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Your brakes use friction to stop your moving vehicle, and friction generates heat. Unfortunately, overuse or aggressive braking habits can lead to your brakes overheating. How do you know if excess heat has your brakes smelling like they’re burning?

Brakes Causing a Smell after Replacement

The source of the smell is typically the brake pads. Explaining what’s happening is very difficult because you are treading on very complicated chemistry that is further politicized by the friction material manufacturers. The term and concept that you want to avoid at all costs using is “burning off.” This is inaccurate and may cause the customer to become alarmed. Yes, there is heat involved when the bad smell is produced, but it is not oxidation or burning.

What Causes the Burning Brake Smell in Newly Replaced Pads?

What is really happening is polymerization, or curing. This is a chemical process where smaller units are combined into larger and more stable units. It is like making an omelet. When heat is applied to the eggs, the omelet is formed. But, in the case of the friction material, the yoke and whites are the resins that hold the pad together.

The heat of braking causes the resins to polymerize and form stronger bonds. This is a good thing. The bad thing about this is when the resins polymerize, they create by-products in the form of gases that do not smell pleasant.

Most importantly, the smell is not a bad thing in the majority of cases for new pads.

If the pad is heated too quickly or outside a certain heat range, the friction material could lose strength. Its is best to heat the new brake pads in a controlled manner. The gases given off can cause brake fade, but if the pad is broken-in correctly, the gases do not pose a problem and brake fade conditions can be minimized in the future.

What to Do About a Burning Smell from Your Brakes

Stop and smell the roses — not your brakes. Unless you’ve just had braking components replaced, a burning smell from your car brakes could indicate a problem. Schedule a quick brake check at your local Sierra Car Care and Tire Center today. Don’t compromise your safety on the road or let small issues turn into more significant repairs later.

Bad brakes display warning signs for impending brake maintenance. For example, if your brakes squeal or grind when in use, then your brake pads may be worn and require replacements. If your vehicle pulls to one side when braking, then this may point to worn brakes, a malfunctioning caliper, or low brake fluid in the brake lines. If your brake pedal presses down too easily—also known as “spongy” brakes—then this may be an indication of too much air in the hydraulic brake lines.

Sometimes, your vehicle’s electronic diagnostic system will alert you to a potential brake issue by a service indicator light on the dashboard. While these are only some of the most common signs of potential problems with your vehicle’s brake system, noticing these signs of faulty brakes and seeking out a brake service can save you money down the line.

Our staff is trained in maintaining and servicing front and rear brake systems and all accompanying brake system components like brake pads, brake shoes, parking brakes, rotors, drums, and hydraulic systems.

If you experience any of the above signs or symptoms of bad brakes, like unusual squealing or grinding noises, then contact us today to have your brakes inspected immediately.

Sierra Car Care and Tire Centers carry name brand tires for customers across Reno NV, Sparks NV, Verdi, NV, Carson City NV, and surrounding communities. Our tire prices are some of the lowest in Washoe County. When you buy your tires from us, the mount and balance are free. We also offer free tire repairs and free tire rotations for the life of the tires.

Not sure which tires are right for your car? Try our online tire catalog and search by vehicle, brand, or tire size. We offer one of the largest inventory of tires in Reno. If you have any questions or need help with other Reno, NV auto repair services, then stop today!

Michelin Tires Reno, NV

MICHELIN® founders Édouard and André Michelin were brothers from Clermont-Ferrand and Paris, France. Their small rubber factory was incorporated…

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BFGoodrich Tires Reno, NV

“The everyday tire with performance that’s anything but,” is the heart and soul of BFGoodrich®. The vision of BFGoodrich® is to be innovative and deliver products that make a difference…

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Uniroyal Tires Reno, NV

The United States Rubber Company was founded in 1892. It was one of the original twelve stocks of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. In 1941, they bought a controlling…

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GT Radial Tires Reno, NV

GT Radial Tires are made and sold all throughout different countries including U.S., Canada, Asia, Australia, Europe, France, Indonesia, and Italy…

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Bridgestone Tires Reno, NV

Bridgestone or “Stone Bridge” (the direct translation of the name from Japanese) was founded in 1931 by Shojiro Ishibashi in Japan. Japan slowly started producing…

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Continental Tires Reno, NV

Continental is one of the world’s leading automotive industry suppliers. Continental AG was founded in 1871 in Hanover, Germany. It is currently one of the five largest automotive…

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Cooper Tires Reno, NV

Cooper traces its roots back to Akron, Ohio when in 1914 two brother-in-laws purchased the M&M Company, a company which made tire patches and repair kits…

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General Tires Reno, NV

William O’Neil and his partner, Winfred Fouse, founded the General Tire and Rubber Company in 1915. General Tire was an outgrowth of the Western Tire…

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Goodyear Tires Reno, NV

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company was founded in 1898 by Frank Seiberling. With just thirteen employees, Goodyear began producing bicycle and carriage tires…

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Hankook Tires Reno, NV

Hankook Tire was established in 1941 in Seoul, Korea. Hankook began production in 1942, originally producing 110,000 tires a year. Today, they produce over 50 million…

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Pirelli Tires Reno, NV

Giovanni Battista Pirelli founded Pirelli & C. in 1872. The company focused on producing telegraph cables in the 1870s and 1880s. In 1890 Pirelli developed their first bicycle…

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Yokohama Tires Reno, NV

The Yokohama Rubber Company, Limited was established in 1917 in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture with a joint investment from Furukawa Electric Company, Ltd…

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Your vehicle’s dashboard lights play an important role in precautionary maintenance. These lights indicate an issue with your car that needs either an immediate action or checking.

