Auto Repair & Tires Blog
The storms that passed through our area in mid-February 2019 left plenty of destruction in their wake, including severe damage to many vehicles.
New Channel 3’s Sarah Trott called on Mountain View Tire and Auto Service’s Palm Desert Monterey location for a reaction, as well as advice for drivers dealing with wet roads. See her report below.
Today’s tires are designed and manufactured to last longer than ever before. But to get the most value out of them, you still need to have them rotated.
Tire rotation is a simple idea. Each tire’s position on the vehicle is strategically changed on a regular basis so that the wear is evenly distributed over the surface that rides on the road.
Your tires may need to be moved from side to side or front to back /back to front, or they might need to be re-arranged in a more complicated way. The proper rotation pattern depends on the type and number of tires you have (four or six), and whether your vehicle is front-wheel or rear-wheel drive.
The most difficult aspect of rotating your tires may be remembering to have it done. Just bring your vehicle into a nearby Mountain View location every 6,000 to 8,000 miles or request a tire rotation each time you have an oil change, whichever comes first.
By the way, tire rotations are free if you bought your tires from us or if you have this coupon. See you soon.
About half of Southern California’s annual rainfall comes down in January and February. We typically get just under 7 inches during the first two months of the year.
As you know, that relative downpour follows many dry months, and it’s during that arid period that you may get complacent about your tires.
Since you don’t often contend with wet, slippery highways, you might be able to get away with letting you tire tread wear to a dangerously low level most of the year. But then the rain comes and, suddenly, driving becomes hazardous.
When the tread is low, your tires can’t funnel water, so your car literally ends up riding on a sheet of rainwater. It’s called hydroplaning and it can quickly cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
How to Avoid the Dangers of Hydroplaning
We’ll be happy to check the tread depth on each of your tires free of charge. Just pull up to any Mountain View Tire and Auto Service location.
While you’re resolving to take online karate lessons - again - and cut back on your chocolate cake intake, consider these five new year’s resolutions that are focused on driving and your vehicle.
1) Resolve to find a new way. This year, why not change the route you take to school, work, church or any other frequent destination? It could make your drive a little more interesting. And along the way you might discover a new park, attractions or businesses that you’d like to visit. You may even find that you get where you’re going quicker or at least encounter lighter traffic.
2) Resolve to keep her pretty. If you wash and wax your vehicle regularly, you already know the benefits. But if your ride hasn’t seen the inside of a car wash since the Clinton administration, you might want to take a more active approach to maintaining its appearance. Washing and waxing will protect that showroom finish, which makes the car more attractive to a future buyer and keeps the re-sale value higher.
3) Resolve to prepare for the worst. So you can respond to basic car trouble, keep an emergency kit in your trunk. (Check our post for a list of items that should be in the kit.) Take a defensive driving course if you’d like to feel more confident behind the wheel and learn how to steer clear of accidents. And while not having enough coins for a parking meter could hardly be considered “the worst,” it sure is frustrating. Keep plenty of spare change for meters and tolls in a dedicated spot, along with at least $10 or $20 cash in the glove compartment.
4) Resolve to maintain proper pressure. At least once each month, use a high-quality gauge to check the pressure in all of your tires, including the spare. Inspect each tire’s condition, too, keeping an eye open for cuts and bulges in the sidewall, as well as bent rims that may allow air or nitrogen to escape from your tires.
5) Resolve to drive less. To conserve fuel and reduce wear and tear on your car, be strategic about when and how often you drive. For instance, consolidate all you errands into one trip, rather than leaving home several times each day. If a friend has things to do in the same part of town, ask if she wants to ride with you so you can use one car instead of two. And whenever possible, don't drive during rush hour. When fewer cars are on the road, you'll get where you're going faster and use less gas than you would in stop-and-go traffic. Here are five more tips on improving your gas mileage.
TPMS technology tells you that you may have a leaky tire.
The abundance of automotive service shops in Southern California makes finding the tire help you need easy.
And if you have tire trouble far from the nearest town or late at night, you can call for roadside assistance.
But, before you can swap a flat for a spare, you’ll need the answers to these questions.
Take a few minutes this weekend to find your spare tire, lug wrench and jack. Get familiar with them. You might even want to practice changing a tire or teaching a younger driver in your family how to do it.
But please be careful. Changing a tire or jacking up a car for any reason can be dangerous. We’ll always be happy to do the work for you or answer any questions you may have so you can become more confident with the process.
How many times have you narrowly missed running into the back end of a vehicle because you couldn’t stop in time on a dry road? With worn tires in wet conditions, those narrow misses could turn into tragic accidents. In fact, AAA says that nearly 800,000 car crashes occur on wet roads each year. That’s why they’re encouraging you and other drivers to have your tire tread inspected regularly.
Experts at the Automobile Club of Southern California Automotive Research Center worked with AAA to test new all-season tires against tires with a tread depth of 4/32nds of an inch. In addition to proving longer stopping distances, the research showed that braking on wet pavement with worn tires also reduces handling by an average of 33% for passenger cars.
