Milstead Automotive Bloghttp://milsteadautomotive.com/blogMost recent posts.Thu, 15 Jun 2017 14:17:18 -0600en-ushourly1Make Those Tires Last!http://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/make-those-tires-lasthttp://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/make-those-tires-last#commentsThu, 15 Jun 2017 14:17:18 -0600http://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/make-those-tires-last<p> Your tires are a big investment, and while it&rsquo;s easy to just take them for granted, you want them to last through their entire warranty phase (at least). Here are <img alt="Car Tires" src="http://milsteadautomotive.com/images/display/464/new-car-tires.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 225px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" />some tips on how to get the most life out of a set of tires:</p> <p> <u>Tire rotations</u>: No vehicle has 50/50 weight distribution from front to rear, and front tires see a different set of stresses from braking and cornering. Rotating your tires at a 5,000-mile interval ensures even wear and good drivability and handling.</p> <p> <u>Proper inflation</u>: Underinflated tires are bad news! They&rsquo;ll wear unevenly due to their altered footprint, they&rsquo;ll cost you money in terms of higher rolling resistance and poor fuel economy, and the stress from overheating can lead to premature tire failure. Check your inflation levels at least once a month, using a good quality tire gauge.</p> <p> <u>Wheel alignment</u>: Think about someone who walks with one foot skewed out to the side. That shoe will wear unevenly, usually at the heel, and that&rsquo;s not unlike what happens with poor wheel alignment. One tire is trying to steer the vehicle in another direction and is dragged down the road by the other three tires. Before long, the tread of that tire is going to be scrubbed off along the inside or outside edge. If you notice signs like a persistent pull to one side or the need to hold the wheel off-center while driving in a straight line, chances are you&rsquo;re in need of a wheel alignment. Don&rsquo;t put off this important automotive maintenance detail!</p> <p> Like we mentioned, it&rsquo;s too easy to take your tires for granted&hellip;right up to the point where there&rsquo;s a problem and you find yourself stuck by the side of the road or in a parking lot with a flat. It&rsquo;s not hard to get the most out of your set of tires, though. Just follow the tips we mentioned, keep an eye on your treads and sidewalls and inspect them from time to time, and your tires should be good for many years of good, reliable service! &nbsp;</p> /blog/view/make-those-tires-last/feed0How To Maintain A New Carhttp://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/how-to-maintain-a-new-carhttp://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/how-to-maintain-a-new-car#commentsThu, 25 May 2017 14:00:56 -0600http://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/how-to-maintain-a-new-car<p> So you got a new set of wheels &ndash; congratulations! You&rsquo;re going to want to hang onto it as long as possible, so you&rsquo;ll want to keep it maintained as well as you <img alt="Car Maintenance" src="http://milsteadautomotive.com/images/display/463/Car-maintenance.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 200px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" />can. Here are some suggestions:</p> <p> First, read the owner&rsquo;s manual carefully and stick to manufacturer&rsquo;s recommendations for service intervals. There are certain things that are critical enough that failure to adhere to recommendations can void a new car warranty. Don&rsquo;t let that happen!</p> <p> For instance, just about every manufacturer recommends synthetic oil for their engines; it provides better protection in just about every respect, and it&rsquo;s more stable at high and low temperatures. If your owner&rsquo;s manual prescribes a 10,000-mile oil change, stick with that and be sure to use the brand and grade of motor oil called for in the manual.</p> <p> Apply a good coat of wax to your vehicle, and another one on top of that. A properly waxed vehicle does more than just look good, it helps repel grit and grime that can damage the finish as well as preventing oxidization of the paint in sunny locales.</p> <p> Clean the radiator from time to time. You can just use the spray setting on a hose to get rid of bugs and grime that may have lodged in the radiator and could possibly impair cooling. If there&rsquo;s a stubborn bug that won&rsquo;t come off, use a brush but be very careful not to damage the delicate fins of the radiator!</p> <p> Check the air filter every few months. Take it out and hold it up to a bright light &ndash; if no light passes through, the air filter has become dirty enough to need a change. A dirty air filter can kill performance and fuel economy.</p> <p> The good news is that today&rsquo;s new cars need less maintenance than ever before, and don&rsquo;t even have the extensive break-in period of cars from a generation ago. Stick to manufacturer&rsquo;s recommendations and you can&rsquo;t go wrong&hellip;and you&rsquo;ll have a car you can count on for many years to come! &nbsp;</p> /blog/view/how-to-maintain-a-new-car/feed0What Tires Are Right For Your Truck?http://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/what-tires-are-right-for-your-truckhttp://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/what-tires-are-right-for-your-truck#commentsThu, 11 May 2017 13:47:16 -0600http://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/what-tires-are-right-for-your-truck<p> So you&rsquo;re in need of a set of tires for your truck? No problem! The question is, though, what kind of tires are going to be best?<img alt="Truck Tires" src="http://milsteadautomotive.com/images/display/462/truck-tires.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 230px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" /></p> <p> First, you&rsquo;ll need to think about what you use that truck for. Will you regularly be hauling heavy loads or pulling a trailer? Do you expect to keep it on the pavement for the most part, or will you occasionally go off-road? If you go off-road, will it be on soft dirt or will you be plowing through brush, mud, and rocks? And finally&hellip;what&rsquo;s your budget?</p> <p> If you&rsquo;re wanting to keep it on the pavement most of the time and your truck is a daily driver for errands, school, soccer, and grocery runs, all-season tires are probably the right choice. All-season light truck tires can rival the best passenger tires when it comes to noise level, handling, ride quality and road manners&nbsp;while offering good, reliable traction on wet or dry pavement.