AUTONET TV


Archive for December 2020

It Wears on You (Tire Rotation)

Posted December 27, 2020 7:09 AM

If someone told you there was a fairly inexpensive way to improve your vehicle's handling, fuel economy and extend the life of your tires, you'd probably ask, "What do I have to do?" The answer is to rotate your tires.  But you have to do it regularly.

A lot of drivers think skipping tire rotation is a way to save money.  But when you don't rotate your tires, they will almost certainly wear unevenly.  That's because when your tires touch the surface of the road, the friction and traction causes miniscule parts of the rubber to come off.  And that process isn't exactly the same on each corner of your vehicle.  Some vehicles have the drive wheels in the front, some in the rear and some on all wheels.

Rotating your tires at regular intervals minimizes the differences in the way the tires wear.  The amount and pattern will be spread out equally if your tires spend time at all different positions.  The more even the wear, the more consistent traction, handling and braking will be.  All four tires will last longer this way, and when it is time to replace your tires, they'll all be worn out the same so you can replace all four with the same model tire.

Some people who choose not to rotate their tires find that one or two will wear much faster than the others, and often they'll replace just the worn ones.  While you can find similar tires, they won't all be the same and will certainly not have the same amount of wear. 

There are different tire rotation patterns depending on several factors: front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, directional tires/wheels, different sized wheels/tires on front and rear axles.  Also keep in mind that when your tires are new, some tire manufacturers require you to rotate them or else they won't honor the warranty. 

Your manufacturer recommends intervals for tire rotation, so it's best to follow their suggestion.  Your vehicle service facility can advise you when you need to get your tires rotated.  And many facilities include free tire rotation for as long as they're on your vehicle if you buy your tires at their shop.

AutoSurgeonInc
1820 E Kalamazoo St
Lansing, Michigan 48912
517-374-8940



Don't Neglect Your Spare (Spare Tire Care)

Posted December 20, 2020 8:35 AM

If you've ever had a flat tire, then you know welcome it is to have a spare tire that is properly inflated, in good shape and easy to get to.  Problem is many of us don't even give our spare tire (if we even have one) a second thought.

If you have an SUV or truck with a spare, it may be mounted outside the vehicle, such as on the tailgate or underneath the vehicle.  All of them, especially those underneath, take the brunt of debris, moisture, salt and dirt from the road surface, a potpourri of corrosion potential.  The hardware that holds these on can rust into a solid mess, making it hard for you or even a roadside assistance service to get off. 

If you have one of those, have it checked and maintained at your vehicle repair facility on a regular basis.  They should be lubricated and cleaned periodically, and some recommend doing this service every time you have your tires rotated.  If the spare is the same size as the tires on the vehicle, it may be a good idea to have it rotated with the others. 

Some vehicles have compact spares that are in a small well in the trunk or some other spot. Most drivers don't pay any attention to them.  Over time, air leaks out of those spares, leaving them flat when you most need them.  When you have your vehicle in for service or routine maintenance, ask your service advisor for his or her advice on making sure the spare is inflated properly and cleaned, usually at least twice a year.

You may not know it, but your vehicle may not have any spare at all.  Instead, it may have an inflator kit that you are supposed to use to inflate and seal a flat tire.  That sealant has a limited life span and should be replaced every few years.  Check with your service advisor to make sure the kit is up to date and will do the job when called upon.

Manufacturers know a flat tire's always a possibility.  No matter what contingency solution they've included with your vehicle, keep it in shape and in good working order.  When you need it, you'll be very glad you did.

AutoSurgeonInc
1820 E Kalamazoo St
Lansing, Michigan 48912
517-374-8940



Slippery When Wet (Driving on Wet Leaves)

Posted December 13, 2020 7:02 AM

When the leaves fall, you might take a sightseeing trip to see them at peak color.  Or you may simply live in a spot where there are a lot of trees.  When those leaves get wet, you'd be surprised to learn just how slippery they can be. 

We all know ice is slippery to drive on.  What causes tires to slip on ice is a thin layer of water that comes between the road and your tires.  Wet leaves can have the same effect.  The surfaces of leaves are super slick when they're dry, even worse when you add a little moisture.  There's one other thing about leaves.  They are smaller than each tire's footprint, so your tread grips the pavement with uneven traction.

One study showed that your stopping distance can more than double on a surface covered with wet leaves when compared to that same road when it's dry.  Double! That can spell trouble.  So if you find yourself heading into an area with wet leaves on the road, slow down before you get into a jam.  If you do start skidding, use the same driving techniques as you would on ice.  Let off the accelerator, resist jamming on the brakes and steer into the skid.  Again, speed can get you into trouble fast on a slippery surface.

One thing that can help is having tires that are appropriate for the way you drive and the places you travel.  Your service advisor can offer suggestions for tires that are right for you.  Have a technician examine your tread depth and the condition of your tires' rubber.  Sun can break down rubber over time, and age can cause tires to fail, even if their tread seems to be deep enough. 

Your tire is the point of traction between your vehicle and the road.  Uncontrolled skids spell trouble and danger.  Slow down when you see wet leaves on the road.  They can make traction disappear before you know it.


AutoSurgeonInc
1820 E Kalamazoo St
Lansing, Michigan 48912
517-374-8940



Your Vehicle is Talking to YOU (Service Warning Signs)

Posted December 6, 2020 9:04 AM

Your vehicle may be like that famous battery bunny, the one that just keeps going and going.  But while it may seem sometimes like you never need to take your vehicle in to be worked on, there are some things you should keep your eyes, ears and nose out for. They are warning you about something that needs attention at your vehicle service facility.

  • If a warning light is on, don't ignore it; do something about it.  There are warning lights for battery, oil, engine heat, tire pressure… you name it.  And the manufacturer put them there for a reason.  They're telling you something isn't normal. So when one goes on, have it checked out soon, especially the blinking Check Engine light.  The earlier you have any warning light issue diagnosed, the more likely you are to avoid a more serious problem.
  • If your vehicle is vibrating or shaking, it's not only annoying, it could signal trouble.  You can bet your vehicle didn't do that when it came out of the factory! If you can feel a vibration in the seat of your pants or shaking in the steering wheel, head on over to your service facility and have them diagnose what is causing it.
  • Smoke coming out of anywhere in your vehicle is a signal (smoke signal, get it?) that there may be a troubling issue.  Likewise if you can smell something burning (like oil), the nose knows there's something amiss.  Time to find out what.
  • If you aren't getting the distance you used to out of a tank of gas, it may not simply be your lead foot. A lot of vehicles will give you a digital readout of your latest mileage.  If your fuel economy takes a dip, take a trip over to your service facility.  You might have a sticky brake caliper… or it might be something as simple as your tires need more air.
  • Yes, you know the dreaded puddle of something under your vehicle can be a bad sign.  It could smell sweet, it could feel oily.  But it means something is leaking.  Go get it checked.  Sooner is better when it comes to locating the source of a leak.
  • If your brake pedal travels further than it used to while stopping, that could be compromising your ability to stop safely.  Also, if the brakes are making odd sounds, pulsating, grinding or squealing, they're screaming at you for attention.  Proper braking is a must for your safety and those drivers around you.

An old 80s TV show called "Knight Rider" featured a talking car.  You already have a vehicle that's telling you things all the time.  Give it a listen and it will keep you going safely down the road for many years to come.

AutoSurgeonInc
1820 E Kalamazoo St
Lansing, Michigan 48912
517-374-8940



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