- Check visual appearance of spark plugs: are they worn? What color are the insulator firing noses? An engine in good condition should have spark plugs with light tan or gray insulator firing noses. Any other color could be the sign of an engine problem.
- Test the performance of spark plugs. What color is the spark? Is the spark properly igniting the fuel?
- Check spark plug wires to make sure they are not hard or cracked.
- Check the fuel filter to make sure it isn’t clogged or dirty.
- Check the engine’s fuel pump for proper function.
- Inspect the engine’s fuel injectors to make sure dirt or other deposits are not restricting the amount of fuel that can be delivered to the engine.
- Make sure fuel injector buildup isn’t affecting how the spark plugs fire.
- Adjust the engine timing and idle if necessary.
- Check that the PCV valve isn’t clogged or leaking.
- Inspect the vehicle’s points and condenser
An engine misfires. It’s a sensation you instantly recognize but just as quickly block out. The engine stumbles for a moment and then regains its pace. Just as soon as the rpm settle down, though, the engine misfire reappears, and you’re stuck with the sinking feeling that accompanies all automotive problems beyond the shadow of your wisdom: “Something’s wrong.”
The sinking feeling is often followed by either, “This is going to be expensive,” or, “Why me/now/here?” All expected, but reasonable? What we recommend instead is, “How can I fix it?”
Engine misfires can be caused by a list of faults, but there are a few suspects that occur more than others. The primary villains are simple – spark or fuel – usually manifesting in spark plugs, plug wires, the coil(s) or the fuel-delivery system. There are other more dire causes: computer or wiring problems, breakage in the rotating mass (pistons, rods, crank bearings), valves and the heads can fail or distort, cooling difficulties might permit overheating and any number of gaskets could have pushed. Most are rare and, importantly, most of the scary stuff was probably caused by your failure to address simpler problems in the ignition or injection.
Engine misfires: Gather up the usual suspects
Consider the circumstances: 14-year old Toyota truck, 175,000 miles of 75 percent freeway use, plenty of time spent off road in the last 25,000. That means lots of mechanicals being used hard and showing their age. Yes, it’s our fault: Parts that were wearing out on schedule are more likely to do so sooner now, rather than the preferred later. It’s the anticipatable wave of maintenance that comes with new ownership of used vehicles. Don’t get lazy – just keep ahead of the curve.
While our miss was inconsistent, there were some notable details (always keep track of details for the sake of engine diagnostics). The miss came when the truck had been operated at a consistent speed (like freeway driving). It didn’t happen when the truck was cold but would show up when it had warmed up. This engine misfire didn’t arrive only under load: It could as well show up at idle as when accelerating. Of course, a misfire while accelerating meant the Toyota V6 got even slower.
The sensible method is to gather available knowledge about the engine misfire, focus on steps necessary to eliminate suspects and let the process guide you to its cause. Call it scientific method, with some sensible leaps. As for knowledge, if your car or truck is computer-controlled, the place to start is to plug in. A code reader, available from parts stores, will permit you to jack into the engine-control unit (ECU) and get a dialog of what’s up, what’s wrong and where it’s happening. The ECU can’t always tell you what specific part is broken, but in the case of our truck, it had stored data indicating there was an engine misfire in Cylinder #4. Okay, six cylinders of potential problems have just been narrowed to one.
Had we not been computer controlled, studying the spark plugs would have helped focus on possible sources of a misfire. It’s not hard to read the plugs: With a little attention and a good guide, such as those available in Chilton’s and Hayne’s manuals, plugs will indicate with clarity where problems are, if cylinders are out of tune and if they’re lean or fat.
Before you get started, however, be sure to follow all the car maintenance safety protocols with goggles, gloves and whatever else is needed.
Diagnose and investigate: Ignition
Choose your plan of attack – cheap to expensive, easy to difficult – and stick to it. It’s cheap and easy to start with ignition items, so we went to the spark plugs. Because the P0304 had repeated, the #4 plug came out first. It read lean (a gray-brown, not bad but trending hot and fuel-starved), predictive of a fuel problem rather than a spark problem.
