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Simple Inspection Checks that Make Your Car Tires Last a Long Time

InspectionEven the smallest of checks and inspections can help you get the most out of your car. If you abide by these maintenance measures at least every six months then you can potentially avoid all and any major malfunctions to your car.

As a result, this will prevent you from spending hefty amounts on major maintenance and repairs. Some of the items that you will read about may need checks more often than others. Make sure to contact us, and we can inspect the vehicle for you.

Tire Inspection

Oftentimes, car owners will neglect the tires thinking they are resilient items of rubber that not need special attention. However, this is far from the truth. Rubber is very responsive to environmental factors, such as high heat. High temperatures due to the weather and mechanical wear can impact the treads of the tire.

The treads are the bulging design on top of the tires which contributes to the car’s road grip. Therefore, inspection of the tires is very important as it keeps you from coming across an accident. In between the tires you will find wear indicators that can determine whether it is time you need to replace the tires.

If you tire does not have these indicators, you can also use a coin as a tool to check whether the treads are in functional condition or not. Along with tread conditions, you should also make sure that your tires are properly inflated. This will include checking the tire pressure and making sure it is at an optimum PSI.

Brake Pads

Your brake pads are integral components that press upon your wheel to make them stop. A brake pad is metallic plate with 12 millimeters of pad material attached to it. This pad material is usually carbon fiber or synthetic in nature. Overtime of extensive usage, the pad material undergoes wear, and with that, comes noticeable change in its thickness.

If the pad material gets down to about 3 millimeters, then you should be concerned and looking to replace it with a new one. If your brake pad is only 1 to 2 mm in thickness, then this is alarming for your car and you want to replace them instantly. Getting access to your brake pads will require you to remove your tire.

Shock Absorb Parts

Removing the tire also exposes you to the car’s shock absorber. This component of the car keeps the road stress away from your wheels and also saves your car from other risks. Thus, it is important that you inspect any visible damage or oil leakage from the shock absorber.

As you can see, the bottom part of your vehicle is essential as it contributes to the car’s suspension, and braking. These two elements are what keep passengers safe inside of a car. Thus, you should not take these inspection measures lightly.

 

Catalytic Converter Thefts On the Rise

Catalytic ConverterCar owners are now facing a theft epidemic. Just when you thought the pandemic couldn’t get any worse, state departments started witnessing a sudden increase in catalytic converter thefts as well, putting the residents into an even more financial drain.

Catalytic Converter Theft Statistics

The shocking statistics that support the theft increase claims come from a total of 12 major police departments in the country. Due to the sudden increase in thefts, speculations of this crime having organizational motives are coming into fruition. Many detectives in charge of this case are slowly turning their heads away from this being only a crime of opportunity.

It is very likely that this crime spree can be a collective effort, and have deeper roots into something bigger than what it seems. This is due to the surreal nature of the crime hike. In 2019, the count for catalytic converter theft was about 68 in one area. This count increased to about 273 nearing the end of 2020, and then 130 since the start of 2021.

The number of cases in the 2021 year so far is more than the three-year total of cases that occurred from 2017 to 2019. This is a rapid increase in thefts is a serious crime spike for the authorities to deal with. There are many reasons for this crime hike. While some are speculative, others are obvious.

Catalytic Converter from a car can be Valuable

Catalytic converters contain deposits of precious metals inside them. Therefore, when a thief quietly walks away with these auto parts they can ultimately sell them for huge amounts of money. The precious metals inside the catalytic converter help filter out the combustion gas inside an exhaust and reduce the number of pollutants that a car releases by reacting to them.

The prices for the metals inside these converters are skyrocketing, and this can be a major reason contributing to the increase in theft. Metals such as Palladium, Rhodium, and Platinum can sell for thousands of dollars for an ounce.

They are Easy to Steal

It only takes thieves about a minute or two to jack the car into elevation and cut each end of the catalytic converter. A portable power saw, or any other type of mechanical cutter slices through the exhaust pipes like butter. This allows the robbers to carry out their operation swiftly and quietly without coming into notice. This is why many thieves have been able to carry out this crime in broad daylight without any complications.

Car Owners Face Troubles

Since the crime rate in terms of catalytic converters is booming, the prices to reinstall converters are also rising. Car owners that are victims of this crime not only have to spend close to a thousand dollars to purchase and install a converter, but also have to go through the hassles of finding one during a shortage. Since more converters are now stolen, the supply for alternatives is not promptly meeting the demand, causing the prices to go up. Catalytic converter crises can befall any car owner. If you have heard anything from your close-by neighbors about stolen converters, it’s time you keep a watchful eye on your vehicle.

