Best Car Accessories 2016

While Plains Tire can fully service your vehicle and get you on the road with great tires, you still might want a few new car accessories. With the holidays right around the corner, we thought we’d list some of our favorites.

BarksBar Pet Seat Cover $20 – Heavy duty waterproof polyester to keep your back seat free of accidents, spills, and fur. It also comes with pockets to store toys, leashes, etc.pet-seat-cover

Ozium Air Sanitizer $11Get a air freshener that doesn’t just maskwindows10explained the odors in your car but actually eliminates them. Works to get rid of even the worst smells.

ozium

Smartphone Car Mount $20 Spigen created a car mount that will stick to your dashboard and allows you to clip in any smartphone with one hand!

spigen-car-mount

 

Lithium Jump Starter Packs $50-$150 Small starter packs are all the rage right now and for goodWindows 10 Professional OEM Key reason. When your battery dies, you won’t need to pull another car around to help you. Just plug with handheld device in and hear the engine rev back up.

Car First Aid Kit $15 Always be prepared (especially with kids). You can make your own first aid kit or grab one off of Amazon for ~$15.

Advice from the Experts: Tire Maintenance

Your vehicle has a lot of safety features – especially if it was manufactured recently. But all those things come second to your tires when providing you with safety on the road. If your tires don’t do their job, you’ll be sliding all over the place – into telephone poleswindows 10 product key and other cars.

In case you didn’t know, tires are expensive. Even the cheapest tires (don’t buy the cheapest tires) are going to run you at least $300 after mounting and balancing. Understanding that fact will help you understand all the things you need to do to keep them rolling for as long as possible.

nitrogenLow Air Pressure

Take the time to ensure your tire air pressure is up to snuff. Keep a pressure gauge in your glove box and fill your tires up with an air compressor (most gas stations have these) when needed.

  • Driving on flat tires will quickly ruin them. Check your tire air pressure frequently!
  • Your dashboard will probably have a indicator light telling you when the tire pressure is low but don’t rely on these 100%. It’s your job to make sure the pressure meets requirements. Once a month, check the pressure in all 5 tires (including the spare).

tire-wearTire Wear

Tires wear out, it’s a fact of life. How long before they wear out will depend on the type of rubber and the purpose for which they were made.

Most tires on the road are All-Season tires, which is perfectly fine because they’ll last a long time and they’ll get you through most smallwindows10explained.com nowfalls. Some people have Snow Tires which are fantastic in the winter but are somewhat softer and won’t last as long, especially if used all year.

  • Change out your Snow Tires for Summer or All-Season tires when winter is over
  • If you have a 4WD vehicle, make sure to keep all 4 tires the same. For example, if one tire blows out while the other 3 are half-way through their tread – you need 4 new tires. One new treaded tire with 3 old tires will only harm your vehicle.
  • Rotate tires every 5,000-7,000 miles. This will help them wear evenly and last longer.
  • Get an alignment when you get new tires, when you hit something, or feel your steering wheel pull one way when you drive.

replace tiresReplacing Tires

If you have a tire emergency like a sudden flat tire, consult your owner’s manual. It will have a section about “what to do in case of emergency”. You can also always feel free to call Plains Tire for assistance.

When it’s finally time to replace the tires, remember what was said at the beginning of this post: Tires are expensive. By all means, don’t overpay but make sure to research and get tires that will last you a long time. Consult the experts at Plains Tire for options in your vehicle size. Trust that our mechanics will treat you and your vehicle right.

Brand name tires are usually the way to go: Goodyear, BFGoodrich, Michelin, etc. They’ll have the highest quality control. If you’re looking for something less expensive talk to us, and we’ll help you research different brands to make sure you’re satisfied with your tires.

Did we miss anything? If you have more tips, please share this post!

Snow/Winter Tires Vs. All Weather Tires

As winter begins it is important to understand which variety of tire will keep you and your loved ones safe. The first thing to consider is what the region is like where you live:

If where you live sees occasional flurries of snow and ice on the roads is rare, then an all weather tire will be your answer. If you deal with excessivewindows 10 key Onlinesnow all winter long, and constant ice and slush on your roads, choose a winter/snow tire. Here are some of the reasons why, and facts of each:

All Season Tires:

  • Tread on all season tires has less depth and aggressive features
  • This tread provides more comfort and a quieter driving experience, but grip will suffer in snow and ice
  • Tires will last longer in year round use and the ware will be more evenly distributed
  • All season tires offer a low rolling resistance, so they can produce a higher fuel efficiency
  • A harder rubber is used in all season tires, so it can adapt to all temperatures, but in icy conditions it can harden and reduce handling

Winter Tires:

  • Aggressive tread is especially designed to block snow build up and add traction in stormy weather
  • Rubber stays malleable against cold asphalt to maintain handling and control
  • Tread is engineered with snow and ice with a better biting edge for wet and snow covered roads
  • Winter tires provide the driver more control and confidence in potentially dangerous situations
  • Stopping time is significantlybuy windows 10 keyimproved compared to all season tires

It is important to note, that winter tires should not be used in the summer as the soft rubber designed for snow will wear very quickly and will not handle well in heat.