</p> <p> All-terrain tires feature a more aggressive tread pattern than all-season tires and are capable of at least limited off-road use. While they have enhanced traction and load capacity, many all-terrain tire designs still have good noise suppression, ride quality and handling on the pavement. Many all-terrain tires feature the industry&rsquo;s M + S stamp, meaning they offer good performance in mud and snow.</p> <p> Mud tires are a next step up from all-terrain tires. Mud tires usually feature a blocky tread pattern with a high void ratio, meaning they can shed mud from their treads as they spin so there&rsquo;s always a clear area to dig into soft surfaces. Many mud tires are also designed with reinforced sidewalls for extra toughness and resistance to gouges, punctures, and abrasions in off-road use.</p> <p> In the end, the choice is yours, of course. Just think about your truck, your driving habits, your expectations and your budget. There are plenty of great choices out there for light truck tires, at all price points! Make an appointment with us and let&rsquo;s talk about the next set of tires for your truck!&nbsp;</p> /blog/view/what-tires-are-right-for-your-truck/feed0Spark Plugs – How Often Should They Be Replaced?http://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/spark-plugs-how-often-should-they-be-replacedhttp://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/spark-plugs-how-often-should-they-be-replaced#commentsThu, 27 Apr 2017 13:31:12 -0600http://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/spark-plugs-how-often-should-they-be-replaced<p> In the old days, a tune-up was necessary about every 35,000 miles. It would usually consist of setting the ignition timing, replacing the mechanical breaker points in the ignition, cleaning and adjusting the carburetor and replacing the plug wires and spark plugs. Today, of course, the carburetor&rsquo;s job is done by fuel injection and the ignition timing and spark are controlled by the engine computer. Few vehicles still have plug wires anymore either, as the distributor was replaced by the computer and a coil-on-plug design which delivers a spark at each spark plug.</p> <div> <p> But what about the spark plugs themselves, though? How often do they need to be replaced now?</p> <p> Manufacturers tout an 80k-100k mile service interval on spark plugs now, thanks in part to improvements in plug design and materials. That might be stretching it, however. Remember that if you have a 100,000-mile spark plug, its electrode is worn down 4/5 of the way at 80,000 miles. A worn electrode means a wider spark plug gap, which can mean a loss of power and fuel economy.</p> <p> Worse, though, spark plugs that have been in the engine&rsquo;s cylinder head for years and tens of thousands of miles have a tendency for their threads to seize. A seized spark plug can be pretty difficult to extract from the head&nbsp;and can mean a hefty repair bill before it&rsquo;s all said and done.</p> <p> If your vehicle was originally equipped with a specific type of spark plug, it&rsquo;s a smart idea to keep that design of plug when you replace them. It&rsquo;s also a good idea to check a few other things under the hood when it&rsquo;s time to replace the plugs, including</p> <img alt="Spark Plug" src="http://milsteadautomotive.com/images/display/461/spark-plug.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 200px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" /> <p> --Air filter</p> <p> --Cabin air filter</p> <p> --Belts and hoses</p> <p> --Charging system</p> <p> --Starter</p> <p> --O2 sensor</p> <p> --All vacuum lines and junctions</p> <p> Today&rsquo;s cars may be a lot less maintenance-intensive, but that doesn&rsquo;t mean &ldquo;maintenance free.&rdquo; Remember that a well-maintained car is a reliable and strong-running car&hellip;and don&rsquo;t put off maintenance like spark plugs just because it doesn&rsquo;t need to be done very often!</p> </div> /blog/view/spark-plugs-how-often-should-they-be-replaced/feed0Reasons Why Tire Inflation Is So Importanthttp://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/reasons-why-tire-inflation-is-so-importanthttp://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/reasons-why-tire-inflation-is-so-important#commentsThu, 13 Apr 2017 13:15:14 -0600http://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/reasons-why-tire-inflation-is-so-important<p> Even just a pound or two of underinflation in your tires can be a problem. Why, though? There are several reasons.&nbsp;</p> <p> <img alt="Tire Inflation" src="http://milsteadautomotive.com/images/display/460/Tire-inflation.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 200px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" /></p> <p> <strong>Fuel economy:&nbsp;</strong>If you ever rode a bicycle with a low tire, you know that it feels like you&rsquo;re riding through wet cement due to the added rolling resistance. The same thing is happening with your car, and compromising your fuel economy. Over the course of 10,000 miles per year, that can add up to 150 gallons of gas or $500 out of your pocket!</p> <p> <strong>Handling:&nbsp;</strong>Low tire pressure means poorer control and longer stopping distances. At high speeds, in particular, this can be downright hazardous.</p> <p> <strong>Premature tire wear:&nbsp;</strong>Underinflated tires are under a lot of stress, especially their steel belts. Take a paper clip and work it back and forth until it snaps. Feel how hot it gets when the metal is stressed? The same thing happens with the steel belts in your tires, which are already heating up anyway due to normal wear. This heat and stress will cause uneven tread wear and can even cause tires to fail altogether.</p> <p> Proper tire inflation can give you as much as a 3.3 percent increase in fuel economy, or even more. Remember that you can&rsquo;t really detect low air pressure from looking at a tire&nbsp;until it gets really low (under 20 psi or so). Remember also that air will migrate out of a tire through the valve stem and the tire sidewalls just through normal wear; you should get a quality tire gauge (not the ones built into the hose at the gas station) and check the tire inflation at least once a month. Air expands when hot, so remember to check tire pressure when the tires are still cold.