Teson Automotive

1200 Armstrong Street

Algonquin, Illinois 60102

Mon -Fri  7:30am to 5:30pm

Phone: (847) 658-7700

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My Car Has a Computer?

Technology has permeated every aspect of our lives, including our vehicles!

All modern cars have at least one computer built-in. But unlike the internet-browsing laptops and desktop computers that come to mind, the computers in your vehicle serve a more limited but vital function – keeping your vehicle safe on the road.

The primary computer in your vehicle controls many aspects of its operation, including:

  • Fuel injection
  • Spark plugs
  • Idle speed
  • Engine emissions

Various sensors in your car (oxygen, engine temperature, throttle position…) send information straight to the car’s computer, and it automatically adjusts the engine operations to accommodate for the best performance and keep emissions as low as possible.

Computers in your vehicle precisely control aspects of your drive for better performance - for proper auto maintenance come to Teson AutomotiveJust as important, the on-board computer can alert you to potential problems with your vehicle. When one of the sensors indicate a problem, the computer can trigger a warning light or the “Check Engine” light to let you know something has gone wrong.

When you bring your vehicle into our independent auto repair shop, our certified technicians use sophisticated technology and up-to-date software to pull the codes stored within your vehicle’s computer. The computer automatically saves the information it receives from the sensors, and our expert technicians are able to take that data to accurately identify problems and quickly find the best solution.

But it doesn’t stop there… many modern vehicles have multiple computers, each with a specific function and role to play in delivering the best experience in your vehicle. Some vehicles have separate computers to control individual systems, including:

  • Transmission
  • Anti-lock brakes
  • Air bags
  • Climate control
  • Radio
  • Cruise Control
  • Navigation
  • and more…

And each of these computers have similar functions: reading sensors, saving important information, and alerting you to potential issues with error codes.

The computers in your vehicle work together to give you the best experience in your vehicle. And as technology continues to develop, computers may play a bigger and bigger role in our driving experience. (Think about a self-driving car – computers control EVERY aspect of the drive!) Which is why it is important for auto repair shops to stay up-to-date with the latest training, technology, and equipment.

Our ASE-Certified technicians undergo continued training and education to expand our expertise and keep up with the ever evolving industry. With the latest diagnostic tools and expertise, our independent shop can perform the reliable services your vehicle needs – from gathering critical data from on-board computers to performing repairs and maintenance to keep your vehicle running smooth.

To learn more about your vehicle or schedule your next appointment, stop by our shop in Algonquin or call our team at 847-658-7700.

What Octane should I use in my Car?

When you pull into a local gas station in Algonquin to fill your empty tank, it may be tempting to reach for the fuel with the lowest price tag. After-all, how can one little number be so important?

But reaching for the regular grade isn’t always the right choice – consult your owner’s manual, the sticker on the gas cap, or call our techs at (847) 658-7700 for advice for your vehicle – keep reading for more information about gasoline octane and when it matters.

What do the numbers on the gas pump mean?

Use the right octane for the best gas mileage in Algonquin - tips from the auto repair experts at Teson AutomotiveWhen you stop at the pump, the numbers indicate the octane rating of the fuel. This rating (87, 89, 93, etc.) relates to its ability to be compressed in the engine without igniting prematurely.

In a typical engine, gas and air are combined in the cylinders then compressed into a smaller volume. Once compressed, the fuel is ignited with a spark plug to create the combustion that powers your vehicle.

But different engines compress the fuel and air at varying ratios – high performance engines often have higher compression ratios that gives your vehicle higher horsepower.

The octane grade relates directly to the compression in the engine. Higher octane gasoline can withstand more pressure and compression without spontaneously igniting.

Can I use the cheaper gas to save money?

When the fuel ignites on its own (during compression instead of with the spark plug), you’ll notice a knocking sound in the engine. Did you recently fill the tank? You might be using the wrong grade of gasoline.

If you notice this sound, bring your vehicle into a trusted auto shop right away. Pre-ignition can damage the engine, so catching the problem early can help prevent further damage and costly repairs.

