Video Blog

Tire Tread Depth for Lancaster, California Drivers

Jun 28, 2012

Driving on bald tires is like playing roulette. Though you may be fine today, eventually your luck is going to run out.

The Feds don't have any laws for tread depth, but 42 of the states, and all of Canada, do have regulations. They consider 2/32 of an inch to be the minimum legal tread depth. Two other states, including California, consider 1/32 to be the minimum and six states have no standards at all. Call us at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley; (just call 661-949-8484) to find out what your requirements are in the Lancaster, California, area.

Since 1968, U.S. law has required that a raised bar be molded across all tires. When tires are worn enough that this bar becomes visible, there's just 2/32 inch/1.6 mm of tread left. But does that older standard give Lancaster vehicles enough safety?

Consider this: Consumer Reports recommends tire replacement when tread reaches 4/32 inch/3.2 mm. And the recommendation is backed by some very compelling studies. Now before we go into the studies, you need to know that the issue is braking on wet surfaces.

We tend to think of the brakes doing all the stopping, but Lancaster vehicles also need to have effective tires to actually stop the car. When it's wet or snowy in Lancaster, California, the tread of the tire is critical to stopping power.

Picture this: you're driving in Lancaster over a water-covered stretch of road. Your tires need to be in contact with the road in order to stop. That means the tire has to channel the water away so the tire is contacting the road and not floating on a thin film of water – a condition known as hydroplaning. When there's not enough tread depth on a tire, it can't move the water out of the way and you start to hydroplane.

This is where the studies come in. We think Lancaster drivers will be surprised. A section of a test track was flooded with a thin layer of water. If you laid a dime flat on the track, the water would be deep enough to surround the coin, but not enough to submerge it. 

A car and a full-sized pick-up truck were brought up to 70 mph/112 kph and then made a hard stop in the wet test area. Stopping distance and time were measured for three different tire depths. First, they tested new tires. Then tires worn to legal limits. And finally, tires with 4/32 inch/3.2 mm of tread were tested (the depth suggested by Consumer Reports.)

When the car with the legally worn tires had braked for the distance required to stop the car with new tires, it was still going 55 mph/89 kph. The stopping distance was nearly doubled. That means if you barely have room to stop with new tires, then 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 the depth recommended by Consumer Reports – the car was still going at 45 mph/72 kph at the point where new tires brought the car to a halt. That's a big improvement – you can see why Consumer Reports and others are calling for a new standard.

Now without going into all the details, let us tell you that stopping the truck with worn tires needed almost 1/10 of a mile (.16 km)  of clear road ahead to come to a safe stop. How many Lancaster drivers follow that far behind the vehicle ahead? Obviously, this is a big safety issue.

The tests were conducted with the same vehicles but with different sets of tires. The brakes were the same, so the only variable was the tires.

How do people in Lancaster know when their tires are at 4/32 inch/3.2 mm? Well, it's pretty 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.

Now you may remember doing that with pennies. But an American penny gives you 2/32 inch/1.6 mm to Abraham Lincoln's head. The quarter is the new standard – 4/32 inch/3.2 mm.

Tires are a big ticket item, and most people in Lancaster, California, want to get thousands of miles/kilometers out of them. Just remember: driving on bald tires is like playing roulette.

Have Mr. Washington look at your tires today. If he recommends a new set, come see us at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster.

The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley
226 West Avenue I
Lancaster, California 93534
661-949-8484
http://cardoctorsav.autovideotipsblog.com



Arrive Alive in Lancaster

Jun 19, 2012

We've all seen drivers do crazy things while driving to or from Lancaster. A guy shaving in the rear-view mirror, a woman applying makeup, people talking on their phones, texting or drinking from an enormous coffee mug. It's a wonder we even dare drive on California roads.

The truth is that all of us are distracted when we drive. Unfortunately, traffic, road construction and other external factors are beyond our control. The distractions inside our car, however, are things we can often control.

Here's some things that'll give you more control in your car, and help keep your attention on the roads around Lancaster.

