Tires DeflatingAre your tires acting tired? If they are deflating without any obvious punctures or tears, it’s time to check other areas where air can be released: the valve stem and the mounting surface.

A bad valve can create a very slow but constant air leak. The valve stem should be replaced when you get new tires, because it can wear out, get damaged or degrade from exposure to road chemicals.

The mounting surface—where the tire meets the wheel—can also spring a leak. Corrosion and dents are responsible for many leaks in this location.

To look for leaks, you can use the soapy water test: drip a water and dishwashing liquid mix on the valve stem and its base, as well as around the inside and outside edges of the tire-rim contact area. You’ll see bubbles where air is escaping.

For help diagnosing tire leaks and to have these problems repaired, visit the Levin Tire & Service Center nearest you. We won’t let flat tires get you down!

Safe DrivingBetter roads and improved car designs are making driving safer. However, human errors still create plenty of dangers on the road. The following tips will make you be a better driver and help you deal with the risky behaviors and mistakes of others.

#1 Don’t be a distracted driver
Love to multitask? This is a potentially deadly habit when you are driving. Drivers using cellphones cause an estimated 2,600 deaths each year. Texting while driving reduces your reaction time by 20 percent. Eating, rummaging through your purse and finding a new tune on your mobile device have similar effects.

#2 Don’t speed
Driving faster increases your risk of being in a crash. While driving 10 mph faster will only save you a few minutes, it will increase your risk of a crash by 50 percent. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that speeding was a factor in 31 percent of all fatal crashes in 2008. The alternative? Gain those minutes by leaving a littler earlier.

#3 Don’t tailgate
When the driver in front of you makes a sudden stop or turn, you need enough room to react. Experts recommend allowing three seconds of following time in daylight and six seconds at night or in bad weather. This can be measured by looking ahead and selecting a stationary object next to the road; start counting when the car ahead of you passes it and stop counting when you reach it.

#4 Don’t ignore bad weather
Think your reflexes can make up for the effects of bad weather? Fog, heavy rain, snow and ice require a different style of driving. All drivers need to take extra care on curves, allow more space between vehicles and should drive more slowly when weather and road conditions are poor. Be aware that driving in bad weather takes practice and that sometimes your best choice is to simply stay off the road until conditions improve.

#5 Don’t drive under the influence
The effects of alcohol begin with reduced reaction time and coordination, as well as lowered inhibitions, all factors that seriously hurt your ability to drive. High blood alcohol levels cause poor vision and potential loss of consciousness. Stay safe when you are drinking: use a designated driver or call a cab for transportation.

#6 Don’t drive drowsy
Fatigue is a real danger behind the wheel. A 2006 Virginia Tech study found that 20 percent of all accidents were related to sleepiness. Falling asleep at the wheel can be deadly and simply being tired can result in dangerous lapses of attention. Do not attempt to drive when you are groggy. Instead, pull off the road for a rest or have another driver take over.

#7 Drive defensively
Are you a defensive or an aggressive driver? Many of the tips above—including tips on speed and following distance—are examples of defensive driving. Rather than asserting their rights and wants, defensive drivers focus on staying calm and safe, even if that means yielding when they have the right of way.

#8 Watch out for other drivers
It’s not a bad idea to assume that drivers on the road around you will do something stupid. Watch for sudden lane changes, turning without a signal (and not turning with a signal), tailgating, and other bad driving. When bad driving doesn’t happen, enjoy your feeling of relief. When it does, you’ll be ready!

#9 Buckle up
Seat belts aren’t an optional accessory. They keep you in your seat in the event of a crash, preventing you from being thrown around inside or out of your vehicle. More than half of all deaths in car accidents are victims who were not buckled in. At lower speeds, seat belts prevent head injuries and broken bones.

#10 Keep your vehicle in safe working order
The condition of your vehicle is also a critical safety factor. In particular, tire pressure problems and faulty brakes can cause you to lose control. Avoid injury to yourself and others, as well as damage to your vehicle, by having regular safety checks. Visit a Levin Tire & Service Center for regular maintenance and help when you need to have a problem inspected or repaired.