</p> <p> Tire pressure isn&rsquo;t at the forefront of most drivers&rsquo; minds, but it&rsquo;s still important. Having to replace a prematurely-worn-out set of tires or to dump more gas into your fuel tank seems like a pretty dumb way to spend money, doesn&rsquo;t it? Do yourself a favor and be mindful of your tire inflation levels!&nbsp;</p> /blog/view/reasons-why-tire-inflation-is-so-important/feed0Uh Oh…My Check Engine Light Is Onhttp://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/uh-oh-my-check-engine-light-is-onhttp://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/uh-oh-my-check-engine-light-is-on#commentsThu, 30 Mar 2017 13:43:31 -0600http://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/uh-oh-my-check-engine-light-is-on<p> So you come out to start your car one morning and the Check Engine light on the dashboard comes on&hellip;and doesn&rsquo;t go back off again. You can&rsquo;t really notice any difference in the way the car runs and drives, but it&rsquo;s on anyway.</p> <p> What does it mean?<img alt="Check Engine Light" src="http://milsteadautomotive.com/images/display/450/check-engine-light.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 225px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" /></p> <p> Since the late 80s, most engine functions have been controlled by a central drivetrain computer. This includes emissions controls, fuel metering and delivery, ignition timing, shift points and many other elements of drivability and performance. The drivetrain computer relies on information from a chain of sensors that monitor exhaust composition, camshaft position, throttle position and many other factors.</p> <p> The voltage readings from any of these sensors are supposed to fall within a certain range. When these readings are out of normal parameters, the drivetrain computer stores a trouble code and illuminates the Check Engine light (also known as a Malfunction Indicator Lamp or MIL). Some problems on some makes may take several failure cycles before the MIL will illuminate.</p> <p> The trouble code could originate from something as minor as a loose gas cap or a loose or corroded wire to a sensor. On the other hand, it could mean something considerably more serious.</p> <p> The trouble code can be accessed by a technician using a code reader or scanner device, which hooks up to a standardized connector usually found under the dashboard. The code (or codes) can then be interpreted to diagnose the problem. It takes an experienced technician, however, to know why a given code occurred in the first place and find the problem and repair it.</p> <p> So for you, the driver, what should you do when the MIL is illuminated?</p> <p> You should, of course, get your vehicle to a shop for a proper diagnosis as soon as you can. If you notice problems like rough running, poor idle, transmission roughness, smoke or other real driveability problems, don&rsquo;t put it off! The good news is that the whole system of onboard diagnostics has made it easier for a technician to track down a problem and address it, taking a lot of the guesswork out of the process.&nbsp;</p> /blog/view/uh-oh-my-check-engine-light-is-on/feed0Five Things You Didn’t Know About Tireshttp://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/five-things-you-didn-t-know-about-tireshttp://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/five-things-you-didn-t-know-about-tires#commentsThu, 16 Mar 2017 13:32:55 -0600http://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/five-things-you-didn-t-know-about-tires<p> <img alt="Tires" src="http://milsteadautomotive.com/images/display/449/Tires.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 169px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" />1. For performance and handling, the trend has long been toward fatter tires with a bigger footprint. That&rsquo;s starting to change, though. Skinnier tires mean lower rolling resistance and better fuel economy, as well as a smaller aerodynamic profile. While fatter tires do handle better, tire engineers are making up the difference by designing skinny tires with a stickier tread formulation for traction and cornering ability.</p> <p> 2. Static electricity used to be a real concern for vehicles; if you&rsquo;re old enough, you may remember seeing station wagons with a &ldquo;ground strap&rdquo; dragging along the pavement. It&rsquo;s become a concern again, with newer tread compounds cutting back on the amount of carbon black in newer tires. The solution? Many tires are now designed with an &ldquo;antenna strip&rdquo; of more conductive material down the center of the tread, providing a positive electrical contact between tire and pavement.</p> <p> 3. Like with cars, tire manufacturers are doing everything they can to cut the weight of their products. A heavier tire means more inertia, while a lighter tire means lower rolling resistance. Bridgestone is now using a lighter gauge of cord for steel belts, and Michelin has actually cut the depth of the tread surface while using a tougher, high-mileage tread formulation for longer treadwear.</p> <p> 4. Sure, you know about the rubber, nylon, steel and Kevlar in modern tires. However, tires include some compounds you might not have known about, such as cobalt and titanium to bond the rubber to the steel belts. Yokohama uses citrus oil to modify how tread stiffness changes with temperature, and silica helps enhance wet and snow traction (as well as cutting rolling resistance).</p> <p> 5. Airless tires are on their way. They&rsquo;re already in use for industrial vehicles&nbsp;and are pretty close to market phase for passenger cars and trucks. These tires (sometimes an integral tire/wheel) use a honeycomb- style structure to carry the vehicle&rsquo;s weight and maintain rigidity. They&rsquo;re amazingly tough, too &ndash; in some testing, drivers have been able to hit a curb dead-on at 50 mph with no damage to wheels, tires or suspension!&nbsp;</p> /blog/view/five-things-you-didn-t-know-about-tires/feed0Get Your Car Really, Really, REALLY Clean!http://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/get-your-car-really-really-really-cleanhttp://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/get-your-car-really-really-really-clean#commentsThu, 23 Feb 2017 13:22:08 -0700http://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/get-your-car-really-really-really-clean<p> It can be a lot of work and attention to detail to get your car really clean&hellip;especially if it&rsquo;s pretty dirty to start with&hellip;but here are some ideas for truly thorough cleaning that you may not have thought of!<img alt="Cleaning Car" src="http://milsteadautomotive.com/images/display/448/cleaning-your-car.