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Tire Tread Depth for TUCSON, AZ Drivers

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 All Makes & Models Auto Repair; (just call 5208077571) to find out what your requirements are in the TUCSON, AZ, 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 TUCSON 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 TUCSON vehicles also need to have effective tires to actually stop the car. When it's wet or snowy in TUCSON, AZ, the tread of the tire is critical to stopping power.

Picture this: you're driving in TUCSON 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 TUCSON 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 TUCSON 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 TUCSON 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 TUCSON, AZ, 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 All Makes & Models Auto Repair in TUCSON.

All Makes & Models Auto Repair
1305 E BENSON HWY
TUCSON, AZ 85714
5208077571
http://www.allmakesautorepair.com

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Keep Your TUCSON Car Breathing Free: Engine Air Filter

Hey TUCSON - this is something really amazing: Your vehicle uses 12,000 times as much air as fuel when you drive it. All of that air has to be filtered to keep your engine clean.

That's like 100 gallons (380 liters) of air every block! The engine air filter is just another example of a very important but inexpensive part that has to do a tremendous amount of work. And when it works, everything goes well. But, when it doesn't, well, it can lead to problems. Of course, your vehicle manufacturer recommends how often to change your air filter. But like most service intervals, where and how you drive your vehicle in AZ affects when your filter needs to be changed.

Dusty conditions around TUCSON or polluted city driving means you'll need to change your filter more often. Our trained professionals at All Makes & Models Auto Repair can check your filter for you. In fact, it's often a routine part of an oil change.

When you think about it, a clogged air filter won't allow as much air through as a clean filter. Your vehicle needs this air to efficiently burn its fuel, giving you better fuel economy and performance.

Dirtier filters don't work as well as clean ones. A filter can only hold so much; after that, it allows dirt to pass right into your engine. Air filters come in all shapes and sizes. They also come in different grades. There are high performance air filters available for most vehicles. These high performance filters cost a little more, but they increase horsepower and may improve fuel economy to boot.

So it's important for TUCSON drivers to make sure and have their air filter checked. If it needs replacing, it doesn't cost very much at All Makes & Models Auto Repair in TUCSON and it should easily pay for itself in better fuel economy before your next oil change.

All Makes & Models Auto Repair
1305 E BENSON HWY
TUCSON, AZ 85714
5208077571
http://www.allmakesautorepair.com




 

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Keep Your Cool in TUCSON

TUCSON drivers rely on their vehicle's coolant system to keep their engine cool. Coolant (also called antifreeze) mixed with water flows through your vehicle engine and absorbs heat. The mixture then flows out to the radiator where it's cooled by air flowing over the radiator. From there the coolant/water mix circulates back through the engine to absorb more heat.

There's a reason we mix coolant and water. Water alone actually does a good job transferring heat from the engine. The problem is that water boils at a temperature that's easily reached inside your vehicle's engine, so it can turn to steam which does not conduct heat as well and is harder to contain.

Also, if it's freezing outside in TUCSON, the water in your engine could freeze while your vehicle is sitting out in the AZ cold.

So, if you remember your high school chemistry, you'll know that a mixture has both a higher boiling point and a lower freezing point than either component alone.

Coolant, or antifreeze, is specially formulated to keep your engine safe in a wide range of environmental and operating temperatures in and around TUCSON.

Whenever your vehicle is running, the coolant in the cooling system is working to keep your engine from overheating. When it's cold outside, the coolant acts as antifreeze to keep the fluid from freezing in your engine.

All that exploding fuel in your engine creates a lot of heat. Without coolant, the metal vehicle engine parts would expand so much that the engine would seize up and stop running. The parts could be broken or warp so badly they would have to be replaced. It could even be so bad that the whole vehicle's engine is ruined and has to be junked.

This is why it is critical that TUCSON drivers check coolant levels frequently and have their vehicle's cooling system inspected for leaks. Also your vehicle has a maintenance requirement for draining and replacing your coolant. These recommendations can vary widely, so check your owner's manual or ask us at All Makes & Models Auto Repair in TUCSON.

