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Archive for August 2017

Kingwood Service Center Tire Safety: Washington vs. Lincoln

Posted August 27, 2017 9:50 AM

 

Welcome to the Kingwood Service Center automotive blog. Today, let's talk about the effect of tire wear.

Let's focus on stopping in wet Kingwood conditions. In order for a tire to have good contact with the road, it has to move the water out of the way. If it can't move the water, the tire will actually ride on top of a thin film of water.

That's called hydroplaning. If it's really bad, Kingwood drivers can actually spin out of control - endangering themselves and the other drivers around them. At best, you won't stop as fast.

So how does a tire move water? It has channels for water to flow through. Look at your vehicle tire and you'll see channels: channels that run around the tire and channels that flow across the tire. They're designed to direct water away from the tire so it can contact the road better.

And the deeper the channel, the more water it can move. A brand new Kingwood Service Center tire has very deep channels and can easily move a lot of water. As the tire wears down, the channels become shallower and can move less water. When it wears down enough, it can seriously affect your ability to stop your vehicle on wet Kingwood roads.

So that's why it's so important for Kingwood drivers to replace their vehicle tires when they get worn. Consumer Reports and other advocate groups call for a standard of 3/32 of an inch and they have the studies to prove it.

At Kingwood Service Center, we want our customers to know that the deeper recommended tread depth makes a big difference. Stopping distances are cut dramatically on wet Kingwood streets. A safe stop from TX speeds with 4/32 of an inch of tread would result in a crash with worn out tires.

There's an easy way to tell when a tire's worn to 4/32 of an inch.

Just insert a quarter into the tread. Put it in upside down. If the tread doesn't cover George Washington's hairline, it's time to replace your vehicle tires. With a Canadian quarter, the tread should cover the numbers in the year stamp.

Many Kingwood residents have heard of this technique using a penny and Abe Lincoln's head - the old method. That measure gives you 2/32 of an inch – half the suggested amount. Of course, vehicle tires are a major purchase. Most of us in Kingwood want to get as many miles out of them as we can. But there's a real safety trade-off. It's your choice.

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



Kingwood Service Center Helps You Decipher the Menu Board: Part 2

Posted August 22, 2017 9:49 AM

TX service centers have a menu board that lists the services they provide. Some Kingwood drivers may not be familiar with all of the items on the board so here is a quick description of some of the typical services that might be listed.

Kingwood Service Center fuel system cleaning: Over time, the vehicle fuel system gets gum and varnish built up. A fuel system cleaning gets rid of that and cleans out the fuel injectors. Saves gas, by the way.

Kingwood Service Center headlamp replacement: Halogen and standard headlamps gradually fade. It's usually good to change them every year or so.

Kingwood Service Center inspections: Kingwood drivers get inspections for many reasons. Maybe they're going on a trip or just want to make sure their vehicle's ready for a TX summer or winter. Maybe they just bought a used vehicle and want to give it the once over. An inspection may reveal some things that are broken or are getting close to having a problem.

Kingwood Service Center oil change: There are several options: Some Kingwood centers offer just an oil change and new filter as an option. Most will also check and top off all of your other fluids and do a quick visual inspection with a full service oil change. In my way of thinking, the full service option is best because it makes sure you have adequate fluids and may uncover an emerging problem. There may also be options for higher mileage fluids or an upgrade to synthetic oil.

Kingwood Service Center PCV valve replacement in Kingwood: PCV stands for Positive Crankcase Ventilation valve. It's a little part that releases pressure from the engine. It can get gummed up and that can lead to engine damage. It just needs to be changed now and then.

Kingwood Service Center power steering service: Often overlooked. Your friendly and knowledgeable Kingwood Service Center technician will evacuate the old fluid, clean out the system and replace it with clean fluid. Keeps the vehicle system running well for a long time.

Kingwood Service Center serpentine belt service: That's the belt that powers the vehicle engine's accessories like the alternator, air conditioner, power steering and brakes. You'll want to replace the serpentine belt before it breaks, because that'll shut you down.

Kingwood Service Center shocks and struts: This starts with an inspection of the suspension components. Shocks last a long time and wear out slowly, so many Kingwood drivers don't notice when it's time to change them. If they're worn or leaking, they need to be replaced.

Kingwood Service Center transmission service: This involves removing the transmission fluid and replacing it with clean fluid. It's like an oil change for your transmission.

Kingwood Service Center tire rotation and wheel balancing: The tires are rotated from front to back using the recommended rotation pattern. This helps tires wear more evenly. Wheels need to be balanced from time to time to keep them turning without any wobble or bounce. Helps the ride and saves tire wear.

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



Winter Tires

Posted August 18, 2017 8:31 AM

What type of technology do you use? Do you prefer an 8-track tape or an iPod? When it comes to winter tires, much of Kingwood driver's perception dates back to when 8-track was the best way to listen to the Bee Gees.

Twenty years ago in TX, winter tires differed from highway tires only in their tread design. TX drivers called them snow tires back then, and they had big, knobby lugs that were designed to give good traction in deep snow. They had the same rubber compound as regular tires and they weren't very good on ice, packed snow or wet TX roads. They were not even very good on dry roads. They really helped in deep or loose snow, but they did a poor job the rest of the time. They were loud and rode hard. People couldn't wait to get them off in the spring.

