Auto Repair & Tires Blog
It's true that batteries can last four to five years, but most of today's vehicles are loaded with electronic features that can drain a battery quickly – and even shorten its service life – if the battery isn't cared for properly.
So, to keep your battery fully charged, keep these tips in mind.
1) Don't idle for long periods. If you're waiting for your spouse in the grocery store parking lot, shut off the engine. It takes less gas to start up the car again than to let it run. Another benefit: you'll put less carbon monoxide into the air.
2) Don't let your car sit without driving it for more than a week. Those electronic goodies - keyless entry systems, anti-theft systems, etc. - draw a pretty good amount of power from the battery 'round the clock. If you don't drive the car regularly, you won't give the alternator a chance to re-charge the battery.
3) Don't leave any lights on when the engine's not running. Your vehicle may shut down its own interior lights a few moments after you turn off the engine; just make sure all your doors are completely shut or the lights will stay on all night and drain your battery.
By the way, a weak battery (or malfunctioning alternator) doesn't just reduce the likelihood of your car starting in the morning. It can cause the engine to misfire or stall. The ABS and airbag warning lights might come on unnecessarily, or the turn signals may not work properly.
If you need help with your battery or if it's time for a new one, pull into any Mountain View Tire and Auto Service location.
Maybe your friend doesn’t have enough time during the day to pull his vehicle into a shop.
Or you might know of a family member who feels completely overwhelmed by the idea of talking with an automotive pro about technical vehicle maintenance issues.
Or it could be an elderly neighbor who doesn’t have the money to take her car in for service or repairs. As a result, she’s sacrificing her safety every time she drives.
If any of those scenarios sound familiar, consider giving the gift of car care this holiday season.
You may think that’s an unusual present, but it’s the kind of gift that could mean a lot to the recipient. It might relieve your loved one of a lot of stress.
Offer to bring your friend’s car into the shop for her and cover the costs of any necessary service or repairs, or wrap up a Mountain View Tire gift certificate for your relative. They’re available at any of our Southern California locations.
We hope you have a very merry Christmas and a new year filled with safe travels.
Have your tires rotated every 6,000 to 8,000 miles. By regularly changing their position on your vehicle, you’ll help your tires wear more evenly, which will prevent the need for premature replacement. (Here’s your coupon for a free tire rotation and pressure check.)
Check your tire pressure once a month. Ideally, you’d use a high-quality gauge to check the pressure when your car has been parked for at least three hours. Testing “cold” tires gives you a more accurate reading, but you can always pull into any Mountain View location and we’ll check your tire pressure for you free of charge.
Keep an eye on your tread depth. Driving on balding tires is like running on ice: neither one is likely to end well for you. The deeper your tread, the more effectively your tires can funnel water and grip the road. Once the tread reaches a depth of 2/32nds of an inch, it’s time for a new set of tires.
Don’t rely on TPMS as a replacement for pressure checks. Your vehicle’s Tire Pressure Monitoring System is a nice feature, but by the time that warning light pops on, one or more of your tires could be as much as 25% underinflated. By that point, your tires could be irreversibly damaged.
We can help you with tire rotations, TPMS repair, tread and pressure checks, and every other related service. Make an online appointment or pull into one of our dozens of Southern California locations. We're open seven days a week.
Thanksgiving, Christmas and the rest of the holiday season can be hectic enough. There's no need to add car trouble to what can be the season's long to-do list and frantic pace.
So, especially if you'll be traveling to see family or friends over these next few weeks, take some time now to have your vehicle inspected for potential problems. It makes sense to have any nagging issues fixed, too, so they don't leave you stranded and ruin your holiday plans.
A Quick Checklist
1) Oil Change - Having your oil and filter changed as often as the vehicle's manufacturer recommends is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to extend the life of your engine. (Check our Coupons page to save on your next oil change.)
2) Radiator Flush - New coolant and - if necessary - a new radiator hose will keep your engine from overheating. Flushing the old coolant regularly also prevents corrosion build-up and helps your cooling system components last longer.
