For Women With Drive by Jessica Cook, Service Advisor  

Several of my female friends admit that they are not car experts.  They love their vehicles and want to keep them in the very best shape, but if I ask them to pop the hood and give a brief explanation of what is underneath, there's a good chance they will let out a frustrated sigh! Some women are able to perform routine vehicle maintenance on their cars, but if you are like many of my friends, you are somewhat clueless about working on your car and would love to be able to perform some of the basic repairs yourself, or, at least know when it's time to get new brakes or tires without having to take the car somewhere to find out!!  This blog is for all the "women with drive" in the Frederick, MD area...It is my goal to empower you to be in charge of your car's maintenance.  No need to be a damsel in distress any longer! Together we will work to add "we can fix cars" to the long list of other things women do so well.


How to change your wiperblades so your are prepared for snow, sleet, and rain
October 14, 2016
Your vehicle’s wiper blades need to be inspected on a regular basis for wear. Manually inspect them for signs of wear, but also make it a point to NOTICE while driving in the rain or snow if they are working effectively. We expect them to work adequately during these moments of severe weather and we don’t want to be caught with poorly functioning wiper blades when we really need them to be working their best. If youdiscover it is time for replacement, we have a simple procedure!  But, first let’s discuss the importance of replacing your blades as well as how often you should be replacing them.

Why is it important to replace your wiper blades?
1.  The blades are made out of rubber, which can wear even with limited use.  Ensuring that they are in their ideal condition will help keep you and your passengers safe. 
2.  When driving in sheets of rain, snow, or sleet, your visibility will be limited with worn out blades as they will hinder your ability to clear the windshield.

How often should I replace my wipers?

Tire World has a great selection of windshield wipers.  You’ll want to determine the correct length first by checking the length of your wipers with a tape measure, or finding the size in the owner’s manual.  You can also ask one of Tire World’s service advisors to look up the size by the year, make, and model of your car.
How do I replace my wiper blades?

What do you have in your summer emergency car kit?
July 14, 2016

Imagine driving your family from Frederick, MD to a beach vacation at the Outer Banks.   It will be your kids' first visit to the NC beaches, a trip funded by hard-earned family savings.  But then the vacation ends up being more expensive than planned when your car breaks down miles from your destination. Similar vacation break-downs like this one are common.  You've probably noticed many transmission shops in the area along the eastern seaboard adjacent to the beach destinations.  People tend to overheat their vehicles and so you'll see plenty of these types of shops along your path.

It is important that you prepare your vehicle and yourself for blazing hot summer temperatures when heading out for that much anticipated summer vacation.  Heat that may cause vehicles to over-heat and break down can also be dangerous for summer drivers and their passengers.  However, if you are maintaining your car by changing the oil, topping off fluids, and rotating the tires, your car will most likely perform as expected.  The top of your summer list should include the often-overlooked maintenance services.  Some of these maintenance items are easy to perform yourself, but for others you may need to rely on our expert Tire World technicians. Additionally, you'll need to prepare a summer emergency car kit.  

If you already have a winter emergency car kit in your vehicle, then you are half way there.  You'll need to pull out the snow shovel, windshield scraper, and kitty litter to make room for the items that will help you deal with the summer heat.

Napa Auto Parts provided this great list to help you get started:

  • Clear plastic bin to hold your supplies
  • Water – one gallon plus one bottle per person
  • Phone charger – this one stays in the bin for emergencies
  • Snacks – energy bars, unsalted nuts, dried fruit
  • Sunscreen and/or wide-brim hat
  • Reflective emergency blanket – can be used for shade
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight or head lamp (hand-crank flashlights are ideal for emergencies)
  • Pocket knife/multi-tool
  • Visibility equipment (flares or reflective hazard triangles)
  • Jumper cables or portable battery charger (also called "jump box" - be sure it's fully charged)
  • Tire sealant 
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Tow strap
  • Fuses
  • Tool kit (assemble a kit with commonly used tools like screwdrivers, pliers and a few wrenches)
  • Duct tape
  • Rags
  • Gloves

Before you set out on your vacation road trip, ensure that you have a fully charged mobile phone.  Additionally, you'll also want to check the air pressure of your tires, including the spare.  Make sure that you have a jack and lug wrench in your trunk as well.   A windshield sunshade is extremely valuable during the summer,  in addition to retractable side window sunshades.  The sunshades will ease the burden on your car's A/C and keep you and your passengers much more comfortable when entering the car. 

Assembling a comprehensive summer emergency car kit will you give you great peace of mind should you break down during the scorching heat of the summer. As my mother always says, "it is better to have it and not need it, than to not have it when you really need it."  Here's to epic summer road trips and to always being prepared.  Drive safely!

How to check the tread on your tires
June 23, 2016

Safety is the most critical reason why you should be checking the tread on your tires.  Your car may not respond well in rainy or snowy weather conditions if the tire tread is worn below the recommended level. With good treads, your car will grip the road properly and will prevent premature wear on other parts of your car.

To get you started in checking your car’s tire wear, we have provided a list of indicators that your tires are not performing their best.