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 200px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" /></p> <p> --A cheap foam paintbrush can get into crevices (like A/C vents) that might be impossible otherwise. As you loosen up dust from these spots, keep a vacuum cleaner nozzle at work in your other hand to suck up the dust and prevent it from settling other places.</p> <p> --A soft-bristled brush is perfect for cleaning around radio knobs and other buttons.</p> <p> --While you&rsquo;re cleaning, don&rsquo;t forget to locate your cabin air filter and replace it. A dirty cabin air filter can lead to a lot of odd smells and stinks. Check your owner&rsquo;s manual; cabin air filter locations can vary a lot from one make/model to another.</p> <p> --Get all the junk out. That means checking under the seats and far up in the front foot wells, even under the dash.</p> <p> --A Magic Eraser, with some light rubbing, can be great for getting drips, stains, and gunk out of both leather and fabric.</p> <p> --Armrests and door panels tend to get pretty grimy with embedded dirt. A mild soap and water solution will do the trick; scrub with a toothbrush to dislodge this grime. The toothbrush is also really handy for getting dirt and fine crumbs out of the seams of seat cushions.</p> <p> --If your dashboard or seats have started to dry out or crack, you can condition and polish them with olive oil.</p> <p> --Dog hair on cloth upholstery? Try a spray bottle of water and a squeegee, then vacuum up what&rsquo;s left. If there&rsquo;s any left after that, try doubling a length of duct tape into a loop and picking up the remains.</p> <p> --Stains in upholstery or carpeting can come out surprisingly well with diluted all-purpose cleaner, a sponge or scrub brush and washcloths.</p> <p> With a little time and elbow grease, you&rsquo;ll be driving around in a nice clean car again. Hope this helps!&nbsp;</p> /blog/view/get-your-car-really-really-really-clean/feed0Can I Buy Just Two Tires?http://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/can-i-buy-just-two-tireshttp://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/can-i-buy-just-two-tires#commentsThu, 09 Feb 2017 13:10:52 -0700http://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/can-i-buy-just-two-tires<p> We know that a lot of drivers are working pretty hard to make a dollar go farther&nbsp;and that the outlay for a full set of four tires &ndash; even inexpensive tires &ndash; can be considerable. That&rsquo;s why we run across drivers pretty often who ask if it&rsquo;s okay to just replace a pair of tires, then buy the other pair when they can afford them.</p> <p> The answer is&hellip;yes, but&hellip;<img alt="New Tires" src="http://milsteadautomotive.com/images/display/447/new-tires.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 168px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" /></p> <p> You&rsquo;ll really need to pay attention to the size of the set of tires that you&rsquo;ve already got and go with that exact same size of tires for your new pair. Having mismatched sizes of tires on your vehicle can result in squirrelly and unpredictable handling and ride quality. If your existing tires are all-season, go with all-season tires. If they&rsquo;re winter tires, go with winter tires. Ideally, you should even have the same tread pattern and design on the new tires.</p> <p> Also, the new tires will need to go on the rear, and you can then take the tires that have the most tread left and put them on the front. Rear wheel traction is vital to getting you down the road safely and preventing the rear end from oversteering and &ldquo;fishtailing&rdquo; out as you go around a corner, especially on wet pavement.</p> <p> Really, though, you should try to get that other pair of tires under your vehicle as soon as you possibly can afford them. A matched set of tires &ndash; all the same brand, same age, same size, same tread pattern and design &ndash; will mean a vehicle that&rsquo;s suddenly much quieter, smoother riding, better handling and safer all the way around!</p> <p> While tires are a big investment and can be pretty daunting to try to afford, we encourage you to check back on our site for specials and sales&hellip;we carry a wide variety of premium brand tires in all sizes for various fitments and we&rsquo;re sure we&rsquo;ve got tires that&rsquo;ll be a great fit for your vehicle!&nbsp;</p> /blog/view/can-i-buy-just-two-tires/feed0Are You Ready For A Roadside Emergency?http://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/are-you-ready-for-a-roadside-emergencyhttp://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/are-you-ready-for-a-roadside-emergency#commentsThu, 26 Jan 2017 12:59:37 -0700http://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/are-you-ready-for-a-roadside-emergency<p> Yeah, yeah&hellip;your vehicle&rsquo;s fairly new and you take care of it, and you&rsquo;ve even got a membership in AAA. That doesn&rsquo;t mean that your chances of <img alt="Car trouble" src="http://milsteadautomotive.com/images/display/446/car-trouble.jpg" style="width: 275px; height: 183px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" />ending up in a tight spot are zero. It&rsquo;s just common sense to be prepared with a trouble bag in your car. Here&rsquo;s a pretty good rundown of things you should keep in a car emergency kit:</p> <p> <strong>Fully charged cell phone:&nbsp;</strong>You may want to consider a cheap prepaid &ldquo;burner phone&rdquo; with a long battery life and keep it strictly in the car. If nothing else, at least keep a charged-up power bank on hand.</p> <p> <strong>First-aid kit:&nbsp;</strong>At a bare minimum, a first-aid kit should include gauze pads and bandage tape, aspirins, antiseptic wipes, scissors, antiseptic cream or ointment, Band-Aids, rubbing alcohol and burn cream.</p> <p> <strong>Tools:&nbsp;</strong>It doesn&rsquo;t have to be anything comprehensive; just a good quality Leatherman-type tool and some duct tape can be real, real handy.</p> <p> <strong>Fire extinguisher:&nbsp;</strong>It&rsquo;s kind of bulky, but it can literally be a lifesaver. Try to find a fire extinguisher that&rsquo;s rated for Class B and Class C fires: flammable liquids and electrical fires.</p> <p> <strong>Warning triangles or highway flares:&nbsp;</strong>Self-explanatory.</p> <p> <strong>Tire gauge:&nbsp;</strong>You know you should be checking your tire pressure regularly anyway&hellip;right? Right?</p> <p> <strong>Foam tire sealant:&nbsp;</strong>If you got a flat tire and it didn&rsquo;t completely shred before you could get off the road, a can of tire sealant can keep you going for a while.