brake repairMost of us know the importance of routine car maintenance, like oil changes and rotating the tires. During Brake Safety Awareness Month, Levin Tire & Service Center is encouraging our community to learn the importance of your vehicle’s brake safety system, too.

Brakes are one of the most important safety features on your vehicle. Keeping your car’s brakes in good shape will help prevent accidents, protect your investment, and keep your insurance costs down.

According to the Car Care Council, the brakes on each car should be inspected twice a year for damage, wear and tear. Drivers should also know how to recognize the signs that their brakes are wearing down or need replacing. Levin Tire has outlined 5 signs that your car might need new brakes.

1. Screeching Noise
One of the most common signs that there’s a problem with the brakes is hearing a grinding or screeching noise when you press the brake pedal. This typically indicates that you need to replace your brake pads. The grinding noise occurs because the pads have worn down to the point that the metal foundation of the brake pad is rubbing against the rotors, which can cause warping and necessitate repairing or replacing the rotors, too.

2. Vibrations
Vibrations alert you that your current brakes are nearing the end of their lifecycle. If you press the brake pedal and you can feel the brakes vibrate, stutter or pulse, you might need an entirely new brake system.

3. Pulling
Sometimes, your car might pull to one side or the other when you use the brakes. There may be an issue with one of the brake components that’s causing the vehicle to brake more toward one side of the vehicle. A brake inspection will determine the cause of the problem and how best to solve it.

4. Grabbing
“Grabbing” is when your brakes engage, even if you just lightly touch the pedal. This often happens on a new vehicle or with new brake pads, but consistent, repeated grabbing means there’s a problem with the components or braking system. We’ll take it for a test drive and do a visual inspection to determine what the problem is and how to fix it.

5. Illuminated Brake Light
Most cars have a light on the dashboard that relates to the brakes. If your brake light illuminates, don’t wait to have your vehicle serviced. There’s likely a problem with important brake safety features, like the antilock brake system.

A good rule of thumb is to have your brakes checked by a certified professional 2 times a year. However, problems with the braking system cannot wait – your safety and the safety of your passengers and others on the road depend on proper brake repair and maintenance.

Anytime you notice an issue with your brakes, stop in at your neighborhood Levin Tire and Service Center location in Indiana. One of our certified technicians will do a thorough brake inspection – so you can drive home safely.

Contact us online or call 800-475-5005 to schedule your next appointment. Remember to bring your $10 off BRAKE REPAIR through August 31 coupon when you visit us!

traveling petsSummer is an especially busy time for road trips, and more and more people are choosing to bring their pets along for the ride. When planning to travel with your pets this summer, here are 5 tips to make the car ride a success with your furry friends.

1. Plan ahead
It’s easy to forget things when packing for a road trip, but take an extra moment to consider everything your pet will need. Bring bedding, plenty of food, a favorite toy, medications, a water dish for the car, and a first aid kit. If you’re planning to stop at a hotel, book pet-friendly accommodations ahead of time to ensure your pet will be welcome.

2. Crate your pet for travel
Typically, dogs and cats don’t mind being crated or properly restrained in the car – in fact, some feel safer. You’ll be less distracted, which is safer for both you and your pet. Crating also reduces the risk of injury for your pet. NEVER leave your pet in a parked car, even with the window cracked. Excessive heat can quickly lead to dehydration, heat stroke and even death.

3. Stick to a schedule
Feeding and exercising your pets on a regular schedule reduces stress for the animal. Playtime, long walks, and plenty of attention minimize travel anxiety. Avoid accidents in the car by scheduling regular potty breaks for your furry friend, too.

4. Make sure ID tags are up-to-date
It’s smart to be prepared for whatever your summer adventures might bring. If you become separated, it will be much easier to find your pet if he or she is equipped with your contact information. Securely place up-to-date ID tags on your pet’s collar, and consider having your pet microchipped for added peace of mind.

5. Consider a vet visit before your car ride
Some hotels might require proof of updated vaccines and/or a vet health certificate. Regardless, it’s a good idea for your vet to perform a health screening before you travel, particularly if you’re taking an older animal in the car.

car overheatingEven in cooler temperatures, an overheated car can stop you in your tracks. It happens when the engine is running too hot, which could damage your vehicle or destroy the engine.

