Sullivan's Tire Pros Bloghttp://sullivanstirepros.net/blogMost recent posts.Fri, 14 Oct 2016 10:01:22 -0700en-ushourly1Make Sure Your Car's Ready For Winter!http://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/make-sure-your-car-s-ready-for-winterhttp://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/make-sure-your-car-s-ready-for-winter#commentsFri, 14 Oct 2016 10:01:22 -0700http://sullivanstirepros.net/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://sullivanstirepros.net/images/display/575/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://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/no-spare-tirehttp://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/no-spare-tire#commentsThu, 29 Sep 2016 10:12:20 -0700http://sullivanstirepros.net/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://sullivanstirepros.net/images/display/552/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/feed0What's Leaking From My Car?http://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/what-s-leaking-from-my-carhttp://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/what-s-leaking-from-my-car#commentsThu, 14 Jul 2016 08:01:57 -0700http://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/what-s-leaking-from-my-car<div> You go out to your car, start it up, pull out of your parking space and see a puddle of...something...where you were parked a moment ago. This is never a good <img alt="" src="http://sullivanstirepros.net/images/display/551/leaky.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 225px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" />feeling. What could it be?&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Fortunately, some automotive fluids are dyed different colors to make this a little easier to narrow down.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Does it appear to be water? Were you recently running your A/C? Chances are that&#39;s just condensation from the A/C system, which drips out through a rubber tube and is perfectly normal. No worries there.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> For years, antifreeze was dyed a bright green to make it easy to identify. Today, other antifreeze formulations can be colored pink or orange, but it&#39;s still not hard to figure out -- antifreeze has a sweet-ish, unmistakable smell due to its ethylene glycol content.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Gasoline is a pale yellowish or orange color, and also has a distinct smell that you&#39;ll recognize right away. Gasoline evaporates quickly and may feel cool on your finger if you dip it into the puddle. It&#39;s also, of course, very flammable!</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Motor oil is honey-colored or perhaps darker, depending on how long it&#39;s been in the engine, and is slippery when rubbed between thumb and forefinger. Transmission fluid has the same slippery feeling as motor oil, but is dyed a magenta color and may have a somewhat sweet smell.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Power steering fluid is clear and often may feel more slippery than motor oil. Brake fluid is also very slippery and may have a more hazy yellowish color.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <strong>What To Do About A Leak</strong></div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> If you regularly see a puddle under your vehicle that&#39;s bigger than an inch or two across, slide a sheet of cardboard under the engine and between the front wheels when you park it in the evening.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Leaks can be difficult to pin down on a vehicle that&#39;s already grimy and oily underneath (especially since the path of the leak will be blown backwards while driving). One way to isolate the source of a leak is to safely lift and secure the vehicle, get underneath it and clean the bottom of the engine and transmission with brake cleaner or a similar solvent. Spray the entire area with foot powder, which should then clearly show where the leak is originating.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Leaks can be troubling, but older vehicles with high mileage tend to have gaskets and seals which dry up and shrink, causing at least minute leaks. Got any concerns? Make an appointment with us and let us track down that leak and fix it!</div> /blog/view/what-s-leaking-from-my-car/feed0A/C Problems Demystified http://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/a-c-problems-demystifiedhttp://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/a-c-problems-demystified#commentsThu, 30 Jun 2016 13:53:01 -0700http://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/a-c-problems-demystified<p> <img alt="" src="http://sullivanstirepros.net/images/display/525/air-conditioning-repair.jpg" style="width: 250px; height: 188px; float: right; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 8px;" /></p> <div> Believe it or not, the A/C system in your vehicle is fairly simple in principle and design. Like your refrigerator, it operates on a cycle of compression and expansion of a gas, known as refrigerant. The compressor turns the gas into a liquid, and as the gas evaporates it provides cooling. Like your refrigerator, its main components are:&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <ul> <li> Compressor</li> <li> Condenser&nbsp;</li> <li> Receiver/dryer</li> <li> Thermostatic expansion valve</li> <li> Evaporator</li> <li> Refrigerant</li> <li> Blower&nbsp;</li> </ul> <div> The good news is most automotive A/C systems have become very robust and reliable compared to cars from a generation ago. Most of the time, poor performance is due to low refrigerant levels due to leaks in the system around the O-rings, gaskets, seals, and lines (which can all dry out and shrink). Low refrigerant can mean other problems though. Since refrigerant contains oil which lubricates the compressor, low levels of refrigerant can mean an overheated compressor sending tiny shards of metal through the rest of the system to wreak havoc.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> These are sure signs of problems:&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <ul> <li> A/C that&#39;s barely cooler than the air outside</li> <li> A/C only blows cold while car is moving, not at idle&nbsp;</li> <li> Metallic clicking under the hood, as the compressor&#39;s magnetic clutch cycles the compressor on and off</li> <li> Musty, &quot;dirty socks&quot; smell from air vents</li> <li> Volume of air from vents is never enough</li> </ul> <div> Obviously, all these components can potentially fail...but often they fail due to low refrigerant levels, and even a late model vehicle can lose five to ten percent of its refrigerant over a year&#39;s time. Why take chances? Recharging the system with refrigerant is easy and inexpensive, and should be part of your A/C system&#39;s (and your car&#39;s) routine maintenance!&nbsp;</div> /blog/view/a-c-problems-demystified/feed0So You Get A Flat Tire...What Now?http://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/so-you-get-a-flat-tire-what-nowhttp://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/so-you-get-a-flat-tire-what-now#commentsThu, 16 Jun 2016 09:58:35 -0700http://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/so-you-get-a-flat-tire-what-now<p> <img alt="Flat Tire" src="http://sullivanstirepros.net/images/display/524/what-to-do-when-tire-goes-flat.jpg" style="width: 275px; height: 183px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; float: right; margin: 5px 10px;" />Nobody ever looks forward to a flat tire, and nobody ever says &quot;well, that was a really good time&quot; after having one. You can at least minimize the damage to your tire and danger to yourself, though.</p> <h3> Flats vs Blowouts</h3> <p> If you get a blowout, you&#39;ll know about it right away. Sometimes the tire can fail dramatically, with a bang as loud as a shotgun going off. Other times, it might just be a loss of air and a sudden change in your car&#39;s handling, followed by vibration, noise and a pull to one side. If it&#39;s a front tire that fails, your car might be a real handful to drive until you can get to a stop.