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Spencer Auto Repair Blog

Why You Should Not Run Winter Tires All Year

Date: 10/06/2017, Category: Spencer Auto Repair Blog

Vehicle tires are a very crucial factor determining road safety. They are the only connection between the vehicle and the road and therefore contribute a lot to performance. This implies that choosing the right tires is a delicate exercise and should be approached with due diligence.

Different seasons come with various driving challenges. That is why manufacturers have seen it fit to device different tires to handle the varying conditions. There are winter tires, summer tires and all-season tires in the market all of which have marked features that set them apart.

What Makes Winter Tires Different?

Understanding the factors that differentiate winter tires from all others will help us better understand why you shouldn’t run winter tires all year. Here are some of the noteworthy differences:

Chemical Structure

The main difference between winter tires and regular tires is the rubber compound used in the former. Driving in winter means having to contend with slippery surfaces and therefore grip is compromised. However, the compound used in winter tires keeps them soft even in the lowest temperatures. This makes them remain flexible and have a firm grip at all times keeping the vehicle stable while accelerating, decelerating and even stopping.

Tread Design

The tread patterns and depth on winter tires is also more pronounced than in all-season tires. These tires normally feature an asymmetrical pattern. On the outboard side, the treads are bigger and aimed at reducing tire squirming and retaining stability while taking corners. The inboard treads are much smaller and they assist in maintaining traction while on a straight snowy course. 

Siping

This refers to the thin slits that are cut into the surface of winter tires. They provide a bigger surface area meaning improved traction. They therefore make it easier for the tires to get a firm grip on snow. These cuts are almost invisible but they play a big role particularly when brakes are applied. They effectively help to bring the vehicle to a stop with greater ease and prevent sliding.

Studs

These are tiny metal pieces embedded into a tire to help the vehicle get a firm hold on icy surfaces. They also serve to improve traction by providing additional grip. They are however not as common these days and they are outlawed in certain states.

Reasons against Using Winter Tires in Warm Weather

The inconvenience of changing vehicle tires might at times make it tempting to keep the winter tires on even when the season comes to an end. Some reason that the soft rubber will always provide a firm grip thinking that the only issue is that they might wear out faster. Consider some reasons why you should not run winter tires all year no matter what:

Significantly Extended Stopping Distance

A firm grip on the driving surface determines how well your vehicle’s brakes function. When using winter tires during warm weather, the heat compromises the soft rubber compound. This means that even as you brake, instead of holding shape, the tires slide and the material shears. It takes longer to come to a stop and in case of a collision this will mean a greater impact.

Increased Risk

The extra wear that befalls winter tires when they are used in winter could mean the difference between life and death. As tires wear out they become smooth and therefore have very low traction. This means that they will take a lot longer to bring your vehicle to a stop and might therefore compromise on passenger safety.

Lower Performance

The same factors that enhance the winter tires’ performance on icy surfaces are the very same ones that reduce performance on regular road surfaces. Unlike all-season tires, they are considerably soft and therefore squishier. This makes it particularly hard to maneuver the vehicle when making turns. They do not respond as fast as their all-weather counterparts and this is not only inconvenient but also risky.

Noise

Studded winter tires in particular are noisy and annoying. The sound of metal studs digging into the road is not the most interesting one. Additionally, it causes damage to regular road surfaces and pavements explaining why it is either outlawed in some places or strictly limited to use in winter in other places.

Conclusion

Winter tires are made using specialized technology and material specifically for use on snow and ice. It is a lot more expensive to use them on regular roads as they won’t last very long. It is also very dangerous as proven above. So take the few extra minutes to change to all-season tires when spring begins and enjoy better performance, enhanced safety and a lot more convenience. If you need help changing your winter tires and need to get some summer tires contact Spencer Auto Repair in Mesa Az Today.

Why You Should Never Buy Cheap Tires

Date: 09/30/2017, Category: Spencer Auto Repair Blog

Spending money on good tires is never a priority for most of us. Like the bottom shelf of a supermarket aisle, they just don’t fall in our line of sight. We’d rather spend money on things like aftermarket rims and polishes. Additionally, many of us feel that more expensive tires are merely a cash grab.

Low Price Tires Near You

Honestly though, tires have a dramatic influence on pretty much every aspect of the car. The profile of the tire determines the ride quality, noise, handling characteristics, grip, mileage, tendency to aquaplane and even the look of the car. They also help in effectively using the power that the engine generates and restricts how fast we can drive. A large amount of torque is useless, if the tires cannot grip the road.

Tires connect the car to the ground. Additionally they are required to perform in harsh environments. Naturally they are the most abused part of the car. Winter tires need to hold onto slippery icy roads, even as the ice melts at the contact patch. They regularly cushion the driver and the passengers from crater sized potholes. Still most people are reluctant to spend money on good tires.

