Tire Myths You Should Know

Your vehicle’s tires have a huge functional impact on its braking, handling and overall ride experience.

83% of drivers aren’t “tire smart” (don’t know how to properly check tire pressure) ~~ Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) 2015 survey.

Since tires are the final extremity of you car that separates you from the road, taking proper care of them is one of the most important safety factors you can master. Here are the top five tire myths that you should be sure you know.

 

A Tire-Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) Ensures That Your Tires Are Always Safe – A TPMS electronically tracks and displays tire pressure via a gauge, pictogram display or a warning light on your vehicle’s dashboard. “These have lulled most drivers into believing that if the warning signal is off, everything is fine,” says Pat Goss…a master mechanic and automotive radio show host. Since a signal is only triggered when tires lose 25 percent of their inflation pressure (aka “dangerously low” tire pressure), you could be driving on tires that are underinflated enough to cause unnecessary wear, waste fuel and in some cases, decrease cornering ability while increasing stopping distances. Goss advises that you should check tire pressure every 30 days the old-fashioned way: manually, with a tire pressure gauge. (Watch the quick how-to video below)

The Correct Tire Pressure Is Listed On The Tire Sidewall – 50% of all drivers believe this is true. But these numbers actually tell you the maximum cold inflation PSI the tire is rated for—not the recommended pressure for your vehicle. The CORRECT information is actually listed on a label inside the vehicle’s driver-side door or in the owner’s manual.

All Cars Come With Spare Tires – approximately one third of all new cars DON’T come with a spare tire in the trunk. Instead, you’ll get a “temporary mobility kit” with a tire sealant and a tire inflator or run-flat tires, says Goss. If your tire is punctured, apply the sealant through the valve stem then use the inflator to re-inflate it, he explains. The downside? If the damage is more severe than a tiny hole (think nail size), the mobility kit probably isn’t going to cut it and you’ll have to be towed. Go check your trunk now, so you’re not surprised in an emergency.

Tire Rotation Should be Done About Once A Year – The correct answer…Tire rotation should be performed every 5,000 to 8,000 miles, which also coincides with the typical oil change recommendation.

Flat Tire While Driving?…Never Continue Driving – “Run-flat tires” — which let you keep driving after a puncture so you can make it to an auto shop—are becoming more popular. “Many manufacturers are using them because the additional cost of four run-flats is less than the cost of a spare tire, wheel and jack,” says Goss. Run-flats vary as to how far they can be driven and at what speed, but generally speaking they can be driven for up to 50 miles at a reduced speed (usually about 50 miles per hour), he explains. You can tell if your car has run-flats by looking inside the driver’s door, in your owner’s manual or checking the tire sidewall for one of the following codes: RFT, DSST, ROF, RFT, EMT, XRP, ZP or ZPS.

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Car Detailing Tips

For the next level of clean and pristine appearance for your vehicle…way beyond washing and waxing…a professional auto detailing job is a virtual guarantee of satisfaction.  Of course, DIYers can try their hand by themselves…but usually end up taking much longer to complete with sub par results.  Only a true professional has the weather worn expertise and bag of tricks to come close to restoring your vehicle to it’s original condition…interior and exterior.

 

Benefits of Professionally Detailing Your Vehicle

  • Convenience – Consider closely the value of your time and peace of mind…and the cost of any mistakes you might make that a professional likely would not.  Saving yourself time, money and hassle can often be priceless.  Delivery service is often offered by many auto-detailing shops.
  • Higher Resale Value – A well maintained vehicle will always command a higher selling price…especially regarding its appearance. An exterior that’s been cleaned and waxed regularly will show less wear and tear and the paint and clear coat will be more durable in the long run. Inside, regular detailing will help a car hold its new-car feel.
  • Peace of mind – Professional expertise to help removing spills, stains or other accidents using tried-and-true methods not only saves you elbow grease, it also ensures the stain or spill has been removed or neutralized as effectively as possible.
  • Fewer penalties – Returning a leased vehicle often brings surprises to lessees…when penalties for sub par vehicle maintenance (including paint job, interior and upholstery) gets assessed. Regular detailing can be a worthwhile investment to avoid lease-return penalties.
  • Faster sale turnaround – A car newly and thoroughly detailed will sell faster than one that hasn’t been cleaned by a professional.