</p> <p> In either case, your first job is to pull off the road as quickly (but safely!) as you can. Don&#39;t jam on the brakes or make any sudden moves, just get over to the shoulder and the flattest, hardest surface you can find.</p> <p> Turn on the emergency flashers and set the parking brake. Locate the jack and tire wrench, remove the wheel cover and break loose the lug nuts with the wrench. Find the proper spot for jacking the car and raise it no higher than necessary to remove the tire and install the spare. Put the spare on, tighten the lugs, lower the vehicle and tighten the lugs the rest of the way once the vehicle is on the ground. If your vehicle is equipped with a space-saver or temporary spare, keep your speed at 55 mph or lower and replace it with a standard tire as soon as possible.</p> <p> Often it&#39;s not possible to safely jack the vehicle up and change the tire yourself -- in which case you should just take advantage of your AAA card and call for help. Also, you may as well kiss that failed tire goodbye -- even if it survives the flat without shredding the sidewall, chances are that the heat and low inflation have destroyed it internally.</p> <h3> Preventing a Flat</h3> <p> Check your tires&#39; condition regularly and look out for foreign objects, dry rot on the sidewalls, bulges or cracks, tread separation or uneven wear.</p> <p> Rotate your tires regularly -- every 5,000 miles -- to ensure even wear patterns.</p> <p> Keep your front end aligned properly to prevent premature wear.</p> <p> Probably the most important...check your tire inflation regularly! Under-inflated tires mean more rolling resistance, more heat buildup and more wear, which will lead to tire failure.</p> /blog/view/so-you-get-a-flat-tire-what-now/feed0Regular, Synthetic or Blend...What Kind of Oil Do I Need?http://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/regular-synthetic-or-blend-what-kind-of-oil-do-i-needhttp://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/regular-synthetic-or-blend-what-kind-of-oil-do-i-need#commentsThu, 26 May 2016 10:34:49 -0700http://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/regular-synthetic-or-blend-what-kind-of-oil-do-i-need<p> <img alt="" src="http://sullivanstirepros.net/images/display/517/types-of-oil-changes.png" style="width: 300px; height: 225px; float: right; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 5px 10px;" />At one time, there were only a couple of choices for motor oil. Today, that is no longer the case, and hasn&#39;t been for quite some time. Here&#39;s a quick breakdown of what you need to consider when it&#39;s time for an oil change:</p> <ul> <li> <strong>Viscosity</strong>: Viscosity is how thick your oil is, and how it retains its pour properties at various temperatures. In this respect, synthetic oil is far superior. Conventional oils will thicken in cold weather and thin out when very hot, while the viscosity of synthetic is much more uniform. Check your owner&#39;s manual -- many newer models require a thinner, lower-viscosity oil, which also helps the engine run more efficiently. Viscosity is expressed as a numerical value -- the lower the number, the thinner the oil. Many are designed to work at various viscosities, i.e. a rating like 5W-30.</li> <li> <strong>Premium Conventional Oil</strong>: For most vehicles, premium conventional oil is just fine. Conventional oil does a good job of protecting engine parts from wear and overheating, and is available with various additive packages and viscosities for different applications. Just remember to adhere to a more stringent oil change schedule -- every 5,000 miles is a good rule of thumb.</li> <li> <strong>High Mileage Oil</strong>: Vehicles are lasting longer, and more than 2/3 of the cars on the road have more than 75,000 miles on them. High mileage oil is formulated with conditioners that can swell gaskets and seals to stop leaks around valve covers and other areas where gaskets may have shrunk or cracked. High mileage oil is designed for better viscosity properties, helping to quiet noisy valve-train parts, reduce upper-end engine wear and provide better protection at piston/cylinder clearances which may be a bit looser due to age and wear.</li> <li> <strong>Synthetic Blend</strong>: Like the name suggests, synthetic blend oils split the difference between conventional and synthetic, both in protection and price point. Synthetic blend oils are popular for trucks and SUVs, especially when drivers subject them to towing or hauling heavy loads.</li> <li> <strong>Full Synthetic</strong>: The jury is in, and synthetic oil outperforms conventional oil in just about every respect. Synthetic is purer and more stable and uniform at the molecular level, meaning better viscosity properties (as mentioned above). Synthetics are factory-recommended for about every new vehicle; they protect against deposits better, are kinder to seals and gaskets and are less prone to vaporize and evaporate. The down side is synthetics are considerably more expensive by the quart, but that&#39;s offset somewhat by their 10-12,000 mile oil change interval.</li> </ul> <p> Still in doubt? Be sure to check your owner&#39;s manual for manufacturer&#39;s recommendations.</p> /blog/view/regular-synthetic-or-blend-what-kind-of-oil-do-i-need/feed0The Latest in Green Tech Innovations for Tireshttp://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/the-latest-in-green-tech-innovations-for-tireshttp://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/the-latest-in-green-tech-innovations-for-tires#commentsThu, 12 May 2016 10:10:02 -0700http://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/the-latest-in-green-tech-innovations-for-tires<p> <img alt="" src="http://sullivanstirepros.net/images/display/516/environmentally-friendly-tires.png" style="width: 200px; height: 199px; float: right; margin: 5px;" />When it comes to your car, oil isn&#39;t the only thing there&#39;s a finite supply of. Rubber has its limits too, and it&#39;s estimated by 2020, the supply of natural rubber in the world may be outstripped by demand. And of course, tires require a great deal of oil to produce as well. Tire manufacturers are constantly looking for ways to innovate and conserve resources in tire production. Here are some recent advances:</p> <ul> <li> <strong>Dandelions</strong>: Yes, those humble yellow flowers you try to eliminate from your yard. Dandelions actually contain a minute amount of latex in their milky oil, and research shows they can actually produce about as much latex, pound-for-pound, as rubber plants. German scientists have cultivated 1-foot-tall dandelions for just this purpose. This isn&#39;t a new development, either -- in WWII, American companies were growing and cultivating Russian dandelions to cope with rubber scarcities due to wartime conditions.</li> <li> <strong>Silica</strong>: Tires are a complex blend of many different ingredients. Tires require friction for traction and control, but too much friction means heat buildup and rolling resistance, which hurts fuel economy. Engineers have discovered that mixing silica, the main ingredient in sand, in with carbon black and other elements can cut rolling resistance for better gas mileage. Too much silica means poor tread wear and traction, but manufacturers are aiming to strike the right balance between silica and carbon black in recent designs.</li> <li> <strong>Orange oil</strong>: In the search for alternatives to fossil fuels, a major manufacturer has taken the lead in using oil derived from orange peels in tire formulations. Orange oil has been used in cleaning products and other applications for years, but engineers have now figured out how to use it for lowered rolling resistance and better flexibility in tires.</li> <li> <strong>Soybean oil</strong>: While it&#39;s still in the development stages, it has been discovered that soybean oil can add up to ten percent to tire life, and can reduce fossil fuel use by up to 8.5 million gallons per year.