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Bells Mill AutoCare Vehicle Maintenance Tips and Videos: When to Replace a Damaged Tire
Repair or Replace? That’s a question Chesapeake motorists ask when they have tire damage. Some punctures cannot be repaired because of their size or location. Punctures larger than a quarter of an inch are considered too large to be safely corrected. Punctures in the sidewall or near the shoulders may not be able to be repaired. And sometimes there is internal damage revealed on inspection that indicates the tire should not be repaired.
Run flat tires should not be fixed. Repairing high performance tires may make them unsuitable for motorsports. Your considerate Bells Mill AutoCare tech can review your damaged tire and tell you if it can be safely fixed or if it should be replaced – and then help you get back on the road.
Bells Mill AutoCare Car Care Advice for Chesapeake Motorists: Air Conditioning Inspection
Most auto makers recommend an interval for an air conditioning system inspection. The inspection uncovers leaks, worn hoses and assesses the condition of the other components.
Environmental laws in some areas require leaks to be fixed before refrigerant can be added. Also some parts manufacturers require other components to be replaced along with certain failed parts in order to maintain the new part warranty. This is because a given failure may be the result of another worn or damaged part that will, if not replaced, prematurely damage the new component.
Bells Mill AutoCare in Chesapeake is fully equiped to restore your flow of cool air.
Many Chesapeake motorists don’t realize that there is more to exhaust system maintenance than just tailpipes and mufflers. And if you can see smoke, or if it’s too loud. Exhaust service at a full-service automotive center like Bells Mill AutoCare is really a lot more comprehensive these days.
For example, in the U.S., the federal government required catalytic converters for all cars in Chesapeake in 1976 and on-board emission control computers in 1990. VA and federal emissions requirements have forced car makers to come up with much more sophisticated ways to comply with environmental laws. This also goes for cars sold in Canada.
So, exhaust service has really become exhaust and emissions service. High-tech computer-controlled emissions devices are now necessary. And because it’s so sophisticated, car makers recommend having your emission system checked out by a qualified technician, like the ones we have at Bells Mill AutoCare, regularly to make sure everything’s working right – which is usually every six months or 6,000 miles.
If your ‘check engine light’ comes on while you are driving around the Chesapeake area, especially if it’s flashing, then you need to bring your car into Bells Mill AutoCare ASAP. Chances are it’s an emission related problem. Signs of exhaust or emissions trouble include difficulty starting, engine noise or smoke.
So let’s do a quick rundown of the exhaust system for Chesapeake auto owners. First up, the exhaust manifold. That’s the part that attaches to the engine and collects the exhaust from the cylinders and directs it into the exhaust pipe.
The exhaust gaskets help seal the connection with the manifold and other joints along the way. Now, if the manifold is cracked or loose, or a gasket is leaking, then dangerous gases could escape into the cabin, where you ride. Carbon monoxide can be deadly, so it’s important that your exhaust system doesn’t leak.
The exhaust pipes connect the various essential components. They can rust or be damaged by a rock, so they need to be inspected periodically.
Next comes the catalytic converter. This part actually looks like a muffler. It changes toxic chemicals into harmless carbon dioxide and water. The catalytic converter doesn’t require any maintenance itself for Chesapeake car owners, but eventually it wears out. If yours has stopped working, you probably won’t discover it until your car fails its VA emissions inspection.
Next, the muffler. The important job of this aptly-named part is to muffle engine noises. Mufflers work by either absorbing or baffling sound. Many Chesapeake motorists don’t know that you can actually customize your car’s sound with different mufflers – which is pretty cool because in addition to changing the look of your ride, you can also customize its sound!
Rusted or road-damaged mufflers can actually leak and they need to be replaced right away. The exhaust system is attached to the car by a series of hangers and clamps that hold the system in place. And when these hangers come loose or break then hot exhaust components can touch and melt wires, hoses and lines. Just think of how harmful a hot curling iron can be – but worse. It’s not good to have that waving around. Talk to your considerate Bells Mill AutoCare service specialist.
And finally, we end at the tailpipe. Appropriate name. This is the final outlet for the exhaust. And one other component is the oxygen sensor. It monitors the oxygen content of the exhaust so the engine-control computer can adjust the vital fuel-to-air mix to keep the car running right.
We hope this hasn’t been too ‘exhausting’ of a discussion. Remember that a properly functioning exhaust system is important for Chesapeake motorists’ health and safety. Talk with your considerate technician at Bells Mill AutoCare in Chesapeake if you think you might need an automotive analysis of your exhaust system. A quick look can sure save a lot of pain down the road.
Auto Tips Videos provided for Bells Mill AutoCare by AutoNetTV.
Chesapeake VA Winter Prep Service For Your Auto
When winter approaches in VA, Chesapeake car owners break out the sweaters, coats, boots and mittens. We want to be ready for Chesapeake area winter conditions. Your pickup needs to be ready for winter as well. The last thing Chesapeake car owners want is to get stranded out in the cold. You need your pickup to be safe and reliable. It’s a good idea to get caught up on any neglected maintenance items anytime – but the stakes are higher in cold VA winters.
There are some specific things Chesapeake motorists we need to do to have their vehicle ready for winter. The most obvious is having the antifreeze checked. If the antifreeze level is too low, it can’t properly protect your engine, radiator and hoses from freezing. If your car does not seem to be making enough heat to keep you warm, your antifreeze level may be low or you could have a thermostat problem. Get it checked out at Bells Mill AutoCare in Chesapeake. If you are due for a cooling system service, now is a perfect time to have it done.
