Archive for November 2011

When Are Your Tires Worn Out?

Posted November 29, 2011 12:00 PM


 

Hey Bristol area drivers, are your tires worn out? What is the standard for our Connecticut streets? How can you tell on your vehicle?

While there may be legal requirements for the Bristol area, there are safety concerns that go beyond meeting minimum replacement mandates.

Two-thirty-seconds of an inch is the depth of the tire tread wear indicator bars that US law has required to be molded across all tires since August 1, 1968. When tires are worn so that this bar is visible, there's just 2/32 of an inch – 1.6 millimeters – of tread left. It's that level of wear that's been called into question recently.

We're referring to the tread depth on a tire, it can't move surface water out of the way and you start to hydroplane.

In a safety study, a section of a test track was flooded with a thin layer of water. If you laid a dime on the track, the water would be deep enough to surround the coin, but not enough to cover it.

A car and a full-sized pick-up accelerated to 70 miles per hour, or 112 kilometers an hour, and then made a hard stop in the wet test area. Stopping distance and time were measured for three different tire depths:

  • New tire tread depth
  • 4/32 of an inch, or 3.2 mm
  • 2/32 of an inch, or 1.6 mm

So what happened with the 2/32 inch/1.6 mm tires on the car? Get this – when the car had traveled the distance required to stop with new tires, it was still going 55 mph/89 kph. Stopping distance was nearly doubled to 379 feet/116 meters, and it took 5.9 seconds.

Wow! That means if you barely have room to stop with new tires, you would hit the car in front of you at 55 mph/89 kph with the worn tires.

Now, with the partially worn tires – at 4/32 of an inch, or 3.2 mm – the car was still going at 45 mph/72 kph at the point where new tires brought the car to a halt. It took nearly 100 feet, or about 30 meters, more room to stop and 1.2 seconds longer. That's a big improvement. We can see why Consumer Reports and others are calling for a new standard.

Of course, stopping distances were greater for the heavier pick-up truck.

How do you know when your tires are at 4/32 inch or 3.2 mm? Easy; just insert an American 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 tires. With a Canadian quarter, the tread should cover the numbers in the year stamp.

You may remember doing that with pennies. A penny gives you 2/32 inch, or 1.6 mm, to Abraham Lincoln's head. The quarter is the new recommendation – 4/32 inch, or 3.2 mm.

How do people feel about replacing their tires earlier? Well, tires are a big ticket item and most people want to get the most wear out of them that they can. But do you want that much more risk just to run your tires until they are legally worn out?

For us, and we would guess for many, the answer is "no".

Economy Transmission and Auto Repair
201 Terryville Road
Bristol, Connecticut 06010
(860) 589-1255

 



Bristol Road Trip Preparation

Posted November 22, 2011 12:00 PM

People from Bristol, Connecticut, love their cars. And nothing goes with cars better than a Connecticut road trip. Freedom from daily schedules, new sights and the open road – it's great! But there's nothing like car trouble to bring the fun to a grinding halt.

You can't always avoid problems, but you can take steps to reduce the probability of getting sidelined on your trip.

Heading out on a Connecticut road trip? Stop by Economy Transmission and Auto Repair before you head out to make sure everything is in good repair.

Let's look at some of the auto maintenance related problems you might encounter on a road trip in Connecticut and what you might do to avoid them.

The most common vehicle component to fail is the tires. Of course, you can't always avoid a road hazard that leads to a flat, but you may be able to head off some maintenance-connected tire problems.

A good tire inspection at Economy Transmission and Auto Repair will start with looking over the condition of the tire itself. Are there signs of uneven tire wear? Are the tires properly inflated? Is the tread worn to the point that the tire should be replaced? The answers to these questions may lead to a recommendation to balance or rotate your tires. It may also be time to have an alignment service.

Your brakes should be inspected for function as well as to determine how much life is left in your brake pads. You'll also want to know if it's time to service your brake fluid. Over time, water and contaminants make their way into your brake fluid and the system needs to be flushed, cleaned and filled with fresh fluid.

While you're out seeing the sights, you'll want to make sure you can see the sights. Replace your windshield wipers if they aren't working well. And don't forget your headlamps. They gradually lose their brightness and you don't even realize it. Many people replace their lamps once or twice a year.

All the items mentioned are part of any good vehicle maintenance plan. These are things that you want to take care of anyway, but they all come into focus as you plan for your trip. They'll always save you money in the long run and may prevent inconvenient delays on your trip. After all, you wouldn't want to miss the world's largest ball of string, would you?

Economy Transmission and Auto Repair
201 Terryville Road
Bristol, Connecticut 06010
(860) 589-1255



Bristol Safety Systems: Tire Pressure Monitoring System

Posted November 15, 2011 12:00 PM

Flats, blow outs, skids and longer stopping distances can all be the result of driving around Bristol on underinflated tires. Admittedly, it's hard to tell when a radial tire is underinflated. If your vehicle manufacturer recommends 35 pounds of pressure, your vehicle tires are considered significantly underinflated at 26 pounds. The tire may not look low until it gets below 20 pounds.

