Did you know that you officially need to replace your tires when the tread is below 2/32” thick? And did you know that the distance between the edge of a penny and the top of Lincoln’s head is exactly 2/32”?
Whether you’ve put extra miles on your tires with summer road trips or they are simply nearing the end of their life, this quick test will let you know if it is time to consider new tires.
Most tires have “wear bars” that run across the tread pattern. When these become visible, connecting patterns across your tire’s tread, they serve as a warning that your tread is getting bare. But not all tires are designed the same, and sometimes you just need an extra test to know with confidence that it is time to replace your tires.
So for a quick tread check, grab a penny! Place the penny, with Lincoln’s head down and facing you, into the tread of the tire.
If all or part of Lincoln’s head is obscured by the tread, your tires still have some life left – but if you can see all of Lincoln’s head, it’s time to replace your tire.
Note: Measure each tire in multiple places – both the inside and outside edge across the tire, and on multiple points around the tire. If your alignment is off, or if you have neglected tire rotation, they may have uneven wear. This also can cause bald spots that mean you need to replace your tires prematurely.
If you don’t have a penny handy, a quarter can also do the trick! The distance between Washington’s head and the edge of a quarter is exactly 4/32” (which also happens to be the recommended thickness for tire tread if you are driving in rain, snow, or icy conditions).
Use the same method, placing the quarter with Washington’s head upside down and facing you in the tread across multiple places on your tire. Whenyou can see all of Washington’s head, you know you will need to replace your tires soon.
You may consider replacing your tires before they reach the 2/32” point. As your tread thins between 4/32” and 2/32” you may start to experience performance issues, especially in wet and slick conditions.
The good news? There are easy steps you can take to extend the life of your tires! Keep your tires properly inflated to reduce extra friction and wear. Rotate your tires regularly to ensure they wear uniformly without creating bald spots. Have an alignment performed periodically. Treat your tires with care – following these recommended maintenance tips can help them wear evenly so you get more miles out of every dollar! Stop by or schedule an appointment for a tire rotation, alignment, or inspection.
Overheating is the most common cause of vehicle breakdowns and internal engine damage. As the heat rises in Omaha over the summer, our shop sees more and more people coming in after breakdowns due to cooling system failure. But there is an easy answer!
A cooling system flush can keep your engine running smooth and cool even on the hottest days. Regularly changing your coolant, aka antifreeze, can prevent larger problems for your cooling system and engine and keep your family safe on the road!
What is the Cooling System?
The engine runs best at a high temperature, so the cooling system helps it to heat up quickly then keep the engine at a regular, constant temperature without overheating as it runs. It accomplishes this by transferring heat into the air with the help of coolant, or antifreeze, and the other components of the cooling system.
In most cars, the cooling system works by circulating radiator fluid (the mixture of coolant and water) through parts and pipes in the engine to absorb the heat and cool the engine. A radiator at the end of the system captures and transfers the heat from the fluid into the air.
But my coolant still looks clear, why should I change it?
New coolant usually appears a bright green or a bright red color, as in the picture below. As the coolant runs through the engine, rust and contaminants caused by oxidation and corrosion mix in with the fluid. Unfortunately, when you look under the hood to check your fluid, it may still appear clean and clear even though these contaminants rest under the surface, unseen and threatening the life of your engine.
This video from Monday Morning Mechanic shows the striking visual of these hidden contaminants, and the threats they pose.
How often should I flush my coolant?
Most manufacturers recommend that you change the radiator fluid (the mixture of antifreeze coolant and water) every 24,000 to 36,000 miles or 24 to 36 months. Depending on your driving habits, you may need to flush your coolant more often – we recommend every 1-2 years.
Be leery of “extended life” coolants that tout 100,000 mile lifespans – even these can accumulate rust and contaminants that threaten your engine life. These impurities could add up and cause bigger problems before you reach the 100,000 mile check. Even with “extended life” fluids, you should have these coolants checked frequently.
What happens if I don’t?
Failing to change your coolant can take as much as 100,000 miles off the life of your engine, in addition to big problems and expensive repairs.
Coolant flows through your entire engine, leaving behind contaminants. They can collect on the radiator, inside the water pump or thermostat, getting stuck and preventing the components from working appropriately. Plastic components, like the water pump, can wear and break apart. If the water pump breaks, the system won’t be able to move the water and coolant through the engine. Hoses can also react to contaminants, becoming swollen and rusty on the inside even as they appear normal on the outside. With excess heat, belts that control the cooling system and steering will start cracking, eventually breaking and disabling the systems (imagine a steering belt break, not being able to control your vehicle!).
Bottom line – contaminated coolant can lead to cooling system failure, causing your engine to overheat and break down, leaving you stranded on the road!
We assume your family’s safety is at the top of your priority list, so having your coolant flushed or even just checked while it’s still scorching outside, and before it gets cold, should be as well. Avoid expensive engine breakdowns by having your coolant flushed before problems arise. Call us at 402-896-5800 or stop by our shop.
