Cambridge Auto Center AutoNet TV

Cambridge Auto Center Often Asked About Premium vs. Regular Gas

Posted September 24, 2015 9:11 AM

SAN ANTONIO auto owners often ask the question: "Will using premium gas make my car run better?" The answer is simple. But first, let's talk about what exactly premium gasoline is.

Different grades of gasoline have different octane ratings. Regular gasoline has the lowest octane rating and premium the highest. Most gas stations around SAN ANTONIO, TX also carry a mid-grade that falls in between the two. The octane range for the different grades of gas varies by region due to altitude differences.

Engines require different octane ratings because of design differences. For example, turbocharged engines usually require premium gas.

There's a sticker on your gas tank filler lid that tells you the minimum octane rating your automobile manufacturer recommends.

For help identifying the type of gasoline your engine needs, come by Cambridge Auto Center in SAN ANTONIO:

9823 Fredericksburg Road

SAN ANTONIO car owners should read their owner's manuals carefully to see if it's acceptable to use lower grades. With some cars in SAN ANTONIO, TX it is; the engine control computer can adapt. SAN ANTONIO motorists will lose some performance, but won't do damage. With other engines, using a lower grade of fuel could result in serious and pricey damage; so you don't want to save a couple of bucks at the pump only to pay it out a hundred fold at your SAN ANTONIO repair shop.

Your car will run best on the type of gas recommended by the manufacturer.

Today's computer controlled vehicles are optimized to run well on the recommended grade of fuel. Using a higher grade than is recommended will not give SAN ANTONIO auto owners any additional performance or better MPG.

Regulations require detergents for all grades of gasoline, so your engine will have the same protection, regardless of the grade of fuel you use. If you do hear some knocking or pinging from your engine, take it seriously and get your sedan into Cambridge Auto Center. It may be a sign that you need a tune-up or some other repair.

In times of costly gas prices, most SAN ANTONIO car owners are conscious of making their fuel dollar go further as we drive around TX. Be sure to use the right gas for your car. Keep your tires properly inflated and your vehicle well maintained and you will get the best gas mileage possible.

Posted in the Fuel System category

Fuel Injection Keeps Getting Better For SAN ANTONIO Motorists

Posted September 18, 2015 2:15 PM

SAN ANTONIO auto owners know that engines burn fuel to operate. Fuel is pumped from your fuel tank to your engine where it is squirted—or injected—into your engine’s cylinders. This is the function of the fuel injectors.

There are two ways to inject fuel into an engine. Fuel needs air to burn, so in the first method, fuel is injected into a port and allowed to mix with air and before it is drawn into the cylinders. In the second method, fuel is injected directly into the cylinders and mixes with air after it enters the engine.

Direct injection engines burn fuel more efficiently than conventional engines. Some models can deliver the power of a V8 with the economy of a V6.

For example, in one family of engines, the conventional version (a V6) delivers about 250 horsepower. The direct injection version delivers over 300 horsepower and gets about the same fuel efficiency. The turbocharged version delivers 350 horsepower.

Why the big difference in power? Direct injection systems allow fuel to be squirted into the engine at hundreds of times the pressure of a conventional engine. This atomizes the fuel better (breaks it down into tinier droplets), which means more of it gets burned, which translates to more power for your engine. It also results in cleaner emissions and improved MPG.

Fuel injectors are precision instruments. They have to deliver the right amount of fuel at exactly the time the engine needs it. They are also engineered to inject fuel with a specific spray pattern. This spray pattern allows for maximum fuel efficiency and proper atomization.

Direct injection engines require a much higher degree of precision than conventional engines. For this reason, they are equipped with more sophisticated computers.

When fuel injectors get dirty, their precision drops off. The spray pattern won’t be precise, and the timing of fuel delivery may be off. This decreases fuel efficiency and gas mileage for SAN ANTONIO drivers as well as delivering less power to the engine.

Fuel injectors are not cheap to replace. Direct injection fuel injectors are even more expensive. And we’re talking a mortgage payment to buy a set of new fuel injectors for a diesel engine.

So keeping your fuel injectors clean is just good auto advice for SAN ANTONIO car owners. The best way to do this is to change your air and fuel filters regularly and practice other habits of good car care and preventive maintenance at Cambridge Auto Center in SAN ANTONIO. Cleaning additives in your fuel can also help.

If you do end up with gum or varnish in your fuel system, you’ll need a professional fuel system cleaning. This will clean out your whole system, including the injectors. The good news is that with proper maintenance, your fuel injectors will last for a long time.

Posted in the Fuel System category

On Board Diagnostics For Your sedan

Posted September 11, 2015 2:33 PM

Make an appointment with Cambridge Auto Center to have your on board diagnostics analyzed.
9823 Fredericksburg Road

Today we're going to talk about on-board diagnostics and the questions we hear from folks around SAN ANTONIO TX who need answers about diagnostic services. They want to know what diagnostics are, what's involved and what the benefits are. They really want to understand the value of diagnostic scans by a trained technician in SAN ANTONIO TX.

These are valid concerns. If you don't understand something it's really hard to know its value. Let's start with some history.

Since 1996, all cars and light trucks in SAN ANTONIO TX have been required to use a standardized diagnostic system to help repair technicians determine what's wrong with your vehicle. The diagnostic system works with the vehicle's Engine Control Module – the computer that controls many engine functions.

The computer monitors dozens of components and processes. Depending on what the sensors read, the computer will make adjustments to compensate for conditions and minor problems. When there is a condition that it can't adjust for, the computer will turn on the check engine light.

It is also called the 'service engine soon' light on some vehicles. The warning light signals you to get into your SAN ANTONIO TX service center so that the trouble code can be read and the problem can be fixed. Your service center will have a scan tool and powerful software that will help the technician diagnose the problem.

If you've searched for check engine light on the internet, you may have seen that you can buy an inexpensive scanner or go to an auto parts store to have the trouble code read to tell you exactly what's wrong.

That's a common myth. The code itself doesn't tell you what's broken. It starts you looking in the right place. It tells you what engine parameter is out of range – but it won't tell you what's wrong or how to fix it.

Let's say you think your daughter has a fever. You take her temperature and it reads one 102 degrees. You've confirmed a fever, but you don't know what's causing it. Is it a 24 hour flu, an infection, appendicitis or leukemia? A fever is a symptom of all of these medical problems, but it takes a skilled physician's examination and additional diagnostic tests to find out what is actually causing the fever.

An example of a trouble code could be: P0133, which reads 'Bank 1 sensor 1 circuit slow response'. This means that the front oxygen sensor has a slow response time to changes in the air-fuel mix. If that's all you knew about cars, you would think your oxygen sensor was broken and would replace it. Now, it could be the oxygen sensor – but it could also be a bad or contaminated airflow sensor, exhaust leak, electrical problem, an intake manifold leak or any of a number of other things.

You can imagine a lot of oxygen sensors have been replaced because of that code. So the on-board diagnostics point the way to where the trouble lies, but it takes some skill and high-tech equipment to actually pinpoint the problem. The cheap scan tools that a consumer can buy do not have the ability to retrieve some of the operating history that's stored in the engine control computer. That history's very helpful in diagnosing the problem. Service centers like Cambridge Auto Center invest a lot of money in high-end diagnostic tools to help solve the mystery and get you back on the road as soon as possible without replacing a lot of parts that don't need replacing.

So, on-board diagnostics provide a powerful starting place for a highly-trained, well-equipped technician to get to the bottom of your problem. When your check engine light comes on, get it checked at Cambridge Auto Center. If the light burns steady – don't panic. Get in to Cambridge Auto Center soon to have the engine scanned. A flashing check engine light means that there is a severe engine problem. Get in as soon as you can – waiting too long can lead to very expensive damage.

And try to not drive at high speed or tow or haul heavy loads with a flashing check engine light.

Posted in the Service Standards category

When Do My Shocks Need to be Replaced?

Posted September 3, 2015 7:37 AM

A good suspension system gives a vehicle a smooth, even ride while providing SAN ANTONIO motorists with good handling and control. But like any system on your sedan, essential parts of the suspension system can wear out, leading to a lower ride quality and safety concerns. So it’s a good idea for SAN ANTONIO car owners to remember an automotive analysis of their suspension system in their schedule of a key preventive maintenance. Springs do most of the work of the suspension system. The most common types of springs are coil and leaf, but air springs and torsion bars are becoming more common. The body of the vehicle is “suspended” by the springs.

If springs were the only working component in your suspension system, however, you’d spend your travel time bouncing up and down like a bobblehead. That’s where your shocks come in. They keep the rebound, or bounciness, of the springs under control. Shocks also keep your tires on the road, which keeps the driver in control of the sedan. Some vehicles have struts in their suspension system. Struts are a compact combination of springs and shocks. They do the same critical job but in a single package.