The reason TUCSON drivers need to change the coolant is that it has additives in it to protect the cooling system. As you can imagine, with all the heat, the cooling system's a pretty harsh environment. The additives keep the fluid from becoming corrosive and damaging the radiator and other vehicle cooling system components. Over time, the additives are depleted and the coolant just has to be replaced.

Many TUCSON auto owners ask our advisors at All Makes & Models Auto Repair why there are different colors of antifreeze. It is very important that you use the correct type of antifreeze. The different types of antifreeze – or coolant – are different colors so you don't mix them up.

They use different materials to make the cooling system, and they require different types of antifreeze to protect them.

So check with us at All Makes & Models Auto Repair in TUCSON or your owner's manual for the right kind because using the wrong coolant can void the warranty for your vehicle cooling system.

All Makes & Models Auto Repair
1305 E BENSON HWY
TUCSON, AZ 85714
5208077571
http://www.allmakesautorepair.com

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TUCSON, AZ Winter Prep Service for Your Auto

When winter approaches in AZ, TUCSON residents break out the sweaters, coats, boots and mittens. We want to be ready for AZ winter conditions. Your vehicle needs to be ready for winter as well. The last thing TUCSON residents want is to get stranded out in the cold. You need your vehicle to be safe and reliable. It's a good idea to get caught up on any neglected maintenance items anytime - but the stakes are higher in cold AZ winters.

There are some specific things TUCSON drivers need to do to have their vehicle ready for winter. The most obvious is having the antifreeze checked. If the antifreeze level is too low, it can't properly protect your engine, radiator and hoses from freezing. If your car does not seem to be making enough heat to keep you warm, your antifreeze level may be low or you could have a thermostat problem. Get it checked out at All Makes & Models Auto Repair in TUCSON. If you are due for a cooling system service, now is a perfect time to have it done.

In the cold months around TUCSON we always worry about being able to stop in time when it's slick out. The first thing to remember is to slow down and allow yourself plenty of room to stop. Of course, you want your brakes to be working properly. A thorough brake inspection will reveal if the pads or any other parts need replacing. Check with your friendly and knowledgeable All Makes & Models Auto Repair service advisor to see if it is time to replace your brake fluid. It accumulates water over time which really messes with your stopping power.

It is also a really good idea for TUCSON residents to have their battery tested. A battery's cranking power really drops with the temperature. If your battery is weak in the fall, it may not be up to a AZ winter. There is nothing like a dead battery in a snow storm.

Which leads us to an emergency kit. You should always have a blanket or something to keep you and your passengers warm if you get stranded on a remote AZ road. If you will be venturing away from civilization, pack more items such as food and water to help you survive. Keeping at least half a tank of gas is a good idea in case you get stuck and need to run the car to keep warm, which will also help keep your gas lines from freezing up.

All Makes & Models Auto Repair
1305 E BENSON HWY
TUCSON, AZ 85714
5208077571
http://www.allmakesautorepair.com

 

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The Importance of TUCSON Drivers Following Service Intervals

Today in our All Makes & Models Auto Repair blog, we're going to talk about following recommended service intervals. Your vehicle isn't the only aspect of your life in TUCSON with recommended intervals: Let's start with twice yearly dental check-ups and regular physical exams. How about laundry, watering the lawn and paying the bills?

Now, what would happen if you didn't follow these intervals? Well, you'd get more cavities. You may not discover health conditions that could be more effectively treated with early detection. And you'd have to wear dirty clothes, be embarrassed by your brown lawn and have your utilities shut off.

Clearly, there are some things in life that we have to take care of regularly. If we don't, there are negative consequences. Our quality of life in TUCSON takes a hit and it inevitably costs more money.

So why is it so hard to remember to follow regular preventive maintenance on our vehicles? Probably a couple of reasons. One is that automotive maintenance items just don't seem that urgent. All our TUCSON neighbors can see our dead lawn, but no one knows how dirty our transmission fluid is. It's easy to put off. The other reason is that we're just not as familiar with automotive maintenance, so it's a bit intimidating.