Cost of having your car detailed

  • Risk of Damage Reduced – You, a non-professional are much more likely to make a mistake than a professional car detailing companM
  • Common misconception about auto detailing work — it’s just too expensive. But extending the life and resale value of your car actually pays off long term.  Investigate pricing…investigate reviews. You might be pleasantly surprised.

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More Auto Detailing

What Does Certified Pre-Owned Really Mean?

What’s the major attractive benefit to car buyers who are considering Certified Pre-Owned vehicles as a purchase? Answer: They’ve been through an exhaustive multi-faceted inspection and had any found issues already addressed. What’s whole point of the process?  The thorough inspections and ultimate CPO designation states that although the vehicle is no longer new, it’s still in premium working order…thereby justifying its premium pricing  compared to similar non-CPO vehicles.

Before any part of the inspection process even begins…it’s important to identify the vehicle as legal and legit…by making sure the VIN (vehicle identification number) matches what’s on file at the DMV…verifying a clean title. Carfax, AutoCheck, or some other vehicle history report is usually included for the buyer as a prerequisite.

What actually gets inspected?

  • Maximum mileage and age criteria…determined by each automaker individually. These thresholds reassure  buyers by creating high uniformity among the CPO vehicles being offered for sale.
  • Aftermarket add-ons – carmakers criteria range from zero tolerance for evidence of past aftermarket modifications…to allowing only those that “don’t compromise safety, emissions, or operation of the vehicle.”
  • Safety, emissions, and operation are all delved into deeply in every automaker’s CPO inspection. Major areas that get a close look are the braking system, transmission components and operation, and most everything inside the engine compartment. Fluid levels are checked. Individual components are inspected.
  • Cosmetic checks – items like front & rear bumpers and fascias, emblems & nameplates, moldings & appliqués, door handles, running boards & side steps etc.
  • Vehicle Interiors – safety equipment such as seatbelts and airbags as well as basic functions on the dash such as the stereo and heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems. There’s also some fairly extensive cleaning that typically takes place, … Several automakers include cleaning the ashtray and cigarette lighters on their checklists… concerned with smell and makes sure that vehicles are “free of odor, including heavy fragrance.”
  • Hybrids typically have additional checkpoints such as the condition of the battery and a check of more specialized parts such as electric motors and the anti-theft vehicle-immobilizer system.

So…How do you know that the vehicle was actually put through this multipoint scrutiny the carmakers are promising? CPO inspection checklists end with a series of signatures of those responsible for the inspection process, as well as that of the customer buying the car. So, if you are ready to purchase a CPO car or truck and you aren’t offered an inspection checklist to sign, something is amiss.

Generally, the vehicles’ inspections are a fairly extensive list of checks that should give consumers added reassurance that a CPO vehicle is a better bet than its traditional used car scenario. Need more encouragement that CPO is the way to go? Here’s 5 good reasons CPO might be your strategy.

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Avoiding Direct Repair Shops (DRPs) – 5 Warnings

Direct Repair Programs (DRPs) are constructed relationships that Insurance companies create with auto body repair shops. The bottom line is that the insurance companies usually send (or “steer” as it’s called in the industry) the participating DRP shops more insurance related business in exchange for agreeing to cut corners during the repair process…thus saving the insurance company money.  Sometimes called “Network shops” or “Select Service shops” …these participating repair shops are actually “graded” by the insurance company as to how fast and cost effective the repairs are done…with quality all too often taking a lower priority.  Insurance companies put in place many rules and regulations for body shops who are on their “list” and sometime force the shops to do things that they would not otherwise do.

Comical depiction of Insurance Company “Steering“…that may not turn out as funny in real life.

