Free Service Tire Company Blog recent posts.Thu, 25 May 2017 14:00:56 -0400en-ushourly1How To Maintain A New Car, 25 May 2017 14:00:56 -0400<p> So you got a new set of wheels &ndash; congratulations! You&rsquo;re going to want to hang onto it as long as possible, so you&rsquo;ll want to keep it maintained as well as you <img alt="Car Maintenance" src="" style="width: 300px; height: 200px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" />can. Here are some suggestions:</p> <p> First, read the owner&rsquo;s manual carefully and stick to manufacturer&rsquo;s recommendations for service intervals. There are certain things that are critical enough that failure to adhere to recommendations can void a new car warranty. Don&rsquo;t let that happen!</p> <p> For instance, just about every manufacturer recommends synthetic oil for their engines; it provides better protection in just about every respect, and it&rsquo;s more stable at high and low temperatures. If your owner&rsquo;s manual prescribes a 10,000-mile oil change, stick with that and be sure to use the brand and grade of motor oil called for in the manual.</p> <p> Apply a good coat of wax to your vehicle, and another one on top of that. A properly waxed vehicle does more than just look good, it helps repel grit and grime that can damage the finish as well as preventing oxidization of the paint in sunny locales.</p> <p> Clean the radiator from time to time. You can just use the spray setting on a hose to get rid of bugs and grime that may have lodged in the radiator and could possibly impair cooling. If there&rsquo;s a stubborn bug that won&rsquo;t come off, use a brush but be very careful not to damage the delicate fins of the radiator!</p> <p> Check the air filter every few months. Take it out and hold it up to a bright light &ndash; if no light passes through, the air filter has become dirty enough to need a change. A dirty air filter can kill performance and fuel economy.</p> <p> The good news is that today&rsquo;s new cars need less maintenance than ever before, and don&rsquo;t even have the extensive break-in period of cars from a generation ago. Stick to manufacturer&rsquo;s recommendations and you can&rsquo;t go wrong&hellip;and you&rsquo;ll have a car you can count on for many years to come! &nbsp;</p> /blog/view/how-to-maintain-a-new-car/feed0What Tires Are Right For Your Truck?, 11 May 2017 13:47:16 -0400<p> So you&rsquo;re in need of a set of tires for your truck? No problem! The question is, though, what kind of tires are going to be best?<img alt="Truck Tires" src="" style="width: 300px; height: 230px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" /></p> <p> First, you&rsquo;ll need to think about what you use that truck for. Will you regularly be hauling heavy loads or pulling a trailer? Do you expect to keep it on the pavement for the most part, or will you occasionally go off-road? If you go off-road, will it be on soft dirt or will you be plowing through brush, mud, and rocks? And finally&hellip;what&rsquo;s your budget?</p> <p> If you&rsquo;re wanting to keep it on the pavement most of the time and your truck is a daily driver for errands, school, soccer, and grocery runs, all-season tires are probably the right choice. All-season light truck tires can rival the best passenger tires when it comes to noise level, handling, ride quality and road manners&nbsp;while offering good, reliable traction on wet or dry pavement.</p> <p> All-terrain tires feature a more aggressive tread pattern than all-season tires and are capable of at least limited off-road use. While they have enhanced traction and load capacity, many all-terrain tire designs still have good noise suppression, ride quality and handling on the pavement. Many all-terrain tires feature the industry&rsquo;s M + S stamp, meaning they offer good performance in mud and snow.</p> <p> Mud tires are a next step up from all-terrain tires. Mud tires usually feature a blocky tread pattern with a high void ratio, meaning they can shed mud from their treads as they spin so there&rsquo;s always a clear area to dig into soft surfaces. Many mud tires are also designed with reinforced sidewalls for extra toughness and resistance to gouges, punctures, and abrasions in off-road use.</p> <p> In the end, the choice is yours, of course. Just think about your truck, your driving habits, your expectations and your budget. There are plenty of great choices out there for light truck tires, at all price points! Make an appointment with us and let&rsquo;s talk about the next set of tires for your truck!&nbsp;</p> /blog/view/what-tires-are-right-for-your-truck/feed0Spark Plugs – How Often Should They Be Replaced?, 27 Apr 2017 13:31:12 -0400<p> In the old days, a tune-up was necessary about every 35,000 miles. It would usually consist of setting the ignition timing, replacing the mechanical breaker points in the ignition, cleaning and adjusting the carburetor and replacing the plug wires and spark plugs. Today, of course, the carburetor&rsquo;s job is done by fuel injection and the ignition timing and spark are controlled by the engine computer. Few vehicles still have plug wires anymore either, as the distributor was replaced by the computer and a coil-on-plug design which delivers a spark at each spark plug.</p> <div> <p> But what about the spark plugs themselves, though? How often do they need to be replaced now?</p> <p> Manufacturers tout an 80k-100k mile service interval on spark plugs now, thanks in part to improvements in plug design and materials. That might be stretching it, however. Remember that if you have a 100,000-mile spark plug, its electrode is worn down 4/5 of the way at 80,000 miles. A worn electrode means a wider spark plug gap, which can mean a loss of power and fuel economy.