Friday, May 18, 2012

Tire Tips for Safe Driving

To give you peace of mind as you make summer plans, were providing you with a Tire Boot Camp educations session—enrollment is free.
Since your tires provide the only connection your car has with the road (that is only as big as your palm), it’s important to know what to check and when to check it.
According to experts, it’s possible for a passenger tire initially inflated to 35 psi—or ‘pounds per square inch’—to lose as much as one psi each month.  Why does this matter?  Under-inflated tires can have an adverse effect on the handling of the vehicle.  On under-inflated tires, the outer tread will wear faster and disproportionally to the center of the tread, leaving you with prematurely worn tires that need replacing. 
However, over-inflated tires aren’t beneficial to the vehicle either.  According to experts, even if your vehicle is fitted with the best brakes money can buy, incorrectly inflated tires can still hinder the stopping distance of your vehicle—not taking into account road conditions affected by rain, snow or ice.
So, what is the proper tire inflation?  Recommended tire inflation is located in several places on your vehicle.  You’ll find the recommended pressure for your tires in one of the following places:
·         In the vehicles owner’s manual
·         On an information place-card located inside the vehicles door jamb
·         Inside the fuel hatch filler flap
·         The glove compartment door
You will not find the recommended air pressure on the tire itself.  The inflation pressure printed on the tire sidewall is only the maximum tire pressure the tire can hold—not the recommended tire inflation pressure for your vehicle.
Used by racecar drivers, airlines and military vehicle for years, nitrogen tire inflation has proven benefits for tire maintenance.  Pure nitrogen (as opposed to compressed air, which is 22% oxygen, carbon dioxide and other trace gasses) keeps tires inflated better and longer, as nitrogen molecules, which are larger than oxygen molecules, don’t slip through the rubber in tires easily.  In fact, according to the experts at, oxygen molecules escape three to four times faster than nitrogen. Also, without oxygen—which is highly corrosive element (hence the word oxidation)—tires usually last longer, too.
According to the U.S Department of Transportation, under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.3% for every one psi dip in pressure of all four tires.  Overall, gas mileage can be increased by 3.3 percent by keeping tires inflated to the proper pressure.  That may not sound like much, but it’s saving 9 cents per gallon of gas at the pump and who wouldn’t drive across the street for savings?
It’s not only good for you, but it’s good for America, too.  According to the experts at if 85% of the 220 million vehicles on the road today improved their gas mileage by 3.3 percent, the U.S. would save 3.7 billion gallons of gasoline a year—now if that’s not patriotic, I don’t know what is!
In order to keep your tires properly inflated, you must be able to check the inflation level in your tires.  Gas stations and convenience stores have tire gauges that you can use; however, they are often used and abused so much that they no longer provide an accurate reading.  It’s recommended that you have your own pressure gauge to keep in your vehicle, so that you can handily check your own tire inflation before making that big trip to see the fireworks, baseball game and or barbeque.
When choosing a tire gauge that works for you, there are several things to keep in mind.
·         PSI Range: According to experts, the most important part of this decision is to get a gauge that works within the pressure range of the tires that you will be using the gauge on.  For example, if your recommended tire pressure is 30 psi, the you should get a 60psi gauge.  All tire gauges work best in the middle of their range.
·         PSI increments: The finer the increments, the more accurate reading you will get.
·         Digital: Digital gauges are great; however, the cheaper the sensor the less accurate the gauge is.  With these gauges, you get what you pay for.
·         Analog: Analog gauges are a great unit of measurement for the money.  Normally, the bigger the face size is, the better the gauge is.
·         Face size: The larger the tire gauge the more accurate it is, in most cases, just think, a larger gauge head has bigger gears with larger teeth on them.  Therefore, the bigger gauge will last longer and hold calibration longer due to less wear and tear.
If your car is equipped with TPMS or a tire pressure monitoring system, and it’s a requirement for every car sold in the U.S. since 2007—you’ll need to pay special attention to tire maintenance.  Most tire pressure monitoring systems use remote pressure sensors coupled with radio-frequency transmitters to send tire pressure data to the car’s onboard computer.  Some automakers use systems that are wheel-specific (i.e. each transmitter corresponds to a certain wheel, light right-front, left-rear, etc.).
Like most things, even the sturdiest tires have a finite lifespan.  You can extend that lifespan with proper maintenance, but how do you know when to change them? 
Experts at Tire Rack have come up with the tests that you can do at home to determine the remaining life of your tires.  
·         The Penny Test:  Place a penny into several tread grooves across the tire.  If part of Lincoln’s head is always covered by the tread, you have more than 2/32 inches of tread depth remaining.
·         The Penny Test (again):  Place a penny into several tread grooves across the tire, but this time you’re using the back of the penny to determine tread depth.   If the top of the Lincoln Memorial us always covered by the tread, you have more than 6/32 inches of tread depth remaining.
·         The Quarter Test:  Place a quarter into several tread grooves across the tire.  If part of Washington’s head is always covered by the tread, you have more than 4/32 inches of tread depth remaining.
If you have less than 3/32 inches it is time to replace your tires.
Congratulations! You have successfully completed Tire Boot Camp! Now you’ll be fully prepared to have a safe summer.  Be sure to ask your service advisor for more information about tires at!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Treat Your Car Like A Star