Uncontrolled combustion inside the cylinders is called knock or ping, and can cause severe engine damage. Using the lowest grade of gasoline might save you a few pennies now, but it’ll cost you much more when you have to repair or replace your engine later.

Is “Premium” fuel better for the engine?

Higher octane or “premium” fuel won’t boost the performance of your vehicle. If you put 93 grade fuel into your engine that calls for 87, you won’t see any increase in power, speed, or performance. Horsepower comes from the engine, not the fuel.

It’s always best to use the grade of fuel recommended in your owner’s manual. The manufacture can calculate the best octane rating based on the compression ratio and running temperatures inside your engine. Use the recommended fuel – if your engine calls for regular, there’s no need to pay more for premium!

Will I ever need to change fuel types?

As your car gets older, you may notice changes in the performance. If you notice knocking or pinging as you drive, you may need to consider putting in a higher octane. Carbon deposits inside the cylinders can raise the combustion ratio, requiring higher octane.

However, with proper care and maintenance, you can keep your engine in its best condition to keep running as it was designed!

Services like regular oil changes, cooling system flushes, fuel injection cleaning, and motor vac will keep your engine in shape for a long and healthy life. Stop by Teson Automotive  in Algonquin, IL, for your preventative maintenance services or if you notice ping or knocking in the engine.

If you have any questions about the right gasoline for your vehicle, different fuel types, or the services needed to care for your engine, call our team of certified technicians and advisors: (847) 658-7700.

Spring Car Care Tips

Spring has officially arrived in Algonquin! But that doesn’t mean your vehicle is in the clear – changing seasons means it’s time for maintenance to make sure your vehicle will keep you safely and comfortable on the road through the spring and summer.

April National Car Care Month - visit Teson Automotive for auto maintenance and an inspectionAs we kick off National Car Care Month, here are 8 things you should check on your vehicle to prepare for spring:

1. Antifreeze
Many people think of antifreeze only in cold months. But antifreeze (also known as coolant) also cools the engine in the heat of the spring and summer. This fluid is responsible for keeping your vehicle running at a consistent temperature. Don’t ignore it just because it has “freeze” in its name – antifreeze will become even more important as the weather warms up to prevent overheating engines and vehicle breakdowns.

Stay cool all spring and summer in Algonquin with an auto air conditioning inspection and service2. A/C temperature and check
As the days get warmer in Illinois, we’ve already noticed the need for air conditioning to stay cool and comfortable driving on the roads. But not using this system in the winter months means you’ll likely notice latent problems as the weather gets warm. Stop by our shop and our ASE Certified technicians will perform an inspection, checking the temperature and components in your vehicle’s A/C system. (Be leary of DIY Refrigerant flushes – leave this to the professionals to avoid damaging your vehicle).

3. Tire pressure
Warming temperatures affect tire pressure – a 10 degree increase can drop pressure by 1-2 psi. Low tire pressure means you’ll get fewer miles to each gallon and means your tires will wear faster than if they were properly inflated. Every time you stop at a gas station, check your tire pressure. Many stations even have air available for a top off on-the-go, or stop by our shop and we’ll fill your tires to the right pressure to get you back on the road!

4. Potholes
Road damage, from cracks to potholes to bumps in the road, can wreak havoc on your vehicle in the spring. Even a small pothole can damage your alignment and suspension. If your daily commute involves risks like these, stop by for an inspection early to prevent worsening the damage and premature tire wear.

5. Fluids
Spring is the perfect time to take care of routine maintenance before warm weather puts a toll on your vehicle. From your oil to coolant, transmission fluid, and brake fluid, winter can be harder on your vehicle. Small problems may become more noticeable as we head into the spring season. Have your fluids checked and replace as needed. When you bring your vehicle in for an inspection, our ASE certified technicians will check all of your fluids and recommend maintenance as needed – we’ll even top off your windshield washer fluid to keep you safe through spring showers!

6. Wash exterior
Winter roads can leave your vehicle covered in dirt and salt. Not only is this unsightly, it can actually harm your exterior. A thorough wash can remove chloride, salt, and chemicals from the exterior of your car. Be sure you clean the underside too! This is where the most dirt and chemicals can collect and post the biggest threat. As an extra bonus, take pride in your vehicle again when it is clean and looks like new!

penny7. Tire tread
Take a look at the tread on your tires using the penny test, looking carefully for any uneven patches or bald spots. While it might not seem as important in the spring, this time of year is the rainiest and wettest season. Good traction is important for driving on wet roads, especially unexpected or panic stops. If you’re not sure how to check your tires, stop by our shop and our technicians will help!

8. Spring Inspection
The best thing you can do for your vehicle this spring is stop by for a full inspection. When you bring your vehicle into our shop, our auto technicians can check all of the issues above, and can fix any problems we find right away. Most issues, including alignment, coolant, and fluid flushes, can be performed right away to get your vehicle back on the road quickly and safely.

Don’t be fooled thinking that just because it’s spring your car is now in the clear – changing seasons mean changing conditions for your vehicle. Check the elements above in your vehicle, or stop by our shop for a full inspection. Wishing you a fun and safe National Car Care Month!

If you have any questions about the care of your vehicle, preparing for spring in Algonquin, or scheduling an appointment, call our advisors at (847) 658-7700.

Replacing your Timing Belt

Changing your timing belt is NOT optional – but waiting until it breaks to address any issues is. And that is a risk you shouldn’t take.

Most manufacturers recommend changing the timing belt at a specific mileage, usually between 90 and 105 thousand miles. But you should NOT wait until the last possible minute to have your timing belt replaced. Replacing it early can save you thousands of dollars.

If your vehicle is due for a timing belt replacement, or to find out what your manufacturer recommends, call our experts at (847) 658-7700.

Timing Belt ReplacementWith the timing belt, it’s not if it will fail – it’s WHEN. This rubber belt is critical to your vehicle’s performance – and the operation of the auto engine.

The timing belt is a rubber belt with teeth, which travels on pulleys through the engine in your vehicle. The teeth on the belt catch on gears, like on the water pump to regulate the coolant entering the engine.

There are two common reasons that your timing belt would fail:

  1. Age & Miles – As your vehicle travels more miles, the rubber teeth on the timing belt wear down. If worn to the point that the timing belt can no longer grip the gears, it will slip and cause the pistons and valves to pump out of sync. Most manufacturers recommend replacing the timing belt between 90 and 105 thousand miles.
  2. Water Pump Seizure – If the water pump in your vehicle seizes, the gear will stop turning and the force will break the timing belt. This is often caused by cooling system failure. If the coolant hasn’t been flushed regularly, your vehicle is at risk of cooling system and water pump failure.

If your vehicle has an interference engine, a broken timing belt could mean thousands of dollars in damage. (The average cost to replace an engine after a blown timing belt can run from $3,000 to $10,000 and higher depending on the vehicle.)

In interference engines, pistons (the large cylinders in the illustration below) move up and down. Above these pistons, there are smaller valves that simultaneously pump up and down. The timing belt controls the operation of both these elements, ensuring that they move in sync so the valves and pistons never meet.Timing Belt Pistons Valves Interference Engine

When the timing belt slips or breaks in an interference engine, the pistons and valves become out of sync – the pistons continue to pump, forcefully hitting (and almost always breaking) the valves.

What should have been routine maintenance, replacing the timing belt in your vehicle, has now become a costly engine repair – replacing the timing belt early can save you THOUSANDS of dollars.

To find out if your vehicle needs a new timing belt or schedule your next appointment, call us at (847) 658-7700.

Even in non-interference engines, a broken timing belt can immediately shut off your vehicles engine, leaving you and your family stranded on the side of the road with a vehicle that can no longer run. By putting off timing belt replacement to save some money now, you’re risking the safety of your family and vehicle – and risking extensive damage that will cost much more.

