Auto Repair & Tires Blog
STOP what you’re doing and watch the video above. It puts an interesting spin on your vehicle’s braking system and why high-quality brake parts are crucial to your safety.
Now, imagine if you couldn’t stop while driving. Talk about terrifying! That’s why you can never afford to ignore the signs that your brakes need repair or replacement. Like these...
A Consistent Noise - A squealing noise when you press the brake pedal doesn’t necessarily mean your brakes need attention. However, a scraping or squealing sound when you’re driving may mean your brake pads have had it.
The irritating noise is generated by wear indicators - a built-in warning system that lets you know when your pads need to be replaced. A clicking or rattling sound may indicate that the pad is loose.
A Soft Pedal - If you now need to push the brake pedal closer to the floor to stop your car, your brake fluid may be low. If the problem returns in a short amount of time, that may be a sign that your master cylinder has a leak.
Longer Stopping Distances - Over time, your brake pads and rotors will wear down, losing their ability to generate enough friction. Less friction = more time required to stop your car.
If it’s been a while since your brakes have been installed, try this: drive through an empty parking lot at a safe speed and then brake suddenly, trying to stop the vehicle as quickly as possible. If you can’t stop on a dime, it may be time for a brake inspection.
Pedal Pulse - Does your brake pedal push back against your foot in short pulses? The cause could be dirty or damaged brake pads, old discs, misaligned wheels, or worn suspension parts. Each of those problems could lead to more serious issues down the road, so if your pedal is pulsing, stop into any Mountain View Tire and Auto Service location so we can check into it.
It's easy to put off vehicle maintenance. Maybe you’re busy. Money could be tight. Or you might just forget.
And, sometimes, you may not even realize that part of your car needs attention.
Tires can be tricky that way. With a quick glance they can appear to be in fine condition, but to prevent costly damage down the road - and maybe even an accident - you need to look at them closer (or pull in to let us do it for you).
Don’t Believe Your Eyes - Your tires could appear to be fully inflated and still be a dozen pounds or more under the manufacturer’s recommended PSI. So, have the pressure checked with a reliable tire gauge at least once per month.
Look Around - If you only check your tires by looking at the sidewalls you may not notice wear in the middle of the tread or on the inner edge. Uneven tread wear can be caused by misaligned wheels, improper balancing, faulty suspension components and, yes, under-inflation and over-inflation.
To prolong the service life of your tires, have them rotated each time your oil is changed or every 6,000 to 8,000 miles, whichever comes first. And remember those monthly pressure checks and inspections.
You’ve probably heard how important it is to maintain proper pressure in your tires and inspect them regularly for cuts, bulges and other types of damage. But you may not have heard these three suggestions from Cooper Tire. (Don't miss the instant $40 rebate on Cooper Tires through August 2018.)
1) Roll Through Holes. Potholes can tear up your tires and suspension and, over time, throw your wheels out of alignment. But sometimes, steering clear of road craters isn’t safe or even possible. If you’re headed for a pothole, don’t slam on the brakes right before hitting it. Instead, slow down as you approach the hole, then release your brakes just before striking it. That allows your tire to roll through the hole easier, softening the impact. Of course, you should always consider vehicles behind you before braking unexpectedly.
2) Lighten Up. When you put too much weight in or on your vehicle, excessive heat can build up inside your tires. That can lead to sudden tire failure - a potentially fatal problem. Your tires’ maximum load rating is listed on the sidewall, in your owner’s manual and/or on the placard mounted on the door jamb. Before buying new tires, check their load-carrying capacity to make sure it’s equal to or greater than your vehicle’s original tires.
3) Care for Your Spare. Your spare tire won’t do you any good if it’s not properly inflated when you need it. So, check its pressure and condition each time you inspect your other tires. If it’s a full-size spare, it should be put into service when you rotate your tires.
With minimal effort, you can maximize the service life of your tires and make the most of your investment. If we can help with your new tires or any type of tire repair or service, let us know. There are dozens of Mountain View Tire and Auto Service locations across Southern California.
When you’re on vacation, you’d like to leave the “real world” behind for a few days, right? You don’t need worries or stress to interfere with your travels.
One way to increase the likelihood of a hassle-free trip is to plan ahead: map out your route, make hotel reservations, and buy any tickets you’ll need in advance.
And since the last thing you want during your vacation is car trouble, your planning should also include an inspection of your vehicle.
A recent study by AAA shows that cars at least a decade old are twice as likely to break down on the road and many times more likely to need a tow.
