Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Preparing Your Car for an Off-road Adventure

Off-road driving is a lot of fun. You can do it as a sport, a way to spend great time with family and friends or a way to get around while hunting or camping. Whatever the case, it is not just enough to have a huge truck with huge tires. Here are a few important things to consider if you want your vehicle to be unstoppable off-road.

Get good ground clearance

When driving in harsh terrain, the underside of your vehicle is exposed to a lot of tree trunks, rocks and boulders sticking out of the ground and a very uneven ground surface. Ground clearance is the space between the underside of your vehicle and the terrain; you will need a lot of it if you do not want to do any under-body damage. Even with good ground clearance, you still need skid plates when rock crawling. The steel skid plates can protect your gas tank, exhaust piles and other exposed items on the underside of your vehicle.

Get your angles right

There are three important angles to off-road driving; approach, departure and break over. The approach angle is the steepest hill the vehicle can climb without slamming the front bumper against the slope. The break over is the steepest crest that the vehicle can get over while the departure angle represent the steepest slope the vehicle can come down without slamming the rear bumper. It is advisable to have a lot of ground clearance and short overhangs for great angles.

Wheel articulation

When driving off-road, your wheels have two important roles, maximizing traction while maintaining stability. For off-road adventures, it is preferable to get a solid axle instead of independent suspension when your sway bars are disconnected since it gives better wheel articulation. Independent suspension is best for desert driving or driving in sandy places.

Get the right tires

You cannot go off-roading with street tires, unless you want to walk back home. You should get all-terrain tires or mid terrain tires for off-road driving. Good off-road tires have deep treads, tough sidewalls to withstand the harsh environment and the right rubber compound. 33inch and 35inch are the most popular off-roading tires. When driving off-road, reduce the inflation a little bit for greater contact patch between the tires and ground surface for maximum traction.

Get a high mountain air intake

You need a high air intake to avoid sucking water into your engine since it will hydrolock your engine. This can happen when your vehicle travels through a shallow puddle. You can use a snorkel to allow the vehicle to drive while completely submerged in water. It is important to also have good driving technique along with the high air intake to prevent hydrolocking your engine.

Other items that you should have in your off-road driving checklist include at least two spare tires, a wench in case you need to get pulled out of a muddy patch, a survival kit, a first aid box and a handy toolbox.
Posted by: Crawfordville Auto Repair and Tire 

Friday, March 18, 2016

Know When to Replace Your Tires

The lifespan of tires varies depending on so many factors, making it hard to tell exactly how long your tires will last. Things like your driving habits, the climate, road conditions and care all influence how well your tires perform. The basic rules for tire lifespan is that your tires should be inspected regularly after five years of use and that tires should last for a maximum of ten years. Even if your tires appear to be in great condition after ten years, there is still concern about the performance of these tires. With tires, proper care can extend the lifespan tremendously. Proper care includes maintaining correct air pressure, regular tire rotation and good vehicle maintenance.

The manufacturing date of your tires is the DOT number on the sidewall of the tires. This manufacturing date is a great guide as to when you should have your tires inspected regularly or replaced.

One of the oldest tricks in the book is using a Lincoln penny in the tread grove of your tire to see the level of wearing. According to this tread depth check, your tires are still legal if the top of Abe’s head is obscured by the thread. When you can see the part of the penny above Abe’s head, then you are ready for new tires as this will be about 2/32” of the remaining depth in the treads, which is not safe for driving in adverse conditions such as slush and snow.

Unfortunately, it is not that simple when it comes to tire maintenance and replacement. Tires often do not need so much tread depth for traction on dry roads. You have probably seen the slick tires used by racers that do not have any treads at all. But tires require tread designs and depth for traction on wet and slushy roads. This is because the water depth, vehicle speed and weigh, tread design and depth all determine how fast your tires can stop your car.

