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Archive for January 2021

Distracted Driving

Posted January 31, 2021 9:20 AM

When asked, most people think they are good at multi-tasking. Scientific studies, however, reveal that only around 2% of the population can truly demonstrate the capacity to effectively multi-task. For the rest of us who are not so biologically wired, no amount of practice can increase our effectiveness at multi-tasking. Turns out, multi-tasking is almost a superpower. Think of fighter pilots: capable of maintaining their orientation in three dimensional space and performing specific and highly complicated functions while accessing life threatening situations and coming up with an appropriate response. Admit it – you can’t do that.

Yet when it comes to driving, we seem to think we are very capable of safely operating a motor vehicle with myriad distractions. 77% of young adults feel somewhat confident that they can safely text and drive while 55% claim it’s easy to text and drive. Can they possibly be right? Let’s look at some statistics.

Nearly 23% of all accidents in the United States involve cell phones. Every day, 11 people are killed and over 900 are injured in texting-related accidents. In fact, texting while driving is six times more likely to cause an accident than driving intoxicated. Just think back at your own experiences: how many of your “near misses” as a pedestrian or in a vehicle have involved a driver with a cell phone in their hand?

There are three types of driving distractions:

  • Visual (eyes off the road)
  • Manual (reaching for something or manipulating an object)
  • Cognitive (mind off the task of driving)

Of course, texting or using a cell phone involves all three. Eating, applying make-up, arguing and working on-board features like the stereo and navigation system are all very real distractions. You may be interested to know that hands-free cell calls are not substantially safer than using a handheld phone. Any time you glance away from the road (like looking at a text or incoming phone call) your eyes are off task for at least 5 seconds. At 55 miles per hour/90 kph, you will cover the length of a football field in that time. Would you ever consent to strapping on a blindfold and driving off down the road for that distance?

So what do you do? First, accept the fact that you are not part of the 2% of all the people on the planet who can truly multi-task (if you are one of the lucky ones you would know by now because your performance does not degrade no matter how many additional tasks are added). Next, don’t EVER drive distracted. Incoming text: it will wait for later. Juicy hamburger: eat it in the parking lot. No exceptions, ever. And don’t accept anything less from drivers of vehicles in which you are a passenger.

Another way to avoid distractions is to keep on top of scheduled maintenance and necessary repairs so that your vehicle itself doesn’t become a distraction. We can help you with that.

Give us a call.

Darrell's Firestone
23534 Farmington Rd
Farmington, MI 48336
248-477-9090
http://www.darrellsfirestone.net



When Metal Meets Metal (Wheel Bearings)

Posted January 24, 2021 8:53 AM

What part of your vehicle has little metal balls inside that are lubricated and allow you to cruise on down the road?  They are wheel bearings, and automotive designers might argue they are human beings' second greatest invention of all time (the first is, of course, the wheel!).

You have a wheel bearing at each wheel.  They allow your wheels to turn freely, minimizing friction that would ordinarily slow you down when metal meets metal.  When one of your wheel bearings starts to go bad, it lets you know. A wheel bearing does its work quietly when it's in good health but starts getting noisy when it isn't.  People describe the noise differently.  Sometimes it sounds like road noise, a pulsating, rhythmic, sound.  That pulse speeds up when your vehicle speeds up. 

Here's what's happening when you hear that sound.  As mentioned, the bearing has these little metal balls inside a ring.  They have a lubricant inside to reduce friction between the balls; modern wheel bearings are sealed and they're intended to do their job without any maintenance. 

Wheel bearings take a beating; you hit some rough potholes or go over some uneven railroad tracks. Sometimes water can get into a bearing and reduce the ability of the lubricant to do its job.  Time starts to take its toll, too. When the lubricant isn't reducing friction like it should, the bearing can heat up. One of those little balls can start shedding pieces of metal and soon those shards start grinding up the other balls.  Friction takes over and soon your wheel isn't turning smoothly. That's what's causing the sound.  If a wheel bearing is not fixed, it could eventually seize up completely, and you can be stranded.

It's a lot easier if you heed the early warning signals, that pulsating noise.  Now, sometimes a similar noise can be caused by a bad tire, but in either case, it's important to have it checked out. Our Darrell's Firestone technicians will be able to tell you fairly quickly what the problem is and offer a solution.

Wheel bearings generally don't fail often and usually last from 85,000-100,000 miles/140,000km to 160,000km. But consider them a long-term maintenance item that, once fixed, will keep you heading smoothly to the next destination.

Darrell's Firestone
23534 Farmington Rd
Farmington, MI 48336
248-477-9090
http://www.darrellsfirestone.net



Fuel Saving Tip: Alignment for Your Farmington Vehicle

Posted January 17, 2021 7:53 AM



Imagine you've left Farmington 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 quickly. 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 vehicle; 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. It is important to get it checked right away if you feel the vehicle pulling to one side.

Sometimes we Farmington residents 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.

Farmington residents need to make sure they're tracking straight. You'll get better fuel economy and your tires'll last longer. Now, mush!

Darrell's Firestone
23534 Farmington Rd
Farmington, MI 48336
248-477-9090
http://www.darrellsfirestone.net



When Are Your Tires Worn Out?

Posted January 10, 2021 11:20 AM


 

Hey Farmington area drivers, are your tires worn out? What is the standard for our MI streets? How can you tell on your vehicle?