“AAA’s testing demonstrates the impact that tire tread has on safety,” said Megan McKernan, manager of the Research Center. “If tested side-by-side at 60 miles per hour, vehicles with worn tires would still be traveling at an alarming 40 miles per hour when reaching the same distance it takes for vehicles with new tires to make a complete stop.”
The study shows that, as tires wear, their ability to stop quickly on wet roads decreases. According to AAA, tires should be replaced once the tread depth reaches 4/32nds of an inch. Even by that point, though, “stopping distances have already begun to deteriorate significantly.”
I have a confession to make: I can fall asleep just about anywhere: a movie theatre, a concert hall, even during a long meeting. So, I always need to be careful about becoming too comfortable while driving or I can get a little drowsy behind the wheel.
If you have the same problem, these tips may help you stay alert.
1) Keep your mind engaged. Have a conversation with your travel companion. If you're driving alone and start to get tired, call a friend who can talk with you on speaker. Find a podcast that makes you think about an exciting new topic. Or listen to a talk radio host whose point of view you disagree with. That'll get your blood flowin'.
2) Get your body movin'. Sitting still for hours in a confined area would make anyone sleepy. So every hundred miles or so - or as often as you need to - pull into a rest stop or parking lot and treat yourself to a few minutes of walking or light exercise. The movement and fresh air are sure to re-energize you.
3) Keep it cool. Like a hot bath, a warm car interior can cause you to relax and may even lull you to sleep. So keep the temperature cooler by rolling down the windows or turning on the AC. Make sure you have a cold, caffeinated drink handy, too.
4) Prepare for your trip. Well before your drive, get plenty of sleep. Don't eat a big meal within a few hours of leaving. And be mindful of any medications you take that might induce drowsiness
If you're on a tight schedule, it can be tempting to push through and finish the trip, even when you know you shouldn't. But make the smart choice: if none of the tips above are working for you, pull into a rest stop or grab a hotel room for the night. Getting there late is better than not getting there alive.
If you wear reading glasses, you may recall developing a need for them over time. Maybe you kept moving books or your smart phone a little bit further away each day to accommodate your changing eyes.
Then, eventually, you had to admit to yourself that you needed glasses. (Yeah, I've been there.)
So, are you playing that same game with your windshield wipers?
Like your eyes, wiper blades fail over time. When they do, they can leave you with a limited and unpredictable view of the road, which endangers you, everyone in your vehicle and your fellow drivers. Still, you might be tempted to ignore your waning wipers for the sake of convenience or to save a few dollars, or even because you've convinced yourself that you'll "get by."
Since we don't have a lot of rainfall in Southern California, it can be easy to forget about your wipers. But our consistent sunshine causes the rubber to crack and peel away just as quickly as it does in wetter climates. As a result, you may notice that your wipers leave streaks, that they bounce across the glass with a “chattering” sound, and that they don't leave your windshield as clear as you'd like.
Don't put off having your wiper blades changed, like a lot of people put off buying reading glasses. To give yourself the best possible view of the road, replace the blades once or twice each year. Let us know if we can help.
RELATED POST: 5 DIY Car Care Tasks
Before I go on a road trip, I have to clean my car. It’s a must.
I’m the kind of guy who likes a neat environment anyway, but when I know I’ll be spending several hours or even a few days in the relatively small driving compartment of my car, it’s especially important to me that the area be clean and organized.
Even beyond the satisfaction of the end result, there are a few reasons it feels good to clean your vehicle.
A clean car is safer. You don’t want all your work gear flying through the air or those extra coffee mugs rolling around the floor when you hit the brakes hard. That can be distracting and dangerous.
A clean car is more organized. It’s frustrating when you can’t find a pen in the car. Or your sunglasses. Or that repair receipt. So, use a large envelope to hold important car-related papers and store larger items in a bin that you keep in the trunk or on the floor of the back seat.
Cleaning your car provides a sense of accomplishment. Do you like the sensation that comes from checking items off your to-do list? Then washing, waxing and vacuuming your vehicle should make you feel great!
Cleaning your car is a different kind of work. If you sit at a computer all week, the physical and detailed task of caring for your car on the weekend can provide an entirely different type of satisfaction. I have a few friends who even think of car washing as relaxing and therapeutic.
A clean car is a source of pride. Not a “car person”? That's okay. You can still take pride in the work you’ve put in to maintain your vehicle, whether you’re driving down the street or giving a lift to a friend.
A clean car holds more of its value. No one wants to buy a vehicle that’s obviously seen better days. Even if you can sell or trade in your beat-up ride, you won’t make as much money as you would have if you had cleaned and detailed it regularly. Caring for your car’s appearance - as well as its mechanical well-being - is likely to pay off for you in the end.
Most of us will never rely on an emergency kit in the trunk of our car, but if one day you need to, you’ll sure be glad it's there.
A roll of duct tape - You can use it to temporarily wrap blown hoses or re-attach side mirrors and other plastic parts that break off.
A can of Fix-a-Flat - This product can quickly plug and re-inflate a flat tire, but it’s only a temporary fix, as the manufacturer notes. For a safe, permanent repair, pull into your nearest Mountain View Tire and Auto Service location as soon as possible.
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