What’s the Difference Between a Regular and Synthetic Oil Change?


Plains Tire oil changeWhen you walk in to get your oil changed, you will be asked the question: Would you like synthetic or regular? You might be able to guess that synthetic oil is higher quality due to it’s higher price, but you may not know exactly why. In order to make a more informed decision, let’s break it down.

What is it?

Regular, or conventional, oil is derived from crude oil, and that is pretty much where the process ends. Synthetic oil, on the other hand, is regular oil that undergoes further modifications which remove more of the impurities that are found in the crude oil and improve its protective and lubricant properties.

Lubrication

Your car engine has many moving parts. In order to keep the parts moving fluidly, motor oil is used to create a slippery coating of lubrication. Synthetic oils have a greater ability to keep the parts slick, especially at higher temperatures. Better lubrication means less wear and tear on your engine, which could extend the life of the engine.

Cleaning

Another purpose of motor oil is to clean your engine of debris. Regular oil sometimes forms sludge which can be harmful for your engine. Synthetic oil, with its fewer impurities, is better able to work without forming sludge, also increasing the life of your engine.

Oil Changes

Any type of oil will eventually break down and become less effective. That is why you should regularly have your motor oil changed. The benefit of synthetic oil is that it can last as much as three times longer than regular oil before breaking down. So despite being more expensive, it will get you further down the road than conventional oil.

It is clear that synthetic oil is superior in many ways. That said, regular oil will get the job done and is a good option as well. The most important thing to remember when it comes to caring for your car is to follow the recommendations from your vehicle’s manufacturer.

Take the worry out of changing your oil and bring your car on over to the nearest Plains Tire. We will ensure that your vehicle has the oil it needs so that your engine will keep running smoothly! Schedule an appointment today! 

How to Know When Your Brakes Need Maintenance

Brakbrake repair and maintenancees undergo wear and tear as they get older and will eventually have to be replaced. How fast they wear out depends on driving habits, the quality of the brake pads, and vehicle type – to name a few factors. Yearly brake system inspections are vital to ensuring your safety, but sometimes things happen between check-ups. Fortunately, there are occasional warning signs between check-ups that will tell you that your brakes need attention.

Keep in mind that it’s very important to replace your brakes before they get too far gone. Metal-to-metal braking without braking pads can lead to expensive fixes on your vehicle.

Here are some of the warning signs that tell you that your brakes need to be looked at:

  • Brake Light: the red brake light lights up on your vehicle’s dashboard.
  • ABS Light: The automated braking system light is constantly lit up on the dashboard.
  • Low Pedal: brake pedal gets very low before it actually starts engaging.
  • Hard Pedal: you have to push the pedal really hard to make it move so that the brakes can engage.
  • Grabbing: brakes grab almost too hard and fast at the slightest touch to the pedal.
  • Pulling: vehicle pulls to one side while braking.
  • Noise: screeching or grinding noises when applying brakes.
  • Vibration: brake pedal excessively vibrates, even under normal braking conditions.

If you experience any number of these issues, make sure to talk to a brake inspection professional ASAP. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to your safety.

When you foresee problems, remember that Plains Tire offers complete brake system inspections and repairs for very affordable prices. Let us be your resource to diagnosing your brake problems.

 

5 Off-Roading Tips Everyone Should Follow

off roading tips plains tire wyomingOff-roading has become a popular summer and fall activity. Sometimes called digging, rock crawling or mudding. Whatever the name, it all boils down to the same thrilling sport of taking your truck, ATV, SUV, or motorcycle off the beaten path into a wild adventure. You can have all the fun you want to while playing it smart and safe. Here’s a few tips to help you prepare for getting dirty up in the hills.

  1. Check that the vehicle you’re taking can handle the terrain. A rocky, dirt trail can throw off your vehicle’s alignment if you’re not careful. Know your specific vehicle’s capabilities and make sure it’s equipped with good shocks and struts.
  2. Before hitting the trails, check that your tire pressure and tread are at safe levels. Know the right PSI for your vehicle and keep your tires inflated. Sounds simple, but these things make a huge difference.
  3. At this point, your vehicle is prepared on the outside. Now it’s time to make sure you’re ready on the inside. There’s more to this than just snacks, an air freshener and good music. Keep a survival kit in your vehicle with items like road flares, first aid, water, food, and warm blankets. Our list of 25 essential items for every car is a great reference. Once your all loaded up, make sure all the items are strapped down tight. You’ll be going over large bumps and the last thing you need is a flying object causing injury.
  4. Take necessary safety precautions both before and during your ride. Tell someone where you’re going and how long you expect to be gone. Travel in a group, never alone. Bring at least one buddy with you. When you get to your destination, check that everyone is wearing proper head safety gear and seatbelts. It’s easier than you think to roll your vehicle, so make sure no one is leaning out the windows or standing in the bed of trucks.
  5. Our last word of advice: have FUN! Make memories and don’t be afraid to get a little dirty. We like to say if you come back with a clean truck, you didn’t play hard enough!