</p> <p> Worse, though, spark plugs that have been in the engine&rsquo;s cylinder head for years and tens of thousands of miles have a tendency for their threads to seize. A seized spark plug can be pretty difficult to extract from the head&nbsp;and can mean a hefty repair bill before it&rsquo;s all said and done.</p> <p> If your vehicle was originally equipped with a specific type of spark plug, it&rsquo;s a smart idea to keep that design of plug when you replace them. It&rsquo;s also a good idea to check a few other things under the hood when it&rsquo;s time to replace the plugs, including</p> <img alt="Spark Plug" src="" style="width: 300px; height: 200px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" /> <p> --Air filter</p> <p> --Cabin air filter</p> <p> --Belts and hoses</p> <p> --Charging system</p> <p> --Starter</p> <p> --O2 sensor</p> <p> --All vacuum lines and junctions</p> <p> Today&rsquo;s cars may be a lot less maintenance-intensive, but that doesn&rsquo;t mean &ldquo;maintenance free.&rdquo; Remember that a well-maintained car is a reliable and strong-running car&hellip;and don&rsquo;t put off maintenance like spark plugs just because it doesn&rsquo;t need to be done very often!</p> </div> /blog/view/spark-plugs-how-often-should-they-be-replaced/feed0Reasons Why Tire Inflation Is So Important, 13 Apr 2017 13:15:14 -0400<p> Even just a pound or two of underinflation in your tires can be a problem. Why, though? There are several reasons.&nbsp;</p> <p> <img alt="Tire Inflation" src="" style="width: 300px; height: 200px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" /></p> <p> <strong>Fuel economy:&nbsp;</strong>If you ever rode a bicycle with a low tire, you know that it feels like you&rsquo;re riding through wet cement due to the added rolling resistance. The same thing is happening with your car, and compromising your fuel economy. Over the course of 10,000 miles per year, that can add up to 150 gallons of gas or $500 out of your pocket!</p> <p> <strong>Handling:&nbsp;</strong>Low tire pressure means poorer control and longer stopping distances. At high speeds, in particular, this can be downright hazardous.</p> <p> <strong>Premature tire wear:&nbsp;</strong>Underinflated tires are under a lot of stress, especially their steel belts. Take a paper clip and work it back and forth until it snaps. Feel how hot it gets when the metal is stressed? The same thing happens with the steel belts in your tires, which are already heating up anyway due to normal wear. This heat and stress will cause uneven tread wear and can even cause tires to fail altogether.</p> <p> Proper tire inflation can give you as much as a 3.3 percent increase in fuel economy, or even more. Remember that you can&rsquo;t really detect low air pressure from looking at a tire&nbsp;until it gets really low (under 20 psi or so). Remember also that air will migrate out of a tire through the valve stem and the tire sidewalls just through normal wear; you should get a quality tire gauge (not the ones built into the hose at the gas station) and check the tire inflation at least once a month. Air expands when hot, so remember to check tire pressure when the tires are still cold.</p> <p> Tire pressure isn&rsquo;t at the forefront of most drivers&rsquo; minds, but it&rsquo;s still important. Having to replace a prematurely-worn-out set of tires or to dump more gas into your fuel tank seems like a pretty dumb way to spend money, doesn&rsquo;t it? Do yourself a favor and be mindful of your tire inflation levels!&nbsp;</p> /blog/view/reasons-why-tire-inflation-is-so-important/feed0Uh Oh…My Check Engine Light Is On, 30 Mar 2017 13:43:31 -0400<p> So you come out to start your car one morning and the Check Engine light on the dashboard comes on&hellip;and doesn&rsquo;t go back off again. You can&rsquo;t really notice any difference in the way the car runs and drives, but it&rsquo;s on anyway.</p> <p> What does it mean?<img alt="Check Engine Light" src="" style="width: 300px; height: 225px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" /></p> <p> Since the late 80s, most engine functions have been controlled by a central drivetrain computer. This includes emissions controls, fuel metering and delivery, ignition timing, shift points and many other elements of drivability and performance. The drivetrain computer relies on information from a chain of sensors that monitor exhaust composition, camshaft position, throttle position and many other factors.</p> <p> The voltage readings from any of these sensors are supposed to fall within a certain range. When these readings are out of normal parameters, the drivetrain computer stores a trouble code and illuminates the Check Engine light (also known as a Malfunction Indicator Lamp or MIL). Some problems on some makes may take several failure cycles before the MIL will illuminate.</p> <p> The trouble code could originate from something as minor as a loose gas cap or a loose or corroded wire to a sensor. On the other hand, it could mean something considerably more serious.</p> <p> The trouble code can be accessed by a technician using a code reader or scanner device, which hooks up to a standardized connector usually found under the dashboard. The code (or codes) can then be interpreted to diagnose the problem. It takes an experienced technician, however, to know why a given code occurred in the first place and find the problem and repair it.</p> <p> So for you, the driver, what should you do when the MIL is illuminated?</p> <p> You should, of course, get your vehicle to a shop for a proper diagnosis as soon as you can. If you notice problems like rough running, poor idle, transmission roughness, smoke or other real driveability problems, don&rsquo;t put it off! The good news is that the whole system of onboard diagnostics has made it easier for a technician to track down a problem and address it, taking a lot of the guesswork out of the process.