Monthly Archives: February 2016

How to Replace More Than One Tire at The Same Time

Unlike the old days, when a pair of “snow tires” would be mounted to the drive wheels only for winter use, today we recognize that a vehicle should have four matching tires: same type, same model and, yes, even same degree of wear. The reason is simple: A car with four tires that behave the same — whether accelerating, braking or cornering — is balanced and predictable. If any of these factors are different at one or more wheels, traction characteristics can vary and performance will be unbalanced.

Tread depth is measured in 32nds of an inch, and most new tires typically have 10/32 to 12/32 (5/16 to 3/8) of an inch of tread. If a car’s other tires have lost only 2/32 or up to maybe 4/32 of their original tread depth, it’s probably OK to replace just the damaged tire.

There can be exceptions, though. Some manufacturers of all-wheel-drive vehicles recommend that all four tires be replaced, not just one or two, because a new tire will have a larger overall diameter than the other tires. The ones that have lost just a few 32nds of tread depth will spin faster than the new one, and the difference could cause an all-wheel-drive system to engage on dry pavement and possibly damage the system.

On an all-wheel-drive vehicle or one with a conventional four-wheel-drive system, all four tires would ideally be replaced at the same time so they all have the same amount of traction as well as the same diameter.

On a front- or rear-wheel-drive vehicle, similar guidelines apply. If half or more of the tread on all four tires is gone, replacing just one tire will result in one wheel spinning at a slower rate than the others, possibly sending false signals to the traction control and antilock braking systems. It also will result in one tire having more or less raction for acceleration, braking and cornering grip than the others, which can affect a vehicle’s behavior. On a two-wheel-drive vehicle, a better approach would be to replace both tires on the same axle. The best approach, though, is to replace all four if the tread on the old tires is significantly worn.

One way to avoid buying more than one tire is to have the tread on the new one “shaved” so it matches the depth of the others. Some tire dealers will shave off some tread depth on a special machine for a fee.

If you decide to replace only one tire, it should be the same model, size and tread pattern as the others. A different brand or model tire will have even greater differences in traction and number of revolutions per mile, and it’s likely to wear at a different rate. That means it could conceivably wear out faster than the others, even if it starts out with more tread depth.

 

Know Causing The Smell in Your Car

If your vehicle is giving off an unusual or sickening odor instead of that new-car smell, follow your nose and find the source of the aroma. Bad smells can lead to expensive repairs or health hazards and shouldn’t be ignored. Here are some common odors and their possible causes:

Musty: If turning on the air conditioner generates a musty smell, mold and/or mildew have probably formed in the air-conditioning system. Moisture naturally collects on the cold air-conditioning evaporator (a small radiator that carries refrigerant into the car’s dashboard) and it may be harboring mold. Running only the fan at high speed (with the air conditioning off) can dry the evaporator.

However, that doesn’t guarantee the problem won’t reoccur — especially if it’s being caused by a clog in the drain tube that allows water to drip out under the car. A musty smell also can be caused by carpets that get wet when water leaks into the interior.

Sweet: Antifreeze has a sweet, syrupy odor, and smelling it inside a car usually means there’s a leak somewhere in the cooling system. The source may not be easy to see. For example, the leak could be from a corroded heat exchanger (aka heater core), which is usually behind the dashboard. The leak could be in the form of steam that enters the cabin, producing the smell and potentially fogging the windows. Have this problem addressed, because breathing antifreeze isn’t good for you.

Burning: Oil could be oozing onto a hot part of the engine or exhaust system. It also could come from overheated brake pads and/or rotors — due either to aggressive braking, pads that don’t retract when you release the brake pedal or the emergency brake being left on while driving. On a vehicle with a manual transmission, the clutch plate could be worn or overheating from riding the clutch pedal. Leaves or other material in the engine compartment — sometimes imported by nesting rodents — also can burn on hot surfaces.

Rotten eggs: If you can smell rotten eggs or sulfur, your catalytic converter may have gone bad. The root cause could be an engine or emissions-system problem that made the converter overheat.

Rubber: The smell of burning rubber could be an accessory drive belt that’s slipping or getting chewed up by a broken pulley or hose rubbing against a moving part. An overheated clutch plate also can smell like burning rubber.