 

Poor Brakes and Needing Replacement Done

Poor brakes will cause and issue with your car. If you notice signs of poor brakes, make sure to bring the vehicle in so we can inspect it for you. The brake system in your car, like all systems, consists of multiple components that are vulnerable to timely wear and tear. Hence, along with other parts of the car, you have to ensure that you maintain the braking system.

You have to prioritize this system even more than others since it is the single unit system that is responsible for saving your life on the road. Below, the article will address the most common problem, which is the brake pad system.

Issues with Poor Brakes

The most common problem that a car can face involves the wearing out of the brake pads. When this happens, you tend to hear a noise as you hit the brakes. A brake pad is a small plate that consists of a metallic base with padding. This padding is often ceramic in the material. This part attaches to the rotors inside the wheel as you apply the brake, resulting in the stopping motion of the car.

When the brake pad surpasses its lifespan, the padding begins to thin and the overall thickness of the pad tends to decrease. When the pad material becomes so thin that you can see it reaching close to the metallic base, you will hear noises in the instance of the brake.

This noise results from the contact of the metallic pad base against the metallic rotors. On the other hand, some brake pads have little squealers in the brake pads. When the brake pad becomes thin, these squealers encounter the rotor and this will produce a squeaky noise as you drive.

Hence, these squealers act as indicators that your brake pads need replacement. When you hear sounds at the instance of braking, go to your wheels and check whether your brake pads are beginning to thin.

Brake Pedal Sinks to the Floor

Many things can cause your brake pedal to sink to the floor. When you push the brake pedal, you are in actuality sending pressurized fluid through the brake cylinder and the wheels. The most common reason why you step on the brake pedal and it feels spongy sometimes is that the car has a brake fluid leakage somewhere.

Diagnosing this problem is easy. All you have to do is check each wheel and observe the calipers for any wetness or leakage. External leaks are easy to find, however, internal leaks are something you cannot notice. Internal leaks are complicated and if you do not find external leaks after filling the car up with brake fluid, you should head over to a professional.  Now that you have a sound idea of the braking issues of a car, you can better identify problems and decide whether you need a brake pad replacement or inspection.

 

 

Timing Belt Replacement and How to Know if it Needs to be Done

timing beltsTiming belts are rubber, and even though the modern timing belts of today have a long-lasting mileage life, it is still possible that your might need a replacement. The timing belts of today integrate materials that are incredibly durable and strong. Regardless of their fibrous and Nitrile qualities, they are still predominantly rubber.

Rubber will naturally start to show wear after a couple of years, and this deterioration process speeds up under heat and stress. Both of which are common in a frequently running engine. Therefore, you should not be surprised if your car mechanics points to a belt replacement.

Replacing a timing belt in your car is very costly, and this is why some people opt not to invest in a timing belt replacement. However, it is always advisable to replace it when there is a requirement. This is because you do not want to run the risk of damaging your car’s engine.

What Are the Indications?

It is rather difficult to tell whether your car needs a timing belt replacement. The Most probable indicator is the mileage. If your car is old and has thousands of miles on it, this is a good sign that you should be looking at a replacement.

All the timing belts come with mileage specifications, however, these specifications are not that important. This is because apart from mileage, the rubber will also wear because of its aging process. Therefore, regardless of how much mileage your car has, if it is more than ten years old, then you should be looking at a timing belt replacement.

Should you get a Timing Belt Replacement?

If the rubber belt cracks and in the worst-case scenario, breaks, then the piston will fall and do plenty of damage inside the engine. This however does not apply to a non-interference engine. Most of the Toyota’s are non-interference, and in these engines, if the belt breaks there will be no damage, but the car will stop working.

Therefore, if you have a noninterference engine, and you don’t feel like spending too much money despite the indications, then you can do so at the risk of running into an engine halt. However, if you have a more modern engine, then it is likely to have a timing chain.

Timing Chain Replacement?

Timing chains will last you the time of your engine, and the only time they will cause any damage is when you are reckless with your car’s lubrication. If you keep replacing the oil every year or so, then you will not need to get any timing chain replacement and it will last forever. Unlike rubber, the metals in the timing chain do not deteriorate.