Most of us are satisfied with tires that can just stay inflated. Tread wear does not become an issue till the tires have gone completely bald. Mismatched tire sizes are routinely ignored, as are tire pressure warning lights. Drivers become too lazy to change their tires with the change in the weather. Inferior quality tires are used for saving as little as 100 dollars. It isn’t difficult to find tires of different makes or different speed ratings on different wheels of the same car. Clear signs of bad tires like periodic noises and vibrations are ignored without a thought. “It still runs” is our favorite defense.

Many of us will still argue that this tire related paranoia is not justified. People living in cities with smooth roads consider good quality tires to be unnecessary. Most of them only use their vehicles for commuting and don’t indulge in off roading or racing of any kind. However, there is one aspect where good quality tires can make a world of difference – the difference between life and death.

That aspect would be braking. Tires have a tremendous impact on a car’s braking performance. A YouTube video recently explored actual brake performance by comparing braking distances, stopping times and G-forces. This test was conducted between an old Fuzion HRI/VRI all weather tire setup against a new Bridgestone RE-71 R summer tire setup, on a Honda S2000 stopping from 60 mph. Both the tests were conducted at nearly the same temperature, same location and similar tire pressure. Although the test was not the most scientifically accurate, its results are still eye opening. The best results that could be achieved for the first setup were 136.15 feet, 3.41 seconds and -0.999G. The worst however were 143.9 feet, 3.58 seconds and -0.926G. For the second setup, the best results were 107.93 feet, 2.63 seconds and -1.193 G. The worst were 112.3 feet, 2.84 seconds and -1.165G.

These results are astonishing. The first setup’s braking performance is not just bad, it’s also inconsistent. The stopping distance itself, shows a variation of over 8 ft. This variation gets bigger on successive tests, while the second setup actually improved braking distance in successive trials. The biggest difference can be seen between the best timings for the second setup versus the worst timings for the first setup. A difference of 36 feet and a whole extra second to react could be lifesaving in an emergency. If this still doesn’t seem that big a deal then here’s another
perspective. The difference between the two performances, is the same between that of a Cadillac Escalade and an Alfa Romeo 4C or between a two ton SUV and a lightweight sports car.

As for price, the difference comes down to 215 dollars. Is this cost worth it? Considering the benefits, it would surely seem so. But if you’re still not convinced, then just take this one lesson from this article. Don’t buy tires based solely on price. At the same time, the most expensive tires aren’t necessarily the best for your car either. Consult customer reviews, independent tests conducted by auto magazines and consumer reports. Buy the correct tires for your car according to conditions and requirements. Make an informed decision.

If you are looking for top quality tires, contact Spencer Auto Repair in Mesa Az at (480) 500-1143. We can help you find and install the safest tires available for your vehicle.

How Car AC Systems Work & How To Recharge Your AC System

Date: 09/23/2017, Category: Spencer Auto Repair Blog

How Does it Work

A car is an almost airtight, metal, plastic and glass box. It absorbs and retains outside heat and moisture without letting out the inside heat and moisture and if the outside weather isn’t bad enough, it is attached to a hunk of metal that constantly creates countless fiery explosions. So cars tend to get hot.

Air Conditioners therefore, are indispensable but how do they work?

The most important ingredient here is the refrigerant. This absorbs the heat from the air entering the cabin making it cool. This is a gas, most probably Freon R134a. Unlike its predecessor it has little impact on the ozone layer and has a boiling temperature of −15.34 F or −26.3 C. This fact becomes important later.

This refrigerant is circulated throughout the AC circuit. First this gas is sent into the compressor. It is driven by the engine itself with the help of an engine belt. It comes in at low pressure and temperature and is compressed to high pressure and temperature. It is then sent into the condenser to cool off. The condenser is at the front of the car, with the radiator for better air flow. Air is captured by a fan or by the forward movement of the car itself. This air condenses the high temperature refrigerant gas to liquid form. The air then gets sent to a receiver dryer through a filter (to remove any harmful debris) and a desiccant (to remove any water). (Any water mixed with the refrigerant could freeze in the evaporator and damage it) Next, it goes into either an expansion valve or in some cars, an orifice tube. This controls the flow of the refrigerant into the evaporator. As the liquid expands in the expansion valve, it loses speed and pressure and just as the gas gained temperature under pressure, it loses that temperature when the pressure drops. Despite this drop, the refrigerant is still in a liquid phase as it enters the evaporator.
This very cold refrigerant is what cools the air entering into the cabin. A cabin fan blows air from the front of the car onto the evaporator, which along with the expansion valve, sits under the dash. These cooled fins absorb heat from the air, and the cooled air is sent into the cabin through the vents. The refrigerant however, has absorbed all the heat from the ambient air. Because of its low boiling point (as mentioned above), this heat literally boils it- i.e. it turns into a low pressure and temperature gas. If the car uses an orifice tube, it goes into an accumulator, which removes any remaining liquid from entering the compressor. After this, it goes into the compressor again and the cycle repeats itself.