In this video, the Monday Morning Mechanic reviews the importance of Changing your timing belt EARLY to save BIG BUCKS!

“Changing your timing belt isn’t optional, but waiting until it breaks before you do can cost you thousands. While you’re having it changed, though, you can have several other items addressed at the same time, which can save you a ton of money for labor. While your shop is under the hood replacing the timing belt, have them change the water pump, and the tensioners, and you’ll save a lot in the long run.”

If your vehicle is due for a timing belt replacement, don’t delay! Give our auto repair experts a call at (847) 658-7700 to schedule your service, replace your timing belt, and save yourself from the danger and inconvenience of extensive damage and costly repairs.

3 Cat Litter Auto Myths – True or False?

Kitty litter often makes an appearance in lists for auto emergency kits or winter safety tips – but why is this strange “tool” so popular? What is it for? Does it really work?

Here, we address three “myths” about cat litter to help you stay safe on slick winter roads in Algonquin, IL. Before you find yourself stuck (without cat litter), make sure your car can handle winter conditions – call our team at 847-658-7700.

 Cat Litter_Car EmergencyMyth #1 – Cat litter provides Traction

TRUE! If your vehicle gets stuck in a snow bank or on a slick road, cat litter can help create the traction you need to get out. Pour a little around your tires to give them something to grip as you navigate onto the road. The non-clumping kind works best for extra traction on slick roads.

Myth #2 – Cat Litter Weighs Down your Car

TRUE! As cat owners know, bags of cat litter are heavy. When you’re not stuck in the snow, the weight of cat litter in your trunk can also help improve traction by adding weight to the back end of your vehicle. Especially in trucks and cars that are front heavy, a little extra weight in the rear of your vehicle can help stabilize you, keeping you in control of your vehicle on slick roads.

Cat litter provides traction on slick winter roadsMyth #3 – Cat litter is an alternative to “Ice Melt”

FALSE! Cat litter does NOT act as an “ice melt” for your driveway. While it will provide traction for vehicles and pedestrians on ice, it will not speed up melting of the ice (the way salt ice melt does – salt lowers the freezing point of water to help it melt faster). In fact, as the ice starts to melt, the kitty litter may absorb the moisture, leaving you with slippery, wet clay to sweep away.

Drive safely on the winter roads across Algonquin this season. Don’t forget to pick up some cat litter for your winter auto emergency kit – store a bag in your trunk for weigh and traction on slick roads. To make sure your vehicle is prepared for winter road conditions, schedule an appointment or call 847-658-7700.

Don’t Ignore that you just Hit a Curb!

Hitting a CurbWinter roads are slick in Algonquin, and across Illinois. As you drive along snowy, icy roads this winter, use extra caution to remain in control of your vehicle to avoid slides and skids.

At Teson Automotive, we’ve seen many of our customers’ vehicles suffer damage from sliding into a curb on slick winter roads. Even though this seems like a small mistake, hitting a curb can have major impacts on your car. Don’t ignore it! Stop by our auto shop to have an inspection before small damage causes big problems. Call us at (847) 658-7700 to schedule an appointment.

Potential issues from hitting a curb:

  • Hitting a curb even going as slow as 5-10 mph can have a major impact on the performance of your tires. Tire wear damage is possible in as little as 200 miles after a curb impact.
  • Tie Rods are the connection between your steering system and the wheels. Any damage to the tie rods can severely inhibit your ability to steer, especially important when roads are slick.
  • The control arms allow up and down movement of the suspension while holding the knuckles, spindles, and axles firmly onto the car. Jarring from hitting a curb can cause extreme damage to the control arms and suspension of your vehicle.
  • steering knuckle contains the wheel hub or spindle and attaches to the suspension components. It is variously called a steering knuckle, spindle, upright or hub, as well. Damage to steering knuckles also impacts suspension and steering your vehicle.
  • Tires and Wheels can be damaged as well. If you suspect tire damage, have it inspected immediately to avoid costly problems.

What should you do?

