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Archive for January 2021

What's in a Number? (What Tire Numbers Mean)

Posted January 31, 2021 10:37 AM

You've probably never paid much attention to the writing on the sides of your tires, but they contain a wealth of information.  There's a long combination of letters and numbers that can tell you a whole lot about what tires your vehicle was designed to be riding on.  Let's check out this example found on an SUV: P245/70R17 108T.

The first letter, P, means it's intended for passenger vehicles.  If there's no letter, it means it's a metric tire.  If there's an LT at the beginning or end that means a tire designed for light trucks.

Moving on to our example, the 245 shows how wide the tire is in millimeters from sidewall to sidewall.  The number that follows in our example, 70, means the height of the tire is 70% of its width.  The letter after that in our example, R, describes the type of tire (on this vehicle, radial).  Following that is the diameter in inches, in our SUV example, 17 inches. 

How much load the tires' sidewalls are designed to take is what that next number is all about (108 in our example).  The higher the load index, the more weight the sidewalls can take.  And the last letter is the speed rating of the tire, in our example, T.  The further along in the alphabet that letter is, the higher its speed rating.  So now you know what those letters and numbers mean.  But why are they important?

When you are getting ready to replace those tires, those numbers are telling you what the original equipment was when your vehicle was new.  Sticking with the same rated tires is always a good idea.  If you don't know what you're doing, trying different sized tires and wheels can cause real issues when it comes to performance and safety, considering all the computerized systems now found on vehicles.  When in doubt, consult your service advisor when it comes to buying new tires.  He or she knows what those tire numbers and letters mean… and a whole lot more.

Franklin Auto Service
32725 Franklin Rd
Franklin, MI 48025
248-626-2080
http://www.franklinautoservice.net



Introduction to Diesels for Franklin, MI

Posted January 24, 2021 9:46 AM



Something you're going to be hearing a lot about around Franklin, MI, is diesel engines. We're not talking about semi-trucks and buses; we're talking about diesel engine cars, pick-ups and SUVs.

Most people in MI are surprised to learn that around half the cars on the road in Europe have diesel engines. Nearly all import brands offer a range of diesel engines abroad – even the ultra-luxury brands like Mercedes and BMW. For the most part, these diesel engines haven't been available in Franklin, MI. But that's about to change.

In the past, North American diesel fuel has had a much higher sulfur content than European fuel. Recent environmental laws have required changes in diesel formulation and emissions standards here in Franklin, MI, so we are now ready to start seeing more diesel options offered over the next few years.

Why are so many Franklin drivers interested in diesel engines? Well first off, diesel fuel is more energy dense. There's more power in a barrel of diesel fuel than there is in a barrel of gasoline. The result? Better performance and improved fuel economy.

Diesel powered vehicles get about 20 percent better fuel economy. And as for power – why do you think that the majority of new heavy duty pick-up trucks are being sold in Franklin with diesel engines?

If you think back to the late 1970's and early 1980's, you may shudder when you think of the diesel powered cars of the day – noisy, smoky, under-powered beasts that rattled and shook their passengers. Modern diesels sold in MI have evolved considerably.

They are quiet, clean – and powerful. They're so refined that many Franklin drivers can't even tell they're riding in a diesel powered vehicle. In addition to fuel savings, diesels generally last longer than gasoline engines because of their heavy duty construction.

Another thing the Franklin green crowd takes advantage of is the use of bio-diesel in diesel vehicles. Bio-diesel is made from vegetable oil – even recycled cooking oil from Franklin restaurants. There is a lot of buzz about hybrid cars in MI. Look to diesel-electric hybrids in years to come to make a good idea even better.

Every year, manufacturers introduce new diesel models. Look for diesels in domestic light trucks, SUVs and passenger cars. Import brands have plans to bring more of their outstanding diesel engines to MI as well.

New Franklin diesel owners need to know that properly maintaining a diesel engine is somewhat different than a gasoline engine. Fluid change intervals are different. Emissions control devices have to work harder to filter diesel fuel and to scrub the exhaust so you will need to pay attention to that. And the fuel injection system operates at much higher pressures than gas fuel injection systems, so it's important to keep your fuel system clean with a diesel.

The good news is that Franklin Auto Service in Franklin is keeping up with the new diesel technology and will be able to advise you on maintaining your diesel.

When we tell you to look for more diesels on Franklin streets, you won't be looking for smoky tail pipes as a clue. You also won't be listening for that familiar big rig rattle. And, you certainly won't be waiting for them at the stoplight, because modern diesels are as quick as their gasoline counterparts.

Franklin Auto Service
32725 Franklin Rd
Franklin, MI 48025
248-626-2080
http://www.franklinautoservice.net



Can Car Scent Keep You Safe on MI Roads?

Posted January 17, 2021 9:54 AM

Here's a travel tip that'll I'll bet you didn't know, and it might keep you safer...
The average American commuter in MI spends two and a half hours daily in their vehicle.
The government says 100,000 auto accidents yearly are caused by drivers who fall asleep at the wheel. (Aggressive driving is the number one traffic safety concern.)
So what does this have to do with how your vehicle smells while you're driving around Franklin?

Well, which scent did you think makes drivers more alert?

Is it:

  • A. Strawberry
  • B. New Car
  • C. Pine
  • D. Warm Vanilla Breeze

It's C. Drivers are more alert and have less fatigue with pine scent in the vehicle, according to AroMetrics.

