14 Jul

Buckle Up Baby

Precious Cargo

Fun, Fun, Fun… before
you hit the road to enjoy the summer weather, make sure to buckle up to get there safely.

According to NTHSA:

Buckle up. Every trip. Every time.

Be a role model as a driver and buckle up.  Insist your passengers do the same.

Keep your precious cargo safe.

Kids 13 years and younger should ride in the back seat.  Ensure the child seats in your car are properly installed.  In addition, make sure they are in a seat designed for their size and weight.

NHTSA has Child Passenger Safety recommendations on their website to show one how to choose the right car seat for your child.  Also, you can find places to check your child’s seat to see if it is properly installed there too.  For more info visit www.nhtsa.gov/cps/cpsfitting/index.cfm.

Other child safety tips from NTHSA are:

“Never leave you child unattended in or around your vehicle.” &
“Always remember to lock you vehicle when exiting so children do not play or get trapped inside.”

Denny
TIA Certified Instructor

13 Jul

Keep your Cool

Woman standing over open hoodReady for summer fun, make sure your vehicle is!  No one wants to be broken down on the way to ….(fill in fun place here).  In our series of quick tips this summer, today’s is your cooling system.

Coolant expansion chamber

SAFETY FIRST – NEVER OPEN THE RADIATOR OR COOLANT RESERVOIR WHEN THEY ARE HOT!  THEY CAN ERUPT LIKE GEYSERS.  THIS IS A VERY EASY WAY TO BURN YOURSELF.  ONLY OPEN WHEN YOUR VEHICLE HAS NOT BEEN RUNNING AND IS COMPLETELY COOL.

 

Your vehicle uses a mix of Antifreeze (coolant) and water to cycle through your engine to exchange heat away from it then cooling it again in the radiator to send it back through to repeat the process.  You can check the levels most of the time on the coolant reservoir.  If the coolant reservoir is empty, the radiator itself may be low.  In addition, if the coolant has particles floating in it, it’s clear, or rusty looking, have the cooling system flushed and refilled.  Lastly, if the coolant looks milky or oily take it in right away, this could be the sign of coolant and motor oil mixing, which they shouldn’t.

Most vehicle manufacturers recommend flushing and exchanging the fluid every 24 months.  If you drive in a very hot climate like the Southwestern US, you should probably have it flushed yearly.

Another thing to remember is this is a system.  There are hoses, thermostats, the water pump, and fan that also interact to keep your car running cool.  When you have your system flushed, these items should be inspected too if possible.

Remember, good maintenance goes a long way.

Denny Allen
TIA Certified Instructor

7 Jul

Don’t Forget to Check the Lights

Streaking highway LightsBefore you head out on the big, fun trip of the summer, make sure to have your vehicle inspected prior to the big trip.   The National Traffic Highway Safety Administration (NTHSA), recommends inspecting several components for summer driving.  One of them is the lights on the vehicle.  It’s easy to see when a headlight is out, but can you see when one of your tail lights are out?

See and be Seen!  So, before you head out, check the headlights, tail lights, turn signals, hazard lights, interior lights, and, if towing, trailer lights.

Denny, TIA Certified Instructor

Source, NHTSA http://www.safercar.gov/summerdrivingtips

 

5 Jul

Safety First

Family heading out for a road trip.

Summer time and family road trips go hand & hand. NHTSA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends several safety tips before you go. One of those tips is to have your vehicle serviced before you set out. Perform regular maintenance like checking oil and fluid levels, check tire inflation and if needed perform a tire rotation, check your battery, etc. If your vehicle hasn’t been serviced regularly, schedule a preventative maintenance checkup with your vehicle’s technician today before you get on the road.
Source, NHTSA http://www.safercar.gov/summerdrivingtips

18 Jun

I want to buy your tires, but where do I install them?

I want to buy your tires, but where do I install them?

Good question.

If you reside in Southern California, Tirecrawler has 17 installers for you to choose from.  However, if you are one of the 300 million Americans who don’t live in SoCal, it may be a problem getting to Los Angeles to fit your vehicle.
Tire Mounting Machine
You’re part of the majority, the other 300 million people who don’t live in the southwestern corner of the country and are unwilling to drive overnight for an install.  You are going to have to find a shop to mount and balance your new set of tires.  Obviously, it may rankle the shop you’ve been doing business with for years to just show up with a set of tires you bought on the web.  So, if you plan on using your favorite reliable old tire shop, I suggest calling them to find out the cost and see if it’s okay to bring in your own tires to install.  Since most shops want to sell you the tires, they will probably charge a little more to mount and balance when you bring your own as opposed to when they are selling them to you.  However, they still want to sell you the installation labor in addition to a wheel alignment and any other services they offer, so it shouldn’t really be an issue.  Ask them if you can have us ship the tires directly to their facility and save you the steps of receiving and transporting the products.  We have many clients who do exactly that.  By shipping to commercial address, you also have a less expensive shipping cost because FedEx doesn’t charge as much to ship to a business with a commercial address.