If you hit a curb, call us at (847) 658-7700 to schedule an inspection as soon as possible. Our certified technicians will make sure your vehicle can keep you safely on the road, without risking extensive damage and costly future repairs.

Damage from Curb SlideAn alignment check is a small expense, but can save your vehicle many miles and dollars from costly issues. If an adjustment is needed, this inspection can save many miles on your tires, and help you get more miles out of every dollar if other issues are found (by catching and fixing small problems before they lead to extensive damage and costly repairs). But more importantly, a check will provide peace of mind that you and your family will stay safe while driving, especially as it gets really cold in Algonquin.

Don’t ignore the fact that you just hit a curb! Call today to have your vehicle inspected.

Stay safe and warm this week (and all winter) in Illinois. To prepare your vehicle for cold weather, stop by Teson Automotive for an inspection: (847) 658-7700.

 

Tips for Avoiding Holiday Traffic

From all of us at Teson Automotive, Happy Holidays! This season is one of the busiest for holiday travel. And with unpredictable weather and road conditions in Algonquin, IL, and across the country, long road trips can be stressful.

Before you head out for your holiday road trip this year, bring your vehicle in for a pre-trip inspection. Our ASE Certified technicians will thoroughly inspect your vehicle, fix any issues before they lead to costly repairs, and give you the peace of mind to embark safely on the road.

Here are a few more tips to stay safe and avoid holiday traffic this season:

Holiday traffic can be avoided with a little planning!Plan ahead – If you have the flexibility, avoid traveling on the busiest days. When possible, avoid major highways during rush hour (7:00–10:00 am and 4:00–7:00 pm). Plan your route ahead of time, or use a GPS or smart phone to identify alternative routes.

Stay alert – When driving in heavy traffic or slick winter road conditions, the best thing you can do is pay attention. Avoid distractions like the radio, cell phones, makeup, etc. and focus on the road ahead of you. Staying alert will help you react to changing road conditions faster, stay safe, and avoid unnecessary congestion from distracted drivers.

Know your route – Familiarize yourself with the street names, exit numbers, and alternative routes before heading out. If you’re traveling on a congested highway and know your exit is coming up, think ahead and don’t wait until last opportunity to merge. Merging at the last minute creates bottlenecks, the cause of around 40% of traffic congestion.

Prevent breakdowns –Breakdowns and accidents cause nearly 25% of traffic jams. The best thing you can do for your vehicle before a road trip is to stop by for an inspection, and tend to any threatening issues. If you find yourself in an emergency on a high-traffic road, pull over quickly and completely to avoid further delaying traffic. And if you see an incident on the side of the road, avoid the impulse to slow and watch the commotion – this only further contributes to slow traffic.

Traffic apps – Before you head out, check your favorite source for traffic updates. Google maps now can show real-time traffic conditions, and there are a variety of apps and websites (as well as local radio stations) that provide current traffic reports. Tune-in before you head out, and plan alternative routes as needed.

Check the weather – Rain and snow can contribute to traffic delays. Consider the forecast (you can check at local and national conditions at weather.com) and plan accordingly. If it looks like rain or snow, plan extra time for your commute and check your tire condition before longer trips. Poor traction increases your risk of an accident on slick road).

Be prepared – Prior to long trips, make sure your emergency kit is stocked and packed in your vehicle. Check the tire pressure in your spare tire (you can’t replace a flat tire with a flat spare!) and make sure your jack, lug nut wrench, and tools are in place. A quick check will confirm that you are prepared to handle a flat tire or other auto emergency on the road.

Relax and be courteous – On roads with heavy traffic, a little patience goes a long way. While you may not be able to control the speed of traffic or attentiveness of other drivers, your attitude is in your control. Avoid road rage and be courteous to other drivers. If someone in the next lane is signaling to merge, slow to let them in. These small acts help you to avoid stress and unnecessary bottlenecks.

With a little planning and patience, you can make the best out of holiday traffic. Traffic is uncontrollable, but you can adjust your attention and attitude to avoid contributing to the problem.