&nbsp;</p> /blog/view/uh-oh-my-check-engine-light-is-on/feed0Five Things You Didn’t Know About Tires, 16 Mar 2017 13:32:55 -0400<p> <img alt="Tires" src="" style="width: 300px; height: 169px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" />1. For performance and handling, the trend has long been toward fatter tires with a bigger footprint. That&rsquo;s starting to change, though. Skinnier tires mean lower rolling resistance and better fuel economy, as well as a smaller aerodynamic profile. While fatter tires do handle better, tire engineers are making up the difference by designing skinny tires with a stickier tread formulation for traction and cornering ability.</p> <p> 2. Static electricity used to be a real concern for vehicles; if you&rsquo;re old enough, you may remember seeing station wagons with a &ldquo;ground strap&rdquo; dragging along the pavement. It&rsquo;s become a concern again, with newer tread compounds cutting back on the amount of carbon black in newer tires. The solution? Many tires are now designed with an &ldquo;antenna strip&rdquo; of more conductive material down the center of the tread, providing a positive electrical contact between tire and pavement.</p> <p> 3. Like with cars, tire manufacturers are doing everything they can to cut the weight of their products. A heavier tire means more inertia, while a lighter tire means lower rolling resistance. Bridgestone is now using a lighter gauge of cord for steel belts, and Michelin has actually cut the depth of the tread surface while using a tougher, high-mileage tread formulation for longer treadwear.</p> <p> 4. Sure, you know about the rubber, nylon, steel and Kevlar in modern tires. However, tires include some compounds you might not have known about, such as cobalt and titanium to bond the rubber to the steel belts. Yokohama uses citrus oil to modify how tread stiffness changes with temperature, and silica helps enhance wet and snow traction (as well as cutting rolling resistance).</p> <p> 5. Airless tires are on their way. They&rsquo;re already in use for industrial vehicles&nbsp;and are pretty close to market phase for passenger cars and trucks. These tires (sometimes an integral tire/wheel) use a honeycomb- style structure to carry the vehicle&rsquo;s weight and maintain rigidity. They&rsquo;re amazingly tough, too &ndash; in some testing, drivers have been able to hit a curb dead-on at 50 mph with no damage to wheels, tires or suspension!&nbsp;</p> /blog/view/five-things-you-didn-t-know-about-tires/feed0Get Your Car Really, Really, REALLY Clean!, 23 Feb 2017 13:22:08 -0500<p> It can be a lot of work and attention to detail to get your car really clean&hellip;especially if it&rsquo;s pretty dirty to start with&hellip;but here are some ideas for truly thorough cleaning that you may not have thought of!<img alt="Cleaning Car" src="" style="width: 300px; height: 200px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" /></p> <p> --A cheap foam paintbrush can get into crevices (like A/C vents) that might be impossible otherwise. As you loosen up dust from these spots, keep a vacuum cleaner nozzle at work in your other hand to suck up the dust and prevent it from settling other places.</p> <p> --A soft-bristled brush is perfect for cleaning around radio knobs and other buttons.</p> <p> --While you&rsquo;re cleaning, don&rsquo;t forget to locate your cabin air filter and replace it. A dirty cabin air filter can lead to a lot of odd smells and stinks. Check your owner&rsquo;s manual; cabin air filter locations can vary a lot from one make/model to another.</p> <p> --Get all the junk out. That means checking under the seats and far up in the front foot wells, even under the dash.</p> <p> --A Magic Eraser, with some light rubbing, can be great for getting drips, stains, and gunk out of both leather and fabric.</p> <p> --Armrests and door panels tend to get pretty grimy with embedded dirt. A mild soap and water solution will do the trick; scrub with a toothbrush to dislodge this grime. The toothbrush is also really handy for getting dirt and fine crumbs out of the seams of seat cushions.</p> <p> --If your dashboard or seats have started to dry out or crack, you can condition and polish them with olive oil.</p> <p> --Dog hair on cloth upholstery? Try a spray bottle of water and a squeegee, then vacuum up what&rsquo;s left. If there&rsquo;s any left after that, try doubling a length of duct tape into a loop and picking up the remains.</p> <p> --Stains in upholstery or carpeting can come out surprisingly well with diluted all-purpose cleaner, a sponge or scrub brush and washcloths.</p> <p> With a little time and elbow grease, you&rsquo;ll be driving around in a nice clean car again. Hope this helps!&nbsp;</p> /blog/view/get-your-car-really-really-really-clean/feed0Check Out Our Car Care Plans!, 09 Feb 2017 14:30:27 -0500TCS<p> At Free Service Tire Company, we know everyone&rsquo;s out to save a few bucks whenever they can, and that includes their auto repair dollars. That&rsquo;s why we&rsquo;ve introduced our Car Care Plans, prepaid packages of auto repair and maintenance services that can save you some big dollars!