Here are 5 reasons you may want to consider avoiding DRP repair shops:

  1. They work directly for the Insurance Company, not you …and not necessarily for your best interests.
  2. If your vehicle is declared a Total Loss, the DRP shop be pressured by the Insurance Company to cheat you on the Actual Cash Value (ACV) settlement you are owed.
  3. Diminished Value you’re owed after repairs – DRP shops may be encourage not to inform you about it.
  4.  Repairing parts instead of Replacing them as they should have been…again, saving the Insurance Company money.
  5. Using Aftermarket/Imitation/Counterfeit or Junkyard Parts on your car…obviously, not to your benefit.

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Should You Go CPO? 5 Merits of Certified Pre-Owned

Wealth is not about having a lot of money; it’s about having a lot of options. ~ Chris Rock

If  you’re considering buying a new (or kinda new) vehicle…having more options and more money left over are always good things.  New or used…private seller or car dealer…and in recent years, something usually sold by new car dealers called “certified pre-owned” (CPO).  CPO can be considered as a compromise between new and used that most often has a better warranty (because it’s been thoroughly inspected) and low to modest mileage.


Here are some compelling arguments that a certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicle may be your best bet:

1. Thoroughly Inspected Vehicle

Imagine the feeling you get from seeing “As-Is” on a vehicle’s For Sale sign…or the complete set of “unknowns” that come with buying a car from a private seller. Your first instinct should be to take your prospective purchase to a trusted mechanic and have it thoroughly checked out…for a fee.  That’s what CPO effectively does for you in a more formal and convenient way.  Ford and General Motors have 170+ items on a checklist that technicians must complete before allowing pre-owned vehicle to be designated as CPO.

2. Warranty that’s Manufacturer-Backed

So you’re effectively paying a premium for a manufacturer-backed warranty. But like any kind of insurance…not all warranties are created equal. So buyers need to pay special attention to the warranty specifics. “Powertrain-limited warranties”… “bumper-to-bumper warranties” and even combinations of the two.

Powertrain warranties typically span longer periods, such as six years or 100,000 miles from the date the vehicle was purchased new. A bumper-to-bumper warranty may last for one year or cover 12,000 miles and could include a deductible of $50 to $100. When shopping for a CPO, buyers should be sure to inquire about the length of the warranty, the details regarding types of repairs that require paying a deductible, and the list of items not covered at all. Also, pay attention to whether the manufacturer has a fee to transfer a CPO warranty should you want to sell the car or truck before the warranty expires. (BMW, for example, charges $200 for the warranty to be transferred to a subsequent owner.)

3. CPO Is Less Money Than New

The most obvious reason why people consider CPO is money…and CPO is less money than a new vehicle. Typically, two-year-old CPO vehicles are 25 percent cheaper, and four year old CPOs are about 40 percent less expensive. But remember… CPO vehicles do carry a premium over their non-CPO used vehicles. So the question for buyers becomes: Do the additional benefits of buying a CPO justify the higher price?

Like to see a couple more reasons?

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Paint Damage from Falling Leaves?

Fall weather tends to turn our thoughts to shorter daylight, more football, Halloween and the Holidays.  Some may even make a special trip to the mountains or countryside just to see the beautiful array of colorful leaves as they turn and begin to drop.  So many vibrant colors…but maybe you weren’t aware that those spectacular Autumn leaves can actually damage to your car in multiple ways?  Yes, one or two won’t cause Armageddon…but if allowed to collect unchecked and unremoved…those leaves can do some serious damage to your vehicle’s paint job, especially if it’s clear coat has more than a few years of wear and tear.

parked cars with yellow fallen tree leaves on hoods

Paint Damage? How Can Leaves Cause That?
Fallen leaves contain small amounts of sap and pollen that when rained upon…causes acid to leech out of the leaves and penetrate your car’s clear coat…resulting in dull spots and paint peel. If left unchecked, wet leaves can even cause rust to form, especially when they get trapped between moldings and trim.  Maybe you’ve even seen a wet leaf left sticking to the hood of a car until it dries…creating an actual leaf print in the paint.

Leaves Cause Other Damage Too?
Leaves left trapped between the body and hood can cause damage to your vehicle’s HVAC (air conditioning & heat) system by pulling in tiny pieces of leaf debris.  Accumulated leaves left unchecked can block air inflow and damage the engine or heating system. Also, mold and mildew can easily form from rotting leaves.

How Do You Prevent Fallen Leaves Damage?

  1. Don’t park directly under trees…if at all possible.  It helps avoid leaf buildup.
  2. If/when leaves do appear on the hood, roof & trunk of your car, hose them off ASAP. Don’t just wipe them off with your hand or a brush…that actually scratches your paint.
  3. Open the hood and use an air compressor or high power vacuum to remove any leaves or pieces of leaves that you see.  Ask your trusted auto mechanic to inspect the engine compartment and ensure no unwanted leaves have accumulated.
  4. Wash & Wax regularly. Visit your car wash and take advantage of undercarriage sprayers and high-pressure wands to get to every nook and cranny of your car. Apply a coat of strong, durable wax to help protect the paint from acid and sap in leaves.

Following these protective steps will allow you enjoy to the spectacle of the Autumn foliage when you head out on that road trip to the countryside…without worrying about car damage.  Your Irish Coffee or Hot Toddy will taste even better while you enjoy the landscape!

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Car Detailing Benefits

Maybe you’ve wondered what exactly car detailing involves?

Vehicle Detailing is a thorough cleaning and reconditioning process that’s a meticulous step-by-step procedure aimed at restoring its beauty.

 

But here’s an important distinction:  car “wash” and car “detail” are two VERY different auto care services. Here’s why…

Detailing Services can not only include automobiles…but also: RVs, trucks, buses, SUVs, boats, motorcycles and yes, airplanes too! Most authentic detailing businesses can accommodate most or all of these vehicle types.  Here are a few variables to know in advance:

  1. What type of detailing package you’re receiving?  It’s likely you’ll encounter a wide variety of service packages and prices…because there are no standard industry guidelines.  Factors that define the variety quotient are:  overall quality of service, levels of training, professionalism as well as the phusical products and equipment used to perform the services.
  2. Why do I need car detailing?  Protection from the elements is the single most important reason your vehicle needs authentic detailing services…at least twice a year.  Specifically, a quality coat of wax applied to the painted surfaces that protect it’s finish from contaminates and oxidation.
  3. What expectations should you have?  – A thorough, high-quality detailing service package should take several hours to perform, depending on your vehicles condition.   Actual results of a detailing job will also vary, based on the level of service provided and the age or condition of the vehicle.  But you SHOULD expect that every nook and cranny of your vehicle will be assessed and cleaned.

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Car Washes & Your Vehicle’s Paint

Is there a legit but secret method of washing your car that will not cause damage to its paintwork?

PopularMechanics says…at the veryleast… avoid the gas station quick car washes with the big brushes.   If you care at all about your vehicle’s exterior finish…they can do more harm than good.  But a gold old DIY car wash at home will achieve the best results.

Most people that a wash and wax is the best way to keep their car shiny and clean. Their heart is in the right place, but there is much more to washing a car than those two things.  Mike Pennington and Rick McDonough of Meguiars explain these steps as a proper way to wash your car and maintain a clean exterior.

  1. Evaluate the Condition of Your Vehicle
  2. Read the Label
  3. Washing Your Car
  4. Prepare the Surface
  5. Polishing for Extra Gloss
  6. Wax to Protect
  7. Maintain a Shine and Protection
  8. Wash the Windows
  9. Wash the Wheels

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Here’s another viewpoint from the car enthusiasts TV show, FifthGear:

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Witness a Vehicle Accident? How to Respond

Witnessing a vehicle accident first-hand calls for a high level of composure (i.e. calm, cool, and collected response) under traumatic circumstances.  How you should respond largely depends on how severe the crash is…and the extent of the injuries, but here are some general guidelines to keep in mind.  Following these tips will position you to be better prepared to help your fellow drivers while waiting for professional emergency responders to arrive at the scene.

