Have you ever looked at an old set of tires and noticed hairline fractures in the rubber surface? If so, we hope they weren’t in your own vehicle. Tire wear is a sign of aging and a sign that your tires are about to wear out. Tires explode when the rubber in the tire breaks down, and the reduced stability can cause much more serious problems on the road.
Sometimes referred to as weather cracking, ozone cracking or weather checking, the formation of cracks in vehicle tires is almost an inevitability. Fortunately, advances in the way tires are manufactured have increased their lifespan, pushing back the onset of cracking. However, once cracks begin to form, the process progresses quickly, so any cracks in your tires should be repaired quickly, especially if the cracks are in the tire treads.
Why Do Tires Blow Out?
Flat tires indicate that the rubber the tires are made of has begun to wear down. This is natural, especially considering that all battered tires are exposed to uneven road conditions, wet weather, chemicals and oils on the road, and near-constant exposure to UV radiation from the sun. Over time, these elements reduce the flexibility of rubber tires, causing them to explode.
In some cases, the result of rot in the tire tread can be the cause of a flat tire. This problem is particularly dangerous because it increases the risk of the tires blowing completely off the rim, causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle. Especially in new tires, a crack can be a sign of a manufacturing defect.
When Are Cracking Tires Unsafe?
Just because there are cracks doesn’t mean you should stop driving over them immediately. Cracking tires must be treated on a case-by-case basis. Surface cracks in pavement usually do not pose an immediate danger to a vehicle. However, as the cracks get deeper or longer, you should start thinking about replacing your tires. Once the process starts, it moves fast.
The severity of cracks also depends on where they form. The sidewall of a tire is more prone to cracking than the tread, although damage to the tread is more severe. When the tread separates, the chances of the wheels flying off completely are high, and this results in a serious safety hazard.
How Long Do Tires Last Before Breaking Down?
Unlike the chicken in your fridge, tires usually don’t have a fixed expiration date. At the time of manufacture, the manufacturer is legally bound to list the date of production and a nominal expiration date of six years from that date. Five to seven years is usually a good estimate for a tire’s lifespan, but a tire’s exact lifespan depends on a number of factors, including how it is stored and how much it is used.
If you notice that your tires are starting to blow out, you have a few options available to you. The first step we recommend is to have the tires professionally inspected. Get a professional look at the cracks to see how long the tire has been there and whether the repair is possible.
Can a Flat Tire Be Repaired?
Once structural damage has occurred to something, no matter how much repair is done, the item cannot be returned to its original strength. At least this is true of the tires. While punctured tires can sometimes be fixed, the results are usually more of a Band-Aid fix. There are many tire-repair seals available on the market, but these only cover up the problem rather than actually fix it.
How Can I Protect My Rubber Tires From Wear and Tear?
A more effective solution than repairing flat tires is to prevent them from deflating in the first place. The key to maintaining the longevity of your tires lies in maintaining their flexibility. This is best done by protecting them from harmful elements: Keep the car in a garage away from the sun and rain; Keep the vehicle away from standing water; Clear away mud, snow, and rock salt; And keep the air in the tires properly.
While the heating and air conditioning systems in your car are connected, they are two separate systems and operate separately. Still, like every other vehicle part or system, car owners must take care of the heating and A/C system. Regular maintenance is extremely important to keep both systems in good working order and extend the life of your car. Importantly, scheduled maintenance negates the risk of gremlins affecting your vehicle’s heating and A/C system.
As vehicle heating and cooling system experts, we understand and appreciate the value of taking care of these systems. Therefore, we use our extensive multi-point testing procedures and processes to ensure that each part or subsystem in the A/C or heating system is working effectively and efficiently. Whether your car’s A/C suddenly stopped working, or you’re experiencing a problem that’s slowly getting worse, we’ll get to the bottom of the problem and fix it.
Common A/C System Issue
- Low Refrigerant – This is one of the most common problems faced by vehicle A/C systems. A low refrigerant level is a sign that the car’s air conditioner is noisy and does not cool. Depending on the refrigerant level, the A/C may blow cool or even warm air, but not cold. It is not a pleasant experience to face such a situation during hot summer days. You need a coolant top-up. Depending on the make and model of your vehicle, this is either R-12 or R-134a.
- Clogged or Leaking Condenser – When the A/C does not have enough refrigerant moving through the system as per the OEM design, you will not get cool air coming from the vents. Condenser leaks can reduce the effectiveness of the A/C. Additionally, crud build-up in front of the condenser will restrict the flow of refrigerant. As a result, the car air conditioner may make a noise and not work.
- Damaged Compressor – The A/C condenser is the device in which heat exchange occurs, causing the A/C system to dump heat. For the condenser to work efficiently, it is placed at the front of the vehicle, which makes it vulnerable to damage from hitting objects such as rocks. If a knock has ruptured the condenser and it is leaking refrigerant, it needs to be replaced immediately to prevent further damage to the system.
Common reasons why the heating system does not work
- Low Coolant – Your car uses heat drawn from the engine coolant to heat the cabin. Coolant is drained from the engine block by passing through the heater core. At the heater core, heat is transferred from the coolant to the air that is blown into the cabin. Low coolant levels reduce the efficiency of heat removal from the engine. This reduces the amount of heat available on the heater core.
- Air in the Coolant System – Having air in the coolant system reduces its efficiency. Water can draw a lot more air out of the engine block than air can. As such, when the air becomes trapped within the coolant lines, the cooling system cannot evacuate enough to heat the cabin. It is also dangerous for the engine due to the danger of overheating.
- Bad heater core – The heater core is a mini radiator made of aluminum or brass tubing that allows coolant to circulate through the engine. The heat in the heater core is blown by fans, helping to spread the heat throughout the cabin to keep this area warm. Unfortunately, the heater core is prone to a myriad of problems such as clogged tubing, fan-blown air not reaching the heater core, or the cooler not operating efficiently within the heater core. Maintaining this important part of the heating system regularly is paramount.
Failed (or Malfunctioning) Thermostat – When a thermostat malfunction or failure is encountered, the heater may operate intermittently or not operate at all.
To reduce the need for driver effort to steer the vehicle, engines use a system called “power steering”. It is a hydraulic system that uses power steering fluid to create pressure to change the direction of the wheels. This means you won’t have to struggle with your steering wheel when trying to take turns. Common Power Steering Problems
When your car’s power steering system starts to fail – or the fluid needs to be replaced – it can make it very difficult to control around curves and corners. Here are some common problems that are associated with the loss of your power steering system.
Leaking Power Steering Fluid – The power steering system uses a particular fluid to transfer pressure to change the direction of your wheels. If this fluid is compromised and a leak occurs, the fluid’s ability to pressurize is difficult to do. This means that curves and turns can be nearly impossible. You can easily spot this as you will see fluid leaking from the driver’s side. There is also a grinding sound when turning. If you run out of fluid, you could burn out the power steering pump.
Cracked, cracked, or worn hoses — Every part of your vehicle wears out over time. Driving puts stress on your car’s parts and this can cause damage. After a few years, you’ll notice that the hoses connected to the power steering system have hardened and begun to crack. Your fallopian tubes are also located too close to other parts and tubes can be worn. This can cause holes or cracks in the hose that will eventually leak out the power steering fluid.
Loose Hose Couplings – Just as your hoses can become damaged during normal use of your car, the couplings that hold your tubes together can become loose. This can be caused by vibration, sudden bumps, or system pressure.
Slipped Drive Belt – A slipped drive belt on the power steering pump is a common power steering problem. This will prevent your car from completely changing direction as there is nothing to tell the pump which direction it should be pushing. You can easily spot it if you hear a crackling sound when you turn the steering wheel in sharp turns.
Worn steering pump – As your car gets older, so does the power steering pump. Pump seals and internal parts break and fluid pressure drops. This can be diagnosed through loss of steering ease and a squeaking sound.
Preventive Maintenance Can Eliminate Causes of Power Steering Failure
Now that you know some of the symptoms of a failing power steering system, if you think your car may be in need of repair, take it in for an expert inspection.
Most of these issues can be prevented through regular inspection and maintenance. Taking your car in for regular maintenance is the only way to keep your car healthy and performing at its best. Let our experienced mechanics help you prevent power steering failure, as it is critical to getting you to your destination safely.