</li> <li> <strong>Recycling</strong>: Vulcanization of rubber has been around since the 1830s. Vulcanized rubber is harder and more serviceable, but unfortunately vulcanization also means rubber which can&#39;t be recycled into tires again. Ironically, the same source that discovered this process has now uncovered a means to &quot;de-vulcanize&quot; rubber so it can be recycled for tire use. Currently, the recovery rate is about 80 percent; if the process can be scaled for mass-market use, it could mean a great solution for recycling the 800 million tires which are scrapped every year.</li> </ul> /blog/view/the-latest-in-green-tech-innovations-for-tires/feed04 Things About Tires You May Not Have Knownhttp://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/4-things-about-tires-you-may-not-have-knownhttp://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/4-things-about-tires-you-may-not-have-known#commentsThu, 28 Apr 2016 08:13:18 -0700http://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/4-things-about-tires-you-may-not-have-known<p> Tires all look sort of the same&hellip;round and black&hellip;and people tend to think tires don&rsquo;t change much over the years. That&rsquo;s really not true, though &ndash; engineers and designers are constantly working on advances in tire designs for more miles, better fuel economy and better performance.</p> <p> Here&rsquo;s a rundown of current trends in tire technology you may not have been aware of:</p> <p> <img alt="" src="http://sullivanstirepros.net/images/display/499/Blog1.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 200px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 0px 10px; float: right;" /></p> <div> <ul> <li> <b>Tall, skinny tires are coming back.</b> If you&rsquo;ve ever ridden a beach cruiser bike vs. a racing bike, you know that skinny tires have lower rolling resistance. Carmakers are going in that direction, too &ndash; the BMW i3 electric/plug-in hybrid uses Bridgestone Ecopia tires, with higher inflation pressure and a taller, skinnier profile. Tall, skinny tires also reduce the car&rsquo;s frontal profile for lowered wind resistance and aerodynamic drag. It isn&rsquo;t just the BMW i3, either&hellip;the Corvette Z51 is going with taller, skinnier tires.</li> <li> <b>Static electricity can be a problem with tires.</b> Static electricity and an inadequate electrical ground can be a real concern when you&rsquo;re refueling, or when you&rsquo;re sliding out of the car. Modern tire compounds feature less carbon black to cut rolling resistance and weight, but that also means a tire that&rsquo;s less conductive for an electric ground between the vehicle and the road surface. The solution is an &ldquo;antenna tread&rdquo; in the tire&rsquo;s surface &ndash; a thin, continuous strip of rubber that serves as an efficient conductor between the tire and pavement so the vehicle is always grounded.</li> <li> <b>Run-flat tires can make it another 100 miles or more after losing pressure.</b> Tire manufacturers design run-flat tires to cover 50 miles at 50 mph, but at slower speeds you can get a lot more miles than that out of them. The idea is to lessen the amount of heat generated by the tire and reduce the fatigue in the belts and the rubber. Imagine flexing a paper clip&hellip;if you bend it back and forth quickly, it&rsquo;ll break quickly, but if you flex it slowly, it&rsquo;ll last longer.</li> <li> <b>There are more than 200 materials in a modern tire.</b> You probably know about Kevlar and nylon and rubber and steel, but you probably didn&rsquo;t know rubber batches also include metals like cobalt and titanium which help the compound bond with the steel belts. Silane (silicon hydride) is being used to help inorganic silica bond with organic polymers for enhanced traction in wet or wintry weather. Silica is a major ingredient in low-rolling-resistance tires, and silica compounds like silane have been used a lot in the last 10-15 years to enhance performance. Tire companies are also using &ldquo;green&rdquo; materials for tires, such as citrus oil to control how tread viscosity and flexibility changes with temperature.</li> </ul> </div> /blog/view/4-things-about-tires-you-may-not-have-known/feed0Cars That Last 250,000 Miles or Morehttp://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/cars-that-last-250-000-miles-or-morehttp://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/cars-that-last-250-000-miles-or-more#commentsThu, 14 Apr 2016 16:24:52 -0700http://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/cars-that-last-250-000-miles-or-more<p> <img alt="" src="http://sullivanstirepros.net/images/display/498/cars-running-for-250k-miles.png" style="width: 300px; height: 169px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; float: right; margin: 5px 10px;" />If you&rsquo;re old enough, you probably remember the cars from the late 70s and early 80s that weren&rsquo;t good for much more than 120,000 miles before they started to develop real problems and were junkyard bound. Today, thanks to improvements in design, metallurgy, manufacturing techniques and machining, those days are over and it&rsquo;s not at all unusual to see vehicles with well over 200,000 miles on the odometer and still running strong.</p> <p> Here&rsquo;s a quick rundown of some vehicles to consider which have a track record of being good for 250k miles or more:</p> <ul> <li> <b>Toyota Corolla:</b> Probably not a surprise to fans of Toyotas, the simple, no-frills Corolla hasn&rsquo;t changed much since the early 00s&hellip;but Toyota&rsquo;s approach to the tried-and-true Corolla is, &ldquo;if it ain&rsquo;t broke, why fix it?&rdquo; The Corolla has a reputation for just soldiering on down the road with little need for anything more than routine maintenance.</li> <li> <b>Honda Civic:</b> The Honda counterpart to the Corolla, Civics offers sedan, coupe, hybrid and sporty Civic Si models, all with a reputation for great longevity and driver satisfaction.</li> <li> <b>Subaru Outback:</b> Is it a wagon? A crossover? Who cares, the AWD Outback is a strong runner, and the majority of the Outbacks ever made since the 90s are still on the road today.</li> <li> <b>Acura TL:</b> This midsize entry from Honda&rsquo;s luxury brand can easily put in 200,000 miles or more with the right maintenance, and is available in front-wheel-drive or AWD editions.</li> <li> <b>Ford Crown Victoria:</b> True, the Crown Vic hasn&rsquo;t been made for a few years, but it relies on simple, old-school technology like a pushrod V8, body-on-frame construction and a lack of high-tech cabin accessories. The result is a car that police departments would run to 130,000 miles, then taxi services would buy them and drive them for 250,000 miles more. The same goes for the Vic&rsquo;s stablemates, the Lincoln Town Car and Mercury Grand Marquis.</li> <li> <b>Ford Taurus:</b> Comfortable, spacious and reliable, the new generation of Ford Taurus can easily make it past the 200,000 mile mark with many more good miles left in it.</li> <li> <b>Dodge Grand Caravan:</b>Not sexy or flashy, the Grand Caravan offers dependable, practical and comfortable transportation. Earlier generations of the Grand Caravan were prone to transmission problems, but later GC&rsquo;s have a reputation for easily putting in a quarter-million miles or more.</li> <li> <b>Nissan Altima:</b> The Altima&rsquo;s been around for over 20 years, in a few different iterations, but it&rsquo;s still the same comfortable, reliable Nissan it&rsquo;s always been, with the same reputation for quality and long service life.</li> </ul> /blog/view/cars-that-last-250-000-miles-or-more/feed0Self-Inflating Tires…Soon To Be A Reality?http://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/self-inflating-tires-soon-to-be-a-realityhttp://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/self-inflating-tires-soon-to-be-a-reality#commentsThu, 31 Mar 2016 14:40:22 -0700http://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/self-inflating-tires-soon-to-be-a-reality<p> Driving around on underinflated tires is just a bad idea all the way around. Underinflated tires increase a car&rsquo;s rolling resistance, meaning a drop in fuel efficiency since it takes more energy to move the vehicle down the road.