Proper maintenance can prevent your vehicle from overheating in the first place. Levin Tire suggests:

1. Changing your oil regularly – a good visual inspection can go a long way. If you can’t change the oil yourself, the professionals at Levin Tire will do it for you, as well as check the water system, belts and hoses.

2. Having your fan checked – during a routine oil change from Levin, we’ll check your fan to ensure it’s in good working order. Often, a malfunctioning fan will contribute to overheating.

3. Making sure the coolant system has plenty of coolant/antifreeze, especially before long road trips.

4. Checking that all hoses are in good working order so they don’t leak or corrode.

In case you’re ever in a situation where your car does start to overheat:

1. Turn off the engine
First, pull over safely. Then, turn off the engine, open the hood, and let the engine cool.

2. NEVER remove the radiator cap
Never uncap the radiator or water system. It’s under high pressure, and there’s a chance you could get burned by the escaping steam.

3. Let the engine cool
Most cars have warning lights and a pressure relief valve. When your engine starts to overheat, you’ll have plenty of warning before the engine is seriously damaged. Let the engine cool completely before following the next steps.

4. Refill antifreeze and coolant
Once the engine cools to room temperature, open up the system and fill it with new antifreeze.

5. Check the hoses
Inspect the hoses for leaks, blockages or ruptures. Normally, your car won’t overheat on its own, so there’s a good chance you have a leaky coolant system, or a faulty thermostat.

6. Keep a safety kit in the car
Prepare for emergencies before they happen by keeping coolant, a blanket, and tool kit, and a working flashlight in your vehicle.

In most cases, you’ll want to have a professional take a look when your engine overheats. At Levin Tire, we’ll check the coolant level, make sure the engine fan is operating correctly, ensure the radiator cap is tightly closed, and check for any coolant leaks. Then, we’ll inspect the engine to ensure your car is not seriously damaged.

Contact us online today or call 800-475-5005 for all your maintenance, tire, and engine needs.

corn roastedNothing says summer like a corn roast, and nobody does it better than the Highland Rotary Club.

This year’s Highland Rotary Club Corn Roast is scheduled for August 5th from 4:00 – 7:30pm.

This annual event – held at Main Square in Downtown Highland, Indiana – is one of our favorite community events of the year, and not just because of the delicious food.

All proceeds from the event will be donated directly to Highland Schools and the Highland Police & Fire Departments, as well as several charities, including:

• Hearts in Motion
• Polio Plus
• Dollars for Scholars

Tickets for the event are just $6 in advance and $8 at the gate. Your ticket gets you all the corn you can eat, a choice of two hot dogs or one sausage, plus sauerkraut, dessert and a choice of soda or water.

RSVP for the event here and purchase your advance tickets at Levin Tire Highland, Highland Chamber of Commerce, or Cakes By Karen.

Hope we see you there!

fotolia 38692373If you’ve been driving a car for more than a few years, it’s probably been drilled into your head to change your oil every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. It’s habit for most of us to change our oil this often, but oil technology has vastly improved over the last decade and we don’t have to change our oil as often now.

Changing your oil too frequently not only adds up in cost over the years, but it also adds thousands of gallons of contaminated oil to the waste cycle. So changing your oil less frequently is an environmentally friendly practice!

According to Edmunds, the majority of automakers today call for oil changes at either 7,500 or 10,000 miles, and the interval can go as high as 15,000 miles in some cars.

“Among 2013 models, the majority of automakers call for oil changes at either 7,500 or 10,000 miles based on a normal service schedule, more than double the traditional 3,000-mile interval. The longest oil change interval is 15,000 miles for all Jaguar vehicles. The shortest oil change interval is 5,000 miles in some Hyundai and Kia models with turbo engines and Toyota vehicles that call for non-synthetic oil. Toyota has been shifting its fleet to 10,000-mile oil change intervals using synthetic oil.”

AAA cautions, however, that those extended oil change periods assume that drivers are following the manufacturer’s recommendations for oil type and service intervals for their vehicle. Always check your vehicle owner’s manual for oil type and service interval information.

When you pull in for an oil change, tell your technician what your vehicle manufacturer recommends are, but also let him know what your planned driving habits are for the coming months. For example, if you’re going to be traveling long distances in high-temperature areas or towing summer sporting equipment, he may recommend a synthetic oil for this service, which will better protect your engine under these extreme conditions.

You can always go back to conventional oil in about 7,500 to 10,000 miles.