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/