So your vehicle’s been sitting for a while…you get in it, start the engine and pull out of the driveway when you notice a hard, rough (but very regular) vibration that only gets worse with speed. It doesn’t feel like it’s coming from the driveline or suspension – so what is it?
It could be that the tires have developed flat spots.
With the weight of the vehicle pressing down on the tires for long periods, a section of the rubber and belts can become softer (or harder) than the rest of the tire. This can be exacerbated by cold weather, or just by parking on a cold concrete floor.
Low-profile tires with short sidewalls can be more prone to flat-spotting, as can tires with an H or higher speed rating. In most cases, you can j ...[more]
Yes, there are plenty of traffic laws in certain areas that don’t make much sense. Here, though, we present a collection of traffic laws from other parts of the world that are just bizarre:
--In Thailand, the law states that no driver, male or female, shall ever drive without a shirt.
--In South Africa, “the driver of a vehicle on a public road shall stop such vehicle at the request or on the signal of a person leading or driving any bovine animal, horse, ass, mule, sheep, goat, pig, or ostrich on such road.” Or face a $500 fine.
--Splashing a pedestrian with water is illegal in Japan.
--In Montana, you can forget about driving with a sheep in the truck unless the sheep has a chaperone... and the state of Alabama had the presence of min ...[more]
Around the holidays (and after, while you pay the bills), everyone’s trying to get a dollar bill to go a little farther. Here are a few ideas to help you squeeze a little more out of a dollar while you drive:
--Starting your vehicle and letting it warm up isn’t really that great an idea. The engine’s actually going to warm up a lot quicker once you’re rolling and it’s under load, not while it sits there and idles. If anything, it’s not good for your engine as the idling engine generates water vapor, which mixes with the oil.
--Change your air filter. The air filter needs to be there, filtering out particulates that could make their way into the fuel system and engine…but when it becomes too saturated and dirty, it can restrict airflow to a point where ...[more]
Ever wonder what the designations stamped on your tire sidewall actually mean? We’d like to break it down for you.
Let’s take for instance, “P195/60R15 87S”. This is a full service description of a tire.
In this case, “87S” denotes a tire’s load capacity and speed rating. The higher the number, the greater the load capacity – an 87 load capacity means that tire can support 1,201 pounds. Speed ratings range from L (75 mph) through V (149 mph), and an S speed rating means the tire is good for 112 mph. W, Y, and Z-speed rated tires are available for extreme performance cars and are rated as high as 186 mph.
As for the rest of the information:
--“P” denotes Passenger Tire
--195 is the tire’s width from si ...[more]
You rely on your car every day, and you have a lot of money tied up in it. It’s probably one of the more valuable things you own…so make sure you get the most out of that investment:
Oil changes: Changing your motor oil at regular intervals will ensure long engine life by cutting wear and friction and helping to prevent the buildup of sludge and carbon on internal engine assemblies.
Cooling system: Older cast-iron engines could overheat with no serious consequences, but not so with today’s aluminum blocks and heads. Your engine’s coolant has a finite life and should be changed and flushed at regular intervals to prevent accumulation of scale and corrosion in the radiator, heater core and water pump.
Every year, about 290 million tires are discarded; of those, about 233 million are recycled in one way or another. Shredded tires can be used for playground surfaces, welcome mats, hot-melt asphalt, bark mulch and even made into building material for “green” construction.
But what can you do with your old tires? Here are some ideas:
--Fill a tractor tire with sand to make a great sandbox for kids
--Hang a tire from a rope as a tire swing
--Stack a couple of tires on top of each other, bolt them together and paint them a cheerful color, then use them as a planter
--Lay two rows of tires next to each other, somewhat staggered, and use them for broken-field running as part of football conditioning
--Bolt two tires togeth ...[more]
Ever think about all the different vehicles that use rubber tires? Tractors, industrial equipment, everything else that rolls on rubber?
Each specialized type of tire requires a specialized design for its specific purpose. Aircraft tires, for instance, have to be very robust and handle a great deal of weight and stress, but for only a short period of time. Aircraft tires are often filled with an inert gas such as nitrogen, for more stable inflation levels, and are designed with specialized fusible plugs which provide a safer failure mode (rather than a sudden, catastrophic tire explosion).
Off-the-road tires, for vehicles such as graders or mining equipment, operate at low speeds but have to be able to withstand severe service conditions while ha ...[more]
You know that winter and bad weather are coming. Is your car ready? Here’s a quick checklist of things to get up to speed on:
Motor oil: Motor oil has a tendency to thicken in cold weather, making it harder to circulate to upper engine parts at startup. If you haven’t ever used synthetic oil before, this might be a good time to start. The flow properties of synthetic oil are a lot more consistent, meaning it doesn’t thicken in sub-freezing temperatures or thin out when it’s hot outside.
Wipers: 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’t forget to refill your washer fluid reservoir…you’ ...[more]
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