If you have a check engine light on, that requires immediate attention, feel free to bring your vehicle into any of our three locations around the Reno area.

 

Right Front Tire Low Add Air to Tire

On most newer vehicles there is a sensor that monitors the tire pressure.  When the vehicle senses one of your tires drops in pressure this light will illuminate.
Reasons for Tire Pressure Loss
  1. There is an object that has punctured the tire like a nail or screw
  2. The “bead” where the tire meets the rim becomes unseated or is not properly sealed
  3. The “valve stem” where air in placed in the tire is worn or leaking
  4. There is a dramatic change in outside temperature that required the inside tire pressure to be adjusted

Make sure you take a tire warning light seriously!  Low pressure can affect steering and braking of your vehicle. Any puncture or leak could cause the tire to burst and loss of control of the vehicle. Stop by and see us, Sierra Car Care and Tire Center, so we can check your tires for leaks and adjust the pressure as needed!

Most vehicles do not come with a stabilization program in their software systems. This program measures a variety of information to determine if your vehicle has the potential for sliding or losing control.

The system can independently reduce the engine speed and/or brake individual tires to reduce or correct the vehicle from a potential spin out. It is not absolute in its ability to keep you out of every potential spin situation, but it is incredibly successful in keeping vehicles safe.

Refer to your owner’s manual for information relevant to your specific vehicle.

Spring is here! With more sun and rising temperatures comes an entirely different strategy for car care. Fortunately, we’re here to help. Here are a few simple tips to help you care for your vehicle as winter makes way for spring.

Check Your Tire Pressures

Tire pressure is especially important in the spring. As air temperatures get cooler during the winter, tire pressure decreases. As the air in your tires get warmer in the spring, tire pressure can increase. If the pressure increases past your manufacturer specification (because you added air during the winter), it can seriously affect your car’s drivability and fuel economy and increase the risk of a tire blowout. This is an important part of car care, so if you don’t feel comfortable checking your car’s tire pressures by yourself, bring it into an one of our locations to check the tire pressure.

Inspect Your Wiper Blades

As spring temperatures warm up, check your wiper blades for any signs of cracking or wear. The wiper blades themselves can wear dramatically over the winter months due to ice buildup or other harsh conditions. In most parts of the country, you’ll need those wipers for spring rains, so be sure they’re in good working order after winter comes and goes.

Check Under the Hood

Check belts and hoses to ensure the cold winter temperatures haven’t rendered them brittle or heavily worn. Check your coolant to make sure it’s not too old — an important factor for avoiding overheating as temperatures gradually climb. If you aren’t comfortable performing these checks on your own, contact any of our locations. While you may get billed for an hour of labor, it’s better than going into the spring with potential issues lurking under your hood.

Check Alignment and Suspension

Winter is known for being harsh on roads, and that in turn can be harsh on your vehicle. If you find yourself frequently traversing roads with huge potholes or rocks that have emerged from the asphalt, it could ruin your car’s alignment or damage suspension components. Our advice: If you’ve taken your car to a mechanic to check under the hood, ask for a quick suspension and alignment check to make sure nothing is too far outside the manufacturer’s specifications.

This year, many drivers will need actual tire chains during weather-related road controls on Mt. Rose Highway, Kingsbury Grade and parts of U.S. 50.

The new rules apply to any vehicle unless it is four-wheel or all-wheel drive with snow tires, according to the Nevada Department of Transportation.

In the past, snow tires were allowed for any vehicle during some chain restrictions no matter the type of vehicle. The change is specifically for the length of Mt. Rose Highway, Kingsbury Grade and U.S. 50 between Glenbrook and Carson City. Tire and chain requirements won’t change on any other highway corridors, according to NDOT.

How to tell if your tires qualify as ‘snow tires’:

Both Nevada and California define “snow tires” as having special tread for greater traction on a slipper surface AND have a sidewall marking (M-S, M/S, international symbols) indicating that it is an approved all-weather tires. The tire must have at least 3/16 inches of tread depth.

Roadside chain restriction signs have been updated to reflect the change.

The switch to chains is aimed at helping traffic move better – and more safely – around the Tahoe area, according to NDOT. More than 300 crashes have happened on the roads in three recent winters, according to NDOT.

Updated Nevada road conditions, including winter road closures, are available by calling 511 or going to nvroads.com.