3) Brake Inspection - There's not a more important system in your vehicle than the brakes. So, if the pedal feels soft or you hear squeaks or other unusual sounds when slowing or stopping, have your brakes checked as soon as possible, and definitely before you leave for a long trip. (Save $25 on brake work with this coupon.)
4) Tire Pressure Check - This is another quick, easy step that makes driving safer and saves you money. Have your tire pressure checked at least once a month. Properly inflated tires allow for better handling and fuel economy, and reduce the chance of a blowout.
We'll be glad to provide all those services for you, as well as any other repair or maintenance your vehicle may need. Stop in any day of the week or make your online appointment.
Did you know that roughly 200 types of raw materials are used to make a single tire?
Many new tires must pass several months’ worth of testing and inspection before a vehicle maker will agree to use the tires as original equipment.
And all tires are put through a battery of quality and safety checks before they make it to market. They’re cut apart, x-rayed, road tested and run on test wheels, all to make sure they’re safe, provide a smooth ride and deliver a long service life.
Our thanks to the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association for that information. They also provided the video on how tires are made. It’s an interesting process. Check it out.
There are lots of car parts that need to be replaced now and then: filters, belts, hoses and those little metal and ceramic things that play a key role in the ignition process: spark plugs.
“Spark plugs are one of the hardest working parts of a vehicle,” said Rich White, Executive Director of the Car Care Council. Each plug “can fire 400 times per minute per cylinder or 1,600 times a minute on a four-cylinder engine.”
But despite the constant strain spark plugs are under while a vehicle is running, White says many drivers don’t replace them as often as necessary, even after they’ve failed. “This is a mistake since fouled, damaged or worn out spark plugs can lead to engine damage, reduced fuel efficiency and poor performance.”
Plugs in older cars should be changed every 20,000 to 40,000 miles, while the spark plugs made for newer vehicles can last between 60,000 and 100,000 miles.
If you notice any of these problems, pull into your nearest Mountain View Tire and Auto Service location.
Stubborn starts - Engine not turning over as quickly as it should? The problem could be worn plugs.
Filling up too frequently - There can be many reasons for poor fuel economy, from under-inflated tires and a dirty air filter to speeding and jackrabbit starts, but old spark plugs also contribute to lower MPGs.
A sluggish feel - If your plugs aren’t firing as frequently as they should, you’ll know it when you try to accelerate. Your car may not respond as quickly as it normally would.
Too much noise - Those rattling, pinging or knocking sounds you’ve been hearing from under the hood lately? Yep - probably bad spark plugs.
The good news: replacing spark plugs is one of the more affordable types of maintenance you can have performed on your vehicle. And when you consider that new plugs can improve your gas mileage and prevent engine damage, it’s a type of service you shouldn’t put off.
Give us a call or stop in if we can help.
Dirty, weather-worn tires are to your car as a pair of beat-up old shoes is to your wardrobe.
So, if keeping your vehicle looking good is important to you, treat your tires to a little TLC now and then. It’s pretty easy.
1) Limit sun exposure - Sure, that big ball of gas we call the sun is 93 million miles away, but it’s close enough to beat the life out of your tires over time. Consider that when parking. Look for shady spots or, if you pull into the same lot every day, change the direction your car faces to limit your tires’ exposure.
2) Give your tires a bath - All it takes is water, a washcloth and some dish soap. You don’t need anything fancier than that. In fact, other cleaners may contain chemicals that can break down a tire’s compounds.
3) Make ‘em shine - There are plenty of products you can buy to give your tires that showroom appearance. Just check the label first to make sure they’re not petroleum-based. Those can damage the rubber and cause premature cracking.
4) Store them properly - If they’ll be off your vehicle for a while, store your tires in a cool, dry space out of direct sunlight. When possible, cover them to provide even more protection. Read our post “Tips on Storing Your Tires.”
5) Keep them properly inflated - Of course, if the tread on your tires is too low their appearance won’t matter at all. So, to extend their life, always keep your tires properly inflated and have them rotated every 6,000 miles to spread the wear evenly over all four tires. Pull into any Mountain View location for a free pressure check and find our coupon for a free rotation here.
