Levin Learn Blog
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.

If Your Car Overheats
Repair & Maintenance
Monday, 08 December 2014 14:04
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Car OverheatingYou're stuck in traffic and you notice that your temperature gauge is starting to rise. Is your car overheating? Today's cars don't often overheat, but it still can happen.

Cars most often overheat in hot weather, stop-and-go traffic, or when on a hill. But low water and/or coolant, a leak in the system, electrical problems or a faulty thermostat can also cause an engine to overheat. Knowing what to do can save your engine and a lot of expensive repairs.

We suggest the following actions:

  • If your air conditioning is on and the car overheats, immediately roll down the windows and turn off the AC. You'll immediately reduce the load on your engine and help it to cool.
  • If you're stuck in traffic, put your car into neutral or park and gently rev the engine. This will force more water and air through the cooling system and help to dissipate some of the heat.
  • Also in traffic, try not to ride your brakes. To reduce the engine load and help to cool it down, slowly coast or just idle instead of accelerating and braking.
  • Turn on your heater and fan to blow heat away from the engine. It may make you a bit uncomfortable, but it will help you save your engine.
  • If your engine is going to boil over, pull off the road, and turn off the engine. Be careful and don't open the hood by hand if you see steam. Instead wait for the car to cool down enough to safely open the hood and allow the heat to escape.
  • Don't add cold water to a hot engine; it can crack the engine block. Wait for the engine to cool at least 30 minutes so you can safely remove the radiator cap. Use a cloth when removing the radiator cap to help prevent burns to your hand.

It's important to see your mechanic as soon as possible to determine your vehicle's cause of overheating and correct the problem. It may be as simple as refreshing your coolant, but it can also be something more complicated to repair. The only way to know for sure is to have a professional check all the components of your cooling system and recommend the appropriate action. Damage to your engine can put your car out of service permanently

When Do I Need New Tires?
All About Tires
Monday, 01 December 2014 14:14
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Checking TiresTire tread and sidewall condition—as well as age—will often determine the remaining life in your tires. Here are some of the ways to look for signs of tired tires:

A Penny or a Quarter?
The well-known penny test: put a penny in the tire tread with Lincoln's head upside down. If you can see the top of his head, the tread has worn below 1/16 of an inch and you need new tires.

Actually, in some states, 1/16 is more a test of legal tread depth, rather than safety. The quarter test, which measures 2/16 of an inch to Washington's head, is probably a better indicator of safety, especially on slushy and snowy roads.

Tread Wear Bars
Newer tires have a built-in tread wear indicator. As the tread wears down, you can see bars across the grooves in the tire.

Unwanted Lodgers
Ever see a nail in your tire before it went flat? It's good to get in the habit of running your eye over your tires, especially if you have been driving near debris.

Sidewalls Matter Too
The condition of your sidewalls should not be overlooked. Cracks, grooves and bulges can develop into leaks and blowouts.

Use your Ears
Vibration and a change in how your car sounds on the road can signal alignment problems and uneven wear on tires.

Admit your Age
Age and severe temperatures do affect tire materials. So even if your tires haven't seen that many miles, they will lose their strength and reliability after six years.

When looking at tire condition, don't forget to look at all four tires. Even if only one tire is damaged, it is best to replace tires in pairs or all four at a time. Still have questions? Visit the nearest Levin Tire location for an assessment of your tires.

Tire Recycling: A Major Innovation
All About Tires
Tuesday, 18 November 2014 00:00
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Tire RecyclingUnless you are making a tire swing, do you give much thought to where your old tires go? Levin Tire is committed to the reduction of tire waste and the responsible handling of used tires. Through recycling, we are contributing to new and innovative uses for rubber tire materials.

1) We begin with prevention. Levin will help you select durable tires and help maintain them for maximum tread life. Proper inflation, rotation and balancing significantly add to the life of your tires. This is the first step in reducing tire waste recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

2) Working with Liberty Tire Recycling, we insure that your old tires can become a resource for new products rather than being simply thrown away. As the leading provider of tire recycling services, Liberty reclaims about a third of the tires discarded in the United States.

Over 110 new products can be made containing recycled tire materials. Small crumbs of rubber can become part of molded goods and adhesives. Larger pieces are used in rubberized asphalt, as soil additives, in civil engineering applications, and in high-tech athletic field bases.

To get the most miles out of your tires and to insure that they are recycled when they are worn out, call or visit one of Levin's seven locations in Northwest Indiana.

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