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108 Weaver Dr. 

Dickson, TN 

37055


446-8959

Your Complete Automotive Service Center

Dickson's 1st Auto Repair Blog

Blog

Have you checked your tires lately?

Posted on March 11, 2013 at 2:21 PM Comments comments (159)
 I know, no one ever want to think about buying tires. There is nothing less enjoyable than spending your vacation money on something you can't even admire. But think of if this way. You and your family's safety depends on it. You should check your tires  at least once a month and before and after long trips. To determine whether you need to  buy new tires,  have your wheels balanced or have your vehicle aligned.
 
Underinflated tires wear out faster, create excessive heat, decrease fuel mileage, and make your vehicle much harder to handle. Overinflated tires can blow out more easily, wear out faster, and make the car unstable and unsafe to handle. New  tires on a vehicle out of alignment can wear out  as quickly as 5000 miles!
 
 Look for things in each tire.
 Do you see nails, stones, or other debris in the treads? Remove them. But if you're going to remove a nail, first make sure that your spare tire is inflated and in usable shape. If you hear a hissing sound when you pull a nail, push the nail back in quickly and take the tire to be fixed. If you aren't sure whether air is escaping, put some soapy water on the hole and look for the bubbles made by escaping air. If you're still not sure whether the nail may have caused a leak, check your air pressure and then check it again the next day to see whether it's lower. Tires with leaks should be patched by a professional. If the leak persists, get a new tire.
 
Look at the sidewalls.
 Check for deeply scuffed or worn areas, bulges or bubbles, small slits, or holes. Do the tires fit evenly and snugly around the wheel? Tires will show signs of cracking around the wheels as they age. This is caused by tires drying out and "dry rotting." When this is present tires will need to replaced as soon as possible to prevent a blowout.
 
Look at the tread.
Most tires have tread-wear indicators built into them . These bars of hard rubber are normally invisible at first look, but appear across treads that have been worn down to 1/16th of an inch of the surface of the tire. If these indicators appear in two or three different places,  replace the tire. If your tires don't show these indicators and you think that they may be worn too low, place a Lincoln penny head down in the groove between the treads. If you can see the top of Lincoln's head, your tire probably needs to be replaced. To measure tread wear more exactly, place a thin ruler into the tread and measure the distance from the base of the tread to the surface. It should be more than 1/16 inch deep. If your front tires are more worn than your rear ones and show abnormal wear patterns, you probably need to have your wheels aligned. 
 
This a a few things you can do to keep ahead of the curve so to speak. If you feel you need further assistance, check with your loacal garge. I am sure they will be glad to help.
     

    Be Cool

    Posted on March 15, 2012 at 10:27 PM Comments comments (1971)
       As warmer weather approaches quickly, many of us are looking to our vehicles a/c for some comfort. Are you ready. After sitting idle for several months, some of us may receive a surprise when we first need a cool breeze.
     
       Your system has been working fine while the temp setting was warm, but this invites a number of things to creep up on us. Now that it is warming up, you may notice the cabin air is just not that fresh. Most of todays vehicle have a filter, much like your home a/c unit, to filter the air as it passes through your unit. This filter needs to be serviced at least yearly or approximately every 15000 miles. As times goes by this filter will become restricted and slow the airflow inside the cabin. Also as in your home if it becomes clogged you may risk your system freezing up. Your local repair shop or parts house can supply you with the proper filter for your vehicle.
     
       For those vehicle without a filter, mold and mildew can build up in your evaporator housing causing a musty odor upon first use. An a/c evaporator cleaner can be used to clean your system and restore it back to maximum efficiency.
     
       Spring is just around the corner so take a moment to check your system. You'll be glad you did one day soon.

    Winter and My Car

    Posted on December 30, 2011 at 2:17 PM Comments comments (54)
    How to Winterize Your Car
    Come winter time there are a few things you need to know about your car. You not only get concerned about yourself in the extreme cold weather, but also about how your car is going to take the below freezing temps. It is not that your car feels the cold temps, but the below normal temperature does affect it. You may use heavy jackets and  boots to tackle the cold  yourself, but what can you do to make you car also withstand the colder weather?

    The only solution is to winterize your car by checking  or adding a few things to leesen the affects. Here is the list of things to do to winterize your car.


