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Extreme weather can do a number on your vehicle. In the Summer, beyond making your legs stick to your leather seats, the heat can cause serious problems for drivers. It’s important to prepare for the hot weather months ahead.

Here are five safety tips to help ensure that you, your family, pets and vehicle handle summer safely:

  1. Monitor tire pressure: Check tires before and during long trips. For an accurate result, use your gauge when tires are cold, usually before driving in the morning or after you’ve been parked for a while. Tire air pressure increases as the temperature goes up. Scientists have figured out that for every 10 degrees (Fahrenheit) that the temperature rises the tire pressure will increase by one pound per square inch (PSI). Doesn’t sound like much but there’s typically only 30-35 PSI in the tires of passenger vehicles.
  2. Fuel Economy: Gas evaporates quicker in a hot vehicle than it does in a cold one. Keeping your car in a garage or shade as much as possible will improve your fuel economy.
  3. Check fluids: Flush and fill the vehicle’s cooling system on schedule to prevent overheating. Check the level, condition and color/concentration of coolant regularly. Be careful around the radiator cap. Don’t touch or remove it until the engine is cool.
  4. Vehicle Battery: Hot weather can drain the life out of your car’s battery. When the temperature gets particularly high, the battery fluid can evaporate, meaning that damage can occur to the internal structure. 
  5. Professional checkup: For automobile safety, there’s no substitute for regular automotive checkups and fluid checks. Your mechanic should also inspect drive belts, hoses and clamps. At Sierra Car Care we offer a complimentary inspection to let you know how your vehicle is doing. We will recommend any work we see as vital and let you know about the overall general health of your vehicle. Click here for coupons.
  6. Use window shades to deter hot surfaces: Test vinyl seating surfaces and metal parts like safety belt buckles to prevent burns before placing your child in the car. Car shades are inexpensive, effective solutions to keep cool in extreme heat.
  7. Child and pet safety: Never leave children or pets alone in a vehicle, even with the car windows down. The interior temperature in a car or truck increases rapidly on hot days. It can soon exceed 100 degrees in the car. Be careful even when parked at home. Make sure to take your child and animals indoors with you, and don’t allow them to wait for you in the car. You could get a phone call, lose your keys temporarily or experience some other delay and forget them.

When you need auto repair come into any of our three Sierra Car Care locations around the Reno, NV area.

Like all belts on your car, the timing belt is subject to wear and tear. It is best to defer to your owner’s manual for recommended replacement intervals (generally somewhere between 50,000 – 80,000 miles, may vary depending on make and model).

How the timing belt system works:

The timing belt is a toothed belt that keeps your engine synchronized (in time). It ensures that the camshaft and crankshaft are in synch during operation, and that the valves open and close at the right times in relation to piston movement. As such, it is perhaps the single most important maintenance item on your car and should be replaced at the manufacturer’s recommended service interval.

To sum this up in a nutshell, the piston and valves in your engine essentially take up the same space. Obviously, they can’t do this at the same time, or they’d crash into each other and cause serious damage. The timing belt ensures that their movement is timed correctly. When the belt breaks, timing is thrown off. The most common outcome here is bent valves (due to impact with the piston), but it can also cause damage to the cylinder head, or even to the camshaft itself.

Common reasons for this to happen:

  • Failing Water Pump Pulley: The most common cause of squealing or squeaking from the timing belt cover is the water pump pulley. If the bearings in the pulley are beginning to fail, they will make noise. Eventually, they’ll seize and the water pump will no longer operate, causing your engine to overheat.
  • Serpentine or V-Belt Slipping: Another common cause here is noise transference from a slipping serpentine or V-belt. In these instances, the sound is actually coming from the belt slipping on a pulley and it just SOUNDS like it’s coming from behind the timing belt cover.
  • Belt Too Tight: Again, the sound cannot be coming from your timing belt, but if you’ve recently had your serpentine belt or V-belt replaced, it could be adjusted too tight, which will cause squeaking or squealing.

How important is this service?