Have you ever wondered how it feels to be treated like a star?  They wear designer clothes, travel in luxury, never wait for a table at a restaurant and are showered with attention everywhere they go.  Sounds pretty good, if you ask me. 
While we don’t have the secret to acquiring fame and fortune, has advice for making your car feel like a star. 
Most cars handle harsh conditions like a champion, and most drivers might not even realize it.  From constantly starting and stopping in rush-hour traffic to bouncing through potholes to powering through puddles, our vehicles are faced with varies-and sometimes treacherous-driving conditions.
Your car works hard, but you can make it feel like a pampered star.  Simply, ask you service advisor about giving you vehicle an inspection on your next visit to the service department.
“Most dealerships will do a courtesy inspection with each service,” said Steven Paul, president of the “Test Drive Tech, a vehicle inspection firm. “The basic inspection usually checks items like tire wear, leaks, filters, fluid levels and vehicle warning lights.”
During the basic inspection offered by most dealerships, your mechanics will look at various parts of your vehicle to make sure everything looks OK.  However, for an extra fee you can have your dealership perform a more thorough inspection-a great idea if you want the “star” treatment.  A more thorough inspection will check important parts of your vehicle, such as the brakes, ball joints, tie rods, driveline, shocks and struts.
“These items are crucial to have checked every other oil change,” Paul said. “Any of them can lead to problematic circumstances such as premature tire wear, increase brake wear or even dangerous driving conditions.”
Having your dealership perform regular inspections will help extend the life of your vehicle.  Think of vehicle inspections like early cancer detection.  For instance, if your vehicle is shaking or shimmying as you drive, don’t be complacent.  Get it checked out!  If your mechanic finds a problem early, he can save you thousands of dollars in repairs.
“The earlier a problem is detected, the sooner it can be monitored or repaired,” Paul said. “Doing so will cause less damage to other areas of the vehicle. Just like with cancer, catching it early will do less harm than ignoring it and letting the damage spread.”
Getting your vehicle inspected a few times a year is an good idea, but there are other occasions when you’ll want to have a professional give your ride a once-over, as well. 
“I like to recommend people get their car inspected before their warranty runs out,” Paul said. “A dealership can do this for you, and knowing what is about to go wrong on your car before it does can save you thousands of dollars in repair bills.”
Think about this example: It’s the middle of summer, and you’ve noticed that your air conditioner isn’t as cold as it used to be.  You decide to have an inspection performed to determine if there is a problem.  It could be the refrigerant is low-a pretty easy and inexpensive fit. There might be a leak in one of you A/C lines-something that could be repaired under your new car warranty.  Or if there is not enough pressure in the A/C system, it could be a compressor problem-an expensive item that could be repaired under warranty.  The best part about performing a repair under warranty is that it’s free. 
“Be proactive, instead of reactive,” Paul said. “Get a problem repaired under warranty while you still can.  Think of it as a preventative measure for your pocketbook.”
It’s also smart to get a vehicle inspection if you are buying a used car.
“Because some used cars can cost as much as new ones, it’s a good idea to get a pre-purchase inspection performed on any used vehicle,” Paul said. “You need to know what you are about to buy, and you need to know what it might cost you in the near future.”
“Imagine knowing a vehicle you are about to purchase needs suspension work, a set of new tires and a few new belts that ad up to $2,000.00,” Paul said. “With a pre-purchase vehicle inspection you can know what needs to be repaired on the vehicle to help make sure you don’t have problems with it.”
Complete vehicle inspections help you become an educated buyer.  You will know what you have, know what you should be paying for and know what you’re buying. Plus, they’ll keep your vehicle in tip-top shape and make it feel like a star.
Why the Dealer??
Top 5 Reasons to Use a Car Dealership for Your Service and Repair Needs
1.       Trained Techs:
Unlike most independent auto service facilities, dealership technicians are specifically trained on specific vehicle makes and models, making them intimately familiar with how that car works.
2.       Factory Parts:
While most of aftermarket auto parts are high quality, to be absolutely certain you’re getting the best parts for your car, it makes sense to use the same parts the factory uses-or the same parts your dealership uses, in other words.
3.       Recall/TSB Information:
While automakers are required to mail out information about vehicle recalls, dealerships generally have the latest information about the recall.  Plus, dealerships are privy to technical service bulletins (TSBs) from automakers, giving their technicians knowledge about specific problems or issues a vehicle might be having.
4.       Diagnostic and Repair Equipment:
Auto dealerships are required to have the latest and most up-to-date diagnostic equipment to service vehicles.  Is it rare to hear a dealership explain that the do not have the parts or equipment to service even the newest vehicle models.
5.       Customer Satisfaction:
Ever wonder why dealerships are so concerned about ensuring their service customers’ happiness? They have to be.  Factories require dealerships to maintain minimum customer service scores in order to be considered for special programs and, in some cases, to even keep their franchise.
Article courtesy of magazine issue Summer 2012, written by Tammy Neal
 Schedule Service at Ed Voyles Honda