  • Lancaster drivers who are 16 to 20 years old tend to be more distracted by the radio, CD or MP3 player.
  • Lancaster drivers who are 20 to 29 are more distracted by passengers in the car, including small children.
  • Those over age 65 tend to be more distracted by objects or events that are outside of the vehicle.

Other factors like fatigue, stress and lack of sleep make it harder to pay attention to driving – no matter what age we are. It is always better to pull over and take a quick nap than risk falling asleep at the wheel. Lancaster drivers are also distracted by thinking about relationships, family issues, money and bills. So what can Lancaster drivers do to manage these distractions? Well, the first thing is to eliminate as many as we can.

If you really think you have to shave, change your clothes or put on make-up while driving in Lancaster – you're wrong. Just start getting ready earlier so you have enough time to finish those things before you drive around Lancaster.

The professional here at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley wand you to remember that driving is probably the most dangerous thing you'll do all day – so don't make it any worse. Use these tips to keep you and your loved ones safer behind the wheel in Lancaster.

The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley
226 West Avenue I
Lancaster, California 93534
661-949-8484
http://cardoctorsav.autovideotipsblog.com



Busted: The Maintenance-Free Myth in Lancaster

Jun 14, 2012

There's a segment of the Lancaster area population that's not committed to proper vehicle maintenance.

Now, the ignition system in your vehicle is electronic and controlled by the engine management computer. Spark plugs rarely get fouled and will last for as much as 100,000 miles (160,000 kilometers). So tune-ups used to force you in to The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley for service, and while you were there you just took care of whatever else was on the list.

Also, in recent years, a large percentage of new vehicles in Lancaster have been leased. These folks plan on turning the vehicle in after two or three years, so they haven't focused on the maintenance that helps a vehicle last longer.

Given all that, what's the benefit to keeping up with factory scheduled maintenance? Well, your vehicle will perform better and return better fuel economy.

Those benefits pay for themselves as they go along. The big plus is that major repairs are prevented. And these aren't just repairs that are a long way off. Modern vehicle engines are far more sophisticated and have many parts that are in critical need of proper lubrication. Missing just one oil change can allow oil sludge to start forming. Sludge clogs small engine passages, robbing parts of the lubrication they need. An expensive failure could easily occur within two or three years.

And modern engines require more sophisticated fluids. Because of the different types of materials that are used to make auto parts, things like aluminum, plastics and steel, different types of additives are required to protect automotive components from corrosion. These additives deplete with time as well as with use.

Taking care of the little things now prevents big problems later. At The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley, we have been taking care of all those little things for years. Your vehicle still needs to be taken care of – it's just that some of those points of care have changed with automotive advancements. The need for proper maintenance in Lancaster drivers vehicles did not go away.

The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley
226 West Avenue I
Lancaster, California 93534
661-949-8484
http://cardoctorsav.autovideotipsblog.com



To Save Gas Around Lancaster: Keep up with Your Scheduled Service

Jun 06, 2012


 

One topic that hits the news in California on a regular basis is the price of gas. The answer for some California drivers is to buy a vehicle that gets better fuel economy. For those of us in Lancaster who don't want to add a car payment to our monthly expenses, we need to improve our fuel economy any way we can.

Following recommended service intervals by coming into The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley is one of the best ways people in Lancaster can keep their vehicle running efficiently. That means better fuel economy. When you give it some thought, it only makes sense. Dirty oil or transmission fluid can't lubricate or clean. That means more drag which reduces fuel economy.

Keeping up with scheduled oil changes and transmission services will save gas for California drivers.

Dirty engine air filters are another efficiency pirate. They rob your engine of enough air to effectively burn the fuel, so you need more gas to get the job done. Replacing a dirty air filter can pay for itself in fuel savings before the next oil change.

You can imagine what dirty fuel injectors can do to your vehicle as you drive around Lancaster. If your owner's manual recommends a fuel system cleaning, come into The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley and ask us to get it done for you.

A simple, but very effective way for drivers to save gas is to keep their tires properly inflated. Low tires can cost you up to a mile per gallon/.425 kilometers per liter. Check your tire pressure when you gas up – or at least once a month.

The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley
226 West Avenue I
Lancaster, California 93534
661-949-8484
http://cardoctorsav.autovideotipsblog.com




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