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Tips to Winterize Your Car

Gas prices are something to celebrate this holiday season, being at a five-year low. It looks like consumers are responding by driving out of town for the holidays. For many of these winter drivers, cold weather and icy roads could be a factor. With all this in mind, compiled the top nine tips for winterizing your vehicles:

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1. Check the antifreeze (coolant). The engine cooling system should be filled with a 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and distilled water to prevent freezing and boiling over. Antifreeze testers are available at your local auto parts store to test the mixture. To keep the cooling system operating at peak performance, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for changing the antifreeze (flush and fill).

2. Change the engine oil. Use the recommended oil viscosity range for winter. 5W-30 motor oil flows quicker in cold weather than 20W-50. Most vehicle manufacturers recommend 5W-30 oil for year round protection.

3. Check the tires. Tires should be properly inflated, and the tread depth should be at least 4/32″. Using snow tires can improve traction over all-season tires.

4. Check the battery. Cold temperatures can reduce the battery’s power. If the battery is older than four years, it may be time to replace it.

5. Check the wipers and wiper fluid. Replace wipers that are old or worn, and (to prevent freezing) use windshield washer fluid instead of water.

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6. Check the emergency kit. Make sure your kit is well stocked and add an ice scraper, tire chains, jumper cables, and warm clothes for winter weather emergencies. Remember to include a candle and matches, as well as some bottled water and energy bars. You can use a candle for light and warmth inside the vehicle if you get stranded.

7. Check 4WD operation if equipped. Since you may not have used 4 Wheel Drive (4WD) all year, make sure the 4WD is activated (review your manual on “how to activate”) when you switch it on. Using 4WD improves traction in slippery conditions.

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Tips for Driving in Wet Weather

When it’s time to head out, keep a few of these tips in mind.

• If your windows are fogging up, use the air conditioner to dehumidify the air inside of your vehicle. If you don’t have an air conditioning system, open the rear windows a crack to allow air to circulate.
• Slowing down on wet roads is crucial. A wet road surface will offer the driver less grip compared to a dry road surface. Plus, braking distances can double and the ability to steer around an obstacle can be reduced.
• Keep a further distance from the vehicle in front of you since braking distances can be longer on wet roads. Staying back will also take you away from the tire spray of the vehicle in front of you, giving you better visibility.
• Vision technique is paramount to safe driving. Look further up the road and always look to where you want to be going.
• Jerky or rushed steering can cause loss of control, especially on rain-slicked roads. Drive with smooth steering inputs.

If you’re looking for other ways to help prepare yourself for driving in the rain, come talk to Professional Automotive & Tire about all-season tires.


Back to School Car Maintenance

The back-to-school season can be a very busy one. There are a lot of things to do to get back in the routine of the school season. If you or your child is attending high school or off to college, it’s a great time to do regular maintenance on your vehicle to be ready for the school season. Consider these tips to be prepared and avoid major repairs during the school year.
Get started under the hood of your vehicle. To help avoid potentially expensive repair, we suggest that you open the hood to check the following:

  • Check all of your fluid levels: Engine Oil, Coolant, Transmission Fluid, Brake Fluid, and Power Steering Fluid. Check the owner’s manual of your vehicle if you are unsure on exactly where to check these fluids and what levels the manufacturer recommends.
  • Check your Battery. Check the date on top of the battery. It is a good to check your batteries performance if it is more than two to three years old.
  • Check your tires. Check the pressure of all of your tires when they haven’t been driven on. Make sure the pressure matches the manufacturer’s suggested pressure listed on the sticker in the driver’s door or in the owner’s manual. Check for uneven tire wear. Make sure your vehicle has a healthy spare tire that is inflated and that you have the tools (lug wrench, jack, lug nut key) to change a tire in case you have a flat when you aren’t home.
  • Check all of your vehicles lights. Get some help checking the headlights, brake lights, turn signals, and hazard lights by walking around the vehicle as you turn them on and off.

If you run into any problems or have concerns after performing any of these inspections, call or visit Professional Automotive & Tire in Greenwood, SC for help with any of these issues.

Uneven Tire Wear in Center Treads

Have you ever looked at your tires and noticed uneven tire wear in the middle tread of your tires? If so, and the outside tread still have depth to them, over-inflation is most likely the cause. The leading cause of this uneven wear in the middle of the tire tread is generally over-inflation.The tread in the middle of the tire will bulge from the higher air pressure when a tire is over-inflated. This causes that middle tread to wear before the outside.

      What can you do to avoid center wear from over-inflation?
      • Consult the manufacturer’s information to find the recommended tire pressure for your vehicle.

      • The “max press” number on the sidewall of your tire is not recommended for everyday driving but instead indicates the most pressure that a tire can hold and carry the maximum load of your vehicle.

      • Different types of vehicles have different optimum pressures. For example a sports car would have higher tire pressures than a luxury car since the luxury car is designed for a smooth ride.

      What are the risks of driving with over-inflated tires?
      • Rapid, uneven tire wear

      • Reduced traction and braking

      • Sudden Blowout

      What can be done if you have uneven center wear?
      • Deflate them to the manufacturer recommended pressure.

      • If you want to have your tires checked out for uneven center wear or you’re having trouble finding your vehicles recommended pressure, visit Professional Automotive & Tire today.

Car Maintenance For Your Summer Vacation

At Professional Automotive & Tire in Greenville SC, we want you to have the best summer possible. Having your car break down on the side of the road is no fun for anyone! To prevent many issues, we are offering some tips on what you should consider in your car maintenance package before a big trip. Call Professional Automotive & Tire to schedule an appointment so your vacation is nothing but fun in the sun!

  1. Brakes and Regular Maintenance: As one of your most important safety features, brakes need to be in working order before you take a road trip. Schedule an appointment to have your brakes and pads checked, as well as, oil levels, belts and hoses, air filter, and have your windshield wipers replaced before you leave. You know, just your basic tune up.
  2. Tires: It’s always a good idea to stop and check for wear on your tires because tread depth can keep you maneuvering safely for any unexpected turns while on the road. Optimal tire pressure can improve gas mileage. You can check your tire pressure at home with a tire gauge, and tread depth by placing a penny in the tread, head-first. If Lincoln’s head is mostly visible, it’s time to start shopping for new tires.
  3. A/C Service: Riding for hours in a stifling hot car can ruin any road trip. Have your AC system checked out for leaks or low refrigerant levels before you leave.
  4. Coolant and Radiator: In the hot summer months, it’s vital that your engine can take the heat. Having your radiator, coolant, and hoses inspected can prevent overheating by catching leaks and low levels before they turn into a major issue.
  5. Be Ready for Any Emergency: When packing the car, don’t; forget an emergency kit. You should have a first aid kit, flashlight, rain gear, jumper cables, a toolkit, fix-a-flat, food/water, warning signals, and a fire extinguisher. You should also be sure you have a spare tire, a jack, and tire iron in case of a flat. If you have newer model car, your automobile may not come stocked with a spare, so check before you head out.

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