Monthly Archives: May 2017

Inspecting Your Tires in Sixty Seconds

The wheels on your vehicle are one of the most important parts of your car. Because of this, it is crucial to have your tires checked at least monthly to make sure they are in good condition for driving. Below are some simple steps you can take to help find any potential problems with your tires and to help you avoid any dangerous issues on the road.

  • Walk around your vehicle: when there is plenty of light outside to help you see things easily, take a thorough walk around your vehicle.
  • Look for any tread wear that is uneven: it is likely you will need to have your tires rotated if your wheels have treadwear that is uneven. The tread on your tires is dependent on the kind of tires you have mounted. When the tread where is uneven, there are a couple of reasons it could be so. Your tires may have too little or too much air pressure, you may be having balancing or alignment issues, or you can have suspension or steering problems.
  • Look for any bulging or cracking in your sidewalls or treads: these could be due to a weakness in your tire. Bulging and cracking are typically caused by hitting a curb or pothole.
  • Look for anything protruding into your tire: on occasion, you may find thing sticking out of your tire. These things are often dependent on where you live our park your car regularly.
  • Check for tire treads that are worn: use a penny to check your tread. With a penny stuck in the groove, look at Lincoln’s head. If Lincoln’s head is touched by the tread, your tires are okay. If not, you need to purchase new ones soon.

Any of the above problems could cause your tire to blowout.  It’s terrible to lose control – trust me. One day I was driving to my brother’s company, JT’s Tree Service Orange County, and my front tire blew. If you have ever driven in Orange County you know the traffic is terrific at all times of the day.  I luckily was able to regain control and pull over to the side, but my life definitely flashed before me.

Anytime you lose control over your car is a dangerous situation. If you find any of the problems listed above, it is best to schedule a time to go into your local car shop to have your tires professionally checked.

Handling a Tire Blowout

When you have a tire blowout, it can be a struggle to avoid having an accident. Your instincts will kick in and what you do next can make a difference between life and death for you and others around you. Staying calm and controlling your vehicle is the most important thing you can do.

I tire blowout can happen instantly, regardless of how fast you are traveling. When it happens, your vehicle will slow down and pull either to the left or right, depending on which tire blew. Also, if your rear tire blows, you will fill the extra movement in the body of the car or the seat. If the front tire blows out, the force will be felt more in the steering will. Below are some guidelines to help you prepare for what to do if you experience a tire blowout.

  1. Hold your steering wheel firmly.
  2. Never slam on your brakes.
  3. Gradually allow your car to slow down.
  4. Slowly move your vehicle to the side of the road.
  5. Engage your emergency flashers.
  6. Phone for help.

Once your car safely on the side of the road and your flashers are activated, you can get out of your car and complete the following steps.

  1. If you have them, put out reflective triangles or cones.
  2. Find your spare tire. If you don’t know where to look, consult your owner’s manual. The manual should also tell you where the tools you will need are located. Remember, you should not drive on a spare that is not full-sized for long distances.
  3. If you do not know how to change your tire or are in a place where it is unsafe to do so, phone for roadside assistance.

Luckily, with proper upkeep and monitoring your air pressure, tire blowouts can be avoided. Always check your tires every month and before any major road trips to make sure they are properly inflated and do not need to be changed.

Keeping Your Wheels Properly Aligned

When you go to turn your vehicle, the only place it should go is where it is steered then, after the turn, returned back to the center. This is a very simple concept that most of us take for granted. We expect our cars to do this every time, so we occasionally neglect to have our wheels aligned properly until it becomes a problem. If you are having any of the problems below, you need to take your vehicle in and have your wheels properly aligned:

  • When driving on a road that is level, your steering will is in straight.
  • Your suspension system is making unusual noises.
  • Your vehicle swerves from side to side.
  • When driving in a straight line or putting on your brakes, your vehicle drifts.
  • Vibrations can be felt in the steering wheel or in your seat.
  • Your steering wheel feels loose.
  • It has been a long time since you last had your wheels aligned.
  • Your tires squeal on turns.
  • After a turn, your steering wheel does not align itself easily.

Keeping your wheels correctly aligned is critical to the safety of your vehicle, as well as ensuring you have a comfortable ride, extending the life of your tires, and stability while braking. Modern suspension systems are quite complex and require careful measurements and precise adjustments on all four wheels. With this in mind, it is best to always take your vehicle to a professional technician to have your wheels aligned. Unfortunately, many service stations will only align your front wheels. It is best, though, to have a certified technician align all four wheels with their computerized analysis to make sure your vehicle suspension system is completely accurate and aligned.

When having your wheels aligned, it is important to have your front and rear wheels aligned with one another. If you only have your front wheels aligned, it could cause your vehicle to handle poorly and create crooked steering. Because of this, always have your wheels aligned professionally and ensure all four wheels are aligned.