Don’t have a place you normally go?    Yelp is a wonderful tool.  I’ve used Yelp to find many services with reasonable success. Especially when I have no experience with the situation.  You can always ask a trusted friend or relative to refer you to a shop they trust and do business with.  Once again, ask them if you can ship to them directly to save you time and facilitate your install.

The real key here is having a place you can go where you are comfortable enough to let them do the work.

The funny thing is, I’ve had a lot of folk ask me if I have installers all over the country.  I’ve seen a few online sellers who use large retailers for their installer network, and it always makes me wonder, “Where are you sending this person, do you have any real knowledge of the shop other than they are part of a chain of stores?”  It’s probably safe to assume the answer is no.

 

5 easy steps to save money with Tire Crawler

  1. Find a reputable place to install your shiny new tires.
  2. Buy your tires and save money at Tire Crawler.
  3. Tell us to ship your shiny new tires to your installer.
  4. Install your new tires.
  5. Drive away happy with the extra money you save secure in your wallet.

Denny

 

19 Apr

What’s a service description?

Service description and speed rating

Hi Blog World,

I promised you an explanation of Speed Ratings.

The key is that the tire has the capability to do the speed it is associated to.  As I put in another post, generally speaking, a tire with a higher speed rating handles better delivering better grip in cornering, accelerating, and braking.  A common thought is that someone doesn’t need this.  Do you really want to stop slower rate?

I grabbed this chart from our website since it is so complete.  Click the chart to see it enlarged.

The most basic way you can think of how these work and how they will mix into different vehicles is nothing more than a equals to or greater than approach =>.

Let’s say we have a vehicle and it has 91S service description.

This means that a tire that has a like speed rating S, in this case, will be perfectly fine for the vehicle.  In addition, from the above chart, you can also use speed ratings T, U, H, V, W, Y, (Y), or Z.   All these will work with this vehicle.  Now, don’t let Z speed rating confuse you with W and Y.  W and Y rated tires are Z rated and will often times say ZR along with the W and Z rating.

Likewise for the Load Index part of the Service Description, any value higher than or equal to 91 will suffice.

In short, you can always go to higher load or speed rating, but you shouldn’t go lower.

18 Apr

I don’t drive over 100 mph

Speed ratings, What the heck?

You walk into the tire store and the sales person tells you that you need a certain speed rating for your car.

You say, “What does that mean?”

She says, “Well, your car came with an H rated tire, you need to stick with that.”

You reply, “You haven’t answered my question, what does it mean?”

She says, “It means the tire can safely travel 130 mph.”

“WHO’s gonna’ drive that fast, not me, I don’t need that!  Give me something else.”  You say.

I have been in the tire business for over thirty years.  I have heard this statement many times.  I have said what the hypothetical saleswoman said many time too, but there really Is more to it.  Does the Speed rating only have to do with speed?  And, should you care?

The answer to the second one is yes, you should.  Generally speaking the higher the speed rating of the tire, the better the tire will handle.  This is not always the case but is generally a good standard to live by.  Therefore, you really should maintain or increase the speed rating of the tire on your vehicle.  If we were to have a braking or cornering rating on the tire, would you willingly downgrade that? No, never.  So why would you downgrade the speed, or as I was taught many years ago “performance rating” of your tire?

4 Nov

Introducing the Toyo Celsius

Introducing the new Toyo Celsius and Celsius CUV.

Toyo built the Celsius as a Variable-Conditions tire. As opposed to the more traditional winter or all season tire, the Celsius and Celsius CUV have been built for year round use and won’t have to be removed when the weather warms. It carries the Mountain Snowflake qualification for severe snow conditions. Unlike most winter products, it has a 60,000 mile tread life warranty. With 22 passenger car sizes and 24 Crossover sizes the Toyo Celsius has the tire to fit your ride. Toyo is so sure you’ll like the tire they backed it with their 45 day/500 mile test drive.

 

mountain snow flakeIMG-warr-logo-trial[1]

13 Mar

Deciphering Your Tire. The Tire Size

Deciphering Your Tire. The Tire Size

 

To the lay person, the markings of a tire can look like gibberish. That’s not to say that every person in the business actually has a firm grasp on everything stamped onto a tire either.

The purpose of this post will be to describe and dissect a tire size and show how it fits together to give us its dimensions.

