How To Check Your Tire Pressure

1. Buy a tire pressure gauge. Don’t rely on the gauges attached to gas station air pumps. “Gas station inflation systems take a good deal of abuse, which can affect the accuracy,” says Zielinski.

Small, portable gauges are sold at auto parts stores and many general-merchandise retailers. They and cost anywhere from $5 to $50, but a good one can be had for under $15, according to Consumer Reports.

2. Let your tires cool down. Wait until your vehicle has been sitting still for at least three hours. Your tires have to be “cold” in order for you to get an accurate reading. If a tire has been recently driven, the air inside will have warmed up and expanded, temporarily increasing the pressure.

3. Get the numbers. Look for your vehicle’s recommended tire pressure in the owner’s manual. You can also find it on the driver-side door, glove compartment or trunk lid. The number will be next to “psi.” (It will also be listed metrically as “kPa, or kilopascals, for drivers who use the metric system.)

Don’t use the “psi” number listed on the tire’s sidewall. That’s the maximum — not the recommended — pressure, according to Zielinski. You want to avoid overinflating your tires. “Overinflated tires have a smaller contact patch with the road, which affects handling,” he says. “They also will wear out the center of the tread faster and will be more susceptible to road hazard damage.”

4. Check the pressure. On each tire, including the spare, unscrew the valve cap from the stem, located on the side of the tire. Fit the tire gauge into the stem. If you hear a hissing sound, which is air escaping, adjust the fit until it stops. Then read the pressure number on the gauge.

5. Adjust the pressure. If the number on the gauge is lower than recommended, drive to a nearby service station and add enough air to bring it up to the recommended number — but no higher. Don’t try to compensate for warm tires by overinflating, which creates a safety hazard. Instead, perform a second check later, after the tires are cold again. Then return to add more air if needed.

If the number on the gauge is too high, just press the valve stem gently — you can use the side of the gauge for this — to let some air out.

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Reno Tahoe Auto Group
3355 Kietzke Ln.
Reno, NV 89502
775-329-0303
Reno Tahoe Auto Group

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How To Winterize Your Car

Is your car ready for winter? If you have a warm blanket in the trunk and good tires on your car (snow tires if you live somewhere that merits them), you’re off to a good start. But follow these other smart safety precautions and you’ll really be firing on all cylinders.

Quick winter car safety tips

  • Check your tire pressure. Air pressure drops in cold weather, and improperly inflated tires can cause poor handling, irregular wear on the tires and lower gas mileage, says Dawn Leyden of Firestone Complete Auto Care in Oak Lawn, Illinois. Don’t forget to check the pressure in your spare, too.
  • Keep the right stuff in the trunk. That means a blanket, but also a hat and gloves. You’ll also want a bag of salt, sand or non-clumping kitty litter for traction in case one of your tires gets stuck in the snow, plus extra windshield fluid and of course, an ice scraper and shovel. If you have to lie on the ground to change a tire, you’ll be glad you stashed a tarp or garbage bag in there. Throw in a brightly colored cloth to tie to your antenna in case you get stuck. Also keep a few snacks, like granola bars and unsalted canned nuts, on hand, as well as bottled water. The bottles should be only two-thirds full to keep them from bursting if they freeze, Leyden notes. No matter what the season, it’s always smart to carry a flashlight and batteries, flares, a first-aid kit and jumper cables.
  • Gas up. Tend to hit E before a fill-up? That’s a riskier move in the winter, when storms could mean getting stuck in long traffic jams. Play it safe: When the tank’s half full, stop and refuel. If you do get stranded, you’ll be thankful for the extra gas because it means you can keep the engine running —and have heat.
  • Park nose to nose. You never know when your car battery might die. If it does, getting a jump-start will be easier if you’re parked hood to hood with another car, says Leyden. Alternatively, pull up to the side of a building. “That way, cold air and snow aren’t going through the front portion of the vehicle and getting inside the radiator and condenser.”
  • Make time for a warm-up. In freezing temps, your engine needs to warm up before it can function properly, says Leyden. Before you drive, she recommends running the engine for 5 to 10 minutes if it’s in the teens or 10 to 15 minutes if it’s below zero. Plan ahead so you won’t end up in a rush on the road.
  • Raise your wipers before a storm. This way, they won’t freeze to the windshield.

Pre-season to-do’s

  • Get your car serviced for winter. Have a service center confirm that all your car’s systems are ready to withstand low temps and poor driving conditions. Have all fluid levels checked, including brake and power steering fluid, oil, antifreeze and windshield defroster. The technician should also give your battery, brakes, belts and tubes, radiator, exhaust and ignition system a thumbs-up. A reputable service center should be happy to perform a courtesy check of these systems, says Leyden.
  • Switch windshield wiper fluid. According to the National Safety Council, you should switch to a windshield wiper fluid that also contains a de-icer to keep the spray from freezing.
  • Replace worn wiper blades. After all, when it comes to driving in a storm, being able to see is key.

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Reno Tahoe Auto Group
3355 Kietzke Ln.
Reno, NV 89502
775-329-0303
Reno Tahoe Auto Group

7 Fall Driving Safety Tips

Fall is a time for hay rides, leaf peeping and pumpkin picking. It’s also a time when road and weather conditions make getting there a little tougher.

Stay safe on the road this season with these smart driving tips.

Don’t brake on leaves. Wet leaves can be as slippery as ice. Drive slowly through them and avoid hard braking. Leaves may obscure lane lines and other road markers, so pay attention to the edge of the road and take care to stay in your lane, advises PennDOT.