Shocks wear out gradually, so it can be difficult for SAN ANTONIO motorists to notice when they need to be replaced. There’s no definitive point when a vehicle’s ride goes from smooth and controlled to a bit imprecise. To check if your shocks or struts are worn, you should first do a visual inspection on them. If they are leaking fluid, they need to be replaced.

There are other less obvious signs that your suspension system needs essential attention. For example, an uneven, cupping wear on your tires may indicate that your shocks are worn. If your vehicle feels “floaty” when you turn, or, in other words, you don’t feel that you have full control of the vehicle, you should check your shocks. Also, if the front end of your vehicle dips noticeably when you stop, it’s time for new shocks.

Your owner’s manual gives recommendations on how often the shocks should be checked, usually between 15,000 and 30,000 miles (24,000-50,000 km). If one of your shocks does need to be replaced, you should replace all four. This will keep your suspension even and ensure good handling of your vehicle. If you carry heavy loads, tow a trailer or drive on uneven Atascosa area terrain, you might also consider upgrading to a heavy-duty shock.

Regular shocks contain hydraulic fluid. The important fluid helps them absorb the bumps or “shocks” of the road so the impact doesn’t transfer to the sedan’s body. Premium shocks are filled with compressed nitrogen gas, which costs more but does a better job of controlling body motions. Regular shocks can develop air bubbles that reduce their effectiveness; the premium shocks don’t have this problem. So if you want higher handling performance, if you drive off-road around TX or if you just want added comfort, you should consider upgrading to premium shocks or struts.

Replacing struts can put your sedan out of alignment, so an alignment check should always follow this type of repair. Talk to your considerate service professional at Cambridge Auto Center in SAN ANTONIO.

Posted in the Shocks & Struts category

Maintaining Your Diesel in Atascosa

Posted September 2, 2015 8:37 AM

Diesel engines have been used extensively in Europe and Asia for many years. They haven’t been as common in Atascosa because of the high sulfur content in our diesel fuel. But the government is now mandating lower sulfur content and, as a result, we are going to see more SAN ANTONIO auto owners driving diesel-fueled vehicles on the road, especially in passenger cars and SUV’s.

Diesels are popular in SAN ANTONIO because they get better MPG than gas-powered engines. They also last longer. Modern diesel engines are quiet and powerful. And if you associate diesel engines with black smoke, then you’re not up with the times. That smoke is a thing of the past.

Diesels don’t produce any more pollutants than gasoline engines. The pollution standards for diesel-powered vehicles are as strict in TX as for other vehicles.

Also, diesel engines can run on bio-diesel fuels as well as fossil fuels. Diesel fuel can be produced from vegetable oil or from cellulosic waste like wood chips and sawdust. In Atascosa, we may soon see bio-diesel produced from algae. These fuel sources will lessen SAN ANTONIO auto owners' dependence on fossil fuels and may even become truly renewable and sustainable.

Diesel-powered vehicles perform as well as other passenger vehicles, also. Most Helotes people don’t notice a difference in driving one or the other. If you haul heavy loads or tow a trailer in Castroville, however, the diesel is a definite improvement.

So, you may be asking, if diesels are so great, why don’t all Atascosa car owners drive them? Surely there are disadvantages you haven’t told me about. That’s true. Diesel engines are heavier than gas engines, and they cost more in TX. The better fuel economy of the diesel engine is partially offset by the higher purchase price.

Because of higher fuel prices, diesel engines used to be more pricey to drive in Atascosa. But now, with higher volatility in the prices of both gasoline and diesel fuel in TX, that cost difference is less definitive. Whether a diesel or gas engine is more expensive for SAN ANTONIO drivers depends now on the current price of fuel in TX and how many miles you drive.

Consider also that diesel-powered vehicles have a high resale value in the Atascosa area, and the costs of owning and operating a diesel vs. a gas-powered vehicle in TX becomes a real toss-up.

Preventive auto maintenance for diesel vehicles has also become similar to that of gas-fueled vehicles in recent years. The major difference is that diesels require cleaner fuel, air and oil, so their filters are more expensive in SAN ANTONIO than those for gasoline engines. The engine air filter must be changed more frequently as well.

The costs for car care and repairs in SAN ANTONIO are similar. Wait, you may be thinking, but you just told me that filters are more costly and have to be changed more regularly. True, but that is offset by the fact that diesel engines have a much longer lifetime than gasoline engines. So if you are the type of owner who prefers to hang on to a vehicle for a long time, you will be more than rewarded with a diesel engine.

