Auto Repair & Tires Blog
After more than a year of pandemic protocol, you may be more than ready for a vacation. But if airports and international travel still make you a little nervous, try hittin' the road for a week.
The CDC doesn’t recommend non-essential traveling and, of course, if you have any COVID-19 symptoms you should stay home. But if you do choose to get away by car, consider these tips.
1) Travel to a state or national park where you can enjoy wide-open spaces and breathe in plenty of fresh air while keeping your distance from others.
2) Pack a cooler and bring your own food. When necessary, re-stock at a grocery store later at night to avoid the larger, condensed crowds and prolonged exposure you might be subjected to at restaurants.
3) Bring your own hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes and extra masks.
4) Wear a mask whenever you’re in public and when you pull up to drive-through windows and toll booths.
5) Frequently wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, and especially after pumping gas, visiting the restroom or touching any frequently contacted surfaces.
6) Will you be staying in a hotel? Choose one with strong policies on cleaning, wearing masks and other preventative measures.
7) The CDC recommends full vaccination and a viral test 1 to 3 days before traveling. When you get home, self-quarantine for seven days and get tested again 3 to 5 days after returning.
8) Before you head out, pull into any Mountain View location for a complete inspection and any other service your vehicle may need. Staying safe from COVID-19 means maintaining control over your environment. A dependable vehicle helps make that possible.
Okay, we admit it - we like to watch car detailing videos.
It's so satisfying to see a filthy vehicle being restored to its showroom condition.
While watching the video above, we weren't sure that van would ever be clean again, but the detailer was able to perform some serious magic and return it to its original glory.
Speaking of which, April is National Car Care Month. It's a good reminder to invest a little time, money and/or elbow grease into your vehicle to keep it running and looking its best.
You'll help to maintain your car's resale value. No one wants to take on someone else's mess, so a grungy car may be a lot harder to sell, or you may not get as much for it come trade-in time. But when a dealer or potential buyer sees your vehicle has been well cared for, they'll be willing to pay more for it.
Have your car deep cleaned by a professional detailer every now and then. Ask for the vehicle's exterior finishes to be cleaned and protected to preserve the paint job. You might also have the headlight lenses restored to their original clarity to give you a better view of the road at night. And imagine how nice your vehicle's carpeting and upholstery will look and feel after a professional shampooing.
While you're thinking about your car, check the condition and inflation of your spare tire. Then, find your jack and lug wrench. Practice using the jack before you need it, and make sure the wrench fits your car's lug nuts.
Of course, you can also pull into any Mountain View Tire and Auto Service location for just about any type of automotive maintenance and repair. Count on us to install batteries, belts, hoses, shocks, struts and tires. We also work on brakes and transmissions, as well as AC, suspension and steering systems, plus, fuel, emissions and cooling systems and much more.
Car batteries can be dangerous, especially if they’ve been damaged. That’s why it’s so important to follow the proper steps - in the proper order - when jump starting a car.
The video above provides an easy-to-follow lesson on how to jump a dead battery.
The Potential Problems
The sulfuric acid in your car battery can become vaporous and leak into the air around you. If the jumper cables you’re using cause a spark (which can happen when applying them to your battery terminals), the vapors may ignite or even explode.
Incorrectly jumping a car can also damage both the live and the dead battery, as well as the electronics in one or both vehicles.
To avoid bodily injury and costly harm to the vehicle, take the time to learn the correct process, or for help, visit or call your Mountain View Tire and Auto Service location.
I saw a wise comment on social media the other day.
The author wrote that spending less time in school because of the pandemic shouldn't prevent kids from learning. As a parent, he argued, you could be teaching your kids how to cook or bake, how to make basic home repairs, how to plant a garden, care for a young child or create a household budget. In other words, life skills.
You could also add learning basic vehicle maintenance to that list.
For instance, does your high school student know how to change a flat tire? Can she find the jack in the trunk of the family car and use it safely? Does she know how to swap out the flat tire with the spare? Have you taught her to pull far enough off the road, turn on her hazards, park on level ground, apply the emergency brake and chock the opposing tire before getting to work?
Check out the quick video in a Mountain View blog post. It's an easy-to-follow lesson on how to change a tire. Watch it with all the drivers in your family who have no tire-changing experience, and then hit the driveway for a practice session.