    Change of Engine Oil: The engine is the heart of the vehicle. Due to its inherent property, the oil gets thick as it gets cold, which then cannot lubricate the engine well.  For extreme winters one should switch to thinner or less viscous oil, such as 5W20 or 5W30. Check you owners manual for information and whats best your your vehicle.
    .
     Engine Coolant: The coolant saves not only the engine from overheating, but also protects it against corrosion. In extreme winters, one should use the coolant with ethylene glycol as the antifreeze element, and mix it with water in the ratio as suggested in the vehicle’s manual. Generally, it is in the ratio of 60% coolant to 40% water.

    Your Battery: Check the age of your battery. If the battery is due to be replaced, be proactive before you get stranded. Otherwise, follow the  procedure of cleaning the battery terminals . Have the battery checked for its ability to hold a charge under load.

    Check the Belts and Hoses:  You need to perform a full inspection to make sure there is no wear and tear in the belts and hoses, as the cold temperatures make them brittle and crack.

     Tires: Check the air pressure in the tires, Pressure lowers with the drop in temperature. Make sure the tires are in good condition. Check the condition of tread as opposed to the wear bars between the tread.
    Wear bars are a small marker located in the water channels between the tread at various points around the tire. replacement should be when tread wears down to this elevated surface.

     Replace the windshield wiper blades, if it had not been, in about a year. Fill up the windshield washer reservoir with a winter mix windshield washer fluid, as plain water freezes in extreme cold conditions. Check that the lights, heater, and defroster are in perfect working condition.
     Get the car properly tuned, and the brakes checked if not done recently. Try to keep the gas tank full to prevent moisture entering and freezing the gas lines. Don’t forget a check the spare spare tire.

    Last, but not the least is the emergency winter kit in the trunk of your car, consisting of a blanket, ice scraper,  gloves,  and a flashlight. In addition, warm clothes, and boots may be handy also.

    A winterized car will make your trip more enjoyable, because you can now trust that the car will rough out in any cold extremes.

    Don't Let the Heat Strand You

    Posted on July 27, 2011 at 7:24 PM Comments comments (28)
    Summer can be tough on cars, especially during high temperatures when heat can destroy batteries and stress the cooling system and tires. As a precaution, these vehicle components should be checked periodically during summer to help avoid breakdowns and car problems.

    Excessive heat and overcharging shorten the life of a battery. Heat causes battery fluid to evaporate, which then damages the internal structure of the battery. A malfunctioning component in the charging system, usually the voltage regulator, allows too high a charging rate, which will eventually destroy a battery.

    To get the most life out of a battery, the council recommends having the electrical system checked to make sure it is charging at the correct rate. If your car's battery is the type that needs to be topped off, check it often, especially in hot weather and add distilled water if necessary. Keep the top of the battery clean. Dirt can become a conductor, which drains battery power. If corrosion accumulates on battery terminals, it becomes an insulator and inhibits the current flow.

    The cooling system also works harder during hot temperatures to prevent overheating of the engine. To keep the cooling system working effectively, the coolant and distilled water mixture for a vehicle's radiator should be 50:50. As a reminder, never open a hot radiator cap when checking the coolant level in the reservoir.
    As a rule of thumb, the coolant should be changed annually on most vehicles. This will keep the cooling system fresh and clean inside, which helps prevent corrosion and assures that the coolant has the proper boiling point and protection. A pressure test, thermostat test, a cooling fan test and a visual inspection for leaks and corrosion should also be done annually. Hoses and drive belts should be checked for cracks, bulges or frayed edges.
    The radiator should be kept clean by periodically using a garden hose and a soft brush to carefully remove bugs, dirt and debris.

    Tires also need special care in warmer weather as high temperatures put added stress on them. To maximize tire life and safety, check the tire condition and inflation pressure monthly, and have the tires rotated every 6,000 miles. Summer heat will cause the pressure within a tire to rise, therefore, it's important to check the pressure when tires are cold. The owner's manual includes the recommended air pressure for your vehicle's tires.

    It takes very little time and money to make sure your car runs properly during summer, and although breakdowns happen, they can definitely be minimized by taking a few extra preventive maintenance steps.

