Where the Rubber Meets the Road. Choosing the Right Tire for You!

RightTires_cc_0-1

You’ve heard the expression “where the rubber meets the road”? The phrase basically states that it’s the most important point for whatever it is you’re discussing. In our case, we’re discussing actual rubber, tires. Our tires are the shoes of our vehicles. You wouldn’t go walk around in the snow in flip-flops or on the beach in snow boots. Having the right tire for you is vital. It will prolong the life of your vehicle and help protect you from the rough elements of the road.

Here is a guide that will help you through this process:

Check the tread: Tires become unsafe when the tread is worn. Check your tires’ tread every few months to make sure they’re in good shape. The tires are worn when they reach the 1/16-inch mark. If you don’t have a gauge, you can use the penny test: Put a penny into the tread. If Lincoln’s head is visible, you need to shop for new tires.

Get in the rotation: Extend the life of your tires by rotating them. Your front tires will typically wear faster than rear ones. Parallel parking and maneuvering puts pressure on those tires. In front-wheel-drive cars, this is accentuated because these wheels move the vehicle. Rotating the front and back tires will equalize tread wear.

tire rotation chart

Buy fresh: Look at the sidewall of a tire for a series of letters and numbers beginning with DOT (for Department of Transportation). The last four digits of the designation indicate the week and year of manufacture. For example, 1510 means the tire was made during the 15th week of 2010. Don’t purchase tires that are more than a few years old.

Choose the right tires for you: There are three basic types of tires—car, truck and winter—and each category has a few choices. Ask your mechanic or dealer if the tires that came standard with your vehicle are the best ones for you. Some common categories:

  • All-season tires
    They come in sizes for almost every vehicle. They are for drivers who want year-round traction, long tread wear and a comfortable ride. They typically lack the precise handling and grip of performance tires.
  • Performance all-season tires
    They generally provide better handling and braking, and usually have a lower profile (shorter sidewall height) and a wider footprint. They have a higher speed rating.
  • Ultra performance tires
    These tires are designed to provide good handling and responsive steering in wet and dry conditions, but the tread tends to wear out quickly, and ride comfort can be a compromise.
  • Winter tires
    If you drive often in wintry or icy conditions, then winter tires might be the right choice for you. The tread is designed to bite into snow and ice, and the rubber is formulated to stay pliable at freezing temperatures, so they typically wear faster than all season tires. A mountain or snowflake symbol on the sidewall indicates the tires passed an industry test for severe snow use.

Whichever tire type is right for you, the most important thing—where the rubber meets the road—is safety. Make sure your tires are in good shape and that you choose the best one for your driving style and conditions.

Sources: Nationwide, Google Images, Fox, Toyo Tires


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The OEM Aluminum Kit

Part 2 of the “Pre-Packed Kits” Series!
By: Cheri Shue

The OEM aluminum kit is highly recommended for shops that mainly handle ford vehicles.

PPK-AL-KIT-2

This kit is identical to the one Ford requires for aluminum certification. Although it is currently only required by Ford, this kit could bring any shop closer to their aluminum certification in other OEM programs. This kit has a wide range of hand and powers tool all packed in their own tool cart to avoid cross contamination.

Remember, last week we brought you the Basic Aluminum Kit. Be sure to check it out and see which kit works best for you!

The parts included in the OEM Aluminum Kit are:

SUU-8057 – 6 Drawer Tool Cart(1)
• ACL-14495 – Solid Rivet Kit: Air Rivet Gun, Bucking Bar, Flush Set, Cleco Set & Pliers(1)
• AHN-63916 – 1/4” Titanium Drill Bit(3)
• AHN-63920 – 5/16” Titanium Drill Bit(3)
• AHN-63924 – 3/8” Titanium Drill Bit(3)
• ANG-GR92207BK – J-Type Clamp(2)
• ANG-GR91507BK – LI-type Clamp(2)
• ANG-GR92507BK – LI-Type Clamp(2)
• ANG-GR91207BK – L-Type Clamp(2)
• ANG-GR92807BK – W-Type Clamp(2)
• ANG-GR14512BK – Aluminum Jaw Clamp(2)
• ANG-GR22406BK – C Clamp Short(2)
• ANG-GR13420BK – C Clamp Long(2)
• ANG-GR14412BK – C Clamp Aluminum(2)
• ANG-GR11205BK – Straight Jaw Locking Pliers 5”(2)
• ANG-GR11210BK – Straight Jaw Locking Pliers 10”(2)
DTF-DF-AH714 – 3Pc Aluminum Hammer Set(1)
• DTF-DF-AB711 – 7Pc Rubberized Dolly Set(1)
• DYN-18100P – 3/4” File Belt Sander W/30 Belts(1)
• GEN-21 – Metal Thickness Gauge(1)
FOW-72-483-003 – Deburring Tool(1)
• KEY-77348 – Body File Holder(1)
• KEY-77347 – Round Body File(1)
• KEY-77472 – Flat Body File(1)
• MAR-39058 – 3/32-1/4” Blind Rivet Gun(1)
MSC-52224A – Infrared Temp Gun(1)
• MTA-PH1400 – Heat Gun (425*)(1)
• NOR-98023 – 80 Grit 3/4” Blaze File Belt(50)
• STK-20015 – Hand Seam Splitter(1)
STK-21892 – Aluminum Skin Zipper(1)
• STK-21896 – Aluminum Skin Zipper2(1)
• VSG-2073111 – Tin Snips Lh(1)
VSG-2073112 – Tin Snips Rh(1)

We will finish up next week with the Deluxe Aluminum Kit. So stay tuned!

It’s Gettin’ Hot in Here!

The hot summer weather is blowing in quick! As important as it is to prepare your vehicle for winter, it is just as important to prepare it for the hot summer temperatures. Below I have listed a few tips to get your vehicle in tip-top shape for this summer season.

sun

 

 

 

  • Check your tire pressure – If your tires are under-inflated, this will cause the tire to bulge which will add pressure to the sidewalls of the tire. After enough heat and pressure has affected the tire, BOOM! It will eventually blow. Also, n over-inflated tire makes less contact with the surface of the road and can cause you to hydroplane during the spring and summer storms.
    See what tire pressure gauges are in stock HERE!

Did you know?? – Tire pressure changes with rising temperatures, approximately one to two PSI for every 10 degree increase in outside air temperature.

tire

 

 

  • Check your oil and oil filter – ROAD TRIP!!! Wait! Before you leave, make sure you check your oil and oil filter in the vehicle. Long distance drives mixed with hot temperatures can lead to an overheated engine.
    Need to change the oil? Drain Pans make your job easier!

Did you know?? – Oil keeps hardworking engine parts running clean, smooth and cool.

oil

 

 

 

  • De-winterize – Check all the fluids in your vehicle and check for leaks. If you are in extreme snow climates and have snow tires, take them off. Snow tires cause extra weight to the vehicle and are not fuel efficient. Also, clean the undercarriage of the vehicle from salt on the roads.
    Can’t see under your car? These inspection mirrors will help!

Did you know?? – The salt that is used to melt ice and snow on roads can get caked on the underside of your car and begin to eat away at the metal.

dewinterize

 

 

  • Check hoses, belts and filters – It is very important to keep the engine cool when driving in the summer heat. Check all of your hoses and belts for cracks, leaks or loose connections. Also, change your air filter if it is clogged with salt or other road debris.

Did you know?? – Replacing a dirty or clogged air filter can improve gas mileage by as much as 10%.

belts and hoses

 

  • Replace your wipers – The winter weather is hard on your wipers. You know, when you get impatient waiting for the windshield to defrost so you use your wipers to speed it up? Ya, I’m guilty. Also, it is important for your wipers to work for the spring and summer storms. I would hate to be stuck on the highway when a sudden storm hits without good wipers!

Did you know?? – At night, a storm can decrease visibility by 15 to 20 feet in front of your vehicle.

windshield

 

  • Keep your battery clean – Dead batteries are common in both winter and summer due to the extreme temperatures. You should detach the battery cables and clean the terminals often. Makes sure that your battery is strapped in correctly and is secure. Also, always make sure you are buying the correct battery for your vehicle if it needs to be replaced.

Did you know?? – Summer heat can speed up the chemical reaction inside a battery, causing the battery to be overcharged. This reduces battery life significantly.

battery

 

  • Maintain your AC – Most of the time, the cause of a malfunctioning AC is because of low refrigerant. This could be caused by a leak in the system. It is best to have a professional check out the problem since modern AC systems are so complex.

Did you know?? – The best way to tell if your air conditioner has a problem is if it can’t generate or maintain air temperatures that are 50 degrees Fahrenheit below the outside air temperature.

happysummer

Written by: Cheri Shue
Source: http://www.fleetpro.com/newsletter/?p=943

 

Introducing the Robinair 34788NI & 34788NI-H

Robinair introduces its next innovation, the 34788NI, featuring an industry leading 98.5% recovery efficiency for standard and hybrid vehicles and fully automatic function. 

According to the Robinair website, the Robinair 34788NI and 34788NI-H machines recover, recycle, evacuate, leak-test and recharge R-134a with improved 98.5% efficiency – unmatched by any competitor. The new design features a larger graphical display, automatic features including leak testing, automatic refrigerant refill and oil drain/inject – putting A/C lubricant back into the system. 34788 also boasts the ability to add a printer, USB data sharing, refrigerant identifier and wireless module for Wi-Fi or Bluetooth® communication. An optional refrigerant charge and oil capacities database is available for North American market vehicles. 

Robinair 34788NI - Premier R-134A Refrigerant Recovery, Recycling, and Recharging Machine

Robinair 34788NI – Premier R-134A Refrigerant Recovery, Recycling, and Recharging Machine

So, how does this new model stack up to the older version?  We’ve generated a sheet to show you how all of the Robinair machines stack up against each other. From what we can tell, these are very impressive machines.

ROBINAIR COMPARISON SHEET

ROB34788NI-H Premier R-134A Refrigerant Recovery, Recycling, and Recharging Machine for Hybrid and Non-Hybrid Vehicles

ROB34788NI-H Premier R-134A Refrigerant Recovery, Recycling, and Recharging Machine for Hybrid and Non-Hybrid Vehicles

Make sure you visit the information Robinair has released.  It’s informative and will help you decide if one of these machines is right for you!

 

A Must Have in Every Vehicle This Time of Year…

The new Schumacher SL1 charger/jump starter is a must have.

It can charge your cell phones, mp3 players and tablets up to 2x faster than a regular charger. It is small enough to fit into your glove compartment and it is light weight. This item will also jump start your vehicle…you simply plug one jumper cable into the battery and the other one onto something metal…press the jump start button and your car will start! It’s so easy!

It also comes with a wall charger and a car charger for the unit. You can still use the car charger even if your vehicle will not start and the battery is dead. This would not only make a great gift but it is a must have item for all people who own a vehicle. Not to mention, it’s inexpensive.

I know with this crazy weather I’ll be getting myself one, will you?

By: Cheri Shue, Blogger

Got Gas?

Gas prices have been outrageous in the recent past.  Luckily, I have seen they have been dropping a bit but with the upcoming holidays I will not be surprised if they go through the roof again.

Here are some helpful tips that can save you gas and money.

Do not accelerate and brake hard – I tell my boyfriend this every time he drives my car. He thinks I’m full of it but anytime you slam on your brakes or floor it you can literally watch your gas tank drop. Go ahead, try it. When you come to a stop or accelerating slowly, fuel economy can actually increase by as much as 20%.

Don’t use your A/C unless you have to – Okay, in the summer time there is NO WAY I’m not using my A/C but on nice cool days it can actually save you some gas by not using it. Using the A/C puts an extra load on the motor causing it to have to use more fuel. On most vehicles, even the defroster you use on cold mornings when you go out to start your car, yea, that uses more gas too.

Keep your windows closed – No A/C AND your windows closed?  (It’s getting a little claustrophobic in here.)   Keeping your windows open, especially on the highway, will cause more drag and use up to 10% more gas than if you had them shut.

Don’t sit and idle – I was always told that turning off then starting your car used more gas than keeping on. Not true. If you are going to idle for more than one minute you should actually turn off your car.

Use cruise control – I never hit the highway without using my cruise. If you are going to be traveling a long distance, it’s best to use it to maintain a constant speed. Speeding up and slowing down will use up more of your gas.

Keep your car in good shape –I think it’s been a few years since my car has had one of these…but having a frequent “tune up” on your car and making sure the tires, filters, spark plugs, fluid levels etc. are all in good shape will save  you on gas in the long run.  If the car is not running at tip top shape then it is using extra fuel to make up for the lack.  

I think I will try to start using these gas saving tips from now on. They might not make a HUGE difference but every little bit helps, right?

Written by: Cheri Shue, Guest Blogger
Source: www.gasbuddy.com

 

How To Check The Oil In Your Car

Have you ever wondered if you were doing something right?  Don’t worry…I wonder that every single day! We’ve decided to take the guesswork out of checking the oil in your car.

Checking the oil in your car is an important maintenance check. This quick and easy check can help keep your car running smoothly. An easy way to remember when to check the oil is every other time you fill your car up with gas. All you need is a paper towel or a rag (which you can get free from most gas stations).

 Follow these steps below to Check the Oil.

  1. Make sure that you have the engine turned off.
    ChangingOil1
  2. Open the hood and find the dipstick.
    ChangingOil2
  3. Pull the dipstick out and wipe off any oil from the end.
    ChangingOil3
  4. Place the dipstick back in the tube and then pull it out again.
  5. Look at both sides of the dipstick and where the oil is on the end.  If the oil is below the minimum mark you will need to add oil, anything above minimum should be good until your next check.
    ChangingOil5
  6. Once you are done checking the dipstick, put it back into place and make sure that it is secure. Then close the hood.