So, you’re not a distracted driver? Great!
But even if you stay completely focused when behind the wheel, it’s a good idea to actively watch for other drivers who may be distracted. One of the reasons that’s important: distractions can take so many forms these days.
Of course, drivers using cell phones are a leading cause of accidents, but adjusting the radio or other dashboard gadgets can also pull a driver’s eyes from the road for too long a time.
Attending to young children while driving can lead to quick, unexpected lane changes. Even an intense conversation with a passenger can prove dangerously distracting.
There are the chemical distractions, too. AARP reports that half of older drivers take seven or more prescribed medications. A December 2018 article at AARP.org stated that “With so many [drivers] on regular medication, impairment while driving is a critical and significant issue.”
Add to that list people who’ve had too much to drink or those under the influence of marijuana or other types of street drugs, and you can see that it's crucial to stay aware of how other drivers behave on the road.
Watch for These Signs
1) Is the car coming toward you swerving or driving too close to the center line? Safely and quickly move as far to the right as you can.
2) When you’re close enough, look for the position of the other driver’s head. Is he focused on the road or is he looking down for too long? If he seems distracted, be prepared to swerve out of his way if he crosses the center line.
3) Is the other car loaded with people? The likelihood of a driver being distracted shoots up with each person added to a vehicle, especially when the passengers are younger.
4) Never assume that a driver who has pulled up to a two-way stop sign sees your crossing vehicle. Sometimes you can sense that she’s distracted by cars down the road and doesn’t see that you’re almost in front of her. Is she nudging too far into the intersection? Does she appear to be looking past your car? Don’t be afraid to draw her attention to your vehicle by flashing your headlights or blowing your horn.
With 30 locations across Southern California, we repair a lot of tires each year! There are some tires we can’t repair, though, but not for lack of knowledge or proper equipment.
To be repaired reliably, any puncture to the tread must be one-quarter inch in diameter or less. And tire damage outside of the tread area cannot be fixed in a way that assures safe operation. The reason: the sidewall area of the tire is subject to so much pressure and flexing during driving that current repair methods don’t provide a long-lasting solution.
These are standard tire repair guidelines that we always follow. They also happen to be recommendations of the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA).
• We use a rubber plug to fill the hole, then apply a patch on the inside of the tire to add additional strength to the plug and seal the inner liner. The USTMA says that using a plug without a patch is unacceptable.
• Before repairing a tire, we remove it from the rim. Even if the point of puncture is obvious, we inspect the whole tire for additional damage. We also need to access the inside of the tire to apply the patch.
• Once a tire has been repaired, the same area of the tire cannot be repaired again. Multiple repairs near each other can weaken the structural integrity of the tire.
• Tires with exposed metal belts cannot be repaired and should be removed from the vehicle as soon as possible.
• If you drive too long on an underinflated tire - even if it’s newer - the inside of the tire may start to grind away, leaving rubber particles or dust on the inside. That damage cannot be corrected, and the tire may need to be discarded.
If we can help you with tire repair, tire rotation, wheel balancing, wheel alignment, nitrogen tire inflation, free pressure checks, TPMS service or new tire sales, just pull into any Mountain View Tire and Auto Service location.
Americans get rid of a lot of tires each year - many tens of millions, in fact. The majority are recycled as fuel, retreads, roadway construction materials and for other purposes.
But with a little effort, you can re-purpose your old tires and put them to work in different ways around your home, yard or office.
There are many YouTube videos that provide inspiration for various projects or show you how to execute them. We pulled together a few of our favorites.
The first video shows 40 uses for old tires, including number 6 - a cool sink design that would be perfect for a man cave or car-themed restaurant.
In this second video, you’ll learn how to make an ottoman / stool from an old tire. You could also twist this idea a bit to make a coffee table from your passenger car tire or a larger dragster tire, which is called a racing slick. That might make a great gift for the NHRA drag racing fan in your life.
Finally, this video shows you how to convert an old tire into a planter that’s suitable for your deck or patio, as well as a dog bed that even the biggest puppy would have trouble chewing through. Take a look.
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