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Auto Repair & Tires Blog
1) Keep it light - Did you know that overloading your vehicle can damage your tires? Whether it's in the trunk, on the roof or in the passenger compartment, excessive weight can lead to severe tire cracking, component separation and even a blowout. Your handling and fuel economy will suffer, too. So, check your owner's manual to see how much weight your vehicle can carry safely.
2) Find the balance - Whenever you have a tire repaired or replaced, makes sure it's professionally balanced before it's installed on your vehicle or placed in your trunk as a spare. Unbalanced tires can wear unevenly, which will shorten their service life.
3) Stop the spinning - If your vehicle is ever stuck in the mud, sand or snow, don't spin any of your tires too much while trying to get free. According to Goodyear, "the centrifugal forces generated by a free-spinning tire or wheel assembly may cause sudden tire explosion, resulting in vehicle damage and/or serious personal injury." They suggest using "a gentle backward and forward rocking motion" as a safer alternative.
4) Take it easy - Aggressive driving can cause your tires to wear prematurely. Turning corners too quickly, jack-rabbit starts, hard braking and swerving back and forth will all take their toll on your tires - and your wallet.
5) Switch 'em up - Have your tires rotated every 6,000 miles or as often as your vehicle manufacturer recommends to ensure that they wear evenly and last longer.
6) Keep up the pressure - Maintaining proper inflation is the easiest step you can take toward keeping your tires on the job. Remember that tire pressure rises in warm weather and dips when it's colder. So, to stay safe, stop into any Mountain View Tire and Auto Service store once each month for a free pressure check.
It's often said that young people don't have a sense of their own mortality, so it's easy for younger drivers to become complacent or even over-confident when they're behind the wheel.
That's why National Teen Driver Safety Week is such an important reminder.
Celebrated during the third full week of October, the annual event draws attention to automobile accidents involving teenagers and reminds parents and their young drivers about the importance of road safety.
A few statistics:
The good news is that parents can do a lot to influence young drivers and keep them safe.
If your kids drive, insist that all phones and any other devices must be stored in the glove compartment when the car is in motion.
Remind your child that seat belts must be worn whenever they're in a vehicle. (It's the law!)
Let them know that drinking and driving will cost them their driving privilages. And reinforce the importance of obeying speed limits and all the other rules of the road.
As a parent, you can improve your teens' chances of staying safe by enrolling them in defensive driver courses, installing apps that monitor their driving on their cell phones, and by keeping the lines of communication open - continuing to drive with them now and then, correcting bad habits and always reminding them about their responsibility to drive safely, not only for themselves, but for their fellow drivers.
Wipe down your wipers - Cleaning your windshield wipers now and then helps them last longer. Just dampen a towel with glass cleaner. Then, drag the towel along the rubber edge of the wiper. You’ll protect the blades from the abrasive effect of any dirt and grime that builds up. You may even prevent micro-scratches on your windshield.
Don’t get heavy - Do you haul heavy items in your passenger vehicle? Whether you put them in your trunk or the back seat, too much weight for prolonged periods can take a toll on your brakes and suspension. That can lead to premature wear or even failure of those systems. Of course, carrying heavy cargo also makes your engine work harder, which lowers your fuel economy.
Start your engine - Still working from home? Even if you don’t drive to the office much these days, you should still fire up your car’s engine regularly. That’ll keep the oil and other fluids cycling and the engine parts lubricated. It can also preserve your battery. And driving around the block just a few times each week will prevent your tires from flattening on one side.
Buy late - In the market for a new vehicle? Try to put off your purchase until the last couple months of the year. Since dealers are especially anxious to make room for the new model year cars, they’re often willing to make better deals to move older cars off the lot.
Check your coverage costs - Speaking of buying a new car, before you sign on the dotted line, call your insurance company to find out what you’ll pay for the coverage your new ride will need. If you’ve been driving a used or much older car for a few years, the insurance premiums for a new car may be shocking by comparison.
