Nobody ever looks forward to a flat tire, and nobody ever says "well, that was a really good time" after having one. You can at least minimize the damage to your tire and danger to yourself, though.
Flats vs Blowouts
If you get a blowout, you'll know about it right away. Sometimes the tire can fail dramatically, with a bang as loud as a shotgun going off. Other times, it might just be a loss of air and a sudden change in your car's handling, followed by vibration, noise and a pull to one side. If it's a front tire that fails, your car might be a real handful to drive until you can get to a stop.
In either case, your first job is to pull off the road as quickly (but safely!) as you can. Don't jam on the brakes or make any sudden mo ...[more]
When it comes to your car, oil isn't the only thing there's a finite supply of. Rubber has its limits too, and it's estimated by 2020, the supply of natural rubber in the world may be outstripped by demand. And of course, tires require a great deal of oil to produce as well. Tire manufacturers are constantly looking for ways to innovate and conserve resources in tire production. Here are some recent advances:
- Dandelions: Yes, those humble yellow flowers you try to eliminate from your yard. Dandelions actually contain a minute amount of latex in their milky oil, and research shows they can actually produce about as much latex, pound-for-pound, as rubber plants. German scientists have cultivated 1-foot-tall dandelions for just this purpose. This isn't a new development, either -- in WWII, Amer ...[more]
Tires all look sort of the same…round and black…and people tend to think tires don’t change much over the years. That’s really not true, though – engineers and designers are constantly working on advances in tire designs for more miles, better fuel economy and better performance.
Here’s a rundown of current trends in tire technology you may not have been aware of:
- Tall, skinny tires are coming back. If you’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 – the BMW i3 electric/plug-in hybrid uses Bridgestone Ecopia tires, with higher inflation pressure and a taller, skinnier profile. Tall, skinny tires also redu ...[more]
Driving around on underinflated tires is just a bad idea all the way around. Underinflated tires increase a car’s rolling resistance, meaning a drop in fuel efficiency since it takes more energy to move the vehicle down the road.
A single tire that’s down by ten pounds of air means a 3.3 percent drop in fuel economy…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’s estimated ...[more]
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.
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.
If you can only afford to replace one or two tires, it’s essential that you go with tires that are identical (or at least as close as possible) to the car’s remaining tires. That means that internal construction, size, tread pattern and design should be close to the same. Don’t mix winter tires with all-season tires, don’t mix run-flat tires with ...[more]
Did you know cold weather puts an added strain on your car battery? When temperatures drop into freezing levels, your vehicle must work harder upon startup and also run its cold weather functions like heating systems, wiper blades, and the defroster. There are simple steps you can take to winterize your car battery and ensure its best performance through this chilly season:
Check the Fluid Levels:
- Pull of the cap off the battery to get to the hydraulic fluid inside.
- Using a hydrometer extract some fluid to check the level and condition
- The hydrometer tool will give you a “low”, “fair”, or “good” rating
- A &l ...[more]
Winter driving can be an adventure no matter what climate you live in. Driving in snow, sleet, or on ice can make even the most seasoned drivers nervous. If you live in an area that falls below an average temperature of 45 degrees or lower in the winter, has winter storms of snow, rain, sleet, or ice, then winter tires are a great investment to keep you and your loved ones safe on the road this season.
- Get 4 - Four winter tires will provide the best protection against winter road hazards. With 4 winter tires, you will have consistency in handling, control, traction, and grip.
- Tread - Winter tires have unique tread, specialized for channeling snow, ice, slush, and water away from the tire. With more ‘sipes’ and ‘lugs’, essen ...[more]
If a tune-up sounds like a simple thing, you’d probably be surprised that many car owners actually forget to have one done regularly. In combination with other preventative maintenance like transmission flushes and oil changes, tune-ups can extend the life of your vehicle by inspecting and restoring vital engine parts. Tune-ups should be done at regular intervals, about every 30,000 miles, and especially in older vehicles. Things wear out overtime, so even if it’s been a few years, you may want to ask yourself: When was the last time I checked my hoses and gaskets? Are my sparkplugs still in working condition? How long has it been since I’ve changed the air-filter or fuel-filter?
Tune-ups can not only replace worn parts they can save you time and money in the long run by preventing costly future repairs, and boosting the performance of your vehicle. If you’ve noticed any of the following, it’s probably time for a routine tune-up:...[more]
Your vehicle is a complex machine with many moving parts and functions. In order to keep those parts moving freely and to reduce damage as well as to keep out water and dirt, one of the most important things you can do is keep engine parts protected and lubricated with an oil change. Regular oil changes are vital to the life of your engine and can extend its performance for years, keeping the engines free of sludge. Most manufacturers recommend changing your oil every 3,000-6,000 miles, depending on your vehicle use and the type of oil you are using. Oil changes are one of the easiest, most affordable, and most reliable ways to keep your car running smoothly and problem free.
Oil Changes are essential to:
- Reduce engine wear
- Remove engine sludge
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