And, drivers were less angry with overall improved driving performance with strawberry and pine scents.
And you thought they just smelled nice.

Franklin Auto Service
32725 Franklin Rd
Franklin, MI 48025
248-626-2080
http://www.franklinautoservice.net



The Need for Speed (Wheel Speed Sensor Maintenance)

Posted January 10, 2021 10:30 AM

Today's vehicles have some pretty amazing technology in them, including a computerized braking system we all pretty much take for granted these days.  Antilock brake systems (ABS) have been around for years but they help drivers stop in much shorter distances reliably than ever before.  When you see your ABS warning light come on, it's important to find out what's causing the problem. It's a safety issue.

Often the problem when the ABS light comes on is a faulty wheel speed sensor.  (In some cases the traction control light will also come on, perhaps because of a non-working wheel speed sensor.) Your vehicle uses the speed sensors to measure the rotational speed at each wheel. That sensor sends the speed data to a computer that can then adjust braking power and prevent your wheels from locking up. 

If any of the wheel speed sensors isn't working right, the ABS warning light will go on and the vehicle's computer will turn off the antilock brake system.  You'll still have working brakes, but you will lose the functionality of that computerized system.

When your vehicle warns you the ABS has a non-working sensor, you can have a technician check to see what's going on. It could be one of the sensors is dirty and a cleaning will solve the problem.  But it also could be that one or more sensors needs to be replaced. 

A technician will use computerized diagnostic equipment to determine what and where the problem is, replace any bad parts and then check to make sure the system is fully operational. 

Antilock brakes and traction control are significant technologies that help prevent your vehicle from slipping on less-than-perfect road surfaces, especially useful during wintery weather.  Make sure they're helping you drive the way they designed to.

Franklin Auto Service
32725 Franklin Rd
Franklin, MI 48025
248-626-2080
http://www.franklinautoservice.net



Make your Service Visit at Franklin Auto Service a Good One

Posted January 3, 2021 8:21 AM

Most people don't love going to get their vehicle serviced, but it's one of those things you just have to do. So you might as well get the most of out of it. There are some steps you can take that will likely help you get the best results possible.

For one thing, it's important to describe your problem (or problems) to the service advisor accurately and clearly. If your vehicle is making a noise, for example, take time to really listen to it and think of the best way to describe it. Does it increase in speed when you go faster? If you feel a vibration somewhere, where in the vehicle does it seem to originate? Some service advisors recommend writing things down. That way the driver won't forget any important clues that could lead to a successful resolution of the problem.

Another thing is to make sure your vehicle is cleaned out and free of junk. That way the technician can access those nooks and crannies where some vital components may be. If your vehicle is full of strollers, boxes or your collection of fast food containers, it won't be easy for the technician to reach some of those parts. Oh, and if your vehicle is neat, it does send a signal that you really care about it.

Finally, stay out of the way of the technician. A recent survey of technicians reveals they work more efficiently and do a better job when they don't have someone hanging on their every move. Can you imagine how you'd feel if someone hovered over you all day while you were trying to get your work done?

Franklin Auto Service
32725 Franklin Rd
Franklin, MI 48025
248-626-2080
http://www.franklinautoservice.net



Franklin Auto Service Tire Safety: Washington vs. Lincoln

Posted January 1, 2021 9:19 AM

 

Welcome to the Franklin Auto Service automotive blog. Today, let's talk about the effect of tire wear.

Let's focus on stopping in wet Franklin conditions. In order for a tire to have good contact with the road, it has to move the water out of the way. If it can't move the water, the tire will actually ride on top of a thin film of water.

That's called hydroplaning. If it's really bad, Franklin drivers can actually spin out of control - endangering themselves and the other drivers around them. At best, you won't stop as fast.

So how does a tire move water? It has channels for water to flow through. Look at your vehicle tire and you'll see channels: channels that run around the tire and channels that flow across the tire. They're designed to direct water away from the tire so it can contact the road better.

And the deeper the channel, the more water it can move. A brand new Franklin Auto Service tire has very deep channels and can easily move a lot of water. As the tire wears down, the channels become shallower and can move less water. When it wears down enough, it can seriously affect your ability to stop your vehicle on wet Franklin roads.

So that's why it's so important for Franklin drivers to replace their vehicle tires when they get worn. Consumer Reports and other advocate groups call for a standard of 3/32 of an inch and they have the studies to prove it.

At Franklin Auto Service, we want our customers to know that the deeper recommended tread depth makes a big difference. Stopping distances are cut dramatically on wet Franklin streets. A safe stop from MI speeds with 4/32 of an inch of tread would result in a crash with worn out tires.

There's an easy way to tell when a tire's worn to 4/32 of an inch.

Just insert a quarter into the tread. Put it in upside down. If the tread doesn't cover George Washington's hairline, it's time to replace your vehicle tires. With a Canadian quarter, the tread should cover the numbers in the year stamp.

Many Franklin residents have heard of this technique using a penny and Abe Lincoln's head - the old method. That measure gives you 2/32 of an inch – half the suggested amount. Of course, vehicle tires are a major purchase. Most of us in Franklin want to get as many miles out of them as we can. But there's a real safety trade-off. It's your choice.

Franklin Auto Service
32725 Franklin Rd
Franklin, MI 48025
248-626-2080
http://www.franklinautoservice.net



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