Monday, May 14, 2012

Traffic Fatalities Dip to Lowest Level Since 1949

Auto sales are on the mend. Holiday shopping is booming. And now, there's a bit more good news: U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has just announced that traffic fatalities for 2010 reached historic lows. In fact, the U.S. hasn't seen stats like these since 1949.
In all, 32,885 people died on the nation's roads last year. That is, of course, 32,885 too many, but it represents an improvement over the 33,808 who lost their lives in 2009 (which was, itself, a figure not seen since 1950). 

What's remarkable is that this decrease in fatalities happened at the same time that Americans were driving more. All told, we traveled 46 billion miles more than we did last year -- a jump of about 1.6%. As a result, the traffic fatality rate -- that is, the number of deaths per 100 million miles traveled -- hit the lowest point on record. In 2010, there were 1.10 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles. For comparison's sake, the 2009 rate was 1.15.
* Drinking and driving may be less of a problem these days. Last year, 10,228 people died in accidents involving drunk drivers -- a drop of 4.9% compared to the 10,759 killed in 2009. Unfortunately, the DOT doesn't offer any suggestions as to why we might be seeing such a dip. 
* There were also fewer fatalities in passenger cars and light trucks, including SUVs. The DOT doesn't suggest any reasons for this fact, either, but it might be related to the increasing availability of electronic stability control -- which, as of September of this year, is now mandatory equipment on all passenger vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or less.
* The DOT says that there are three areas in which traffic fatalities rose: among pedestrians, motorcycle riders, and occupants of large trucks. No clues as to why that might be, though quieter electric cars might -- might -- have something to do with the pedestrian issue, and piecemeal helmet laws could be having an effect on the motorcycle stats.
* The biggest area of concern for the DOT, however, is distracted driving. LaHood and his team conducted an extensive assessment of drivers in the U.S. and found that the majority are happy to answer calls behind the wheel, and in some demographics -- namely, 21-to-34 year-olds -- most will also make calls. Worse, among 18-to-24 year-olds, drivers commonly send text messages and emails, too. (Specifically, the stats are 44% of drivers 18-to-20 and 49% of drivers 21-to-24.)  In all, some 3,092 fatalities were linked to distracted driving in 2010 or about 9.4% of total traffic deaths. That's significantly less than the 5,474 who died in 2009, but the DOT is pushing hard for improvement.
For complete details of the DOT's distracted driving study -- which found that talking to other passengers in a vehicle is the most distracting activity of all -- you can download the entire PDF here.