</p> <p> At any our Free Service Tire locations, you can sign up for a Car Care Plan or schedule an appointment for service. Here&rsquo;s how the savings break down:</p> <p> <a href=""><strong>Blue Car Care Plan</strong></a></p> <p> For $124.99, you&rsquo;re entitled to:</p> <ul style="margin-left: 40px;"> <li> Five free conventional oil changes</li> <li> Three free tire rotations</li> <li> Free wheel alignment check</li> <li> Free battery check</li> <li> Free flat repair</li> <li> Free brake inspection</li> <li> $20 off of brake pad replacement</li> <li> Ten percent off timing belt installation</li> <li> $10 off wheel alignment</li> <li> $10 off transmission flush</li> <li> $10 off brake flush</li> <li> $10 off power steering flush</li> <li> $10 off shocks and struts</li> <li> $10 off radiator or cooling system service</li> <li> $10 off tune-up</li> <li> $10 off four-wheel balancing</li> <li> Ten percent off wiper blade purchase/installation</li> <li> &frac12; price nitrogen fill</li> </ul> <p> <a href=""><strong>Red Car Care Plan</strong></a></p> <p> For $219.99, you&rsquo;re entitled to:</p> <ul style="margin-left: 40px;"> <li> Five FREE Max Life Oil Changes*</li> <li> Three FREE Tire Rotations</li> <li> FREE Wheel Alignment Check**</li> <li> FREE Battery Check</li> <li> FREE Flat Repair</li> <li> FREE Brake Inspection</li> <li> $20.00 OFF Brake Pad Replacement</li> <li> 10% OFF Timing Belt Installation</li> <li> $10 OFF ANY Wheel Alignment</li> <li> $10 OFF Transmission Flush</li> <li> $10 OFF Brake Flush</li> <li> $10 OFF Power Steering Flush</li> <li> $10 OFF Shocks and Struts</li> <li> $10 OFF Radiator or Cooling System Service</li> <li> $10 OFF Tune Up</li> <li> $10 Off 4 Wheel Balance</li> <li> 10% OFF Wiper Blade Purchase and Installation</li> <li> 1/2 Price Nitrogen</li> </ul> <p> (all told, that&rsquo;s a $500 value!)</p> <p> <strong><a href="">Silver Car Care Plan:</a></strong></p> <p> For $289.99, you&rsquo;re entitled to:</p> <ul style="margin-left: 40px;"> <li> Five FREE Full Synthetic Oil Changes*</li> <li> Three FREE Tire Rotations</li> <li> FREE Wheel Alignment Check**</li> <li> FREE Battery Check</li> <li> FREE Flat Repair</li> <li> FREE Brake Inspection</li> <li> $20.00 OFF Brake Pad Replacement</li> <li> 10% OFF Timing Belt Installation</li> <li> $10 OFF ANY Wheel Alignment</li> <li> $10 OFF Transmission Flush</li> <li> $10 OFF Brake Flush</li> <li> $10 OFF Power Steering Flush</li> <li> $10 OFF Shocks and Struts</li> <li> $10 OFF Radiator or Cooling System Service</li> <li> $10 OFF Tune Up</li> <li> $10 Off 4 Wheel Balance</li> <li> 10% OFF Wiper Blade Purchase and Installation</li> <li> 1/2 Price Nitrogen</li> </ul> <p> You can&rsquo;t beat a deal like that anywhere! Make an appointment with Free Service Tire Company and let&rsquo;s get you set up with a comprehensive Car Care Plan!&nbsp;</p> /blog/view/check-out-our-car-care-plans/feed0Can I Buy Just Two Tires?, 09 Feb 2017 13:10:52 -0500<p> We know that a lot of drivers are working pretty hard to make a dollar go farther&nbsp;and that the outlay for a full set of four tires &ndash; even inexpensive tires &ndash; can be considerable. That&rsquo;s why we run across drivers pretty often who ask if it&rsquo;s okay to just replace a pair of tires, then buy the other pair when they can afford them.</p> <p> The answer is&hellip;yes, but&hellip;<img alt="New Tires" src="" style="width: 300px; height: 168px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" /></p> <p> You&rsquo;ll really need to pay attention to the size of the set of tires that you&rsquo;ve already got and go with that exact same size of tires for your new pair. Having mismatched sizes of tires on your vehicle can result in squirrelly and unpredictable handling and ride quality. If your existing tires are all-season, go with all-season tires. If they&rsquo;re winter tires, go with winter tires. Ideally, you should even have the same tread pattern and design on the new tires.</p> <p> Also, the new tires will need to go on the rear, and you can then take the tires that have the most tread left and put them on the front. Rear wheel traction is vital to getting you down the road safely and preventing the rear end from oversteering and &ldquo;fishtailing&rdquo; out as you go around a corner, especially on wet pavement.</p> <p> Really, though, you should try to get that other pair of tires under your vehicle as soon as you possibly can afford them. A matched set of tires &ndash; all the same brand, same age, same size, same tread pattern and design &ndash; will mean a vehicle that&rsquo;s suddenly much quieter, smoother riding, better handling and safer all the way around!</p> <p> While tires are a big investment and can be pretty daunting to try to afford, we encourage you to check back on our site for specials and sales&hellip;we carry a wide variety of premium brand tires in all sizes for various fitments and we&rsquo;re sure we&rsquo;ve got tires that&rsquo;ll be a great fit for your vehicle!&nbsp;</p> /blog/view/can-i-buy-just-two-tires/feed0Are You Ready For A Roadside Emergency?, 26 Jan 2017 12:59:37 -0500<p> Yeah, yeah&hellip;your vehicle&rsquo;s fairly new and you take care of it, and you&rsquo;ve even got a membership in AAA. That doesn&rsquo;t mean that your chances of <img alt="Car trouble" src="" style="width: 275px; height: 183px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" />ending up in a tight spot are zero. It&rsquo;s just common sense to be prepared with a trouble bag in your car. Here&rsquo;s a pretty good rundown of things you should keep in a car emergency kit:</p> <p> <strong>Fully charged cell phone:&nbsp;</strong>You may want to consider a cheap prepaid &ldquo;burner phone&rdquo; with a long battery life and keep it strictly in the car. If nothing else, at least keep a charged-up power bank on hand.</p> <p> <strong>First-aid kit:&nbsp;</strong>At a bare minimum, a first-aid kit should include gauze pads and bandage tape, aspirins, antiseptic wipes, scissors, antiseptic cream or ointment, Band-Aids, rubbing alcohol and burn cream.</p> <p> <strong>Tools:&nbsp;</strong>It doesn&rsquo;t have to be anything comprehensive; just a good quality Leatherman-type tool and some duct tape can be real, real handy.