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Auto Repair & Tires Blog
If your vehicle was built after 2007, it includes TPMS - a Tire Pressure Monitoring System. It tells you when your tires need more air or nitrogen.
But when it comes to checking the condition of your tires, you're on your own.
Tire manufacturers started making one aspect of that process a bit easier though a few years ago.
Wear bars - also known as Tread Wear Indicators - are basically thin strips of rubber that run perpendicular to the tread. Look for them in the grooves in the image above.
When the tread on your tire is only as tall as those wear bars - 2/32nds of an inch - the tire needs to be replaced.
Legally, you can't drive on tires once the tread has worn down to 2/32nds. Because they can't funnel water effectively and they're susceptible to blowouts, tires that bald are dangerous to you, your passengers, and other nearby drivers.
By the way, after you find your tread wear bars, check the pressure in all your tires and the spare. Inspect them for sidewall cracks, gashes and bulges. Then, look for nails and screws in the tread. If you find any, don't pull them out or the tire may go flat quickly. Just come to your nearest Mountain View Tire and Auto Service location and we'll take care of any problems as quickly as possible.
There are several possible reasons your vehicle is shaking. This list may help you narrow down the cause.
Check under the hood. The problem could be your spark plugs or spark plug wires. You might also have a dirty air filter or clogged fuel filter. In those cases, the lack of sufficient oxygen or gasoline would lead to the shaking.
Tighten up. It’s possible that your engine is loose. Yeah, really! If one of your three or four engine mounts fails, life is bound to get a little shaky in your driver’s seat. Engine mounts act as mini shock absorbers to reduce the effects of engine vibration.
Tighten those tires, too. If you changed a flat or rotated your own tires recently, put the wrench on each lug nut again to make sure they're all secure.
And speaking of tires. If they need to be balanced, if there’s enough water in one or more of them, or if the steel belts within a tire are separating, you may soon find yourself driving through Shakytown.
Broken brakes. When your brake rotors are warped or one of your brake calipers is stuck open, you'll feel a shake in the steering wheel, and possibly in the brake pedal as well.
Accidents happen. If your car's been in one lately, it may have suffered a bent axle or driveshaft. Either problem will start your vehicle a-shakin'.
October is Fall Car Care Month, and April is Spring Car Care Month.
Both events are observed when the weather is changing in much of the country. But because those of us in Southern California don’t experience temperature fluctuations and other seasonal changes as dramatically as other areas of the U.S., you may think we don’t need to bother with Car Care Months.
No matter how technologically advanced it is, your vehicle is still a machine that needs regular maintenance to run its best. And while we don’t have the cold and snow, our cars do contend with high heat, salty ocean air, and busy roads that lead to frequent stopping and starting.
In fact, look at how the Car Care Council defines “severe” driving conditions:
Your vehicle could easily experience three or four of those conditions on a daily basis.
So, it's important to follow the Car Care Council's guidelines for proactive vehicle maintenance. Check out the graphic below.
The unprecedented devastation of Hurricane Harvey has left financial and emotional wounds that will linger throughout southeast Texas for years. In addition to the heartbreaking loss of life, homes and businesses, countless vehicles were damaged by the flood waters.
How might that affect you 1,500 miles away in southern California?
Car dealers and individual owners can still sell water-damaged cars that have been totaled in other states.
According to a Popular Mechanics article, the titles of totaled vehicles in most states include a “salvage tag.” But car sellers can wholesale those vehicles to states that issue new titles without acknowledging the car as salvage. From there, the damaged car can move from state to state as a clean vehicle.
So, whenever you’re shopping for a used car, look for signs that it’s been in a flood: dried mud in the trunk; a moldy smell; warped door panels; water marks inside the instruments, etc.
Flood water - especially salt water - can corrode a car’s sensitive electronics and destroy the cylinders. It can ruin the oil and other fluids, too. And if the car was driven while wet, the engine could be damaged.
Just as your body uses food to create energy, your car converts gasoline into the power it needs.
If you eat low-quality meals, your body will respond negatively. And if you use lower-quality gasoline, your vehicle’s performance will suffer.
In fact, testing conducted by AAA has shown that using higher-quality Top Tier gas can make a “significant difference” to your engine.
According to a AAA article, Top Tier gasolines meet specific standards for “robust engine cleanliness and performance specification.”
Gasoline brands that did not meet Top Tier standards left 19 times the amount of deposits in test engines after only 4,000 miles of simulated driving. That type of gunk can affect fuel injectors, intake valves and combustion chambers, and harm a vehicle’s performance and responsiveness.
AAA suggests using Top Tier fuel. “Consumers can reverse some engine deposits simply by switching gasoline brands,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering. “After a few thousand miles with Top Tier gasoline, performance issues like rough idling or hesitation during acceleration can often be resolved.”