"All vehicles - even the newest ones - are prone to typical roadside headaches like dead batteries, flat tires and misplaced keys, but vehicles 10 years and older are four times more likely to encounter a problem serious enough to require a tow to a repair facility," said John Nielsen, AAA's Managing Director of Automotive Engineering and Repair.
Battery issues, cooling system trouble and tire damage are the problems that most commonly derail road trips.
Even the newest tire can pick up a nail and lose pressure; there’s no way to guard against that. But older or underinflated tires with lower tread or exposed belts are more susceptible to blowouts and they’re far more dangerous on wet roads. That’s why a tire inspection is so important prior to a family getaway. (Read "How to Survive a Tire Blowout.")
You can’t tell how much life is left in your car’s battery just by looking at it, but we can test it to determine its status. And when you pull in for an inspection, we’ll check your radiator, hoses, water pump and other components for leaks and other problems.
Peace of mind comes from preparation. So, prepare for a carefree vacation with a vehicle inspection at any Mountain View Tire and Auto Service location. Schedule your online appointment or call the location nearest you.
When you leave lots of room between you and the vehicle in front of you, you’ll have more time to react to any road debris that may be in your shared lane.
Flip on your turn signal well before you apply your brakes. The driver behind you will then understand that you’re slowing down to turn, not to avoid a road hazard or other type of problem that he might have to deal with.
Like those driving tips? Here are five more from a few of our store managers.
1) Braking Good. “To gradually slow your car, apply the brake pedal and release it; then apply and release again as necessary. By starting to stop sooner and following the apply-and-release method, you’ll allow your brake system to cool, which will reduce squeaks and brake pedal pulsation, and help your brake pads live longer.” - Jim Mellin / Mountain View Tire Palm Desert Monterey
2) Drive Right. “Don't travel in the left lane unless you’re passing another vehicle, moving left to allow traffic to merge, preparing for a left turn, or passing an official vehicle or broken-down vehicle on the side of the road.” - Bryan Buenger / Mountain View Tire Camarillo (Pictured at left)
3) Be Prepared. “When going on a trip, plan ahead. Have a safety inspection performed on your vehicle. Also, get familiar with your route and have a second option. You may even want to take a paper map or road atlas in case your phone battery dies or you can’t access GPS.” - Mike Bakalian / Mountain View Tire Granada Hills
4) Keep Cool. “The fastest way to cool your car is to immediately open your windows. The outside temperature will be lower than the temp in your car. After you’ve driven for a few minutes, turn on your A/C, making sure it’s on the ‘recycle’ setting.” - Jim Mellin / Mountain View Tire Palm Desert Monterey
5) Check It. “Start your day smart with a quick vehicle walk-around. Many warning signs are easy to see and fix when they’re caught early, including potential tire trouble. A simple inspection every day can keep you on schedule and put safety first.” - Bryan Buenger / Mountain View Tire Camarillo
MVP stands for Maximum Vehicle Performance. When you pull into any Mountain View Tire and Auto Service store in Southern California, our car care experts can provide this exclusive service for you free of charge.
The MVP Check includes four steps.
1) We'll look for brake drag. It's a problem that has many causes, including corroded calipers, broken springs, an aging master cylinder, and frozen emergency brake cables. They can all result in brakes that don't fully disengage once you take your foot off the pedal. That “dragging” of the brake shoe can lead to lower gas mileage, as well as premature brake wear.
2) We'll check your tire pressure. Tires can lose two pounds of pressure per month even when there's nothing technically wrong with them. If just one of your tires is underinflated by 10 pounds per square inch, your fuel economy will be cut by about 3.3%. If all four tires are each 10 pounds low, your MPG could easily drop by 10% or more.
3) We'll inspect your air filter. A dirty air filter can rob you of horsepower and, according to some sources, as much as 10% of your gas mileage. Over a year, that could cost you hundreds of dollars in wasted gasoline. That's a whole lot more than the price of a new filter.
4) We'll check your wheel alignment. Whenever your wheels and tires aren't perfectly parallel with each other and perpendicular to the road, your vehicle has to work harder than it should to move forward. It uses more fuel in the process, too. Improperly aligned wheels also shorten your tires' service life.
Yes, there are other considerations that affect your vehicle’s performance and how much gas it uses, from the weight and design of your car, to the speed you drive, even weather and road conditions. But, after your free MVP Check at Mountain View Tire and Auto Service, you'll have the most up-to-date information about four of the controllable factors that impact fuel economy and performance.