</p> <p> <strong>Fire extinguisher:&nbsp;</strong>It&rsquo;s kind of bulky, but it can literally be a lifesaver. Try to find a fire extinguisher that&rsquo;s rated for Class B and Class C fires: flammable liquids and electrical fires.</p> <p> <strong>Warning triangles or highway flares:&nbsp;</strong>Self-explanatory.</p> <p> <strong>Tire gauge:&nbsp;</strong>You know you should be checking your tire pressure regularly anyway&hellip;right? Right?</p> <p> <strong>Foam tire sealant:&nbsp;</strong>If you got a flat tire and it didn&rsquo;t completely shred before you could get off the road, a can of tire sealant can keep you going for a while.</p> <p> <strong>Gloves, sweater, cap:&nbsp;</strong>Self-explanatory for cold climates or cold weather.</p> <p> <strong>Flashlight and tow strap:&nbsp;</strong>Self-explanatory.</p> <p> <strong>Nonperishable snacks:&nbsp;</strong>Try to find snacks that are protein-rich, as they will make you feel full and satisfied a lot longer than crackers or chips. Also, try to avoid salty snacks that will only spike your thirst.</p> <p> Of course, you hope that you won&rsquo;t find yourself stuck by the side of the road. But even if you don&rsquo;t know how to repair a problem yourself and get back on your way, a well-stocked trouble bag can make your emergency a little more tolerable while you wait for help.&nbsp;</p> /blog/view/are-you-ready-for-a-roadside-emergency/feed0Flat Spots? Let’s Clear Up Some Myths About That…, 12 Jan 2017 12:39:59 -0500<p> So your vehicle&rsquo;s been sitting for a while&hellip;you get in it, start the engine and pull out of the driveway when you notice a hard, rough (but very regular) vibration that only gets worse with speed. It doesn&rsquo;t feel like it&rsquo;s coming from the driveline or suspension &ndash; so what is it?</p> <p> <img alt="Flat spots on tires" src="" style="width: 300px; height: 169px; float: right; margin: 10px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid;" /></p> <p> It could be that the tires have developed flat spots.</p> <p> With the weight of the vehicle pressing down on the tires for long periods, a section of the rubber and belts can become softer (or harder) than the rest of the tire. This can be exacerbated by cold weather, or just by parking on a cold concrete floor.</p> <p> Low-profile tires with short sidewalls can be more prone to flat-spotting, as can tires with an H or higher speed rating. In most cases, you can just grit your teeth and drive and the flat spots will work their way out of the tires&hellip;but not always. In some severe cases, the flat-spotting is permanent.</p> <p> So, what can you do?</p> <p> There are all sorts of old-wives&rsquo;-tales about parking your vehicle on sheets of plywood or carpeting or sandbags to prevent flat spots. Unfortunately, they are all pure nonsense.</p> <p> If you&rsquo;ve got a vehicle that&rsquo;s going to be stored for a long time, the only way you can avoid flat spots is to have the vehicle up on jack stands at all four corners. That&rsquo;ll take the weight off the tires completely. Unfortunately, that&rsquo;s also pretty inconvenient.</p> <p> The other solution? There&rsquo;s a product called &ldquo;FlatStoppers&rdquo; which supports the tire using a curved shape, distributing the vehicle&rsquo;s weight evenly and reliably.</p> <p> It may seem like a lot of trouble, but it beats the alternative&hellip;which is a set of tires that are potentially ruined with flat spots that won&rsquo;t come out again!</p> /blog/view/flat-spots-let-s-clear-up-some-myths-about-that/feed0A Few New Years' Resolutions -- For Your Car, 03 Jan 2017 13:42:49 -0500TCS<p> New&nbsp; Year&rsquo;s resolutions seem like such a great idea. We all have the best of intentions to lose weight, stop smoking, drink less, save money, get fit, etc. and we end up <img alt="New Years Resolutions in Knoxville TN " src="" style="width: 275px; height: 183px; margin: 10px; float: right;" />walking away from most of them by the end of January. Notice how gyms are so full after the first of the year&hellip;for only about three weeks.</p> <p> Here are some resolutions that make good sense, though, and your car will thank you for keeping them:</p> <p> <strong>Wipers</strong>: Even top-quality windshield wipers only last about a year. If you&rsquo;ve been noticing streaks or smears in your field of vision when using the wipers, or if your wipers are losing strips, chunks or chips of rubber (or are cracked or dried out), go ahead and change them. It&rsquo;s not very expensive, and it&rsquo;s your safety that&rsquo;s on the line here.</p> <p> <strong>Tires</strong>: Every vehicle puts more stress on the front tires, due to the weight of the engine and the forces of cornering and braking. That&rsquo;s why it&rsquo;s so important to even out tire wear by having the tires rotated at a 5,000 mile interval. Also remember to check your tire pressure monthly (when tires are cold). Underinflated tires mean poor handling and braking performance, premature tire wear and poor fuel economy due to added rolling resistance.</p> <p> <strong>Oil changes</strong>: True 50 years ago, and still true today &ndash; the best way to get the most miles out of your engine is by changing the oil at regular intervals. It cuts wear, keeps the engine clean internally and increases engine efficiency by reducing friction.</p> <p> <strong>Wheel alignment</strong>: If your steering wheel consistently pulls to one side on straight pavement, it&rsquo;s more than just an annoyance for the driver. It also means tires that are wearing prematurely and unevenly, and compromised fuel economy. Schedule a wheel alignment and get that fixed!