Make sure your vehicle is off-road ready with a quality inspection at one of our 9 Plains Tire Locations throughout Wyoming!

Stop Your Car from Overheating with These 9 Tips

Overheating happens when your engine becomes too hot. This can cause serious damage to your engine and other functions of your vehicle. Car overheating is usually caused by a malfunction in your cooling system or when coolant levels get too low. These tips will help you know how to prevent this from happening, and also let you know what to do if your car does overheat.

 

Prevent Your Car from Overheating

  • Schedule routine oil changes. Make sure your technician inspects fans, antifreeze levels, hoses, and your water system. This increases the likelihood of a small issue being caught before it turns into a serious concern.
  • Check antifreeze levels in your cooling system and top them off regularly.
  • Inspect your cooling system hoses for leaks or blockages.
  • Be prepared just in case by having coolant and an emergency kit in your car at all times.

 

Steps to Take if Your Car Overheats

  • cooling system repair evanston wyomingA warning light should come on or your temperature gauge should rise in the event of your car overheating. Here’s what to do if this occurs:
  • Pull over immediately. Stop the engine and open the hood. You’ll need to give your engine plenty of time to cool off on it’s own before doing anything.
  • Don’t touch the radiator cap. Your first instinct may be to remove the radiator cap. However, this is extremely dangerous. Your water system will be under high pressure, and you could be seriously burned when steam or radiator fluid is released.
  • Check antifreeze/coolant levels and top them off if needed. Again, be sure to wait until the engine has cooled off before doing this.
  • Check your cooling system hoses for leaks. This can be done yourself or by a professional technician. Cars rarely overheat for no reason, so it’s important to identify the source of the problem. The most common causes are a broken fan or thermostat or a leak in your cooling system. Bring your car into one of our 9 Plains Tire locations across Wyoming. We’d be happy to take a look for you!
  • If you simply had to replace low coolant, your car is probably safe to drive. But if the coolant was completely out or you detected another issue, driving your vehicle can be very dangerous. Call a tow truck to pick you up instead.

 

To have your cooling system checked or repaired, come in and see us at one of our 9 Plains Tire locations throughout Wyoming.

We also have locations in Utah and Idaho!

Outsmart High Gas Prices with These Simple Tips

auto repair laramie wyomingWe love the warmer weather, but not the high gas prices that come along with it. Fuel costs are constantly changing, and steadily on the rise. The average cost of fuel today is $2.25 per gallon, $1 higher than the $1.25 average in 2002. A dollar per gallon may not seem like much, but those dollars add up quickly. The result is a devastating affect on our wallets.

The good news is, there’s something we as drivers can do about it. Making small changes to vehicle maintenance and driver behavior can lighten your load drastically at the gas pump. So don’t pay more than you have to for fuel! Start taking advantage of these tricks. Your wallet will thank you for it.

  1. Properly align your car or truck. This helps with fuel savings, and as an added bonus, extends the life of your tires.
  2. Replace air filters. Dirty air filters can also clog your cash flow when it comes to fuel.
  3. Regularly tune up your engine. A well running motor is crucial for saving on gas.
  4. Keep tires inflated. Tires at the proper pressure can save you an average of 3.3% on your fuel costs.
  5. Follow octane guidelines for your specific vehicle. Higher octane levels don’t give you more power, they actually suck down your gas tank.
  6. Inspect your gas cap. Make sure it’s always tight. Gas can vaporize and escape through the open space.

Your behavior as a driver also affects gas consumption. As difficult as it may be, avoid road rage and drive calmly. You’ll be happier when you see the gas savings!

  • Don’t speed. Quick starts and stops and fast driving uses up more gas.
  • Avoid weaving in and out of traffic. This may get you to the front of the traffic line, but also lowers your gas mileage by 5% in the city and 33% on the highway.
  • Avoid idling. Leaving your car running uses up fuel quickly.
  • Don’t be an aggressive driver. Sudden turns, starts and stops guzzle ⅓ more gas than taking it slow and steady.

Start applying these simple tips today. You’ll start to see your wallet get fatter and your time at the gas pump more enjoyable!

Questions? Stop by and see the automotive experts at Plains Tire, with 9 convenient locations across Wyoming: Casper, Downtown Casper, Evanston, Gillette, Green River, Laramie, Riverton, Rock Springs, and Sheridan.  