So if you have been looking for Cambridge Auto Center auto advice on whether to switch to a diesel vehicle or stay with a gas-powered one, then we hope this helps. The answer as to which type of vehicle is better is that it depends on the SAN ANTONIO driver and their driving habits. Now that you know the facts, you can make an informed choice based on your own priorities and needs.

Posted in the Fuel System category

What To Do In Case Of An Accident in Atascosa

Posted August 26, 2015 8:14 AM

Screeching tires, crunching metal – it’s an accident! If you’ve ever been in a car accident in SAN ANTONIO, even a minor one, you know how upsetting it can be. It’s hard to think straight and know what to do.

Let’s review what SAN ANTONIO motorists should do in case of an accident:

When an accident occurs, you should always stop. Leaving the scene of an accident in SAN ANTONIO is considered a crime - even if it’s not your fault. And hit and run penalties are fairly severe, possibly resulting in steep fines, loss of your TX driver’s license or even jail time.

Your jurisdiction may require that you try to help someone who is injured by calling for help or performing first aid if you are able. Warn other Castroville and Helotes motorists by putting out flares, using your flashers or lifting your hood. Call Atascosa emergency services as soon as possible. Tell the operator if medical or fire help is needed.

SAN ANTONIO drivers should always file a police report. It’s tempting for SAN ANTONIO motorists to skip this if everything seems to be ok. But without a police report, the other guy can say whatever he wants about the accident later, and you’ll not have an objective report to help defend yourself. Discuss the accident only with the police. Emotions are strong after an accident and we naturally want to talk about it – don’t. Never admit fault or guilt to anyone including the SAN ANTONIO police officer. Sometimes we may feel at fault, but in the eyes of the law, the other guy is responsible.

Truthfully give the officer the facts: such as "I was going thirty miles an hour" not "I wasn’t speeding". Remember, anything you say to the officer or anyone else can be used against you. Also get the officer’s name and ID number and ask where you can get a copy of the accident report.

Get the facts on the driver and owner of the other vehicle:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Date of birth
  • Driver’s license number and expiration
  • Insurance information

Also take down a description of the other SAN ANTONIO vehicle, license plate and vehicle identification number. Most TX auto insurance companies don’t record license plate numbers, so the VIN number is the best way to track a vehicle in TX.

Ask witnesses, including passengers, to wait for the police. If they can’t wait, ask for contact information and request that they write a brief description of what they saw. If someone refuses to leave their name, write down their license plate number so the police can track them down later if necessary. Always call your insurance agent or your insurance company. Call or see a physician if you think you may have been injured. For vehicle repairs, call Cambridge Auto Center at 210-697-9600

Contact Cambridge Auto Center to learn more about what do do in case of an auto accident.
You can find us at:
9823 Fredericksburg Road
Or call us at 210-697-9600

Cambridge Auto Center and AutoNetTV hope that you never have to use this information and wish you happy SAN ANTONIO travels.

Posted in the Automotive News category

Buying the Right Tires and Wheels In SAN ANTONIO TX

Posted August 12, 2015 10:29 AM

Everyone in SAN ANTONIO 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 SAN ANTONIO TX, 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. Their tread design is optimized for traction on dry roads in SAN ANTONIO TX and they're also able to effectively displace water on rainy roads.

SAN ANTONIO Selecting Tires and Wheels Now the rubber compound gets a little hard and stiff as temperatures drop below 45 degrees as it occasionally does here in SAN ANTONIO TX. And the tread which handles dry roads so well, can get packed with snow or mud – which provides very little traction in those conditions.

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.

Summer tires can be purchased with an emphasis on handling performance, smooth ride or long life. Your SAN ANTONIO TX tire professional at Cambridge Auto Center can help you find the right tire for the way you drive.

As you can imagine, winter tires are designed to work very well in snow and ice. Their tread is designed with many channels and grooves that throw the snow out of the tread as the wheel turns. This means the tire is always be able to bite into the snow.

The rubber compound used in winter tires is specially formulated to be flexible at temperatures below 45 degrees. This maximizes cold weather traction. When it gets warmer, the softer rubber will wear faster on warm dry pavement than summer tires, so change them out once the weather has turned.

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 SAN ANTONIO TX roads.

Within the all-season category, there are many choices that you tire advisor can help you evaluate.

Cambridge Auto Center
9823 Fredericksburg Road

Outside of these three main categories, some people in SAN ANTONIO with trucks and SUVs like a tire that is designed for both on-highway and off-highway use. They can handle the rocks and bumps off-road, but still work well on the street. Again, many options depending on the relative emphasis on on-road verses off-road.