New laws require all vehicles to include a tire pressure monitor system, or TPMS. driveThis technology has been used by race car drivers for years. They are able to head off problems from underinflation by closely monitoring tire pressure on the track. It's up to your vehicle's manufacturer to determine which of many TPMS systems available they'll use to comply with the law.

Obviously, all of this doesn't come free for Bristol drivers. Government studies have estimated the net costs. Of course, the TPMS system itself will cost something. Maintaining the system will have a cost, replacement of worn or broken parts and tire repair cost increases.

Your safety has always been a priority at Economy Transmission and Auto Repair. We want you on the road and accident free. We've traditionally provided things like tire rotations, snow tire mounting and flat fixes at a very low cost. We've been able to quickly and cheaply provide the service and pass the low cost on to you as an expression of our good will.

Like all other Bristol service centers, here at Economy Transmission and Auto Repair we've had to purchase new scanning equipment to work with the TPMS sensors and to update expensive tire change equipment to better service wheels equipped with the new monitoring systems. Our friendly and knowledgeable service technicians at Economy Transmission and Auto Repair  have been thoroughly trained on many systems and new tire-changing techniques. All of this adds up to significantly increased cost to perform what was once a very inexpensive service for you.

So when you start so see the cost of tire changes, flat repairs and rotations going up at Economy Transmission and Auto Repair, please keep in mind that it's because of government mandated safety equipment. We want to keep you safely on the road – and we're committed to doing it at a fair price. This safety equipment will help you avoid the most common types of vehicle failure in Bristol, and possibly a catastrophic accident.

Economy Transmission and Auto Repair
201 Terryville Road
Bristol, Connecticut 06010
(860) 589-1255

 



Are Modern Vehicles Maintenance Free?

Posted November 8, 2011 12:00 PM

In our auto video today we'll be talking with Alan Peterson about myths surrounding automotive maintenance. You can lump these myths into the statement that "modern vehicles are so reliable, they are virtually maintenance free."

Any good myth has some elements of truth. No offense to Bristol Bigfoot fans, but this maintenance-free myth has more evidence than most. If we look at some isolated areas of auto maintenance, we could conclude that maintenance isn't so important. But other areas would just as easily lead you to believe that maintenance is more important than ever.

Here are some examples for our friends in Bristol.

  • Some vehicles in Bristol no longer require chassis lubrication. They're made with self-lubricating materials and have sealed joints. There's literally no way to grease those joints.

-Chalk one up for the myth.

On the other side, some vehicles come with sophisticated variable valve timing. A lot of complicated parts are up in the valve train that didn't even exist not that many years ago. These parts are very vulnerable to oil sludge.

  • So, skipping an oil change here and there could lead to very expensive damage.

-A point to maintenance.

  • Electronic ignition has eliminated replacing points.

-Myth gets a point.

  • Fuel injectors on direct injection engines are very expensive to replace so one must be sure to get a fuel system cleaning on schedule.

-Point for maintenance.

I think you get the picture. As automotive technology advances, it eliminates or reduces some maintenance requirements. And maintenance becomes more critical for some items. Most others remain very similar to what they've always been.

So the maintenance mindset is still important for car owners in Bristol if we want our vehicles to last a long time. The checklist may change over time, but there'll always be a check list. Your friendly and professional service advisor at {[ Shop }} can answer any questions you have about your vehicles maintenance schedule.

Economy Transmission and Auto Repair
201 Terryville Road
Bristol, Connecticut 06010
(860) 589-1255


 



Fuel Injector Cleaning In Thomaston

Posted November 1, 2011 12:00 PM

In very simple terms, a fuel injector is a valve that squirts fuel into your vehicle engine. Your engine control computer tells the fuel injector how much fuel to deliver as well as the precise time it should be delivered. Of course this happens thousands of times a minute.

High temperatures under your hood and variations in Bristol gas quality cause fuel injectors to be fouled with wax, dirt, water, additives and carbon. Injectors can become partially clogged, preventing them from delivering the proper amount of fuel at the correct pressure.

When your vehicle's injectors are dirty, the fuel doesn't burn as efficiently, resulting in poor fuel economy and loss of power. So it's important to keep your fuel injectors clean.

We can perform a full fuel system service for you at Economy Transmission and Auto Repair in which the fuel injectors are cleaned so that they operate properly and deliver the right amount of fuel at the right time.

Connecticut drivers should remember that proper maintenance of their fuel system means that they will spend less on gas in Bristol, enjoy strong performance and prevent costly repairs down the road.

 

Economy Transmission and Auto Repair
201 Terryville Road
Bristol, Connecticut 06010
(860) 589-1255

 



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