Imagine you’ve left Sturgeon Bay and you’re up in the arctic on a dog sled.
Your dog team is pulling straight and true. You can cover a lot of ground fast. Now imagine what would happen if one or two of the dogs wanted to go their own way and were pulling off to the side.
That would slow you down. You would have to work harder to keep the sled going where you want it. The dogs are all working as hard as before, but you’re covering less ground for the same effort.
You’re wasting kibble.
The same is true of your vehicle when the wheels are out of alignment. That wheel that’s pulling to the side is dragging down the rest of the car; so you push a little harder on the gas pedal to keep up your speed. You’re wasting gas.
So have your wheel alignment checked at least once a year. Get it checked right away if you feel the car pulling to one side.
Sometimes we bump a curb or hit a pothole and knock our wheels out of alignment. An accident can take the wheels out of alignment as well.
Wheel alignment is often overlooked by busy Egg Harbor and all of Door County car owners until serious tire damage has been done. One wheel can be knocked out of alignment from the rest by hitting a curb or pothole on Sturgeon Bay roads.
When a vehicle’s out of alignment, one or more of the wheels does not track true and pulls against the others. The tires will wear out very quickly and will need to be replaced prematurely. It could also lead to import brand suspension damage.
But the big issue for Egg Harbor, all of Door County, and Sturgeon Bay motorists is safety. When your import brand wheels are out of alignment, the vehicle will pull to one side, which could lead to an accident. When you’re out of alignment, you should have it taken care of right away at Young Automotive in Sturgeon Bay.
At Young Automotive, your vehicle is put on an alignment rack where the tires, steering and suspension parts are checked for damage. Then the alignment is charted and checked against the factory settings.
Adjustments are made to bring the wheels back into alignment. This gets all four wheels going in precisely the same direction.
Signs of alignment problems are: Your car pulls to one side. Also, your steering wheel may not be centered when you’re going straight. If you see the edges of one or more tires rapidly wearing down, you should have your Sturgeon Bay service center look it over. If you’ve been in an auto accident in WI that involved a wheel, you should get your alignment checked.
A big jolt can seriously knock things out of alignment, but Egg Harbor drivers also need to understand that a series of smaller ones can add up.
That’s why your manufacturer recommends periodic alignment checks. If your import brand owner’s manual doesn’t specify, once a year might be appropriate. Or check with Fred Young or your service advisor at Young Automotive in Sturgeon Bay.
One thing’s for sure: the cost of the alignment at Young Automotive is cheaper than having to buy a couple of new tires because of neglect.
When all of a vehicle’s wheels are lined up exactly with each other, your wheels are in alignment. Hitting a road hazard or even just the normal bumps and bounces of everyday driving in Sister Bay can cause your import brand’s wheels to be out of alignment.
Driving for an extended time in Sister Bay when you’re out of alignment causes your import brand’s tires to wear unevenly and excessively – perhaps causing you to have to replace tires years too early or even lead to a blowout: Dangerous … and expensive. It can also cause premature wear to your suspension system, which can be really expensive.
Here are some alignment basics:
The first adjustment is called toe or do the wheels point in towards each other or away from each other at the front of the tire. The next adjustment is called camber or do the wheels tip in or out at the top. And finally, there is castor. Castor measures the angle where the front axles attach to the vehicle.
The ideal alignment for your import brand was designed by its engineers. Alignment service at Young Automotive starts with an inspection of the steering and suspension – to see if anything’s bent or broken. Then the Sister Bay technician will look at tire condition.
From there, the import brand is put on an alignment rack and an initial alignment reading is taken. The wheels are then aligned to import brand manufacturer’s specifications.
Your import brand owner’s manual probably has a recommendation for how often your alignment should be checked – usually every couple of years. If you suspect an alignment problem, get it checked at Young Automotive before you suffer expensive tire or suspension damage.
Some Sturgeon Bay drivers may have heard about new advances in power steering technology, specifically, electric power steering. Some very high-end cars have been featuring electric power steering for a few years. An electric motor directly provides the power assist to make steering easier. Undoubtedly we’ll see much more of this in Sturgeon Bay as full electric cars and electric hybrids become more common.