You may want new wheels to go with your new tires – well, there are hundreds and hundreds of styles to choose from. That's a matter of personal taste. If you want to change the size of your wheels and tires, do get some professional help.

The computers on your vehicle are programmed to the size of wheel and tire combination that comes from the factory. Tire size affects various computer controlled functions like anti-lock brakes, traction and stability controls, speedometer and odometer. Of course, you want these systems to work properly. The computers can be re-programmed for different tire sizes.

And if you want to increase the size of your wheels and tires, you'll want so help to make sure they'll fit in the wheel wells of your vehicle without rubbing during turns or over bumps.

Posted in the Tires and Wheels category

Watching Your Check Engine Light

Posted August 12, 2015 8:39 AM

Did you know that most of the cars driving around SAN ANTONIO, TX carry more computer power than the Apollo 121 Lunar Module that landed on the moon in 1969?

New cars sold in the Atascosa area have as many as twelve networked computers and over five miles (eight kilometers) of wiring. In fact, for the last decade or so, auto computers have been controlling about 85 percent of your vehicle's functions.

Cars have sensors for manifold air temperature, coolant temperature, manifold air pressure, airflow, throttle position, vehicle speed and oxygen content. All of this electronic wizardry is pretty complicated. So how do SAN ANTONIO auto owners know when there is a problem?

It's simple; the Check Engine light comes on. The computer monitors all the sensors and uses that information to decide what to adjust such as the fuel mix, spark timing and idle speed. In addition, the computer monitors its own circuits. When it finds a fault, it turns on the Check Engine light and stores a trouble code in the computer.

It can be pretty disturbing for SAN ANTONIO auto owners when the Check Engine light comes on. We wonder just how urgent it is. Generally speaking, it is not critical like a temperature or oil pressure light. When you get one of those it means STOP NOW! When the Check Engine light shows up, you should come in to Cambridge Auto Center in SAN ANTONIO to find out what the matter is as soon as possible.

Since 1996, there has been a strong emissions control component to the Check Engine diagnostic. But if your Check Engine light flashes on and off, you know that it is more urgent and you need to get it checked immediately to prevent damage. You should slow down and avoid towing or heavy loads until you can get it checked out.

Your considerate Cambridge Auto Center service advisor has special diagnostic equipment that will retrieve the trouble code from the computer and help him determine what is wrong. From there, we can fix it and get you back on the road.

Stop by if you're check engine light is on.

Cambridge Auto Center
9823 Fredericksburg Road

Posted in the Dashboard category

Clean Fuel Equals Clean Performance For SAN ANTONIO Drivers

Posted July 31, 2015 11:03 AM

Hello, SAN ANTONIO motorists. Let's talk fuel filters. Fuel filters clean the dirt, dust and debris out of your fuel. Both gasoline and diesel-powered engines have them. The fuel filter is located in the fuel line between the fuel tank and the engine.

SAN ANTONIO motorists don’t need to filter their fuel because it has lots of grit in it; they need to filter it because it has some grit it in. Any dirt is bad for your engine. The cleaner the fuel, the better an engine will run.

Over time, the small amounts of rust, dirt and contaminants in your fuel settle out inside the fuel tank. After about five years, this can amount to a quite a bit of sediment. This means that as your sedan ages, your fuel filter has to work harder to screen your fuel: more sediment in your tank means more potential for grit in your fuel.

The harder your fuel filter works, the more often it needs to be replaced. Check with your sedan owner’s manual or Cambridge Auto Center to find out how often it should be serviced and how long you can expect it to last. You should change it before it becomes clogged. Your Cambridge Auto Center service professional can help you with recommended replacement schedules.

If your fuel filter becomes clogged, your engine will sputter when you drive at TX highway speeds or when you accelerate rapidly. A clogged filter allows enough fuel to run the car at low speeds around town in SAN ANTONIO, but when you need a higher flow of fuel for faster speeds, or if you need a sudden burst of fuel, you just won’t be able to get it through the filter.

A clogged filter is actually dangerous. If you need to accelerate suddenly out of the path of danger, you just won’t have the power to do it.

Fuel filters have a bypass valve. When the filter becomes clogged, the valve allows some fuel to bypass the filter so the engine can keep running – just not enough to be running well.