    Heat and your tires

    Posted on June 27, 2011 at 11:08 PM Comments comments (31)
    Temperatures over a hundred degrees can be deadly out on the roads, if your car is not maintained properly.
    According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 3,400 people were killed and more than 116,000 injured in tire related accidents throughout the country, in the last five years.
    When tires are rotating at 70-miles an hour, experts say the heat  really builds up, and can cause a blow out, especially if you are driving on old or under-inflated tires.
    If you take a look at any road around here, you'll find tire scraps from blowouts.
    Tires are built to take extreme temperatures, but experts say these continuous 100-plus degree summer days take their toll.
    Over time as the rubber dries out, they're not built to continue to withstand it.
    Tires have a good three to four years before they  begin to lose  their effectiveness
    That means paying close attention to trailers and cars that don't get used much. 
    Check them regularly for cracks and dryness, and the date on the side to make sure they're not too old.
    Tire pressure is also an issue.  When ever the heat rises in the air so does your tire pressure in your tires,.
    Keep on eye on it when you fill up the tank.
    The proper inflation will be on the information label inside driver's door of your car
    Make sure you keep a good check before you hit the read. It will make that trip a much safer one..

    Cool Crusing

    Posted on June 22, 2011 at 7:29 AM Comments comments (17)
    During the summer months, the temperature inside of a vehicle sitting in the sun can easily reach 130° or more. Keeping you and your passengers comfortable during the hottest weather is the job of your automobile's air conditioning system.
    The air conditioning system works by removing the heat from air inside your vehicle and transferring that heat to the outside air. What is left when the heat and humidity have been removed is cooler, more comfortable air
    In most of  today's vehicles, a air intake filter is used to clean the air much like your home a/c unit. This filter needs to be replaced at the start of each season or approximately every 20,000 miles. This will prevent mildew build up in your evaporator and that stale odor you may have noticed.
    For this system to work correctly and be ready for the hot weather, it needs to be free from leaks so that the refrigerant stays in the system. Although A/C systems are resistant to leaks and contamination, they are not leak-proof. Over time, contamination or leaks can appear and affect the cooling performance of your A/C system.
    In fact, the most common cause of inadequate cooling is when the refrigerant leaks through worn seals and o-rings, loose fittings and connections. To make sure all the parts and components of your A/C system are working properly, we recommend having your A/C system checked at the beginning of the warm season.
    Check with your local auto service center and schedule an appointment to have your system checked. Your drive time will be much more enjoyable.

    Are you ready for the cold?

    Posted on November 29, 2010 at 11:22 PM Comments comments (17)
    f you were to ask your car where it would want to live, and it just so happened to be a talking car, it would most likely say "Southern California." "It's warm there, the roads are fairly decent, and I might get to see a movie star," it would say. If you were to ask it where it wouldn't want to live, it would reply "Detroit." Or in a broader sense, it wouldn't want to live where it's cold, snowy, and just generally yucky.
    Wintertime is very unfriendly to a vehicle. Cold temperatures make it harder for an engine to work properly. Snow and ice limit traction. Potholes damage wheels and tires. Salt causes rust and gravel pits the paint. But there are things you can do to help your vehicle in this time of duress. Following are some easy steps to "winterize" your car. In fact, they are so easy, a talking car could figure them out! Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
    1. Consider using snow tires.
    2. Check the tire pressure.
    3. Make sure your vehicle's four-wheel drive system is working properly.
    4. Change the engine oil and adjust the viscosity grade.
    5. Inspect the belts and hoses.
    6. Inspect the wipers and wiper fluid.
    7. Check the battery.
    8. Check antifreeze mixture.
    9. Carry an emergency kit inside the car.

