Friday, October 17, 2014

Tips & Suggestions For Safe Driving During The Fall Season

Fallen leaves can be dangerous for drivers.

Winter is coming but the Fall season presents its own challenges for drivers. From wet leaves falling to wildlife scampering across the road, there is never a shortage of distractions for drivers. While safe driving is the name of the game, being a prepared driver is what will really save you the headache. From sun up to sun down , there are certain precautions that you should be taking to ensure that your driving experience is as safe and productive as possible this Fall.

Scraping frost off of a windshield with a small ice scraper.
Storing a bigger ice scraper in your vehicle might help...
Preparing Your Vehicle In The Morning

If you're running late in the morning, there is nothing more frustrating than having to deal with the early morning frost and/or accumulation of leaves on your windshield. Unless you have an electric car starter to heat up your car before you get in it, the best way to prepare for Mother Nature's frozen residue is to give yourself an extra five minutes in the morning. I understand that this isn't always easy, but its both safer and more relaxing when you don't have to rush to get to your destination first thing in the morning.

As for fallen leaves, it is best to remove them from the top of your vehicle before driving because they will blow all over the place as you pick up speed driving down the road. This bit of advice is most important for the drivers of pickup trucks. A windstorm in the night will fill the bed of your truck with leaves, and as soon as you hit 60 mph on the highway you're going to have a mess on your hands. Be courteous of other drivers and remove the excess of leaves from your vehicle before driving.  

The Fall sun glare can really hamper your vision while driving.

We can't forget about that ridiculous sun glare. In the morning, the low rising sun will beat on your windshield like a monkey on the drums. If you neglected to remove all of the frost from your vehicle, the glare will be magnified. The danger here is obvious, if you can't see while you're driving you are a hazard to yourself and everyone else on the road. Investing in a $5 pair of sunglasses or taking advantage of your driver-side visor will prevent you from being blinded by the morning light.

Last but certainly not least is the wildlife. You always have to account for unsuspecting critters when you're driving during the Fall season. Some blend in with the multicolored environment, and others are seemingly oblivious to traffic. Watch out for these little fellas, because not only will you feel badly about hitting them, but they could also do some damage to your vehicle.

Our Top 7 Tips For Safe Fall Driving

  • While beautiful on the trees, fallen leaves can become a real hazard when wet. They can be as slippery as ice, and cover up actual ice patches, pot holes, and traffic lines. 
  • When driving into a wall of fog, make sure to use your low beam headlights, because your high beams will create a glare for oncoming drivers.
  • Use caution when driving in unfamiliar areas. This may be common sense, but if don't know an area well, stop signs and cross walks can come up on you quickly.
  • Watch out for deer. While these four legged beasts are part of the wildlife that I referred to above, they are much larger than squirrels or possums. They will do some serious damage to your vehicle. Drive slow in heavily wooded areas!
  • Increase your following distance, especially in lousy weather, at dusk, and at dawn. If you are being tailgated let the aggressive driver pass, there is no reason to let your road rage build up.
  • Again, this may be common sense but make sure that your headlights, taillights, windshield wipers, and heating system are all working properly before the cold weather hits. You don't want to be caught in a messy situation without these applications running at full capacity. 
  • Make sure that your tires have sufficient tread depth in case of an early snowfall. This is New England, you should be used to this by now...

With winter following closely behind, you may also wish to swap out your all-season tires for winter specific tires. You can have this done for free at Town Fair Tire thanks to the Free Winter Tire Change-Over Service. If you're interested, please visit our website for more details.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Why Is My Steering Wheel Vibrating?- You May Need A Wheel Alignment

What Is A Wheel Alignment?

When your wheels are out of alignment, your tires aren't pointing in the right direction. You can imagine how this might cause you some problems. So what is a wheel alignment? A wheel alignment is the adjusting of the angles of the wheels so that they are perpendicular to the ground and parallel to one another. It is impossible to perform an accurate wheel alignment without the proper equipment because the angle of the wheel is measured in fractions of a degree, which is too small for the human eye to distinguish. Therefore aligning your wheels on your own is not a smart choice.

When Do You Need An Alignment?

Do you think that your vehicle is ready for an alignment? If you’re not sure, here are some warning signs to look out for.

  • Steering Wheel Issues- If your steering wheel is not in a straight, natural position while you are driving down a straight road, its likely the result of a misalignment.

  • Vibrations- If you feel a vibration through your steering wheel or under your seat, your vehicles alignment could be off. If it is the alignment, the vibration will worsen as you speed up.

  • Pulling- If your vehicle pulls to the left or right while you’re driving, it’s probably time to get your wheels aligned.

  • Strange Tire Behavior- Tire wear and misalignment are closely related. If your tires are wearing unevenly, showing unusual patterns, or squealing whenever you take a turn you could be due for an alignment.

  • Road Hazards- Not every pot hole is avoidable. Neither are sharp turns, or those curbs that stick out too far at the grocery store. For every little bump that you feel while driving, there is a bruise left on your vehicle. No matter how small the bruise, eventually they will add up, thus resulting in you needing to schedule an appointment for an alignment.

Why Do You Need An Alignment?

When you purchase a brand new car with a fresh set of tires, your alignment should be spot on. However, when you install new tires or suspension components you should have your alignment checked. If you don’t purchase a full set of tires, make sure that the older ones completely touch the ground after you have your vehicle realigned.

  • Reduced Tire Wear- Improper alignment is a major cause of premature tire wear. Over the years, a properly aligned vehicle can add thousands of miles to tire life.

  • Better Gas Mileage- Gas mileage increases as rolling resistance decreases. A four wheel alignment sets all four wheels parallel to one another which, along with proper inflation, also minimizes rolling resistance.

  • Improved Handling- Is your car pulling to one side or the other? Does your steering wheel vibrate? Are you constantly moving your steering wheel to keep your car traveling straight ahead? The majority of handling problems can be corrected with an alignment. With all of the system components aligned properly, road shock is more efficiently absorbed for a smoother ride.

You don’t need to do anything that you don’t want to when it comes to your vehicle, but if you want to extend the life of your tires, and keep the cash in your wallet, you will want to strongly consider a wheel alignment. A four wheel alignment offers safe and predictable vehicle control, as well as a more comfortable ride.

Is your vehicle due for an alignment? Do you need to make a reservation? Don’t wait, because a misaligned vehicle will not only destroy your tires, but is also a potential hazard to both yourself and other drivers around you. Call your local Town Fair Tire to make a reservation today.

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