If you’re hearing a squealing or squeaking sound from behind the timing belt cover, chances are good that it’s the water pump pulley. If this pulley fails, your engine will overheat, causing potentially devastating damage (up to and including a cracked block). The best defense here is to ensure that the water pump is changed when the timing belt is changed, and to always follow the automaker’s service recommendations. One of Sierra Car Care’s professional ASE Certified auto mechanics can listen to and inspect your engine, diagnose the problem and then repair it.

By performing a battery check, we can help save you the money, time and frustration with electrical system or unexpected battery failures. The advanced testing system tests the battery’s ability to deliver the correct current, to anticipate what temperature a battery could fail to crank your vehicle.

EARLY DETECTION

The purpose of early detection and preventive maintenance is to find a battery problem before a battery failure leaves you broke down, in the cold. It could be as simple as looking for cracks in a belt or excess wear. Even though your vehicle started today, your battery could fail when you least expect it. Come into any of our locations in the Reno area to have your battery tested.

Discover your battery’s condition in a few minutes. Early Detection Test only determines if a battery is good or going bad; it can detect if it is questionable. There are 3 possible conditions when testing of your battery:

  • BAD – Needs replace soon
  • MARGINAL – May fail in extreme to moderate cold or heat
  • GOOD – In 6 to 8 months you should re-test
  • MARGINALITY – The battery may start the car but its performance has started to decline. Extreme cold or heat may cause a marginal battery to completely fail.

Know when to expect battery problems:

Winter Car Breakdown - Woman Call For Help

  • Battery – Over 30% of vehicles with batteries 3 years or older can experience battery failure.
  • Heat – Whether from climate or high under-hood operating temperatures, heat speeds up battery corrosion.
  • Cold in Extreme conditions – Retards the battery’s chemical reaction that creates the cranking power in a vehicle and increases the current needed to start a vehicle.
  • Continuing to Crank with Little Driving – drains battery power without giving the vehicle’s charging system a chance to recharge the battery.

Living in certain areas can affect the life of your battery. You should inspect your battery and replace every 3-5 years. Batteries working in colder area’s last longer than warmer climates.

Related Articles: Avoid Winter Battery Failure

Among the many threats facing drivers during winter is the most dangerous of them all: Slippery, hard-to-spot and potentially deadly black ice.

“The biggest danger [with black ice] is that you are at the mercy of your vehicle and the ice until your car passes over it,” said Julie Lee, vice president and national director of AARP Driver Safety.

Black ice forms most often when it’s raining and air is at or below 32 degrees Fahrenheit at the surface. The low ground temperature causes the precipitation to freeze upon impact, thus creating ice. Sleet and the refreezing of runoff from melting snow can also generate black ice.

The thin nature and complexion of black ice makes it extremely difficult to spot, but using a car thermometer as an initial gauge may be helpful in determining the road conditions. Black ice gets its name from its ability to blend in with its surroundings.

A car thermometer, like any digital thermometer, tries to find the air’s ambient temperature. So, if a vehicle’s thermometer is close to freezing, the driver should take extra precaution behind the wheel.

While driving on black ice is similar in some regards to driving on snow, the biggest difference between the two is the amount of traction the vehicle retains. Ice causes no traction until the car has passed over the icy spot.

Due to a vehicle’s lack of traction on ice, the basic rule for driving on black ice is to stay calm and let the vehicle pass over it.

Zero Fatalities is all about eliminating fatalities on our roadways. Some people may think zero is an impossible goal, but when it comes to your family and friends, what other number would be acceptable? We’re aiming for zero fatalities because everyone matters.

Always Buckle Up

Wearing a seat belt is the single most effective means of saving lives and reducing injuries in crashes (NHTSA, 2014). Not only are you endangering your life, but not wearing your seat belt could lead to traffic fines.

Don’t Drive Impaired

Between 2013 and 2017, 359 people lost their lives and 682 were seriously injured in impaired driving crashes on Nevada roadways. Even what seems like a small buzz can have deadly consequences if you drive. Illegal drugs, prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, and lack of sleep can also impair your ability to drive safely.

Focus on the Road

Stay alert when you’re operating a vehicle—especially in less-than-ideal conditions—and don’t drive when you’re not able to give your full attention.