For your pre-trip inspection, give us a call at (847) 658-7700 or schedule an appointment. Wishing you a happy holiday season, and safe travels this winter!

Stay Safe this Winter – 10 Things you need in your Emergency Kit

Winter is here in Algonquin, IL. Unseasonably cold weather has hit even places like the Deep South. With the polar vortex as a regular occurrence in our winters, below zero temperatures, and snow in places that don’t normally see snow, you need to be prepared for winter hazards.

When snow and ice cover the roads, the risk of emergencies increases. We hope you’ve already taken advantage of our winter inspection to make sure your vehicle can handle the winter road conditions. To stay safe and prepare for winter emergencies, gather these 10 things in your vehicle for a winter emergency kit:

  1. Windshield scraper – On cold winter mornings, you’ve probably had to pry a thick layer of ice from your windshield. Keep a scraper (or one of these hacks!) in your car this season so you won’t be stuck waiting for the defroster to melt through the ice.
  2. Tire chains – If you’re often driving on icy and snowy roads, tire chains help provide traction for safe driving. Choose the right type for your vehicle, and learn how to put them on your tires BEFORE you need them in an emergency.
  3. Blanket and winter hat – Keep these things (add scarves, gloves, sweaters, etc.) in your vehicle to stay warm. You may not want to keep your vehicle running if you’ll be stuck for a long time, or dead batteries and an empty gas tank can prevent you from running the heater.
  4. Small shovel – This can be vital when you find yourself stuck in a snow bank. You can even purchase a smaller, folding shovel for easier storing in your vehicle.
  5. Cat litter – If you’re stuck on snow or ice, sprinkling some cat litter over the road can help provide traction to get your car moving again.
  6. Cardboard box – Like cat litter, a cardboard box can provide a boost of traction to get you moving on a slick road. Simply place the cardboard under a tire, get out of the way, drive over it, and you’re on your way.
  7. Gloves and hand warmers – Gloves can make a huge difference while your performing emergency repairs in the cold (like changing a flat tire or jump-starting your vehicle). They keep you warm, and prevent grease and oil from getting on your hands. You can also keep a few chemical hand warmer packs in your kit for extra heat.
  8. Hazard lights or reflectors – In these cold months, the dark hours outlast the light. Visibility is critical for keeping you safe in an emergency. Pick up a few inexpensive reflective hazard triangles to put on the road to warn other drivers of your presence. It’s also a good idea to keep a flashlight to help you see, perform tasks, and stay safe at night.
  9. Water and Nonperishable food – Being stuck in the cold is bad enough, don’t add hunger and thirst to the mix. A supply of snacks and water will keep you hydrated and satisfied until help arrives. The calories can also help keep you warm!
  10. Tow strap – If you find yourself so stuck that shovels, cardboard, and cat litter can’t help, you may need a tow. Keep a tow strap in your kit so a kind driver can help you get back on the road.

Gather these things and keep them in your vehicle this season so you can stay safe on the roads all winter long. Keep the phone number for roadside assistance and our shop in your glove box – (847) 658-7700 – give us a call anytime, we are here for you! Stay warm and safe this winter!

Preparing for Fall and Winter Road Conditions

fall-car-care-winter-road-prepIs your car ready for the changing weather? As summer comes to an end, we know that means cooling temperatures, rain, and falling leaves in Algonquin, IL. It also means winter will be here before we know it!

As National Fall Car Care Month, this month is the perfect time to ask, “Is my car ready for autumn and winter?” Here are eight things you should check to make sure your car can handle the coming weather and road conditions:

