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Levin Learn Blog
Winter Driving Myths Revealed
For the Driver
Friday, 23 January 2015 15:32
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Winter Driving MythsDo your winter driving habits match your vehicle? Many winter driving strategies depend on features that vary according to vehicle—such as brakes, tires and drive systems—and with local conditions. Do you need to unlearn any of these winter driving myths?

Myth: I don't have to slow down in ice and snow; I have all-wheel or four-wheel drive.
All-wheel and four-wheel drive helps you accelerate in winter conditions, but you still have reduced control when slowing down and turning on ice and snow. These systems make some drivers overconfident and they find themselves losing control when they don't expect it.

Myth: Winter tires don't really work better than all season tires.
The latest winter tires provide better traction, braking and handling. Not only do they provide treads designed for snow-covered roads, their materials remain flexible in low temperatures.

Myth: Under-inflating tires is a good way to improve traction.
Experts agree that this technique does not work. It also puts you at risk of damaging your tires.

Myth: There's nothing you can do when you hit black ice.
When you hit black ice, it's best to stay focused on the road and to steer gently. When you do feel your tires grip the pavement, you'll be ready to actively guide your vehicle.

Myth: Pumping your brakes is the best way to slow down on ice and snow.
It depends. If you have antilock brakes, they are already doing the pumping for you. Taking your foot off antilock brakes, actually reduces their effectiveness.

Myth: Hot water is good for de-icing windows.
There are two unpleasant results that can happen with this technique. The hot water will probably leave an icy coating on your windows. Also, there is a risk of shocking and cracking your windows, giving you a major problem and expense.

Myth: Newer cars don't need to be warmed up in extreme temperatures.
Most of us are in a hurry. However, warming up your car for about 2 minutes is good for your vehicle. A warm engine runs more smoothly than a cold one. An extended warm up is more for the driver's comfort than for the vehicle's benefit.

Ain't it the Truth
Extreme cold and extreme heat are hard on your vehicle and will reveal if a system is not working well. This winter, make sure to check your vehicle's fluid levels and battery.

Levin Tire & Service Center is here to help you with winter car troubles. Contact us today if you have questions or concerns.

 
The Trouble with Potholes
For the Driver
Tuesday, 13 January 2015 12:03
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What makes a pothole?
Above freezing one day, below freezing the next. Farther below freezing the next day, and so on. As we put on and take off extra layers, the roads are also being affected by these freeze and thaw cycles. When the soil underneath the pavement softens, the road can become uneven to the point that potholes are created.

Last winter the Indiana Department of Transportation reported that it spent $2.9 million, used 6,900 tons of materials and paid for 81,000 hours of labor as part of their pothole "blitz." It's hard to know what this winter will bring, but more potholes are a certainty.

What can you do to protect your car?
Driving through potholes can cause bent wheels, tie rod damage, busted ball joints, alignment issues, flat tires and other costly issues. Be on the lookout for potholes and avoid hitting them. Your car and your wallet will benefit.

If you do tangle with a pothole, visit your nearest Levin Tire and Service Center for an inspection of your wheels and tires, steering, suspension and alignment systems. We can help you evaluate the condition of your vehicle and make sure that it is still safe and reliable.

To find the Levin Tire & Service Center nearest you, check out our locations.

 
Washing Your Vehicle During Winter
For the Driver
Sunday, 11 January 2015 10:55
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Washing Car in ColdCorrosive road salt in the winter months can damage not only your vehicle's finish, but exposed undercarriage items as well. Here are a few guidelines to follow when washing your vehicle in the winter.

Temperature is below 20ºF
When the outside temperature is below 20ºF, don't even think about washing your vehicle. There's a chance you'll have water freezing in lot of critical areas and the chance for a problem increases. As you drive, you'll be lowering the exterior temperature due to wind chill factors. We recommend you wait until the temperature rises into the upper 20s or higher.

Temperature is between 20ºF and 30ºF
If the temperature is below freezing (but above 20ºF) the best solution is a "do it yourself" washing bay.

You will want to use the high pressure spray only on the wheels, tires and parts of the undercarriage. Don't worry about a cosmetic wash, just clean off the ice and snow that's accumulating. Your car won't stay clean very long anyway.

Note: Do not spray around the doors and locks or you might just lock yourself out when that water freezes.

Temperature is above 30ºF
When the temperature is above 30ºF, it's safe to take your vehicle to a full service car wash. Make sure that they have a "bottom blast" option that will help keep the undercarriage clean. Of course, your exterior won't stay clean very long, but overall your vehicle will be protected. It's recommended that you get your car washed about every two weeks in winter, weather permitting.

 
Cleaning Tires & Wheels
All About Tires
Monday, 15 December 2014 10:06
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Scrubbing TiresIf you care about your vehicle, you know that wheels and tires need to be cleaned, polished and coated to maintain that new car look. There's nothing nicer looking than a clean car with brilliant wheels and deep black tires.

Corrosion Is the Enemy
Depending on whether your wheels are painted, aluminum or chrome, it's important to keep them clean to prevent them from pitting or developing surface rust and other imperfections. This is especially important during the winter season when the corrosive qualities of salt are everywhere.

Cleaning In Winter
In wintertime, we recommend visiting a full service car wash at least every other week and have the tires treated. Or you could go to a "do it yourself" wash and spray the salt residue off the wheels and tires. If you have a heated garage, you could also apply one of the wheel treatment products for added protection.

Cleaning In Summer
In summertime, it's a bit easier. Wash your wheels and tires in a mild detergent using a medium scrub brush and sponge. Once they're dry, use an aftermarket wheel cleaner-polisher treatment and a tire gloss spray from an auto parts store. Your wheels and tires will look fabulous!

A Clean Car Is Worth More
You don't have to be a "car nut" to consider taking care of your vehicle. The important thing is to pay attention to your wheels and tires during the winter season when corrosion starts. A little preventive maintenance will go a long way in keeping your vehicle looking great.

 
History of the Tire
All About Tires
Friday, 12 December 2014 09:56
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While tires have been around since the birth of the automobile, they weren't very good in the beginning. In fact, trips used to be measured in how many tires it took to get from New York to Chicago, for example. (A 3-tire trip was good!) The roads weren't very good either. It's hard to imagine those early days, but the automotive industry was an extension of the carriage business back then.

Early Tire Innovation Timeline

A Lot Has Changed
Today's tires are the result of constant improvement, major manufacturing advances and high technology materials and formulations. It is estimated that there are about 450 tire manufacturing plants around the globe, producing over 1.5 billion tires each year. There have been many mergers and acquisitions over the years. It's a big industry and you may be interested to know that the Top 5 tire manufacturers are Bridgestone, Michelin, Goodyear, Continental and Pirelli.

Today's Technology
Up until the 1970s, most tires were bias-ply design, meaning their sidewalls were fairly rigid, which limited a vehicle's cornering ability. (Big trucks still use bias ply tires). Advancements in both materials and tire design led to the development of radial tires. Radials were introduced slowly at first, but are now the dominant tire design for all passenger cars. The difference is a flexible lower-profile sidewall that results in a smoother ride, improved cornering and braking performance.

A Constant Evolution
As good as today's tires are in terms of performance, fuel economy and wear, every tire manufacturer is working on new designs, formulations and techniques to advance the quality of tires. Safety and performance remain the key objectives. When you consider how far tire design and engineering has come, it will be interesting to see what's next.

You can count on Levin Tire & Service to offer only the finest quality tires for whatever vehicle you drive. Visit us soon.

 
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