Stop on Red

Intersections are shared by a variety of users including pedestrians, bicycles, motorcycles, and vehicles. To stay safe at this potential point of conflict, know the laws and know when they apply to you.

Be Pedestrian Safe

Drivers need to watch for pedestrians and yield to them when pedestrians have the right-of-way in a crosswalk. Pedestrians also need to pay attention to vehicles on the roadway and obey rules for walking on and crossing streets.

Ride Safe

Motorcycles are a part of the great American tradition. However, there are certain risks that come with riding a motorcycle. That’s why it’s so important to ride safe and take the necessary precautions when you’re riding on Nevada’s roads.

Sierra Car Care and Tire Centers stand behind the Zero Fatalities goal on Nevada roads. We are happy to do our part in keeping your vehicle running great in order to minimize problems on the road.

When should I change lanes?

Crashes

Fender bender? Move to the shoulder. If there is damage only to a vehicle or other property (no injuries), your vehicle is obstructing traffic and the vehicle can be moved safely, move the vehicle to a location that does not obstruct traffic and then return to the scene.

Emergency Vehicles & Traffic Incidents

Move Over Graphic

Drivers in Nevada have certain duties when approaching a stopped emergency vehicle making use of flashing lights or any type of incident that disrupts traffic, including stalled vehicles.

In the absence of direction by a peace officer, the driver of a vehicle approaching a stopped emergency vehicle or traffic incident must:

  • Decrease the vehicle speed to a speed that is reasonable and proper and less than the posted speed limit.
  • Proceed with caution.
  • Be prepared to stop; and
  • If possible, drive in a lane that is not adjacent to the lane in which the emergency vehicle is stopped unless the roadway, traffic, weather or other conditions make doing so unsafe or impossible.

These apply to all types of emergency vehicles including tow trucks, vehicles from the Nevada Department of Transportation displaying flashing amber lights, stalled vehicles and vehicles under repair.

Slow-Moving Vehicles on Highways

Drivers on controlled-access highways must not drive in the far left lane if being overtaken by a faster vehicle. This law does not apply within the geographical limits or a city or town.

Mopeds  New!

Moped operators have the same rights and responsibilities as other drivers. However, moped operators have additional responsibilities based on the limitations of their vehicle. Moped operators must remain in the extreme right-hand lane of any road unless:

  • There is a single lane of traffic
  • Preparing to make a left turn (turn must be made within one-quarter mile from entering lane)
  • When driving in the extreme right-hand lane would not be safe; or
  • As directed by a police officer

Bicycles

3 Feet for BikesMotorists passing a bicycle must move into an adjacent lane to the left, if possible. If not, the motorist must pass with at least three feet of space between the vehicle and the bicycle.

For more information please visit : NV Traffic Laws

Not long ago, to keep a car running beyond the 200,000-mile mark would have seemed about as likely as driving it to the moon. But big improvements in powertrain technology, rust prevention, lubricants, and more have led to game changing improvements in reliability and durability. Now, almost any car can make it well into six-figure territory with proper care.

That is good news for drivers, who are keeping their cars longer than ever before; the average age of all cars on the road is more than 11 years, up from about eight years in 1995, according to Polk research. Still, motorists might not realize the long-term financial benefits of keeping a car for 200,000 miles.

Buy a Safe, Reliable Model

You can coax any vehicle to 200,000 miles with enough patience and cash, but that doesn’t make doing so a good idea. The best way to minimize visits to the shop is to start with a model that has a reliable track record. And you don’t have to look far for a source; Consumer Reports compiles comprehensive reliability information.

In addition to choosing a reliable model, make sure to pick a car you’ll want to keep for a long time. Don’t compromise on the features you want or buy less or more vehicle than you think you’ll need. If this is going to be a long relationship, it may as well be a happy one. So choose a vehicle that will fit your lifestyle and that you’ll enjoy driving.