The repair and replacement (R and R) of fuel injectors is a bigger project than the plugs, so we stuck to the plan and stored the knowledge in case ignition repairs failed to fix things. The other plugs had been replaced about 20,000 miles earlier and looked almost ideal. Everyone was in good shape, short of the lean read on #4. We cleaned them up and swapped the plug on Hole #4 with #2. If the problem were the spark plug, the misfire would move to #2. It didn’t. P0304 came back.
Plug read: ash-brown with a hint of green – good mixture on late-model engine. Touch of gray from hot, hard run up and down Black Mountain. White flecks, bad gas?
Plugs good, plug wires not? The born-on dating for plug wires is easy to find on Toyota products – it’s stamped on the wire. Those on this truck were as old as the truck itself and probably original, so even though they ohmed out fine and looked good – if dusty – at 175,000 miles, it was not hard to justify a new set. With a new set of wires in place, the P0304 came right back, so it wasn’t a wire problem. On the flip-side, now we’ve got what looks to be a good backup set, and a new set on the motor that’s got to be worth at least 100,000 (it’s a Toyota, so we’ll let you know).
There are a few easy ways to test plug wires. Examine them in the dark, engine running, and watch for sparks jumping. Next, mist the wires with water and see if this causes any sparks (in the same dark environs). You can remove a wire and gently bend it to see if the rubber sheathing cracks. All of these indicate failing wires (and don’t worry, you’re looking for small sparks).
The bend test: Even with 175,000 miles on them, the OEM plug wires take a curve without cracking. Quality OEM product right there.
With the spark throwers and spark carriers cleared of responsibility for code P0304, we moved along to the spark makers. On this Toyota, three coil packs live on the #1, #3 and #5 cylinders, and each power a plug there and on the opposite side of the engine, at #2, #4 and #6. The system is called waste-spark: The coil shoots two sparks at once, and the plug fires twice in the combustion cycle –once to fire the cylinder and once more to clean up the leftovers in the exhaust stroke. Other vehicles can use a single coil firing through a distributor or a single coil on each cylinder, but your job’s the same. Find the problem, and solve it.
We’d tested plug and wire, so it’s on to the coil. Using a multi-meter, you can test the ohm ratings of both primary and secondary outlets on the waste-spark coil, and all of those on this truck tested well (between 0.67 and 1.05 ohms at the primary, 9,300 to 16,000 ohms for the secondary). Consult your repair manual or factory service manual (FSM) for all the test ratings. With no indication of a bad coil, a return to the swap methodology (sensible method) had us switch the #1 and #3 coils, but the miss at #4 remained.
One of three waste-spark coils on the Toyota V6. They don’t usually fail until 200,000 plus miles, so expect to find them dirty and untouched.
If you don’t own one, experience for yourself why the multi-meter gets called the “Ten Buck-O-Meter.”
With P0304 continuing despite plug, wire and coil checks, we were done with easy fixes. On to the next suspect, indicated by the plugs (lean read on #4), misfire behaviors (intermittent, heat-related and occurring at consistent rpm) and the elimination of other suspects: fuel. Though an injector problem had been suggested earlier, it was best to rule out the ignition parts before moving on to a set of injectors that required some real wrenching to access.
No matter how you’re powered, pulling fuel injectors is a bit of work. Short of a straight-four or six with fuel injectors hanging off the side of the head (and even then, probably smothered with wires, cladding and bracket), pulling fuel injectors isn’t quick work. Lots of noncorrosive penetrant will help release hoses and gaskets, especially notoriously tricky injector O-rings (try Liquid Wrench®). Have a few spare O-rings around. The fuel rails usually hold the injector in place, so be gentle when it’s time to pull the rail off so as not to damage the injectors or the O-rings. Some manifold gaskets are metal, as with this Toyota V6, and can be reused if you’re gentle (and they haven’t been cooked). Expect to replace gaskets most of the time.
The fuel injector is nestled beneath the rail in this shot, with the rail holding it gently in the injector port. You must be equally as gentle.
