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Winter Tires – Yea or Nay?

December 31st, 2015
In a lot of parts of the country, the winters are tough enough that all-season tires just won’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’s when it’s time to consider winter tires. 
 
Today’s winter tires are a long way from the heavy, noisy, clumsy “snow tires” or “mud grips” 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 tourin ...[more]
  Posted in: Tires 101

Squeeze a Few More Miles Out of That Gallon of Gas

December 17th, 2015
If you’re past “a certain age,” you might remember when gas was $1.50 per gallon, or $1.00 per gallon, or 59 cents, or what-have-you…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. 

 
Now that we’re well into the 21st century, gas prices are likely to fluctuate, but one thing’s for sure: gas is likely to never be “cheap” again. We know that everyone’s trying to get a little more out of every dollar, and whether you’re driving a big SUV or a subcompact, there are things you can do to help your vehicle’s fuel economy: 
  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

Post-Holiday Road Trip Maintenance

December 3rd, 2015
The good news is that highway miles are the best kind of miles you can put on a vehicle. Running for hours at a constant speed and steady state is much less stressful on a vehicle than stop-and-start driving around town. With the right maintenance and care, your vehicle should be ready to go for many comfortable, dependable highway miles this holiday season!
  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

The Holidays Are Coming – Is Your Vehicle Ready?

November 26th, 2015
Where did this year go? Before you know it, it’s going to be time for the holidays, and that can mean travel in some pretty trying conditions (and we don’t just mean restless kids in the back seat). Is your vehicle ready for some interstate miles?

 
Tires: It’s a good idea to have your tires rotated every 5,000-7,000 miles to ensure even wear. With that in mind, it’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 
inflation levels will be on a sticker on the driver’s side ...[more]
  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

Winter Tires? Or All-Season Tires?

November 12th, 2015
Winter tires versus all-season tires…which is the right choice for you?
 
The two designs are quite different and deliver different levels of performance and winter-weather traction, so let’s discuss. 
All-season tires are designed as an all-around compromise. They feature a tread pattern that evacuates water from the tire’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. 
All-season tires are designed with a harder tread compound th ...[more]
  Posted in: Tires 101

Traveling: Schedule Oil Change Before or After?

November 5th, 2015
Oil Change in Bloomington, ILAt Don Owen Tire in Bloomington, IL, we do a lot of oil changes…and we mean, a LOT of oil changes. 
 
Sometimes we see customers who are about to head out on a long road trip of several thousand miles, and they wonder if it’s best to have an oil change performed before or after the trip. 
 
The answer to that is…that there’s no firm answer. It depends on a few different factors. 
  • How many miles does the current motor oil have on it? How does it look on the dipstick? Highway miles are much, much easier on a vehicle. All the engine has to do is maintain a steady speed and steady RPM range, even if it’s a higher speed. That’s much less stress on the engine, transmission and driv ...[more]
  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

Don’t Forget Your Spare

October 29th, 2015
Oh, the lowly spare tire. It doesn’t get much respect. 
 
Today, a lot of vehicles don’t even come with a spare tire anymore, not even the little “donut” 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…
Anyway, if your car is equipped with a spare, you shouldn’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 pr ...[more]
  Posted in: Tires 101

Winter is Coming

October 15th, 2015
The days are getting shorter, there’s a snap in the air, and before you know it, the winter months are going to be upon us. Is your vehicle ready? 
 
Wipers: Even the best windshield wipers are only good for about a year; normal wear, the sun’s UV rays and the elements take their toll on them. Get a good look and check them for chunks, strips or chips missing, and replace if necessary for a streak-free field of vision in wet weather. Hint: a fresh application of 
Rain-X on your windshield and window glass can help visibility greatly. 
Brakes: Are you hearing any squeaks, squeals or ...[more]
  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

Why is My Brake Light On?

October 5th, 2015
Brake Repair in Bloomington, ILThat red brake system warning light is not something you want to see. While it’s normal for it to come on briefly when you start your car as part of the bulb check that lights up other dashboard warning lights, a brake warning light that stays lit, blinks or lights up intermittently is a sign of a real problem. But what problem does it indicate?
 
In most cases, an illuminated brake warning light means that there’s a problem with the brake hydraulic system. In cases where the light is intermittent or flickers when the vehicle is turning, chances are it means that the level of brake fluid in the system is low. It can also be an indicator of brake pads that are starting to become extremely worn. In those cases, though, you will probably notice other signs such as a sque ...[more]
  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

Signs of Engine Failure

September 14th, 2015
Engine Repair in Bloomington, ILFirst, the good news. Today’s engines can easily run well over 200,000 miles with no major engine repair or overhauls. Of course, you’ll need to stay up to date on maintenance like regular oil changes and coolant flushes, and not ignore any problems should they arise. Still, it’s a long way from the 1970s or 80s, when a 130,000 mile service life was about the end of the line for most vehicles. 
 
Things can happen, though, and these are all signs that you may have major engine repair in your near future:
 
  • Smoke: There are a few different reasons that a vehicle might smoke through the tailpipe, and three different colors of smoke that can all indicate different things. White smoke means that coolant is entering ...[more]
  Posted in: Company News
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