Tire sizing affects the handling and steering on a car. Since tires are specifically matched to carry a vehicle's weight, choosing the incorrect size can greatly reduce the handling capability of your tires. Cars have specific tire sizing requirements based on vehicle weight, spacing within the wheel well and appropriate fit on the tire rim.
Tire sizing was standardized to aid both consumers and mechanics in installing the correct tires on today's cars. Many cars have computerized systems that measure speed data that is directly affected by tire sizing. Tire sizing is branded onto the side of the tire with a code that provides everything you need to know to purchase the correct size tires for your vehicle. This same information is listed on the door-end label on the driver's side of the car.
The stamping on the sidewall of the tire provides information on the tire's speed rating, load capacity and the tire's purpose. Tire codes list a series of numbers and letters to explain the dimensions and specifications of a tire. For example, the following represents a typical tire code: P225/50R16 91S.
The "P" stands for "Pmetric," a standardized tire definition in the United States. Tires within the "P" category are passenger vehicles, light trucks, some SUVs and vehicles no greater than a quarter to a half ton. European or metric-sized tires don't have the "P" listed at the beginning of the tire code.
The letter "T" in place of the "P" refers to the temporary spare tire. "LT" means the tire is intended for use on a light truck ranging in weight from three-quarters to a ton, and also pickups, minivans and SUVs. "C" indicates a commercial vehicle such as a delivery van or truck. The letters "ST" stamped on the sidewall of a tire indicate "Special Trailer" service. "ST" tires are used only for boat, car or utility trailers.
Using our tire code example (P225/50R16 91S), the first set of numbers after the letter describes the measurement of the widest point on the sidewall of the tire. The "/50" is the measurement of the tire's profile from rim to tread. This measurement is also called sidewall height.
The "R" designates a radial tire. Radial tires have plies of the tire radiate from the center of the tire. A "D" designation indicates diagonal plies to the tire that is often used for spares and on light trucks. A "B" refers to a belted tire. Belted tires are rarely used on cars today.
The tire diameter measure is given next in our example (P225/50R16 91S). The "16" shown after the "R" reflects the measurement of the diameter of the tire and wheel rim. This number differs greatly between makes and models of vehicles.
The final two designations on the tire code refer to the load and speed ratings. Both indicate the maximum endurance of the tire under normal conditions. Load rating is a measurement of how much weight the tires can handle both vertically and horizontally. Speed rating indicates the highest speed the tire can travel within normal conditions. In our example, the rating is "S," which lists a rating of 112 mph, a typical speed rating for passenger vehicles.
Have you ever been in this scenario? It's 11:00 p.m.; you're driving on a lone country road that's dark and desolate. You know in an instant that something's wrong. Controlling the vehicle becomes increasingly difficult and you ease the car to the side of the road. Getting out, you see that the left rear tire is flat and you're already running on your spare.
If you're lucky to have an account with the Auto Club and your cellular phone works, or are driving a Caddy with OnStar, help is only a phone call away. If not, you're either faced with having to hail a passing motorist or spend a night in the boonies. That is, unless you have a well-stocked emergency roadside kit in the trunk of your car.
When it comes to commuting or traveling any lengthy distance, a roadside emergency kit can mean the difference between getting back on the road or being stuck for a long period of time. A roadside emergency kit is the one item that every vehicle should have; yet most of us never carry any of the basic items to help you get back on the road quickly and safely.
Some of the basic items include:
Granted, all these items practically necessitate a Ford Excursion to haul them down the road, but a basic version with two roadside flares, a quart of oil, small first aid kit, extra fuses, flashlight, Leatherman Tool (or any other multipurpose tool commonly containing pliers, wire cutters, knife, saw, bottle opener, screwdrivers, files and an awl), tire inflator, rags, pocket knife, pen and paper and a help sign will take up a minimal amount of trunk space.
A few companies offer pre-assembled emergency roadside kits, ranging from RightTrak's 58-piece Deluxe Auto Safety Kit ($24.00) to the 78-piece Auto First Aid Kit from Home First Aid ($39.95). While these kits contain the basics in a small convenient carrier, you might want to augment yours with a few of the items listed above to suit your needs.
Before you actually use your kit in an emergency situation, take some time to familiarize yourself with the items you've collected and how to use them properly. Also remember that the most important item is your own good judgment - stopping to change a tire in the high-speed lane is only an accident waiting to happen.
