School’s out! Guess what this means? Road trips! But before you jump in the car and hit the road, check your tires thoroughly. An improperly inflated tire can lead to a blowout. Insufficient tread on your tire can make you hydroplane. And if your tire is reaching its useful age limit, you might have a sleeping hazard awaiting you. Whether you are in a part of the world that spells car tires with an “i” or car tyres with a “y”, tires (tyres) are your only link to a rural road, interstate highway, expressway, or autobahn.
Check Your Tire Pressure
Follow these steps from the Auto Upkeep text and any specific procedures in your owner’s manual to properly inflate your tires. Important: Always check tires when they are cold and when you have access to an air compressor.
Measure the Tread Depth
If your tires are properly inflated, but don’t have sufficient tread on them, you are putting you and your family in danger. Go to an auto parts store or online and purchase an inexpensive tread depth gauge. Tread depth is measured in 32nds of an inch or in millimeters (mm), depending what part of the world you live. If you have anywhere close to (or less than) 2/32nds of an inch or 1.6 mm, you need to purchase new tires. New tires commonly come with 11/32nds (or 8.73 mm) of tread. You may have read about methods of using a US penny to measure tire tread. This may be OK in a pinch, but it is best to purchase a quality tire pressure gauge and tread depth gauge and put them in your glove box so you always have them. As a last resort, tires also have “wear indicator bars” manufactured into and that run perpendicular to the tread. When the tread reaches these indicator bars, it is essential that you replace the tires.
Find Out When Your Tires Were Manufactured
Checking your tires’ birthday is another critical (but often overlooked) important check before you get on the road for vacation. As a tire ages, they begin to degrade. ABC 20/20 did an outstanding investigative piece on the dangers of old tires. It is your job as the car owner and driver to check this date code. Look on your tire’s sidewall for the DOT code (see picture). If your tires are older than 6 years but still have significant tread on them, you should still consider replacing them. And remember, when you purchase new tires check the code too! A tire reseller may be selling you a new “old” tire!
Written by a Guest Blogger
I’m often asked how it’s possible to pro-form high quality SMART repairs where others often fail, giving the industry a bad name. Experience helps, being 40 something and having been in the trade since leaving school is a benefit.
However, the truth to success is very simple and applicable all walks of life. Attention to detail!
When I access any repair I always ask myself whether I would pro-form this on my car or use a bodyshop? Recently I sent my partner’s car to Furrows bodyshop due to damage being beyond my abilities when done outside.
Knowing your limitations will serve you well.
So, I’ve accessed the damage and confident the repair will be good. Next, I find the paint code on the car and check the paint manufacturers paint swatch to determine the correct variant.
In this example, the car had a large dent in the rear quarter. I removed the paint and welded 6 pins to the bare metal and carefully lifted the dent using a slide hammer. Once I was happy with the basic shape I sanded the surrounding area down with 80 grit sand paper, blow away any debris and degreased with panel wipe and a clean tissue. Body filler was carefully applied and allowed to dry thoroughly before being sanded back into shape using 80 grit and a 30cm ‘Dura’ block to ensure the shape was correct. Again, the area was cleaned and finishing glaze was applied over the repair. This time I used 240 grit, followed by 320 grit and a light dusting of black aerosol paint so expose any defects such as high/low points, pin holes or scratch marks.
Next step was to ‘scotch’ the repair area and thoroughly degrease the area requiring paint and mask off the car. Primer was applied and allowed to cure before guide coating was applied. The repair was then 600 grit wet and dry blocked before again cleaning, drying and degreasing and finally tack clothed.
Paint was applied, using an Iwata LPH 50 1.0ml E4 gun in the usual way. Warmed to c 20 degrees, gripper coat followed by several slightly heavier coats, dried and tacked in between applications until the repair was properly covered. A drift coat was then applied over and beyond the repair area to ensure the repair is well hidden and no colour issues could be noticed. I’m now happy with the repair and all that sands in my way of a excellent repair is the clear coating.
Clear coat and panel should be warmed to c 20 degrees before application, gripper to half coat with 5 minute interval before applying the final wet coat. Allow to ‘flow out’ for a further 10 minutes before adding infra red red heat at 70 degrees for required time, allow to cool and de nib with 2000 grit wet and dry before a light compound and final polish. De mask, job done.
Paint Medic provides mobile car repairs and scratch repairs in and around Shrewsbury, UK
Michael and Linda Gray, authors of Auto Upkeep, were interviewed for the Advance Auto Parts DIY Garage. You can read the full article HERE.
Written by a Guest Blogger
Whether you want to save money or you can’t afford to purchase a new auto parts form a retailer, it’s often possible to find a quality car part at a low price. In some instances, this may mean purchasing used car parts or from an individual dealers, but buyers should have caution when shopping to ensure they’re getting the parts that best suit to their cars. In order to avoid troubles when shopping, consider the following guidelines.
Although in most cases the difference isn’t great, rates for some auto parts usually vary from one dealer to another. Generally, there are a lot of regional or national chain parts dealers in most areas. Before purchasing a car part, you should contact each dealer in the area to know the price offered. Most car part stores usually ship parts to your home address, so you can shop from those stores that don’t have a retail presence in your area.
