25 Jul

Give your tires the Presidential Treatment

Give your tire the Presidential Treatment.

Have you ever heard someone say you can check your tires with a penny?  Well, it may not be 6 sigma accuracy (99.99966% accurate), but it’s a close enough approximation for every day driving.  Let’s see how it works.
penny black bckThe depth gauge is an important tool for us in the automotive profession.  The tool is useful to tell us the amount of tread remaining on a tire.   When a tire is down to the wear indicators it is at 2/32nd inch tread and should be removed from the vehicle.

“That’s great”, you say.  “I’ll Just look out to see when the tread intersects the wear indicators then I’ll know when my tire’s life is over.”  Not really, and that’s where you need the gauge.  There are several wear indicators spread over a tire’s surface, but they’re not everywhere.  If a tire is worn unevenly or choppy the area where there’s an indicator may have a lot of tread and the tire could be down to 2/32nd inches elsewhere.

This is where President Lincoln come in.  I’m blabbing on about gauges you don’t own, but you do. In fact, there are probably a few gauges under the driver’s seat.

The depth gauge to the right is measuring the gap to Mr. Lincoln’s head, about 2/32nd, a little closer to 3, but that’s splitting hairs.  The image below shows President Lincoln in action showing us a tire in need of replacement.  I used this tire on purpose to demonstrate a point.  It doesn’t matter where the tire is below 2/32nd inch tread, just that it is.  So, When you perform this test, make sure to do it in a few spots.

This tire shows some classic under-inflation wear.  It has lots of tread in the middle and none on the shoulders.

So get out there and check your vehicle out and give your tires the Presidential Treatment.


TIA Certified instructor

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.”

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



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