If wet roads, rain and snow are a concern for your regular driving conditions, you should replace your tires at 4/32” tread depth. Studies have shown that worn tires sacrifice a lot of wet traction. With the typical speed limit of 70mph, vehicles that have tires with the minimum 2/32” of tread depth take about 100 more feet to stop compared to vehicles with the 4/32” tread depth. This shows just how dangerous it is driving in these conditions with a worn out tire. The water on the road cannot be compressed; tread depth is what allows the water to escape through the groves in the tires. Your vehicle looses traction when the water cannot escape fast enough and the tires are forced to hydroplane on the water surface.

It even gets worse on snow-covered roads and a minimum tread depth of 5/32” is recommended for driving in such conditions. You need more room to compress the snow in the grooves and release it as the tires roll. 

Posted By: Crawfordville Automotive  http://crawfordvilleauto.com/

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Common Reasons Why Your Car Will Not Start and What You Need to Do

Vehicle problems are often unpredictable and unexpected. If your car breaks down on the highway and completely refuses to start, there could be a couple of common reasons. Here are a few and what you can do about it:

Dead battery
Sometimes you may forget to switch off the radio or cut the lights off when you pack your car. After remaining on for hours on end, the lights will eventually drain your battery. Once your battery is dead, there is no power to send electric power to the starter motor and therefore, the engine will not start. The only way to get the car to start again is by boosting your battery using jumper cables connected to another car battery.

Fuel pump failure
If you do not take your vehicle to the service shop for maintenance as per schedule, you may experience a couple of unexpected problems with your vehicle. The in-tank electrical fuel pump failure is a common reason for no-start problems in cars. You should also avoid allowing the fuel level to stay below ¼ for long, or running out of fuel completely as this can also cost premature fuel pump failure. You will need to replace the fuel pump in case it is ruined. If this happens while you are on the road, just call for a tow truck.

Timing belt failure
For most vehicles, the timing belt should be replaced after about 60,000 miles of normal use. If you do not change the timing belt before it breaks, you can cause some expensive damage to your vehicle. Get the timing belt checked and changed a short while before the recommended mileage level of your vehicle to avoid timing belt failure.

Rusty battery terminals
If your battery terminals are rusty or coated, they are not able to transmit electrical power through the cables. You need to find some sand paper and rub off the coating or rust on the battery terminals for full contact to complete the electrical circuit of the vehicle.

Electrical problems
No-start problems may also be due to an electrical fault in the circuit of the vehicle. Electrical problems in the ignition switch in particular can give you a hard time while trying to start your vehicle. You need to take it into the service shop for a full electrical diagnostic and repairs to avoid having this problem again in the future.

Fuel mix problems
If your fuel line is clogged up, if you have impurities in the fuel or if you have the wrong mix of fuel, the fuel will not ignite properly and you vehicle will not start. Worn out piston rings and failing exhaust valves can prevent the level of compression necessary to ignite the fuel mix. Weak and missing sparks due to bad spark plug cables can also prevent the fuel from igniting to start the engine. Problems with the spark plugs could be attributed to a faulty system or bad spark plug timing among other issues.

Posted By: Crawfordville Automotive  http://crawfordvilleauto.com/

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Tire Maintenance To Save You Money

Maintaining your tires can help you save a lot of money. Tire maintenance includes regular practices such as alignment, rotation and inspection. The tires carry the entire weight of your vehicle and without them; your car would not be able to move, so why not invest in quality tire maintenance?

What can tire maintenance do for you?
Just like any other part of your vehicle, your tires get old and worn out depending on how you take care of them. Taking good care of your tires can extend their lifespan and you would not have to buy new tires as often. Doing things as simple as checking the pressure to ensure that they are properly inflated can make a huge difference. The lifespan of tires that are consistently under inflated by 20% reduces by 20%. Instead of your tires taking you the recommended 60, 000 miles, they will only handle 48,000 miles and that makes a colossal difference. This is because underinflated tires do not wear evenly, and before you know it, you will not be able to drive your vehicle safely. Rotating your tires regularly also makes sure the wear is evenly distributed and this makes them last longer.
Proper tire maintenance also saves you fuel. If you are using excess fuel and cannot find any explanation from your engine or driving habits, you should check if your tires are properly inflated because under inflated tires are one of the most common reasons for using excess fuel. This is because there is a higher rolling resistance and your engine has to apply more effort to move the vehicle.

