AUTONET TV


Archive for July 2021

Move it or Lose It (Dormant Vehicles)

Posted July 18, 2021 10:49 AM

When it comes to your vehicle, driving it too much can cause some issues.  But what about not driving a vehicle enough? That has consequences as well.

Here are a few things that can happen if a vehicle isn't driven enough.  When the engine doesn't operate, the oil isn't lubricating. That means some mechanisms that need periodic lubrication aren't getting it.  And oil that sits around breaks down over time.  In fact, some experts say you should change oil more often if your vehicle sits in the driveway than if you drive it regularly. 

You've heard that expression, "Take it on the highway and blow out the engine.” Well, carbon buildup used to be a problem in older vehicles.  But the real culprit these days is moisture that builds up from combustion if your vehicle never gets hot enough to burn it off. That water vapor can mix with oil and cause sludge to form. There are many vehicle systems (battery, exhaust system, engine seals, etc.) that benefit from driving your vehicle at its optimal operating temperature for a while.

Spark plugs can deteriorate unless they are fired up.  The gas tank can rust from the inside if the metal is exposed from not having fuel in it.  Rodents and insects may see a sitting vehicle as a luxury hotel.  Brakes can rust after sitting around without being used.  Seals and gaskets can dry out.

One wise thing to do is check the operating manual. Some will spell out a maintenance schedule for vehicles that aren't driven regularly. 

One suggestion? Discuss your vehicle's maintenance with your service advisor. Let him or her know how often you drive the vehicle and what you use it for.  Then, you can come up with a maintenance schedule tailored for you, one that might not be covered in the owner's manual. 

If you do have a vehicle that's been sitting around for a long time, it may be wise to have it towed to your service facility rather than trying to drive it with brakes that may not work, spark plugs that may not fire reliably and other systems that may compromise your safety and those of others on the road. 

You may think it's great to have a low-mileage vehicle that you've barely driven, but a complicated, sophisticated machine such as a car, SUV or truck needs regular attention to keep it running safely… and reliably.

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



How Tired Are Your Tires? (Tire replacement)

Posted July 11, 2021 7:50 AM

Of the things you think about most, your tires are probably pretty far down the list. That’s understandable because today’s tires are engineered to do their job without needing you to pay too much attention to them. But they DO wear out, and worn tires can contribute to skidding in bad weather, not being able to stop, a ride full of uncomfortable vibrations and, even a sudden blowout. Yikes. Let’s figure out right now how to know if your tires need replacing!

Let’s face it. Most of us don’t know the first thing about tires. So, the best way to make sure what shape yours are in is to take your vehicle to a qualified service facility to have the tires checked out by a trained technician.  Here are things they’ll check:

  • Tread.  Tread is the part of the tire that touches the road surface.  Different tires have different tread patterns and something called tread blocks - the raised rubber parts that contact the road. The longer a tire has been on a vehicle, the more of that rubber wears off.  The technician will check to see if there’s enough of that tread left on your tire for sufficient traction to accelerate, steer, and brake.
  • Pressure. It’s important your tires be inflated properly so your tires will perform the way they’re designed while driving.  If your tires have low air pressure, the technician will check to see why, perhaps cracks in the sidewall from age, a nail in the rubber picked up on the road, or bulges. It’s also important your tires are not overinflated too.
  • Wear.  Your tires should wear evenly.  If they haven’t, the uneven wear can cause vibrations that you can feel in the steering wheel.  Maybe the whole vehicle shakes at a certain speed.  Your vehicle may require other services such as balancing, alignment, or suspension repairs to prevent future tire damage.
  • Age.  Your tires may have adequate tread, but if they’re too old, it’s time for new. Rubber gets old, and when it does, it loses its elasticity.  Ever find an old rubber band and tried to stretch it? It’s brittle and will break easily. Hotter climates will age rubber—and tires—faster. All tires have their date of manufacture stamped on them, so your service adviser will be able to see when your tires were made.

If it’s time to replace your tires, you’ll find you have many choices for new ones: different brands, models, designs, etc.  Your service adviser can help you figure out which ones are right for you. It’s much better—and safer—to do it before one of them fails at the least opportune time.

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



Tire or Re-Tire? (Getting Tires Ready for Hot Weather)

Posted July 4, 2021 7:02 AM

Heat isn't easy on vehicle tires, and as the seasons change, make sure yours are ready to take the heat. 

Let's talk first about inflation.  Heat causes air to expand, so heat alone can raise the pressure in your tires.  If you are driving on overinflated tires, they won't have as much contact with the road surface.  In that case, it will take you a longer distance to stop.

On the other hand, you don't want your tires to be underinflated during hot weather, either.  That can cause your sidewalls to flex.  Friction will then hike up the temperature and your tire can be in danger of blowing from the added heat.

Other things can cause problems, such as uneven wearing.  Your service advisor knows the signs to look for and can diagnose where the wear is and what is likely causing it.  Another thing a technician will look for on tires is tread depth and the condition of the sidewalls.  Any cuts, cracks or bulges could be indications that your tire is not healthy. 

Oh, and one other thing.  Your tires could have plenty of tread left on them but still be dangerous.  And that is because rubber ages, gets brittle and cracks after time.  (Ever run across an old rubber band in a drawer that has never been used but breaks the second you try to stretch it? 'Nuff said.) Some tire manufacturers recommend replacing tires after 6 years of their manufacturing date.  Your service advisor can read a manufacturing code and tell you how old your tires are. 

Tire manufacturer Michelin used to have an ad slogan that said, "Because so much is riding on your tires." That includes you and your passengers.  Always keep healthy tires on your vehicle and make sure they're ready for whatever season it is.

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



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