</p> <p> At Free Service Tire Company, we hope you have a great 2017, and that includes having a solid and dependable car to get you through the new year. <a href="">Make an appointment</a> with us for your next scheduled maintenance! &nbsp;</p> /blog/view/a-few-new-years-resolutions-for-your-car/feed0So You Think Some Traffic Laws Are Nuts?, 29 Dec 2016 10:29:52 -0500<p> Yes, there are plenty of traffic laws in certain areas that don&rsquo;t make much sense. Here, though, we present a collection of traffic laws from other parts of the world that are just bizarre:</p> <p> --In Thailand, the law states that no driver, male or female, shall ever drive without a shirt.<img alt="Weird Traffic Laws" src="" style="width: 300px; height: 200px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" /></p> <p> --In South Africa, &ldquo;the driver of a vehicle on a public road shall stop such vehicle at the request or on the signal of a person leading or driving any bovine animal, horse, ass, mule, sheep, goat, pig, or ostrich on such road.&rdquo; Or face a $500 fine.</p> <p> --Splashing a pedestrian with water is illegal in Japan.</p> <p> --In Montana, you can forget about driving with a sheep in the truck unless the sheep has a chaperone... and the state of Alabama had the presence of mind to make it illegal to drive while blindfolded.</p> <p> --On the island of Cyprus, it&rsquo;s illegal to raise a hand from the steering wheel. No waving at anyone, no eating or drinking anything while you drive.</p> <p> --Danish drivers are required to check under the car before starting it&hellip;just in case anyone is sleeping under there.</p> <p> --In Spain, if you need glasses to drive, you&rsquo;re required to keep a spare pair of glasses in the vehicle at all times.</p> <p> --In Singapore, it&rsquo;s illegal to ever come within 50 meters of a pedestrian. 50 meters equals about 162 feet. Good luck with that.</p> <p> So, do you still think there are some weird traffic laws in your locale??</p> /blog/view/so-you-think-some-traffic-laws-are-nuts/feed0 A Brief Explanation of Tire Information, 15 Dec 2016 16:06:08 -0500<p> Ever wonder what the designations stamped on your tire sidewall actually mean? We&rsquo;d like to break it down for you.</p> <p> Let&rsquo;s take for instance, &ldquo;P195/60R15 87S&rdquo;. This is a full service description of a tire.</p> <p> In this case, &ldquo;87S&rdquo; denotes a tire&rsquo;s load capacity and speed rating. The higher the number, the greater the load capacity &ndash; an 87 load capacity means that tire can support 1,201 pounds. Speed ratings range from L (75 mph) through V (149 mph), and an S speed rating means the tire is good for 112 mph. W, Y, and Z-speed rated tires are available for extreme performance cars&nbsp;and are rated as high as 186 mph.</p> <p> As for the rest of the information:<img alt="Tire" src="" style="width: 300px; height: 180px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" /></p> <p> --&ldquo;P&rdquo; denotes Passenger Tire</p> <p> --195 is the tire&rsquo;s width from sidewall to sidewall... in millimeters</p> <p> --60 is the aspect ratio... the proportion of the height of the tire cross-section as compared to the width of the tread area</p> <p> --&ldquo;R&rdquo; stands for Radial construction</p> <p> --15 is the wheel size... in inches</p> <p> There&rsquo;s other information on the sidewall of a tire, such as its Mountain &amp; Snow rating (if applicable), date of manufacture code and maximum allowable pressure. For the average consumer though, it&rsquo;s good to know the meaning of the service description so you can be an informed tire buyer when it&rsquo;s time to replace them. Remember, your vehicle was designed for a very specific tire size, and it&rsquo;s best to stay with that size when you go shopping for new tires!&nbsp;</p> /blog/view/a-brief-explanation-of-tire-information/feed0Staying Safe in Ice and Snow, 02 Dec 2016 15:25:29 -0500TCS<p> You know things can get pretty rough in the winters here in East Tennessee. Here&rsquo;s a few reminders on how to stay safe in winter conditions.<img alt="Driver Safety in Knoxville TN " src="" style="width: 270px; height: 186px; margin: 5px; float: right;" /></p> <p> --Keep your speed down and your following distances safe.</p> <p> --Try to not overreact. Braking, steering and all reactions should be gradual.</p> <p> --Don&rsquo;t ever use cruise control if you&rsquo;re on any sort of slippery surface, like wet pavement, snow or ice. You need complete control of the vehicle, and that includes the throttle.</p> <p> --Make sure your tires are in good shape, with the proper inflation&hellip;and remember that tires actually lose pressure in low temperatures, since air contracts. You may want to consider winter tires, since winter tires have a more aggressive tread and a softer rubber formulation for traction in snow.</p> <p> --Keep a well-stocked emergency kit in the vehicle. The kit should include jumper cables, flares, an ice scraper, a flashlight, warm clothes like a sweater and gloves, a bag of sand or kitty litter and a spare power bank for your cell phone.</p> <p> --Make sure your cooling system is in good shape. You may need a cooling system flush to remove corrosion and scale from the water pump and radiator. Remember that the heater is part of the cooling system, and a healthy cooling system means a robust heater and defroster.</p> <p> --Before the weather gets bad, make sure that all your glass is in good shape, install new windshield wipers and fill the windshield washer reservoir. Make sure that all headlights and taillights are in proper working order.</p> <p> --Automotive batteries are stressed by cold weather. Subfreezing temperatures actually slow down the chemical reaction in the battery that allows it to store and deliver energy. In addition, cold weather thickens motor oil, making it harder to crank the engine. Make sure your battery and charging system are in good shape, and replace the battery if needed.