The vast majority of cars and trucks serviced at Young Automotive in Sturgeon Bay still use a hydraulic power boost system. With hydraulics, fluid is pressurized by a pump which actuates a hydraulic cylinder to reduce steering effort. Some of these pumps are powered by an electric motor. Most pumps are powered by the serpentine belt driven by the engine.
Power steering fluid has the necessary hydraulic properties and the ability to lubricate the internal parts. The power steering fluid also protects import brand components from rust and corrosion.
Sturgeon Bay car owners should be aware that manufacturers recommend that the fluid be replaced on schedule. At Young Automotive, the old fluid is drained and the system cleaned thoroughly. Fresh fluid is then installed.
Unfortunately, many Sturgeon Bay people don’t realize how important it is to service their power steering, or even that it should be done at all. A neglected power steering system can develop leaks and the pump won’t last as long.
Signs that you may be having problems with your power steering include the need to constantly add power steering fluid, a loud whining from the pump, erratic power assist or high steering effort. If you’re experiencing any of these problems, have your power steering checked out at Young Automotive in Sturgeon Bay.
In addition to the pump and hydraulic system, there are mechanical parts in the steering system. The rods, arms, joints and knuckles that actually turn the wheels can become worn or damaged. A standard alignment service includes an inspection of steering components.
If you notice any play in the steering wheel, that the steering wheel is off center, or a noise coming from your front wheels, especially when turning, have your Young Automotive advisor do an inspection so the problem can be corrected. Waiting too long could cause uneven tire wear and may even lead to steering failure. Call Young Automotive today at 920-743-9228.
North Americans love their cars. And nothing goes with cars better than the road trip. Freedom from daily schedules, new sights and the open road – it’s great! But there’s nothing like car trouble to bring the fun to a grinding halt.
Now you can’t always avoid problems, but you can take steps to reduce the probability of getting sidelined on your trip. The first step is to look at your trip plan from your vehicle’s perspective. What kind of roads will you be traveling – winding byways or super-highways? Mountains or plains? What weather conditions are you likely to encounter? How many miles will you travel? How much weight will you be hauling – passengers and luggage? Lugging a trailer or roof top carrier? Will it be dusty?
Armed with the answers to these questions, you can start a trip inspection to help you prepare your Sturgeon Bay vehicle for your big adventure. A lot of our Sturgeon Bay customers prefer to go through this exercise with an automotive service advisor at Young Automotive to get their input and make sure they haven’t left anything out.
A great place to start is with the tires. Inspect them for tread wear and proper inflation. Is it time to rotate your tires? Replace them? Are they up to the job – you wouldn’t want to drive regular highway tires on a muddy off-road adventure.
Shocks and struts play a major role in both driving comfort and safety. If they need to be replaced, you’ll really be glad you did once you hit the road. Is it time for a wheel alignment? Fighting a car that’s pulling to one side all day can be tiring and dangerous.
And don’t forget your brakes. Any strange noises, grabbing, soft or hard peddle feel? If there is any doubt, get a brake inspection before you leave.
Moving under the hood, have your belts and hoses inspected. If something is excessively worn or near failure, the stress of a long road trip might just be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
Your engine air filter will be important. For every gallon of gas you burn, your car will filter and use 12,000 gallons of air. If the filter needs to be changed, you’ll notice the fuel savings on your trip.
How close are you to your next oil change? Will you be able to complete your trip before it’s due? If not, just get it taken care of before you go so that you don’t need to interrupt your trip. In fact, a full service oil change is a great idea because they will top off all your fluids and check to see if any other maintenance items are due, such as transmission or cooling system service.
Do you notice any unusual odors in your vehicle? If so, it could as harmless as a dirty cabin air filter. But if it’s an exhaust leak it could be fatal on a long trip. Of course you’ll want to be comfortable, so get an air conditioning service if you aren’t getting the cold air you used to.
Are you wiper blades still working well? If not, that is quick and inexpensive to fix. Headlamps are often overlooked when planning for a trip. If you haven’t changed the bulb in six months or so, replacement bulbs will really light up the night on your trip.
All the items mentioned are part of any good vehicle maintenance plan. These are things that you want to take care of anyway, but they all come into focus as you plan for your trip.
They will always save you money in the long run and may prevent inconvenient delays on your trip. After all, you wouldn’t want to miss the world’s largest ball of string, would you?