Has your car battery ever died on you in the middle of a storm? Has someone ever warned you about the likelihood of your vehicle battery dying when it’s cold?
If so, there’s a reason behind it. In fact, every car owner should know what makes batteries more likely to die during the winter, and what can be done to prevent or repair it.
Most car batteries consist of a plastic case filled with pairs of lead plates—called “cells”— that are immersed in an acid/water mixture. The plates and liquid mixture react chemically to produce a charge that is then stored in the battery.
Over time, these pairs of plates become coated with lead sulfate. This “sulfation” reduces the batteries capacity to hold a charge. As lead acid batteries sit for long periods of time without the charge being used, they also slowly lose their charge.
So what does this have to do with winter? We’re glad you asked. The simple answer is, the water in the acid/liquid mixture of a car battery slowly evaporates during summer months, quickening the sulfation process. Then during winter, cold temperatures slow down chemical reactions inside lead-acid batteries. Basically, by the time winter hits, your battery is hit with a double whammy that makes dying much more likely.
Cold temperatures also make it require more work and more power to “heat up” the engine and oil. In fact, car batteries can lose about half of their strength during cold months, but vehicles can require twice as much power to get started.
Also, more is required of your battery when defrosters and heaters are used—draining your battery even faster.
Your vehicle battery may die with no warning, but sometimes you’ll notice a few tell-tale signs.
Some of these include dimmed or yellowed exterior or interior lights, a sulfur or rotten egg smell, electronic units in the vehicle not functioning properly, a swollen battery case, a slow engine or delayed start, and your battery being over 3 years old.
If your car battery has died or is acting up, or if you’d like to have a professional take a look at your vehicle’s battery before the cold winter months, stop by one of our 9 Plains Tire locations throughout Wyoming!
Our team can repair, install replace, or service car batteries throughout Evanston, Casper, Gillette, Green River, Laramie, Riverton, Rock Springs, and Sheridan, Wyoming. Come in and see us!
When it comes to doing routine maintenance on your vehicle, it can seem impossible to stay on top of it all. That’s why a cracked windshield is one of the most common repairs people put off.
We all do it, but we’re often oblivious to the real risks involved when driving with a cracked windshield. Here are just a few reasons why this is an automotive service that should get taken care of quickly.
Of course, there are many dangerous issues that pose real risks to drivers and passengers. But the fact is, besides routine oil changes, we tend to put off a log of things. That’s the prime reason why a cracked windshield is such a hazard: because it’s the often the easiest to neglect.
In the event of even a mild collision, a cracked windshield can make terrible matters worse. A cracked windshield is more likely to shatter—putting you and your passengers at a greater risk of injury from broken glass. And if someone isn’t wearing their seatbelt, they’re more likely to get ejected out of the front of the car.
A cracked windshield can also impact airbag deployment. The windshield often stops the airbag and pushes it back toward the passenger for protection during an accident. But if the windshield is shattered, the airbag escapes out the opening—leaving the passenger without protection.
When a windshield is cracked, dirt and moisture can easily make their way inside your vehicle. This can impact the interior of your vehicle, make your windshield fog up faster and more persistently, and can even make the crack itself spread faster.
This is one of the most significant risks of driving with a cracked windshield. Even if the crack doesn’t seem to be in the way, it can still impair your ability to see clearly. Even if you think you can work around the crack and still see well, you could still be putting yourself, your passengers, and other drivers on the road at risk.
While the specific consequences in each state vary, no matter where you are, you can be pulled over and ticketed for driving with a cracked windshield. Anything that can be a potential hazard for drivers and passengers is taken very seriously by law enforcement, and a ticket could end up costing you more than if you had your windshield replaced in the first place. So why put it off and take that risk?
At your regular tune-up, your local specialists at Plains Tire can provide tips on any cracks or chips in your windshield and make sure you’re safe on the road.
Wondering if your windshield should be replaced? Stop by one of our 9 Plains Tire locations throughout Wyoming and we’ll take a look!
Check out our latest specials and coupons for use at your next service!
Are you frustrated with rising gas prices? The high cost of fuel doesn’t have to keep you from road tripping while the weather is nice. Instead of keeping your car parked to save money, hit the road with these 9 simple tips for increasing your gas mileage.
Trust us—these methods really do work.
When you accelerate and brake quickly, it requires more work from your engine and—you guessed it—more gas. Accelerate slow and steady instead of at a racer’s pace. Avoid sudden braking by keeping a safe distance between you and the car in front of you. Instead of slamming on the breaks, focus on rolling stops.
Cruise control can help you with tip number one. When your cruise control is on, you’re less likely to accelerate or brake as frequently.
Make sure you know and use the right type of fuel for your engine. The recommended fuel type for your vehicle will be listed in your owner’s manual. This ensures the best performance for your engine and the most fuel efficiency.
Oxygen can leak into your gas tank if the cap isn’t sealed tightly. Your engine will burn more gas if oxygen is flowing through it. When you fill up, be sure to tighten your gas cap all the way. Also, ask the pro’s at your routine tune-up if the rubber seal is breaking down on your gas cap. They’ll either replace it for you or direct you to a local auto parts store where you can buy one for cheap.
Again, your owner’s manual will be able to tell you which oil is best for your vehicle. Use this type every time. The wrong oil can reduce your gas mileage by causing friction in your engine.
It’s science—the more weight something carriers, the harder it has to pump in order to move. Excess weight puts a heavy strain on your engine and can drastically reduce your gas mileage. So if you’re heading out on a trip, pack as lightly as possible.
Low tire pressure will decrease your gas mileage more than anything. When tire pressure is low, the rolling resistance increases when your tires hit the ground. Resistance equals drag, which equals lower gas mileage.
Get this—when idling, your engine uses up about a gallon of fuel each hour. Next time you’re sitting in your car with the engine running, think twice. This is a simple way to get more out of your fuel tank.
At your next oil change, ask the pro’s if your air filter needs replaced, and follow their recommendations. A clean air filter will help your engine burn gas more efficiently.
Overall, the best way to make sure you’re getting optimum gas mileage is through preventative maintenance. During regular tune ups, professionals can check your tire pressure, oil levels, brakes, engine function, and air filters. Repairs can be done in a timely manner—meaning you won’t miss out on good gas mileage.
When it comes to your vehicle, there are a lot of small repairs and routine maintenance for you to remember, like regular tune-ups, changing your oil, or replacing your windshield wiper blades. We know the list is long, and when your local tire and wheel specialist recommends a tire rotation at your next service, you may be tempted to say no.
We get it—your lives are busy, and a tire rotation may not seem like something you need at the time, so you put it off. But did you know that tire rotation is recommended about every 5,000 to 7,500 miles? Here’s why.
Start by checking your owner’s manual for your manufacturer’s specific recommendation for tire rotation. Again, it should fall between that mileage window listed above.
When you take your vehicle in to have your tires rotated, typically the front tires and the rear tires will switch places. The tires are often moved to different sides as well, so the tires on the right and the tires on the left are swapped with each other.
There are many different patterns and ways of rotating tires, and your local tire experts will know how to rotate the tires for your specific vehicle.
The main purpose of tire rotation is to ensure that your tires wear evenly. This extends the life of your tires and saves you money in the long run.
Even wear on your tires also ensures that your vehicle remains balanced on the road. If tires aren’t rotated, they’ll have significantly less tread on some tires than others. Your tires will wear differently depending on if your vehicle is front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, or all-wheel drive. Your local tire specialists will understand the tread pattern for your car, and also the recommended tread depth for the tires on your vehicle.
Uneven wear is dangerous because it can make your vehicle more difficult to control—especially in an emergency situation or when driving in the rain or snow.
Failure to rotate your tires regularly may also impact your tire warranty, as many tire manufacturers require regular rotations in order to keep your warranty valid.
When it comes to something as important as your tires, don’t leave their care to just anyone. Find a local tire provider you can trust, like Plains Tire.
Plains Tire is Wyoming’s most trusted tire company. We carry the most trusted tire brands and offer the best tire maintenance, repair, and rotation services at all of our 9 locations.
Learn more about our complete offering of tire services!
Summer is here and it's time to take that long-awaited, and much-needed vacation. Which calls for a... ROAD TRIP! Before you hop into the car and start your adventure, check out these tips so you are as prepared as you can be!
Planning is an important part of a road trip. That being said, don't have a plan that is so set in stone that you miss out on the adventure of the trip. Have a route that is from point A to B, leaving room for detours and other site seeing. Check Google Maps so you have an idea of how long the travel time will be, roads that might be close, and maybe get an idea of a couple sites that may be off the beaten path.
Depending on whether you are headed to the mountains or the beach, you may want to consider finding a vehicle that will match the terrain you will be driving on. If it's a short trip, do some research and see if renting a car may be the best option. This will save you from putting the miles on your own vehicle, retaining its value. Be sure to check the status of your tires, fluids, and lights to make sure all are in working order. If you don't feel comfortable doing this checkup, have the professionals and Plains Tire Co. of Wyoming do it for you!
One of the best compliments to the open road and the snacks is the music. Compiling your favorite songs and nice feel-good music will boost the moods and you hit the desolate areas of the trip. If you get sick of music, another good way to help some of the time passes is to listen to an audiobook.
As you pass through small towns, ask the locals for their advice. They will be able to give you the best advice for food, lodging, and sites to see. If you are lucky, you may even find a hole-in-the-wall restaurant that quickly becomes your favorite of all time.
If you know when you are going to reach your destination, and you know that you want to see a certain attraction, then book your entry in advance. Booking in advance will save you time and possibly missing out on if it sells out. Saving as much time for things like this will give you the chance to maximize your vacation.
Do adequate research before you leave and familiarize yourself with the route, geographical area, culture, currency differences, and weather. Pack accordingly, make sure your A/C is working, give family and friends a heads up on where you are going and simply be smart!!
Have your vehicle checked out by the professionals at Plains Tire Co., to ensure that your vehicle is ready to take on the open road. Schedule your appointment today.
As the weather warms up, your vehicle may show signs of a needed tune-up. With more travel for vacation or visiting family, means more chances your car could break down and leave you stranded. This list will help prevent possible car troubles as you're out and about. Keep your car in tip-top shape.
Your engine needs to stay as cool as you. Check the level of coolant fluid, the condition of the hoses and also the coolant reservoir. Make sure that the fluid is topped off and the condition of the hoses are good. It’s a good idea to have a small container of coolant in the emergency bag in your trunk. Keep an eye out for leaks as you go through the summer months.
The belts found in your engine can degrade, become noisy, loose or even break. Making sure that these belts are in good conditions. Also, make sure that they haven't become loose and have the right amount of tension. If you start to see cracks, ware, and missing pieces, it's time to replace them.
Summer rainstorms are most times always welcomed. But not so much when your wipers are worn and not doing their job, making it almost impossible to see out your windshield. Worn wipers create streaks across the windshield affecting your ability to see and drive safely. Wiper replacements are fairly inexpensive and easy to switch out without a professional's hand. However, sometimes auto maintenance shops will sell you the wipers and install them for free.
Your engine uses all sorts of fluids to ensure it runs correctly and smoothly. These fluids include oil, brake, power-steering and windshield-washer fluid. Check these fluids often. If you don't know where to check these fluids, ask your favorite automotive shop to show you. Check oil, brake, power-steering and windshield-washer fluids regularly. Also, be sure that as you check these fluids throughout different areas of the engine, to keep an eye out for other irregularities.
Having a working air-conditioning in your vehicle is a must. After a tough winter, your A/C may not be working at its best. Older A/C systems may be leaking Freon which isn't good for the atmosphere of your car. You can find many options for leak-sealing products stores. If this doesn't seem to help, there could be a bigger problem which may be looked at by a qualified mechanic.
This time of year is a good time to check your engines air filter. If you haven't checked it through the fall, winter and spring months, you may find leaves, pollens and all other sorts of outdoor debris clogging the filter. You could try to clean it or it might be easiest to buy a new one.
The condition of your tires should be checked throughout the year including regular rotations. Making sure the air pressure, tire threads, and side walls are all in good condition is important. No cracks, no uneven wear, good tread depth, and good sidewall condition are all considered when evaluating if a tire is in good condition. If you think that the condition of your tires may affect the safety of you and your family, consider purchasing a new set of tires. Also, make sure that your spare tire is in equally good condition.
Your dashboard sees a lot of suns. Using a sunshade while your car is parked can protect your dashboard from the damaging sun as well as keeping the interior of your vehicle cooler. The ultraviolet rays of the sun change the color of the dashboard over time. You could also consider purchasing a sunshade for your rear window, protecting the tops the and rear dash.
Keeping your car clean during the fall and winter months is difficult. Dirt is easily tracked into the vehicle with wet shoes. Dust begins to settle throughout the car as we neglect to clean the interior. This dust settles on the inside of the windshield making it difficult to see out when the sun hits it just right. Clean the inside of your vehicle as often as possible. This preserves the conditions of your seats and floors as well as keeping your windows safe to look out of. Don't stop with the inside. Clean the exterior of your vehicle preserving your paint and your shiny wheels. Finish the car wash was a good waxing.
Road trips are a good opportunity to bond with family and friends as well as seeing the sites of the world. Be sure that you are well stocked with drinks and snacks. Organize your trip ahead of time to maximize your time spent on vacation. Make a list of everything you're going to need. For example sunglasses, games, snacks, blankets, books and anything else that will make you better prepared. Be sure to pack an emergency kit to be placed in our truck; which should include water, flashlight, light snacks, flares, radio, and any other emergency preparedness items.
To make things easier, call Discount Tire Co. and schedule an appointment and we will look over your vehicle and make sure you and your family are safe. We are willing and able to make sure you're prepared to have a great summer!