Unfortunately, there isn't "one tool for all roadside emergency needs." But with a little planning and a smidgen of trunk space, an emergency roadside kit can often save the day.
If you live where the summer months get hot, you'll want to take a few things into consideration regarding your car, truck or SUV. It's important to remember that hot weather can be tough on mechanical components. For example, your cooling system has to work harder to keep the engine from overheating, tires have to perform under hotter conditions, and if you have a breakdown, you should be prepared to subsist in hot weather until some form of assistance arrives, or you're able to repair the vehicle yourself.
While there are many similarities between getting your vehicle ready for summer and getting it ready for winter, a couple of differences do exist. These are covered below in the following numerated subjects and corresponding photos. Let's take a look.
While snow tires work great in the winter, they're not much good in the summer months when there's no snow on the ground. Plus, you'll wear them out much faster by using them on dry pavement. It's a good idea to have two sets of wheels: one mounted with snow tires and one with summer or all-season tires. You can even swap the wheels yourself since you won't have to go to a tire shop to have one set of tires removed and another set remounted on one set of wheels, which could run $40 to $50 each time you do it.
Tire pressure is important at all times. It's critical to have properly inflated tires, as this assures the best possible contact between the tire and the road. Read your owner's manual to find the correct tire pressures, and, if necessary, adjust pressures to compensate for the hotter operating conditions -- especially if you're doing lots of high-speed driving on a summer-vacation road trip. Properly inflated tires will also last longer and improve gas mileage.
Because of summertime's higher temperatures, the air pressure in a warm tire rises. Why? Because air is a gas, and gas expands when it heats up. Keep this in mind if you are checking tire pressures. The given tire pressure specifications are for when the tires are cold, therefore the pressure should be checked when the tires are cold.
Also, an improperly inflated tire can heat excessively, potentially leading to a blow-out on the highway.
This isn't as hard as it sounds. Viscosity refers to the thickness of the oil. For example, maple syrup has a higher viscosity than water. Engine oils are sold with different levels of viscosity, and many of them are also multi-viscous, which means the oil's thickness can change depending on its temperature. Generally speaking, the warmer the oil is, the thinner it will be. If the oil is too thin, the engine might not get the proper lubrication.
To solve this summertime issue, you can change your vehicle's engine oil to one that is a little thicker. Even when the thicker oil is cold, it is still not too thick for proper engine lubrication.
Determining what type of oil your car should have during the summer is easy. Simply read your vehicle's owner's manual. The manual will list the manufacturer's oil recommendations for different climates. If you have a dealership or local garage perform the oil change, you can ask the manager what type and viscosity of oil they are putting into your vehicle. Most modern cars have recommended oil grades of 5W-30, 10W-30 or 10W-40 which are all multi-viscous grades.
The belts and hoses in modern cars last a long time. But that doesn't mean they don't have the potential to fail. Before summer begins, have the belts and hoses inspected on your vehicle. And if you're not sure when they were last replaced, consider having them changed, especially before commencing a long road trip.
Visibility is always important and our experience tells us that summer storms can be quite severe in some parts of the country. The life expectancy of a wiper blade is one year. If your car's blades are dried out and not making full contact with the windshield, replace them.
Also check and fill your wiper fluid reservoir. A summertime thunderstorm isn't the best time to run out of wiper fluid or to discover your blades aren't performing properly.
A battery gives little warning before it goes dead. And it'll likely do so when you least expect it. Hot weather can put additional strain on a battery similar to what is experienced in cold weather. If your vehicle battery is more than three years old, have it tested at a certified automotive repair facility. Also, make sure the posts and connections are free of corrosion. If you're embarking on a long trip, consider replacing the battery if you don't know how old it is. These days, batteries are not very expensive, and it's cheap insurance when you're out on the open road. We also recommend that you always carry jumper cables, as mentioned below in the emergency kit section.
The ideal mixture of coolant and water inside your vehicle's radiator is 50:50. If the mixture deviates from this norm, then hot-weather performance (and cold) can be compromised.
If you were to put pure water in your vehicle's radiator, it would boil at 212 degrees Fahrenheit. But if you combine the water with an equal amount of antifreeze, the new mixture boils at a much higher temperature.