</p> <p> <strong>Gloves, sweater, cap:&nbsp;</strong>Self-explanatory for cold climates or cold weather.</p> <p> <strong>Flashlight and tow strap:&nbsp;</strong>Self-explanatory.</p> <p> <strong>Nonperishable snacks:&nbsp;</strong>Try to find snacks that are protein-rich, as they will make you feel full and satisfied a lot longer than crackers or chips. Also, try to avoid salty snacks that will only spike your thirst.</p> <p> Of course, you hope that you won&rsquo;t find yourself stuck by the side of the road. But even if you don&rsquo;t know how to repair a problem yourself and get back on your way, a well-stocked trouble bag can make your emergency a little more tolerable while you wait for help.&nbsp;</p> /blog/view/are-you-ready-for-a-roadside-emergency/feed0Which Type of Tire Tread Do You Need?http://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/which-type-of-tire-tread-do-you-need-1http://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/which-type-of-tire-tread-do-you-need-1#commentsWed, 25 Jan 2017 09:32:00 -0700Michellehttp://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/which-type-of-tire-tread-do-you-need-1<div> There are so many tire designs on the road -- all-season, high performance, touring, light truck -- and even within a specific tire design, there may be several <img alt="Different types of tire tread" src="http://milsteadautomotive.com/images/display/443/tires-tread.jpg" style="width: 275px; height: 183px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" />choices of tread patterns. What differentiates them, and what are the pros and cons of each tread design?&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> -- Directional tread has a pattern of grooves and chevron shapes, all pointed in one direction. This design makes it easy to direct water away from the tire&#39;s contact patch and prevent hydroplaning in wet weather, and also offers low noise and great road manners. The directional design means tires can only be rotated front-to-rear and not side-to-side or diagonally.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> -- Symmetrical tread patterns feature grooves or herringbone designs that are extremely uniform across the tire&#39;s tread face. Symmetrical designs are popular for touring tires due to their quiet ride, long wear and ease of rotation, making them a very versatile tread pattern.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> -- Asymmetrical tread patterns are a bit of a compromise. They&#39;re typically designed with a mix of tread patterns, often with a section at the middle and inside edge of a tire that&#39;s designed for wintry or wet-weather traction. The outside edge, on the other hand, has aggressive tread blocks for optimum cornering ability. Asymmetrical tires are marked with &quot;outside only&quot; and &quot;inside only&quot; on the sidewalls to preserve proper handling qualities.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> -- Directional/asymmetrical tires are the best of both worlds. They&#39;re usually designed with a V-shaped tread to direct water away from the footprint, and an asymmetrical section for dry-weather traction and handling. Directional/asymmetrical tires should be rotated in the same pattern as directional tires.</div> /blog/view/which-type-of-tire-tread-do-you-need-1/feed0Flat Spots? Let’s Clear Up Some Myths About That…http://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/flat-spots-let-s-clear-up-some-myths-about-thathttp://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/flat-spots-let-s-clear-up-some-myths-about-that#commentsThu, 12 Jan 2017 12:39:59 -0700http://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/flat-spots-let-s-clear-up-some-myths-about-that<p> So your vehicle&rsquo;s been sitting for a while&hellip;you get in it, start the engine and pull out of the driveway when you notice a hard, rough (but very regular) vibration that only gets worse with speed. It doesn&rsquo;t feel like it&rsquo;s coming from the driveline or suspension &ndash; so what is it?</p> <p> <img alt="Flat spots on tires" src="http://milsteadautomotive.com/images/display/445/Flat-spot-on-tire.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 169px; float: right; margin: 10px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid;" /></p> <p> It could be that the tires have developed flat spots.</p> <p> With the weight of the vehicle pressing down on the tires for long periods, a section of the rubber and belts can become softer (or harder) than the rest of the tire. This can be exacerbated by cold weather, or just by parking on a cold concrete floor.</p> <p> Low-profile tires with short sidewalls can be more prone to flat-spotting, as can tires with an H or higher speed rating. In most cases, you can just grit your teeth and drive and the flat spots will work their way out of the tires&hellip;but not always. In some severe cases, the flat-spotting is permanent.</p> <p> So, what can you do?</p> <p> There are all sorts of old-wives&rsquo;-tales about parking your vehicle on sheets of plywood or carpeting or sandbags to prevent flat spots. Unfortunately, they are all pure nonsense.</p> <p> If you&rsquo;ve got a vehicle that&rsquo;s going to be stored for a long time, the only way you can avoid flat spots is to have the vehicle up on jack stands at all four corners. That&rsquo;ll take the weight off the tires completely. Unfortunately, that&rsquo;s also pretty inconvenient.</p> <p> The other solution? There&rsquo;s a product called &ldquo;FlatStoppers&rdquo; which supports the tire using a curved shape, distributing the vehicle&rsquo;s weight evenly and reliably.</p> <p> It may seem like a lot of trouble, but it beats the alternative&hellip;which is a set of tires that are potentially ruined with flat spots that won&rsquo;t come out again!</p> /blog/view/flat-spots-let-s-clear-up-some-myths-about-that/feed0So You Think Some Traffic Laws Are Nuts?http://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/so-you-think-some-traffic-laws-are-nutshttp://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/so-you-think-some-traffic-laws-are-nuts#commentsThu, 29 Dec 2016 10:29:52 -0700http://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/so-you-think-some-traffic-laws-are-nuts<p> Yes, there are plenty of traffic laws in certain areas that don&rsquo;t make much sense. Here, though, we present a collection of traffic laws from other parts of the world that are just bizarre:</p> <p> --In Thailand, the law states that no driver, male or female, shall ever drive without a shirt.