Super Slick at Southside Auto Tech in Lincoln: Synthetic Oil

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When you get an oil change, it’s always a safe bet to just use the type of oil the car maker recommends. But sometimes we’re asked if we’d like conventional or synthetic motor oil. We glance at the price tags on the two options and choose the cheaper one. But in this case, the more expensive oil might be the better bargain for Lincoln auto owners.

Conventional oil is made from petroleum. Its molecules form long hydrocarbon chains. Synthetic motor oil is either more highly refined petroleum or completely man-made. Its molecules are more uniform. This provides vital advantages over conventional motor oil.

First of all, the molecular structure of synthetic motor oil makes it more slippery than conventional oil so it lubricates better. This translates to better wear protection for Lincoln car owners, cooler operating temperatures, more engine power and increased fuel economy.

Further, synthetic oil is more heat-resistant than conventional oil, and it doesn’t vaporize as easily. It provides better protection for severe conditions like stop-and-go driving around Lincoln and very hot or freezing Nebraska temperatures.

Also, synthetic oil doesn’t generate detrimental oil sludge like conventional oil. This prevents small engine passageways from becoming clogged, which can significantly extend the working life of your sedan engine.

Manufacturers are aware of the advantages of synthetic oil, and many of them are using it to fill their sedans before delivering them to be sold. Many auto manufacturer’s owner’s manuals now come with the recommendation to use only synthetic oil. Because synthetic oil wears better and protects better than conventional motor oil, it can be changed less often. If your sedan came with a recommendation for synthetic oil, you may have noticed that the recommended period between oil changes is longer than what you’re used to. However, if you switch to conventional oil, you need to be aware that you can’t follow this longer service interval. You’ll have to change your oil more often.

On the other hand, if you are using conventional oil and you switch to synthetic oil, you may be able to lengthen the time between oil changes. You can communicate with your honest Southside Auto Tech service advisor. He can offer you good auto advice about oils and service intervals based on your driving habits and requirements.

Oil changes are the hallmark of important preventive maintenance at Southside Auto Tech. All Lincoln auto owners need them. So we should get excited about a product that reduces how often we need them. Synthetic oil is more pricey, yes, but it can pay for itself by lasting longer than conventional oil. And when you add in the hidden savings of an extended engine life and improved fuel efficiency, not to mention increased engine power, there’s a good chance that synthetic oil actually saves in the long run. All Lincoln drivers pay for car care. But understanding what we’re paying for can make us more savvy shoppers.

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Under Pressure in Lincoln: TPMS

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Have you noticed an increase in price when you get a flat fixed in Lincoln or your tires rotated? It might be the result of your TPMS, or Tire Pressure Monitoring System.

The federal government began requiring a TPMS system on 2008 model year passenger vehicles and light trucks. Some 2006 and 2007 models may have them as well. The system has a warning light that is mounted on the dashboard that will go on if one of the tires becomes severely under inflated.

Why the new requirement? Because underinflated tires are the number one cause of tire failure. Tire blowouts cause harmful and sometimes fatal accidents. Underinflated tires also need longer stopping distance and can skid, both of which also present dangers on Nebraska roads. Many flat tires can also be prevented by proper tire inflation, and though this may seem an economic consideration, Lincoln auto owners who have changed a flat on the side of the road recognize that this has serious safety concerns as well.

Advances in tire technology, specifically the development of radial tires has made it harder for Lincoln motorists to recognize when a tire is underinflated. At a recommended pressure of 35 psi, a tire is seriously underinflated at 26 psi. But the tire doesn’t look low on air until it reaches 20 psi. This raises concerns about vehicle owners being able to tell when their sedans are a safety hazard on the road. Hence, the TPMS.

So, like seatbelts, the important TPMS system is expected to save a lot of lives. The technology has been in use in race cars for years, and now it’s being mandated for all passenger cars, SUV’s, mini-vans and pick-ups. Besides warning Lincoln motorists when their tires need air, the system is required to indicate when it is malfunctioning.