There are several ways to size a tire including numeric, alpha numeric, floatation, and metric. Since the first two are almost exclusively used on antique vehicles, we will discuss only floatation and metric sizing.

Floatation Sizing

31X10.50R15LT

I must admit, I love floatation sizing. Why, because it is so simple. The tire is 31 inches tall, 10.50 inches wide, it fits on a 15 inch wheel, and it’s for light trucks.

Metric Sizing:

Metric sizing on the other hand is a bit more cryptic. However, with a little knowledge of how the sizing works and what the numbers and letters mean in the size, you can decipher quite a lot about the makeup of the tire in question.

P225/60R16 98T

P-stands for Passenger commonly referred to as P-Metric. This is used in the US to determine its application. There is also LT for Light Truck, T for Temporary, and ST for Service Trailer. Some tires will have no designation at all. These tires are Euro-metric size tires and they will look like the same size, for example 225/60R16 (no P). However, they aren’t. They will have slightly different load capacities.

Section Width

225–This is a measurement of the widest part of the tire in millimeters excluding scuff guards, rim protectors, etc. This is not necessarily the tread width of the tire, but its widest section.

Aspect Ratio or Profile

60–This is the Aspect Raito of the tire. In other words, the ratio of sidewall compared to the section width.

Rim Diameter

16–this is the diameter of the wheel. In this case, 16 inches.

R-Radial This tells of us its construction. Nowadays, almost every tire is of radial [R] construction.

98T-Service Description This includes the Load Index (98) and the Speed Rating (T). This tells us how much it can carry and how fast you can go on the tire.

Since the main point of this post is to talk about the size of the tire, I’ll leave the construction, load index and speed rating to a later post.

Ok, so how do these numbers go together to form the tire’s dimensions? This may not seem like a very relevant topic to the average consumer who just wants new tires and will never deviate from the factory size. However, it is relevant if you plan on installing a new set of larger diameter wheels or just want to put on a bigger tire.

This formula will tell you how tall a tire is. Overall Diameter–(Section Width X Aspect Ratio X 2)/25.4+Wheel Diameter.   By converting the section width to inches (dividing by 25.4) we know its width in inches(225/25.4=8.86). We can even see what the length of an individual sidewall is with a part of this formula ((225×60%)/25.4)=5.31 inches. In this case the tire is 26.62 inches tall. 5.31+5.31+16=26.62.

I’ve heard over the years from many people so many incorrect assumptions of what the components of a metric tire size are. Hopefully this explains how a tire’s size isn’t just arbitrary, but actually usable data that converts to measurable dimensions of a tire.

3 Feb

The Importance of Checking Your Tire’s Air Pressure

Why check your air pressure?  The tires look ok.  I don’t notice anything when I drive.  The truth is that you should be checking your air pressure at least once a month and before any long drive.

Tire inflation is an important and often overlooked maintenance issue on most vehicles.   According to a 2001 study by NHTSA(National Highway Safety Administration) and NCSA (National Center for Statistics and Analysis), fewer than 30% of passenger car drivers check their tire pressure monthly and 6.56% never check at all.

Why is it so critical to check?

Reduced handling

When a tire is operated with low air pressure it increases the risk of roll over in evasive maneuvers.

Reduced braking ability

Low air pressure increases stopping distance in wet situations and increases the likelihood of hydroplaning.

Lower fuel efficiency

When a tire is low on air its contact with the road increases and its rolling resistance increases due to more friction.  A tires that is only 3% below specification can increase fuel consumption by 1%.

Premature tire wear

A tire that is only 3% below specification can reduce tread life by as much as 10%.

There are several reasons why a tire could be low on air.  Slow leaks can come from small nail punctures, changes in temperature, and natural permeation.  For example a temperature drop of 10 degrees F will result in a 1 psi loss in air pressure.  Also, a tire loses about 1 psi a month naturally.

Nowadays all new passenger cars, CUVs, SUVs, Vans, and light trucks with a GVWR(gross vehicle weight rating) less than 10,000 lbs. are required to have Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems equipped from the factory.  However, don’t rely on the light on the dash to tell you the inflation is incorrect on your vehicle.  While some vehicles’ TPMS will tell you the inflation pressure of each tire, many only alert you if a tire is improperly inflated, plus or minus, by 25%.  You could also have multiple tires improperly inflated and the system cannot tell you.  Don’t forget the air in the spare.  The TPMS light will illuminate on the dashboard if you have a spare tire equipped with a TPMS sensor and that tire’s inflation is off by 25%.

So do your tires, and your wallet a favor and check the air pressure at least once a month.  They’ll last longer, drive more confidently, and use less fuel.

For more information see this informative video from Toyo

.

 

 

Denny
TireCrawler.com

Source TIA ATS manual 2005