Tires

The important tire rating and size information appears on the sidewall to conform to the Uniform Tire Quality Grading standard (UTQG) of the federal government.

Numbers appear for tread wear, traction ability and temperature compatibility. Tires also have a rating on the sidewall for their abilities to run safely at sustained speeds, serial numbers for date of manufacture and numbers indicating the tire’s size. There are many web sources for understanding all of these numbers or we are happy to answer questions with your call or visit.

A visual inspection is the primary way to assess a tire’s condition. Tread depth, wear pattern, tiny cracks in the rubber sidewall or bumps indicating damaged belt layers are things to look for. In some low milage situations you may wish to replace tires that are just old, as the construction does deteriorate with age.

The best way to shop for new tires is to determine what you want them to do for you and start from there. Long tread life, all weather traction capabilities, perhaps more performance in dry only conditions or tires installed for the winter driving months.

Once again, the web has become the place to go to check out tire choices and pricing. Keep in mind the prices posted for tires are usually just that, and shipping, sales tax, dismounting old tires, recycling fees, mounting and balancing the new set must be considered to arrive at the final cost.

From inspecting your tires to assisting with selecting new and providing a price quote, we are confident in our being very cost competitive. After that it’s all about service, your being pleased you chose a friend to help you with any problems associated with your tires.

Alignment

Time and mileage eventually work to change your car’s original factory condition. Component wear, encounters with pot holes alter the settings designed into the steering and suspension for precise handling, maximum tire performance and even fuel mileage.

As it is common for original manufacturer specs to call for 1/16 inch tow in on the front tires, it’s a good idea to have the alignment checked every few years. The front inside edges of the front tires are set a factory dimension closer together than the rear edges to improve the way the car handles and tracks in a straight line.

Off just a little usually shows up in slightly more steering input in freeway driving, excessive tire wear, or a mile per gallon lost in the shuffle. If steering components are worn or their alignment was largely altered by a pot hole the car will usually tell you by ignoring what you are doing with the steering wheel and wanting new front tires very shortly.

Suspension

The car’s springs compensate for bumps in the road. Shock absorbers are designed to minimize the spring’s tendancy to keep on bouncing after the bump. Age and mileage eventually work to wear out the shock absorber’s ability to stop the springs from bouncing, which effects handling, tire wear and braking.

Shocks / struts is the term used when your car uses that combination in the suspension system. Leaking, groaning or squeeking, if the car feels bouncy or somewhere between 30,000 and 50,000 miles are good reasons to have your suspension checked.

Brakes

Disc brakes use three basic components for stopping : A rotor, steel disc bolted inside the wheel, a caliper for holding the pads on each side of the rotor and a hydraulic system of tubes and hoses that connect the brakes on the wheels to the pedal in the car.

Pushing the brake pedal forces fluid through the lines to push the pads against the rotors, to slow, stop them from turning.

The most common brake servicing involves replacing worn pads. There are variables in quality, price and performance out there so we keep things simple where stopping safely is concerned. We install only the highest quality, best wearing, no noise and least dust producing pads possible.

We inspect the rotors for cracks, excessive scoring, warping and minimum thickness. If they meet the safety specs they are fine. Turning, machining them back to smooth and flat is possible if the final thickness will be within specs. If not, new OEM quality rotors are installed.

Brake fluid is hydroscopic meaning it absorbs water. Any water absorbed over time works to rust and corrode the pistons and lines inside the system, deteriorate the seals and O rings to eventually cause the brake pedal to feel spongy, slowly sink to the floor under pressure, or worse.

Flushing and replacing the brake fluid every two years, together with an inspection of the lines and hoses, is the best insurance against having to replace expensive component parts or dealing with brake problems on the road.

Anti – Freeze, Coolant

The fact is it breaks down, loses its’ ability to inhibit rust and corrosion typically within two years. New cars may have stickers extolling otherwise, but they don’t seem to keep radiators, intake manifold gaskets, heaters from corroding either.

We suggest a timely flush and refill with Zerex extended life coolant is the preferable alternative to installing a new radiator or engine components.

Check Engine Light

The light on the dash is illuminated by the computer when it detects a problem in the electronic engine management system. We connect our diagnostic scanning equipment to the car’s computer and collect the data trouble codes to trace down the source of the problem.

Air Conditioning

The system relies on freon or similar refrigerant for cooling, so a leak and resultant loss of coolant is the most common problem needing fixing.

Some years ago the EPA determined freon was a major suspect in depleting ozone in the atmosphere, to issue strict guidelines for repairing automobile systems to minimize escape of the refrigerants.

We must completely evacuate the system, capturing any refrigerant. We test the components under vacuum for a specific time to find / remedy any leaks. The system is then charged with refrigerant and an ultra violet dye that’s used to further inspect for leaks. Finally we use an electronic detector to check the integrity of the system components. Rather an involved and detailed process we do carefully, as any leaks discovered call for starting over.

Cold Weather Inspection

A load test should be done on the battery to check that it will be up to the task of starting the engine on the coldest days. Antifreeze must test to minus 35 degrees and be flushed and replaced if over two years old, discolored or cloudy.

Engine ignition components should be inspected for condition and performance with a tune up performed if necessary. All belts, hoses checked for condition and fluid levels topped up.

Testing the brake fluid’s boiling point reveals any water in the system that can cause corrosion to the parts or freezing.

Our complete inspection package includes all of these points for only $ 21.00.

The Tune-up

Almost a misnomer with today’s technology, the term originated to describe inspecting mechanical parts and tuning everything up to proper performance specifications.

Today’s engines have fewer adjustable parts that effect performance. Computer controlled components regulate ignition and fuel delivery, resulting in those electronics usually needing attention for poor performance or non-running conditions.

We first inspect the wear items: spark plugs, wires, belts and filters. When those are good, the computer and sensors are diagnostically tested and adjusted to bring everything up to original performance specifications and max fuel efficiency.

Using the Correct Fuel

Typically your local gas station will feature three choices of gasoline by octane rating. The lowest number, usually 87, is the least expensive while the next higher choices cost more.

Your engine was designed to run very well on the manufacturer’s recommended octane rated gasoline. Technically it’s based on the engine’s compression ratio: how tight the piston squeezes the fuel / air mixture in the cylinder before the spark ignites it. High octane gasoline resists igniting early, causing damage to the engine.

Nothing to do with freshness, flavor or quality. Simply stated: running a higher octane gasoline than your engine needs is throwing your money away.