</p> <p> You can&rsquo;t always stay home in wintertime, but you can at least up your chances of coming through it unscathed. <a href="">Make an appointment</a> with us at Free Service Tire Company and let&rsquo;s make sure you&rsquo;re up on preventive maintenance before the snow flies!&nbsp;</p> /blog/view/staying-safe-in-ice-and-snow/feed0Your Car’s an Investment – Protect It, 24 Nov 2016 15:20:50 -0500<p> You rely on your car every day, and you have a lot of money tied up in it. It&rsquo;s probably one of the more valuable things you own&hellip;so make sure you get the most out of that investment:</p> <p> <strong>Oil changes</strong>: Changing your motor oil at regular intervals will ensure long engine life by cutting wear and friction and helping to prevent the buildup of sludge <img alt="Antique Car" src="" style="width: 300px; height: 199px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" />and carbon on internal engine assemblies.</p> <p> <strong>Cooling system</strong>: Older cast-iron engines could overheat with no serious consequences, but not so with today&rsquo;s aluminum blocks and heads. Your engine&rsquo;s coolant has a finite life and should be changed and flushed at regular intervals to prevent accumulation of scale and corrosion in the radiator, heater core and water pump.</p> <p> <strong>Finish</strong>: A good coat of wax does more than keep your car looking good. It also helps prevent rust from forming, helps to repel debris and dirt and keeps the paint in good shape.</p> <p> <strong>Filters</strong>: The air filter is crucial to protecting your engine from dirt and particulates&hellip;but once the air filter gets clogged, it can smother performance (literally) and hurt fuel economy. The fuel filters and carbon canister filter should also be checked and changed if necessary.</p> <p> <strong>Timing belt</strong>: Many vehicles are designed with a timing chain to coordinate the crankshaft and camshaft; timing chains usually last the life cycle of the vehicle. Timing belts, however, have a finite service life and even a few thousand miles past that recommended change interval is borrowed time. A broken timing belt can very literally result in a wrecked engine.</p> <p> A little preventive maintenance and forethought can go a long way toward getting the most miles out of your vehicle!&nbsp;</p> /blog/view/your-car-s-an-investment-protect-it/feed0Winter Tires in Knoxville TN, 17 Nov 2016 15:43:00 -0500TCS<p> A generation ago, winter tires meant the heavy, noisy, clumsy &ldquo;mud grips&rdquo; or &ldquo;snow tires&rdquo; that might have been on the back of your dad&rsquo;s Ford wagon. Today, it&rsquo;s <img alt="Winter Tires in Knoxville TN " src="" style="width: 250px; height: 333px; margin: 5px; float: right;" />a different ball game.</p> <p> The best winter tires today actually rival all-season or even performance tires when it comes to noise level, ride quality, handling and road manners. But what is it that makes winter tires so different?</p> <p> --Winter tires are designed with a softer tread compound. All-season tires or summer tires will stiffen in cold weather, reducing their traction. The softer, more pliable rubber of winter tires can conform better and offer better traction in ice, snow and slush. The downside is that winter tires will wear quickly in temperatures above 40 degrees, and will need to be changed.</p> <p> --Winter tires feature a more aggressive tread pattern, designed to bite into snow and slush and help evacuate them past the tire&rsquo;s contact patch to prevent hydroplaning. Winter tires also feature a dense network of sipes, hundreds of tiny slits in the tread that offer more surface area and more biting edges to dig into snow or slush. Some winter tires come pre-drilled to make it easy to install metal studs in the tread face&hellip;and metal studs are one of the only things that can even offer a fighting chance on ice.</p> <p> At Free Service Tire Company, we carry <a href="">tires</a> from top brands like BFGoodrich, Michelin, Goodyear, Nokian, Pirelli and Continental, all of which offer top-notch winter tires. If you give winter tires a try, you&rsquo;ll find a level of traction and control that you can&rsquo;t even find with all-terrain truck tires and their knobby, chunky tread. Winter tires really are designed very specifically for winter conditions. You can&rsquo;t always stay home when it&rsquo;s snowing, but a good set of winter tires on your vehicle can at least help even the chances of getting through it safely. Have a look through our website at our selection of winter tires, or make an <a href="">appointment</a> with us at Free Service Tire Company and let us help you find the right set of winter tires for whatever you&rsquo;re driving.&nbsp;</p> /blog/view/winter-tires-in-knoxville-tn/feed0What To Do With Those Old Tires, 10 Nov 2016 15:06:40 -0500<p> Every year, about 290 million tires are discarded; of those, about 233 million are recycled in one way or another. Shredded tires can be used for playground surfaces, welcome mats, hot-melt asphalt, bark mulch and even made into building material for &ldquo;green&rdquo; construction.