Yes, the destination is the goal, but driving there adds another level of pleasure to the experience. It’s that connection to the road and the land. It’s the ability to get out and explore at any point along the journey.
It’s even about delayed gratification. When you take a few days to reach your destination, your anticipation is allowed to build in a slower, more exciting way that can’t be matched simply by hopping on a plane.
To really enjoy traveling long distances, though, you need confidence in your vehicle. Driving a car that you know has older tires or mechanical problems can be stressful, especially when you’re far from home.
"I want to give a big thank you to the guys at the Tarzana location. I truly appreciated the quick service that kept my road trip on schedule. Pretty amazing."
We understand how important your vacation time is, and we don’t want car trouble wasting any of it. So, pull into the Mountain View Tire and Auto Service location near you for a free 12-point inspection and any specific repairs or maintenance you know your car needs. You can also make an online appintment.
Regular, proactive car care helps keep you and your family safer, and lets you enjoy more of life’s travels together.
Have a wonderful trip, wherever you’re headed.
Do you know how to change a flat tire?
If you do, that question may seem a little insulting. After all, there was a time when changing flat tires was just part of driving.
Now we have roadside service, run-flat tires, and Fix-a-Flat, so pulling a damaged tire and replacing it with a spare is not something most people do themselves anymore.
Still, it's good to know how to change a tire in case you don't have easy access to help. The video above provides a clear, easy-to-follow lesson.
But before you can replace a flat, you need to know if your car even has a spare tire. Some vehicle manufacturers don't provide them anymore in order to cut costs and reduce weight.
So, first, look to see if there's a spare in your trunk or under the vehicle. You'll need a jack and a tire iron, too. You may even want to carry a flathead screwdriver to pop off the hubcap. Then, inspect the spare to see if it's properly inflated and in good condition. Check for sufficient tread depth and any cuts or gouges in the sidewall.
Spend a little time this weekend to make sure your spare tire and other equipment are ready for an emergency. Practice using your jack, too, so you're confident you know how it works. Then, share this information with members of your family who've never changed their own tire.
A few weeks ago, I was driving into work. The usual commute. But a dense fog was making the trip difficult. In fact, I almost drove through a four-way stop because my visibility was so limited.
Fog is a low-lying cloud, so it’s no wonder that, when it rolls in, it can make our roads even more dangerous for you and your fellow drivers.
A few suggestions…
1) Slow down. When your visibility is reduced because of thick fog, you have much less time to react to obstacles in the road.
2) Allow more space between you and the vehicle in front of you. If you can’t see more than a few car lengths ahead, again, compensate by giving yourself more time to react.
3) Turn on your hazard lights. Those “emergency flashers” make you more visible to other drivers, helping them to see you sooner.
4) Roll down both of your front windows as you pull up to a stop sign. When fog hampers your vision, you need to rely more on your other senses to stay safe. With your windows down and the radio off, you’ll hear oncoming vehicles. If a car sounds like it’s not slowing down, the driver may not realize he’s approaching an intersection.
5) Use your GPS. Even if you’re on familiar roads, thick fog can disorient you and play games with your perception of space by blocking the visual cues you rely on when driving (street signs, landmarks, etc.). Your GPS will keep you notified about your upcoming turn.
6) Eliminate distractions. Don’t text or email, or fiddle with your coffee. Keeping your focus on the road is always important, but especially when you're driving in fog.
During one long weekend each year, we lower the price of every tire in every one of our stores. It's our three-day Presidents' Day Tire Sale, and this year it runs from Saturday, February 17 through Monday, February 19, 2018.
If your tire tread is low, if you want improved handling or a quieter ride, or if you're ready for better-looking tires, stop into any Mountain View store in Southern California. (We'd suggest making an appointment online or by phone first, though.)
Along with saving money on your new tires, you'll pay less for installation, wheel balancing and alignments during our three-day sale. Ask about nitrogen tire inflation, too, to keep your tires properly inflated longer.
And you'll have lots of options. Choose from 17 tire brands, including Goodyear, Cooper, Dunlop, Kelly, Continental, Pirelli, Hankook and many others. Even if we have to special order your tires, you'll still enjoy the sale price.
Not sure if you need new tires yet? Pull in. We'll measure your tread depth for you, visually inspect your sidewalls for cuts and other damage, and check your tire pressure - all free of charge.
© 2018 Mountain View Tire & Auto Service