Performing this simple 2 minute check could save you a ton of dough down the road.  If you prefer not to get your hands dirty and you live in a part of the country that has a full-service gas station…by all means stop there!

Retro-1940s-Full-Service-Gas-Station

Written by: Guest Blogger Braden Dominic

Source: ConsumerReports.org

How to Install an Air Intake Manifold

You don’t need a mechanic to change your air intake manifold!  You got this!!

Alright gear heads, today we’re going to install an air intake manifold. When you install a performance air intake system, you gain a more efficient and powerful engine. A greater amount of oxygen is supplied to your engine’s combustion chamber, generating greater torque and more horsepower. Installing a performance intake also increases your gas mileage, and who doesn’t like having extra money.

The installation job itself is pretty darn simple, but it does take some elbow grease. You most definitely do not need to pay a mechanic to install an air intake system, plus we’re handy people, we’re going to do it ourselves. Follow directions and pay close attention to what is being removed, and from where, so that you can be confident in where to reattach everything when installation is complete.

The following directions should serve as a general guide to installing a cold air intake system:

Open your product’s packaging and make certain all necessary installation materials and hardware are accounted for. You don’t want to be stuck without an important part in the middle of an installation.

  1. Turn off your vehicle’s ignition, and disconnect your battery cables. Remove your radiator cover/dust shroud and remove your intake tube. If applicable, you will also need to remove your engine cover. Remove your crank case hose, and disconnect your vehicle’s electrical air flow sensors. Lastly, remove your air box and disconnect the mass air flow sensor from it.
  2. Assemble your intake’s heat shield. This will usually require attaching mounting brackets and rubber trim and then connecting your mass air flow sensor to its underside. Sometimes, you will be required to cut the rubber trim to the proper size. Remember to make absolutely certain you are following your product’s exact directions during this step, as the particular intricacies of each system differ. The most important consideration in this step is that you properly assemble your heat shield exactly as laid out in your product’s instructions. There should be a large tube end available to connect the air filter to the intake tube.
  3. When the heat shield is properly assembled, attach the air filter to the instructed position opposite where the intake tube will be attached (as the filter will feed directly into the tube). Tighten all necessary connectors. At the end of this process, you should have a piece of equipment similar in size to the air box which you previously removed. Your new system will fit into the vacated air box cavity.
  4. Install the heat shield/air filter combo into your engine cavity. Do what is necessary in this process to retain and properly use key components such as splash guards and mounting brackets. The factory mounting positions from which you removed your air box should be used to mount your new heat shield and filter, as your new intake system will be made specifically for your vehicle.
  5. Attach any vent fittings and remaining connective parts to your intake tube. Once ready, connect your intake tube to your heat shield/filter combination on one end and to your engine on the other. This may involve attaching and securing silicone hose ends, one to your throttle body and the other to the far end of the tube itself. However it is managed, this step entails seemlessly connecting your filter and heat shield to your throttle body.
  • Tighten and secure everything: all hose clamps, all gaskets, all bolts and fasteners. When we say tighten, we mean as tight as humanly possible. Under no circumstance is it advisable, or even acceptable, for these connectors to come loose at any moment during vehicle operation.
  • Reattach all vents and sensors unhooked in Step #2, including crank case vent hoses, battery cables, electrical sensors, engine covers, and/or radiator covers.
  • Make sure everything is properly attached and fully tightened. When you have determined this is so, start your engine and listen to that baby purr! It is recommended that every couple hundred miles you check your gaskets, fasteners, and hose clamps to ensure they’ve retained their tightness, at least through the first thousand miles. You can never be too careful, and bad things WILL happen if this system comes undone during operation.

Click Here for a video from K&N with detailed instructions

That is it! You are done. Doesn’t she sound great?

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Smartphone Scan Tool, Really?

Yes…you read the title right!  A Smartphone Scan Tool for the everyday person and home mechanic diy-er!

From what I am being told there is this amazing tool that you can buy for under $70.00 that you plug into your car.  You download the FREE app to your Apple or Android device and your smartphone becomes a scan tool.  No, you don’t need to reread that sentence.  It’s true!  Your smartphone becomes a scan tool!  How cool is that?!?!? That’s going to save you some serious cash and headache when a check engine light appears.

The Actron U-Scan Cellular Diagnostic Code Scanner provides do-it-yourselfers the ability to access vehicle diagnostics using their Apple or Android device. (That verbiage is straight from the manufacturer!)