Recharging the AC

Because of modern engineering, ACs have become very reliable. For most people the only maintenance issue likely to come up, would be a need to recharge the refrigerant level. Many companies provide kits through which this becomes a DIY task. They may even come equipped with a reusable pressure gauge connected to a dispenser tube and a temperature indicator. Some even have additives that seal slow leaks by causing the O Rings and gaskets to swell up. However if your system has leaks, it is best to get it fixed by a professional at Spencer Auto Repair.

Just put the AC on max and ensure the compressor is running and that the clutch engages. Then find the low pressure port to which you can connect the dispenser of the refrigerant. This port is often marked with an L on the top. Then connect the pressure gauge to the port. Listen for the reassuring click to ensure it fits. This next part is a bit tricky you must ensure that the bottle pressure is in the safe zone at all times to avoid overcharging. Twist the outer ring of the gauge to match the outside temperature. The pressure at this temperature should lie within the safe zone, as marked on the pressure gauge. Once this is ensured, you can detach the dispenser tube, attach the bottle and start recharging. Keep the bottle upright and keep it turning sideways by 90 degrees and checking the pressure gauge every few seconds. Charge till the needle falls between the marked pressure ratings or the suggested pressure and replace the cap. If you end up overcharging then you’ll have to take it to a professional, so be careful.

If after you recharged the systems the care is still not blowing cold air you might have a problem in another part of the system and you should take it to your local mechanic to have it checked. If you are in the Mesa Az area, Spencer Auto Repair can fix any AC system for all makes and models.

5 Things You Should Never Do In An Automatic Transmission Vehicle

Date: 09/11/2017, Category: Spencer Auto Repair Blog
Get your automatic transmission fixed at Spencer Auto Repair in Mesa Az

Automatics are everywhere. Everything from sports cars to hatchbacks has them. They make driving easy and less of a workout. But this convenience makes us careless. And carelessness in a car can be very expensive, if not life threatening. Here are a few things that you should never do, if you drive an automatic.

Never coast down a hill in neutral: This just seems logical. Going downhill? Put the car in neutral and just coast down with the help of gravity. Everyone’s wondered about doing it. Many do it regularly, thinking it will save them fuel. But there are many dangers related to this. Firstly, in neutral gear, the engine is running at its lowest RPM. This means that the oil pump, is also running at its lowest speed. This subsequently means that the engine is getting less cooling, which can lead to bearing failure due to heat and friction. Secondly, since your car is in neutral, you can no longer accelerate. This means you have lesser control over your car as you can only slow down and not speed up. Thirdly, you don’t actually save any extra fuel. Modern automatics cut the fuel supply on their own while going downhill. And even this happens in drive and not neutral. And finally, it may even be illegal to do so. In fact, it is illegal in 15 states. Depending on where you live it can become a factor in vetting insurance claims.

Never switch from drive to reverse, or vice versa without stopping: This is probably the first precaution that anyone who starts using an automatic is told about. Try this in a manual transmission, and it will let you know with infernal screeching. An automatic will probably still let you do it. However, when we do this, we are using the car’s transmission to effectively stop the car. An automatic transmission uses planetary gears in its transmission. Different set are engaged depending on which direction you want to move in. While one is in use the other set is made ineffective by using an automatic transmission band and multi-plate clutches. This band has a high friction material lining that clamps down on the housing of the gear that is not engaged, making it immovable. This lining is what will stop the car when changing directions without stopping. But unlike an easily replaceable brake pad, this part is deep inside your transmission. Replacing it will be expensive.

Never launch your car using the transmission: Despite all common sense suggesting otherwise, people launch their vehicles all the time. One of the common ways of launching an automatic is by revving the car in neutral and launching it by suddenly putting the car in drive. This again wreaks havoc on the automatic transmission band and clutches. Automatic transmissions use a torque convertor - a slush box - to transmit power from the engine to the wheels. This lets the engine run at a different speed from the transmission. It uses a fluid coupling and an arrangement of impellers and turbines, much like the ones at a hydroelectric plant. When the car is revved in neutral, the turbine connected to the wheels, faces tremendous force. The band clamping the turbine and clutches may get eroded and start to slip, again leading to a costly replacement. A better way of launching is to simply hold down the brakes as you build up revs and then lifting your foot off the brake to launch. Although extremely annoying and still very taxing on the components, this is better (less harmful) than using the transmission. This is also similar to what supercars use in their launch control mechanism.

