Tips on Proper Tire Pressure Maintenance

Tire Pressure

The Importance of Tire Pressure

One of the most important parts of your car is the tires. They keep your vehicle rolling, so it’s important to always maintain the right tire pressure specific to your vehicle. Some important driving factors affected by the air pressure of your tires are safety, handling, and fuel economy.

Checking Tire Pressure

The tire pressure (PSI) requirement for your vehicle can be found in the owner’s manual or listed on a sticker located on the driver’s side doorjamb. DO NOT go by the number on the tire’s sidewall.

To achieve the most accurate tire pressure reading, tires must be at a cool temperature; be weary of the outside temperature and whether or not you are in a shady place.

Once you find your PSI requirement, have your tire gauge in hand and locate the valve stem cap on your wheel. Unscrew the cap and firmly press the tire gauge onto the valve stem for one or two seconds. Do the same thing for all four tires and compare your tire pressure readings with the number specific to your vehicle.

Inflating Your Tires

You have two options when inflating your car tires: A portable air compressor at home or use the air compressor at your local gas station (costing 50 cents to a dollar for use).

Reach the hose to your tire and activate the compressor. Remove the stem valve cap, attach the air hose to the valve stem, and then press the lever to activate the airflow. Use your tire gauge to check how much air has been inflated.

If your tire has been over inflated, you can use your tire gauge to release air by pressing down onto the valve stem head. Once you have reached the desired PSI screw back on the valve stem cap.

You can save a lot of time and money by repeating these steps on a regular basis

DIY Wheel Maintenance Tips for Your Alloy Rims

Yes, you can DIY wheel maintenance.

Alloy wheels may be stronger than the typical steel wheel but they are still affected by the same everyday roadway wear and tear. Elements such as brake pad dust, road salt and tar, can damage your wheels and cause permanent damage to your rims. Most Automobile manufacturers will recommend using soap and water as your go-to wheel cleaning method. Sometimes it can be difficult to choose the right wheel-cleaning product for your rims. So, let’s talk about how to do your own wheel maintenance.

Here are several options for you to get back that new wheel shine:

• The Lemon Juice technique is an effective method for cutting through dirt and dust on wheels that are still in fairly new shape. Just apply an even coating of lemon juice to your rims and let it sit for 10 minutes before rinsing
• If your rims are coated in grease, try soaking wheels in a tub of white or cider vinegar
• A great option for cutting through the tough grime is to use Oxy-Gel kitchen cleaner. However, it is an oxygenated bleach so be careful
• Avoid using the more abrasive cleaners and polishing compounds to clean your alloy wheels. Please use a wheel brush that is made specific for alloy wheels
• Another thing to remember when choosing to clean your rims is to avoid automatic car washes. They sometimes use acid-based cleaners in combination with abrasive brushes, which can permanently damage your wheels. So please check with your local car wash to avoid running your rims

Remember to protect your rims from future harm after using these cleaning methods, by applying an even coat of wax to your rims every two to three months. The best way to maintain a long-lasting and great looking wheel is to follow these tips on a consistent basis. If you’re worried your rims aren’t holding up as they should, call us and we can find the right solution for you.

Winter Showdown: Steel vs. Aluminum Wheels

aluminum wheels

Which is best for winter: steel or aluminum wheels?

So, you’ve decided it’s time for new winter wheels. There are a lot of questions to ask yourself before choosing a set of new custom wheels for your vehicle. What wheel will give you the best performance? What is the right wheel to suit your needs? What kind of style options are you looking for? There are two types of wheels that we offer at Courthouse Automotive: steel and aluminum alloy. So, what are the differences and which is best for you?

Steel Wheels
Steel wheels are the best economical choice. The price is low due to mass production and the low cost of steel. Your style choices are limited though. They come in fairly basic designs. Steel wheels can lack excitement. However, you do have the option to place a plastic hub cover over the steel that will give it that aluminum wheel look. Steel wheels also require little to no maintenance. But given that they’re steel, they may rust after a couple of years. They are also not made for every vehicle application.

Aluminum Alloy Wheels
Aluminum alloy wheels come in a vast amount of style choices. You basically have your pick of colors and finishes. For the winter, a fully painted finish is best such as silver or black. A chrome finish can be delicate and is less practical for the winter months. Machined lip wheels are also not the best choice for this time of year. Road salt and brake dust can collect and cause the clear coat to peel off. These types of wheels would require regular maintenance to preserve the finish. While aluminum wheels are becoming less and less expensive, the price ranges greatly based on style.