Car polish and wax are among many products used to protect your vehicle and keep it looking its best. Unfortunately, there is common misconception among car owners about these products and what they are used for. So what is the difference between a wax and a polish? And what’s right for your car?
A polish is used to give your vehicle a smooth, shiny surface. The primary purpose of polish is to remove imperfections from your vehicle’s paint or clear coat. Polish can clean off contaminants such as grease, dirt, and rust that normal washing cannot remove. It is also used to fix small scratches, scrapes, or swirls from the finish.
There are two primary types of car polish: chemical polishes and abrasive polishes. Chemical polishes are used to clean the exterior, removing rust, grease, and stains that normal washing cannot remove. Abrasive polishes are used to fix imperfections in your car’s paint job or clear coat and smooth out small scratches or scrapes. These polishes range from coarse to fine, with finer polishes ideal for detail work.
Polishes typically come in creams, sprays, or liquids and contain solvents to remove impurities (grease, rust). Polishing your vehicle fixes small imperfections in the finish and allows the paint to shine through. However, most polishes do not provide protection for your car’s finish.
Waxing is used to create a protective barrier on your vehicle. UV rays, pollution, dust, moisture, and corrosion can all harm your car’s paint and clear coat. Wax acts as a barrier between your car’s finish and the environment. Wax also can create the glossy look that many vehicle owners love.
Car waxes come in two varieties: natural or synthetic. Natural car waxes are usually made from caranauba wax and have great protection and shine. While both types of wax serve the same functions, synthetic waxes can last longer than natural wax.
You should always wash your car before applying wax. Wax acts as a paint sealant and will seal any dirt, grease, or rust to your car. Wax can provide protection from moisture, corrosion, and oxidation from the outside, but anything on your car when you apply the wax can still cause damage. If you find any damage after washing your car, you should use a polish to resolve any issues before waxing.
What is right for your car?
Because waxing and polishing your car serve different purposes, it is a good idea to do both. If you notice any problems with your car’s finish, you should get them fixed prior to waxing or polishing. Speedy action will help prevent scratches and nicks from causing further oxidation (rust) and damage.
Wash your car first before polishing or waxing. As you wash, you can inspect your car for any imperfections, rust, or scratches. Polish your vehicle as needed, anytime you find imperfections in the finish or when you want extra shine for your paint job. Always wax after polishing, since polish can remove the wax from your vehicle. Typically, cars should be waxed every 3 or 4 months. Follow the instructions for any products you use for the best results.
Both polish and wax can fix and protect your vehicle’s finish and your investment! If you have any questions about polishing or waxing your vehicle, call us at (402) 896-5800 or stop by our shop!
We understand what it’s like to be on the customer’s side of the counter. We’ve been there plenty of times at the doctor, dentist, or somewhere as simple as a gas station. We know what it’s like to be unsure of the service or product we are paying for.
The last thing we want is for our Omaha neighbors to feel apprehensive about auto repair and maintenance. Here are some common myths about car repair that can help you get a little more educated and provide a little more peace of mind.
1. Premium and other high octane gases will make your vehicle run better. While you always need to follow the recommended level of octane your manual suggests, paying more for the higher octane gas will not make a difference in your vehicle’s performance.
2. Fuel additives will help your engine. It may seem too good to be true that you can buy better gas mileage in a bottle, but that’s because it usually is. Additives are often unproven or make such a small difference that it doesn’t make up for the cost. It’s best to leave out additives and focus on your car’s essential fluids like oil.
3. The gas cap is the leading cause for a ‘check engine’ light. You may have heard that the most common reason for the ‘check engine’ light to come on is because of the gas cap; however, that is simply not the case. It could be due to a number of different issues, such as the O2 sensor, spark plug, or something even more serious. Regardless of what it might be, the best option is to take your car into a trusted automotive repair shop with ASE Certified technicians.
4. A dead battery only needs to charge a couple minutes. This may have been the case with older vehicles, but today’s cars depend a lot on the battery. Most of the special features of newer cars use that battery to power GPS system, TVs, chargers, seat warmers, etc. If your battery is dead, it’s a good idea to let it charge longer to make sure it has the power it needs.
5. Independent automotive repair shops just want to take your money. Due to a few bad businesses and a lot of publicity, it seems like the auto repair industry has gotten a poor reputation. But like our shop, most of the independent automotive repair businesses are focused on taking care of their neighbors and their families, not ripping people off. They care about their community, reputation and employees. It is also their ethical duty to educate every person about exactly what kind of shape their vehicle is in. Doing so often leads to the customers saving money by taking care of small issues before they become big problems.
If you ever have any questions about your vehicle, are looking for gas saving tips, or if you are stranded on the side of the road, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at (402) 896-5800. Our team of highly qualified professionals and ASE-Certified technicians are here to help.