Then all-season tires started to appear in Kingwood tire shops. All-season tires are really a compromise between summer and winter performance. They have acceptable hot weather ride and tread life and can get TX drivers through mild winter road conditions OK. But there are some really good reasons to consider winter tires.

Modern winter tires do a terrific job for TX driving in a wide range of winter conditions. First of all, below 45°F/7°C, regular tires become hard and inflexible. That means they don't provide the road grip TX vehicles need. Even if you don't live somewhere in TX with a lot of snow, but it still gets below 45°F/7°C in the winter, you will be safer with winter tires.

In addition, they are specifically designed to more effectively move snow and water. That's the key to traction on ice-packed snow and wet Kingwood area roads. They use a micropore compound that allows the tire to bite into ice and snow. They also use wider grooves that run around the circumference of the tread to expel snow from the tire better. The lugs and grooves on winter tires have a special shape that throws the packed snow out of the tread as the tire turns. The tread is then open when it comes back in contact with the road and can provide good traction for TX drivers.

Winter tires also have a lot of sipes. Sipes are thin slits in the tread. The edge of the sipes grab ice and packed snow to provide tons of traction and to expel water and slush out of the tread. Winter tires have a rounder casing to cut into the snow's surface. The treads on regular summer tires can actually get packed with snow instead and become very slick. Winter tires offer 25% to 50% more traction for TX drivers than all-season tires. And when it comes to stopping power, all-season tires take 42% longer to stop than winter tires. Sometimes that's the difference between getting home safely and spending the night in a snow bank.

Now back when the 8-track was king, TX drivers just put snow tires on the drive wheels. That worked out OK because the rubber compound was essentially the same. Now, winter tires provide so much more traction than all-season or summer tires, that there's a huge difference between the traction at the front and rear ends of the car if you only put winter tires on the drive wheels.

For example: if you take a corner on an icy road and the rear end starts to slide out, essentially the rear is trying to pass the front because it's going faster. If you have high traction winter tires only on the front, they are going to be much more effective at transferring cornering grip and stopping power to the front wheels. This will actually cause the rear end to whip out even more.

That's why tire manufactures instruct their dealers that they must install winter tires on the rear wheels as well whenever they put winter tires on the front end of any vehicle. It's a major safety concern. It's strongly recommended that winter tires be installed on all four wheels on rear wheel drive vehicles as well. The front tires do most of the steering and braking work - it only makes sense that you provide the front end with the best traction you can.

Kingwood drivers often assume that if they have four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive they don't need winter tires on all four wheels. Would you intentionally disconnect the four-wheel drive in poor road conditions? Of course you wouldn't, but that's essentially what you do if you only put winter tires on one end. It only makes sense to have the same level of traction and control at all four corners.

The province of Quebec in Canada has issued a law requiring all passenger vehicles, taxis and rental cars with Quebec license plates to install a full set of four winter tires between November 15th and April 1. It's that important.

Many modern cars have traction control and anti-lock brakes so TX drivers may think that they don't need winter tires. But you need traction to accelerate, steer and stop. The tires provide the traction so that the traction control and anti-lock brakes have something to work with.

Look for tires with the symbol of a mountain with a snowflake in it. This means the tire complies with the severe snow standard. All-season tires will have an M&S, for mud and snow, on the sidewall.

So when the Kingwood temperatures drop below 45°F/7°C, be sure you have a set of four winter tires for maximum performance on snow, packed snow, ice, plus wet and dry roads. Your friendly and knowledgeable Kingwood Service Center tire professional can help you find the right winter tire for your vehicle and driving needs.

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



Kingwood Service Center Advice on What to Pour into Your Vehicle

Posted August 1, 2017 9:44 AM

Changes in vehicle design and manufacture have resulted in changed fluid requirements for our vehicles. With the sophistication of engines, transmissions, differentials, etc., it's best for Kingwood residents to always use the proper type of fluid for their vehicle. Using incorrect fluids can actually damage your engine.

As engines have become more sophisticated, new weights (or grades) of engine oil have been introduced. Today, there is a much wider range of weights for engine oil as well as a variety of formulations for different types of engines.

Transmission fluid, brake fluid and coolant/anti-freeze have changed because the materials that go into making the systems they protect have changed. The fluids in our vehicles generally have two jobs: to lubricate and to prevent corrosion. The fluids formulated for your vehicle are specifically designed to protect the materials that make up its engine parts. Using the wrong fluid may leave some parts vulnerable to corrosion. Further, using the wrong fluids can also void your vehicle's warranty. So Kingwood Service Center recommends Kingwood drivers follow the fluid recommendations in their owner's manuals.

Vehicle fluids, including engine oil, are also designed in special formulas for higher mileage vehicles. These formulas contain additives that help clean older engines and transmissions as well as recondition older seals and gaskets. These fluids are perfectly okay for your vehicle as long as you match the original fluid recommendations in your owner's manual. In other words, a high-mileage oil is fine as long as it is the same weight as the oil recommended by your vehicle's manufacturer.

Good vehicle care always includes proper attention to your vehicle's fluids. Understanding and using correct fluids will keep your vehicle running well and will help prevent early corrosion and wear of vital engine parts.

Talk to your Kingwood Service Center service advisor for more information.

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



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