While you're at it, click on the links below to teach your young drivers about these important topics:
- How and why to keep tires at the proper pressure
- How to survive a tire blowout
- How to find a reliable auto care shop well before they need one
Over the years, we've also published several articles about buying vehicles. Click on the links below to learn more.
- Buying a Car? Check This First
- How to Save Money on Your Next New Car Purchase
- Before You Buy a New Car Check This Number
- Warning Signs to Look For When Buying a Used Car
- Beware of These Five Behaviors at Car Dealerships
- Steer Clear of Flood-Damaged Cars
True, 3.68 inches of rain is not a lot, but it is the most Southern California averages for any one month of the year. And that month is February.
January is the next wettest month at 3.33 inches of rain. March is third with 3.14 inches. So, since the first quarter of the year is our rainy season, it’s important to make sure your vehicle is ready now for the relatively wet roads.
Start by pulling into any Mountain View Tire and Auto Service location as soon as possible and letting us measure the depth of your tire tread. We can also check to make sure your tires are properly inflated and if there are any signs of uneven wear or failure.
While you’re here, we can inspect your wiper blades and headlights to make sure they can provide you with a clear view of the road during rainy days.
Car thefts in Los Angeles and across the country are on the rise, and vehicle owners may be making it easier for their cars to be stolen.
A New York Times article points to key fobs as the root of the problem.
Drivers are leaving their fobs in their cars while they run into a store or even park in their driveways overnight. Once a car thief sees the fob, he knows he can use the keyless ignition to start and steal the car.
“From a high of 1.7 million a year in 1991, thefts had dropped more than 50% in recent years, according to data compiled by the FBI. Technology, it seemed, had largely solved the problem of stolen vehicles. Until people started leaving their fobs sitting in their cup holders,” wrote Sarah Maslin Nir in the Times piece.
“In Los Angeles, car theft reached record levels during the spring lockdown: 5,744 vehicles were stolen from April to June, an increase of nearly 60% over the year before,” according to the article.
Tips to Prevent Car Theft
1) Don’t leave your fob - or your keys - in the car. And never leave your ignition on while the car is unattended. Even if you’ll only be away from the vehicle for a minute, don’t tempt fate. It doesn’t take long to swipe a car when it’s so easy to steal.
2) Hide your valuables. Don’t give anyone additional incentive to take your car. Carry your phone and other devices with you each time you leave the vehicle or lock them in the trunk.
3) Separate the paperwork from the car. Never store the vehicle’s title or registration in the glove compartment. If a thief is pulled over by the police while in your car, you don’t want to make it easy for him to produce documents that allow him to fake ownership.
4) Keep it light. If you don’t have a secure garage, park on a well-lit street or lot, or install motion-sensitive lighting to illuminate your driveway and vehicle.
5) Invest in tech. Consider having an anti-theft device installed on your car to discourage people from tampering with it. That type of feature may also save you money on your car insurance premiums.
This year’s west coast wildfires have caused as much as $8 billion in damage. And, of course, among all that property loss were many cars. (For perspective, about 4,000 cars were destroyed during the October 2017 fires in Northern California alone.)
Writer John Egan and Insurance Analyst Amy Danise compiled a list of tips for Forbes.com to help you protect your vehicle from the next fire.
Their suggestions begin with the obvious, such as keeping your car in the garage or covering it and closing the windows and sunroof when wildfires are nearby. Both options can prevent ash from damaging your vehicle’s paint and interior.
If you can’t provide sufficient protection, hand wash and dry your car each day that wildfires are in your area. If the ash isn’t removed quickly enough it can lead to corrosion of the paint. Using a soft rag or sponge, wash the surface gently with a pH-balanced soap that’s made specifically for car exteriors. Dry the car with a soft towel or chamois. When fires are no longer a factor, wax your car after washing it to provide an added layer of paint protection.
Wipe down the interior to remove any residue from the dash, and then vacuum the floor and upholstery to make sure you’re not grinding any ash into the seats or carpeting.
After the fire, pull into your Mountain View Tire and Auto Service location. We’ll check your air filter and cabin filter to make sure they’re not clogged with soot.
It’s easy to get lost in our own worlds while we’re driving. When the windows are rolled up and we’re listening to music or engaged in conversation with a passenger, we can forget that what we do - or don’t do - affects other drivers.