Before you purchase a car, make sure that you know whether it has a timing belt or a timing chain. If you forget to ask the dealer, the best way to find out is to look at the camshaft covers, and if they are metallic and packed, this indicates a timing chain.

 

How Does The Summer Heat Affect Your Tires?

summer heatThe summer heat can cause issues for the tires and car. Tires are one of the most important components in your vehicle, but people mostly neglect them, unless they lose air or blow. When this happens, you wish that you had paid more attention to them earlier. Tires experience a lot of wear and tear over time, and with every mile that they are driven, they have to be looked after more carefully.

Particularly in the summers, the tires are prone to even more wear, mainly because of the heat. This article explains everything you need to know about the effect of heat on your car’s tires.

Summer Heat and the Tires

There are a few reasons why tires get worn out much quicker in the summertime, such as:

Friction

When your vehicle travels along the road, its tires rub against the asphalt, thus creating friction. The summer heat causes the asphalt to be hotter than usual, which makes for more friction and thus heats up the tires much faster.

Material

The rubber used in tires is held together using special polymers, which vibrate when they come in contact with heat and start to contract. Due to the excessive heat, the tires receive a lot of hot air and they may also burst in the process.

Heated Molecules

Just like all items, tires also consist of atoms and molecules, which start to vibrate vigorously and space out, causing the tire to expand and wear out much faster. This may also lead to the bursting of your vehicle’s tires, particularly in the summer.

Signs to Look Out for in the Summers

If you think your tires may be at risk in the summer heat, here are some ways you can detect if there are any problems. If you touch the tires with your fingers and you think that they are very hot or burning, then they are overheated.

High Air Pressure

Make sure to keep a tire pressure gauge in your car and check the tire pressure frequently. If you remember filling it up to the right amount, but the pressure has gone up, then your tires are expanding due to overheating. If your car has an automatic tire pressure monitor, it may not be able to gauge this expanding pressure, which is why you will need a manual tire pressure gauge for this purpose.

How to Protect the Car’s Tires in the Summer?

First and foremost, make sure to get your tires checked by a local tire shop, so that you don’t end up getting stranded on the side of the road due to a blown-out tire. There are a few things that you can take care of to ensure that your tires don’t give way in the summers. For starters, make sure to check the tire pressure every time before driving. If you think the outdoor temperature is too high, then make sure to check the tire pressure after every 75 miles of driving, so that the tires don’t get over-inflated.

This brings us to the end of our guide on how the summer heat affects your car. Make sure to check your tires periodically and also keep their tire pressure intact, so that you can drive around without any trouble or worry.

How to Cool Down Your Car Quickly

coolIf you find your car parked under the sun on a blistering hot day, then knowing ways to cool down your car quickly can help you save time. Moreover, getting inside a scorching hot car can be detrimental to health. In some regions of the state, the temperatures can rise to incredibly high amounts, which can be the cause of heat strokes and other health concerns.

This is why, before you rush into a hot car, make sure the temperature inside is cool enough so that you do not burn yourself. Below are some methods that can help make the interior of your car less harmful so that you can enter and take off.

Open the Driver Door

Once you determine that your car is burning in heat from the inside and rushing inside is a bad idea, then you start cooling the car by first, opening the passenger side door and letting some of the warm air outside. Opening the door for a few seconds allows all the heat to exit away from the car. This will make it slightly better for you to enter the car.

Roll Down all of the Windows

Once you have sat down into the heated car, you should turn the switch on, and roll down all of the windows of the car. Moreover, if you have a sunroof, then you should open that too. The reason why you want to open all the windows and doors if possible is so that you can increase air circulation.

Turn on the Air

Once you have all the windows open, you have to make sure to turn the air on. By doing so, you can allow it to draw all the hot air outside that has been accumulating. After turning on the air on fan settings, it is time that you move over to the air conditioning. Make sure that you have your air conditioner on the lowest settings.

Start Driving the Car

Driving the car is actually an important step in cooling it down. It allows you to exit all of the heat away from your car as you drive around. It also maintains all of the cold air coming into the car. If your car does not have air conditioning, then this step can is something that you can quickly skip over.

Even if your car does have an air conditioner, driving is an important step because it allows the air conditioner to run more efficiently. This is because AC’s use gas to function, so when you drive the car, it allows you to boil up the engine, which allows you a smoother function of the air conditioner.

