Category Archives: Uncategorized

How to Rotate Your Tires and Why

Some people think that rotating the tires on your vehicle is not worth the hassle. It raises a good question – why should you rotate your tires? Is it worth the hassle?

Here’s the truth – if you are interested in saving money, tire rotations are definitely worth the hassle. This is because tires wear out unevenly (front tires will typically wear down faster than the rear tires). Rotating your tires means you are swapping the positions of the tires, helping to keep all four tires wearing down at an even pace, which will give you thousands of extra miles on your set of tires. This means you will spend less money on purchasing new tires. It also leads to a smoother and safer ride. Most manufacturers recommend rotating your tires every 6 – 8 thousand miles.

The easiest way is to bring your car over to Plains Tire for a tire rotation service that is quick and affordable. However,  if you’d rather do it yourself, it’s a pretty straightforward process. First, make sure you have all of the necessary equipment (e.g. wrench, jack, and jack stands) and feel confident with the process of changing a tire. Be sure to use the proper rotation pattern (shown below), which depends on whether your tires are all the same size and non-directional.

tire rotation wyoming

If you have more questions about tire rotations, or if it is time to purchase new tires, come see us at any of our nine Plains Tire locations and we’ll get you the best deal in Wyoming!

 

 

5 Bad Driving Habits You Should Ditch

As we have recently begun a new year, there’s no better time to get rid of bad habits, including bad driving habits. And the scary thing is, these 5 bad driving habits will slowly ruin your car without you even realizing it. Here at Plains Tire, we can certainly fix your car – but wouldn’t it be better if it never broke down in the first place? If you currently are guilty of any of these 5 habits, ditch them now.

Bad Driving Habit #1: Sudden Starting & Stopping

Do you have ‘lead foot syndrome’? Are you constantly slamming hard on the brakes or the accelerator? If so, you should stop. This is a bad habit for a number of reasons. Not only does it waste gas (which doesn’t help the environment), but it puts unnecessary stress on your brakes, causing the brake pads to wear down faster. It is also dangerous for you and other drivers, so you’re more likely to end up in an accident. Unless you have to, avoid hard stops or starts.

 

Bad Driving Habit #2: Riding the Brakes

brake repair logan utah

When you are driving down a hill, you may find yourself leaving your foot on the brake to prevent acceleration. Although you do this out of a desire to drive slow and safe, this is actually pretty bad for your brakes. The high amount of friction turns into heat and can lead to overheating and brake failure. The alternative is to put your vehicle into a lower gear that only requires you to brake occasionally.  The lower gear will create engine braking and take stress off your brakes.

Bad Driving Habit #3: Riding the Clutch

If you drive a manual transmission car, this one is for you. It’s very important that you don’t ride the clutch. Even small amounts of pressure on the clutch pedal can activate the hydraulics and pull the pressure plate away from the flywheel slightly. This leads to unnecessary friction and heat, resulting in premature damage. Whether you are stopped at a red light or cruising down the highway, don’t leave your foot on the clutch!

Bad Driving Habit #4: Resting Your Hand on the Shift Lever

auto repair logan utah

You probably do this one without even thinking. Or maybe it makes you feel like you are in Fast and Furious. Either way, leaving your hand on the shifter puts pressure on the transmission’s bushings and synchronizers. If you pay close attention, you will feel a vibration in the shift lever when you do this, which is a sign that you are ruining your transmission.

Bad Driving Habit #5: Neglecting to Use the Parking Brake

Very steep hills aren’t the only place where you should use your parking brake. You are better off to use your parking brake every time you park your vehicle. Without the parking brake, all of the vehicle’s weight rests on a small piece of metal known as the parking pawl. The parking pawl and brake system of your car will last much longer if you use your parking brake!

We hope that these driving habits will help you get the most out of your vehicle! Come see us at one of our nine Plains Tire locations for all of your automotive and tire needs throughout Wyoming!

 

De-Fog Your Windshield Faster With This Trick

The temperatures are dropping here in Wyoming. The cold air sometimes causes your windshield to fog up when you go out to start your car. This can be frustrating, especially when you are in a hurry to leave.

No matter how rushed you are, it is always best to wait for your windshield to clear up before driving. After all, a car accident certainly won’t help you get to work on time. If you are one of the many people out there who can never seem to remember if you should blast cold air or hot air, pay close attention. We’ve got the most efficient and effective way to de-fog your windshield.

Mark Rober, a former NASA engineer and current scientist tested out the possible combinations for defogging the windshield and came up with a way that takes half the time as other methods. Here’s what you do:

  1.  Defroster on high.
  2.  Temperature control set to hottest temperature.
  3.  A/C turned on.
  4.  Turn off the inside air circulation.
  5.  Crack open the windows.

Rober’s gives more details about his experiment, including the science behind it, in this video. Check it out!

This is a nice trick for defogging the inside of the windshield, but snow and ice on the outside of the windshield is a whole different story.

Winter can be a rough season for driving. If there are parts of your vehicle that need repair such as  the heaters or wiper blades, maintenance tasks such as an oil change or a new set of winter tires, or any other car service, Plains Tire has the personnel and equipment to get the job done right. Come see us at any of our nine locations across Wyoming!

 

The Plains Tire App

On your smart phone you have apps for connecting with friends, apps for paying your bills, apps for ordering food, and apps for countless other jobs. Why not have an app for taking care of your car? With the Plains Tire app, a revolutionary new app, you can quickly and easily find new tires, schedule appointments, and connect with Plains Tire. The goal of this app is to help you spend less time worrying about your car and more time out living your life.

After downloading this free app for Apple on the App Store or for Android on Google Play, you can create a personal account with your contact information, as well as your vehicle’s year, make and model. With your personal account you can quickly find the right tires for your vehicle, receive notifications on your vehicle’s status when in the shop, find exclusive deals and promotions, and schedule appointments.

Also, with the Plains Tire app, Roadside Assistance and the Warranty Hotline are just the touch of a button away. This will give you peace of mind for the unexpected problems you may encounter on the road.

With nine locations throughout the great state of Wyoming, Plains Tire is your one-stop-shop for tires and vehicle repairs wherever you live in Wyoming. Download the app or give us a call to experience our friendly customer service and professional service!

Plains Tire app

Should I Replace My Wiper Blades?

Windshield wipers are absolutely vital to your safety in harsh weather conditions. According to the Federal Highway Administration, impaired visibility is a leading factor in 46% of fatal car accidents. When your windshield wipers are old or not working properly, your total vision of the road and your surroundings is much worse. Every day in the US there are 3400 weather-related car accidents. For that reason, it is extremely important that you replace your wiper blades at the appropriate time.

It is recommended that you replace your windshield wipers about every 6 months, although, depending on where you live and the type of wiper blades you have, you may need to replace them more or less frequently. The easiest way to know if it is time to replace your windshield wipers? Are you able to see clearly out your windshield when it is raining? If so, double-check for these additional warning signs:

  • do my windshield wipers need to be replacedCracks or breaks in the rubber (this is often caused by the heat of the summer)
  • Bent frames/blades
  • Streaks on windshield
  • Consistent film of grime on windshield
  • Squeaking noises while operating
  • Imperfections in wiping pattern
  • Season changes (here in Wyoming it’s a good idea to install winter blades during the cold months)

 

It is clear that your windshield wipers are incredibly important. But unlike other important elements of your car, the wiper blades are relatively easy to replace on your own. That said, if you would rather have a professional do the job, come see us at any of our 9 Plains Tire locations throughout Wyoming. One of our technicians will install new premium blades and get you back safely on the road in a matter of minutes. To learn more about our selection of windshield wipers give us a call today!

How to Check Your Vehicle’s Oil

oil change wyomingOne of the essentials of car maintenance is checking the oil in a vehicle. This is a very basic task that everyone should be able to do. It’s quite simple, and all drivers both young and old can quickly learn how.

The oil plays an important role in keeping your car’s engine running smoothly. If you fail to keep the oil level/quality where it needs to be, you’ll experience some serious problems with the engine. So, here’s how to check your oil (which should be done at least once a month):

Open the hood, remove the dipstick, and clean it with a rag

The exact location of the dipstick depends on the type of engine, but you can look for a circular handle (usually yellow). Pull the handle to remove the dipstick. Get a rag to clean off the end of the stick so that it is clean of any oil. Then insert the dipstick back into the tube and push it all the way in.

Once again, pull out the dipstick and check the oil level

The dipstick will have some type of markings on the end. You might see the words Min/Max, Full/Add, two holes, or there may just be a section of the dipstick that has a cross-hatched pattern. Whatever the markings, check to see if the oil is below the minimum mark indicated on the dipstick. If so, that means the oil in your engine is low and more is needed. Find a cap labeled “Oil Cap”, or something along those lines, and add the oil there, NOT into the dipstick tube.

Now that you have checked the level of the oil, you will want to check the oil’s quality. Not only do you need enough oil, but you need clean oil. Look at the oil’s color. Is it light-colored or milky? If so, you should take it to one of the nine Plains Tire locations to have it checked. It’s possible that the coolant is leaking into the oil. Also pay attention to how the oil smells – if it smells like gasoline it is probably time for a change. To finish, rub some oil between your fingers. If it leaves a dirty smudge it’s also time for a change.

Congratulations, you did it!

With a little bit of practice, you’ll be able to finish this whole process in under a minute in no time! When adding oil, refer to the vehicle owner’s manual to make sure you use the right type of oil. For oil that needs to be changed, bring your vehicle to Plains Tire, located throughout Wyoming for our state of the art oil change services. We’ll have you in, out, and safely back on the road!

Give us a call, or visit our website to schedule an appointment! 

Fixing a Broken AC

air conditioning repairSummer will be here before we know it! We’re excited as you are. As you start getting ready for all those summer picnics, pool parties, and road trips with the family, we hope that you don’t forget to get your car ready for the summer too. One of the common summer-time flaws that people will encounter with their cars is an air conditioning unit that doesn’t work. Driving in the heat of the summer with no AC can be pretty miserable, so if this happens to you, you’ll want to know how to diagnose the problem.

There are 2 common symptoms when it comes to the AC illnesses. We’ll talk about how you can identify the problem and get it taken care of.

Symptom #1: Little or No Air Coming Out

If no air is coming out (not even hot air), then one of the major components of the AC has probably gone out. The vehicle’s AC system is comprised of a compressor, condenser, evaporator, expansion valve and a tube/fan system. All of these components are important, and if any of them fails for any reason, the air will stop flowing from your vents. Newer cars have a safety mechanism that shuts down a component if their is a refrigerant leak detected. Check underneath the car for oil stains, which hint that their is likely a leak somewhere.

Symptom #2: Only Warm Air Comes Out

Nobody’s car immediately blows cold air after sitting in a hot parking lot for a few hours, but if it continues to blow nothing but hot air miles into your drive, then you know something is wrong. This symptom is shared by a few different AC-problems, and knowing how to treat it may require help from the technicians over at Plains Tire. It could be something simple, like recharging the AC unit, or something more serious such as a freon leak.

Whatever AC problems you have, you can rest assured that the certified technicians at any of our 9 Plains Tire locations will take care of the problem at the best value in all of Wyoming!

Closer Look at the Air Filter

You don’t have to be a mechanic to have a basic idea of what an air filter is. Its name hints at what it does, but let’s take a closer look at this important part of your vehicle.

What is an air filter? What does it actually do?

What is it?

In order to achieve maximum performance, an air filter is an essential component of your car engine. It keeps all of those undesirable contaminants and particles out of the combustion chambers.

What does it do?

Your vehicle sucks air into the engine to be able to combust and create movement. The air passes through the vehicle’s air box where the air filter sits. The air then goes through the filter’s pleated material.

This filtration keeps the engine clean and running smoothly. Unfortunately, when the filter get clogged up, proper air flow is unable to enter the engine and the performance decreases.

Get this: A clean air filter can increase your acceleration up to 11%!

Should I replace it?

So, if you don’t know whether your filter needs to be replaced or not, ask a certified mechanic. However, there are ways you can know it is time. Pay attention to these signs and symptoms: a decrease in acceleration, a rough engine start, or a check engine light, all of which are signs that you should take your vehicle in for a check-up.

It is typically recommended that you replace your air filter every 15,000-30,000 miles. But, if you drive on a lot of dirt roads, you’ll probably want to replace it on the more frequent side.

If a clogged filter isn’t replaced when it should be, you’re engine will have to work that much harder and its lifespan will decrease. Sometimes filters can get so clogged that they finally tear, letting in contaminants into the engine itself, causing irreparable damage.

Who should replace it?

Here at Plains Tire, you can be confident that you are receiving the best care possible. We have years of experience, and our professional staff will treat you in an honest and friendly manner. For all of your vehicle maintenance needs, come on in to your nearest Plains Tire!

Is It Time For A Tire Alignment?

tire alignmentTo put it simply, tire alignment is whether or not your tires are pointing in the right direction. That said, the easiest way to know whether your tires need to be aligned is if your vehicle pulls to the right or to the left.

A number of different things can cause your tires to become unaligned, but the most common are running over a big pothole or hitting hard into the curb.

Not only is it a pain to have to try and drive straight when your vehicle wants to veer off to the side, it is also bad for the tires. Having your tires aligned will help to preserve the life of your tires, which will wear down very quickly if they are not properly aligned.

It’s possible that your car will appear to be driving straight, but you may still need your tires aligned. Special equipment is used to align the tires to the exactness of a fraction of an inch. The human eye probably can’t detect when the tires are out of alignment. A general rule of thumb should be to have your tires aligned at least once a year.

When you bring your vehicle into Plains Tire for an alignment, we will set the camber (inward or outward tilt of the wheels when looking head on), the caster (wheel tilt front or back looking from the side), and the toe (looking down at the wheels from above). We will also set the tire pressure to the manufacturer’s specifications. And with our 6-month/6,000 mile guarantee, you will know that you are getting the best value possible.

Since 1941, Plains Tire has been Wyoming’s trusted tire and automotive shop. Call or visit us online to schedule an appointment today!

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 excessive snow 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 significantly improved 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.