<img alt="Weird Traffic Laws" src="http://milsteadautomotive.com/images/display/439/Crazy-traffic-laws.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 200px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" /></p> <p> --In South Africa, &ldquo;the driver of a vehicle on a public road shall stop such vehicle at the request or on the signal of a person leading or driving any bovine animal, horse, ass, mule, sheep, goat, pig, or ostrich on such road.&rdquo; Or face a $500 fine.</p> <p> --Splashing a pedestrian with water is illegal in Japan.</p> <p> --In Montana, you can forget about driving with a sheep in the truck unless the sheep has a chaperone... and the state of Alabama had the presence of mind to make it illegal to drive while blindfolded.</p> <p> --On the island of Cyprus, it&rsquo;s illegal to raise a hand from the steering wheel. No waving at anyone, no eating or drinking anything while you drive.</p> <p> --Danish drivers are required to check under the car before starting it&hellip;just in case anyone is sleeping under there.</p> <p> --In Spain, if you need glasses to drive, you&rsquo;re required to keep a spare pair of glasses in the vehicle at all times.</p> <p> --In Singapore, it&rsquo;s illegal to ever come within 50 meters of a pedestrian. 50 meters equals about 162 feet. Good luck with that.</p> <p> So, do you still think there are some weird traffic laws in your locale??</p> /blog/view/so-you-think-some-traffic-laws-are-nuts/feed0 A Brief Explanation of Tire Informationhttp://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/a-brief-explanation-of-tire-informationhttp://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/a-brief-explanation-of-tire-information#commentsThu, 15 Dec 2016 16:06:08 -0700http://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/a-brief-explanation-of-tire-information<p> Ever wonder what the designations stamped on your tire sidewall actually mean? We&rsquo;d like to break it down for you.</p> <p> Let&rsquo;s take for instance, &ldquo;P195/60R15 87S&rdquo;. This is a full service description of a tire.</p> <p> In this case, &ldquo;87S&rdquo; denotes a tire&rsquo;s load capacity and speed rating. The higher the number, the greater the load capacity &ndash; an 87 load capacity means that tire can support 1,201 pounds. Speed ratings range from L (75 mph) through V (149 mph), and an S speed rating means the tire is good for 112 mph. W, Y, and Z-speed rated tires are available for extreme performance cars&nbsp;and are rated as high as 186 mph.</p> <p> As for the rest of the information:<img alt="Tire" src="http://milsteadautomotive.com/images/display/438/Tire.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 180px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" /></p> <p> --&ldquo;P&rdquo; denotes Passenger Tire</p> <p> --195 is the tire&rsquo;s width from sidewall to sidewall... in millimeters</p> <p> --60 is the aspect ratio... the proportion of the height of the tire cross-section as compared to the width of the tread area</p> <p> --&ldquo;R&rdquo; stands for Radial construction</p> <p> --15 is the wheel size... in inches</p> <p> There&rsquo;s other information on the sidewall of a tire, such as its Mountain &amp; Snow rating (if applicable), date of manufacture code and maximum allowable pressure. For the average consumer though, it&rsquo;s good to know the meaning of the service description so you can be an informed tire buyer when it&rsquo;s time to replace them. Remember, your vehicle was designed for a very specific tire size, and it&rsquo;s best to stay with that size when you go shopping for new tires!&nbsp;</p> /blog/view/a-brief-explanation-of-tire-information/feed0Your Car’s an Investment – Protect Ithttp://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/your-car-s-an-investment-protect-ithttp://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/your-car-s-an-investment-protect-it#commentsThu, 24 Nov 2016 15:20:50 -0700http://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/your-car-s-an-investment-protect-it<p> You rely on your car every day, and you have a lot of money tied up in it. It&rsquo;s probably one of the more valuable things you own&hellip;so make sure you get the most out of that investment:</p> <p> <strong>Oil changes</strong>: Changing your motor oil at regular intervals will ensure long engine life by cutting wear and friction and helping to prevent the buildup of sludge <img alt="Antique Car" src="http://milsteadautomotive.com/images/display/437/old-car.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 199px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" />and carbon on internal engine assemblies.</p> <p> <strong>Cooling system</strong>: Older cast-iron engines could overheat with no serious consequences, but not so with today&rsquo;s aluminum blocks and heads. Your engine&rsquo;s coolant has a finite life and should be changed and flushed at regular intervals to prevent accumulation of scale and corrosion in the radiator, heater core and water pump.</p> <p> <strong>Finish</strong>: A good coat of wax does more than keep your car looking good. It also helps prevent rust from forming, helps to repel debris and dirt and keeps the paint in good shape.</p> <p> <strong>Filters</strong>: The air filter is crucial to protecting your engine from dirt and particulates&hellip;but once the air filter gets clogged, it can smother performance (literally) and hurt fuel economy. The fuel filters and carbon canister filter should also be checked and changed if necessary.</p> <p> <strong>Timing belt</strong>: Many vehicles are designed with a timing chain to coordinate the crankshaft and camshaft; timing chains usually last the life cycle of the vehicle. Timing belts, however, have a finite service life and even a few thousand miles past that recommended change interval is borrowed time. A broken timing belt can very literally result in a wrecked engine.</p> <p> A little preventive maintenance and forethought can go a long way toward getting the most miles out of your vehicle!&nbsp;</p> /blog/view/your-car-s-an-investment-protect-it/feed0What To Do With Those Old Tireshttp://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/what-to-do-with-those-old-tireshttp://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/what-to-do-with-those-old-tires#commentsThu, 10 Nov 2016 15:06:40 -0700http://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/what-to-do-with-those-old-tires<p> Every year, about 290 million tires are discarded; of those, about 233 million are recycled in one way or another. Shredded tires can be used for playground surfaces, welcome mats, hot-melt asphalt, bark mulch and even made into building material for &ldquo;green&rdquo; construction.