1.  An indicator of tire over inflation is excessive wear at the center of the tread.
2.  Extreme wear on the shoulders of the tire might be showing you that the tire is under inflated.
3.  If you notice uneven tread wear, you may have poor wheel alignment
4.  An incorrect camber angle may be the problem if there is excessive wear on one side of the tire. Camber is a measurement of the centerline of your wheel/tire relative to the road surface. It is expressed in degrees and greatly affects the dynamics of the car.
5.  Problems with the toe-in value will be signaled by the treads on the outer section becoming knobby.  Looking at your car from the top, imagine lines through the middle of the wheels in the riding direction.  Toe-in occurs when these lines are in an “A-shape.”  Toe-out occurs when these lines are in a “V-shape.”
Monitoring your tread depth closely once it reaches 4/32 inch deep is really important.  You can assess your tread depth with the chart below.  Your tread depth significantly affects your stopping distances in varying weather conditions and is essential to your safety on the road.

4/32” or deeper – Good
3/32” – Replace tires soon
2/32” or less – Replace tires now

These tread depth recommendations are based on dry pavement driving.  2/32” or less will not be adequate tread depth to avoid hydroplaning or loosing control in rainy, snowy, or slushy conditions.
A great way to check your tire tread depth is by taking the penny test.  Please visit Firestone’s “Take the Penny Test” to determine whether you need to replace your tires.

Join us for our Women's Car Care Clinic
June 11, 2016
Women's Car Care Clinic

Checking Your Motor Oil Level
May 5, 2016

Your engine’s life depends heavily on motor oil.  In order for your engine to run smoothly and efficiently, the parts need to be lubricated.  Ideally you should be checking the motor oil level each time you fill up your gas tank.
Your owner’s manual has additional information about motor oil, but here are some easy steps for checking the oil level and if needed, adding additional oil.
1.  Determine the grade of oil.  You can find this in your owner’s manual.  Additionally, you will need to obtain a plastic or metal oil-fill funnel, an oil rag, and a couple of quarts of motor oil. 
2.  Ensure your vehicle is parked on level ground.  You won’t want an uneven grade to give you and incorrect oil level reading.  You will then need to turn off your engine and wait 10 minutes so that all of the engine’s oil drains into the oil pan.
3.  Protect yourself.  Make sure you do not have any loose fitted clothing and keep your arms protected from the cooling fan(s) while you inspect the oil.  When the engine is off,  you may still have a fan that turns on automatically.
4.  Checking the oil level.  Open the hood of your car and find the oil dipstick.  It is adjacent to the engine and will usually have a brightly colored handle.  Pull the dipstick out and wipe the metal stick with your oil rag.  Then fully insert it and remove it again.  The highest point of the dipstick that is coated with oil is your oil level.  If the dipstick indicates that the oil level is between “MIN” and “MAX,” you will not need to add additional oil and you can replace the dipstick and close your car’s hood.  If however the oil level is at or below “MIN”, you’ll need to add oil.
5.  Adding oil.  If you need to add oil now,  find the oil fill location, which will most likely have an oil can icon on it.  Remove the cap and insert the small end of the funnel into the fill hole.  Pour approximately a quarter of a container in at a time, waiting for the oil to drain to the pan.  You will need to repeat step 4 until the dipstick reads just below the “MAX” mark.   Adding oil in small amounts is very important because having too much oil in your engine is just as bad as not having enough. 
6.  Finishing up.  Remove your funnel, replace the dipstick, and secure the oil fill cap tightly.  You may then close the hood.

Checking Your Tire Pressure & Inflating Your Tires

April 21, 2016

There are a few reasons why you maintain your air pressure
  • To maximize fuel economy
  • To minimize wear and tear on your tires
  • To enhance handling
  • To prevent accidents from a tire blow out
To find the proper air pressure for your vehicle, it is usually located on the interior door jam of the driver's side.  The sticker will indicate what psi (pressure per sq inch) you should have for both the front and rear tires.  If you see a psi indicated on your tire, please note that is for maximum load and not for everyday driving.

Before inflating your tire to the appropriate air pressure, you will need to know the current air pressure of your tire by using an air gauge.  An air gauge can be found at the nozzle of an air pressure machine, on a digital screen of an air pressure machine, or you may use a pocket gauge which may be purchased for under ten dollars from a big box store or your local auto parts store.

Please watch this video on how to check the air pressure and inflate your tires to the proper PSI.

Helping You Choose the Right Tire
March 14, 2016

Two of the most important things to know before going to a tire dealer or auto repair shop to purchase tires are your vehicle's Information: year, make, and model, and also your vehicle's tire size.  Your vehicle information is located on the registration card and the tire size is located on the driver's door jam and / or in your owner's manual.  As professionals, we are able to obtain this information for you, but if you are already prepared with this information, you have just empowered yourself.  A tire professional like myself, will be able to get you into the right tire that fits your needs.  Some of the things that we will ask you include:
  • Do you drive a good amount?
  • Is your driving predominantly on the highway or around town?
  • What weather conditions do you drive in?  What are the worst conditions you may face?
  • