Keeping Your Car Clean

I still remember the day that I bought my first car. I thought it was the most perfect vehicle in the world, and I vowed to care for it diligently. Unfortunately, within a few days I had forgotten about my promise, and I started tossing fast food wrappers in the back like everyone else. After awhile I realized that neglecting my car was turning the inside into a garbage pit, and I decided to learn how to take better care of my vehicle. I took a class on auto detailing, and it really helped me to turn things around. I want to teach you what I learned, so you should read this blog.

You Are Only As Safe On The Road As Are Your Tires


Four small patches of rubber touching the road keep you safe while you drive your car. When your tires fail, you're at risk of having an accident. Here is how your tires work to keep you safe and how to monitor them for problems.

Tire Construction and Safety

Your tire is made up of layers of rubber, fiberglass and metal. These layers allow the tire to keep its shape while holding onto the road. The sidewalls of the tire flex as you go over bumps and around corners. The tread is what keeps your car on the road and not slipping off. Each manufacturer has their own design of tread for their tires. But all tread is made up of the following structures:

  • Lugs - This is the portion of the tire that actually touches the road. This is the part that wears down with use and must be monitored to make sure your tire is within safe limits. The lug works with the other parts of the tire to keep the car securely on the road.
  • Voids - This is the open space between the lugs and is what allows the rubber lugs to flex as they hold onto the road.
  • Grooves - These are channels that run across the tire to push water out of the way of the tire as you drive. Without these channels, your car would ride up on top of the layer of water on the road and you would have no traction with the road. This is called hydroplaning and is the cause of car accidents when roads are wet.
  • Sipes - These are additional channels made in the tire to move water out of the way. Sipes are often cut into the tire at the tire store at your request should you live in a rainy climate.

Monitoring Your Tires for Safety

A simple check of your tires at each visit to the gas station will tell you when your tires are unsafe and need to be replaced. When the lugs have worn down to an unsafe level, your tire no longer has the gripping power to keep your car on the road safely. Here are the three common ways of checking your tires:

  • Wear bars - A small rubber strip placed across the tire by the manufacturer shows the minimum level of lug that you need to be safe. Compare the lug to this wear bar and if it has worn down to that level, or lower, it's time to replace the tire. Lugs that have worn completely down to the bottom of the voids are considered bald tires and are dangerous to drive on since they can no longer grip the road.
  • Use a penny - Place an ordinary copper penny into the void with Lincoln's head facing down into the space. If you can see the top of his head over the lug, your tread has reached the minimum safe level.
  • Wear gauges - For a more precise measurement of how much tread your tire has left, take your car to a tire shop, like XL Auto Service & Tires. Most dealers will do a free check of your tires with a wear gauge. This tells them how much tread is left so they can give you an estimate of how much longer you can drive on those tires.


23 November 2015