This increased safety won’t come without increased costs to Lincoln drivers. Estimates regarding the cost of maintaining the TPMS on your vehicle run from $27 to $100. Also, there will be an added cost for tire repair. Lincoln service centers have had to purchase new scanning equipment to work with TPMS sensors and other essential equipment to repair tires and wheels equipped with TPMS. Southside Auto Tech techs have to be trained to use the new equipment. These costs will have to be passed on to Lincoln auto owners.

Further, whenever a tire is changed, the Southside Auto Tech technician will have to deal with the TPMS. Sensors will have to removed, then re-installed and re-activated. Sometimes the act of changing a tire will damage a sensor, and it will need to be replaced. These extra services will come at an added charge to Lincoln auto owners.

Tire rotations will require that the TPMS be re-programmed. And whenever a vehicle’s battery is disconnected, the TPMS will require re-programming as well.

The TPMS itself will require attention – it contains batteries and sensors that will wear out and need to be replaced.

So, if you’ve noticed an increase in the cost for car care at your Lincoln tire center, it may not be the economy. It could be the cost of the TPMS in newer vehicles. Before you dash off an angry letter to Congress, however, stop and consider what you’re paying for. If predictions are correct, the TPMS will save lives, and that will be a benefit to all of us.

Of course, no warning system will save lives in Lincoln if car owners don’t pay attention to it. And remember that the warning doesn’t come on until the tire is severely under inflated – you still should check your tire pressure at least once a month. Lincoln auto owners can prevent accidents and potentially save lives without a warning system by keeping their tires properly inflated.

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What

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Would you be surprised to learn that about half of the passenger cars in Europe have diesel engines? You might also be surprised to learn that most car makers produce a variety of diesel-fueled cars for purchase abroad.

Diesel-fueled vehicles haven’t been as popular in the North American markets like Nebraska. But that won’t be true for long. North Americans are seeing a lot more diesel-fueled vehicles on the road. And we’re not talking about buses and trucks. These vehicles will be passenger cars, pick-ups and SUV’s.

There are two reasons for this. The first is a recent change in environmental laws that have upgraded emissions standards for diesel fuel in North America. Diesel fuel in North America used to have higher sulfur content than European fuel, meaning that it was a dirtier fuel to burn. That was okay for larger vehicles, but the lighter-weight engines in passenger vehicles just couldn’t tolerate it.

But that high sulfur content is now a thing of the past. Fuel producers are now required to sell cleaner diesel fuel in Lincoln. That opens the North American market to more diesel-powered vehicles. The second reason we’re going to see more of these vehicles in Lincoln is that they’re more fuel-efficient than their gasoline-powered counterparts. Diesel fuel has higher energy density than gasoline. That translates to more power per barrel of fuel. In your tank, that translates to better engine performance and about 20% more miles per gallon.

Lincoln car owners may associate diesel engines with black smoke, noise and a definite “shake, rattle and roll.” That’s also a thing of the past. Modern diesel engines are smooth and quiet and produce cleaner emissions than gasoline engines. Also, forget that three-second wait behind a diesel vehicle at a stoplight. Modern diesels are just as quick to accelerate as other vehicles on Lincoln roads.

Diesel engines have other advantages over gasoline engines. Diesel engines are heavier than gasoline engines because they require more heavy-duty parts, but that means the engines are more durable and can last longer than gasoline engines. Also, diesel engines may be the engines of the future since they can burn many of the new bio-fuels.

Bio-diesel can be manufactured from vegetable oils, including used cooking oil from Lincoln restaurants. Just think, one day you could fuel your vehicle on stuff that was once considered waste—one step closer to a cleaner environment here in Nebraska. And if you think hybrid cars are environmentally sound, consider what a diesel-electric hybrid could mean. They will soon be available for
Lincoln auto owners.

Lincoln car owners who are considering buying a diesel-fueled vehicle, should know that important preventive maintenance and inspection schedules are different for a diesel engine than a gasoline engine. Diesel fuel is harder on emissions systems than gasoline, so the filters and other devices have to be changed and checked more often. Also, the fuel injection system operates at much higher pressures for diesel than for gasoline, so keeping it clean becomes a higher priority.

When you switch from a gas vehicle to a diesel, you’ll have to learn some new rules of car care. But you won’t be alone. Most
Lincoln service centers are aware that diesels are coming to North America and are already prepared to provide service for diesel engines. At Southside Auto Tech, we are well-versed in diesel technology. You can rely on our team of automotive professionals to provide quality service for diesel powered vehicles.

