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]
No one wants to be stuck on the side of the road in the blazing summer sun changing a flat – especially on vacation. So make sure your tires are inflated to the appropriate pressure. This means keeping your tires at the pressure recommended by the manufacturer (check your vehicle’s owner manual for this information), not to the maximum pressure found on the tire's sidewall.
Having over-inflated tires can be dangerous in the summer heat. Tire pressure typically goes up about one pound per square inch (PSI) for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit that the temperature rises. Friction also causes tires to get hotter as they roll.
So if you go for a long road trip on a sizzling summer afternoon with your tires at maximum inflation, it could be a ...[more]
On a smooth road, a vehicle should track on a straight path. If the vehicle pulls or veers to one side, it is time to check the alignment.
A vehicle’s tires become out of line by accidently hitting a curb or pothole. A minor accident or collision can impact the vehicle’s frame and cause more severe damage to the car’s alignment.
Sometimes, the degree of misalignment isn’t obvious, however, the slightly off-center orientation can prematurely wear out tires because of the constant drag placed on the tread. This premature wear can drastically reduce the life of the tire....[more]
You might tthink a loud, rumbling sound coming from your vehicle's muffler, indicating a likely hole in it, is the only signal you need to have your exhaust system checked. But the exhaust system is more than a muffler. It has a manifold that collects the gases from the cylinders and directs them through a catalytic converter, which changes harmful gases and pollutants into less harmful emissions, exhaust pipes that carry the gases to a muffler and a resonator to reduce noise, and then out the tailpipe, away from the vehicle and its occupants. All these components working together make up your exhaust system.
It's especially important to ensure your exhaust system is working during winter months, because if yo ...[more]