When I drove into work on Monday, my brake pedal felt soft. Too soft.
In fact, it made for a stressful ride.
I started thinking about how I’d react if my brakes couldn’t stop my car quickly enough or - worse yet - if they failed completely.
I allowed a lot more room between my car and the vehicle in front of me.
As I approached stopping situations, I stayed ready to downshift into a lower gear.
I kept an eye on the side of the road in case I had to steer off into the grass.
It wasn’t a good feeling.
So, I had my brakes looked at right away. Turns out, one of my brake lines needed to be replaced.
Fast forward to 5:30pm Monday.
My trip home was a completely different experience from the drive in that morning.
My stress was gone.
I drove with confidence, knowing that I could stop on a dime if I needed to.
And I enjoyed my hour-long commute and the beautiful weather, thankful for automotive experts whose work keeps us all safer on the road.
Is there a car repair that you’ve been putting off? Or maybe you know it's time for new tires. Is it making you a little anxious or even fearful of driving?
Please don’t put it off. Stay safe out there.
Is it time to get away for a weekend road trip or family vacation?
If you’d prefer to spend as little money as possible on your travels, consider these suggestions.
1) Discover nature. For a very reasonable fee, you can purchase passes to our national parks. Details here. Or enjoy any of California’s state parks. Find admission info here. Pitching a tent or renting a cabin will be much less expensive than staying in a hotel, and it’ll provide a more unique experience.
2) Pack a cooler. The cost of eating at restaurants can really add up. So, bring your own food, or if you’ll be staying in a motel, make sure your room is an efficiency with a stove and fridge.
3) Give yourself a daily budget. Keep the credit card tucked away, and accept the challenge of living on a certain amount of money each day. It may force you to slow down and look for other options, but you never know where that mindset will lead you.
4) Find the free stuff. Plan your trip around no-cost or low-cost events, like fairs and festivals, concerts in the park, local theatre productions, and minor league sports. You’re likely to find these activities relaxing and charming.
5) Use your gifts. For Christmas and birthdays, ask for hotel, gas station and chain restaurant gift cards that you can use while traveling.
6) Plan the old-school way. Call a travel agent for input on less-expensive destinations, discounts, and money-saving options you might not otherwise learn about.
7) Focus on your family. Rather than stopping at expensive tourist spots, use your time on the road to re-discover your loved ones. Play car games. Recall fond memories. Have those long talks you never seem to have time for during the work week. Simply driving through a new part of the country can inspire some great conversations. Oh, and - dare we say it? - try leaving the electronic devices at home.
8) Avoid unexpected costs. Let us check your vehicle at least a few days before you leave, so your trip isn’t ruined by an expensive breakdown and tow. You’ll also breathe easier knowing that your car is safe and ready for the road. Make an online appointment or find your nearest Mountain View Tire and Auto Service location here.
There are no cards to send. No traditional foods to prepare.
But you should still celebrate this annual event.
That’s because it could save you gas, money, and even your life.
National Tire Safety Week is all about taking a few minutes to make sure your tires are in good condition, whether you inspect them yourself or have us do it. (Find your location here.)
1) The sidewalls should be checked for cuts, gouges, bulges, and other signs of damage that could lead to a dangerous blowout. (Learn "How to Survive a Tire Blowout.")
2) The tread depth should be measured to determine if your tires can grip the road and funnel rainwater effectively.
4) And, of course, the pressure should be checked since improperly inflated tires reduce gas mileage, negatively affect handling, and wear out sooner.
National Tire Safety Week 2017 is May 28th through June 3rd. Pull into any Mountain View Tire and Auto Service location and we’ll be happy to inspect and fill your tires for you.
The team at Cooper Tires has put together a video series that's ideal for newer drivers. And even if you've been behind the wheel for a few years, these videos may serve as good reminders. Take a look.
How To Change a Tire
What To Do If Your Engine Light Comes On
What To Do If You're In an Accident
What To Put In Your Car Emergency Kit
If you drive a luxury vehicle, we have good news for you: you'll have more options, plus save time and maybe even money at Mountain View Tire and Auto Service.
Luxury vehicles, by the way, are defined as these brands: Acura, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Infiniti, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Volvo.
A 2017 study by J.D. Power found that 46% of luxury vehicle owners are likely to return to the dealer when they need new tires. But car dealers can't match our selection of tire brands and sizes. In fact, we offer 17 brands of tires!
“Also, we can generally perform the work and return the vehicle to our customer much faster than an auto dealership,” said Mitsos. “It's very common for a dealership to keep a vehicle for 2 to 3 days. We try to return every vehicle we work on the same day.”
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