We took an informal survey of about 50 people and asked for their number one pet peeve about other drivers. Do the results below match yours? And how can you do your part to make driving easier and less frustrating for your fellow drivers?
Not using turn signals - That’s the irritant mentioned most often by drivers in our survey. Steve wrote, “It’s called a turn signal for a reason. You are signaling that you’ll be changing lanes or slowing down to execute a turn. Signaling after you’ve already applied the brakes is like saying ‘in case you’re wondering, this is why I decided to slow down all of sudden.’”
Jerry added, “It’s very frustrating when I’m waiting to enter a busy street and a driver makes a turn right in front of me without using his turn signal. It ruins my only chance to pull out.”
Living in the left lane - That pet peeve was second on the list. We’ve posted about the dangers of left-lane driving before. Read the article and watch the video here. Shaun wrote, “When people drive next to each other for several miles they prevent everyone else from being able to pass.”
Doug mentioned that “people who drive in the left lane five miles below the speed limit remind me of mindless zombies in suspended animation.”
Speed issues - Our survey respondents mentioned speeding drivers and those moving too slowly. Sam gets annoyed “when the left turn arrow is only on for five seconds and the person in front of me uses all five seconds to accelerate.”
Bill commented on the drivers who treat highways as “racetracks.” And Sue wrote about “following someone driving under the speed limit who speeds up when I try to pass.”
Other respondents mentioned these frustrations:
• Drivers who are obviously distracted by texting.
• Drivers who pull out in front of traffic forcing others to brake.
• Drivers who don’t know how to navigate four-way stops or roundabouts.
• Drivers who wait until the last second to merge from a lane that’s ending.
In the new year ahead, we urge you to commit to driving with others in mind. When you do, you’ll help to reduce road rage and the potential for accidents.
You can avoid the surprise of a dead vehicle battery by staying alert for these signs.
1) Slow starts. As your battery reaches the end of its service life, your engine will take a little longer to turn over.
2) Dim lights. Your headlights may fade quickly when you power up your air conditioner or other accessories.
3) A bad smell. If you notice the scent of rotten eggs coming from the front of your vehicle your battery may have a leak.
4) Corrosion. That white, powdery build-up on the terminals can be an early sign of your battery's demise.
5) Damage. If your battery's case is cracked or bulging or the shape has changed in any way, it's time for a replacement.
6) Age. The average vehicle battery lasts three to five years. Outdoor temperatures play a big role in the service life, though. Since heat is a battery killer, you may find that you need to change your battery more frequently than those who live in cooler climates.
If you notice any of these symptoms, pull into any Mountain View Tire and Auto Service location. We can test your battery to see how much life it has left. If the battery is fine, your vehicle may have an electrical problem or a bad alternator.
Nearly all rubber begins as latex, the sticky, milk-white mixture tapped from rubber trees. Since the process of making rubber leaves an environmental, economic and social footprint, sustainable practices in the rubber industry are more important than ever.
Tire manufacturers use about 70% of the rubber produced each year. That's why Goodyear issued its Natural Rubber Procurement Policy in 2018, committing to buy only natural rubber that's sourced responsibly.
As a member of TIP - the Tire Industry Project - Goodyear is also working to raise standards that "improve respect for human rights, prevent land grabbing and deforestation, protect biodiversity and water resources, improve yields, and increase supply chain transparency and traceability” throughout the rubber manufacturing process.
And Goodyear's Innovation teams are exploring the potential of alternative raw materials to replace or supplement natural rubber. Look at some of the possibilities:
1) Soybean oil tread compound - It's now used in four Goodyear tire lines in place of petroleum oil. In 2019, the company increased its use of soybean oil by 90%.
2) Rice husk ash silica - A by-product of rice processing, it's replacing sand-based silica in Goodyear's tire-making process because it reduces the amount of waste sent to the landfill.
3) Dandelion rubber - Russian dandelions require just six months to mature, compared to a rubber tree's seven years. Goodyear is studying the plant's potential as a raw material that can replace traditional rubber.
4) Synthetic rubber - In conjunction with DuPont, Goodyear developed BioIsoprene. It's made from "a renewable carbohydrate source that could reduce [the company's] carbon footprint," according to Goodyear's corporate website.