Once you finish driving around for a few minutes, you will notice the temperature inside your car to significantly drop. Following these steps will therefore, help you cool down your car in less than five minutes.

What Is Catalytic Converter Theft And How You Can Prevent It

Catalytic ConverterA catalytic converter is an integral component of your car. It is designed to convert harmful pollutants from the engine into harmless gases. They can be released into the atmosphere without causing any harm. Catalytic converters are installed on the underside of the car, right before the exhaust pipe.

Nowadays, catalytic converter theft is on the rise, and thieves are selling these devices to metal scrap dealers and second-hand part stores for a huge sum of money. Let’s have a look at the specifics and also discuss how you can protect yourself from it.

How are Catalytic Converters Stolen?

Stealing a catalytic converter is very easy and it takes merely a minute to do so. Since the catalytic converter is installed on the underside of your car. Thieves can easily slide under it and remove the bolts that hold it in place. Once they do this, all they have to do is to remove the pipes from both ends and be on their way.

Since catalytic converters aren’t fixed or attached to your car’s body, it becomes really easy to remove them. Some thieves take a more direct route and use a pipe cutter to saw off the pipes from both ends. This allows them to get done much quicker.

Why are Catalytic Converters Valuable?

If you have ever bought a new catalytic converter or inquired about its price, you would know how expensive it is. The main reason for this is because of precious metals inside the device, such as platinum, rhodium, and palladium. These metals are more expensive than gold, and they help to clean up the fumes coming from the engine.

Due to the presence of these metals, catalytic converters can be really costly, which is why there is a high demand for second-hand ones, which are actually stolen converters that thieves pawn off. They can get anywhere between $250 to $3000 for a catalytic converter, depending on the condition of the metals inside it.

How to Prevent Catalytic Converter Theft?

To ensure that your car isn’t a target for catalytic converter theft, make sure to always park it in well-lit and well-populated spaces. This should be preferably with a CCTV camera also present. This makes it difficult for thieves to slide under your car without being noticed. Moreover, you can also program your car alarm to go off at the slightest vibration or impact. Most people also get their vehicle’s number engraved on the catalytic converter, so that it can be easily tracked down.

This concludes our article on catalytic converter theft and all you need to know about it. This is a serious issue, and the numbers keep increasing day by day. Therefore, it is better to protect your car from thieves, and yourself from thousands of dollars’ worth of repair or installation.

Windshield Wiper Damage from Winter

wipers

Winter can cause windshield wiper damage, even if they are mild. Winters can be quite unforgiving in most parts of the country, and not just for people. Your cars also face the harsh effects of the snow and extreme temperatures throughout the winter season. This incurs a lot of repair and maintenance bills as soon as spring rolls around. Just like other components in your car give way, your windshield wipers also get damaged during the winter.

 

The windshield wipers are crucial to proper visibility and clean windshields in the car. When they get damaged, you are at risk of not being able to see the road properly. Let’s have a more thorough look at what winters do to your windshield wipers.

 

Wiper Damage

When you leave your car outside and it snows heavily, the entire car is covered with ice and snow. The windshield wipers get stuck to the glass, making it highly difficult to lift them up or use them again. If you left your wipers in the “on” position and you turn on the power, they would actually struggle against the snow. This causes them to possibly break, or damage the internal motor that moves them left and right.

 

Wiper Issues from Sand and Salt

In most places, snowy roads are covered with salt and sand to build more traction, as well as to melt the snow more quickly. However, this may be bad news for your windshield wipers. As the salt and sand can make its way to your wiper blades as other cars drive way. This can cause the rubber blades to get scratched and dried, and when you turn on your wipers, they may scratch the glass of your windshield, thus causing even more damage.

Regular Inspections are Needed

SO, as you can see, winters can be quite rough for your windshield wipers, and they may also lead to further damage to your windshield. It is beneficial and recommended to replace them as soon as spring arrives. When the temperature gets warmer and the sun is out, you can easily and safely drive your car with maximum visibility.

Wheel Alignments and 5 Benefits

wheel alignmentA wheel alignment is important for your car. No matter which make or model your car has, it has to be inspected and maintained from time to time to ensure its efficient performance. If you have a lot of driving to do in the winters, you will feel the effects on your car when spring comes around. As soon as the snow melts and temperatures rise, your car won’t have the same driving performance as it did before the winters.