</p> <p> But what can&nbsp;<em>you</em>&nbsp;do with your old tires? Here are some ideas:</p> <p> --Fill a tractor tire with sand to make a great sandbox for kids<img alt="Tire swing" src="http://milsteadautomotive.com/images/display/436/tire-swing.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 200px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" /></p> <p> --Hang a tire from a rope as a tire swing</p> <p> --Stack a couple of tires on top of each other, bolt them together and paint them a cheerful color, then use them as a planter</p> <p> --Lay two rows of tires next to each other, somewhat staggered, and use them for broken-field running as part of football conditioning</p> <p> --Bolt two tires together, then affix a round glass top for an instant patio table</p> <p> --Tires can be hung or slightly embedded in the ground and used as planters (note: don&rsquo;t grow vegetable plants in tires)</p> <p> --With a little imagination and some other building materials, you can use old tires to set up an entire playground of climbing structures, obstacle courses, and other fun designs</p> <p> While tires are tough, they can still be cut with a Sawzall or other heavy-duty saw. Whatever you decide to do with used tires, it&rsquo;s important to recycle them somehow. Used tires collect water and can quickly become mosquito breeding grounds in the summer. You&rsquo;ll be doing your part to help the environment and make the world a better place.</p> /blog/view/what-to-do-with-those-old-tires/feed0So…Many…Kinds…of Tireshttp://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/so-many-kinds-of-tireshttp://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/so-many-kinds-of-tires#commentsThu, 27 Oct 2016 13:25:25 -0600http://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/so-many-kinds-of-tires<p> <img alt="Different Types of Tires" src="http://milsteadautomotive.com/images/display/435/different-types-of-tires.jpg" style="border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right; width: 225px; height: 300px;" />Ever think about all the different vehicles that use rubber tires? Tractors, industrial equipment, everything else that rolls on rubber?</p> <div> <p> Each specialized type of tire requires a specialized design for its specific purpose. Aircraft tires, for instance, have to be very robust and handle a great deal of weight and stress, but for only a short period of time. Aircraft tires are often filled with an inert gas such as nitrogen, for more stable inflation levels, and are designed with specialized fusible plugs which provide a safer failure mode (rather than a sudden, catastrophic tire explosion). &nbsp;</p> <p> Off-the-road tires, for vehicles such as graders or mining equipment, operate at low speeds but have to be able to withstand severe service conditions while handling heavy loads. They&rsquo;re designed with tough, thick carcasses to resist cuts, tears, gouges and punctures while still providing decent control and ride quality for the operator.</p> <p> Agricultural tires are designed for good traction while not compacting soil too heavily. They feature a large footprint to disperse the weight of the vehicle, and may feature a paddle tread for tractor tires or a knobby design for turf machines such as mowers.</p> <p> Industrial tires, such as for forklifts, backhoes or dock equipment, often have to encounter chemicals and other substances that can be damaging to ordinary tires. They&rsquo;re tough and rugged and often come in solid, non-pneumatic designs.</p> <p> Tires for heavy duty trucks and buses need to put in long hours and many miles hauling heavy loads. They&rsquo;re designed to minimize dangerous heat buildup and offer good traction on wet or dry pavement. A relatively new innovation for heavy trucks is the &ldquo;Super Single,&rdquo; a wide single tire that replaces the dual rear wheels of older truck designs. Super Singles offer better fuel economy as well, with a weight savings of around 200 pounds per axle.&nbsp;</p> </div> /blog/view/so-many-kinds-of-tires/feed0Make Sure Your Car's Ready For Winter!http://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/make-sure-your-car-s-ready-for-winterhttp://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/make-sure-your-car-s-ready-for-winter#commentsFri, 14 Oct 2016 10:09:04 -0600http://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/make-sure-your-car-s-ready-for-winter<p> You know that winter and bad weather are coming. Is your car ready? Here&rsquo;s a quick checklist of things to get up to speed on:</p> <p> <strong>Motor oil</strong>: Motor oil has a tendency to thicken in cold weather, making it harder to circulate to upper engine parts at startup. If you haven&rsquo;t ever used synthetic oil <img alt="Driving in the winter" src="http://milsteadautomotive.com/images/display/434/Winter-Driving.jpeg" style="width: 300px; height: 161px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" />before, this might be a good time to start. The flow properties of synthetic oil are a lot more consistent, meaning it doesn&rsquo;t thicken in sub-freezing temperatures or thin out when it&rsquo;s hot outside.</p> <p> <strong>Wipers</strong>: Even the best windshield wipers only last about a year. If your wipers are showing cracks or chips or losing strips of rubber, go ahead and replace them. Don&rsquo;t forget to refill your washer fluid reservoir&hellip;you&rsquo;ll need it once the weather gets bad.</p> <p> <strong>Cooling system</strong>: If you can&rsquo;t remember the last time your coolant was changed, it&rsquo;s pretty easy for a technician to test its condition. Remember that coolant, a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and distilled water, prevents freeze-ups in wintertime as well as boilovers in hot weather.</p> <p> <strong>Heater and defroster</strong>: Since the heater is part of the cooling system, a flush of the system will help remove any scale or corrosion that may have built up in the heater core.</p> <p> <strong>Tires</strong>: Make sure your tires are in good shape, with plenty of tread depth, and check the inflation. Remember that air expands when hot, so be sure to check tire pressure when the tires are still cold. That also means they&rsquo;ll lose a couple of pounds of air pressure when the temperatures are really cold.