<img alt="" src="http://sullivanstirepros.net/images/display/488/tire-inflation.png" style="width: 300px; height: 225px; border-width: 2px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" /><br /> <br /> A single tire that&rsquo;s down by ten pounds of air means a 3.3 percent drop in fuel economy&hellip;multiply that by all four tires, and you can figure on giving up ten percent of your gas mileage. The added friction and rolling resistance also means more heat is generated, and heat is the enemy of the internal structure of a tire. That heat will damage a tire to the point of failure. Studies show that underinflated tires are a full 25 percent more likely to fail, and at least half of one-car accidents involve a tire problem as a factor. And still, it&rsquo;s estimated that 60 to 80 percent of the vehicles on the road are rolling on tires that are low on air.<br /> <br /> The tire pressure monitoring systems on newer cars are all well and good, but what can be done to stabilize tire pressure in vehicles, especially when many drivers just ignore it?<br /> <br /> Self-inflating tires are on the horizon. For military vehicles and heavy trucks, self-inflating tires have been around for a while, but they always involved a compressor or air reservoir on the vehicle to supply air. There are now a couple of new, innovative designs for self-inflating tires:</p> <ul> <li> A system from SIT uses a tube chamber near the bead of the tire wall. At its lowest point, the tube is kept closed with the normal deformation of a tire due to the weight of the vehicle. The portion that&rsquo;s squeezed closed constantly changes as the tire rolls. If the tire pressure drops, sensors and an automatic pressure regulator kick in and the squeezing/releasing action of the tube begins to suck in atmospheric air. When the tire reaches its proper pressure again, a check valve prevents the tube from introducing any more air. The SIT design actually won the 2009 Tire Technology of the Year award at the Tire Technology Expo.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li> &nbsp;A system designed by Halo uses a pendulum-type mass that&rsquo;s suspended at the center of the truck wheel. As the wheel rolls, the pendulum swings and drives a self-contained pump which adds air until the desired air pressure is reached. This five-pound unit mounts directly to the wheel&rsquo;s axle cap, not unlike a hub odometer. While it&rsquo;s currently only available for heavy trucks, buses and tractor-trailers, the Halo system has been tested for over 8 million miles on various vehicles.</li> </ul> <p> While these self-inflation designs may not be widely used yet, they point the way to a time when having to worry about tire inflation will be a thing of the past. What kind of shape are your tires in? Have you checked their inflation level lately? Give us a call and make an appointment at the shop and let us have a look at your tires!</p> /blog/view/self-inflating-tires-soon-to-be-a-reality/feed0Questions You Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Ask Your Auto Repair Techhttp://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/questions-you-shouldn-t-be-afraid-to-ask-your-auto-repair-techhttp://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/questions-you-shouldn-t-be-afraid-to-ask-your-auto-repair-tech#commentsThu, 17 Mar 2016 19:44:01 -0700http://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/questions-you-shouldn-t-be-afraid-to-ask-your-auto-repair-tech<p> Often, drivers are mystified by how their cars actually work. It&rsquo;s to be expected. Even an older car is a complex machine with many sub-assemblies that all work together to move it down the road.<img alt="Car questions? Ask them!" src="http://sullivanstirepros.net/images/display/487/questions-for-your-mechanic.png" style="width: 300px; height: 243px; float: right; border-width: 2px; border-style: solid; margin: 20px 10px;" /></p> <p> As a result, drivers tend to be a little intimidated by auto repair and often tend to not inform themselves by asking the necessary questions of a tech or a garage. Too often, that ends up being a big mistake. Here are some examples of the kinds of things you really should know before any auto repair work starts:</p> <ul> <li> <strong>Does your shop work on any kind of vehicle?</strong> Of course, most shops can service a product from GM, Ford, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota and the other leading makes. Some makes, however, require a lot more training and experience, or even factory certifications. Vehicles from Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, BMW and certain other makes often require specialized tools and training; that&rsquo;s why many towns have repair shops that are for specific makes of vehicles.</li> </ul> <ul> <li> <strong>What kind of equipment does your shop have?</strong> Every model year, vehicles and systems get more sophisticated, requiring specialized and up-to-date equipment for diagnostics and repair. Some equipment is dedicated to specific makes of vehicles. It&rsquo;s important that your auto repair shop stays current with technology, and this is a question that&rsquo;s certainly worth asking.</li> </ul> <ul> <li> <strong>What kind of certifications does your shop (and your techs) have?</strong> Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is a trade group that sets standards for auto repair with testing and certifications for techs; the blue ASE seal means that a tech has met the group&rsquo;s levels of expertise. Many auto repair shops and techs also have factory certifications for certain makes of vehicles.</li> </ul> <ul> <li> <strong>What kind of replacement parts are you using?</strong> Not all replacement parts are the same! There are plenty of inferior parts on the aftermarket, and are usually a &ldquo;you get what you pay for&rdquo; proposition. Your shop should only be using factory or at least factory-quality parts to repair your vehicle. You also have the right to ask to see the part that failed and was replaced, and any good shop should be willing to let you.</li> </ul> <p> And while we&rsquo;re at it, here are a few others that don&rsquo;t really need elaboration&hellip;</p> <ul> <li> <strong>What&rsquo;s your warranty policy?</strong></li> <li> <strong>What would you do if this was your vehicle?</strong></li> <li> <strong>What are your shop rates for labor?</strong></li> <li> <strong>Do you do free estimates?</strong></li> <li> <strong>Do you provide shuttle service or a loaner car for while mine&rsquo;s in the shop?</strong></li> </ul> <p> &ldquo;Forewarned is forearmed,&rdquo; and it&rsquo;s important to know what you&rsquo;re getting into with any auto repair shop. By asking the right questions before any wrenches are turned, you can at least make auto repair into a somewhat less overwhelming experience. At <span id="BugEvents">our shop</span>, you know you can expect not only expert auto repair for a wide range of cars, minivans, light trucks and SUVs, but also top-notch customer service. It&rsquo;s what we&rsquo;ve built our business on &ndash; give us a call and make an appointment for your next auto repair or maintenance job.</p> /blog/view/questions-you-shouldn-t-be-afraid-to-ask-your-auto-repair-tech/feed0Mixing Tires – Bad Ideahttp://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/mixing-tires-bad-ideahttp://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/mixing-tires-bad-idea#commentsThu, 25 Feb 2016 07:52:10 -0800http://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/mixing-tires-bad-idea<p> In a perfect world, all four tires would wear out at the same time. In the same perfect world, everyone would be able to afford a whole set of tires all at once. Unfortunately, things often just do not work out that way.&nbsp;</p> <p> <img alt="" src="http://sullivanstirepros.net/images/display/459/mixing tires.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 225px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 3px 10px; float: right;" /></p> <div> <p> Sometimes you may just have to replace tires as you can afford them, one or two at a time, but there are some important things to bear in mind if you have to do that.