A fuel injector’s resistance can be tested with a multi-meter too. On this Toyota engine, the gray-top injectors (often identified by color) should test between 12 and 16 ohms. The Hole 4 shooter read 0.018 ohms: That’s a clear indication that there was a fox in this hen-house. The bad fuel injector was just as dirty and slimy as the other injectors, so the multi-meter was necessary to see it for what it was. Speaking of dirty, a bottle of fuel injector cleaner could save you this job, should the injectors just be clogged and not mechanically toast.
We decided to embrace the “sensible” part of this project and skip swapping two injectors to test whether #4 was bad. Considering all the fingers pointing at the fourth fuel injector, the time involved in the R and R of injectors was too much. Swapping two injectors, then reassembling and replacing the manifold, hoses, brackets and bolts only to see what was very likely the bad #4 injector shift the misfire to #2 was a big waste of time. The price for the failed gamble of just replacing #4 would only be doing the R and R anyway, so it seemed a risk worth taking.
We R and R’d the lean-firing, bad-ohming, P0304-earning #4 injector with a used injector sourced from a local Toyota salvage yard (which had tested at 14 ohms – bring your test gear to the junkyard). Should this gamble pay off, it would put us in good shape much sooner than doing everything twice. The manifold on this Toyota – a two-piece clam-shell type of unit – came off with the usual Toyota ease, and we had it back together in under two hours, torqued to go. In standard no-drama Toyota style, it fired right up, the misfire gone. Now you do it.
The above picture are just two examples of what type of damage that you can cause by being negligent and careless when it comes to operating your vehicle.
The wheel/rim on your left is the result of driving your vehicle with the parking brake fully or partially engaged for several miles, it’s very possible to wear down the wheel and rim as well as warm and damage your drum or disc. If the brakes overheat you can even cause the adhesive to fail, and may cause cracks and or even separate from the pads and or the brake shoes. It would be cause for immediate attention and repair.
The wheel/rim on your right is the result of driving your vehicle with a flat tire and hitting a pothole or curb then continuing to drive further damaging the wheel/rim as well other components.
Please, if you have a flat tire or experience issues with your wheel, tires and or if something doesn’t feel right call us at (803) 288-7376 and he’ll come right out and help you get safely back on the road.
We received a service call from a customer stating that she ended up in a ditch. The cause of this situation was that she was responding to a text while driving into a neighborhood and wasn't paying attention to the road and took a curve to wide due to her being on her phone and texting. She is very lucky that getting stuck in a drainage ditch without any injuries to her or her daughter and no damage damage to her vehicle. She was very lucky we all know that it could have been a lot worse.
Please, When you're behind the wheel and in motion pay attention to the road and the direction that you are driving. Your and other peoples lives are far more important than responding to a text message.
Do you clean your vehicle? The answer's probably yes. But do you clean your engine bay? If not, that's like taking a shower but never brushing your teeth. Don't be that person; wash your engine, too. Now you might be thinking that no one sees your engine bay except you and the occasional mechanic, so who cares, right?
Well, like with the rest of your vehicle, cleaning prevents damage and keeps resale value high. A car engine bay covered in oil and grit is allowing premature wear in the pulleys and bearings, or hiding serious issues like gasket leaks. A clean engine bay allows the engine to stay cooler, operate efficiently, and keep your value high.
A quick pre-rinse does several things. It knocks off any of the loose dust and grit, makes it easier for the engine degreaser to spread around, and prevents spots from the soap quickly drying out. In short, a pre-rinse is essential.
Wait until the engine is cool. It doesn't need to be cold though—you just don't want to introduce a bunch of cold water to hot parts. Pop the hood and let it cool for an hour. This is when you'll put down the drip pans and absorbent pads to stop the chemicals and gunk from going down the gutters.
Find a local recycling center that accepts both the used pads and the oily water from the drip tray.
2. Disconnect the negative battery terminal or cover the battery with a plastic bag. Water conducts electricity, and you don't want it to connect and make new temporary circuits. If you have a classic ride, cover the alternator, carburetor, and distributor with plastic bags. On a modern ride, cover the alternator and go easy with the water around the coil packs and fuse box.
If you are using a power washer, use the low-pressure setting and rinse everything in the engine bay. Low pressure is better than high pressure here, as you want to clean off the crud, not blast it into the small crevices between components.
SPRAY IT UP
3. Now it's time to spray a liberal application of engine degreaser. Why use a degreaser instead of regular car soap? Your average car-wash soap is fine for grit and dirt but just won't cut it on oil and grime. Go heavy on the engine degreaser on the typically nasty parts, like the starter and oil pan and anything else oily. Follow the directions on the bottle, but usually you will let it sit for a few minutes to get the most grime-lifting action. You can use a wash brush here for the seriously filthy areas. It has soft bristles that won't scratch the paint or plastic.
4. Rinse with low-pressure water again and take a look at your progress. Some engines that have never been cleaned in 300,000 miles will need the degreaser again. If not, it's time to get busy with the automotive soap.
5. Use an automotive car-wash soap to finish cleaning the engine bay the same way you would clean the exterior. Use an automotive wash mitt, get it soapy in the bucket, and scrub up the engine bay just like you would a rear quarter panel, then rinse.
SWEAT THE DETAILS
6. Rinse with low pressure again and remove the plastic bags over the sensitive parts. If they need cleaning, professional detailers will remove the plastic fuse box cover or distributor cap and clean it by hand, where the electronics won't be affected. Once clean and dry, just bolt them back on.
7. Use a dedicated plastic cleaner to polish out fine scratches and restore shine to the engine bay plastics. Apply with a terry cloth and wipe off with a clean microfiber cloth. For the metal bits, a metal polish will brighten them up. They are all a bit different, but in general, grind a bit into the metal surface until the polish starts to turn darker, then wipe off with a clean cloth.
It’s really no secret. Potholes are the worst. They’re created when rain or snow seeps into the soil below the road’s surface. The moisture inevitably freezes when temperatures drop, causing the ground to expand and pushing the pavement up. Then, traffic stresses the pavement to its breaking point. When the pavement breaks, a new pothole is formed.
These craters can range in size from small cracks to giant crevasses, and can cause big problems to your tires, suspension system, alignment, even your engine. Here are some tips on handling these hazardous holes.
How to React Properly to a Pothole
When a pothole crosses your path, your reaction is very important. Doing what you can to avoid potholes, and making the right moves when you do encounter them can help you avoid costly damage to your vehicle. Here’s what you should do:
In the event you do hit a pothole (or several), there are a number of key areas on your vehicle to check to ensure there isn’t any severe damage. These include:
If you hit a pothole and discover a problem with your car, don’t panic. The experts with Riggs Roadside will evaluate the situation and suggest the necessary repairs. Commonly suggested services for pothole damage include:
Being prepared for general wet weather
Driving in wet weather can be very dangerous. You should prepare and frequently maintain your vehicle to make sure you will always be as safe as possible when driving in wet conditions.
To get your vehicle ready for driving in wet weather make sure:
• you have good tire tread (at least 1.5mm deep across the whole tire width)
• all of your vehicle’s lights work well
• your windscreen and lights are clean.
Driving safely in general wet weather
We recommend you look at weather forecasts and road conditions updates, and plan your drive before heading out on long trips. This will help you to avoid driving in and around unsafe conditions. However, our weather can change dramatically, even within the space of a short drive. When you find yourself in unexpected wet weather (such as a quick moving storm), follow these safety tips.
In wet conditions:
• drive slowly—to avoid aquaplaning and skidding
• drive with your lights on low beam (it is easier to see with low beam in fog)
• use your air conditioner or demister to keep your windscreen clear of condensation
• double the distance between you and the car in front
• avoid braking suddenly or accelerating or turning quickly—to reduce your chances of skidding
• do not drive on unsealed roads
• use road line markings to stay in the middle of your lane—in wet weather it is more important than ever to stay in the correct position on the road
• do not drive on roads covered with water (even partially covered)
• watch out for landslides—heavy rain can cause layers of rock and soil to move
• stay away from stagnant water by the side of the road (it can be very bad for your health).
When driving in wet weather, you should always remember that the signed speed limit is the maximum safe speed in ideal driving conditions, so you may need to drive slower in wet weather.
Aquaplaning is where there is a build-up of water between the road surface and your tires, causing them to lose contact with the road surface completely. If this happens, you may lose control of your vehicle.
To reduce your chances of aquaplaning in wet weather, slow down and do not use cruise control.
If some of your vehicle’s tires slip, but you still have some traction on the road, you are skidding. If your vehicle starts skidding, it may become difficult to control. Wet surfaces can increase your risk of skidding. When you are driving in the wet, reduce your speed and allow all of your tires to grip to the road at all times.
To prevent skidding:
• accelerate smoothly
• brake smoothly
• corner smoothly.
Double the distance between you and the car in front
If you drive too close to the vehicle in front of you, you are likely to crash if they brake suddenly. Keep far enough back so that, if they do something you are not expecting, you can still stop in time.
In good weather, make sure there is at least 2 seconds between you and the vehicle in front.
If you are driving a standard car, you should drive at least 2 seconds behind the vehicle in front of you. In wet weather, you need to double your stopping time—so you will need to travel at least 4 seconds behind the vehicle in front.
Heavy vehicles, trailers and caravans
If you are driving a heavy vehicle, you should drive at least 4 seconds behind the vehicle in front of you. In wet weather, you need to double your stopping time to at least 8 seconds. If you are driving a vehicle with a trailer or caravan attached, you should allow at least 2 seconds for your car and 1 second for each 3m of your trailer/caravan in normal conditions. In wet weather, you will need to allow at least 4 seconds for your car and 2 seconds for each 3m of your trailer/caravan.
How to judge the distance
To work out how many seconds you are behind the vehicle in front of you:
1. Pick a mark on the road, or an object close to the left side of the road (such as a power pole).
2. When the back the vehicle in front of you passes the mark or object, count ‘one-thousand-one, one-thousand-two, one-thousand-three, one-thousand-four’. This takes about 4 seconds.
3. If the front of your vehicle reaches the mark or object before you finish counting, you are too close and need to drop back.
Driving safely in floods
Floods can occur almost anywhere in Queensland and can rise over days, or in minutes in a flash flood.
Do not travel in flooded areas unless it is essential. If you must drive in or near a flooded area, try to view updates on road conditions and closures before heading out—so that you can take the safest possible route. But importantly, never attempt to drive across a flooded road.
Flood road signs
To keep you safe and protect our roads, we must carefully manage roads that have been flooded.
To do this, we may:
• close roads
• put load restrictions on and around flooded roads
• put traffic controls at and around flooded roads.
If you need to drive in an area that has been flooded, signs will warn you of the roads that are unsafe to use. Always follow the directions of flood road signs and drive with extreme caution.
Flood safety tips
If you must drive in a flooded area:
• never drive on a road or bridge covered with water—floodwaters can be fast moving and contain debris
• always take extra care when driving on a road or bridge that has been recently flooded—as it may be damaged or still drying out.
You know the day has just got worse when you get a flat tire on your car, but it is extra bad news when you happen to be on the highway when it goes flat on you.
There is not just the inconvenience to your plans that make a flat tire a problem, but when you are on a busy highway, safety becomes a big issue too. Getting a service like Riggs Roadside to help you out as quickly as possible will help get your day back on track, but in the meantime, you need to keep out of danger.
Highways are dangerous places at the best of times, but when you are pulled over on the side with a flat tire, you are in a vulnerable position. Here is a look at how to handle a flat tire and keep yourself as safe as possible while you get the situation sorted.
Chances are, you have been held up in your journey in the past, due to the highway being closed off due to an accident.
That accident all too often, turns out to be someone who was trying to change a tire on the highway who has then been hit by cars traveling at speed. It is the responsibility of other drivers to slow down when they see a vehicle on the side of the road, or change lanes away from a stalled car.
You don’t want to become the next fatality, so it is important you keep in mind the danger you are in and don’t take risks trying to change a tire without expert help.
Handling a flat tire
The first thing to do if you notice that your car is suffering from a flat tire, is slow down and keep a firm grip on the steering wheel.
Don’t be tempted to slam the brakes on as this could cause you to lose control, so try to slow down in a controlled way by taking your foot of the gas pedal. Look around you and see how safely you can change lanes and try to make your way into a safe place away from speeding traffic.
Driving a short distance on a flat tire for a short period should be fine if you avoid sudden movements and your priority is to get yourself onto safe grounds rather than stop in traffic.
Once you have managed to move to a safe place on the side of the highway, turn on your flashers immediately, so that other vehicles can clearly see you and know that you have a problem.
Having managed to get your vehicle off to the side of the highway, you need to do everything you can while you wait for help.
Do not attempt to change your tire unless you really know what you are doing and you can work safely away from the traffic, which is probably unlikely.
Don’t stand behind or next to your car while help arrives. It is often better to stay in your car unless you are able to safely walk to secure area which is not in danger from any traffic.
Getting a flat tire on the freeway is never going to be fun, but staying safe and making sure you avoid serious injury is way more important than the inconvenience of a delay to your journey.
Engine oil is like the blood of every car. The engine needs oil to lubricate its moving components and keep them operating smoothly. In fact, engines of all kinds need oil in order to function. It doesn’t matter if you’re using a motorcycle, generator, or even a lawnmower. If it’s got an engine, then it needs to be lubricated with oil.
An engine is filled with parts that are constantly moving and rubbing together. This constant rubbing creates heat from all the friction. You need oil to flow through these moving parts so that it can absorb the heat and prevent overheating.
Oil that’s in good condition accomplishes its task. Old oil doesn’t and need to be replaced. Fortunately, overdue oil change symptoms are easy to spot.
There are so many different signs and symptoms that will show up and indicate your car needs an oil change and possibly a tune-up (see below for what a tune-up actually means).
When you take your vehicle in for an oil change, the service person will perform an oil and oil filter change as well as inspect your vehicle for leaks and other noticeable issues and then give you additional recommendations on what they think needs to be done.
However, you shouldn’t always depend on them to do this accurately because they might not always catch every issue. This is why you need to pay attention to the signs which indicate that you also need a tune-up of some sorts.
Below are the top 10 signs of your car needing an oil change and/or a tune-up.
If you’ve never seen clean, new motor oil before, it kind of has a bright amber color to it. But when oil becomes old and dirty from the build-up of residue particles in the engine, then it turns into a much darker, almost black color.
uSING SOCIAL MEDIA AND THE rOAD
Cell phone use while driving statistics show that this behavior is common and dangerous for teen drivers. According to the National Safety Council, 1.2 million car crashes in 2013 involved drivers talking on the phone, and at least 341,000 involved text messaging. Knowing cell phone use while driving statistics and texting and driving facts may help families manage this dangerous risk.
Texting while driving and other cell phone use while driving statistics show that this multitasking behind the wheel is becoming a life-threatening norm. Talking or texting while driving or checking or sending social media posts takes eyes and brains off the task of driving. Coupled with inexperience and lack of driving skills, cell phone use can be especially deadly for teen drivers.
Because technology will change and new distractions will be introduced, parents need to make sure teens understand the value of engaged driving, where the driver is continuously attentive and focused. Make a family commitment not to use distracting devices while driving.
According to research conducted at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), teens who do not frequently use a phone while driving believe the benefits of putting away their phone while driving outweigh any drawbacks. For these teens, the benefits associated with not using a cell phone while driving include:
It's also a good idea to set the default "do not disturb" setting on a teen's phone. With recent upgrades in IOS, Apple created an option to avoid distraction while driving. When the phone detects driving, it sends automated messages and does not alert the driver. Visit Apple Support to learn how to set this up.
