Tire or Re-Tire? (Getting Tires Ready for Hot Weather)Posted May 29, 2022 9:45 AM
Heat isn't easy on vehicle tires, and as the seasons change, make sure yours are ready to take the heat.
Let's talk first about inflation. Heat causes air to expand, so heat alone can raise the pressure in your tires. If you are driving on overinflated tires, they won't have as much contact with the road surface. In that case, it will take you a longer distance to stop.
On the other hand, you don't want your tires to be underinflated during hot weather, either. That can cause your sidewalls to flex. Friction will then hike up the temperature and your tire can be in danger of blowing from the added heat.
Other things can cause problems, such as uneven wearing. Your service advisor knows the signs to look for and can diagnose where the wear is and what is likely causing it. Another thing a technician will look for on tires is tread depth and the condition of the sidewalls. Any cuts, cracks or bulges could be indications that your tire is not healthy.
Oh, and one other thing. Your tires could have plenty of tread left on them but still be dangerous. And that is because rubber ages, gets brittle and cracks after time. (Ever run across an old rubber band in a drawer that has never been used but breaks the second you try to stretch it? 'Nuff said.) Some tire manufacturers recommend replacing tires after 6 years of their manufacturing date. Your service advisor can read a manufacturing code and tell you how old your tires are.
Tire manufacturer Michelin used to have an ad slogan that said, "Because so much is riding on your tires." That includes you and your passengers. Always keep healthy tires on your vehicle and make sure they're ready for whatever season it is.
2457 Covington Pike
Memphis, TN 38128
Fuel Injection Basics for MemphisPosted May 22, 2022 8:35 AM
All modern Memphis vehicles come with fuel injection systems, so it's a topic Memphis drivers need to know something about. The mighty fuel injector is a valve that delivers the gas or diesel fuel to the right place, in the right amount at the right time—to be mixed with air and burned in the engine.
So how many fuel injectors does your vehicle have? There's one for each cylinder. So four, six or eight for most folks in Memphis, TN. Some vehicles have 10 or 12 cylinders. The engine control computer makes adjustments to the fuel injector as it monitors the engine and other sensors. Fuel injectors are a pretty high-tech.
Madison Automotive can help Memphis drivers with a fuel injector cleaning service. What's the benefit? In order to work right, the fuel injectors have to deliver the fuel at a precise pressure at a very precise time. It's important that the fuel is sprayed in a particular pattern as determined by the engine design.
Over time, varnish can start to build up in the fuel injectors, effecting the pressure, pattern and timing of the fuel charge. The result is that the fuel doesn't get burned as efficiently as it could. That robs performance and hurts fuel economy.
What about dirty fuel? How does that affect the fuel injectors? The fuel injectors are the last stop in the fuel system. It starts at the fuel tank. Frankly, the best way to keep your fuel injectors working well is to use high quality fuel. It's tempting to shop for bargains in Memphis with fuel prices as high as they are, but major brands in the Memphis, TN, area have better detergents and additives and deliver consistent quality.
What about a good fuel filter? The fuel filter is component of the fuel system. Its job is to filter out the dirt and rust that collect in the fuel tank. If it's clogged up, the dirt will bypass the filter and head upstream to the fuel injectors.
It's important to replace the fuel filter when your manufacturer recommends it. That's part of a comprehensive fuel system cleaning.
There are different kinds of fuel injection systems. Port fuel injection systems, the kind most gasoline engines have, operate at 60 pounds per square inch. The injectors for the new gas direct injection engines Memphis drivers are starting to see require 10 to 30 times as much pressure. And some diesel engines for passenger vehicles have injectors that operate at 30,000 pounds or more per square inch. There's no room for dirt and gum in a precision part like that.
There are a lot of good products available in Memphis, TN, that can clean fuel injectors. They're best used to prevent fouling in the fuel injectors. Many can't clean a seriously gummed up injector – that requires a professional deep cleaning, like those we offer at Madison Automotive in Memphis. But putting the cleaner in the fuel tank after you've had Madison Automotive take a look at your fuel system will help keep it clean. Be sure to read the label for directions.
Give us a call if you think your vehicle may be ready for a fuel injector cleaning.
2457 Covington Pike
Memphis, TN 38128
Talk to Madison Automotive About New Shoes for Your VehiclePosted May 15, 2022 7:50 AM
Custom wheels are one way that Memphis folks express themselves and personalize their vehicle. But they aren't as cheap and easy as sticking decals on your back window. There are several factors that need to be considered, including cost, the fit of the wheel, modifications that will have to be made to the vehicle, how the new wheels and tires will affect the operation of the vehicle, your driving habits and, of course, the style of the wheels. Most Memphis drivers start with the last factor: the style of the wheels. But that should be the last thing we choose.
When considering custom wheels, you should first carefully consider your budget. Some wheels may require adjustments to your vehicle suspension system, brakes, or traction systems. You need to know what you can afford before you start shopping or get your heart set on a particular type of wheel.
There are three basic ways you can change your wheels. First, you choose a wheel that is already the same size as the ones on your vehicle. Second, you can choose larger wheels and third, you can choose smaller wheels. Mounting wheels that are the same size as the ones already on your car sounds easy enough. But even though the wheel may be the same diameter as your current wheels, that doesn't mean it will fit your vehicle. Besides diameter, wheels also have an offset. This is the measurement from the inside edge of the wheel to the point at which it bolts on. If your new wheel does not have the same offset as your current wheels, your vehicle tires can rub on the inside or outside of the wheel well. This can lead to blowouts, uneven tread wear and other mechanical problems.
The tire and wheel professionals in Memphis at Madison Automotive on 2457 Covington Pike can help you select a wheel that has both the correct diameter and offset for your vehicle. Or, if you really want a specific wheel in spite of the offset difference, your technician may be able to install adapters that will make the wheels fit.
Mounting larger wheels is a more involved process. There are several ways of doing this. You can mount larger wheels but keep the overall tire diameter the same. Or you can “supersize” your tire/wheel combo. Mounting larger wheels while maintaining the same overall tire diameter is the easiest way to increase wheel size. You still need to adjust for offset. Generally, this alteration means that your new tires will be wider than the originals, so you will have to install adapters to keep them from rubbing on the wheel wells. Consult your service advisor at Madison Automotive by calling (901)386-9600.
If you want to install larger wheels and increase the overall tire diameter, it is important that the package fits in the wheel well; you may have to do some minor modifications to your suspension. More importantly, you will have to reprogram your vehicle engine's computer to calibrate for the larger tire size. The computer calculates your speed based on the rotation of your tires, so increasing the size of the tires will render it inaccurate. Inaccurate speed calculations can mess up your anti-lock brakes and your stability control systems, as well as your speedometer and odometer.
As you can see, the more modifications you make, the more it becomes important to have your friendly and knowledgeable Madison Automotive tire and wheel professional help you with your car care.
If you really want those “super-sized” tires, great: just factor in the issues listed above, plus you may have to have modifications done to your suspension system.
The larger wheels and tires will add weight to your vehicle. This weight is not held up by the suspension system, so is referred to as “unsprung” weight. Adding unsprung weight affects your car differently than just adding loads inside of your car. Unsprung weight can affect acceleration and braking. Putting large wheels on your vehicle may require an upgraded brake system.
Also, you may not get the performance from your vehicle that you've been used to. It may be sluggish when accelerating or harder to handle when turning. You may also find that the ride is bumpier than it was before. Of course, done right at Madison Automotive, a good wheel job can sometimes improve a vehicle's ride or performance. It just depends on your vehicle, the type of wheels you choose and what you are hoping to accomplish.
Now let's suppose you want smaller wheels on your vehicle. That should be easier, right? Not really. You still have to worry about offset, and it is important that your computer be reprogrammed to account for calibration issues. And you may need adjustments to your suspension system.
Remember your budget? All of these scenarios require that you shell out some money. Perhaps now you can see why it is good auto advice for Memphis drivers to make that consideration first, before setting their heart on a specific type of wheel.
Another consideration should always be your driving habits. Do you do a lot of off-roading on the outskirts of Memphis? Do you carry heavy loads? Do you tow a trailer on TN roads? All of these factors must be considered when replacing your tires and wheels. Some wheels just may not be up to the work you need them to do.
For example, if you mount large rims on your vehicle, then add low-profile tires to avoid major adjustments to other systems, they won't be able to handle off-roading as well as larger tires. There won't be enough sidewall on the tires to absorb the impact from off-roading. You could end up with dented or broken rims.
At the end of the day, Memphis drivers should always put safety ahead of appearance. That's why you shouldn't add custom wheels to your vehicle without consulting with your Madison Automotive tire and wheel professional. Cutting corners when installing custom wheels by not making necessary adjustments to all of the systems impacted by the change can result in dangerous operating conditions as well as repairs down the road.
The friendly and knowledgeable auto professionals at Madison Automotive want to remind Memphis drivers of the basics of vehicle safety: preventive maintenance, emergency preparedness and professional repairs. Stay safe, and stay on the road.
2457 Covington Pike
Memphis, TN 38128
What Is a Differential and Do You Have One?Posted May 8, 2022 8:13 AM
With front-wheel drive being so common these days in Memphis, TN, the differential is just taken care of during a transmission service, so most Memphis drivers don't even have to think about it. And rear-wheel drive differentials don't need to be serviced for years, so it's understandable that it's not something on the top of Memphis customers' minds. It's not uncommon for drivers to not know they have a differential let alone know that it needs service.
Call Madison Automotive in Memphis at (901)386-9600 for information about differential service, or stop by our Memphis, TN, auto center at 2457 Covington Pike, 38128.
To better understand what a differential does, think about our local Memphis high school track. There are lanes marked off on the track. For the longer distance races, the starting lines are staggered. The starting lines for the outside lanes are ahead of the starting lines for the inside lanes. That's to compensate for the longer length of the outside lanes. Staggering the starting lines means that each runner has the same distance to run.
The differential compensates for the difference in speeds between the inside wheel and the outside wheel in a turn, because they have to travel together through slightly different distances.
It's a very important function. When you think of it, all the power to get a vehicle moving goes through the differential. Most cars in the Memphis, TN area weigh between 3,000 and 6,000 pounds (1,400 and 2,800 kg) – trucks even more. The power from the engine goes through the transmission and then through the differential to the drive wheels.
That's a lot of work and requires very heavy duty parts. And those parts need protection. The differential fluid lubricates the gears in the differential and keeps them cool.
The fluid eventually gets dirty and worn down. Some kinds of differentials require special additives that break down over time. So vehicle manufacturers recommend intervals for replacing your differential fluid.
The professionals at Madison Automotive will drain the used fluid and check it out for metal bits, which could be a sign of excessive wear on the gears. Then they’ll replace the fluid and install the additives if necessary.
Your Madison Automotive service advisor can look up the vehicle manufacture's recommended service interval or you can check your owner's manual. Give us a call at (901)386-9600 for more information about your differential service.
2457 Covington Pike
Memphis, TN 38128
Keeping Your 'Old Faithful' Auto RunningPosted May 1, 2022 9:09 AM
At Madison Automotive we've had a lot of Memphis customers asking how they can make their vehicles last longer. These questions are actually a reflection of a trend that's been building for several years in TN. The median age of personal vehicles is now over nine years. And 33 percent of all vehicles on the road have over 75,000 miles (120,000 km) on them. It looks like it's going to keep heading in that direction for a while. With high fuel prices, a lot of TN folks are putting off buying a new car.
So let's say you're one of the average in the Memphis area; you've got a nine-year-old car with 80,000 miles (130,000 km) on the odometer. What can you do to make it last another year or two?
Let's start with the premise that there's no reason that a modern car can't run for 200,000 miles (320,000 km) with proper care in Memphis. The engineering and manufacturing quality is there.
Of course, some parts will wear out along the way, but there's no reason for a catastrophic meltdown if Memphis drivers stay on top of their recommended car maintenance. The maintenance schedule in some vehicle manufacturer's owner's manuals runs out at 60,000 miles (100,000 km) or so: how do Memphis vehicle owners know what to do when they're way past that?
It is a challenge, for example: If a service is recommended every 15,000 miles (24,000 km) for the first 60,000 miles (100,000 km), you can just keep getting it done at least every 15,000 miles (24,000 km) after you hit 60,000 miles (100,000 km). But, it gets more complicated because older engines lose some efficiency, are dirtier inside and are just more stressed. That means it's very important to not miss any scheduled services. Skipping just one oil change at Madison Automotive in Memphis, for example, leaves an opportunity for sludge to build up. Talk to your service advisor at Madison Automotive for more details.
So all the usual things like oil changes, transmission service, coolant service, brakes, power steering, fuel system cleaning – all that stuff needs to be maintained. People responsible for fleet vehicles around Memphis are sticklers for scheduled maintenance. They know that money spent on maintenance saves them three ways:
- it keeps efficiency from decreasing;
- it prevents repairs, and;
- they can postpone purchasing new vehicles.
Having the oil changed may be the most important thing Memphis drivers can do. A full-service oil change at Madison Automotive means that all of your other fluids get topped off so they are never low enough to cause damage. It also gives your friendly and knowledgeable Madison Automotive service advisor a chance to spot problems in the early stages so that you can fix them before they get worse. And it gives you a touch point with an automotive professional along the way to remind you of things that aren't scheduled as often – things like differential service and timing belt replacement.
If you live in the Memphis area and have an older vehicle, you may need to follow the severe service maintenance schedule. Check your owner's manual and talk with us at Madison Automotive. Conditions inside an older engine, transmission and cooling system can arguably be considered severe – so shorter intervals could well be called for.
And, the team at Madison Automotive strongly encourages Memphis drivers to consider using high mileage formulation fluids. They're fluids like engine oil, transmission fluid and coolant that are formulated for older engines. They have special additives to clean deposits, and to condition and restore seals and gaskets that dry out with age. Some Memphis auto owners start using higher mileage formulations at around 50,000 miles (80,000 km) as a preventive measure.
Of course you also want to still look marvelous in your older car as you drive around Memphis. Salt and road grime wreak havoc on your paint job and can lead to body rust – so regular washing is very important. Also, a good quality waxing is recommended at least twice a year.
Give us a call for more information:
2457 Covington Pike
Memphis, TN 38128