&nbsp;</p> <div> <p> If you can only afford to replace one or two tires, it&rsquo;s essential that you go with tires that are identical (or at least as close as possible) to the car&rsquo;s remaining tires. That means that internal construction, size, tread pattern and design should be close to the same. Don&rsquo;t mix winter tires with all-season tires, don&rsquo;t mix run-flat tires with standard tires, for instance. But why?</p> <p> Tires are all designed for different handling properties and traction, and are intended to work together as a set. Mixing sizes, tread patterns and designs can mean a car that has unpredictable, jittery, &ldquo;squirrelly&rdquo; handling, braking and roadholding properties, and that can be downright dangerous in a panic stop or other emergency situation.</p> <p> If you have to replace a pair of tires and decide on the same brand and model as the others, the new tires should go on the rear. That might seem counterintuitive to some, but consider this; if you mount the new tires on the front and end up on wet pavement, the new tires will easily disperse the water while the rear tires can hydroplane.</p> <p> Remember that the minimum tread depth for tires, by state law, is 2/32&rdquo;. At 2/32&rdquo;, you should be able to plainly see the wear bars that are molded at a right angle in the base of the tread grooves. If you&rsquo;re in doubt, insert a penny into the tread grooves, Lincoln head down. If the tread reaches the top of Lincoln&rsquo;s head, your tread is 2/32&rdquo; deep. Try again with a quarter &ndash; does the tread reach the top of Washington&rsquo;s head? That&rsquo;s a depth of 4/32&rdquo;. One more time with a penny&hellip;if the tread reaches the Lincoln Memorial, your tread is 6/32&rdquo; deep.</p> <p> If you&rsquo;re thinking it might be time for a set of tires, don&rsquo;t put it off&hellip;make an appointment and see what kind of price we can make you on a set of premium-brand tires.</p> </div> </div> /blog/view/mixing-tires-bad-idea/feed0Differential Service: Too Often Neglected by Drivers http://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/differential-service-too-often-neglected-by-drivershttp://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/differential-service-too-often-neglected-by-drivers#commentsThu, 11 Feb 2016 07:50:20 -0800http://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/differential-service-too-often-neglected-by-drivers<div> Differential Service &ndash; Why Is It Important?&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <img alt="" src="http://sullivanstirepros.net/images/display/458/differential-gears.jpg" style="width: 300px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 3px 10px; float: right; height: 225px;" /></div> <div> Of all the various things on a vehicle that need regular service and maintenance, the differential is too often neglected. But what exactly is it, and what does it do?&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Visualize a rear-wheel-drive vehicle making a right-hand turn. As the car turns to the right, the left rear wheel will have to actually cover a longer distance and spin at a different speed than the right wheel. If the rear axle was delivering the same torque to both wheels, the left rear wheel would be binding and skittering as it made the turn. The differential is designed to allow the wheels to turn at different speeds around corners, eliminating that problem.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The differential uses an oil thicker than motor oil, somewhere between an oil and a grease in terms of its weight. Like any other assembly, though, the oil in the differential will become contaminated over time and will start to break down due to heat. Most differentials need a fluid change at about 50,000 miles. If left too long or if the fluid starts to run low, the differential will become noisy and can eventually fail. If that happens, the gears can seize, locking up the rear wheels and potentially causing a lot of damage or even an accident.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Differentials have a fill hole, sometimes covered with a rubber plug that makes it easy to check the oil level. They don&rsquo;t, however, have a drain plug, meaning that the only way to change the oil is to remove the differential&rsquo;s rear cover. This is inevitably a messy job that&rsquo;s best left to professionals. Remember also that on 4WD vehicles, there&rsquo;s a second differential for the front wheels. For 4WD vehicles, it&rsquo;s usually a good idea to perform service on both differentials and the transfer case at the same time.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> If you&rsquo;re in need of any kind of oil-change service, whether it&rsquo;s motor oil, transmission fluid flush or differential service, you can count on us. Your car&rsquo;s fluids are too important to neglect &ndash; make an appointment with us, and make differential fluid service part of your car&rsquo;s regular preventive maintenance schedule.&nbsp;</div> /blog/view/differential-service-too-often-neglected-by-drivers/feed0Get The Most Out Of That Set Of Tireshttp://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/get-the-most-out-of-that-set-of-tireshttp://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/get-the-most-out-of-that-set-of-tires#commentsThu, 28 Jan 2016 13:08:46 -0800http://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/get-the-most-out-of-that-set-of-tires<div> Your tires are a pretty big investment. Even with the cheapest set of tires, you&rsquo;re going to be spending upwards of $400 on the tires, mounting, balancing, disposal fees and taxes. Since you laid down that kind of money, doesn&rsquo;t it just make sense to make sure you get the most miles possible out of them?&nbsp;</div> <div> Here&rsquo;s some advice on long tire life:</div> <div> <img alt="" src="http://sullivanstirepros.net/images/display/453/Blog2.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 200px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 14px 10px; float: right;" /></div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Regularly check your tire pressure. This one is really, really important. Underinflated tires will wear&nbsp;</div> <div> <div> unevenly and reduce your fuel economy due to increased rolling resistance. That increased rolling resistance also means more heat, which will break down the tires&rsquo; internal structure and shorten their lives. All it takes to shorten a tire&rsquo;s service life by 25 percent is for it to be underinflated by 5-6 lbs.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Rotate your tires regularly. No vehicle has even weight distribution from front to rear. The engine puts more weight over the front wheels; in addition, the front tires will wear differently as the vehicle&rsquo;s weight and momentum shifts to the front while braking. The front tires are also subjected to different forces while cornering. As a result, it&rsquo;s important to rotate the tires, shifting their positions on the vehicle to even out wear. Rotations should be done every 6,000 miles or so; many drivers have the rotation performed at the same time as an oil change, since the vehicle&rsquo;s already up on a lift anyway.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Check your wheel alignment. A vehicle that&rsquo;s in need of a wheel alignment will wear the front tires unevenly, as the out-of-spec wheel tries to drag the car in a different direction. That&rsquo;s what also causes the persistent pull to one side while driving in a straight line. Be alert to the signs of poor wheel alignment, and have an alignment performed if necessary.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Drive sensibly. That means no hard cornering and no wheel spin while taking off.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> </div> /blog/view/get-the-most-out-of-that-set-of-tires/feed0Winter Safety Tips – Don’t End Up In the Ditch!http://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/winter-safety-tips-don-t-end-up-in-the-ditchhttp://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/winter-safety-tips-don-t-end-up-in-the-ditch#commentsThu, 14 Jan 2016 13:07:01 -0800http://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/winter-safety-tips-don-t-end-up-in-the-ditch<div> Some people love winter. They love the snow, the snap in the air, the short days and cozy nights at home. Others can&rsquo;t stand it, for many of the same reasons. Regardless of whether you love it or hate it, though, chances are you&rsquo;re going to have to get out and drive in it at some point. We&rsquo;ve got a few suggestions to help you through the winter safely:&nbsp;</div> <p> <img alt="" src="http://sullivanstirepros.net/images/display/452/Blog1.