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Cool Running In Lincoln

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Unless you live in Death Valley, you really don’t hear much any more about cars overheating. That’s because cooling systems in vehicles have been much improved. That doesn’t mean you can’t overheat your sedan engine, though. Without proper preventive maintenance, you could still find yourself on the side of the highway in Lincoln waiting for your sedan engine to cool down.

When you service your cooling system at Southside Auto Tech, your service professional will check the condition of the coolant. It can become corrosive over time, which can damage a radiator — leading to an overheated engine. Changing the coolant periodically is good car care. Your sedan owner’s manual can give you guidelines on how often to replace it.

If your engine overheated, your honest tech will also check your coolant system for leaks. Check the sedan radiator for cracks and the radiator hoses for leaks. He’ll also check your water pump. They don’t need to be replaced on a regular schedule, but they do need an automotive analysis regularly. They can and do wear out.

The water pump is a critical component of your sedan cooling system. It pumps the coolant to keep it circulating through the engine. The coolant is cooled in the radiator, then it travels through the engine, where it absorbs heat, then it returns to the radiator, where it releases the heat. And so on. But a water pump is something of a misnomer. The fluid pumped through your sedan cooling system is not just water. It also contains coolant, which is actually poisonous. You should never consider your radiator as an emergency water supply.

There are many types of coolant. It varies from vehicle to vehicle, and using the wrong kind could damage your engine. Your service advisor will know which kind your vehicle’s manufacturer recommends. The team of automotive professionals at Southside Auto Tech is always a good source for auto advice. We’ve been providing quality automotive services at our convenient location in Lincoln for 25 years.

Keeping your cooling system in good repair will help keep your engine running well, and keep you out of the Lincoln repair shop. This means that a regular cooling system inspection should be on your schedule for routine preventive maintenance of your vehicle. Your owner’s manual will tell you how often you need to do this. It varies depending on what kind of car you drive, what type of driving you do and where you live in Nebraska.

At Southside Auto Tech, we help you keep your cool which will keep you in the driving lane.

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Put On The Brakes: Brake Service At Southside Auto Tech

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When it comes to preventive maintenance and car care, most Lincoln motorists know how vital it is to check their brakes. But brakes are more than just brake pads and shoes. There are a lot of components in the brake system, and they all need to be in good working order.

The pads and shoes are known as the friction materials in the brake system. They push together, providing friction, which stops the vehicle. It’s no wonder they have to be checked regularly for wear, and that brake pads and shoes need to be replaced periodically.

Brake pads/shoes gradually wear out, but that doesn’t mean your braking gradually becomes less effective. The pads are engineered so that they maintain good braking until they wear too thin to provide adequate friction. At this point, they need to be replaced.

But your braking system also has mechanical parts. These pistons and springs can also gradually wear out or get gummed up by oil, dirt and other road spatter. A brake inspection in Lincoln at Southside Auto Tech includes a check of these parts as well as the pads and shoes. Your honest Southside Auto Tech service professional can then advise you of any parts that need cleaning or replacement.

The fluid component to the brake system needs a regular check-up at Southside Auto Tech as well. The brake fluid cools and protects your brake system. Protective additives are gradually depleted by the operation of the brake system, and moisture build-up inside the fluid can diminish its effectiveness. When you have your brakes serviced at Southside Auto Tech in Lincoln, the fluid should be checked and, if needed, replaced, which will clean out water, debris and dirt.

It is essential to remember that your brake system also includes your tires. No matter how well your brake system is performing, if your sedan tires are worn, you won’t get good stopping power. Traction is the gripping power of your tires to the roadway. Traction is always better on tires with a good tread. Good traction translates to good braking.

This is particularly critical on wet Omaha roads. A good tire will give you good braking on either wet Nebraska roads or dry. But stopping distance increases dramatically when worn tires meet wet roads. Tread on a tire acts to channel away water as the sedan passes over the wet road, thus maintaining contact between the tire’s surface and the road, which maintains traction. But the thinner the tread, the less effective the water channels become, and water can get between the tire and the roadway, reducing friction. A loss of friction means a longer stopping distance and possibly the loss of control.