  1. Tire pressure – Cooling temperatures can affect the pressure in your tires, as external pressure changes with the weather. Take a few moments to check your tires with a pressure gauge and make sure it’s filled to the recommended level. Proper tire pressure not only reduces the chance of a flat, but also improves fuel efficiency.
  2. Tire treadCheck your tire tread too! While 2/32” is the minimum acceptable tread on your tire, rain and snow conditions require more tread for safe driving. Your tires should have at least 4/32” of tread, without bulges, wear, or bald spots, so you don’t risk losing control of your car on slick roads.
  3. Windshield wipers – If you wait for the next rain storm to check your windshield wipers, you’re risking your safety. Get in the habit of running your washer fluid periodically – you’ll be able to monitor if your wipers need replaced, and you’ll have a cleaner windshield!
  4. Defroster/Heater – Also test your defroster before the cold weather hits. On the next cold morning, turn on your heater to make sure it’s working. Make sure air flow reaches your windshield and isn’t blocked in any spots. If it takes too long to warm the interior, bring your car in for a heating system inspection.
  5. Battery condition – As temperatures drop, your battery may begin to show signs of failure. Test your battery’s condition using a multimeter (or have it tested) to ensure it is operating in the acceptable range. If your battery is getting old or can’t hold the proper charge, your vehicle may not be able to start on cold mornings.
  6. Brakes – When roads are slick with rain and snow, your brakes are put to the test! Brakes are subject to wear and tear with normal use of a vehicle, which means you’ll need to have them serviced and replaced periodically. Have them inspected before the first storm so you know that they are up to the task.
  7. Cooling system – If you’ve been putting off your coolant flush, have it done before winter arrives. Coolant (aka antifreeze) is critical to keep your engine running at the proper temperature even when the weather gets cold.
  8. Winter tools – Chances are you took that pesky ice scraper out of your car to make room for summer gear. Now is the time to put it back in your trunk or glove box so you are prepared for early frosts of the year. It’s also a great time to start prepping your auto survival kit.

Pay attention to your vehicle as the weather changes – some systems that work fine during the summer may start to reveal warning signs this season. Make sure your vehicle is up-to-date on manufacturer recommended maintenance, and address any concerns before they lead to bigger problems and costly repairs.

Stop by our shop for an inspection to make sure your car is ready for this fall!

Need new tires? Find out with this trick that only costs a penny!


Did you know that you officially need to replace your tires when the tread is below 2/32” thick? And did you know that the distance between the edge of a penny and the top of Lincoln’s head is exactly 2/32”?

Convenient, right?

Whether you’ve put extra miles on your tires with summer road trips or they are simply nearing the end of their life, this quick test will let you know if it is time to consider new tires.

Most tires have “wear bars” that run across the tread pattern. When these become visible, connecting patterns across your tire’s tread, they serve as a warning that your tread is getting bare. But not all tires are designed the same, and sometimes you just need an extra test to know with confidence that it is time to replace your tires.

So for a quick tread check, grab a penny! Place the penny, with Lincoln’s head down and facing you, into the tread of the tire.penny

If all or part of Lincoln’s head is obscured by the tread, your tires still have some life left – but if you can see all of Lincoln’s head, it’s time to replace your tire.

Note: Measure each tire in multiple places – both the inside and outside edge across the tire, and on multiple points around the tire. If your alignment is off, or if you have neglected tire rotation, they may have uneven wear. This also can cause bald spots that mean you need to replace your tires prematurely.

If you don’t have a penny handy, a quarter can also do the trick! The distance between Washington’s head and the edge of a quarter is exactly 4/32” (which also happens to be the recommended thickness for tire tread if you are driving in rain, snow, or icy conditions).

Use the same method, placing the quarter with Washington’s head upside down and facing you in the tread across multiple places on your tire. When you can see all of Washington’s head, you know you will need to replace your tires soon.

You may consider replacing your tires before they reach the 2/32” point. As your tread thins between 4/32” and 2/32” you may start to experience performance issues, especially in wet and slick conditions.

tire

The good news? There are easy steps you can take to extend the life of your tires! Keep your tires properly inflated to reduce extra friction and wear. Rotate your tires regularly to ensure they wear uniformly without creating bald spots.  Have an alignment performed periodically. Treat your tires with care – following these recommended maintenance tips can help them wear evenly so you get more miles out of every dollar! Stop by or schedule an appointment for a tire rotation, alignment, or inspection.