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Archive for September 2016

The Kingwood Service Center Guide to Tire Specs

Posted September 26, 2016 6:11 AM

You know you need new tires, but you're not sure what type. You look at a tire to get the size: 225, 50, R, 16, 92, H. All the way to the Kingwood service center you keep repeating it over and over. You even say it over in your mind while waiting in line. Then you get to the counter and the manager asks what size you need. Then your mind goes blank.

Tire size can be confusing for many Kingwood drivers. There's so much on the side of the tire, and it's hard to keep straight.

Even though there's a lot on a tire - if you know what it all means, it's actually more helpful than confusing for Kingwood tire shoppers. Let's start with the size number.

For example, let's say a tire reads: 225 50 R 16 92 H. The 225 part is the width of the tire in millimeters - the width between the sidewalls of an inflated tire with no load. The 50 is the aspect ratio - the ratio of the sidewall height to the tread width. Off-road tires will have a higher number and high performance tires will have a lower number.

The R signifies it's a radial tire. And 16 is the rim or wheel size in inches.

The 92 is the load rating index - it's the load carrying capacity of a tire. The higher the number, the more it can safely carry. Your empty vehicle can be safe with a lower number, but you'll need a higher rating if you routinely haul heavy loads around Kingwood. The next letter is the speed rating. Not all tires sold in Kingwood are speed rated. The ratings generally follow the alphabet: the further up the alphabet, the higher the speed rating - with the exception of H - it comes between U and V (don't ask why).

There's a lot of fine print that most Kingwood area drivers probably need a magnifying glass to read. But there are a couple of other large print items of interest. One is the tread type: highway, mud and snow, all season, severe snow, etc.

And then there are the Uniform Tire Quality Grading System markings. The first is a tread wear index. 100 is the base line - a lower number is poorer and a higher number is better. All things being equal, a tire rated 200 would wear twice as long, on a government test track, than one rated at 100. These wear grades are only valid within the manufacturers product line - you can't compare with others. And it's important to note that a lower rating might be just what you want - a high performance, sticky tire has a softer rubber compound and won't wear as long, but boy, will it take those corners on twisting TX roads.

The next is a traction grade. This measures the tire's ability to stop on wet pavement in government tests. A - the best, B - intermediate, C - acceptable.

Temperature grade measures a tire's resistance to heat buildup in government tests. A, B and C - from best to acceptable.

It's safe for Kingwood drivers to go with the vehicle manufacturers original equipment recommendations that came on your car. But if you want to make adjustments, you'll now be better equipped to communicate with your friendly and knowledgeable Kingwood Service Center tire professional.

Kingwood Service Center
3318 Northpark Dr
Kingwood, TX 77339
(281) 360-7323
http://www.kingwoodservicecenter.net

 



Automotive Tips from Kingwood Service Center: Causes of Wheel Misalignment

Posted September 20, 2016 9:38 AM

When properly aligned, all of your wheels are pointed in the same direction. Your vehicle will track true and handle the way it is designed. Kingwood drivers often associate our wheels being “knocked” out of alignment with an event like a major crash, hitting a pothole, curb or some other object. While these can certainly take your wheels out of alignment, the bumps and bounces of everyday Kingwood driving take their toll on wheel alignment as well. Your car can lose alignment over time with just normal driving.

When your wheels are out of alignment, the team of automotive professionals at Kingwood Service Center in Kingwood can return your wheels to the factory settings. Most owners’ manuals suggest an inspection every year or two.

Give us a call.

Kingwood Service Center
3318 Northpark Dr
Kingwood, TX 77339
(281) 360-7323
http://www.kingwoodservicecenter.net



Keeping Your Engine Cool in Kingwood, TX

Posted September 12, 2016 5:45 AM



The cooling system keeps TX vehicle's engines from overheating while they are driving around Kingwood. Its job is to move heat away from the engine. Let's talk about the various components of the system and how they make this happen.