I’m still in shock! This smartphone scan tool has been developed to provide essential information to help you repair your vehicle quickly and easily, while saving money.  Actron, the manufacturer, has even put out a pdf file giving more information about how this “Dongle” works (no I did not make that name up).  You can get that pdf here.

According to Actron, the smartphone scan tool is guaranteed to link to all 1996-Up vehicles. It has a Quick Check feature meaning it will read codes and definitions, erase codes and turn off the check engine light along with monitoring emissions.  On top of that it includes a Vehicle Activity Log that records the history of vehicle tests and diagnostics.  How cool is that!?!?

U-Scan™ Smartphone Scan Tool Vehicle Diagnostics  (ACT-CP9599)

U-Scan™ Smartphone Vehicle Diagnostics
(ACT-CP9599)

Anyone already own this smartphone scan tool that would be willing to give me a review?  I’d love to hear how it performs before I shell out the cash!

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Robinair Recycling Machines-The Buying Guide!

Even though it’s still cold in most parts of the US this month, the warmer temps are rapidly approaching. Is your auto repair shop equipped with a Robinair Recycling Machine? We’ve had several customers calling in asking which Robinair AC Recovery machine would best suit their needs. Why pay for more than you need?

Whether it’s the fully-automatic 34988, 34788 or the semi-automatic 34288, these machines will test, recover, and recharge R-134a automotive AC systems quickly and accurately. The question is: Which one should you buy? I’m going to break these machines down for you and give you some facts to chew on before making that big purchase.

Robinair 34988

Robinair Recycling 34988 Premium A/C RRR machine

Robinair Recycling 34988 Premium A/C RRR machine

Let’s start with the best of the best – the Robinair 34988 combines simple operation with superior accuracy. The Robinair Recycling 34988 recovers, recycles, evacuates, leak tests and recharges R-134a quickly and accurately.

What does this unit have that the others don’t?
*Automatic dye inject feature – This gives the user the ability to use the machine to inject UV dye into a vehicle’s AC system.
*Automatic oil measure & inject feature – the machine will automatically determine how much lubrication oil needs to be injected back into the AC system based on how much oil was taken out during recovery.
*AC System Flush – Flushes a vehicle’s AC system with refrigerant eliminating any residual oil or other liquid. (Flushing adapters are not included in the purchase of the machine.)
*Save & Print before and after service data – This allows the user to store before and after service information on the vehicle and print this information to provide to a customer.
*Indicator light and notification alarm – Notifies the user when service is complete or if a problem has occurred.

With this machine, automatic operation means less attention is needed. Set the parameters and watch it work! You can view more information on this machine on the Robinair Recycling website. They have also uploaded a video showing the use of this machine here.

 

Robinair 34788

Robinair Recycling 34788 CoolTech Recovery, Recycling, Recharging Unit

Robinair Recycling 34788 CoolTech Recovery, Recycling, Recharging Unit

Moving on to the middle of the road unit – the Robinair Recycling 34788, like it’s superior the 34988, combines simple operation with superior accuracy. The 34788 also recovers, recycles, evacuates, leak tests and recharges R-134a quickly and accurately.

This machine does not include the items previously noted about the 34988 but it does have a lot of great functions. This is the most popular of the three units I’m discussing today, mainly because it has the automatic function but it’s reasonably priced.

Robinair has a great information section here on their website. Also, there are numerous videos posted about this machine here.

 

Robinair 34288

Robinair Recycling Cool-Tech 34288

Robinair Recycling Cool-Tech 34288

The Robinair 34288 is the simplest of the three main machines. The main functions of this machine are the automatic air purge, refrigerant charging, refrigerant management, vacuum function and the new 4×20 multilingual display.

If low cost and simple is what you are after, this is the machine for you. You can view more information about this machine on the Robinair website here.

All three of these units use the same maintenance kit which makes it easy when restocking. The Robinair maintenance kits include one quick change filter-drier to be used on both R-12 and R-134a stations, and one 16 ounce bottle of Robinair brand premium high vacuum pump oil.

Robinair Recycling 13172 Maintenance Kit

Robinair Recycling 13172 Maintenance Kit

Robinair Recycling 34724 Recycling Filter-Driers

Robinair Recycling 34724 Recycling Filter-Driers

Whether you purchase the 34288, 34788, or 34988 these units can pay for themselves in as little as 2.5 months (based on the Robinair “Investing In The Future” Return on Investment worksheet).

So…after the analysis is complete, which machine is best for you? We’d love to hear your thoughts on these machines!

Written by: Jay Johnson
Information courtesy of www.robinair.com