Avoid sun glare. On and near the autumnal equinox (which fell on September 23 in 2015), the first 15 to 45 minutes after sunrise and before sunset can make for more difficult driving due to sun glare. The sun perfectly aligns with east/west roadways during this time. Grab a good pair of sunglasses for the daytime, keep your windshield clean and use north/south streets or streets with tree cover when possible, says the National Weather Service.

Use your rain smarts. During fall, many cities see increased rainfall. When it’s raining, be sure to maintain a safe distance from the car in front of you, as the wet roads may be more slippery than usual and you may be at higher risk of hydroplaning. Use your low beams or fog lights (never high beams) in fog conditions, says the Minnesota Safety Council.

Be careful on bridges. As the temperature begins to drop, morning frost can leave icy patches on bridges, overpasses and shaded spots on the road. Slow down.

Adjust your eyes. We lose 1 to 2 minutes of daylight daily after the autumnal equinox according to the National Weather Service. After leaving home or the office and before hitting the gas petal, give your eyes time to adjust to the dark, advises the Minnesota Safety Council. It takes them between 2 and 5 minutes to start adjusting.

Watch out for deer. Autumn marks the beginning of deer breeding season and they will be more active in areas near the road, says the PennDOT. Deer are most active during sunset and sunrise so be extra watchful when driving near the woods and near deer crossing signs.

Make sure your vehicle is up to the task. That means you should:

  • Check your tire pressure. Tires lose 1 to 2 pounds of pressure for every 10-degree temperature drop, according to the Utah Safety Council.
  • Replace your windshield wipers. A really clean window can help you see when there’s glare.
  • Adjust your headlights. If your headlights seem too dim, ask your mechanic to make sure they’re aligned properly.

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Reno Tahoe Auto Group
3355 Kietzke Ln.
Reno, NV 89502
775-329-0303
Reno Tahoe Auto Group

Making Your Emergency Roadside Assistance Kit

If you’re stuck on the side the road you should be prepared with the essentials to keep you and your passengers safe. You can always purchase a roadside emergency kit but it may be more economical and beneficial to make your own. Here are some must-have items to add to your roadside emergency kit:

  • A tire jack and spare tire. You never know when you may run over something and get a flat tire.
  • Jumper cables in case you need to give your car a jumpstart.
  • A flashlight with a couple packages of new batteries.
  • Road flares will help other drivers see you and will create a safety zone for you and your car.
  • A first-aid kit will come in handy if someone has a minor injury.
  • Pack extra clothes, non-perishable food, water, and blankets. You may be stranded for hours and these things may help keep you comfortable while you wait.

 

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Reno Tahoe Auto Group
3355 Kietzke Ln.
Reno, NV 89502
775-329-0303
www.renotahoeautogroup.com

You must have car insurance if you own a vehicle, and in the event of an accident you’ll be glad you have it. Car insurance can get expensive but there are ways you can cut the cost and save money. If you know what affects your insurance rates you can figure out what you can do to save on car insurance. Here are some ways you can save:

  • Enroll in the discounts offered by the insurance company. Each insurance company offers special ways to save money. Talk to your agent to make sure you’re enrolled in everything you can be for possible savings.
  • Be a safe driver. Having a good driving record will help you save on car insurance. Traffic tickets and accidents increase your insurance premiums, so try your best to keep them off of your record.
  • Depending on the car, car insurance can be higher or lower. So if you’re really looking to save money choose a car with a lower insurance rate.
  • Maintain a good credit score. Some insurance companies are now looking at your credit score to determine how much to charge.

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Reno Tahoe Auto Group
3355 Kietzke Ln.
Reno, NV 89502
775-329-0303
www.renotahoeautogroup.com

Bad Driving Habits We’re All Guilty Of

We’re all guilty of taking our attention off of the road while driving. You can look at the car next to you and see a driver on their phone or trying to eat. That’s why distracted driving is one of the top causes of motor vehicle accidents. Here are some ways to help keep you focused on the road:

  • Put your phone away. The temptation to use your phone while driving can be too much when you can look at it and hear it. So just put the phone in your glove box and only use it for emergencies.
  • Don’t drive while drowsy. If you feel yourself falling asleep at the wheel find a safe place to pull over and take a nap.
  • Keep your amount of passengers at a minimum. Teens especially can be easily distracted when riding with friends.
  • Wait to eat until you park or arrive at your destination. You may not have time to eat before you leave in the morning but food spills cause a big distraction.

Reno Tahoe Auto Group
3355 Kietzke Ln.
Reno, NV 89502
775-329-0303
www.renotahoeautogroup.com

 

How Often Should I Get an Oil Change?

Are you unsure of how often you should get your oil changed? If you ask around you may have heard a different answer from each person. Older mechanics will tell you that every 3,000 miles is the best time to get an oil change. But, things have changed over the years. New technologies now allow us to go a little longer between oil changes than before.

The best way to determine how often you should change your oil it to take a look at your owner’s manual. Most manufacturers let you know what the best oil change interval is for your vehicle. If you’ve looked at the owner’s manual but you’ve forgotten when you last got your oil changed, it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with our service center today.

Lastly, most vehicles today have a check oil light on their dashboard. This is a warning to let you know that you should come in for an oil change sooner rather than later. Getting your oil changed is a quick and relatively inexpensive task that extends the longevity of your vehicle. Don’t wait until it’s too late, get your oil changed today.

Reno Tahoe Auto Group
3355 Kietzke Ln.
Reno, NV 89502
775-329-0303
www.renotahoeautogroup.com