From a practical standpoint, people in TUCSON don't need to memorize their vehicle owner's manuals. You can let your All Makes & Models Auto Repair advisor remind you of the guidelines established by the vehicle manufacturer; he has checklists of what the manufacturer recommends and can find potential problems when he inspects your vehicle. You really can rely on All Makes & Models Auto Repair professionals to help you make good automotive decisions.

For TUCSON drivers who want to be more proactive with their vehicle care, here are some simple ways for you to remember what has a maintenance interval.

First: Fluids. If it's liquid, it's got a replacement schedule. Oil, transmission fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid, differential fluid, etc.

Then think tires. They need air, rotation, balancing and alignment. And while you're thinking tires, don't forget brakes and shock absorbers.

And what makes your vehicle go? Air and fuel. Air filter replacement, fuel filters and fuel system cleaning. Of course there are more items, but if TUCSON car owners remember to take their vehicle in to All Makes & Models Auto Repair for these things, their service advisor will help them with the rest.

And if you don't follow recommended service intervals? You get lousy fuel economy, your vehicle doesn't run as well, your safety is compromised and you'll spend more money in the long run. So it's the same as everything else: The quality of your motoring life takes a hit and it ends up costing you more.

Reason enough for me to follow recommended service intervals.

All Makes & Models Auto Repair
1305 E BENSON HWY
TUCSON, AZ 85714
5208077571
http://www.allmakesautorepair.com

 

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Service to Improve Fuel Economy

The price of gas in AZ has got people in TUCSON talking. It seems that TUCSON folks who need a bigger vehicle to carry family and gear, or provide four wheel drive, are hit especially hard. That is why we thought it would be good to review some things that anyone can do to improve fuel economy.

First let's start with how we drive around AZ. People in TUCSON may not realize that they can really save on gas by just changing a few driving habits. One of the biggest is jackrabbit starts - you know, flooring the gas as soon as the light turns green. That really wastes a lot of fuel. Building up your speed at a slower pace uses less fuel and is easier on your engine and drive train. And don't drive with one foot on the brake. That's also a drag on fuel economy, and it wears out your brakes faster, too.

Another thing TUCSON drivers can do is drive more slowly - but only when it's safe. Sometimes on the freeway we drive an extra five ... ten . . . twenty ... over the speed limit. We do it to save time, but it only saves a few minutes out of maybe an hour long drive, and we may use 10 to 15 % more gas. Just leave a little bit earlier, save some money and arrive more relaxed.

TUCSON drivers can also try and combine all of their errands for the day into just one trip, rather than several. If you can put off a trip today that can be combined with one tomorrow, you can save some time and money.

Using your cruise control can save money too. Driving in AZ at a constant speed really improves fuel economy. Be sure to only use your cruise control under safe conditions; you can look in your owner's manual for some good tips on using your cruise control.

Did you know that reducing the weight in your vehicle saves gas? Clean out the trunk or back seat from time to time so that you are not paying to carry a lot of stuff around TUCSON that you do not need in the vehicle. If you live in AZ where there is snow and ice, clear it off your vehicle; it adds weight and messes with aerodynamics too.

Another tip is to avoid long idle times, which includes warming it up when you start. Modern engines do not require a long warm up to get going;  just take it easy for a few minutes.

Be sure to get a new gas cap if yours leaks or is worn.

Now, let's start talking mechanical. Bottom line - the better you maintain your vehicle, the less fuel you will use. It all adds up in a big way. For example, replacing your dirty engine air filter will pay for itself in improved fuel economy before your next oil change - and will keep saving you after that.

A clean, well-maintained fuel system really pays big dividends. A clogged fuel filter wastes gas. So does a dirty fuel system, grimy fuel injectors and plugged up PCV valves. A fuel system service decreases the gas you use, and increases the power, so drivers in TUCSON can't go wrong with that.