When you turn the key in your car’s ignition, the engine turns over and then cranks. However, getting it to crank is actually much more involved than you might think. It requires a flow of air into the engine, which can only be achieved by creating suction (the engine does this when it turns over). If your engine isn’t turning, there’s no air. No air means that fuel can’t combust. The starter motor is responsible for turning the engine over during ignition and allowing everything else to happen.
How your starter worksYour starter is really an electric motor. It engages when you turn the ignition to “run” and turns the engine over allowing it to suck in air. On the engine, a flexplate or flywheel, with a ring gear around the edge, is attached to the end of the crankshaft. On the starter, there’s a gear designed to fit into the grooves of the ring gear (the starter gear is called a pinion gear).
When you turn the ignition switch, the starter motor is energized, and the electromagnet inside the body engages. This pushes out a rod to which the pinion gear is attached. The gear meets the flywheel, and the starter turns. This spins the engine over, sucking in air (as well as fuel). At the same time, electricity is sent through the spark plug wires to the plugs, igniting the fuel in the combustion chamber.
As the engine turns over, the starter disengages, and the electromagnet stops. The rod retracts into the starter once more, taking the pinion gear out of contact with the flywheel and preventing damage. If the pinion gear remained in contact with the flywheel, it’s possible that the engine would spin the starter too fast, causing damage to it.
If you seek comfort and handling...
Touring tires help provide excellent dependability on wet and dry pavement. They offer a balance of smooth and quiet ride with performance handling.
If you drive a sports car, or look for handling and performance...High-performance tires are designed for use at higher speeds in dry and wet weather. They have a softer rubber compound for improved grip, especially on high-speed cornering.*
If you drive a pick-up truck or an SUV...Light truck tires help provide durability and traction in adverse off-road conditions. On the flip side, SUV tires are ideal for on-road, comfort-tuned SUV applications.
If you own a commercial vehicle...Commercial light truck tires are designed to handle driving through dirt, mud and everyday wear and tear from commercial applications.
Ensure that your new tires meet your needs. Think about not only the typical conditions, but also the worst conditions you foresee driving in. What performance criteria are you looking for? For example, is wet traction more important to you than cornering capability on dry roads? The more you can tell your dealer, the easier it will be to find the right tire for your needs:
Winter tires are designed to perform in cold, icy, wet and snowy weather. They are optimized for handling and traction under wet conditions, but can be used in dry conditions as well.
Most automobile tires are all-season tires. These tires satisfy the needs of most road conditions. They have the deep water channels for wet traction, but also harder rubber compound for greater tire life in warm weather.
Off-road tires are ideal for drivers who take their vehicle off the road and do limited on-road driving. These tires have stiffer sidewalls for greater resistance against puncture when traveling off-road. The tread pattern offers wider spacing than an all-season tire to help remove mud from the tread.
* Exceeding the safe, legal speed limit is neither recommended nor endorsed.
Tire SizeKnowing your tire size can save you time and help you to make an informed purchase. Your vehicle's original tire size can be found in your owner's manual or on the tire label located on the driver's doorjamb, glove box lid, or inside the fuel hatch. If in doubt, consult your local Uniroyal ½ tire retailer or check your sidewall (see diagram below):
Tire Width: The three-digit number refers to the overall width of the tire in millimeters.
Aspect Ratio: The relationship between the tire height and width. In this example, the tire height is approximately 60% of the tire width.
Radial: The letter "R" indicates a radial construction of the carcass plies. The carcass plies run across the tire from lip to lip, helping to provide strength, stability, flexibility, and ride comfort.
Wheel Diameter: The number indicates that this tire fits on a wheel with a 16-inch diameter.
Load Index: The load index can range from 0 to 279 and indicates how much weight the tire is certified to carry at maximum inflation pressure. Never buy a tire with a lower load index than your vehicle's original tire. To determine your tire's load capacity, refer to the load index chart (see below):
Speed Rating*: The speed rating tells you the top speed at which the tire can operate. Speed ratings range from Q (lowest) to Z (highest) with one exception: the H rating falls between U and V.