When Your AC Blows Warm Air

When the air conditioner on your car is working right, it’s a wonderful thing. However, when it is brutally hot and the air conditioner doesn’t work, and it blows warm stale air instead, it becomes like a cruel joke. If your car’s air-conditioning unit isn’t working properly or is blowing warm air, you will need to schedule an appointment with your local shop. Below are some of the reasons your air-conditioning may not be working properly.

  • You may be leaking refrigerant: when your refrigerant is no longer under pressure within your A/C system that is a closed loop, it instantly evaporates into a gas. You never need to top off your refrigerant since your A/C system is completely sealed. Therefore, if you have a low level of refrigerant, that means you have a leak somewhere that needs to be taken care of.
  • Your compressor may be worn out: the heart of your air-conditioning system in your vehicle is the compressor. It helps the refrigerant to circulate through the needed stages to remove the heat from the cabin of your vehicle. Compressors can wear out over an extended period of time because of failed parts or contamination in the system.

There are a couple of the reasons that your air-conditioning unit may be on the fritz. The above ones are the most common, though. Working on your air conditioner takes a little more skill than your basic at home mechanic can fix. With that in mind, you should consider taking your vehicle to your local car shop for any repairs you need on your air-conditioning unit. That way, you are sure to get your air-conditioning unit back up to par so you will not have to spend hot days melting from the rays of the sun. If you need help, feel free to give us a call.




Changing Your Antifreeze

Antifreeze, also known as coolant, is imperative for keeping your engine running smoothly. It can keep your engine from overheating and from freezing. It is also able to protect the metal in your engine to keep it from corroding.

Like everything else, though, your antifreeze needs to be changed regularly. Otherwise, it will break down and the corrosion inhibitors will stop working. This will cause the components to no longer work the way they should. Below are some of the maintenance tips to help you keep your antifreeze up to par so they can continue to do the important job in your engine.

First, we will discuss how you can change your radiator fluid. The first tip is to never remove your radiator cap when your engine is hot. Then, follow the instructions below:

  1. Open the drain valve on your radiator to drain the cooling system.
  2. Once the fluids have drained, close the valve and fill it with fresh water, then put the radiator cap back on. Start your engine and turn your heater on high to flush the system for 15 minutes.
  3. Turn off your engine and allow it to cool. Drain the system again then close the drain valve.

If you need to flush the coolant out completely, repeat the steps several times until clear liquid drains from your radiator. Make sure to always follow the local and state regulations to dispose of the old coolant.

Before you do any kind of work on your engine with the anti-freeze, make sure you consult your owner’s manual from the manufacturer. Your particular make and model may be different than others. Typically, the manufacturer will recommend changing your antifreeze every 2 to 3 years, or more if you drive and a lot of miles. Also, if you drive in temperatures that are extremely hot, you may need to change your antifreeze every year. On the other hand, if you drive a newer vehicle, you may not need to change it as much.




Shock Absorbers: When to Replace

There are two primary purposes for your vehicle’s suspension system. These purposes are helping your vehicle hold and handle the road. The shock absorbers on your car are an important part of the suspension system. When they become worn, how your wheels interact with the road is affected. This could compromise how your vehicle holds and handles the road and could cause hydroplaning, dangerous swaying, and more.

Over time, like anything else, your shock absorbers will become worn out and tear, losing their ability to properly function. There are several signs to look for to determine if you need new shocks. Most of the signs are rather noticeable.

  • Stopping distance longer or delayed: when the shock absorbers on your car become worn and old, it will take longer for your vehicle to stop. You should replace your shock absorbers every 50,000 miles to improve your stopping distance up to 10 feet. Doing so can save you from an unfortunate incident.
  • Nosedives and swerving: If your car swerves and dips as you break, you need to check your shock absorbers. Otherwise, the control you have on your vehicle will be decreased and could be potentially dangerous.
  • Vibrations: if you feel vibrations in the steering will while you drive, it is likely your shock absorbers. Shock absorbers are supposed to keep your tires in direct contact with the road so there should never be vibrations.
  • Veering and sliding in your car: if you feel that your vehicle fears and slides even and a mild wind, you need to have them replaced.
  • Rattling and rocking: if your vehicle rocks and rattles over any kind of bump, there’s a good chance your shocks are worn heavily and need to be replaced. Not only does this cause your right to be uncomfortable, but it puts a lot of pressure on other car components.
  • Tread wear is uneven: if you have bald patches on your tires, or notice uneven wear, your tires are not contacting the road optimally. This is often caused by shocks that are worn.

If you have been having any of these problems in your vehicle, make sure you have your shocks replaced soon. Otherwise, you are putting yourself and others at risk.