Braking depends on two things: the weight of your sedan and the speed of the vehicle. The heavier the vehicle or the faster the vehicle, the more braking power it requires. Thus, brake systems vary from vehicle to vehicle. For example, a pickup that is designed for heavy loads has a more powerful braking system than a compact car. Sports cars also have higher-grade braking systems than minivans.

Regardless of what kind of car you drive in Lincoln, it is always good auto advice to keep your brake system in good repair, and that means ALL of your brake system. Just one more way to keep your travels accident and worry-free.

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Cool Breeze: Air Conditioning Service At Southside Auto Tech In Lincoln

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Most Nebraska drivers know that their vehicles need regular preventive maintenance like changing the oil and filters, rotating the tires and refilling the washer fluid. But did you know that your air conditioning system needs routine maintenance as well? Taking care of your air conditioning system can extend its life and prevent costly repair bills.

Why is it essential for Lincoln car owners to get routine maintenance on their air conditioning system? First, the refrigerant contains an added lubricant. As the refrigerant circulates through the air conditioning system, its parts are lubricated. This constant lubrication keeps the parts functioning well. But over time, this lubricant is used up, and without it, the parts will eventually seize up and fail.

Lincoln folks should understand, however, that the air conditioner will continue to pump out cool air even without the lubricant, so you won’t know the system is sick until it actually dies. So good car care includes regularly checking the refrigerant and lubricant in your sedan air conditioning system and replacing it if needed.

The second reason your air conditioning system needs preventive maintenance is that air and water can get into the system. Air, water and the contaminants they contain will reduce the efficiency of the air conditioning system and can cause corrosion of the system’s parts. Keeping the air conditioning system clean is a key practice and will extend its life and keep you from losing your cool on hot Lincoln days.

How often should you get a routine car air conditioner inspection? It varies from vehicle to vehicle. Check your owner’s manual for the automobile manufacturer’s recommendation.

Here’s a good piece of auto advice for Nebraska car owners that will extend the life of their air conditioning systems: You should run your air conditioner in the winter every once in a while. This circulates the refrigerant, which lubricates the seals. That way, they won’t dry out during cold Lincoln weather.

Your air conditioning system doesn’t just cool the air in your sedan; it dries it out as well. So if you have trouble with a foggy windshield, flip on your air conditioning on the defrost setting. You may be surprised at how quickly it takes care of the problem. Of course, some vehicles can’t run the air conditioner and defroster at the same time; you should check your owner’s manual or with the car maker if you are uncertain whether this feature works in your car or not.

So, after learning about preventive maintenance for your A/C, you might now be wondering if your air conditioner is in trouble. Two early warning signs of a failing air conditioner are (1) the air just isn’t getting as cold as it used to and (2) there’s a strange noise when the air conditioner turns on. If you notice either of these symptoms in your sedan, you should bring it to Southside Auto Tech in Lincoln as soon as possible.

Just some good auto advice to keep you cool in Lincoln and keep you on the road!

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Check Engine Light Diagnosis At Southside Auto Tech

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Hello Lincoln motorists. Have you ever had your check engine light come on? Did you panic? Or just scowl and ignore it? What should you do? Pull to the side of the road and call a tow truck? Or just keep driving? What does that little light really mean for Lincoln drivers?

First of all, the Check Engine or Service Engine light does indicate that something is wrong. That’s why it is called a warning light. But the something that is wrong might be a loose gas cap, or it might be serious sedan engine trouble. That’s why Lincoln motorists often don’t know how to respond to it.

The check engine light has two modes: it flashes or it stays on. A flashing light is serious. You need to get your vehicle to Southside Auto Tech in Lincoln ASAP. No, you don’t need to call a tow truck, but, yes, you can’t wait to get your car serviced. If your check engine light is on and flashing, you should not tow trailers, haul heavy loads or drive at Nebraska expressway speeds. Any of these could lead to serious damage that could result costly repair bills for Lincoln motorists who ignore it.

A steady check engine light is less serious, but that doesn’t mean it can be ignored by Beatrice drivers. You should plan to get your vehicle inspected at your local Lincoln automotive service center the first realistic opportunity. Not the first convenient opportunity, but the first realistic one.