</p> <p> But what can&nbsp;<em>you</em>&nbsp;do with your old tires? Here are some ideas:</p> <p> --Fill a tractor tire with sand to make a great sandbox for kids<img alt="Tire swing" src="" style="width: 300px; height: 200px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" /></p> <p> --Hang a tire from a rope as a tire swing</p> <p> --Stack a couple of tires on top of each other, bolt them together and paint them a cheerful color, then use them as a planter</p> <p> --Lay two rows of tires next to each other, somewhat staggered, and use them for broken-field running as part of football conditioning</p> <p> --Bolt two tires together, then affix a round glass top for an instant patio table</p> <p> --Tires can be hung or slightly embedded in the ground and used as planters (note: don&rsquo;t grow vegetable plants in tires)</p> <p> --With a little imagination and some other building materials, you can use old tires to set up an entire playground of climbing structures, obstacle courses, and other fun designs</p> <p> While tires are tough, they can still be cut with a Sawzall or other heavy-duty saw. Whatever you decide to do with used tires, it&rsquo;s important to recycle them somehow. Used tires collect water and can quickly become mosquito breeding grounds in the summer. You&rsquo;ll be doing your part to help the environment and make the world a better place.</p> /blog/view/what-to-do-with-those-old-tires/feed0So…Many…Kinds…of Tires, 27 Oct 2016 13:25:25 -0400<p> <img alt="Different Types of Tires" src="" style="border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right; width: 225px; height: 300px;" />Ever think about all the different vehicles that use rubber tires? Tractors, industrial equipment, everything else that rolls on rubber?</p> <div> <p> Each specialized type of tire requires a specialized design for its specific purpose. Aircraft tires, for instance, have to be very robust and handle a great deal of weight and stress, but for only a short period of time. Aircraft tires are often filled with an inert gas such as nitrogen, for more stable inflation levels, and are designed with specialized fusible plugs which provide a safer failure mode (rather than a sudden, catastrophic tire explosion). &nbsp;</p> <p> Off-the-road tires, for vehicles such as graders or mining equipment, operate at low speeds but have to be able to withstand severe service conditions while handling heavy loads. They&rsquo;re designed with tough, thick carcasses to resist cuts, tears, gouges and punctures while still providing decent control and ride quality for the operator.</p> <p> Agricultural tires are designed for good traction while not compacting soil too heavily. They feature a large footprint to disperse the weight of the vehicle, and may feature a paddle tread for tractor tires or a knobby design for turf machines such as mowers.</p> <p> Industrial tires, such as for forklifts, backhoes or dock equipment, often have to encounter chemicals and other substances that can be damaging to ordinary tires. They&rsquo;re tough and rugged and often come in solid, non-pneumatic designs.</p> <p> Tires for heavy duty trucks and buses need to put in long hours and many miles hauling heavy loads. They&rsquo;re designed to minimize dangerous heat buildup and offer good traction on wet or dry pavement. A relatively new innovation for heavy trucks is the &ldquo;Super Single,&rdquo; a wide single tire that replaces the dual rear wheels of older truck designs. Super Singles offer better fuel economy as well, with a weight savings of around 200 pounds per axle.&nbsp;</p> </div> /blog/view/so-many-kinds-of-tires/feed0Free Service Tire Company Announces Fleet Maintenance Department, 22 Oct 2016 16:20:04 -0400TCS<p> At Free Service Tire Company, we know that any business that operates a fleet of vehicles is only as good as those vehicles are reliable. Your fleet is what keeps you <img alt="Fleet Maintenance in Johnson City TN " src="" style="width: 250px; height: 188px; margin: 5px; float: right;" />moving, and down time means lost money.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s why we&rsquo;re excited to announce that we&rsquo;re opening a Fleet Maintenance Department for the markets we serve, including Knoxville, Morristown and the Tri-Cities. While it&rsquo;s true that we already service fleet accounts, we&rsquo;ve recognized a real need for these types of businesses to offer comprehensive fleet service and tire needs in one central location. This gives us a chance to serve our customers better and connect with their needs.</p> <p> We&rsquo;ll be retaining all our current accounts and expanding to take in new business, and will retain a full-time Fleet Manager at our Johnson City location. The Fleet Manager will coordinate with all service center managers, at all ten locations. This gives us a chance to offer attentive, thorough fleet service for all of our existing accounts and help attract new business accounts as well.</p> <p> With services such as oil changes, tire rotations, transmission and clutch repair, exhaust work, engine diagnostics and (of course) tires, we can help businesses keep their cost/mile ratio down and ultimately help their bottom-line profit margins. We&rsquo;ve found that for many businesses, it makes sense to outsource these issues to us rather than trying to keep tabs on them in-house.</p> <p> Fleet services and fleet maintenance through Free Service Tire can make a big difference by taking the stress and hassle out of multi-vehicle operations. No more worry about fleets breaking down or performing poorly because of tire problems or deferred maintenance or repair issues. Why take on these headaches yourself? At Free Service Tire, this is what we specialize in. We can offer ASE-certified technicians, expert repair and maintenance work and the kind of discounts that only volume buying can bring. <a href="">Make an appointment</a> with us and let&rsquo;s get together &ndash; we can help you plan out a maintenance schedule for all your vehicles, whether you&rsquo;ve got a fleet of two or 200 of them. Vans, pickups, 18-wheelers&hellip;lost time is lost money! &nbsp;</p> /blog/view/free-service-tire-announces-fleet-maintenance-department/feed0