1) Shut it down - Sitting in a slow-moving drive-thru lane waiting to grab lunch? Turn off your engine. In fact, almost any time you'll be idling for more than 15 seconds, turning off your engine is the Earth-friendly choice. Just make sure you won't need to react quickly to fast-moving traffic or other dangers.
2) Plan your day to prevent redundant travel - Over the course of an average weekend, how many times do you make separate trips from home to run errands? One trip in the morning for grocery shopping. Another trip at noon to go to the park. A third trip later in the day to the hardware store. All those trips include a lot of "common miles" - from driving through your neighborhood to navigating frequently traveled roads. With just a little planning, you might be able to combine several trips into one. That will cut your gas and maintenance costs while reducing your carbon footprint.
3) Ease off the pedal - Most vehicles reach their maximum fuel efficiency at about 50 miles per hour. Every five miles per hour faster lowers the return on each gallon of gas.
4) Lighten your load - Is your trunk full of things you really don't use that often? Then take 'em out! Every extra pound your vehicle carries lowers your gas mileage, which adds to your vehicle's environmental impact.
5) Let us check your tire pressure - Even if your TPMS light is not on, you should have your tire pressure checked once each month. Maintaining the proper pressure will go a long way toward maximizing your MPG. Just you pull into any Mountain View location and we'll take care of it for you free of charge.
6) Maximize your vehicle’s efficiency - There are many other ways we can help you drive cleaner, too. We can change your dirty air filter, align your wheels and replace those old spark plugs. And ask us how nitrogen tire inflation contributes to a greener vehicle.
Is your tire knowledge based on fact or fiction? If you believe these five myths about tire safety, you could find yourself in a dangerous situation.
Myth 1: You can check your tire pressure by kicking the tire. Kicking or merely looking at your tires will not give you an accurate idea of their inflation. A visual inspection can be off by as much as 20 percent. To be safe, use a quality tire gauge to measure the pressure when your tires are cold. Or pull into any Mountain View Tire and Auto Service store and we’ll check and top off your tires for you, free of charge.
Myth 2: Flat fixer fluid is okay to use. Repairing a flat tire with any product injected through the valve stem is like putting a little bandage on a deep cut. Tire repair in a can may provide immediate help, but it’s not a long-term solution. Also, using that type of product could void your tire’s warranty.
Myth 3: Tires underinflated by more than 10% can be “fixed” by re-inflating them. Whether the problem is a rim leak or a puncture, it’s important to know why your tire pressure is so low. Simply re-inflating the tires doesn’t address the root of the problem. After filling them up, your tire pressure could be dangerously low again within a day or two.
Myth 4: Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS) warnings aren't urgent. These systems signal a drop in pressure of more than 25 percent, which can dramatically affect vehicle handling and the service life of the tire. Low tire pressure can lead to loss of control, flats and blowouts.
Myth 5: If there is visible tire tread, the tire is safe. Tires with 2/32" of an inch of tread are considered legally worn out in most states. Tires deteriorate in other ways, too. Over time, the materials in tires lose their flexibility and are more prone to cracking. That’s why all tires should be inspected after five years of use and replaced regardless of tread depth after ten years.
Talk with an expert at your Mountain View Tire and Auto Service store about the best ways to maintain your tires.
Your vehicle's steering and suspension are responsible for providing optimal ride comfort and handling. When the components of those systems are worn or broken, other problems can develop, too, including excessive tire wear, as well as a decrease in vehicle stability and driver control.
Most car manufacturers recommend a steering and suspension system check every 50,000 miles, but pull into the nearest Mountain View Tire and Auto Service location if you notice any of the following warning signs, regardless of your mileage:
• Excessive noise when driving over bumps
There are many parts that make up the steering and suspension systems. If your vehicle isn’t handling properly, one or more of these parts may need to be repaired or replaced:
Interesting fact: the motor oil in your car can be re-used over and over again.