Before you take your sedan in, however, check the gas cap. A loose gas cap can trigger the check engine light. If it is loose, twist it until it clicks three times. If that was the problem, your Lincoln engine light will reset after several days. However, if it stays on, then you need to schedule an inspection at your Lincoln auto repair center center or Southside Auto Tech.

Modern automobiles have a computer in the engine that monitors and controls many of the engine functions. When the computer senses something wrong, it first tries to fix the problem itself by adjusting the sedan engine. If the problem persists, the computer signals the check engine light to come on.

This process stores a trouble code inside the sedan engine’s computer. Your service professional scans the computer and reads the code. This does not tell the service professional exactly what is wrong with the car, but it gives him a good idea as to where to start looking.

It is NOT good auto advice to deal with a check engine light by disconnecting the battery. Yes, this makes the light go off, but it doesn’t solve the problem. It’s rather like trying to put out a fire by disconnecting the smoke detector. Also, disconnecting the battery will erase your sedan’s computer memory. An engine’s computer, over time, learns to adjust for peculiarities of the specific sedan engine, for driving conditions in your Seward area, and for your driving habits. Losing its memory means it has to learn and adjust for these things all over again.

Also, don’t buy a cheap consumer scanner or get a trouble code read at your nearest Lincoln auto parts store, then try to fix a problem yourself — unless, of course, you are a trained Lincoln mechanic. Today’s auto repair equipment is fairly high-tech and knowing a code is only an indication of where a problem might be, not the answer to what is wrong. Trying to save a little money by doing it yourself may end up costing you big in the long run.

Of course, the best thing to do is to keep that pesky check engine light from coming on in the first place. Good car care and routine preventive maintenance go a long way to keeping your sedan out of your Lincoln auto repair shop. But, if that light does come on, be smart. Take care of the problem early, and take care of it professionally.

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Maintaining Your Diesel in Lincoln

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Diesel engines have been used extensively in Europe and Asia for many years. They haven’t been as common in Lincoln because of the high sulfur content in our diesel fuel. But the government is now mandating lower sulfur content and, as a result, we are going to see more Lincoln drivers driving diesel-fueled vehicles on the road, especially in passenger cars and SUV’s.

Diesels are popular in Lincoln because they get better fuel efficiency than gas-powered engines. They also last longer. Modern diesel engines are quiet and powerful. And if you associate diesel engines with black smoke, then you’re not up with the times. That smoke is a thing of the past.

Diesels don’t produce any more pollutants than gasoline engines. The pollution standards for diesel-powered vehicles are as strict in Nebraska as for other vehicles.

Also, diesel engines can run on bio-diesel fuels as well as fossil fuels. Diesel fuel can be produced from vegetable oil or from cellulosic waste like wood chips and sawdust. In Lincoln, we may soon see bio-diesel produced from algae. These fuel sources will lessen Lincoln drivers’ dependence on fossil fuels and may even become truly renewable and sustainable.

Diesel-powered vehicles perform as well as other passenger vehicles, also. Most Beatrice people don’t notice a difference in driving one or the other. If you haul heavy loads or tow a trailer in Seward, however, the diesel is a definite improvement.

So, you may be asking, if diesels are so great, why don’t all Lincoln drivers drive them? Surely there are disadvantages you haven’t told me about. That’s true. Diesel engines are heavier than gas engines, and they cost more in Nebraska. The better fuel efficiency of the diesel engine is partially offset by the higher purchase price.

Because of higher fuel prices, diesel engines used to be more costly to drive in Lincoln. But now, with higher volatility in the prices of both gasoline and diesel fuel in Nebraska, that cost difference is less definitive. Whether a diesel or gas engine is more expensive for Lincoln car owners depends now on the current price of fuel in Nebraska and how many miles you drive.

Consider also that diesel-powered vehicles have a high resale value in the Lincoln area, and the costs of owning and operating a diesel vs. a gas-powered vehicle in Nebraska becomes a real toss-up.

Preventive auto maintenance for diesel vehicles has also become similar to that of gas-fueled vehicles in recent years. The major difference is that diesels require cleaner fuel, air and oil, so their filters are more expensive in Lincoln than those for gasoline engines. The engine air filter must be changed more frequently as well.