    1.Consider using snow tires. The condition of your car's tires is critical during the winter. If the tires are worn, or they are high performance tires, braking, acceleration and handling are all negatively impacted while driving on slippery roads. Because of reduced vehicle capabilities, the likelihood of a crash increases.
    The tires mounted on this beat-up Ford we spotted were a joke. If you have the cash, consider buying a set of winter tires. Winter tires are optimized for snow and ice. They aren't magic tires -- even with winter tires, your car will still be worse on slick roads than dry ones. But winter tires do help to improve traction on slick surfaces more than all-season tires.
    2.Check the tire pressure. Tire pressure is especially important during the winter. Traction is often at a minimum due to wet or snowy conditions. It is critical to have properly inflated tires, as this guarantees the best possible contact between the tire and the road. A properly inflated tire will also help protect against wheel damage that might occur as the vehicle is driven over potholes. Read your owner's manual to find the correct tire pressures.
    Because of wintertime's lower temperatures, the air pressure in a cold tire will drop. Why? Because air is a gas, and gas contracts when it cools. Keep this in mind if you are checking tire pressures. Generally, for every 10-degree Fahrenheit change in ambient temperature, your tire's inflation pressure will change by about 1 psi (up with higher temperatures and down with lower temperatures).
    3.Make sure your vehicle's four-wheel-drive system is working properly. A big selling point for SUVs is that they offer 4WD, which improves traction in slippery conditions. But most people don't use their 4WD systems during the summer. And while a four-wheel-drive system requires minimal maintenance, it's still a good idea to check that it works properly before the onset of winter.
    Make sure the system engages and disengages smoothly, and that there are no strange noises emanating from the drivetrain when the system is in use. Check to make that the transmission and gear oil levels are correct.
    If there are multiple drivers for your SUV, make sure each of them knows how to operate the 4WD system. The owner's manual will state at what speeds and environments the 4WD can be activated.
    4.Change the engine oil and adjust the viscosity grade. This isn't nearly as hard as it sounds. Viscosity simply refers to how thick or thin the oil is. Tar has a higher viscosity than orange juice, for example. Engine oils are sold with different levels of viscosity. When winter arrives, the outside temperature drops. And just like you, the oil inside your vehicle's engine isn't feeling too perky after sitting in the cold all night. The colder an oil is, the thicker it will be. A thicker oil doesn't circulate as well in an engine during start-up as a thinner oil would. If the oil is too thick, the engine doesn't get the proper lubrication. Also, dirty oil doesn't circulate as well as clean oil.
    To solve this wintertime problem, you can change your vehicle's engine oil to one that is thinner to begin with. Even when the thinner oil is cold, it is still not too thick for proper engine lubrication. Keep in mind that an engine oil can be too thin.
    Determining what type of oil your car should have during the winter 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. Pretty much all modern cars have recommended oil grades of 5W-30, 10W-30 or 10W-40. For more information on what these numbers mean, check out www.engineoilinfo.com.
    5.Inspect the belts and hoses. The belts and hoses in modern cars lead long lives. But that doesn't mean they don't die. Cold temperatures can accelerate the demise of a belt or hose. Before winter starts, have the belts and hoses inspected on your vehicle.
    6.Inspect the wipers and wiper fluid. Visibility is particularly key in winter, as it is often compromised by precipitation, salt buildup on the windshield and reduced daylight. The life expectancy of a wiper blade is one year. If your car's blades are older, replace them.
    Also check and fill your wiper fluid reservoir. A harsh winter storm is the worst possible time to run out of wiper fluid or to discover your blades aren't performing properly.
    7.Check the battery. A battery gives little notice before it kicks off. And it absolutely loves to croak when you can least afford it doing so. Very cold temperatures can reduce a vehicle's battery power by up to 50 percent. If your vehicle battery is older than three years, have it tested at a certified automotive repair facility. Also, make sure the posts and connections are free of corrosion.
    8.Check antifreeze mixture. The ideal mixture of antifreeze (coolant) and water inside your vehicle's radiator is 50:50. If the mixture deviates from this norm, then hot- and cold-weather performance can be compromised.
    If you were to put pure water in your vehicle's radiator, it would freeze at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. But if you combine the water with an equal amount of antifreeze, the new mixture won't freeze until -34 degrees Fahrenheit!
    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 is off, adjust it by adding either coolant or water.
    9.Carry an emergency kit inside the car. Wintertime requires you to load more junk into the back of your vehicle. But hey, better safe than sorry, right? Things you might want to consider carrying:
    1. A flashlight, flares and a first-aid kit.
    2. Jumper cables, a tool kit and tire chains.
    3. A blanket, warm clothes and gloves.
    4. Paper towels.
    5. A bag of abrasive material, such as sand, salt or non-clumping kitty litter. Use this for added traction when a tire is stuck.
    6. A snow brush, ice scraper and snow shovel.
    7. Extra washer fluid.
    8. Extra food and water.