Online Part Dealers
In addition to the car parts dealers with brick-and-mortar stores, there are also a lot of dealers that trade online. Try to check these online stores for a price quote. However, you must have caution when dealing with these online stores as there are a lot of online scams and con artists nowadays. When dealing with unknown retailers, you could verify their reputation with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Junk and Salvage Yards
The most common source for cheap car parts is the local salvage or junk yards. In addition, you can check the directory of yards nationwide with the use of online database or part finder websites. Always have caution when buying electronic parts, such as fuel pumps, ignition modules, etc., as the retailer may accidentally sell a part that doesn’t work from a junk car. It may be a hassle for you to return the product for a refund.
Similar to a large newspaper classified, most areas have also a publication where people can list car items for sale. For most common vehicles and parts, these listings can be a good source of cheap auto parts. However, auto parts from these listings may be used, so you should have caution when buying. Moreover, Ebay, Craigslist, or online listings like the parts section of ISeeCars are potential sources of cheap auto parts. These online stores list both new and used parts from dealers as well as individuals. Although not perfect, these stores provide tools that help consumers make sure they’re buying the right car part.
Snow and ice are just around the corner. Whether you like it or not, winter weather will be here before you know it. How can you get better traction in the snow and ice? The folks at McGee Company has a solution for you. Instead of putting heavy and cumbersome chains on your tires, just put on the easy to install AutoSock.
The AutoSock is a textile cover that is installed over tires when snow and ice are encountered. It increases traction and installation is a breeze. This alternative traction device even works on vehicles with very little space around the wheel well.
Since the AutoSock is soft, it does not damage road surfaces. And unlike chains, it emits virtually no noise when driving. Another significant benefit is that the AutoSock weighs significantly less than chains, resulting in lower fuel consumption and less carbon dioxide emissions. If you do ever wear them out, they are also recyclable.
How to Use the AutoSock
- Before purchasing the AutoSock, you will need to know your tire size. Tire dimensions are on the sidewall of the tire. An example tire size is P205/55R16.
- When using the AutoSock, don’t put the “pedal to the metal”. Use a light foot so the tire doesn’t spin and avoid using excessive speeds.
- Once you get out of the snow or ice, remove the AutoSock to increase its longevity.
- Before parking your vehicle at night, remove the AutoSock so it doesn’t freeze.
Written by a Guest Blogger – Allan Ory – Allan loves writing about cars even more than he loves driving them. He found the best of both worlds when he pursued a journalism degree.
The 2012 Nissan LEAF averages an 80 mile driving range, but according to SankeiBiz, a Japanese business website, that number could increase by 25 percent in next year’s model. Though Nissan has yet to confirm or deny reports, the company’s 2013 electric car could feature a cheaper base model with a smaller battery pack.
When the LEAF was first introduced, it faced no real competition among pure EVs, according to Plug In Cars, but with the ever-increasing technology and sales of other electric vehicles, Nissan needed to act fast to maintain their position as EV leader. With a possible boost in range set to come out next year, Nissan dealers and the industry at large are wondering if LEAF sales, which have struggled in 2012, will see an increase.
The Range Boost
According to the Japanese report, the LEAF could increase its maximum driving range from 200 kilometers to 250. Conversion rates put this estimate at 124 miles—a range that surpasses the LEAF’s current 24 kilowatt-hour pack, according to Plug In Cars. Because car testing methods in Japan are different from those in the U.S., this can be misleading.
In EPA-rated standards, the LEAF has a range of 73 miles, with drivers commonly averaging 80 miles of range in everyday driving. More realistically, the presumed 2013 model could offer an extra 20-30 miles due to a more efficient motor and upgraded lithium-ion batteries. This would bring the total range up to 100-plus miles, meeting Nissan’s original target for the LEAF.
Gas-powered cars are created in a variety of trim levels. If smaller battery options can provide reasonable range, Stephen Edelstein from Digital Trends says choosing between battery packs could be the EV equivalent of choosing between a four-cylinder or a V6 in conventional cars. But could this possible boost in range really boost LEAF sales?
According to Mark Perry, Nissan’s director of product planning, in an interview with The Detroit News, expectations are for LEAF volume to hit 2,000 units per month in the U.S. by late summer. With July’s 395 sales and June’s 535, that’s quite the jump in numbers. Last month, 685 LEAF units were sold in the U.S., a 50 percent decline compared to August 2011, according to Time Business. Perhaps the 2012 Motor Trend Auto Show could improve LEAF sales with Phoenix Nissan in Arizona’s capital and all across the country from Anaheim to Long Island.
With all the chatter about increased range in the 2013 model, and the decrease in numbers this year, it will only make it more difficult for Nissan dealers to sell the remaining 2012 models. But Nissan isn’t discouraged, nor is the company backing down from its original goal of selling 20,000 LEAFs in 2012. The prediction was somewhat modified recently, when Bill Krueger, the vice chairman of Nissan Americas, told Bloomberg that the goal runs through the company’s fiscal year, which ends in March 2013, not this upcoming December.
In that same interview, Krueger announced a new plant in Smyrna, Tenn. will be ready to produce the cars in December, helping relieve the plant in Japan and boost supply before the fiscal year is over. “We’ve had to fulfill demand from one plant globally,” Krueger told Bloomberg. “Once we localize it in December, the second half of the fiscal year is when we’ll see most of the supply, demand be available.”