While there may be legal requirements for the Farmington area, there are safety concerns that go beyond meeting minimum replacement mandates.

Two-thirty-seconds of an inch is the depth of the tire tread wear indicator bars that US law has required to be molded across all tires since August 1, 1968. When tires are worn so that this bar is visible, there's just 2/32 of an inch – 1.6 millimeters – of tread left. It's that level of wear that's been called into question recently.

We're referring to the tread depth on a tire, it can't move surface water out of the way and you start to hydroplane.

In a safety study, a section of a test track was flooded with a thin layer of water. If you laid a dime on the track, the water would be deep enough to surround the coin, but not enough to cover it.

A car and a full-sized pick-up accelerated to 70 miles per hour, or 112 kilometers an hour, and then made a hard stop in the wet test area. Stopping distance and time were measured for three different tire depths:

  • New tire tread depth
  • 4/32 of an inch, or 3.2 mm
  • 2/32 of an inch, or 1.6 mm

So what happened with the 2/32 inch/1.6 mm tires on the car? Get this – when the car had traveled the distance required to stop with new tires, it was still going 55 mph/89 kph. Stopping distance was nearly doubled to 379 feet/116 meters, and it took 5.9 seconds.

Wow! That means if you barely have room to stop with new tires, you would hit the car in front of you at 55 mph/89 kph with the worn tires.

Now, with the partially worn tires – at 4/32 of an inch, or 3.2 mm – the car was still going at 45 mph/72 kph at the point where new tires brought the car to a halt. It took nearly 100 feet, or about 30 meters, more room to stop and 1.2 seconds longer. That's a big improvement. We can see why Consumer Reports and others are calling for a new standard.

Of course, stopping distances were greater for the heavier pick-up truck.

How do you know when your tires are at 4/32 inch or 3.2 mm? Easy; just insert an American quarter into the tread. Put it in upside down. If the tread doesn't cover George Washington's hairline, it's time to replace your tires. With a Canadian quarter, the tread should cover the numbers in the year stamp.

You may remember doing that with pennies. A penny gives you 2/32 inch, or 1.6 mm, to Abraham Lincoln's head. The quarter is the new recommendation – 4/32 inch, or 3.2 mm.

How do people feel about replacing their tires earlier? Well, tires are a big ticket item and most people want to get the most wear out of them that they can. But do you want that much more risk just to run your tires until they are legally worn out?

For us, and we would guess for many, the answer is "no".

Darrell's Firestone
23534 Farmington Rd
Farmington, MI 48336
248-477-9090
http://www.darrellsfirestone.net

 



To Save Gas Around Farmington: Keep up with Your Scheduled Service

Posted January 3, 2021 10:56 AM


 

One topic that hits the news in MI on a regular basis is the price of gas. The answer for some MI drivers is to buy a vehicle that gets better fuel economy. For those of us in Farmington who don't want to add a car payment to our monthly expenses, we need to improve our fuel economy any way we can.

Following recommended service intervals by coming into Darrell's Firestone is one of the best ways people in Farmington can keep their vehicle running efficiently. That means better fuel economy. When you give it some thought, it only makes sense. Dirty oil or transmission fluid can't lubricate or clean. That means more drag which reduces fuel economy.

Keeping up with scheduled oil changes and transmission services will save gas for MI drivers.

Dirty engine air filters are another efficiency pirate. They rob your engine of enough air to effectively burn the fuel, so you need more gas to get the job done. Replacing a dirty air filter can pay for itself in fuel savings before the next oil change.

You can imagine what dirty fuel injectors can do to your vehicle as you drive around Farmington. If your owner's manual recommends a fuel system cleaning, come into Darrell's Firestone and ask us to get it done for you.

A simple, but very effective way for drivers to save gas is to keep their tires properly inflated. Low tires can cost you up to a mile per gallon/.425 kilometers per liter. Check your tire pressure when you gas up – or at least once a month.

Darrell's Firestone
23534 Farmington Rd
Farmington, MI 48336
248-477-9090
http://www.darrellsfirestone.net



Automotive Tips from Darrell's Firestone: Air Conditioning ? Common Problem

Posted January 1, 2021 7:07 AM

Your auto air conditioning system cools and conditions the air in your passenger compartment when you are driving around Farmington. It also removes moisture from the air to keep your windows from fogging up.

A common A/C problem for Farmington drivers that visit Darrell's Firestone is contaminated refrigerant (the gas that cools the air). The inside of the A/C hoses deteriorates over time and tiny fragments of rubber clog passages. This makes the system less efficient and overworks various components.

Leaks can develop at seals and gaskets and may reduce the amount of refrigerant, causing the system to work too hard to compensate. Dirty components can have the same consequences.

Ask your Darrell's Firestone service advisor for an air conditioning system inspection to make sure everything is up to spec.

Darrell's Firestone
23534 Farmington Rd
Farmington, MI 48336
248-477-9090
http://www.darrellsfirestone.net

 



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What our clients are saying about us

We have established longterm and stable partnerships with various clients thanks to our excellence in solving their automotive needs!

Slow leak in tire. They were fast and friendly. Will be back for other services. quotes-image
, 09/27/2022
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When I handed them my keys, I knew I was in good hands. My truck's issue was no problem for them to fix.quotes-image
, 09/25/2022
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