You can check the composition of a radiator's mixture by using an antifreeze tester. You can find these at all auto parts stores, and they are inexpensive and easy to use. If the mixture's balance is off, adjust it by adding either coolant or water.
Things you might consider carrying include the following:
Those of you who live in an area of the country where the winters are tough might store a car on a long-term basis to protect it from the elements. If you do that, you'll want to think about a few things before pulling the car out of the garage and hitting the road.
If you changed the oil before putting the car away, then you'll be in good shape when it's time to start it up after a long winter in storage. Before starting the car, though, check the oil level on the dipstick first. Recheck it once the car has been idling for a few minutes.
If you have relatively easy access to the spark plugs, consider removing them and pouring two to three small drops of oil in the cylinders to prelube the cylinder walls before startup. This isn't absolutely critical (we know that plug access on some vehicles is very difficult) but would certainly be helpful in prolonging engine life.
In addition to engine oil, check all vital fluid levels. This includes the brake system's master cylinder, the coolant level, the power-steering fluid and the transmission fluid if the vehicle has an automatic transmission.
Gasoline stabilizer poured into the tank before the long-storage is begun is also a good idea. If this was done, you'll be in good shape during startup after the term ends. If getting the vehicle started is a problem and you didn't use any stabilizer, you might need to drain the old fuel and pour in new gas. Replacing the fuel filter might also be a solution to any problems related to getting the vehicle started after long-term storage.
After parking the vehicle for storage, it's a good idea to disconnect the battery. It's also a good idea to remove it from the vehicle, too, if you can. Obviously, if you disconnected the battery, you'll need to reconnect it before starting.
As mentioned earlier, you'll also want to check tire pressure before hitting the road after long-term storage.
Finally, before moving the vehicle at all, thoroughly check underneath it to determine if there are any leaks that might need attention. Tending to this and the other basic concerns noted above will ensure that you'll be set to go after your car has been stored for a long period of time.
Check the oil when the engine is warm. Oil expands when it's hot and contracts when it's cold. Different temperatures will give you different readings.
Before you begin, park the vehicle on a level surface to ensure fluid level accuracy, and turn off the vehicles engine.
Pull the hood release lever under the dashboard to open the hood. Walk around the front of the car, reach under the hood, find the latch and squeeze it. As you squeeze the latch, open the hood.
Find the dipstick, a long piece of metal sticking out of the engine with a loop at one end, usually located near the spark plugs.
Pull on the loop and draw the dipstick all the way out.
Wipe the oil off the dipstick with a paper towel or shop rag. Replace the clean dipstick, making sure to push it all the way in, then pull it back out and hold it horizontally in front of you.
Look at the pointy end of the dipstick. If the oil on the dipstick is below the line marked "full," add a small amount of oil (less than a quarter of a quart) with a funnel. Many dipsticks simply have 2 lines with a cross hatch design in between. The oil level should be halfway between these 2 lines.
Add the oil by unscrewing the oil filler cap, which is about 3 inches in diameter and located on the very top of the engine.
Check the oil level with the dipstick after adding oil. Add more if necessary. It's easier to add more oil, but fairly difficult to remove oil if you add too much.
The first thing you want to remember when jump-starting a car is that a slight possibility of explosion does exist. This is because hydrogen gas--which forms as a battery discharges and loses its fluid--is flammable, and a spark from the battery cables could, theoretically, set it off. We emphasize slight because the gas would have to be fairly dense around the battery for this to happen. This is unlikely unless the battery has been sitting for a long time and little or no air circulation has occurred in the area, but it is possible.
That said, I should add that in the last 15 years I have performed at least 50 "jumps" on various automobiles (you see, I used to own a lot of Chrysler muscle cars) and have never had a problem. One of the keys to avoiding the big bang is to hook up your jumper cables in the proper order. Follow along and we'll show you how.
Park the booster vehicle close to the one that needs to be jumped, but not so close that the vehicles are touching in any way. You'll want to use a good set of jumper cables with thick wire and clean clamps. As you are hooking up the jumper cables, make sure they don't dangle into either engine compartment where they could get caught on moving parts (belts, fan, etc.). Turn off the ignition of both vehicles, set the parking brakes, and make sure that they are in either "Park" or "Neutral" depending on whether the vehicles have an automatic or manual transmission. Also, turn off all accessories like lights, radio and, if the vehicles are in a safe area, the hazard flashers.