Never put your car in neutral at stoplights: People do this for various reasons. They may not want to keep their foot on the brake the entire time they are at the stop sign. Some people think that keeping the car in drive puts unnecessary stress on the transmission. But frankly, this stress is nothing compared to that when the car is put in drive and starts moving. It is actually better to have the car in drive and avoid the stress experienced during start. Putting the car in neutral also gives you lesser control over your car in case any emergency maneuvers are required. In case you want to relax or pay attention to something else, then using the parking brake could be an option. Some people also do this to save fuel. But this again, is frankly unnecessary. The amount of fuel saved - which can be seen in modern cars’ live readouts - is very small. If the stop happens to be lengthy, then the better option would be to simply switch the engine off. This is why many modern cars come with a stop start button or cut off on their own at stoplights.

Never put your car in park before it has come to a complete stop: Doing this in modern cars may actually not even be possible, as they use speed sensors. And why would anyone put their car in park before it has stopped completely? But people do end up doing it while slowing down in a hurry or in confusion while trying to stop. However this can be very harmful for your transmission. Always remember, that the park position is meant for keeping the car from moving. It is not meant to stop your car, while it is moving. Putting the car in park locks up the transmission, making it very difficult, if not impossible for the wheels to move. Moving the gear to park will move a locking pin into position to lock the transmission output shaft that connects it to the wheels. If the car is still moving, then this pin or the output shaft can get eroded or even break completely.

Basically, when driving an automatic, just leave that lever alone. That was the whole logic behind inventing the automatic anyways. Use the brakes and the gas pedal to control the vehicle instead. Only use the shifter, when it is really necessary. Modern cars are intelligent enough, that drive can handle any situation that a modern city’s stop-go traffic can throw at them.

If you are having automatic transmission trouble you can get it fixed at Spencer Auto Repair in Mesa Az. Call us today: 480.500.1143

How the Dodge Demon Uses Air Conditioning For More Horsepower

Date: 09/04/2017, Category: Spencer Auto Repair Blog

Performance cars don’t like air conditioners. Racing cars instead, have little bottles of water with tubes to keep the driver from dehydrating. This is because ACs add weight and sap power- about 5-12 HP. For smaller engines, they sap so much power that turning the AC off, acts almost like a boost button. But what if you could use the AC to get more power instead?

Sounds implausible or even downright idiotic. The Dodge Demon achieves just that. It sounds implausible, because it means creating more engine power by using engine power but Dodge engineers have figured it out.

Service Your A/C the Correct Way

Date: 07/13/2017, Category: Spencer Auto Repair Blog

***Car Tip*** Avoid using at home R-134a refrigerant cans that contain sealant. With these cans it is very easy over-charge or under-charge the system. Also the sealant can work its way throughout the circulatory system and damage major components such as the compressor.

Let our ASE and Factory Certified Technicians service your A/C system with our professional Refrigerant Recover, Recycle, Recharge Machine. All repairs will be performed the right way and are backed by our 3 year, 36,000 mile warranty!

 

Make an Appointment today! 
https://spencerautorepair.com/appointment

 

Extend the Life of Your Tires!

Date: 03/27/2017, Category: Spencer Auto Repair Blog

Extend the Life of Your Tires!

Taking care of your tires can not only save you money by extending the life of your tires but it also helps keep you safe. At Spencer Auto Sales and Service we have two locations that can assist you with all your vehicles tire maintenance.

One of the first common causes of premature tire failure is tire pressure. Without the correct tire pressure your tires can experience irregular wear, stress, and it can even cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Here are Spencer Auto Sales and Service we check tire pressure with any regular service. If are concerned about your tire pressure feel free to stop by anytime for a courtesy check.

Temperatures Heating Up!

Date: 03/19/2017, Category: Spencer Auto Repair Blog

As temperatures heat up you may start to use your vehicles A/C System. It is so important in Arizona that we have our vehicles A/C system checked and serviced to help prevent issues in the middle of summer! Now is a perfect time to bring your vehicle in for an A/C check. Allow our ASE and Factory Certified Technicians to inspect your A/C System to keep it running at its best!

We offer a 3 year, 36,000 mile warranty on all Air Conditioning Repairs. We are able to offer such a great warranty because we use only quality parts and we perform repairs the right way. One common mistakes we see is that people use R134A products with sealant to "Fix" their A/C System's leak and recharge their system. The issue with these products that contain sealant, is that they can seal not only a leak but the entire system. If the system is sealed it will not function properly and can lead to more extreme and costly damage. If you suspect you have a leak or another Air Conditioning issue give us a call. We would love to earn your business.