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 225px; margin: 4px 10px; float: right; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid;" /></p> <div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Make sure you&rsquo;ve got a well-maintained car. This includes fresh windshield wipers, proper tire inflation, a strong battery, a properly-maintained cooling system and a fresh oil change. If your tires aren&rsquo;t up to the job of winter driving, you might consider switching to winter tires for a while &ndash; just&nbsp;</div> <div> <div> remember to switch back when temperatures get above 40 degrees. The softer tread compound of winter tires will wear quickly in warmer temperatures.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Make sure your car is thoroughly de-iced before you go anywhere. Hot water might seem tempting because it&rsquo;s quicker&hellip;but it&rsquo;s also almost guaranteed to crack your windshield, and room-temperature water is likely to just freeze again. Don&rsquo;t just carve a hole to see out of; make sure your whole windshield is clear. And don&rsquo;t forget the roof! In many areas it&rsquo;s actually illegal to take off with a mattress-sized pile of snow and ice on the roof of the car, waiting to fly off and hit other motorists.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Pack a trouble bag. A good selection of items for a trouble bag would include a sweater, socks, gloves, cap, first-aid kit, flashlight, Leatherman-style multi-tool, duct tape, high-protein snacks and highway flares. If you have room, it&rsquo;s also a good idea to carry a bag of sand or kitty litter as a traction aid if you get stuck.&nbsp;</div> <div> Now, for the actual driving tips&hellip;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Do everything more slowly. Snow changes the responsiveness and drivability of your vehicle. Drive more slowly, allow more room between you and the next vehicle, brake more slowly, use the gas sparingly and anticipate turns well in advance.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>If you go into a skid, don&rsquo;t panic. Don&rsquo;t stomp the brake or do anything drastic. Correct the skid by turning in the same direction as the skid, ease off the gas and get the car back under control again.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>If the roads are icy, stay home if you possibly can. No vehicle does well on ice. If you can&rsquo;t avoid getting out, just be even more careful than you would on snow.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Is your car ready for winter driving? Give us a call and make an appointment and let us help you make sure about that before the snow flies!</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> </div> </div> /blog/view/winter-safety-tips-don-t-end-up-in-the-ditch/feed0Winter Tires – Yea or Nay? http://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/winter-tires-yea-or-nayhttp://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/winter-tires-yea-or-nay#commentsThu, 31 Dec 2015 12:28:16 -0800http://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/winter-tires-yea-or-nay<div> In a lot of parts of the country, the winters are tough enough that all-season tires just won&rsquo;t get the job done. All-season tires are a compromise; they offer good year-round traction with a quiet ride, good handling and road manners. They tend to perform well in wet weather and light wintry conditions, but when the snow is more than a couple of inches deep, all-season tires are out of their league. That&rsquo;s when it&rsquo;s time to consider winter tires.&nbsp;</div> <div> <img alt="" src="http://sullivanstirepros.net/images/display/433/december-1.jpg" style="width: 225px; height: 300px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 16px 10px; float: right;" /> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Today&rsquo;s winter tires are a long way from the heavy, noisy, clumsy &ldquo;snow tires&rdquo; or &ldquo;mud grips&rdquo; that your dad might have had on his station wagon 40 years ago. Modern winter tires are designed for noise, handling, steering response and road manners that rival grand touring tires, only with enhanced traction. They accomplish that with deeper, more aggressive tread grooves and a tread pattern that&rsquo;s designed to eject snow and slush for a clean &ldquo;bite&rdquo; with every revolution of the wheel.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> More importantly, the tread compound used for winter tires is substantially different. Grand touring or all-season tires can stiffen at low temperatures, reducing traction. Winter tire formulations are designed to stay flexible even when temperatures are at zero or below, meaning they can still deliver traction in winter conditions. Some winter tires come pre-drilled for studs, which can enhance traction even more in snow and light icy conditions.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> There are a few things to remember with winter tires, however:&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Winter tires often don&rsquo;t handle as precisely as all-season tires, due to their construction. That may not matter much in snow, when handling will be sloppy and treacherous anyway, but it can be a noticeable difference on dry pavement.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Winter tires tend to be noisier</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Winter tires are rather fragile. That same soft rubber compound that helps with traction in snow means that the tires will wear down much more quickly in warmer temperatures. For that reason, winter tires should not be used when temperatures are above 35-45 degrees.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>If you elect to go with winter tires, you&rsquo;ll need to get an entire set and not just a pair. Mixing designs of tires can result in poor traction, uneven and unpredictable performance and a &ldquo;schizophrenic&rdquo; car.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> With all that in mind, you&rsquo;re going to be the best judge of whether you really need winter tires or not. If your part of the country gets a few inches of snow that typically melts in a few days or a week, when the weather changes, winter tires might not be a real necessity. If you&rsquo;re in a place like the upper Midwest, New England or the mountains, with snow measured in feet rather than inches and winter temperatures that stay below freezing for weeks on end, winter tires might be a good investment after all. If you&rsquo;re leaning that way on the decision, call us and let us get you the best deal on quality winter tires that you&rsquo;ll find anywhere!&nbsp;</div> </div> /blog/view/winter-tires-yea-or-nay/feed0Squeeze a Few More Miles Out of That Gallon of Gashttp://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/squeeze-a-few-more-miles-out-of-that-gallon-of-gashttp://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/squeeze-a-few-more-miles-out-of-that-gallon-of-gas#commentsThu, 17 Dec 2015 12:26:39 -0800http://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/squeeze-a-few-more-miles-out-of-that-gallon-of-gas<div> If you&rsquo;re past &ldquo;a certain age,&rdquo; you might remember when gas was $1.50 per gallon, or $1.00 per gallon, or 59 cents, or what-have-you&hellip;but the truth is that everything has gotten more expensive. After all, when gas was $1.00 per gallon, a nicely tricked-out Chevrolet Caprice Classic was selling for about $6,000 brand new.