It's spring in East Tennessee, and that means severe weather can erupt with little warning. Before your next long drive, take a few minutes to make sure your vehicle is ready if you get caught in a sudden storm. The following tips will help you prepare.
First, always make sure your vehicle is road-ready. In particular, check that your tires are inflated to manufacturer specifications and have plenty of tread. Also ensure that your windshield wipers are in good working order and that the blades remove water from the windshield without leaving streaks or smudges. In heavy rain, your tires need to be at their best to grip the road while keeping the car from hydroplaning, and your windshield wipers must be working correctly ...[more]
Rapid, steep temperature swings between brutal cold and spring-like warmth. Torrential rains, ice and snow. Typical conditions for the dregs of winter and early spring in East Tennessee? Yes, but these are also conditions that produce potholes in our roads. And pothole season is upon us, so watch out while driving.
Potholes can flatten tires, damage wheels, struts, shock absorbers and suspension systems and throw vehicles out of alignment. On Interstates or busy municipal thoroughfares, potholes can even cause traffic pileups. So it's best to take a proactive approach to avoiding them.
To keep your vehicle safe from potholes, before you drive, make sure your tires are properly inflated. Tires inflated to the correct pressure ar ...[more]
Vehicle owners are always being urged to have regular tune-ups done on their vehicles. And tune-ups do extend engine life, increase power and maximize gas mileage.
But how does a tune-up do these things? Ideally, a tune-up improves vehicle performance by ensuring the engine's combustion chamber operates at peak efficiency. This is done by performing maintenance that sets the computer, ignition, fuel and emission systems working in tandem.
On older models, a tune-up means checking ignition timing, spark plugs, distributor points, belts, valves, fluid levels, fuel, air and oil filters, idle mixture and other items, then adjusting settings or replacing parts as required.
Newer cars, heavily dependent on electronics as they are, don& ...[more]
If your tire tread can't pass the penny test, or if there are cracks on the sidewall, indications of uneven wear or other telltale signs that your tires are past their prime, then it's time to go tire shopping. Before you set out, here are some tips.
1. First things first: know the basics. Before you shop, check your vehicle manufacturer's tire specifications, which give recommended tire size and type. These can be found in your owner’s manual or on the car’s information placard (located on the side of the driver’s door. And if you want more information on your passenger car tires, for a quick primer on understanding the code printed on their sidewalls, go here: ...[more]
The Thanksgiving holiday is sometimes called the busiest travel time of the year. With severe weather potentially making driving conditions hazardous this year, consider these driving tips to make your trip safer and easier.
Check your tire pressure and fluid levels and fill your gas tank before you leave. Better to do these chores at a time of your choosing rather than being forced by necessity to do them somewhere along the road.
If your windshield wipers are old and leaving streaks, have them replaced before you start out. And if your vehicle is almost due for regularly scheduled maintenance or hasn't been maintenanced in a while, don't wait until after the holiday. Do it now.
Before you leave, check t ...[more]
October is Fall Car Care Month, according to the Car Care Council. So here are some quick tips to keep your vehicle in good running condition as the weather turns cooler.
Battery. Cold temperatures can affect your battery's charge, so make sure that your battery connections are secure, clean and free of corrosion. Free Service Tire will test your battery’s charge free too, through the end of this month when you present the coupon found here .
Gas tank. In colder months, remember to fill your gas tank when your gas gauge indicates it is half-full, and don't let it go ...[more]
A suspension system keeps your vehicle from rocking, swaying or bouncing while allowing the steering system to guide the wheels independently of the vehicle’s frame. The suspension system also makes driving a pleasant and comfortable experience, instead of a scary and painful undertaking, by helping ensure that your car doesn’t bounce off the road when it hits a bump.
When your tires run over a bump, much of your car’s forward energy is directed vertically, pushing it upward. But the suspension system absorbs and redirects that upward thrust, keeping the tires on the ground and responsive to your steering.
However, absorbing that energy takes a toll on the springs, struts, shock absorbers and joints that make u ...[more]
If you like to pinch pennies, with the penny tire test, it takes just one penny to check the tread depth on your tires and decide if they need to be replaced.
With the front side of a Lincoln penny facing you, put the penny upside down in your tread. If you can't see Lincoln's hair (i.e., the tread is covering it), your tread is deep enough. (That means you have more than 2/32" of tread depth, which is the minimum for safe driving.)
If you can see part of Lincoln's hair, start thinking about new tires. If you can see the top of Lincoln's head or above, Honest Abe is telling you, "Replace those tires, now!"
Tire tread should be checked because if it’s worn down, then the tread can't do its job, whic ...[more]
Most drivers probably think of extreme cold as causing car batteries to die, but did you know excessive heat is the number one cause of battery failure? Heat evaporates the battery's fluid, which in turn causes damage to its internal structure.
Even if your car made it through last summer's scorching heat without any problems charging, your car's battery may be living on borrowed time. Prolonged exposure to high temperatures can significantly reduce your car battery’s life expectancy. If it is also answering the power demands of an array of technology – GPS, cell phone chargers and the like – your car battery may be working under additional stress.
You can do your part to ensure a longer life for your battery. ...[more]
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