RAINY SEASON IS UPON US!!
We were finally lucky enough to get some rain here in Los Angeles yesterday. And, with the rain always comes some concerns, especially in regard to driver safety. Driving in the rain may not seem like the most pressing matter for us here in Southern California, but it does rain every once in a while. We at Shige's Premier Car Service want you all to be prepared ahead of time to ensure that you and your family stay safe, and do not increase the potential for life threatening situations.
Living in this fast paced city, we always seem to be in a hurry. But, when it's raining we all have to remember to take our time and slow down a bit. Don't forget to turn your headlights on so that other cars can see you and always allow extra space between you and the car ahead you, so that there is enough time to react to the traffic in front of you.
Those are just the basics for navigating through rainy streets that we have to remember when there is rain in the forecast. But, what we all tend to neglect are our tires and windshield wipers. So, lets talk tires first. It's really important to understand why caring for your tires should be pretty high on your maintenance agenda, especially when we need to get around during the rainy season.
THE HAPS ON TIRES
Professionals do recommend you check your tires at least once a month. First, one should always check for appropriate tire pressure. To find the recommended tire pressure for your vehicle, one can look in the owner's manual or on a sticker located on the driver side door jam. Typical recommendations are 30 psi to 35 psi. While checking for tire pressure, it is best to test tread depth, as well. To test the tread depth, one must know what tread measurements are. Typical tread on a new tire is 11/32nd's or 10/32nd's. Legally bald tires measure at 2/32nd's. There is a simple method to use and it only takes a quarter. Yes, a quarter. Take the quarter with Washington's head side up and insert his head down into the tread. If his entire head remains visible, you do no have enough tread.
Tires today have a tread wear indicator bar built into the tires. The bars are usually invisible or barely visible when tires are new and they gradually begin to appear as the tires wear down. They will appear as flat rubber bars running perpendicular to the direction of the tread itself.
WHY IS TREAD SO IMPORTANT ON RAINY DAYS?
Tire tread is important during a rain storm for control purposes. With bald tires, you will have a reduction in grip on the road. When the grooves in the tire are not deep enough, the tire cannot channel the water out through the tread. Shallow tread will increase the risk of hydroplaning. This will occur due to the fact that shallow tread worsens driving conditions by allowing more water to accumulate and stay beneath the tire. This is why it is recommended to double the distance between you and the car ahead of you, so that in an event that you do hydroplane or have a sudden need to stop, you will have plenty of space and time.
WHAT ELSE TO REMEMBER?
As tread is definitely an important factor in safe driving, we certainly should not over look cracks in the sidewall of the tires. Cuts or gashes that are noticeable enough could be a sign that your tire is developing a slow leak or you could have a potential blow out on your hands. Bulges on the outer surface of the tire will also weaken the tires, so be on the look out for anything that appears unusual on your tires.
Another issue that is not always highlighted, but is just as important is alignment. If your car is not aligned appropriately you will have control issues. When it comes to wet surfaces, you definitely want maximum control of your vehicle! If you have any doubt about your vehicles alignment, come in and visit us. We will do an alignment test on your vehicle free of charge to let you know what needs to be done.
THE HAPS ON WINDSHIELD WIPERS
Windshield wipers are easy to neglect, especially here in Southern California. What we have to remember is that they are always sitting out exposed to the sun and in fluctuating temperatures. That means that over time they will wear down, become hardened and possibly crack due to the exposure to excessive heat and moisture.
So, we suggest that you change your windshield wipers every six months to a year. The rubber wipers have the shortest lifespan, while halogen hardened rubber wipers will last a bit longer. Silicon wipers are top of the line and have been know to last a little longer than a year in some cases. Luckily, you don't have to change the entire blade assembly because most arms will accept inserts.
HOW DO I KNOW WHEN TO CHANGE MY WINDSHIELD WIPERS?
The biggest sign that you need to replace your windshield wipers is if the moisture that you are trying to get rid of is leaving streaks on your windshield. There might be gaps where water is not being removed, as well. The wipers might make a chattering sound like when you run them over a dry windshield. Worse case scenario the blade will be so worn that the rubber will have deteriorated so badly that it will flake off in pieces from the arm. If the metal or hard rubber from the arm scrapes across the glass of your windshield, this can cause some damage and no one wants to deal with that, right? So, don't dismiss the importance of the windshield wiper blade. They're an easy and inexpensive part of your vehicle to keep up and they are an integral part of driving your car on a rainy day and even on sunny days.
MORAL OF THE STORY?
Before the rainy days come, always be sure to do a quick check up on your tires. Make sure your tread looks good, always check tire pressure and look for any visible cracks. Remember, hydroplaning happens with perfectly good tires too, so don't put you or your family at risk by not being vigilant about checking your tires. Do not overlook the value of a good windshield wiper, as well. Make sure they're soft and not hardening too much.
No matter what, if you don't have time to do it yourself, let us do it for you!! Don't hesitate to bring in your car to Shige's Premier Car Service. We will help you stay ahead of the maintenance and repair game. We will check your tires to make sure they're safe and help you replace them, if necessary. We will replace your windshield wipers for you anytime, as well, so that you and your vehicle will be ready for anything Mother Nature wants to throw at you!!