life of these parts, and keep them working at top performance levels. Oil changes will also help improve the fuel mileage of the vehicle because it will be more efficient. If you start to notice an oil leak under your vehicle after you park, make sure to contact us. Bring the vehicle in and we can inspect the oil and any areas for the leak. If you ignore an oil leak, it will only get worse with time and result in higher costs because you will purchase more oil than you would normally need. Besides the oil you will have to make sure no other fluids start leaking. Proper maintenance to make sure they are at the desired level on each reservoir is recommended. On many newer vehicles, the automatic transmission is sealed. On vehicles where it is not sealed, check the transmission dipstick with the engine warmed up and running. Also check the power-steering-pump dipstick, which is usually attached to the fluid reservoir cap. Make sure to check the level in the brake-fluid reservoir as well. If the brake-fluid level is low, top it up and have the system checked for leaks. Check tire air pressure Once a month and before any extended road trips, use an accurate tire-pressure gauge to check the inflation pressure in each tire, including the spare. Do this when the tires are cold, before the vehicle has been driven or after no more than a couple of miles of driving. Use the inflation pressure recommended by the vehicle’s manufacturer, not the maximum pressure embossed on the tire’s sidewall. The recommended pressure is usually found on a placard on a front doorjamb, in the glove compartment, or in the owner’s manual. Also be sure to inspect tires for abnormal or uneven wear, cuts, and any sidewall bulges. Regular Maintenance is Needed If you want to keep your vehicle operating efficiently and effectively, make sure to go to regularly schedule maintenances. If you notice anything out of the norm, make sure to contact us so the vehicle can be inspected as soon as possible.
March 6, 2015

Owning a Vehicle with an Alarm System

Walking through the parking lot is not as simple as it was in the past. Brushing up against and barely touching a vehicle with an anti theft device will trigger a loud, annoying alarm. It is a noise loud enough to make anyone jump out of their skin, catching people off guard and surprising them. Heads will turn and look in the direction of the alarm, and keep looking if the alarm does not end quickly. Naturally a person will try to get away from the vehicle as quickly as possible to avoid embarrassment or the possibility being mistook as a thief. Anti theft systems on vehicles work to protect property from being stolen but have become the world’s most annoying pet peeve. This is because the alarms do not always cut off, which of course requires an auto service to be called to stop the loud noise alarm. In the meantime, the owner is aggravated and anyone within ear reach is annoyed. Why an Alarm System is Beneficial There are additional benefits to have a car alarm systems installed. The various anti theft systems can be placed on the odometers. This prevents a repairman or owner from changing the mileage. The tires can have the alarms placed on them to prevent theft. If doors are touched, the hood or trunk, the headlights can also be set to turn off and on to attract attention. It is the extremely loud alarms that began to come under fire. These techniques do work to prevent theft, but can be points of aggravation for not only the vehicle owner, but neighbors or others within ear shot of the vehicle. Having an alarm system will help alert you for any issue that occurs with your vehicle. When the Alarms Go Off The car alarms go off at the slightest touch. When an animal walks near the tires, a cat jumps on the car, or children playing outdoors unintentionally brush up against or touch the alarm, it goes off automatically. Sometimes both during the day and night the alarms can be heard going off several times. Complaints from neighbors, and businesses will start happening for the vehicle owners. People have learned that there is nothing that can be done to prevent a car alarm from being installed on another person’s car or vehicle. Make sure the Vehicle is Maintained Regularly In order to help prevent a malfunctioning alarm system, make sure you bring the vehicle in for regular maintenance inspections. This way we can look at components and parts of the vehicle. If an issue is starting to occur we can have it fixed in a timely manner. By having the parts inspected regularly, you can help reduce the wear and tear on them, such as the tires. When the tires are operating properly you can also save on fuel mileage for your vehicle. A well maintained vehicle can help improve the safety and reliability when you drive it.