That doesn't mean you don't need to have your oil changed on a regular basis. It means that once we drain the old oil from your vehicle, we collect it for recycling. Then, it's cleaned and re-used in other vehicles.
That's very good news for two main reasons:
1) Oil recycling conserves a natural resource.
All Mountain View Tire and Auto Service locations are Certified Oil Collection Centers. So, each time you allow us to change your oil, you're making a wise choice for the environment.
Does your business generate small amounts of used oil? Call our nearest location to see if we have the capacity to accept your oil.
Certified used oil centers cannot accept oil that's contaminated with other fluids, such as gasoline, antifreeze, solvents or water. We can, however, suggest collection options for you.
Do you know what your car’s “recirculation” button does? It’s okay if you don’t. Lots of people are stumped by it.
The feature is most helpful during the warmest months of the year. When the button is pushed or the recirculation option is chosen, the cooler, air-conditioned air already in your cabin will be re-used and cooled again by your vehicle’s AC system.
When the recirculation option is not in use, fresh air will continually be drawn in from outside of the vehicle. Of course, that outside air will be hot. That means your air conditioning system will need to work harder to keep cooling the warmer air. And when your AC is working harder, your car uses more fuel and you put more stress on your AC compressor.
So, to keep the air inside the cabin cooled as efficiently as possible, choose recirculation. If you drive a newer model, sensors in the vehicle may make the choice for you, switching between fresh and recirculated air when appropriate.
If you have questions or need help with your car's air conditioning system, pull into any Mountain View Tire and Auto Service location.
There’s no shortage of auto service providers in this area. With so many choices, though, how do you know which one to trust with your vehicle and your family’s safety?
The California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) provides valuable advice with an online resource called A Consumer’s Guide to Automotive Repair in California.
The content includes this promise: “By following these tips, you can keep your vehicle in good condition and ensure a good working relationship with your auto repair shop.”
Chris Mitsos agrees. He’s a Vice President of Mountain View Tire and Auto Service. “The information in this guide is spot on,” says Chris. “These are the exact procedures we teach our team to follow.”
Here are a few of the key takeaways.
Read your owner’s manual - You’ll find your vehicle’s maintenance schedule and learn what the warning lights mean. The manual can even provide valuable insight if you’re questioning whether a recommended repair is right for your vehicle or if it may invalidate your warranty.
Choose your repair shop before you need it - Have you just moved to the area? Are you a first-time driver? Or maybe you’re not happy with your current service provider. Start looking for your new auto care team now to avoid a frantic search when you need a quick repair. Visit several facilities near your home and workplace. Let each manager know you’re trying to find a new shop and you’d like to know “why should it be this one?”
Ask yourself these questions about each location:
Estimates, invoices and other paperwork - A written service or repair estimate must include the total cost of all parts and labor, along with an itemized list of the parts that will be required. If the shop needs to change any portion of your signed estimate, they must secure your permission first.
Once the job is done, you should receive an invoice that includes a list of all work performed, even if the part or repair was under warranty and you weren’t charged for it.
Guarantees are not required by law, but, if provided, the written document must include details on what is covered, how long the guarantee is in effect, any exclusions, whether the protection is prorated or transferable, and information on what you must do to make a claim under the guarantee.
BAR’s online repair guide also provides details on how to file a complaint against an auto repair facility. Visit the site here.
During Southern California summers your car’s air conditioner is just about as important as its steering wheel.
But when the cool air blowing from the vents is less than fresh, the smell can make taking the bus seem like a more pleasant alternative.
To treat the problem, we perform an AC deodorizer service using a product called BG Frigi-Fresh. It safely eliminates any foul odors by killing their sources - mold, mildew and fungi - and keeps your vehicle’s interior smelling fresh without the need to manually clean your AC system.
BG Frigi-Fresh is an EPA and USDA-accepted disinfectant, deodorant and sanitizer.
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