In the cold months around Chesapeake we always worry about being able to stop in time when it’s slick out. The first thing to remember is to slow down and allow yourself plenty of room to stop. Of course, you want your brakes to be working properly. A thorough brake inspection will reveal if the pads or any other parts need replacing. Check with your considerate Bells Mill AutoCare service professional to see if it is time to replace your brake fluid. It accumulates water over time which really messes with your stopping power.
It is also a really good idea for Chesapeake motorists to have their battery tested. A battery’s cranking power really drops with the temperature. If your battery is weak in the fall, it may not be up to a VA drivers. There is nothing like a dead battery in a snow storm.
Which leads us to an emergency kit. You should always have a blanket or something to keep you and your passengers warm if you get stranded on a remote VA road. If you will be venturing away from civilization, pack more items such as food and water to help you survive. Keeping at least half a tank of gas is critical if you get stuck and need to run the car to keep warm and it will help keep your gas lines from freezing up.
Winter in Chesapeake, VA always makes motorists think of their windshield wiper blades – usually during that first storm when they aren’t working right. That’s why it’s a really good idea to replace your blades in the fall before the VA winter storms. If you live where there’s a lot of snow and ice, you might want a special winter blade that resists freezing up. And be sure to have enough windshield washer fluid.
The final thing for Chesapeake drivers to consider is their tires. Any tire can lose pressure over time – up to one pound every six or eight weeks. For every 10 degrees the temperature drops you lose another pound of pressure. So if it was 80 degrees outside when you checked your tire pressure two months ago and now it’s 40 degrees out, you could be down 5 pounds of pressure. That’s enough to be a real safety issue and it hurts fuel efficiency too. You may need special winter tires in Chesapeake as well. Your considerate Bells Mill AutoCare tire professional can help you find the right tire design for your expected road conditions.
If you’re getting winter tires, it is always best to put them on all four wheels. If you are only getting two, have them put on the rear – even if you have a front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive vehicle.
This is a a key safety measure recommended by tire manufacturers. Sliding or fish-tailing on ice and snow on VA s is a matter of not having enough traction at the rear end. That is why your newest tires should always be on the rear.
Treat Your Vehicle to Good Tires at Bells Mill AutoCare
When we shop for shoes, most of us know that we can get two pairs of cheap shoes or one good pair for about the same price. And since the two cheap pairs wear out in about the same time as the good pair, there really is no difference in cost. If you like having a closet full of shoes to match your moods and outfits, then cheap shoes can be what you want. But if you spend a lot of time on your feet, you probably know that cheap shoes can come with an added cost of sore feet and other foot ailments. When you add in the benefits of comfort and protection, the more expensive shoes are actually the better value.
Buying tires at Bells Mill AutoCare in Chesapeake is a lot like buying shoes, except that Chesapeake car owners’ vehicles don’t have changeable apparel and don’t need a closet full of tires to match. Vehicles spend a lot of time on their tires—all the time, in fact—so they need tires that can stand up to the job. Tires are work shoes: they have to deal with a lot of VA road conditions, all while carrying the weight of a vehicle and its passengers.
Bad tires, like cheap shoes, can also be a safety concern for Chesapeake area drivers. Tires need good traction, and they need to be strong enough to handle the loads they carry. Vehicles that carry heavy loads or tow trailers around Chesapeake need tires with a high load rating, in the same way that you are better off on a rough VA mountain trail with sturdy hiking boots rather than flip-flops.
The best tires on the market are called Tier 1 tires. These are high-quality tires engineered to stand up to a lot of wear while maintaining good traction. They are also the most expensive tires on the Chesapeake area tire market, although prices don’t vary much from brand to brand.
Tire chain stores in Chesapeake often carry tires with their own brand name. These are private label tires. They are less expensive than Tier 1 tires, but are still a quality product. In fact, many private label tires sold in Chesapeake are manufactured by the same companies that make Tier 1 tires. Don’t hesitate to ask your Bells Mill AutoCare tire professional who makes their private brand.
The cheapest tires on the VA tire market are Tier 3 tires. Most of these tires are imported from Asia or South America, and they just don’t have the same standard of engineering behind them that the higher-priced tires have. When it comes to Tier 3 tires, Chesapeake folks get what they pay for.
At Bells Mill AutoCare, we sometimes express tire quality in terms of the warranty. In other words, we call a tire a “40-thousand-mile tire,” or a “60-thousand mile tire.” This refers to the number of miles a tire will be under warranty. Tires with a higher mileage warranty are made with higher quality rubber compounds and have more tread. As you might expect, they also cost more than tires with low mileage warranties.
Cheap tires often have no warranty at all. However, if you find yourself in a position where you need new tires and you’re really strapped for cash, purchasing Tier 3 tires is better than waiting until you can afford Tier 1. It’s always better for Chesapeake motorists to drive on new tires, even cheap ones, than driving on tires that are worn past their safety limits.
That said, if you’re driving on Tier 3 tires, it’s a good idea to budget and plan to buy higher-quality tires the next go-around. Two sets of cheap tires may wear out in the same time as one set of quality tires, but the quality tires actually cost less than two sets of cheap tires. That’s the great fallacy of cheap tires. In the long run, they actually cost more than good tires, and come with significantly reduced performance and durability to boot. Not exactly the best value for Chesapeake motorists.
So, some good auto advice for Chesapeake auto owners would be to always buy as much tire as you can afford. That way you’ll get the most durability and performance and the most mileage out of every tire. Plus, with a better tire, there’s some peace of mind that comes with knowing you won’t have to purchase tires as often.
Good car care requires checking your tires occasionally for tread wear and road damage. Practicing this preventive maintenance can help you avoid flats and blowouts.