  1. Ensure your safety first – If you are driving when you spot a car crash, pull over to the side of the road at least 100 feet from the scene and put on your hazard lights. You want to give enough distance so you don’t put yourself in danger of broken glass, leaked fuel, or flames.
  2. Call 911 – Never assume that someone else already called 911. Even if the wreck doesn’t appear severe, the authorities should be notified.  Let the 911 operator know you witnessed a car accident, the location, number of people involved, and any other pertinent details.
  3. Check on the victims – Once you’ve ensured that it’s safe to approach the scene, check on the condition of the crash victims to make sure they are okay and offer help, if you are able. While this can be an emotionally taxing time, try to stick to the facts and remember that this is not the time to assess who is at fault for the accident or make judgments on what the other driver must have been thinking. A good rule of thumb is to never admit fault at the scene. Unless there’s a risk of the vehicle catching fire, do not under any circumstances move an injured person. Despite your best intentions, you could accidentally make the injury worse. Let the trained medical professionals tend to the injuries, but you can provide comfort by reassuring victims that help is on the way.
  4. Stabilize the vehicles (if you can) – If the accident is minor, ask the driver to put the impacted vehicle in “park” and turn off the ignition. This will eliminate the risk of fire, especially since chances are good that the crash has caused an oil, fuel or coolant leak.  If it’s safe to do so, enlist help to move the car out of further harm’s way and to leave space for other vehicles and emergency responders.  If that’s not possible, set up flares or traffic triangles to warn other drivers of the accident.

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Chrome Care & Restoration – Ultimate Guide

Here is a portion of one DIYer’s experience with restoring the chrome on a 1966 Chevy Chevelle Malibu…using two product lines by Eastwood Company and Mothers Polishes.  We have our own professional product preferences here at Johnny’s Custom Auto Body…but our purpose here is not to rebut or debate…just to provide some insight from one genuine enthusiast.

classic muscle car restoration - 1966 Chevelle

In light of where collector car values have gone in recent years with a mint survivor fetching as much money as a prime restored example there’s a lot to be said for that old adage, “they’re only original once.” And only original once can also apply to chrome that has been replated and then improperly cared for or mistreated, meaning it will never look as good as it once did.

What all of this means, whether a car is a survivor or a nicely done restoration, is that care has to be taken not to scratch the surface. The best way to restore the brilliance of any brightwork — whether it’s chrome-plated, polished aluminum, stainless steel, or anodized — is to start with the mildest method first. For example, washing automotive brightwork with a mild pH-balanced car wash will begin the detailing process, but it’s likely more aggressive steps will have to be taken until the job is completed satisfactorily.

After the brightwork has been brought to its most brilliant state, the next stage is to preserve the brilliance with a wax or polish protectant. The good news is just like after going to the dentist and having an intensive cleaning done all it takes to keep the brightwork brilliant is to follow with scheduled upkeep.

  1. The mildest approach and best way to start preparing chrome and anodized aluminum trim for polishing is by soaking off years of dirt and grime with a good pH-balanced car wash like Mothers California Gold Carnauba Wash & Wax. Harsh detergents can further haze anodized aluminum trim.
  2. The best trick in the world to polish and clean chrome, stainless steel, or anodized aluminum is with super-fine 0000 (four ott) steel wool. Or better yet, fine grade bronze wool because it resists rust.
  3. A heavy concentration of Mother California Gold Carnauba Wash & Wax soap makes heavy bodied suds that cling. The super-fine steel wool makes a good wash mitt, but throw it away directly after using.
  4. Nothing blasts off the soapsuds and further flushes out dirt and grime like a good old-fashioned high-pressure garden hose. We followed up with blowing compressed air to ensure no water pockets were left to create rust.
  5. It doesn’t hurt to experiment with different products to see what works best. We used Mothers California Gold Chrome Polish and Mothers Mag & Aluminum Polish along with fine-grade bronze wool to handle the heavy rust.

Read More – HodRod