Christensen Automotive | Gardnerville 775.782.2605 , Carson City 775.882.8888, Reno 775.322.8100, South Lake Tahoe 530.544.9940, Fallon 775-423-5455

Getting A Grip On Winter Driving

With the end of daylight savings and a definite chill in the air, you may be thinking about your winter tire options. As a brief overview there are 2 main winter tire choices, studs, studless, and then there are “all season” tires. Each has their benefits and constraints and your choice should be based on what conditions you mainly drive in. An easy way to make sure the tire you purchase is rated as a winter tire is to look for the “snowflake-in-a-mountain” symbol on the sidewall of the tire. A good set of winter tires on all four wheels regardless of whether your vehicle is front, rear or all wheel drive will improve handling and traction on snow and ice. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and in fact most owner’s manuals recommend installing four winter tires so you maintain the most balanced and controlled handling possible in all winter driving conditions. It is imperative to keep the same level of traction at all four corners of the car; otherwise, the full benefits of ABS or traction control systems will be lost. Below is a quick list of pros and cons of each type of winter tire. All Season Tires Pros: Can be used all year round Cons: Does not provide enough traction in snow or icy conditions Studs Pros: Good traction on ice and hard packed snow Cons: Loud, do not handle well on wet or dry pavement, damages roads. Additionally, studded snow tires are only permitted on Nevada roads between October 1st and April 30th Studless Pros: Good traction in all winter conditions, quiet, remain flexible in...

Winterizing Your Vehicle

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. As I’m writing this the forecast was for only a slight chance of precipitation, but winter driving conditions are here and can be harsh and there is no worse time for your vehicle to break down. A few simple checks and simple preparedness can help to keep your vehicle running smoothly this winter. These suggestions are taken from the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and the AAA. Cooling System – The primary function of the cooling system is to keep the engine from overheating. The system should be flushed and refilled as recommended by your owner’s manual. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. The AAA recommended protection level is -36 degrees. Heater/Defroster – must be in good working condition for passenger comfort and driver visibility. Windshield Wipers – Replace old blades. Rubber-clad (winter) blades will help to fight ice build up. Stock up on windshield washer solvent-you’ll be surprised how much you use. Remember to carry an ice-scraper. Battery – Have checked for corrosion, cracks and dirt and to make sure it still operates as designed and then have it cleaned or replaced if necessary. Lights – Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs; periodically clean road grime from all lenses with a moistened cloth or towel. To prevent scratching, never use a dry rag. Brakes – Nothing is more important than your car’s ability to stop itself and if your brake pads are worn you will not be able to stop your vehicle when you need to. You can check for brake pad wear by...

How to read a tire sidewall

Coupled with the “max load” number, which is found near to “max press” on the sidewall, you can know the maximum load-carrying ability of a tire. Know this: It’s air pressure that allows the tire to carry a load. At one pound per square inch (psi) of air pressure a tire can support no weight. To increase its load-carrying capacity, air pressure must be increased. (Imagine a plastic soft-drink bottle: With the top off, it’s easily crushed, but new and unopened it can support a grown man.) However, at some pressure, adding more air to the tire will not provide increased weight-carrying capacity: That’s what the “max load/max pressure” means. Molded into every tire sidewall is a series of codes that give valuable information to the consumer regarding that specific tire, such as name of the tire, its size, whether it is tubeless or its tube type, the tire grade, speed rating, the maximum load, maximum inflation, important safety warnings, etc. Let’s look at a typical passenger car tire to see what those letters and number really mean: Example: P255/60R15 102T “P” means this is a passenger car tire (as opposed to a tire made for a truck or other vehicle). P-metric is the U.S. version of a metric tire-sizing system. LT designates the tire as a light truck (or SUV) tire. “255” Section Width: The width of the tire in millimeters from sidewall to sidewall. This measurement varies depending on the width of the rim to which the tire is fitted: larger on a wider rim, smaller on a narrow rim. The number on the side of tire...