Electrical: Smell burnt toast? That could be a short circuit in an electrical component or overheated insulation. Take electrical odors seriously, because short circuits and overheated components are common sources of fire.

Gas: It’s normal to smell a little gas when a cold engine is first started because of incomplete combustion. If you smell gas after the engine is warm, though, the gas cap could be loose or the evaporative emissions control system — which is supposed to contain fuel vapors and recycle them through the engine — could be leaking or clogged. Even worse, gas could be leaking from the tank or another part of the fuel system. Always investigate gas smells you discover when your car is parked before starting the car and potentially igniting the fuel.

Read more at https://www.cars.com/articles/whats-causing-that-smell-in-my-car-1420685136993/#0R78ebVffcZSgBbh.99

The cause of brakes squealing

If you’re lucky, the squealing (or squeaking) noise that your brakes make when you first drive your car in the morning, particularly after rain or snow, is just surface rust being scraped off the rotors by the pads the first few times you apply the brake pedal, or the result of moisture and dirt that collects on the rotors, including from condensation caused by high humidity. If it goes away after a few brake applications, no worries.

If the noise persists most times or every time you apply the brakes or stays on continuously while you’re driving, the cause is more serious — and the fix will be more expensive.

A continuous high-pitched squeal while you’re driving is usually the sound of a built-in wear indicator telling you that it’s time for new pads. As the pads wear down and get thinner, a small metal tab contacts the rotor like a needle on a vinyl record to warn you it’s time for new pads. (Some wear indicators may work differently and engage only when you apply the brakes.)

Other squeals and squeaks will require a brake inspection to diagnose, and may require cleaning, lubrication or adjustment, and possibly new parts. Most brake noise is caused by worn or loose parts.

For example, an unevenly worn rotor (often referred to as “warped”) won’t let the brake pads press flat against the rotor when you apply the brakes, and that can create vibrations that generate noise. Likewise, an unevenly worn pad won’t press tightly against the rotor and may chirp. Another possibility is that the pads are loosely mounted, or the shims that hold them in place have corroded or become loose.

And then there are the pads themselves. Some mechanics warn that bargain-bin pads are more likely to be noisier than higher-quality, more-expensive pads. In addition, loose or sticking calipers can contribute noise.

Because there are several possibilities, and because brakes are a crucial safety feature, it is best to have a pro diagnose noise.

A grinding sound usually means that the pads have worn away, and now the backing plates on which they were mounted are being squeezed against the rotor. This metal-to-metal contact means that you will need to replace the rotor as well — and that you probably ignored some earlier warning signs of brake wear.

 

Tire Rotation Tips

Many automakers recommend that your car’s tires be rotated on the same schedule as its oil changes. In most cases, this means every 7,500 miles or six months, though some automakers have stretched the oil-change interval to 10,000 miles. Rotating your tires when you get the oil changed is good, assuming you do that at least once a year; you should do it more often if you drive, say, more than 10,000 miles annually. Unless you drive fewer than about 7,500 miles per year, you should probably rotate tires every six months or so.

The tires mounted on the drive wheels of any vehicle perform extra duty because they apply the power to the pavement. On front-wheel-drive vehicles that is amplified by the weight of the engine and transmission, and because the front tires do most of the work in turns. Rotating the tires between front and rear a couple of times a year spreads out the burden so they wear evenly. Automakers that offer all-wheel-drive cars also recommend rotating tires.

How do I know it’s time to rotate my tires?
You can’t tell only by looking that it’s time to rotate them, so following a regular schedule will help your tires wear evenly and last longer. This applies whether you have front-, rear- or all-wheel drive.

How often should I rotate my tires?
Tire manufacturers typically recommend rotating tires every 6,000 to 8,000 miles. Moving the tires from front to back (and side to side in some cases) evens out wear and extends tire life. A good guideline is every 6,000 miles or every six months.

Why do I need to rotate my tires?
Rotating the tires helps tires wear more evenly and last longer – and can save money because you won’t need new tires as often.

How much should I pay?
The cost of repairs can depend on where you are as much as it does on what you need fixed. To get an estimate for your repair, go to our estimator, plug in your car’s year, make and model information, add your ZIP code, and choose the repair you need. We’ll give you a range for what your repairs should cost in your area.