When Should I Take Off My Snow Tires?

snow tire removal wyomingSpring and summer are on their way here in Wyoming! With the warmer weather comes the need to remove your winter tires. In this post, we’ll go through the basics of your snow tires and provide recommendations for when it’s safe to remove them.

How Snow Tires Are Designed

The composition of snow tires is dramatically different from regular tires. Their main purpose is to provide better traction and grip on snowy/icy roads. To perform this function, they’re made with a soft rubber that won’t stiffen up in the cold and generates more heat. Most models of snow tires are also studded.

Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Snow Tires On

These softer tires that produce more heat in the winter are actually very risky for summer driving. As they grip dry, warm pavement these tires don’t maneuver or stop as quickly. They also increase your risk of tire blowouts. Your gas mileage decreases when driving with snow tires, which can be very expensive.

It may also be illegal to drive with your snow tires on during certain months. Here in Wyoming, snow tires are legal year round. However, you’ll want to check individual laws of the surrounding states to make sure you’re safe.

Recommendations from Plains Tire:

  • Safety should come first. Don’t remove your winter tires until the threat of snow is gone.
  • Remove your snow tires when the temperature outside is consistently above 40-50 degrees fahrenheit.  
  • Be aware of your individual state requirements so you know if it’s illegal to have snow tires on your vehicle during certain months.

Your friends at Plains Tire can remove your snow tires and get you back on the road fast. Come in and see us at one of our 9 Wyoming locations including: Casper, Downtown Casper, Evanston, Gillette, Green River, Laramie, Riverton, Rock Springs, and Sheridan!

Learn How to Jump Start a Car

auto repair laramie wyomingHave you ever been stranded in your driveway or a parking lot somewhere because of a dead car battery? Chances are, we all have. It’s not so much a matter of “if” but “when” this will happen to you.

Most of us fall into the dangerous habit of relying on a kind stranger to show up with jumper cables and know how to use them in our time of need. Don’t leave it to chance in this type of emergency! You never know when you’ll need to jump start your car or help someone else. That’s why we’ve created this simple guide to help you learn how to jump start your car on your own.

  1. Always follow safety protocol. Before starting, keep in mind the safety of yourself and others. Push your car away from traffic to a safe place. You’ll be dealing with an electric shock, so remain aware and alert. Make sure the metal clamps on the cables never touch and wear protective equipment if possible. Keep small children away from the engine. Some models require you to follow specific steps when jump starting, so rush up on the information in your car’s operation manual. If you have questions about where to begin, call your local Wyoming Plains Tire location nearest you.
  2. Park both vehicles facing each other. Push or drive your car and the assisting car so they’re in a nose-to-nose position. Make sure they’re never touching but close to each other, about a foot apart. For both vehicles, shift to the park or neutral position, turn off the engine, and engage the park brake.
  3. Prepare the jumper cables. As mentioned above, don’t rely on others. Have your own set of jumper cables with you in your car. Take them out of their case and set them on the ground, making sure the metal clamps aren’t touching.
  4. Lift the hoods of both vehicles and secure them in the open position. The switch to release the hood may be in a different spot for each car. It’s usually by the grill or near the driver’s seat on the inside.
  5. Identify the car batteries. There are two batteries in each car, a positive and a negative. Each battery has two terminals. The positive is red with a “+” sign on top and the negative is black with a “-” sign.
  6. Place one of the red clamps securely on the positive terminal of the dead battery. The positive terminal is typically bigger than the negative and will say “+” or “POS” for positive on top.
  7. Place the other red clamp securely on the positive terminal of the functioning battery.
  8. Place one of the black clamps securely on the negative terminal of the functioning battery.
  9. Place the other black clamp securely to a clean, unpainted metal surface under the hood where the dead battery is located, just not near the battery.
  10. Take off the jumper cables. Remove the black clamps then the red, making sure they don’t touch each other.
  11. If you still can’t get the car to start after several attempts, call a professional at one of our Wyoming Plains Tire locations for help.
  12. Try starting the engine of the car with the dead battery. Don’t be surprised if this doesn’t work the first time. If that happens, try running the engine of the other car for a few minutes and rev the engine every so often. This should charge up the dead battery. Repeat this process until the car with the dead battery starts.
  13. Take the car with the newly charged battery for a drive. Do this for about 10 minutes. This will help the battery to fully charge so you don’t run into the same problem the next time you go to start your engine.

*You may find this visual helpful.

how to jump start a car plains tire casper wyoming

If you’d like a professional to walk you through the process, or for any of your auto care needs, call us at Plains Tire! We have several locations across Wyoming in Casper, Downtown Casper, Evanston, Gillette, Green River, Laramie, Riverton, Rock Springs, and Sheridan.  Also, check out this YouTube video for a great visual of how to jump start a car!