</p> <p> You can&rsquo;t do much about winter weather, but you can at least up your chances of getting through it unscathed when your car&rsquo;s in good shape for winter driving! &nbsp;</p> /blog/view/make-sure-your-car-s-ready-for-winter/feed0No Spare Tire? http://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/no-spare-tirehttp://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/no-spare-tire#commentsThu, 29 Sep 2016 10:14:32 -0600http://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/no-spare-tire<div> Believe it or not, many new vehicles come without a spare tire. Manufacturers have a few different reasons for that, including weight savings, space efficiency, <img alt="Spare Tire" src="http://milsteadautomotive.com/images/display/432/spare.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 169px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" />and cost. When you&#39;re stuck by the side of the road, though, none of that really matters much, does it?&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Instead, these vehicles come equipped with an inflation kit and/or a can of sealant.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Sealant is a gooey substance in an aerosol can that&#39;s designed to coat the inside of the tire due to centrifugal force once you get rolling again, hopefully sealing the puncture. These products, such as Fix-A-Flat, have been on the market for decades and tend to work pretty well on a minor puncture. They&#39;re not a permanent fix, however. Your speed should be limited after using Fix-A-Flat type products, and you should see about getting the tire repaired or replaced as soon as possible. In addition, most of these products freeze at temperatures below 32 degrees and may not be usable in cold weather.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The other alternative on new vehicles is an onboard compressor which usually plugs into the cigarette lighter. These little compressors actually work quite well and can refill a tire in a few minutes&#39; time, getting you back on your way again.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> This is all well and good, but...</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Many times, a tire which fails at highway speed is going to be shredded by the time you can get off the road, or at least permanently damaged and ruined. No inflation kit or can of sealant can help you in that case.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> No tire can be repaired if it has a hole in the sidewall or the shoulder. In that case, you&#39;ve got no other choice but to spring for a new tire.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> You can always invest in a spare tire and a jack if you&#39;re really concerned about it, but in many new vehicles, there&#39;s not even space for a spare. As if that weren&#39;t enough...if you do have a spare in your vehicle, remember spares can lose air over time and can even dry rot if they&#39;re never on the ground. Most experts now agree tires have a life expectancy of about six years before dry rot, ozone, and the sun&#39;s UV rays degrade them.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The upshot? You might want to just make sure your AAA membership is paid up!&nbsp;</div> /blog/view/no-spare-tire/feed0Things To Look For When Buying a Used Carhttp://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/things-to-look-for-when-buying-a-used-carhttp://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/things-to-look-for-when-buying-a-used-car#commentsThu, 15 Sep 2016 09:47:02 -0600http://milsteadautomotive.com/blog/view/things-to-look-for-when-buying-a-used-car<div> Buying a used car is somewhat less of a crapshoot than it was at one time. You can get detailed information on a vehicle&#39;s history via the CARFAX report, and a <img alt="Car for sale" src="http://milsteadautomotive.com/images/display/431/used-car.JPG" style="width: 300px; height: 274px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" />technician can use onboard diagnostics to get a good picture of what&#39;s going on under the hood and what problems might be coming up.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> It&#39;s always a good idea to get a mechanic to look over any prospective purchase, but there are things you can get a look at yourself before you spend the money for a professional inspection. These are things which will give you a pretty good idea of the kind of use and maintenance a vehicle has seen before you got it.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> -- Put your head against a fender and sight down the side of the vehicle with one eye. Look out for ripples or irregularities in the sheet metal which could point to a collision and body work. Look closely for mismatched paint on body panels, or paint which has an orange-peel texture.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> -- Closely look at the carpeting, upholstery, and pedals. The condition of these can tell you a lot about how a vehicle was cared for.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> -- Pop the hood and look for leaks anywhere on the engine. Start the engine, let it warm up to operating temperature and sniff carefully for unusual smells such as burning oil, burning transmission fluid or leaking antifreeze (all of which have a distinctive smell).&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> -- With the engine running, vehicle on level ground and transmission in Park, pull the transmission dipstick and get a close look at the fluid. The fluid should be magenta colored with a slightly sweet smell. Fluid that&#39;s darker or has a burnt toast smell means that the transmission has been overheated, poorly maintained and/or run with a low fluid level. Avoid.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> -- Take the vehicle for a test drive. Listen for clunks or thumps while going over bumps. Get a good feel for how it handles; a pull to one side on the highway or a tendency for the steering wheel to not center itself could mean front-end problems. Accelerate sharply and listen for any unusual noises. Does the vehicle have enough power and run smoothly when driven hard? Hit the brakes hard. Does the vehicle pull to one side while braking, lock up any of the wheels or have a pulsation through the brake pedal?&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> None of these constitute a detailed inspection, of course. They&#39;re all common-sense measures you can take, though, to pre-screen a prospective used car before calling a professional in for a thorough pre-purchase shakedown.&nbsp;</div> /blog/view/things-to-look-for-when-buying-a-used-car/feed0