Related Articles: NDOT

When winter is near, many motorists begin winterizing their vehicles to prepare them for the cold, ice, and snow.

Winterization involves checking and changing many different components. Coolant should be changed to help ensure that liquids do not freeze and prevent the engine from starting. Likewise, the starting and charging system should be checked.

It is important to keep in mind that an old battery is especially prone to failure in winter, because cold weather can slow the chemical reaction required to generate electricity.

Other items that may be checked include the windshield wiper blades. During winter, increased precipitation can hinder visibility. As such, it is good to have working blades.

Under winter driving conditions, balding or worn out tires can be especially dangerous. Many motorists switch their regular tires to all weather or snow tires, which tend to handle winter conditions better than regular tires. Ultimately, during the winterization checkup maintenance, our service staff will make sure that your vehicle is equipped to handle the tough winter conditions.

Schedule a Winterization Service at any one of our Sierra Car Care and Tire Center locations in the Reno area.

ASE, is short for the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. Since 1972 our independent non-profit organization has worked to improve the quality of vehicle repair and service by testing and certifying automotive professionals.

 

 

ASE promotes excellence in vehicle repair, service and parts distribution. Almost 300,000 Automotive Technicians and Service Professionals hold ASE Certifications. ASE Certified Professionals work in every part of the automotive service industry. ASE certifies automotive technicians and service professionals, not the auto shops.

Why Does ASE Exist?

To protect the automotive service consumer, shop owner, and the automotive technician. We test and certify automotive professionals so that shop owners and service customers can better gauge a technicians level of expertise before contracting the technician’s services. We certify the automotive technician professional so they can offer tangible proof of their technical knowledge. ASE Certification testing means peace of mind for auto service managers, customers.

How Does ASE Certification Work?

In addition to passing an ASE Certification test, automotive technicians must have two years of on the job training or one year of on the job training and a two-year degree in automotive repair to qualify for certification.

The tests are challenging. Only two out of every three test-takers pass on their first attempt. To remain ASE certified, professionals must retest every five years to keep up with ever-advancing automotive technology.

Sierra Car Care and Tire Centers Promote ASE Certified Technicians

Please bring your vehicle into any one of our three locations of Sierra Car Care and Tire Centers in the Reno area and one of our ASE Certified Technicians will get you back on the road, fast.

 

Bushings are cushions made of rubber, polyurethane (often shortened to “poly” or “urethane”) or other materials. They’re mounted on car suspension and steering joints to absorb road bumps, control the amount of movement in the joints and reduce noise and vibration. Bushings often take the form of fat, rubbery washers through which suspension components — or the bolts that attach them — pass.

When bushings wear, they allow more movement. The driver may feel a shimmy from the front of the vehicle, or hear clunking or rattling noises on rough roads, when turning the wheel or in hard braking. Drivers may also experience poor handling or loose steering. Failure of rear suspension bushings may be harder to detect as they don’t involve the steering system and may be less affected by cornering.

Bushings are used for control arms, stabilizer bars (also called sway bars), ball joints, tie rods, shock absorber and strut mounts, and other suspension and steering parts, as well as in engine and transmission mounts. They wear and crack from friction, age, heat, exposure to road salt and lubricants, and the stress of frequent movement and weight loads.

Like the cartilage that protects knees and elbows, when bushings wear, it puts more stress on the joints and connected parts. Like bone-on-bone contact, worn bushings can allow metal-on-metal contact. Worn control-arm bushings can allow the vehicle’s front end to slip out of alignment and cause premature tire wear.

What feels or sounds like worn shocks or ball joints, or another suspension problem, may not be the fault of the part itself but the bushing that cushions joints and mounting points. A thorough suspension bushing inspection should reveal which is the culprit. For example, a loose stabilizer bar will allow more body lean (and perhaps noise) in turns, but if the bar isn’t bent or broken, maybe only the bushings need replacement.

On the other hand, repair shops may recommend replacing the part and not just the bushings, because if the are worn, it may indicate the part itself is old and may not last much longer. In addition, many bushings are pressed into a metal sleeve and difficult to remove, which increases labor time and costs. On some cars, control-arm bushings cannot be replaced separately, so the mechanic may have to replace the control arm itself.

A bushing is one classification of the overall category of bearings. A bushing is a thin tube or sleeve that allows relative motion by sliding (our type), as compared to rolling. A bushing might also be called a sleeve bearing. However, the term sleeve bushing would be redundant. Thus, a bushing is a bearing, but a bearing is not necessarily a bushing type.

A bearing is the general term for something that allows relative motion between two components, surfaces, etc.

Because of the amount of labor associated with installing new bushings on some vehicles, the overall cost can be high relative to the bushings themselves. New bushings, though, can markedly improve the ride and handling of a vehicle that’s been in use for several years.

If you feel like your suspension system needs repair, please bring your vehicle into any one of our three locations of Sierra Car Care and Tire Centers in the Reno area and one of our ASE Certified Technicians will take care of you.

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