&nbsp;</div> <p> <img alt="" src="http://sullivanstirepros.net/images/display/432/december-2.jpg" style="width: 224px; height: 300px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 14px 10px; float: right;" /></p> <div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Now that we&rsquo;re well into the 21st century, gas prices are likely to fluctuate, but one thing&rsquo;s for sure: gas is likely to never be &ldquo;cheap&rdquo; again. We know that everyone&rsquo;s trying to get a little more out of every dollar, and whether you&rsquo;re driving a big SUV or a subcompact, there are things you can do to help your vehicle&rsquo;s fuel economy:&nbsp;</div> <div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Watch your right foot. This is probably the most important thing on the list. It takes a lot of energy and fuel to get your car moving, whether it&rsquo;s a 5500-pound Chevy Yukon or a 2700-pound Mini. Every time you accelerate hard, you&rsquo;re unnecessarily dumping more fuel into the engine, which can cost you as much as 1 to 3 mpg around town. Remember that you&rsquo;re not in a race and you don&rsquo;t have anything to prove. Consider leaving a little early to get to your destination so that you don&rsquo;t feel like you have to stomp the gas pedal and drive hard to get there.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Think ahead. In many cities, stoplights are synchronized so that driving at a certain speed will get you nothing but green lights. If they aren&rsquo;t, though, or if you see a single red light a few blocks ahead, try to coast and slow down so that the light will be green by the time you roll through it. You can also keep your distance from other drivers and (hopefully) anticipate their next move so that you can avoid braking.</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Use your cruise control. Regardless of how steady your right foot might be, it can&rsquo;t keep your car at the same exact, consistent speed nearly as well as cruise control can. Cruise control can also help reduce driver fatigue on long trips. It&rsquo;s not advisable for heavy traffic, wet-weather or mountainous driving, but if you&rsquo;ve got a long, open expanse of interstate ahead of you, set that cruise control for a reasonable speed and let it save you money.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Slow down. It might be frustrating for some to drive slower, but it makes a big, big difference in fuel economy. Every 5 mph you are driving over the speed limit is costing you more money in fuel. For some vehicles, every 10 mph represents a 15 percent hit on your gas mileage. We know that on many stretches of highway, a driver keeping it at 70 is a rolling roadblock for other drivers, but keep your speed down, hang out in the right lane and let them blow past you. You might get there a few minutes later, but like we said before&hellip;just leave the house a little earlier. Besides, once you get more than 5 mph over the speed limit, you risk attracting the attention of state troopers.</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Unload your trunk. Especially in a minivan or SUV, it&rsquo;s easy to accumulate extraneous junk and forget about it, but every 100 lbs of unneeded weight can cost you one to two percent of your fuel economy. On a long trip, you might be hauling people and luggage, which is understandable&hellip;but around town, get a look in your trunk and chunk any concrete blocks, sandbags, lead ingots or bowling balls you might have forgotten back there.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Streamline your vehicle. Aerodynamic efficiency is a huge part of fuel economy&hellip;that&rsquo;s why our cars now look more like jellybeans than bars of soap. If your vehicle has a ski rack, bike rack, top-mounted cargo carrier or other accessories, take them off unless you really need them.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Cut your idling time. A car that&rsquo;s idling gets zero mpg, and does nothing but sit there and burn fuel. If you&rsquo;re going to be sitting for more than about a minute, just shut the engine off and start it again when it&rsquo;s time to move out. It may be uncomfortable in hot or cold weather, but it makes as much sense as shutting off the lights when you leave a room.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Use your car&rsquo;s travel computer. If your car&rsquo;s equipped with a computer that indicates real-time fuel economy, average fuel economy and Distance to Empty, pay attention to it, especially when your real-time mileage is dropping to single digits when you accelerate. The math on those devices is pretty accurate!</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Check your tires. You&rsquo;ve undoubtedly heard this one before. Underinflated tires mean more friction and rolling resistance, and that hurts your fuel economy. Tires lose a pound or so of air pressure every month, so regularly check your inflation levels and add air if needed. You can find proper inflation levels on your car&rsquo;s driver&rsquo;s door frame, under the hood, inside the fuel filler door or in the owner&rsquo;s manual. If it&rsquo;s almost time for new tires, consider going to low-rolling-resistance tires.</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Keep your car well maintained. If your Check Engine light is on, have it diagnosed and fixed. If you can&rsquo;t remember the last time your air filter was changed&hellip;change it. Newer cars are designed for light grades of motor oil, and heavier grades can actually cut the engine&rsquo;s efficiency.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Use your A/C sparingly. At one time, the rule was to avoid A/C altogether on the highway. That&rsquo;s changed somewhat, as newer A/C systems don&rsquo;t put as much parasitic drag on the engine and vehicle aerodynamics have improved to a point where running with the windows down at highway speed actually creates more drag. Still, if it&rsquo;s a nice day, roll those windows down and enjoy the breeze while you&rsquo;re tooling around town.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Don&rsquo;t drive. If you need a couple of things from the convenience store and it&rsquo;s only three blocks away, just walk down there and back. You can also take the bus, carpool to work, ride a bike and come up with all kinds of other options that don&rsquo;t involve a single person driving a 4000-pound vehicle for a mile or two.&nbsp;</div> </div> </div> /blog/view/squeeze-a-few-more-miles-out-of-that-gallon-of-gas/feed0The Holidays Are Coming – Is Your Vehicle Ready? http://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/the-holidays-are-coming-is-your-vehicle-readyhttp://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/the-holidays-are-coming-is-your-vehicle-ready#commentsThu, 26 Nov 2015 12:23:00 -0800http://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/the-holidays-are-coming-is-your-vehicle-ready<div> Where did this year go? Before you know it, it&rsquo;s going to be time for the holidays, and that can mean travel in some pretty trying conditions (and we don&rsquo;t just mean restless kids in the back seat). Is your vehicle ready for some interstate miles?</div> <p> <img alt="" src="http://sullivanstirepros.net/images/display/431/november-2.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 199px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 14px 10px; float: right;" /></p> <div> <div> <div> &nbsp;</div> </div> <div> <div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Tires: It&rsquo;s a good idea to have your tires rotated every 5,000-7,000 miles to ensure even wear. With that in mind, it&rsquo;s easy to just schedule a tire rotation with every oil change, since the vehicle will be up in the air on a lube rack anyway. Have you checked your inflation lately? Your proper&nbsp;</div> <div> inflation levels will be on a sticker on the driver&rsquo;s side door frame, inside the fuel filler door or in the owner&rsquo;s manual &ndash; always check the inflation when the tires are cold. How about the tread depth? 2/32&rdquo; is the minimum tread depth allowed in most states. Here&rsquo;s an easy way to check your tread depth: take a penny and insert it into the tread grooves, Lincoln head down. If the rubber comes up past the top of Lincoln&rsquo;s head, your tread is at 2/32&rdquo; or more. Try it again with a quarter; if the tread reaches the top of Washington&rsquo;s head, it&rsquo;s at 4/32&rdquo;. Now, one more time with a penny; if it reaches the Lincoln Memorial, your tread is 6/32&rdquo; deep.