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Why Should You Choose Synthetic Oil?
For the Driver
Written by Kelly Thompson   
Thursday, 30 October 2014 16:01
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Fully Synthetic OilIf you drive a newer car, chances are that you use synthetic oil, or at minimum a synthetic blend. To understand why this matters, it's important to know how synthetic oil is produced, and how it stacks up against conventional oil.

Conventional oil is derived from crude oil that has been refined. While it will do the job of keeping your engine parts lubricated, it also naturally contains sediment deposits like dirt, silicon, and wax. Over time, these deposits adhere to the interior components of your vehicle; namely the exhaust and engine systems. Conventional oil needs to be changed more frequently, and is less tolerant of high temperatures.

Synthetic oil, on the other hand, comes from natural gas or alcohol, so it doesn't thicken or thin out when the temperature fluctuates. This keeps your engine cleaner, and helps to prevent overheating. Yes, choosing synthetic will cost more, but when it comes to engine oil, you always get what you pay for.

Need more proof? Using synthetic oil in your vehicle can give you 2-3% more gas mileage, as well as prevent rust and friction. And that adds up to lower fuel and maintenance costs for you in the long run. In short, paying more for oil now could save you a costly repair bill down the road.

Myths debunked

Myth #1: You can't switch.
Reality: You can use synthetic oil in a vehicle that has high mileage, or that has only used conventional oil up to this point.

Myth #2: You have to "break in" the engine.
Reality: There's an old-wives' tale out there that says you have to break some engines in with conventional oil before you use synthetic oil, and that's simply not true. You may also see products on the market that claim to do this—buyer beware; it's not worth the money. Maintenance and regular oil changes are the keys to prolonging the life of your vehicle.

Note: If you're a do-it-yourselfer, don't throw motor oil out, whether it's synthetic or not. Never dump oil into a sewer or drain, or into the trash. Seal any used motor oil in an airtight container, and take it to a service station or other location that recycles used oil.

Ask a Levin Tire technician which synthetic oil is best for your vehicle.

 
The Future of Tire Technology
All About Tires
Written by Kelly Thompson   
Tuesday, 28 October 2014 10:54
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Dandelion TiresAs we watch the newest Apple ad and wonder "what's next?," tire manufacturers and developers in the industry are thinking the same thing.

But the difference is, the Apple Watch wasn't made out of a concern for anyone's immediate well- being. And automotive gurus have many reasons to constantly improve: emission standards, the cost of fuel, urban growth and passenger safety, to name a few. Here are some of the latest in tire technologies—and how they might affect the way we drive.

Airless tires
Airless tires are all the rage right now, and for obvious reasons—if successfully developed to the popular market, they completely eliminate the concept of "getting a flat." Introduced at the end of 2013, these tires are still in development for passenger vehicles, as they can currently only have a maximum speed of 38 mph, and even then, only on the lightest of vehicles.

Self-inflating tires
While we're waiting for airless tires to take off, how about tires that inflate themselves? Using internal sensors, self-inflating tires can tell when the pressure gets too low, or if the tire is overinflated, and adjusts accordingly. These tires are currently already being used on some commercial vehicles, as well as select Hummer models.

Dandelions
Yes, those weeds you thought were flowers might play a role in the future of the tire. A group of German scientists have discovered a process to make rubber from dandelions, instead of rubber trees. And not only is dandelion easier to obtain, they're claiming that dandelion rubber holds up even better against bad weather than traditional rubber does—a win-win all around.

Color changes
The innovative Dyscolor Tyre [link] gives drivers a visual cue when it's time to replace tires. As the tire wears down to the legal minimum level, about 12,000 miles, it turns a bright orange color, eliminating the need to perform the "penny trick" on your tread.

 
Premier Tires vs. Economic Tires
All About Tires
Written by Kelly Thompson   
Thursday, 16 October 2014 10:48
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Tire replacement—it happens to the best of us. And the most common questions we hear from customers usually pertain to cost or performance. For example, "Which tires won't break the bank but will keep me safe in a rough winter?" or "I need high-performance tires for my new car...where do I start?" Understanding the kind of tires you need can prevent you from unnecessary under- or over-spending, and decrease your risks while on the road.

Here, we have three main categories of tires, divided up by cost. Keep in mind—just because a tire is classified here as "economic," doesn't mean it isn't a great tire. These are some of Tire Review's best picks for 2014, and how much you spend depends on what kind of car you drive, how you drive it, and where you live.

Premier Tires vs. Economic Tires
All Season Tires

Hankook Optimo H727

Hankook Optimo H727

The Hankook Optimo H727 is designed for sedans, coupes and minivans, and is a cousin of the H725A that normally comes as original equipment (O.E.) on modern vehicles. Featuring a comfortable ride, this all-season tire handles well in wet conditions, resisting hydroplaning or skids.

 

Continental ExtremeContact DWS

Continental ExtremeContact DWS

DWS stands for Dry, Wet and Snow, indicating that this is definitely a tire for every season. The letters also appear as indicators for drivers, letting you know when it's time for a replacement. When brand new, all three letters are visible, and once wear-and-tear takes a toll, you see DW, then just a D, then—you get the idea.

High Performance Tires

Goodyear Eagle GT Radial

Goodyear Eagle GT Radial

For those who own a sporty coupe or a car that's low-to-the-ground but on the high end of the price range, you might want to cut costs where you can while you're still making payments. The Goodyear Eagle GT Radial is for you. It carries all the features of other high-performance tires, including a wide tread and sweeping grooves that are off-set to handle any water on the road, but without the price tag of other high-performance tires.

 

Dunlop SP Sport Maxx High Performance

Dunlop SP Sport Maxx High Performance

The SP Sport Maxx was originally developed for the Nissan GT-R. It includes Dunlop's Hybrid Jointless Band Technology(INSERT TRADEMARK SYMBOL), helping the tire to keep its shape. So when winter wanes and it's time to get that convertible out, the Dunlop will be ready—some would say that's worth a little extra.

Winter Tires

Cooper Weather-Master S/T 2

Cooper Weather-Master S/T 2

Indiana isn't known for its mild winters. And keeping yourself and your family safe is the priority. Cooper's Weather-Master is the perfect candidate for whatever Mother Nature brings us. It's studdable and fits a wide range of vehicles, from sedans to vans to your 1978 Chevy.

 

Bridgestone Blizzak WS70

Bridgestone Blizzak WS70

This tire lands on so many top-ten tire lists it's not even funny, so we're not the only ones giving it due praise. It fits all types of sedans, and includes special compounds that help keep the tire's rubber flexible in freezing temperatures. You can't control the weather, but you can control the way your car handles in it.

 
A Costly Loss
For the Driver
Written by Kelly Thompson   
Thursday, 11 September 2014 00:00
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Expensive Car KeysAll it takes is a moment of forgetfulness — maybe you set your keys down and get drawn into conversation, leaving them behind. Maybe you put your key fob in your pocket, and take a dive into the pool. Regardless of the circumstances, losing your car keys is a much more expensive mistake than it used to be.

Prior to the 1990s, we didn’t all have fancy keys, which meant car theft was much easier. You could just go to the local hardware store and make a copy of anyone’s key. To prevent that, car manufacturers have adapted, first by adding transponders (small microchips) to ignition keys, and more recently, with the use of one-touch fobs that require programming in order to operate.

But it’s that same solution that has become a problem for many people — because technology or no, most people have had their keys go missing at some point. And now the bill to replace that theft-proof key can be anywhere between $100 and $700, depending on the make and model you drive.

So what can you do to avoid shelling out hundreds for a replacement? The best measure, according to Edmunds, is to invest in a replacement now, before it’s too late. Not only that, but if you have the replacement to play around with, you can teach yourself how to program it, instead of relying on the dealership.

 
The Goodyear Blimp Still Flies
Miscellaneous
Written by Kelly Thompson   
Wednesday, 10 September 2014 06:56
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Goodyear Blimp Still FliesThe Goodyear Blimp has been an iconic symbol for as long as most of us can remember. But the blimp of today, with its LED lighting and projection capabilities, is a far cry from where it started more than 100 years ago.

Making appearances
Founded in 1898, Goodyear entered the aviation industry in 1910, building hot-air balloons for competition and sport. It wasn’t until 1925 that the blimp really made its spotlight appearance, as the “Pilgrim” model was used for public relations, parades, and the Santa Claus Express program.

The blimp continued to be an event feature into the mid-century, but took on a new role from 1942-1944 when many Goodyear blimps were used as naval vessels. After the war, some blimps went on to continue their military service, but the primary focus for the blimps was still public relations and advertising. As the age of television developed in the 1950s, Goodyear blimps introduced aerial broadcasting, and that technology would become the blimp’s primary purpose for many years. Currently, the blimp is used to drive branding for the company, and with its large lettering and bold colors, it also embodies one of their taglines, “The best tires in the world have Goodyear all over them.”

Now and into the future
In August 2014, the newest blimp, Wingfoot One, appeared in the fleet. The blimp is 50 feet longer than any previous blimp, and has a maximum speed of 73 mph. And according to Goodyear CEO Richard Kramer, it’s the first redesign since the early 1940s.

Want to see the blimp fly, or take a ride and see for yourself? The schedule is kept current every month, and can be found on the Goodyear Blimp website here.

Plans for the future lie ahead, as Goodyear plans to release a new model in 2016, and another in 2018. We applaud the continuing aerial tradition of the easy-to-spot Goodyear Blimp!

 
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