The radiator is the part most Kingwood drivers associate with the cooling system. Coolant flows through the radiator which has fine cooling fins that draw the heat out of the coolant and dissipate it into the air. To make sure there's enough airflow over the radiator, a fan pulls air over the cooling fins even when the vehicle is idling.

In some vehicles, the fan is powered by the serpentine belt. On others, an electric motor runs the fan. Electric fans turn on and off as needed. You may have heard the fan kick on shortly after you turn your vehicle off. The sensor has determined that the engine needs a little help cooling down to a safe temperature.

A hose connects the radiator to the water pump. The water pump pushes the water into the vehicle engine block. Now the engine block and cylinder heads have passages for the coolant to pass through without getting into the oil or the combustion chamber. In the automotive community, these passages are referred to as the "water jacket."

While the coolant is passing through the water jacket, it absorbs heat from the vehicle engine on its way to the radiator for cooling. Between the engine and the radiator is a gatekeeper called the thermostat. The thermostat's job is to regulate the temperature of the engine just like your home thermostat regulates the temperature in your house. It gets your engine up to the correct operating temperature and then keeps it from overheating.

When you first start the engine, it's very cold and needs to warm up. So the thermostat blocks the flow of coolant to the radiator. As the engine warms up, the thermostat starts to let coolant flow through the system.

The final component the team at Kingwood Service Center wants to point out is the overflow reservoir. This bottle is designed to hold some of the coolant. It'll have a mark that indicates whether or not you have enough coolant. This is where you should add coolant if you just need to top it off.

Caution: never open the reservoir or the radiator cap when the car's hot. The cooling system is pressurized, and opening those caps while it's hot can cause hot coolant and steam to escape resulting in serious burns.

Cooling system failure is the most common mechanical failure in vehicles around Kingwood, TX. At Kingwood Service Center, we can do a periodic inspection of the components for  leaks, loose connections and weakening hoses.

Your vehicle manufacturer has also specified a cooling system service interval. With a cooling system service at Kingwood Service Center in Kingwood, the old coolant is replaced with correct clean fluid that contains the additives required to prevent corrosion. The additives are depleted over time and you need fresh fluid for adequate protection. Your radiator pressure cap should be replaced at this service as well.

Kingwood Service Center
3318 Northpark Dr
Kingwood, TX 77339
(281) 360-7323
http://www.kingwoodservicecenter.net



Kingwood Service Center On Your Serpentine Belt

Posted September 4, 2016 1:00 AM


 

Today we're going to be talking about serpentine belts for our Kingwood, TX, customers. Let's start by talking about the accessories that are driven by the serpentine belt. First is the alternator. That's the device that makes electricity to power the vehicle and recharge the battery. Then there's the air conditioning compressor that makes cool air for you while you're driving around TX in the summer.

The power steering and power brake pumps are driven by the serpentine belt in most Kingwood residents' vehicles. Those pumps provide pressure that assists your steering and braking.

In many vehicles, the water pump is driven by the serpentine belt. The water pump is what circulates the coolant that protects your engine. In some cars around Kingwood, TX, the water pump is driven by the timing belt.

The radiator cooling fans on some vehicles are also driven by the serpentine belt. Some have separate electric motors. That's really a lot of work for one belt.

But modern engine design has a single belt that snakes around the front of the engine and drives most, if not all, of these accessories. Serpentine belts do a lot of work, but they're tough and can last for a long time.

Just how long will they last? That'll vary for each individual car in the Kingwood area. Your owner’s manual will have a recommendation for when it should be changed, but it could need it sooner. The good news is that a visual inspection at Kingwood Service Center can detect a belt that's getting close to failing.

Your friendly and knowledgeable Kingwood Service Center service advisor can look at the belt: if it has more than three or four cracks per inch, it needs to be replaced. A deep crack that's more than half the depth of the belt - replace. Frayed, missing pieces, a shiny glazed look? Toss it. Come see us.

Kingwood Service Center
3318 Northpark Dr
Kingwood, TX 77339
(281) 360-7323
http://www.kingwoodservicecenter.net



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