&nbsp;</div> </div> <div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Alignment: It&rsquo;s tiring to fight with a vehicle whose steering wheel constantly wants to drift to one side, but it&rsquo;s more than that. Poor wheel alignment means poorer fuel economy, as one wheel is dragged along by the others. It also means money wasted through uneven tire wear&hellip;have you had your alignment checked lately?&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Finish: Snow, ice and winter weather are pretty rough on your car&rsquo;s paint and body. A coat or two of wax before winter really sets in can help your car shed water and protect your finish.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Wipers: Even the best windshield wipers are only good for about a year, before the elements and the sun&rsquo;s UV rays start to take their toll. Examine your wipers carefully for dry-rot, cracking, strips, chips or chunks missing. Hint: a fresh application of Rain-X on your vehicles windows and windshield can help wet-weather visibility immensely.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Fluids: As part of your vehicle&rsquo;s regular preventive maintenance schedule, check the last time you had an oil change, transmission fluid flush and coolant flush. If it&rsquo;s time&hellip;get &lsquo;em done!&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> We hope that the holidays for you and your family are great this year. You can&rsquo;t control everything, but you can help eliminate one worry by making sure you&rsquo;re got a solid vehicle to take on holiday trips &ndash; make an appointment with us and we&rsquo;ll make sure you&rsquo;re good-to-go.&nbsp;</div> </div> </div> </div> /blog/view/the-holidays-are-coming-is-your-vehicle-ready/feed0Winter Tires? Or All-Season Tires?http://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/winter-tires-or-all-season-tireshttp://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/winter-tires-or-all-season-tires#commentsThu, 12 Nov 2015 12:21:35 -0800http://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/winter-tires-or-all-season-tires<div> Winter tires versus all-season tires&hellip;which is the right choice for you?</div> <div> <div> <img alt="" src="http://sullivanstirepros.net/images/display/430/november-1.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 199px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 16px 10px; float: right;" /></div> </div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <div> The two designs are quite different and deliver different levels of performance and winter-weather traction, so let&rsquo;s discuss.&nbsp;</div> <div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>All-season tires are designed as an all-around compromise. They feature a tread pattern that evacuates water from the tire&rsquo;s contact patch to prevent hydroplaning, with plenty of small, textured slits (sipes) to add extra biting edges for traction in wet or slushy conditions.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>All-season tires are designed with a harder tread compound that can deliver a long service life and long wear.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>All-season tires can deliver the same sort of low noise, comfortable ride and good handling as most touring or grand-touring tires. They offer straight-line stability, good road manners and good road feel on asphalt.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Now, let&rsquo;s compare-and-contrast all-season tires with winter tires&hellip;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Winter tires use a softer tread compound that&rsquo;s designed to stay flexible at low temperatures. Below 15-20 degrees, all-season tires can stiffen and lose traction, while the flexible rubber of winter tires can conform more easily and continue to grip in the cold and snow.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Winter tires use a more aggressive tread pattern with deeper grooves and a denser sipe pattern to push away slush and dig into soft or packed snow. Many all-season tires come pre-drilled to accept metal studs for traction on ice.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>On dry pavement, winter tires tend to be noisier and rougher-riding than all-season tires, with less-precise handling. That may not be a concern in winter conditions, though, since handling is going to be sloppy and treacherous on snow anyway.&nbsp;</div> <div> &bull;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>The soft tread compound of winter tires makes them fragile. At temperatures above freezing, winter tires will soon start to wear prematurely; it&rsquo;s important to change them as soon as the weather starts to warm up.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> So which will it be? All-season tires may be great for most weather conditions, but the truth is that in more than an inch or two of snow, they&rsquo;re not so great. Winter tires are the only tires that can deliver real traction and performance in harsh winter conditions&hellip;and it&rsquo;s important to remember that just because your vehicle has AWD or 4WD, that&rsquo;s no guarantee that it will perform well without the right tires.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> If you live south of the Mason-Dixon line, or in an area that might see a couple of inches of snow that melts a few days later, chances are you&rsquo;re going to be just fine with all-season tires year-round. If you live in, say, the upper Midwest, New England or the mountains, where snow is measured in feet rather than inches and temperatures might stay in the 20s or lower for days on end, winter tires are almost a necessity. If you&rsquo;re in need of tires before winter sets in, whether you choose all-season or winter tires&hellip;call us and let us help you out!</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> </div> </div> /blog/view/winter-tires-or-all-season-tires/feed0Don’t Forget Your Sparehttp://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/don-t-forget-your-sparehttp://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/don-t-forget-your-spare#commentsThu, 29 Oct 2015 12:19:28 -0700http://sullivanstirepros.net/blog/view/don-t-forget-your-spare<div> Oh, the lowly spare tire. It doesn&rsquo;t get much respect.&nbsp;</div> <div> <img alt="" src="http://sullivanstirepros.net/images/display/429/october-2.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 225px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 14px 10px; float: right;" /></div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Today, a lot of vehicles don&rsquo;t even come with a spare tire anymore, not even the little &ldquo;donut&rdquo; space-saver spare. Instead, to cut weight and free up space, they come with a compressor and a can of a Fix-a-Flat-style product in hopes that you can get back on your way again. Great idea, unless your tire has a sidewall puncture or is shredded&hellip;</div> <div> <div> Anyway, if your car is equipped with a spare, you shouldn&rsquo;t just ignore it. Tires have a shelf life, and time will take its toll on any tire, including ones that are never on the ground. Even brand-new tires have a sell-by date; the industry agrees that tires that are older than six to eight years old are probably unsafe due to degradation of the rubber. Your spare can sit in the trunk or under the vehicle and dry-rot over time, and even if it doesn&rsquo;t, it can lose air to the point where it&rsquo;s useless.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> If your vehicle has a full-size spare, it&rsquo;s a good idea to include it in the tire rotation schedule, actually putting it on the pavement from time to time. If not, at least check on the poor old lowly spare and let it know that someone cares about it. The alternative, after all, is being stuck by the side of the road with a flat tire and a flat, worthless spare both.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> </div> /blog/view/don-t-forget-your-spare/feed0