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Archive for November 2022

How Far We've Come (Newer Vehicle Technology)

Posted November 27, 2022 9:47 AM

Automotive design has come a long way since the days of the Model T, especially when it comes to safety technology.  You can thank computers for a lot of the latest innovations.  Here are a few that have been making their mark in recent years.

Adaptive cruise control.  This is cruise control with a brain.  Not only will adaptive cruise control keep your vehicle going at a steady speed, it will also slow it down and even stop it if the vehicle ahead of you slows down and stops. 

Automatic emergency braking.  We've all been distracted while driving, and you've probably been in a situation where the driver ahead of you has suddenly stopped.  Or maybe your attention wandered for a minute and you looked up to see your vehicle closing in fast on the car ahead of you.  (After all, there are a lot more distractions in your vehicle these days.)  New systems that use cameras, lasers and other types of sensors will warn you to start braking.  If you don't heed the warning, they'll put on the brakes for you. 

Blind spot warning.  We all worry about hitting a car approaching from behind and on either side if we are changing lanes.  Rearview mirrors cover some blind spots but they're not foolproof.  Enter the blind spot warning system; it warns you with a noise or a light if a vehicle is in a spot you might not be able to see.

Lane departure warning.  We all try to stay in our lane, but sometimes our attention wanders.  If you start to drift out of your lane, new warning systems using cameras and other sophisticated sensors will tell you to get back in your lane.  Some send an audible warning, others use a vibration or warning light. Some will even steer your vehicle back into the lane. 

Rearview camera.  There was a time when trucks and SUVs were involved in horrible accidents because the drivers couldn't see what was behind them as they backed up.  Children and pets were among the tragic victims.  Now, inexpensive rearview cameras are required in the U.S. and Canada, saving lives and providing much more peace of mind for drivers of vehicles with rear visibility issues. 

It's important to make sure this safety technology is working correctly for these systems to be effective.  Your service facility can check and maintain these systems as the manufacturer recommends.

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



All Lined Up (Alignment Inspection)

Posted November 20, 2022 8:49 AM

When you head down a straight road, does your vehicle pull to one side?  Do you feel vibration in any of the wheels? If you've noticed any of these things, it's probably time for you to get your wheel alignment checked.

When your vehicle left the factory, its wheels were parallel to each other and perpendicular to the ground.  That maximizes traction for good steering and braking. Every time you take your vehicle on the road, normal wear and tear will affect your alignment. Hit a bump, a pothole or a curb and all those little knocks will add up

Bad alignment not only can cause your steering wheel to pull unevenly, it can also wear your tires out a lot faster than they should. In fact, if you look at your tires and see one side of the tread is a lot smoother than the other, it could be another sign of bad alignment.

Since different problems can cause similar symptoms, the first thing our trained technician will do is test drive your vehicle. Then, they'll check the front end and steering linkage as well as look for tire wear.  Then, the technician will put your vehicle on a lift and use computerized diagnostic equipment to measure alignment angles so they can precisely align your vehicle's components.

There are different kinds of alignments.  One is a front-end alignment that aligns components of the vehicle's front axle.  Another is a thrust alignment that makes sure the front wheels are lined up with the direction the rear wheels are pointed.  A third type is four-wheel alignment which is usually used on all-wheel drive and  4-wheel drive vehicles.  It's also recommended for front-wheel drive vehicles that have independent rear suspensions.  It makes sure the angles of all the wheels are where they should be relative to each other and also the vehicle's body or frame.

Your steering wheel should be perfectly centered if you are heading straight down the road, so the technician will adjust it so it is. Finally, they'll take your vehicle back on the road for a final test drive to make sure it's performing the way engineers intended.

Your service adviser can recommend how often you should have your alignment inspection, since it depends on the type of vehicle you drive (SUV, sporty car, etc.) and your driving environment.  Properly aligned wheels can help your vehicle perform better and save you from expensive repairs down the road.

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



Buying the Right Tires and Wheels in Kingwood, TX

Posted November 13, 2022 9:11 AM

Everyone in Kingwood, TX eventually replaces their tires, whether it's because they're worn out or they're just looking for something different. There are so many great tire choices in Kingwood, it can be difficult to sort them out. Let's group the broad spectrum into several categories that will help in the selection process.

One category is often referred to as "summer tires". Summer tires are designed to be driven on the road when temperatures are generally above 45 degrees F (7 degrees C). Their tread design is optimized for traction on dry roads around TX and they're also able to effectively displace water on rainy roads.

So if you live where its summer all year round, these tires will work well for you. If you like maximum performance in warm weather, but still live where it gets cold and snowy, you'll want to change your summer tires for winter tires as the weather starts to change.

There's a range of tires within the winter tire category. If you live where there's a lot of snow and ice, look for the mountain and snowflake icon that signifies a severe snow rating. If you have milder winters and still want a performance component, they make a winter tire for you as well.

For many people, an all-season tire is the answer. You will give up some of the performance at the extreme ends of the summer tire/ winter tire spectrum, but you will find a long wearing tire that gives both good highway performance and winter traction on our Kingwood, TX, roads.

Within the all-season category, there are many choices that your tire advisor at Kingwood Service Center can help you evaluate.

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

 



Alleviate the Creaks and Squeaks (Chassis Lubrication)

Posted November 6, 2022 11:34 AM

If your vehicle creaks and squeaks when you drive down the road, it may mean that some of the metal parts are rubbing against each other and need to be lubricated.  Those could be parts of the suspension, steering system and the drivetrain. 

Years ago, most vehicles had to have their chassis (what you think of as the frame) regularly lubricated.  Newer vehicles are made with what some call "lifetime lubrication," but there are still parts of the chassis that need to be maintained with lubricants.  Your service advisor can help you know when that needs to be done.

In your owner's manual, the vehicle's manufacturer lists components that need regular maintenance. Things like u-joints, steering joints, sway bars, bushings and joints in the suspension. Some of them may have that "lifetime lubrication," while others may not. When you bring your vehicle in for service, a technician will look for any parts that have grease fittings.  They will inspect these components, clean the fittings so dirt and other contaminants won't be forced into the part and then lubricate them with a lubricant that meets the manufacturer's specifications. 

Sometimes a chassis lubrication is done at the same time as an oil change.  That's also an ideal time for the technician to check other parts of your vehicle that may need attention.  That could include greasing other parts such as the fuel door, trunk and door hinges, suspension springs and door latches.

Times have changed since the days when a "lube" job was synonymous with an oil change. Depend on your owner's manual and advice from your service advisor to know when "grease" is the word—and appropriate for your vehicle.

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



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