Your own personal safety and that of the vehicle occupants are also a reason why tire maintenance is important. You rely on the brakes and tires to grip the road and bring the car to a stop in emergency situations. They should be in ideal working conditions at all times for your safety.

Tire maintenance tips
·         Always inspect your tires regularly. If you do not have a lot of driving experience, it is quite difficult to notice when one of your tires has a problem. Take the initiative to inspect your tires at least once or twice a week before you roll out of the driveway. You should also have your tires professionally inspected every year.

·         Check your pressure at the gas station since it affects the vehicle handling and braking, especially during rainy weather. You should always check the tire pressure before a long trip.
·         All tires have a recommended load capacity and you should keep this in mind when buying tires or loading your vehicle. You should avoid loading the tires beyond the recommended load capacity as a matter of safety first. Sudden tire destruction may be caused by the excess heat that builds up when driving with overloaded tires.

If you notice any damage to the tire or wheel, replace it with your spare tire before getting it checked by a professional. This can help you avoid further damage and accidents as well.

Posted By: Crawfordville Automotive  http://crawfordvilleauto.com

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Common Auto Repair Mistakes to Avoid

If you are planning on doing any auto repairs on your own probably because you want to save money or that you consider yourself a handy person, there are a couple of things you should beware of to avoid common mistakes. DIY repairs have their own fair of challenges. You’re less likely to do the job as meticulously as a professional would but sometimes it’s worth a try.

But in the interest of saving you a couple of dollars, let’s look at some common things to avoid when performing auto repairs on your own.

1.     Failing to know what you can and cannot do
Here’s the thing, not all auto repairs can be converted to DIY projects. There are some repairs that must be handled by a professional because not only are they potentially dangerous but also do require a high level of skill and experience to be done right. For instance, replacing your windshield, swapping a transmission or changing your brake pads are tasks you would want to leave to a professional. It’s not worth risking potential injury and spending your time and money only to require the services of a professional later on.

2.     Failing to read expert advice and information on auto repairs
There are countless resources online that provide information on auto repairs that can be done at home. You need to start reading this information and make sure you are well versed with the repair jobs you can handle. Start with the easier projects for beginners and then work your way up as you understand more about your car and the way it works. Don’t just start working on the car blindly before you get any information on what you are supposed to do and why.

3.     Failing to label auto parts as you remove them
It’s easy to get confused after you remove parts from your vehicle and forget what goes where. To avoid this, make use of proper labelling as you are removing the parts. Write down all the areas that you are tampering with so that you can easily fix them back together when you’re done.

4.     Using the wrong type of oil on your engine
The type of oil you use on your engine can really affect your vehicle’s performance. Consider the weight and type of oil recommended by the manufacturer and strictly follow the guidelines given. Using the wrong oil may not cause the engine to fail instantly but it deteriorates over time and causes your car to be inefficient. Most importantly, don’t forget the necessary oil changes that are required to keep your car’s engine running efficiently.

5.     Failing to do the basics

Some car owners will go straight into the tough stuff and forget certain important basics such as rotating the tires and checking oil pressure. You can save yourself a lot of money if you ensure that your oil changes are done within the required schedule and that the brake pads are replaced on a regular basis to avoid the screeching sound.  

Posted By: Crawfordville Automotive http://crawfordvilleauto.com

Friday, October 16, 2015

How Much Should I Pay For a Rebuilt Transmission?