To maintain the speed capabililty of a vehicle, use replacement tires with ratings equal or greater than those of the original tires.
Mud & Snow: The letters M and S indicate that this tire meets the Rubber Manufacturer's Association's standards for a mud and snow tire. The letters can be found in the following combinations: M+S, M/S, and M&S. All-season tires carry this mark.
Note that a separate, severe snow marking appears on winter tires that are designated for severe snow applications.
Tips: Never choose a tire that is smaller than the tire that came with the car. If you are interested in a size other than your vehicle's original equipment, or are upgrading, consult your local Uniroyal tire retailer.
Tire MixingFor front or rear wheel drive vehicles, we recommend mounting the new tires on the rear axle to prevent an unstable oversteer condition. When purchasing a single new tire, it should be paired on the rear axle with the tire having the greatest remaining tread depth.
If you must use radial tires with bias-ply tires on the same vehicle (not recommended), the radial tires must always be placed on the rear axle. Never mix radial and bias-ply tires on the same axle.
For 4-wheel drive vehicles, if no instructions for tire mixing appear in the vehicle owner's manual, adhere to the following guidelines:
Fuel Economy in Cold WeatherCold weather and winter driving conditions can reduce your fuel economy significantly.
Fuel economy tests show that, in short-trip city driving, a conventional gasoline car's gas mileage is about 12% lower at 20°F than it would be at 77°F. It can drop as much as 22% for very short trips (3 to 4 miles).
The effect on hybrids is worse. Their fuel economy can drop about 31% to 34% under these conditions.
Why is winter fuel economy lower?Cold weather affects your vehicle in more ways than you might expect:
Riggs Roadsides offers more services now then we have ever before. We are still offering the basic services such as Vehicle Unlocks, Fuel Delivery, Jump-starts and Tire Services. We are now offering the below listed services.
• Oil and Filter Changes
• Change Spark Plugs
• Change your battery and or alternator
• Tire replacement and repair
• Headlight repair and removal
Not only are we offering to do your basic maintenance we are also able to other work and repairs to your vehicle.
Tire TractionEvery fall season, many drivers find themselves in the dreaded, snow-tire debate: to buy or not to buy. If you live in an area prone to heavy snow and extreme cold (like the Northeast), your safest option is to purchase a set of snow tires. They are designed with increased tread and temperature-withstanding com-pounds that can keep tire material structure pliable in extreme cold, giving you better traction.
Tire TreadEven the best all-season tires won't do any good if they don't have adequate tread on them. Use the tried and true penny test to ensure that your tires have sufficient tread: insert a penny (with Lincoln's head pointing down) in between the raised portions of your tire's tread. If you cannot see the top of Lincoln's head, then your tires have sufficient tread; if you can, it may be time to purchase new tires.
Use this method to check the tread in various places on each tire to ensure that your tires are wearing evenly as well. Uneven wear could imply that you have an alignment problem, another issue that could affect your vehicle's ability to maneuver on slick, snow-covered roads.
Proper Tire InflationWhen was the last time you checked the air pressure in your tires? If the answer is before the temperature dropped, get your vehicle to an air pump. For every 10-degree drop in temperature, your tires lose one psi of air, meaning that tires that were properly inflated during the summer could now be at a dangerously low psi, affecting your car's maneuverability and traction. Improper inflation can also affect things like your gas mileage and tire wear. So regularly check your tire's psi and make sure that tires are inflated to the levels specified in your owner's manual.
Be sure that you are checking your tires regularly. They play a crucial role in your car's ability to maneuver and stop, two functions you do not want to be compromise.
It’s foolhardy to head out in a poorly maintained vehicle in the dead of winter, of course, but even vehicle owners in temperate zones need a car care check as the days grow shorter, note the pros with the nonprofit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), an independent group that tests and certifies the competence of auto technicians.
“Regular, routine maintenance can help improve your gasoline mileage, reduce pollution, and catch minor problems before they become big headaches,” says Tony Molla, vice president of communications at ASE. ASE offers these car care tips to give you peace of mind during fall and winter driving: