When Do I Need To Change My Tires?

Tire Tread

Though tires can be an afterthought, they are the critical contact point between your car and the road. Properly-inflated tires with plenty of tread increase fuel economy, and more importantly, might be the difference between avoiding trouble or running into it.

Car manufacturers now recommend replacing tires after 6 years. The composite material used to make your tire ages over time. As this material becomes compromised, the likelihood of blowouts and flats increases. This can be dangerous, especially if the blowout occurs at high speed.

How Do I Know How Old My Tires Are?

You can use the four-digit Department of Transportation (DOT) code on your tire wall to find out when the tire was manufactured. The first two numbers stand for the week in the year it was made, and the next two are for the year. For example, if your tire has “2516” printed on it, then it was manufactured in the 25th week of 2016.

It can be tricky to find the date code. Though it’s usually preceded by the initials DOT, there are sometimes other numbers and letters after DOT. Look for a set of four digits ending with two numbers that are recognizable as a year.

Don’t Tread Lightly

Of course, age isn’t the only reason to change your tires. The depth of the tread is also crucial. If you drive your car regularly, you will likely wear down the tread before your tires get too old. When you routinely stop and start quickly, drive in extreme temperatures, or on rough roads, your tires will show signs of wear even sooner.

Aside from giving you an uncomfortable ride, worn-down tires can cause you to slip on wet surfaces or might be the slim difference between a close call and an accident.

Here Comes The Change

A penny and quarter are your friends here. If you insert a penny into the tread and can see the top of Abe Lincoln’s head, you have less than 1/16th of an inch—less than the safe minimum to drive. When you use a quarter and see George Washington’s head, it means you have less than 1/8th of an inch of tread, which is more than the minimum safety standard but considered to be the time to start thinking about new rubber for your ride.

Treat Your Tires Right, and They’ll Treat You Right

In addition to taking it easy on the accelerator and brakes, proper tire maintenance can extend the lifespan of your tires. Be sure the air pressure is correct and stay up with tire rotations.

No matter how well you treat your tires, though, accidents happen. When they do, call the experts at Cline Collision Center. We are committed to integrity, honesty, safety, and craftsmanship. Whether you have major damage or need a quick fix to get you safely back on the road, choosing Cline Collision Center is no accident – contact us online or call 707-591-9909 today!

Don’t Drive with One Eye Closed, Replace that Headlight!

Driving at night without your lights is dangerous and reckless, and you shouldn’t do it, agreed? This is because you need to see as far down the road as possible to avoid running into something avoidable.

Cracked Windshield

Driving with a headlight out is at least half as careless then, isn’t it? In fact, driving at night with anything less than the most light possible can result in hitting unexpected objects or animals in the road or not seeing an upcoming turn until its too late.

Aside from injuring yourself or someone else and the damage you can do to your car, you can also get pulled over when a headlight is out. Nobody needs the hassle and cost of a fix-it ticket. So what do you do when you notice your headlight is out?

Replace Those Bulbs

One rule-of-thumb is if one bulb is out, the other isn’t far behind. Go ahead and replace them both. Newer bulbs are up to 30% brighter than older bulbs and can give you up to 25% more visibility. That might be the difference between slowing down to avoid a deer or colliding with it because you never saw it. There are three types of bulbs to choose from to give you better night vision:

  • Halogen: Halogen headlights use a special filament mixed with halogen gas to generate a much brighter light than conventional headlights.
  • Xenon/HID: Instead of using a heated filament, Xenon headlights use gas. Xenon lights are brighter, have a lower operating temperature, and last longer. Unfortunately, they can be more expensive, and professional installation may be recommended.
  • LED: The advantage of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have over halogen bulbs is that they draw less power to operate, run cooler than halogen lights, and last much longer. Most newer vehicles come equipped with LED headlights from the factory. These last so long that you’re probably not even reading this article!

When Bulb Replacement Isn’t Enough

Over time, your lenses can get dirty with a buildup of dirt and grime. It’s good to clean them off from time to time to maximize your ability to see at night. Unfortunately, no matter if it is night or day, you might find yourself in a fender-bender. When that happens, bring your car into the experts at Cline Collision Center. We are committed to integrity, honesty, safety, and craftsmanship. Whether you have major damage or just need a quick fix to get you safely back on the road, we like to say that choosing Cline Collision Center is no accident! Contact us online or call 707-591-9909 today!

Parking Dos and Don’ts

Dings. Dents, Scratches. Stains. Fading. Parking anywhere but inside your garage can be rough on the exterior of your car.

But you can’t spend your whole life at home. How do you drive out into the world and worry less about what parking will do to the look and future resale value of your vehicle?

Park farther away

Occupied Parking Lot

Finding that spot right next to the entrance can feel great in the moment, but it can expose you to all sorts of trouble. Every car is jockeying for those close spots, and you will also have more pedestrians and carts squeezing into the narrow spaces between vehicles.

Your best bet is to park farther away and take a nice long walk to the entrance. It will put extra steps on your Fitbit and keep your car from getting banged into by all that car and foot traffic.

Avoid Danger Zones

There are definitely better and worse places to park, and we want to outline a few of the most harmful to your car’s exterior:

  • Trees—It makes sense when you think of it. What lives in trees? Birds. Aside from chirping and flitting about, birds spend a fair amount of time pooping. If your car is parked under a tree, you increase the chances of getting bombed. Bird droppings are acidic and, left unwashed, can damage your paint. There are also sap, seeds, branches, fruit, and other potentially damaging items falling from trees, so avoid parking under them.

  • Playgrounds and athletic fields—Balls flying. Kids running and riding bikes. Parking right next to playgrounds and athletic fields can bring you closer to the action, which is not necessarily a good thing. Park as far away as possible to avoid the hassle and cost of having a foul ball dent in your hood.

  • Parking Garages—Set your sights higher when it comes to parking structures. The top floors, with the farthest walks, are always less crowded and cleaner. You’d think you expose your car to more bird poop on the top floor, but birds often nest in parking lot rafters and can make just as much of a mess of your car on lower floors.

  • Intersections and 4-way stops—Accidents happen, and intersections are the most typical place for a car to get smashed. Don’t make it easy for a distracted driver to plow into your car. Try to find a place where cars aren’t so likely to run into you.

Think before you park

We want your car to look beautiful and hold onto its value, which is why we urge you to think before you park. If your car is damaged, bring it into the pros at Cline Collision Center. We are ASE-certified, have OEM certification from InfinitiNissan, Fiat/Chrysler (FCA), Honda/AcuraFord, Hyundai, and Kia, and have earned Gold Class status from I-CAR. For top-quality workmanship and customer service, including help with navigating insurance challenges, call 707-591-9909 or contact us online today!