That means, though, that dirty, unfiltered fuel is entering your engine. Instead of clogging up your filter, that dirt is now getting into your fuel injectors, where it can cause serious damage. Fuel injectors are expensive; fuel filters are cheap. It doesn’t seem like a difficult choice for SAN ANTONIO drivers.

Fuel filters are the epitome of preventive maintenance. They are cheap and easy to change, but neglecting them can lead to pricey repair bills. Some fuel filters are inside the fuel tank and cannot be routinely serviced – your considerate Cambridge Auto Center technician will be able to tell you if this applies to your vehicle.

Good car care for SAN ANTONIO auto owners means following recommended schedules for preventive maintenance, including changing your fuel filters. Take the auto advice offered at Cambridge Auto Center and in every owner’s manual and have your vehicle regularly inspected. It may save you money by preventing costly repairs, but it will also repay you in improved MPG, safety and peace of mind.

Posted in the Fuel System category

How Much is Enough for Atascosa Auto Owners? Tire Tread Depth

Posted July 29, 2015 8:32 AM

Most Atascosa motorists know that tires wear out and that the wear has to do with tread depth. Most of us have heard that “bald” tires are dangerous, but most of us picture a tire with no tread at all when we think of a bald tire. And when we take our vehicles in for preventive maintenance, the technician tells us they’re need to be replaced long before all the tread is worn off. Just how much tire tread wear is too much? And how can you tell? Tires are costly and their condition is important to the safe handling of a vehicle, so it’s critical for Atascosa drivers to know the answers to these questions.

First of all, it’s vital to understand that there may be a legal limit to tread wear. If your tires are worn past this limit, you have to replace them to be in compliance with TX auto safety laws. That’s why measuring your tread wear is part of a vehicle safety inspection.

In some jurisdictions, tread must be at least 1.6 millimeters or 2/32 of an inch thick. This standard has been in effect since 1968. But this standard has recently been called into question, and some SAN ANTONIO drivers are arguing that it be changed.

The safety issue that has brought this standard under scrutiny is the ability of a vehicle to stop on a wet surface. When a vehicle has trouble stopping, most SAN ANTONIO auto owners immediately look at the brakes as the source of the problem. But tires are crucial to safe stopping distances because they provide the traction required in a stop.

A tire’s contact with the road surface creates traction, which allows for effective braking. On a wet surface, a tire only has traction if it can get to the road’s surface. So tire tread is designed to channel water out from under the tire to allow it to stay in contact with the road. If the tire can’t shift the water, then it starts to “float.” This condition is called hydroplaning. It is very dangerous for SAN ANTONIO drivers since the vehicle won’t stop no matter how hard the driver presses the brakes. Steering control is also lost.

A recent study tested the stopping ability of a passenger car and a full-sized pick-up on a road surface covered with only a dime’s depth of water (less than a millimeter). The vehicles were traveling at 70 mph (112 kph) when they stopped on the wet surface. At 2/32 tread depth, the stopping distance was double that of a new tire. The passenger car was still traveling at 55 mph when it reached the stopping distance it experienced with new tires.

Let’s suppose that you’re on a busy Atascosa expressway in a light drizzle and a vehicle stops suddenly in front of you. You just bought new tires and you brake hard, missing the vehicle with only inches to spare. If you hadn’t bought those new tires, you would have crashed into that vehicle at 55 mph. That is a major difference.

What if your tires had a tread depth of 4/32? You would have crashed into that vehicle at 45 mph. Still not a good situation. But it’s better.

Now what if you were driving that pick-up truck? You wouldn’t have missed that vehicle in the first place, and you would have crashed at higher rates of speed in both of the other scenarios. The heavier your vehicle, the longer its stopping distance. It’s a matter of physics.

The results of this test has led Consumer Reports and others to ask that the standard for tread wear from 2/32 to 4/32. The increased standard will improve safety on the road and save lives here in TX and nationally.

Of course, until the standard changes, you’ll have to decide whether you’ll be willing to replace your tires a little sooner.

You can use a quarter to tell if your tread wear is down to 4/32. Place the quarter into the tread with George’s head toward the tire and his neck toward you. If the tread doesn’t cover George’s hairline, you’re under 4/32. With a Canadian quarter, the tread should cover the digits of the year.

You can measure the 2/32 tread wear with a penny. If the tread touches the top of Abe’s head, it’s at 2/32. Tires are a significant item for SAN ANTONIO motorists when it comes to car care. But their condition has a major impact on safety. We need to decide whether to sacrifice safety for economy. Keeping our tread wear above 4/32 is good auto advice.

Posted in the Tires and Wheels category

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