The costs for car care and repairs in Lincoln are similar. Wait, you may be thinking, but you just told me that filters are more expensive and have to be changed more regularly. True, but that is offset by the fact that diesel engines have a much longer lifetime than gasoline engines. So if you are the type of owner who prefers to hang on to a vehicle for a long time, you will be more than rewarded with a diesel engine.

So if you have been looking for Southside Auto Tech auto advice on whether to switch to a diesel vehicle or stay with a gas-powered one, then we hope this helps. The answer as to which type of vehicle is better is that it depends on the Lincoln driver and their driving habits. Now that you know the facts, you can make an informed choice based on your own priorities and needs.

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Talk To Southside Auto Tech About New Shoes For Your Vehicle

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Custom wheels are one way that Lincoln folks express themselves and personalize their sedan. But they aren’t as cheap and easy as sticking decals on your back window. There are several critical factors need to be considered, including cost, the fit of the wheel, modifications that will have to be made to the sedan, how the new wheels and tires will affect the operation of the vehicle, your driving habits, and, of course, the style of the wheels. Most Lincoln car owners start with the last factor: the style of the wheels. But that should be the last thing we choose.

When considering custom wheels, you should first carefully consider your budget. Some wheels may require expensive adjustments to your sedan suspension system, brakes, or traction systems. You need to know what you can afford before you start shopping in Lincoln or get your heart set on a particular type of wheel.

There are three basic ways you can change your wheels. First, you choose a wheel that is already the same size as the ones on your sedan. Second, you can choose larger wheels, and third, you can choose smaller wheels. Mounting wheels that are the same size as the ones already on your car sounds easy enough. But, even though the wheel may be the same diameter as your current wheels, but that doesn’t mean it will fit your sedan. Besides diameter, wheels also have an offset. This is the measurement from the inside edge of the wheel to the point at which it bolts on. If your new wheel does not have the same offset as your current wheels, your sedan tires can rub on the inside or outside of the wheel well. This can lead to blowouts, uneven tread wear, and other mechanical problems.

The tire and wheel professionals in Lincoln at Southside Auto Tech on 4830 Rentworth Drive can help you select a wheel that has both the correct diameter and offset for your sedan. Or, if you really want a specific wheel in spite of the offset difference, your may be able to install adapters that will make the wheels fit.

Mounting larger wheels is a more involved process. There are several ways of doing this. You can mount larger wheels, but keep the overall tire diameter the same. Or you can “supersize” your tire/wheel combo. Mounting larger wheels while maintaining the same overall tire diameter is the easiest way to increase wheel size. You still need to adjust for offset. Generally, this alteration means that your new tires will be wider than the originals, so you will have to install adapters to keep them from rubbing on the wheel wells. Consult your Southside Auto Tech service professional by calling 402-421-2616.

If you want to install larger wheels and increase the overall tire diameter, it is essential that the package fits in the wheel well: you may have to do some minor modifications to your suspension. More importantly, you will have to reprogram your sedan engine’s computer to calibrate for the larger tire size. The computer calculates your speed based on the rotation of your tires, so increasing the size of the tires will render it inaccurate. Inaccurate speed calculations can mess up your anti-lock brakes and your stability control systems, as well as your speedometer and odometer.

As you can see, the more modifications you make, the more key it becomes to have your honest Southside Auto Tech service specialist tire and wheel professional help you with your car care.

If you really want those “super-sized” tires, great: just factor in the issues listed above, plus you may have to have modifications done to your suspension system.

The larger wheels and tires will add weight to your vehicle. This weight is not held up by the suspension system, so is referred to as “unsprung” weight. Adding unsprung weight affects your car differently than just adding loads inside of your car. Unsprung weight can affect acceleration and braking. Putting large wheels on your sedan may require an upgraded brake system.

Also, you may not get the performance from your sedan that you’ve been used to. It may be sluggish when accelerating or harder to handle when turning. You may also find that the ride is bumpier than it was before. Of course, done right at Southside Auto Tech, a good wheel job can sometimes improve a vehicle’s ride or performance. It just depends on your vehicle, the type of wheels you choose, and what you are hoping to accomplish.