Some of us ignore our Check Engine light. But fixing the problem that caused the light to come on will usually save some fuel as well. It may be a bad oxygen sensor that can really rob your fuel economy.

And, it may be time for a tune-up. Tune-ups should improve your fuel economy. Don't overlook the routine maintenance items, like scheduled oil changes, transmission and cooling system service. Dirty or low fluids actually use more fuel. Just look at your vehicle manufacturer’s recommended service intervals in the owner's manual, or ask your All Makes & Models Auto Repair service advisor for the schedule.

Don't forget your tires. Underinflated tires waste gas. And if your wheels are out of alignment, you won't get the fuel economy you need.

None of these things are very complicated or expensive for people in TUCSON to stay on top of. When you maintain your car properly, you save gas today and prevent repairs tomorrow.

All Makes & Models Auto Repair
1305 E BENSON HWY
TUCSON, AZ 85714
5208077571
http://www.allmakesautorepair.com

 

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Cruisin' on Down Main Street

When automakers first came out with cruise control, it was a real luxury item.  The older cruise controls used a mechanical vacuum system but it worked.  Well, some of the time. 

Now days, cruise control is all electronic, thanks to computers.  It's reliable and a real convenience on long trips.  Cruise control is offered on most vehicles and standard on a lot of them.  Because it's electronic, when it breaks, it's usually some electronic component.  Your vehicle's cruise can be the victim of a blown fuse. Or your vehicle's speed sensor, which—not surprisingly—measures your vehicle's speed, can also stop working.  And that will cause your cruise to stop cruising. 

Vehicles with cruise control also have a built-in feature that, when the brakes are applied, turns off the cruise.  With electronic cruise control, that happens thanks to the brake pedal switch, and if a problem develops in that switch, the cruise might not work.

The newest cruise control is called "adaptive." What that means is that it will maintain your vehicle's speed as well as the distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you.  That means if a car ahead of you slows down, your vehicle will slow down to the same speed and even stop if the car ahead stops.  Pretty cool, right? As you can imagine, adaptive cruise control is more sophisticated and has many more components than standard cruise.  The systems vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but they use on-board radar units and cameras to calculate what your vehicle should do to maintain a safe distance and speed. 

Finally, there are still some of the older style cruise controls out on the roads.  They'll stop working when the vacuum actuator develops a problem, a vacuum hose starts leaking or breaks or the cable between the actuator and the throttle kinks, breaks, seizes up or becomes detached. 

If your cruise control isn't working, your service repair facility will be able to determine what kind your vehicle has and what it will take to fix it.  Good news for the cruise blues.

All Makes & Models Auto Repair
1305 E BENSON HWY
TUCSON, AZ 85714
5208077571

 

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Distracted Driving

When asked, most people think they are good at multi-tasking. Scientific studies, however, reveal that only around 2% of the population can truly demonstrate the capacity to effectively multi-task. For the rest of us who are not so biologically wired, no amount of practice can increase our effectiveness at multi-tasking. Turns out, multi-tasking is almost a superpower. Think of fighter pilots: capable of maintaining their orientation in three dimensional space and performing specific and highly complicated functions while accessing life threatening situations and coming up with an appropriate response. Admit it – you can’t do that.

Yet when it comes to driving, we seem to think we are very capable of safely operating a motor vehicle with myriad distractions. 77% of young adults feel somewhat confident that they can safely text and drive while 55% claim it’s easy to text and drive. Can they possibly be right? Let’s look at some statistics.

Nearly 23% of all accidents in the United States involve cell phones. Every day, 11 people are killed and over 900 are injured in texting-related accidents. In fact, texting while driving is six times more likely to cause an accident than driving intoxicated. Just think back at your own experiences: how many of your “near misses” as a pedestrian or in a vehicle have involved a driver with a cell phone in their hand?