Introducing tire blowout season: May to early October. It’s strange but true that drivers have more tire trouble during these months. The reason is that we go farther, drive faster, and carry heavier loads during these months. Hotter temperatures also add stress to tires.

Impact damage, cuts and punctures cause most blowouts. Beyond taking more care while driving—especially avoiding potholes—you don’t have much control over these events.

The good new is there are other ways you can avoid becoming part of blowout season statistics:

  • Keep an eye out for small punctures that can cause your tire to lose air over time. Make a habit of inspecting your tires every month and before you leave on a trip.
  • Avoid over-inflation. Check your tire pressure regularly, measuring the PSI when your tires are cold.
  • Avoid under-inflation. Not having enough pressure will gradually weaken your tires and lead to problems.
  • Don’t overload your vehicle. Find your vehicle’s Gross Vehicular Weight Rating on the door jamb label. Your tires also indicate the maximum load allowed when tires are inflated to maximum pressure.

If you do experience a blowout, call Levin Tire for help. We provide free flat repair service for cars and light trucks when the damage is limited to punctures. Levin Tire provides this service whether you bought the tires from us or not. Contact the Levin Tire & Service Center nearest you for more information.

In your imagination, summer driving may be a relaxing spin down a wide-open road. In reality, summer driving can be stressful for you and your vehicle. Heat, heavy traffic, and grime all come with summer. Read on for ways to keep your car running smoothly and safely.

Get your engine ready
If you engine shows any performance issues—rough idle, difficulty starting, poor power—this is a good time to have your car serviced. If your engine is running smoothly, you still need to get air, fuel, PCV and other filters inspected and replaced as needed.

Change with the times
Your engine oil should be changed every 3,000 miles or as specified by your vehicle’s service manual. Some driving habits are considered “severe service”—such as towing trailers or making long drives with heavy cargo—and will shorten the recommended service period.

Keep it cool
Overheating is a common summer breakdown. A cooling system flush, coolant condition check, and drive belt, clamp and hose inspection will make sure you’re prepared for hotter temperatures.

Keep yourself cool, too
Don’t wait until a heat wave hits to maintain your air conditioning. We can help you determine if your a/c will take you through June, July, August and September.

Keep track of the miles
Are road trips a part of your summer routine? Make sure your tires are ready to go. Check your tire pressure every month and have your tires rotated every 5,000 miles. Before you pack up and go, look at the condition of your spare tire and jack.

Listen to your brakes
Brake problems usually make themselves known. Noises and vibration will often tell you when they need to be serviced, but an annual inspection is recommended. Your safety and ultimate repair costs are at stake.

Check your charge
Battery power is essential year-round. Now is a good time to check for corrosion and loose connections. Did your battery make it through the winter without a problem? It still needs to be monitored.

Keep a clear view
To keep your view clear at night and in the rain, make sure your wiper blades are in good shape, your washer fluid is topped off, and that all lights are operating properly.

The technicians at Levin Tire & Service Center are ready to give your car a little TLC. With all systems checked and maintained, it’ll be smoothing sailing for you this summer.

Air FiltersWhen you think of what a car needs to function, gas, oil and electricity are probably what come to mind first.

Air - free and plentiful - might not seem important. But just as you need clean air to breath, your vehicle needs clean air, too.

Your vehicle's air intake is bombarded by whatever's on the road: grime, dirty water, leaves, bugs, you name it. The air filter makes sure these contaminants don't get to your engine and cause abrasion and corrosion. Over time, however, crud clogs up your air filter and reduces the flow of air to your engine.

Some things to remember:

• Which brand of air filter you use is not as important as simply having a clean filter.
• A dirty filter won't hurt fuel economy in a modern engine, but it can affect performance.
• Your best bet is to replace the air filter regularly. Check your owner's manual or the manufacturer's website for a schedule.

Want your filter checked? It's part of our customary maintenance inspection. Want to do it now? No appointment is needed. Just pull into any Levin Tire location. We can check and/or replace your air filter and take care of other routine maintenance you may need.

For great savings on all your automotive service needs visit our coupon page.