Therefore, make sure to get your vehicle inspected by expert technicians, and the first thing you should worry about is the wheel alignment. More often than not, wheel alignment gets disturbed due to winter driving.

Here are some benefits that you can experience by getting your alignment checked during springtime.

Better Fuel Efficiency with a Wheel Alignment

If your wheels are misaligned, it can decrease your car’s fuel efficiency by up to 10%, which means that you will have to pay more for fuel than you normally do. This is because the wheels keep rolling at slightly different angles than each other, and throws off your car’s optimum performance. Therefore, by getting your wheel alignment adjusted as soon as winter is over will ensure that you don’t have to burn through more gas and pay extra for fuel.

Smoother Driving Experience

Another benefit of getting your alignment checked on time is that you can drive your car smoothly. During winters, you drive your car on slippery roads and often come across potholes and bumps, which throws off the alignment. This causes your car to move to the left or right, even if you keep the steering straight and release it for a split second. This can often be dangerous for you, which is why you should get your wheels checked as soon as spring rolls around.

The impact of misaligned tires can be felt by you while you drive your car. If you notice that you have to put more force into keeping the car straight, or turning the wheels to the left or right, this is a clear indication that your wheel alignment is off. Therefore, by getting them aligned after winters, you will be able to move the steering effortlessly. Better control over your car will also keep you safe from collisions, which is why wheel alignment is crucial.

Prolonged Tire Lifespan

Normally, your car’s tires wear out over a span of 2 to 3 years, and some high-quality tires can even go up to 5 years. However, wheel misalignment causes them to wear out much quicker than normal, and you can observe this by checking your tires for uneven signs of wearing out. Misalignment can also cause the treads to wear out from certain spots, which hampers your driving performance. Therefore, wheel alignment is highly important to ensure that you don’t have to change your tires every year.

Auto repair can be quite costly, but only if you keep dragging out the required periodic maintenance. If the wheel alignment is off and you keep driving your car, it would lead to more pressure on the suspension and axles, thus leading to higher repair costs. However, if you get your wheel alignment checked and adjusted right after winter, you will be able to avoid those costs by a huge margin.

Keeping your car well-maintained is important, but getting its wheel alignment done is even more important, because your tires are responsible for moving the entire car along. Through periodic wheel alignment, you will be able to experience a smooth and safe driving experience.

 

Springtime Boat Trailer Inspection – What you need to know

boat trailerContrary to popular belief, a boat trailer isn’t a part of boats. However, it plays a massive role in the overall towing and boating experience. In most cases, boat owners tend to begin with a craft towed and stored on trailers. That said, any kind of trouble can lead to several issues when getting your boat out on the water.

The good news is that you can steer clear from problems like these simply by performing basic maintenance. Let us discuss a few tried and tested tips to make sure your boat trailer is ready for spring time:

  • Take advantage of wheel bearing protectors
  • Check the PSI levels of your tires
  • Inspect your tires for wear and tear
  • Clean the trailer brakes thoroughly
  • Lubricate the coupler of your trailer on a regular basis
  • Take a close look at the trailer lights whenever you hook it up
  • Get a professional to inspect your shoes and brake pads at regular intervals

3 of the Most Important things to Check in Your Boat Trailer

 

Trailer Brakes

In most cases, boat trailers come with brakes. As mentioned earlier, you must clean your brakes thoroughly to ensure your boat is ready for the water. Not doing so could cause corrosion and compromise your boat’s performance and looks. It would also help if your checked the trailer’s shoes or brake pads for wear and tear. Using the trailer too much can deteriorate its quality, resulting in performance issues. Consider getting a professional repair service to take care of this job as they will service the bearings and brakes together.

What’s more, the auto repair professionals will also inspect your boat for brake fluids to ensure there is a sufficient amount. For those who don’t know, low levels of fluid can damage your boat trailer in more ways than one, which is why it is important to address this issue right away.

Trailer Lights

Checking trailer lights is arguably the most critical part of your boat inspection checklist. You can start by checking the light connection for corrosion and other signs of damage. If you think there’s too much wear and tear, consider getting a replacement without wasting time. Fortunately, these replacements are easily available at most auto part stores.

Wheel Bearings

Faulty wheel bearings can cause massive trouble. These bearings can accumulate rust, especially because of water. If you boat trailer didn’t come with bearing protectors, consider getting them right away. These protectors have grease fittings to maintain pressure, making sure your trailer remains sturdy at all times.