If your car's transmission is giving you trouble, the first thought that might cross your mind is how much that trouble's going to cost you. After all, transmissions aren't cheap - so how can you be sure that you're getting the best estimate possible?
Wondering how much you should pay for a rebuilt transmissions? Take a look at these tips on getting the best estimate; they'll ensure that you walk away with a newly functioning transmission without spending an arm and a leg.
Be as Descriptive as Possible. The more you can tell your mechanic about what's wrong with your car, the more likely it is that he or she will be able to diagnose the problem right away. You don't even have to be a car expert to describe what's wrong with your transmission. Tell your transmission repair expert about any sounds and sensations that you've been experiencing.
You may feel like you're not making much sense, but trust us - your transmission repair expert can make sense out of what you're saying!
Request a Diagnostic. If your mechanic isn't able to diagnose the problem the first time around, he or she may request a diagnostic test. This may sound expensive and time-consuming, but it's actually extremely simple. The diagnostic test is a fast process that gives the mechanic a concrete idea of what's wrong with your transmission. This is usually delivered in the form of an error code, which the mechanic then uses to pinpoint the specific problem.
Your diagnostic test should be free - and if it's not, take your car to another transmission repair expert, pronto.
Be Understanding. There may be times where the diagnostic test doesn't give your mechanic an accurate idea of what's going on with your car. If that's the case, your mechanic will need to actually remove the transmission from your car to get an accurate idea about pricing.
If this happens, don't assume that the transmission repair expert is trying to rip you off. In fact, this is often a sign that your mechanic is trying to give you the most fair and accurate price as possible. Should the mechanic need to remove the transmission, expect between $500 to $1000. This should determine the exact problem with your vehicle.
What's the Final Cost? Transmissions are not cheap; therefore, it's in your best interest to expect to pay $1000+ when your transmission needs to be repaired or rebuilt. Most transmission repairs average between $1400 to $1800 considering the year, make and model of your vehicle. Economy cars and older vehicles will tend to be less expensive while SUVs and luxury cars will usually cost much more.
However, now that you know how much a transmission repair should actually cost, you'll be in a better place to ensure that you're not getting ripped off. Make sure your mechanic walks you through every step of the process, as this can help you get a better understanding of why these costs can be so high.
Use these tips to get the best estimate for your rebuilt transmission!

Posted By: Crawfordville Automotive http://crawfordvilleauto.com

Sunday, September 20, 2015

All you need to Know about Wheel and Tire Safety

Your entire car performance depends on how well the four wheels handle the road. Many people often focus on engine maintenance and forget all about the wheels that the car rides on. Wheel and tire performance is very important for your safety when driving. The following are some important factors to keep in mind:

Check your tire pressure
Depending on how often you drive your car, you may need to check your tire pressure at least once a week. Getting the right tire pressure prolongs the lifespan of the tires, enhances safety and makes your vehicle more economical in fuel usage.  Your tire lifespan may reduce by up to 75% even when you are operating at 80% tire pressure.

You can tell there is a pressure problem when the tires start wearing out faster on the outer edges. Tire blowouts often occur when the tire is under inflated since there is not enough air to hold up the weight of the vehicle. The sidewalls of the tires end up getting flexing beyond their limit and blow out. If you are driving at a high speed, you could easily cause a bad accident. Make sure you inflate the tires according to the tire rating.

Replace your tires
Replacing all four tires may be costly but it is not expensive as what you may lose in case of an accident. Bald tires should be used on racetracks only. When your tire treads are worn out and you cannot retread them, you need to replace them. The treads enable the tires to grip on to the road surface, which is necessary for breaking and making turns. Worn out tires are also illegal and you can get a fine for riding on tires with a low tread depth. You can buy a tread wear indicator and check the tread depth yourself. Make sure to check all the tires in every main grove and at least two different points along the grove.

Use the right tire for the right weather
You cannot use the same tires for summer during winter. Tires come with a variety of ratings. There are some which are all weather and there are specially designed winter rated tires. If you experience heavy winters in your areas with a lot of snow, you should get rated tires for your own safety.

Clean your wheels

You need to clean the wheels when you are washing the car. Avoid washing car wheels when they are still hot as this could cause rapid contraction and weaken the wheel. A lot of mud, grime and dirt often end up covering the wheel and this could affect the way the breaks work. Get some mild soap and water to loosen the grime and dirt and wash off the wheel when it is cool. You can wax or polish the wheel after washing for the finishing. Make sure you get the right rims for your tire so you do not damage the edges of the tire.

Posted By: Crawfordville Auto http://crawfordvilleauto.com