There are three types of driving distractions:

  • Visual (eyes off the road)
  • Manual (reaching for something or manipulating an object)
  • Cognitive (mind off the task of driving)

Of course, texting or using a cell phone involves all three. Eating, applying make-up, arguing and working on-board features like the stereo and navigation system are all very real distractions. You may be interested to know that hands-free cell calls are not substantially safer than using a handheld phone. Any time you glance away from the road (like looking at a text or incoming phone call) your eyes are off task for at least 5 seconds. At 55 miles per hour/90 kph, you will cover the length of a football field in that time. Would you ever consent to strapping on a blindfold and driving off down the road for that distance?

So what do you do? First, accept the fact that you are not part of the 2% of all the people on the planet who can truly multi-task (if you are one of the lucky ones you would know by now because your performance does not degrade no matter how many additional tasks are added). Next, don’t EVER drive distracted. Incoming text: it will wait for later. Juicy hamburger: eat it in the parking lot. No exceptions, ever. And don’t accept anything less from drivers of vehicles in which you are a passenger.

Another way to avoid distractions is to keep on top of scheduled maintenance and necessary repairs so that your vehicle itself doesn’t become a distraction. We can help you with that.

Give us a call.

All Makes & Models Auto Repair
1305 E BENSON HWY
TUCSON, AZ 85714
5208077571
http://www.allmakesautorepair.com

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Hey TUCSON Drivers; What Is the Most Distracting Food?



So what is the most distracting food to have in the car while driving around TUCSON?

Is it:

  1. A Hamburger;
  2. Coffee;
  3. A Soft Drink, or
  4. Gummy Bears?

Well, you may be surprised to learn that all but the gummy bears are in the top ten most distracting foods when you are driving. But if you chose 'coffee,' then give yourself an extra two points.  Coffee is the number one food distraction for drivers in TUCSON and around the country.

Food distractions cause 25 percent of all car accidents; over a million and a half each year!

You'll notice that all of the top ten distracting food items are messy. Messy foods are the types of food you might spill (very distracting!), then try to clean up (a safe-driving impossibility!). If you gotta eat on the run, take five-then drive. You'll thank yourself later for two reasons: one, that you can actually relax for just a moment in our fast-paced world, and two, you won't have to worry about getting that cinnamon roll frosting out of your dashboard after that near miss.

Keep drinks in spill-proof containers, too, so you can keep your eyes on the TUCSON road without worrying about where that spill is headed.

So, taking a food break… or filling out accident reports. We don't have to ask you which you prefer; it's a no brainer.

All Makes & Models Auto Repair
1305 E BENSON HWY
TUCSON, AZ 85714
5208077571
http://www.allmakesautorepair.com

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Clean Air for Your Engine: Engine Air Filters In TUCSON

Every TUCSON car owner who has taken their car in for an oil change has been told that their engine air filter's dirty.

Here's what goes into the determination of when to change the filter: First, your vehicle owner's manual will have a recommendation of when the filter should be replaced.

So between your owner's manual and your TUCSON technician's inspection there's really no guesswork involved for TUCSON drivers.

Now, most air filters purchased in TUCSON don't cost a lot to replace. It's just that AZ people hate getting caught with an unexpected expense. On the plus side, though, changing a dirty air filter at All Makes & Models Auto Repair can often save enough on gas to pay for itself before your next oil change in TUCSON.

Think about a dirty furnace filter in your TUCSON home. When it's all clogged up, enough clean air can't get through. In your vehicle, that means that your engine can't get as much air as it needs to burn the fuel efficiently. So it makes do with less air and has to use more gas to move your vehicle around TUCSON roads.

Your vehicle actually needs about 12,000 times more air than fuel to run. Engine air filters don't cost much in TUCSON at All Makes & Models Auto Repair. When it's time to change yours, just get it done. You'll get better fuel economy, have better performance and protect your vehicle engine.

All Makes & Models Auto Repair
1305 E BENSON HWY
TUCSON, AZ 85714
5208077571
http://www.allmakesautorepair.com

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Phone: (520) 807-7571
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Address: 1305 East Benson Hwy
Tucson, AZ 85714
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