If you’re buying a used car, be on the lookout for signs of neglect or abuse. Check the car for dents, rust, and mismatched body panels. Look for paint overspray, which is often a sign of repair work. Make sure all interior components are in good condition. A mildew smell, discolored carpeting, and silt in the trunk are indicators of water damage. All components under the hood should be free of corrosion and grease. Check the fluids and watch out for damp areas in the engine compartment and under the vehicle, which might point to leaks.

When you’ve found a vehicle you’re interested in, take it to an independent mechanic for a diagnostic inspection, which costs about $100 to $150. A mechanic can help you spot signs of wear or abuse that you might not see.

Stick to the Schedule

Follow the maintenance schedule in your car’s owner’s manual. It spells out when to take care of every service for the life of your car, including routine oil and filter changes, tire rotations, and more major service such as timing-belt replacement. Even missing one oil change can contribute to premature engine wear or cause damage, and reduce the chances of your car remaining reliable for long.

If you’ve neglected following your vehicle’s maintenance schedule, it’s not too late to get with the program. Have a mechanic inspect your vehicle and take care of any apparent problems, no matter how minor. Then introduce yourself to your owner’s manual and start fresh. Even if your vehicle doesn’t make it to 200,000 miles, it will definitely last longer with proper ongoing care.

Following the maintenance schedule has gotten easier over the years because longer-lasting components and fluids have increased service intervals. Today, it’s common to go 10,000 miles between oil changes, and some spark plugs don’t need replacement for 100,000 miles.

Many new models from a wide variety of carmakers make it even easier to stay on top of maintenance, with sensors that take into account your mileage and driving habits to determine the optimum time for maintenance. They monitor the miles driven since the last service and record data such as how much stop-and-go driving is done, the engine temperature during each trip, and the time the engine spends operating at higher speeds. The system then calculates how quickly your oil is breaking down and alerts you when service is due, and can even adjust a car’s complete service interval to compensate for the severity of use.

The End of the Road

No matter how well you choose and care for a car, someday it will be time to move on because it’s costing too much or is no longer safe. Still, saying goodbye can be a tough decision, especially if you’re attached to your car. Here are signs that it’s probably time to find another vehicle:

  • It needs a big repair that will cost more to fix than the car is worth.
  • Rust is compromising the structural integrity.
  • It remains unreliable even with frequent repairs.
  • It has been in a flood or a serious accident.

Be careful not to over-maintain your car, that waste’s money. If you think your vehicle needs a maintenance inspection, see any of our Sierra Car Care Locations around the Reno area for fast, friendly service.

The electrical and electronic systems in your vehicle are responsible for routing power and information in order to dictate the behavior of certain systems. The electrical systems are linked by wiring, fuses, circuit breakers, and relays.

Loose or broken wiring, poor pin fits, and broken connectors or switches may lead to intermittent power or a completely inoperative system.

When you begin experiencing trouble with your electrical and electronic systems, ask yourself these questions: How often does this problem occur, and how long does this problem persist?

The more information you are able to provide to our staff during an electrical and electronic systems service, the quicker we will be able to recreate the same conditions, and ultimately hone in on the exact problem.

The Importance of the Electrical and Electronic Systems

If your vehicle experiences an electrical or electronic systems failure, it is beneficial to have the problem repaired quickly. A vehicle with electrical problems may not start, or it may become inoperative.

At Sierra Car Care and Tire Centers our experts are able to diagnose and repair problems during an electrical and electronic systems service. We can locate shorts, grounds, open, and resistance problems in electrical and electronic circuits, and we can repair wiring harnesses and connectors along with electrical wiring and solder repair. Our staff is also able to diagnose the cause of uneven headlight brightness, intermittent lights, dim lights, and inoperative lights.

In addition, we can service headlights and bulbs as well as correct intermittent turning signal and hazard light operation. Motor-driven accessory circuits, heated glass operation, and electric lock operation are all concerns for our staff as we begin to diagnose the electrical and electronic issue. In the end, our staff will work hard to get you driving a safe and functional vehicle again.

Schedule your Electrical and Electronic Systems Repair

Sierra Car Care and Tire Centers proudly serves the Electrical or Electronic Systems needs of customers in Reno, NV, Verdi, NV, Carson City, NV, and surrounding areas. Please click any of the following links to setup an online appointment for your vehicle or you can contact us at a store near you to make an appointment with one of our ASE Certified Technicians.