Now let’s suppose you want smaller wheels on your vehicle. That should be easier, right? Not really. You still have to worry about offset, and it is important that your computer be reprogrammed to account for calibration issues. And you may need adjustments to your suspension system.

Remember your budget? All of these scenarios require that you shell out some money. Perhaps now you can see why it is good auto advice for Seward auto owners to make that consideration first, before setting their heart on a specific type of wheel.

Another consideration should always be your driving habits. Do you do a lot of off-roading on the outskirts of Lincoln? Do you carry heavy loads? Do you tow a trailer on Nebraska interstates? All of these factors must be considered when replacing your tires and wheels. Some wheels just may not be up to the work you need them to do.

For example, if you mount large rims on your vehicle, then add low-profile tires to avoid major adjustments to other systems, they won’t be able to handle off-roading as well as larger tires. There won’t be enough sidewall on the tires to absorb the impact from off-roading. You could end up with dented or broken rims.

At the end of the day, Lincoln car owners should always put safety ahead of appearance. That’s why you shouldn’t add custom wheels to your vehicle without consulting with your Southside Auto Tech tire and wheel professional. Cutting corners when installing custom wheels by not making necessary adjustments to all of the systems impacted by the change can result in dangerous operating conditions as well as pricey repairs down the road.

The honest auto professionals at Southside Auto Tech want to remind Lincoln motorists of the basics of vehicle safety: preventive maintenance, emergency preparedness and professional repairs. Stay safe, and stay on the road.

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Easy Miles

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Have you ever noticed that your car maker has a schedule in your owner’s manual for what is called “severe service” maintenance? Let’s define what severe driving conditions aren’t: The easiest driving a vehicle experiences is traveling on the interstate for twenty miles or more at a constant rate of 65 miles per hour in 75°F weather with only passengers on board. Change any one of those parameters and you are adding stress to your engine. Change them significantly, and you are driving under severe conditions.

Let’s look at the key parameters one a time. First, the length of the trip. Short trips around Lincoln are harder on an engine than longer ones. As your engine cools down, water in the air condenses onto the engine. When you heat the engine again, the water evaporates off. This is healthy. But on short trips, the engine doesn’t stay hot enough long enough for all of the water to evaporate so it starts to build up in the engine oil leading to sludge, which can clog up your engine and lead to serious engine damage. If most or all of your trips around Lincoln are less than four miles, you should reflect on using the severe service maintenance schedule. Changing your oil more frequently at Southside Auto Tech in Lincoln will help prevent the formation of sludge.

Each sedan engine has a “power band,” or the range of RPM’s in which it runs most efficiently. Generally this power band falls in the range of Nebraska highway speed driving. So if you’re driving around town in Lincoln all the time, your engine has to work harder. That’s why fuel efficiency ratings are so much better on the freeway than in the city. Again, this type of driving is considered severe and requires more frequent maintenance for your transmission, cooling system and brake fluid.

Most of us Lincoln motorists think of severe Nebraska weather conditions when we think of severe driving conditions. And we’re right. Cold Lincoln area weather takes its toll on the oil in your vehicle. Remember how water has to evaporate out of the oil to keep your engine healthy? It can take up to ten miles of driving for an engine to get hot enough to get rid of moisture in the oil when the weather is cold.

Hot Lincoln weather is also harmful for sedans. When an engine runs, it gets hot. The longer it runs, the hotter it gets. If it gets too hot, it breaks down. So it has to be constantly cooled to keep running. Hot Nebraska weather means your cooling system has to work harder to keep your engine from getting too hot.

Another vital element of severe driving is the conditions we drive through. Dusty, polluted Lincoln areas are harmful to your filters. Dirt, dust and contaminants will also get into your fluids, and they’ll get dirty faster, so they’ll need to be changed more often as well. Finally, when you’re pulling a trailer around Lincoln, carrying heavy loads or using a car-top carrier, you are putting more stress on your engine. The engine, transmission and brakes are all working harder to handle the extra load.

So, in the end, most of us Lincoln car owners drive under severe conditions some of the time. Smart Lincoln auto owners will ask themselves the question: “Should I follow the severe service maintenance schedule?” An honest evaluation of our driving habits is the best way to determine which schedule to follow.

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