Begin the process by clamping one of the positive jumper cable ends (red) to the positive battery terminal (labeled with a "+" on the battery) of the dead vehicle. Be sure the connection is strong with the clamp securely "biting" onto the battery terminal.
Connect the other end of the positive cable (red) to the positive battery terminal on the booster vehicle (again, confirm that a "+" is next to the battery terminal). If the terminals are corroded on either vehicle, you may have to scrape them with an abrasive such as steel wool to achieve a solid connection.
Connect the negative cable end (black) to the negative battery terminal on the booster car (marked with a "-"). Finally, attach the other end of the negative cable to an unpainted metal surface on the engine of the dead car. Find an unpainted bolt or bracket that is as far from the dead battery as possible. This will provide a solid ground while further reducing the possibility of igniting any hydrogen gas.
Make a final check to confirm that the jumper cables are not near any moving engine parts, and start the booster car. Let it idle for several minutes, depending on the state of the dead battery. If the dead battery is new and was drained by the lights being left on an extended period of time, it will probably start immediately. If it is an old battery or it has sat for a long time (more than a month) it will probably take awhile to charge it sufficently.
Start the dead vehicle and let the two vehicles idle for a few minutes. If the dead vehicle refuses to start, don't keep trying or you might damage the starter. If there is the possibility of additional problems, like a lack of fuel, don't continue trying to start the dead vehicle until the other problem(s) are solved.
Once the dead vehicle is started and running smoothly, disconnect the jumper cables in the reverse order that they were connected. As you disconnect them, be careful not to let the dangling cables fall into the engine compartments or touch each other.
Drive the revived car to somewhere safe and secure before shutting off the engine. Depending on the battery's condition, it might need to be jumped the next time it is started. To properly charge the battery, attach it to a certified battery charger and leave it connected for at least 12 hours. You can also take it to an automotive repair shop for complete charging. Driving the car for an extended period can also charge the battery, but this should be done only if the other two options aren't available. A vehicle's alternator is primarily designed to maintain a battery, not charge it from a complete drain.
* All down payments shown assume that the customer also meets the income requirements set by our lenders, has a CAPS score of 1, or meet Auto Loan's "D" approval guidelines, and is factored at Connecticut's 6.35% sales tax rate. If any variances, down payment sums may be greater.
W2 Employee Receives a constant pay stub, showing all local, state and federal tax deductions.
Personal Check Receives a personal or business check that is hand written from the employer, with no tax deductions showing.
Cash Payments Does not receive a pay check, all income is in cash. (Examples: waitress/waiter, bar tender, landscaper, hair dresser.)
Temp Service Works through staffing or placement agency and is not a direct employee of the company they currently work at.
"Excellent" Means that the vehicle looks new, is in excellent mechanical condition and needs no reconditioning. The vehicle has never had any paint or body work and is free of rust. The vehicle has a clean title history and will pass a smog and safety inspection. The engine compartment is clean, with no fluid leaks and is free of any wear or visible defects. The vehicle also has complete and verifiable service records. (Less than 5% of all used vehicles fall into this category.)
"Good" Means that the vehicle is free of any major defects. This vehicle has a clean title history, the paint, body and interior have only minor (if any) blemishes, and there are no major mechanical problems. There should be little or no rust on this vehicle. The tires match and have substantial tread wear left. A "good" vehicle will need some reconditioning to be sold at retail. Most consumer owned vehicles fall into this category.
"Fair" Means that the vehicle has some mechanical or cosmetic defects and needs servicing but is still in reasonable running condition. This vehicle has a clean title history, the paint, body and/or interior need work performed by a professional. The tires may need to be replaced. There may be some repairable rust damage.
"Poor" Means that the vehicle has severe mechanical and/or cosmetic defects and is in poor running condition. The vehicle may have problems that cannot be readily fixed such as a damaged frame or a rusted-through body. A vehicle with a branded title (salvage, flood, etc.) or unsubstantiated mileage is considered "poor." A vehicle in poor condition may require an independent appraisal to determine its value. Kelley Blue Book does not attempt to report a value on a "poor" vehicle because the value of cars in this category varies greatly.
PLEASE BE HONSET WHEN APPRAISING YOUR CAR, SO THAT WE ARE ABLE TO BETTER PROCESS YOUR EZ FINANCING APPLICATION.
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