Dashboard Warning Diagnostic

Headlight Bulb Replacement

Interior & Exterior Lighting Repair

Power Locks Repair

Power Window Repair

Most experts say that wiper blades need to be changed every six to 12 months. This depends on weather conditions and the quality of blades you purchase. Ordinary rubber blades have the shortest lifespan. Halogen-hardened rubber blades last a bit longer. But silicon blades have the longest lifetimes of all, perhaps exceeding a year even under intense use. Of course they also cost more than ordinary rubber blades.

You’ll know when your wiper blades need to be replaced because you’ll see streaking as they wipe the moisture from the windshield or even large gaps where no water is being removed. They may start making squeaking or chattering sounds (though this can also happen if you run the wipers when the windshield is mostly dry). If left unchanged for too long, the material of the blade can shred and break loose from the arm. This can actually cause damage to your windshield, as the metal or hard plastic of the arm scrapes across the glass. This is not preferred.

Fortunately, you won’t necessarily have to replace the entire blade assembly. Most blade arms will accept rubber refills, giving you the option of replacing only the part that’s damaged. However, blade arms can become bent over time, so make sure that the refill is all that you need to replace in order to fix the problem.

If you are unsure and would like an experts opinion, stop by any of Sierra Car Care’s three locations in the Reno area. We are happy to help!

Expert Advice on Wheels, Rims and Performance Tires

At Sierra Car Care and Tire Centers, we want your car or truck to look its best. We also want you to feel good driving your vehicle around Reno or Sparks, Nevada. That’s why having a nice set of wheels or rims is crucial. We have a great selection of wheels and rims at Sierra Car Care and Tire Centers.

Great looking rims are the perfect way to show off your unique style, and your choice of rims can affect the car’s performance too. Our team is made up of wheel and rim experts who are enthusiasts about making a car look and ride superbly! At our shop you’ll always get true, custom advice on vehicle wheels and car rims from an expert who is on the cutting edge of wheel style, wheel configuration, and tire performance. If you’re looking for a new set of performance tires Reno, NV, or custom wheels and rims, then there is only one answer, Sierra Car Care and Tire Centers.

Give us a call at (775) 525-2420 or contact us online if you have questions regarding rims and wheels or any other auto repair Reno, NV services.

Wheels and Rims Reno, NevadaWhat to Look for When Buying New Wheels:

Alloy Wheels

Think about buying alloy wheels if you do a lot of driving in the mountains or in stop-and-go traffic. Some alloy wheels are designed to encourage cool air flow over the brakes to prevent overheating. The alloy itself can help dissipate heat, too.

Plus-Size Your Rims

If you want to improve performance and add a sportier look, think about plus-sizing your rims. With a larger inner diameter, you’ll find steering is more responsive and your car holds the road better. Purchasing rims that are one or two sizes larger than what you have means you’ll have to buy new tires as well.

Keep The Weight Down

Look for rims that aren’t too heavy for your vehicle. Big, steel rims on a small car can decrease handling ability. Heavy wheels are unsprung weight–not supported by your car’s suspension– and therefore useless for smoothing out the ride or improving balance in driving maneuvers.

Shop For Tires at Sierra Car Care

Because we have an extensive inventory of more than 4,000 tires in stock, our unparalleled tire selection assures you that we will have the replacement tire for your car or truck. Featuring tires from MICHELIN®, BFGoodrich® and Uniroyal®, Sierra Car Care and Tire Centers also carry tires from manufacturers such as GT RADIALS, Bridgestone, Continental, Cooper, General, Goodyear, Hankook, Pirelli and Yokohama. We have passenger and performance tires.

At Sierra Car Care and Tire Centers, our tire experts are able to match your specific driving needs, including factors such as driving terrain, endurance and travel conditions, resulting in the best possible match for your vehicle. You may also shop from home via the online tire finder by inputting your vehicle’s make, model and year.

Click here to browse our tire catalog

Click here to shop for tires

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