When choosing your new custom wheels, it’s best to consider your needs first. Steel wheels are low cost, durable and presentable. Aluminum wheels are more expensive, but stylized and can improve vehicle handling.

Wheel Alignment

best used cars

Proper Wheel Alignment is Important for Your Vehicle’s Performance

Everything that you own needs routine maintenance. Your air filters need to be replaced frequently for your HVAC system to work properly. You need to clean your dryer’s lint trap to reduce fire hazards. Your computer even needs to be updated frequently to work properly. Have you heard the turn of phrase, “a well-oiled machine”? Well, that’s because machines don’t work accurately when not properly cared for. Your wheel alignment is no different. It plays an important role in the your vehicle’s performance.

Your car hinges on precision to perform safely and efficiently. Your wheels can be easily misaligned. Usually, just from road conditions. But maybe you also drove forward through that parking spot, and didn’t realize until it was too late that there was a parking stop in front of you. Whatever the circumstance, your alignment requires regular check ups. Misaligned wheels can obviously cause uneven wear on your tires. But, “So? That’s only costing me more money on tires!” This may be true. But, think how challenging it can be to drive on a flooded or icy road with new tires. When your tread is worn unevenly, it becomes increasingly more challenging. Not to mention when your alignment is off, your vehicle has a tendency to pull to one side.

Besides being a potential safety risk, improper alignment also puts unnecessary stress on your vehicle. This can lead to other issues. It may also affect your brake shaft performance. When your vehicle pulls to one side, it can lead to steering system problems and cause uneven braking. Improper wheel alignment can also cause problems with your suspension. Your suspension is comprised of carefully balanced parts. When your alignment is off, your suspension is sure to go next. What was once a tune up, it now a very costly endeavor.

If you find see signs that your alignment in off, it’s time for a check up. Call our professionals at Courthouse Automotive to make an appointment today.

Tire Safety and Maintenance

tire safety

Tire Safety: Checking Tread, Tire Pressure and Rotating Your Tires

You know how worn out your feet feel after a long day at an amusement park? Imagine how rough your tires feel everyday after what you put them through. Treat your tires—give them a much-needed pedicure this season.

With the upcoming winter months, tire safety is a top priority. Examining them for wear, along with checking tire pressure and alignment is essential for vehicle safety, and yours. Tires affect your vehicle’s handling, traction, ride, braking and safety. They are the only part of your car that has direct contact with the road, so they take the biggest beating.

For optimum performance, your tires must first have the correct tire pressure for their type. Check the psi on the wall of your tires before filling them up. Underinflated tires can wear unevenly. This results in having to buy tires more often. On the other hand, overinflating your tires puts you at risk for a blowout. Furthermore, the psi in your tires fluctuates on their own. Tires generally lose about 1 psi per month on average, and lose or gain 1 psi for every 10 degree temperature change. This is a natural occurrence. Because of this, tire pressure should be checked on a monthly basis. Monitor the psi and adjust accordingly. Your tires should also be rotated about every 6,000 miles to ensure tire safety.

To inspect tread depth, just use the old penny trick. If Lincoln’s head is above the tread, it’s time for new tires. Relying on the wear bars to let you know when your tires need to be replaced can be a problem. Wear bars usually present themselves at around 2/32 tread depth. This can be ok for dry climates, but not for parts of the country that see lots of rain. For areas like these, it’s recommended that you change your tires at 4/32. This would be the minimum safe zone. For rainier climates, your tires need more tread to evacuate water from beneath the tire. This reduces your risk of hydroplaning. So, if you’re looking for 4/32 instead of 2/32, use a quarter instead of a penny to check the tread. If you see the top of Washington’s head, it’s time for new tires. Furthermore, for areas that see a lot of snow, 6/32 is the recommended minimum tread depth.

Your tire balance and alignment is also essential for tire safety. If your vehicle shakes or pulls to one side, that may be an indication of an alignment issue. It’s a good idea to have your alignment checked annually. And if your vehicle does pull to one side or shake, you should bring it in for a quick check. Furthermore, unbalanced wheels can cause rapid wear of shock absorbers and struts, which can be way more costly to replace than just a couple of tires.

Proper tire maintenance is essential for tire safety. Moreover, it helps improve your gas mileage and vehicle performance. This keeps you from having to visit the pump so many times in this chilly weather. Treat you tires to some much-needed monthly maintenance. Doing so could increase the life of your tires. You could even go more than five years without replacing them. This of course all depends on how and where you drive. Service life can vary from person to person. Regardless, be sure to take advantage of special offers on tire rotation and replacement. It could save you a lot of money in the long run.