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Levin Learn Blog
A Costly Loss
For the Driver
Written by Kelly Thompson   
Thursday, 11 September 2014 00:00
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carkeyAll 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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goodyearblimpThe 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!

 
Symptoms of A/C Troubles
Repair & Maintenance
Written by Kelly Thompson   
Wednesday, 23 July 2014 17:50
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air conditioningThere’s no dashboard warning light that tells you when it’s time to take care of your vehicle’s air conditioning. But the telltale sign, especially in the middle of a sweltering summer, is that it stops blowing cold air — making your road trips unbearable.

Your air conditioning system is made up of three crucial steps: liquidation, refrigeration, and evaporation. If dirt or debris isn’t properly removed in one of these processes, or if any one of the parts breaks down due to prolonged use, it can cause your vehicle's air conditioning to fail.

Other signs to look for include: 

• Dirt or debris coming from your air vents
• Weak or no airflow through the passenger cabin
• Warm airflow
• Strange odors
• Noises or sounds when you switch on the A/C

Annual maintenance of your vehicle’s air conditioning can go a long way in preventing problems before they start. We service all makes and models, but the service needed may vary, depending on the type of car you drive and the issue at hand. Systems in newer models can sometimes be easily recharged to regain proper function, while older vehicles may require more complex service, such as a radiator or compressor replacement.

If you’re feeling the heat, make an appointment with a Levin Tire Center technician today. We’ll get you cooled off in no time!

 
Brake Pad Replacement Breakdown
Repair & Maintenance
Written by Kelly Thompson   
Friday, 11 July 2014 09:50
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brakesMany of us drive every day, without giving much thought to the fact that our brakes are the only things keeping us from a crash at 60 miles per hour or more. And while they might not be the part of your vehicle that made you fall in love with it, regular maintenance is vital to your safety.

How do my brakes work?
The brakes of your car work much like the brakes on a bicycle. They’re comprised of a main hydraulic system with brake fluid, attached to a set of clamps – called calipers – that come together on the rotor. When you press the brakes, these calipers squeeze the rotor, and the friction is what stops your car.

The brake pads are between the caliper and the rotor, and need to be replaced roughly every few thousand miles, depending on your driving habits. If the brake pad wears down too far, the calipers start to wear on the rotor, which is much more expensive to replace/repair than your brake pads.

How can I tell if I need a brake pad replacement?
On each brake disk, there’s a device called a wear indicator. It contacts the rotor when the pad reaches a low level of wear, and you’ll hear a loud squealing noise when it’s time to change the pads.
You shouldn’t wait for the noises to start, though – it’s fairly easy to check the level of your brake pads on your own. Look between the spokes of your wheel, and you’ll see the metal rotor inside. The brake pad should be visible between the rotor and the caliper — it should be about a quarter of an inch thick. (If you can’t see through the spokes of your wheel, you can check the pads by removing your tire.)

If your brake pads are too thin, or if you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, stop in and let our technicians take a look:

• Squealing or grinding sounds
• Vibrations on normal braking
• Having to press the pedal to the floor to stop

All of our locations perform brake pad replacements, and rotor replacements if necessary. Find a location close to home here.

 
3 All-Season Tires You Can Trust
All About Tires
Written by Kelly Thompson   
Tuesday, 01 July 2014 12:08
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tireWhen it comes to issues of gas mileage, safety, and wear-and-tear, nothing can do more good on your vehicle than a set of reliable, well-made tires. Here are 3 that fit most automotives and won’t break the bank.

1) Firestone Precision Touring
A popular tire due to its low price, reliable traction and sleek, one-size-fits-all design, the Precious Touring is used as a stock tire on many big-name vehicles, including the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Chevy Malibu. It features wide traction, which makes for improved handling, and prevents hydroplaning during bad weather. 

Good for: Mid-size to luxury sedans, coupes, and family cars

2) Continental PureContact
The PureContact is said to outlast most general all-season tires, and it comes with a special perk — the letters “DWS” on the outside of the tire stand for Dry, Wet and Snow, and they alert drivers to tread depth and safety. When all three letters are visible, the tire is safe to drive in all three of these conditions. Once the letter S disappears after some use, the tire is no longer recommended for driving in light snow.

Good for: Mid-size to luxury sedans, coupes, family and crossover vehicles

3) Michelin Defender
When you need to make sure the kids get to practice on time every time, the Michelin Defender is a great, reliable addition to your family vehicle, and is known for being quiet — you’ll have a safe, comfortable ride, every time. The tire also features low rolling resistance, improving your gas mileage by as much as five miles per gallon.

Good for: Family vehicles such as minivans, and compact- or mid-sized crossover vehicles like the Honda CR-V, or Jeep Cherokee.

Levin Tire offers tires from all major manufacturers, and we can recommend the best tire for your make and model. Stop by or call your nearest Levin Tire Center, and we’ll make sure you’re on the road safely and comfortably.

 
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