Tires & Wheels Care And Maintenance

A slight imbalance on the tires and wheels can cause your vehicle to overturn at high speed especially when making turns. You don’t want that to happen! If you want to drive safely, then you must prioritize your tires and wheels through the following steps;

Did you know that most tire-related accidents are caused by under-inflated tires? Not only does it diminish the gas mileage and handling, but an under-inflated tire can trigger a dangerous blowout. Don’t wait for the mechanic to check your tire pressure once in a blue moon but you should do it yourself every month. As per the norm, the owner’s manual will tell you the appropriate pressure for your tires.

Don’t forget, over-inflated tires can be a problem too.
Do you see those imprinted patterns on the tires that leave marks on the ground when you drive on dry soil or mud? They’re known as tire treads and they play a big role whenever you want to drive in all weather conditions. Suffice to say, always make sure you check the depth of the tread before you drive that car.
Unlike that short trip to the mall, the tires are more strained during a long road trip. A small crack, bulge or stuck object on the tire can cause a lot of trouble when you travel halfway across the state or country. Just pray that stuck glass on your tire doesn’t set off a deflated tire on the highway. Well, you don’t have to leave your safety to chance but you can always inspect your tires regularly.

How Can I Tell If My Radiator Is Leaking?

How can you tell when your car’s radiator is leaking? When the temperature gauge on your dashboard reads high or a temperature warning light comes on, you have a cooling system problem that may be caused by leakage — be it in the radiator itself or some other component.

Related: Common Radiator and Cooling-System Problems

First, make sure it’s coolant that’s leaking, not another fluid. (Coolant is often referred to as antifreeze, but technically coolant is a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water.) You can easily check the coolant level in your see-through overflow tank. If it’s empty or low, the next step should be to check the coolant level in the radiator, but that should be done only when the engine is cool. Having too little coolant in the car’s cooling system can cause engine overheating and/or make your cabin heater blow cold air.

Once you know you’re losing coolant, the radiator is a good place to start. Some radiator leaks will be easy to spot — such as a puddle underneath the radiator — but others not so much. It’s best to check the radiator from every angle, not just from above, and pay particular attention to seams and the bottom. Rust inside the radiator or holes from road debris also can cause coolant leaks. Your vehicle may have an aluminum radiator that technically can’t rust, but aluminum can corrode or develop pinhole leaks too.

Antifreeze comes in different colors — green, yellow and pinkish-red, for example — feels like slimy water and usually has a sweet smell. If you can’t see coolant dripping or seeping, look for rust, tracks or discoloration on the radiator. Those are telltale signs of where it has leaked.

If the radiator appears to be OK, the cooling system offers several possibilities for leaks, including the hoses from the radiator to the engine, the radiator cap, water pump, engine block, thermostat, reservoir tank, heater core (a small radiator that circulates hot coolant into the dashboard for passenger-compartment heating) and others. A blown gasket between the cylinder head and engine block is another possibility, allowing coolant inside the combustion chambers — a problem that must be addressed immediately by a mechanic. (Thick white smoke coming from the tailpipe is actually steam, a telltale symptom.)

If you can’t find a leak, have it checked by a mechanic. Coolant has a way of escaping only under pressure when the car is running — possibly in the form of steam, which may not leave a trace. If the culprit continues to evade detection, you might consider a radiator stop-leak additive, available at auto parts stores, which seals small leaks — but it’s always better to find and repair the problem’s source, especially in the case of faulty head gaskets, which can lead your power supply to overheat and cause catastrophic engine damage.’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

Benefits Of Maintaining Your Car


You’ve probably seen a car that is older than Dracula but surprisingly, it doesn’t look like it. In fact, a well-maintained old car can outlive a newer car that’s been neglected without proper care. Quite often, it’s the little things like regularly checking your tire pressure, brakes, fluid level, battery and lights that make the big difference in the long run.

Boost Your Safety

Did you know that some road accidents are indirectly caused by poor car maintenance? For instance, you can forget to service your brake system and when you need to slow down, it malfunctions causing an accident. Another scenario would be a worn out tire that was supposed to be changed that bursts when you’re driving at high speed – you get the picture?

Anyway, maintaining your car can improve your safety and potentially save your life.

Enhances Reliability And Performance

If you drive a car for long enough without maintenance, you start to notice a decline in the performance. It could be that it doesn’t accelerate fast like it did when it was fresh out of the dealership. Maybe the fuel economy worsened or it coughs when you start it. No, a wizard didn’t put a spell on your car but it is normal for car components to wear out if they aren’t serviced or replaced on a regular basis.

Increases The Resale Value Of Your Vehicle

Ever wondered why some classic cars are auctioned at a higher resale value decades later after they were purchased? This is usually quite common among rare limited car models that are out of the market but the owners kept them in mint condition. However, even if your vehicle is not one of those scarce types, ensuring that it is well-maintained will increase its resale value.

When Is It Time to Replace Your Tires?

Traditional advice says that when your tire tread is worn down to where the groove measures just 2/32 of an inch (and that’s the tire tread depth law in some states) or when the tread wear indicator bars are showing, then it’s time to put new tires on your car.

With many tires, though, drivers will experience a significant loss of safe traction and braking ability in rain and snow before then. Because tires wear gradually and many vehicle owners don’t regularly check their tires for tread depth or uneven wear, the loss of traction may not become apparent until the vehicle skids instead of stopping on a dime, as it once did.

Related: How Do I Find the Correct Tire Pressure for My Car?

New tires typically have from 10/32 to 11/32 of an inch of tire tread depth when they’re new. The deep tread, plus grooves and slits cut into the sides of the tread, allow water and snow to escape from under the tire so it can maintain adequate grip. As the tread wears and the grooves and slits become shallower, more moisture remains trapped under the tire. The tire then rides on a slippery surface of water (“hydroplaning”) or snow instead of “biting” the pavement.

The result is longer stopping distances, more wheel spinning in acceleration and less grip in turns.

When this slipping and sliding starts to occur — and how severe that lack of traction is — will vary by tire design and could come well before it looks like you have bald tires that need to be replaced. With some tires, the safety loss could come when there’s still, say, 5/32 of an inch of tread depth left, which would seem to be more than enough to avoid buying new tires. Some tires, though, simply have better wet-pavement and snow traction than others and will maintain it with less depth for more miles.

Mechanics can inspect tires for unusual or excessive wear, measure tread depth with a gauge and advise how much tire life is left. Depth gauges to check worn tires are available at parts stores for do-it-yourselfers, plus there’s always the penny test: Insert a Lincoln-head penny (top of the head should go head first) into a tread groove; if you can see the top of Honest Abe’s head, you need new tires.

For more on the proper tire maintenance, check out the video below.’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

How To Break In A New Car

Vehicles are made out of parts that need to synchronize after getting assembled in order to achieve optimum performance. Believe it or not, the longevity of your vehicle will depend on how you treat it when it is new. That’s why car manufacturers have the ‘break-in period’ where they recommend certain precautions, driving techniques and maintenance assignments to improve the performance and prolong the lifespan of your vehicle.

Of course, it’s important to consult your owner’s manual for the specific break-in period instructions. The typical break-in period for most modern cars is around 500 miles. Before hitting that target, the most common break-in period recommendations include:
Most modern cars will notify you via warning lights whenever there are some issues that require immediate attention. However, those warning lights will be useless if you can’t interpret what they mean to choose the appropriate course of action. Here’s how it goes:

Service engine light – You see that little print on your dashboard written “service engine”, “service” or “maint reqd”? When you see that indicator light, it’s a reminder that the recommended maintenance schedule is due.
Check engine light – Otherwise known as the malfunction indicator lamp, it will tell you whenever the sensors in your engine detect a problem that ought to be fixed. Usually, it doesn’t specify the exact issue but you can consult a mechanic or use OBD2 scanner to find out the root cause of the problem.
Brake warning light- If the brake warning light indicator automaticallyturns on, it could mean your brake fluid level is low or the brake pads are worn out. The brake warning light can also activate when you’ve engaged the parking brakes. But just to be sure, you can refer to the owner’s manual.
Coolant warning light- Don’t wait for a whistle! In case you see the coolant warning light, you should pull over immediately, open the hood and wait for the car to cool down. The coolant light tells you that the engine internal temperature is beyond the limit and if you keep driving you may damage it. Don’t forget: never open the radiator cap when the engine is hot!
ABS Warning light – Just like thebrake warning light, if the ABS warning light flashes, it’s a sign that there could be a problem with the anti-lock braking system. In other words, it could be harder for you to suddenly stop your vehicle in an emergency situation. Otherwise, if both your ABS and brake warning lights are on, you shouldn’t risk driving your vehicle until the problem is fixed.
Oil Warning light – Once the oil in your engine is lowerthan recommended, the oil warning light will engage. It could also be a symptom of a bigger problem like oil filter blockage or oil pump malfunction. Mind you, driving your car when the warning light is on can completely wreak havoc to the engine.
Electrical fault light – Obviously, it means there is an issue with the electrical charging system. You can run a diagnostic to dig deeper into the cause. In most cases, it’s usually the alternator that is misbehaving.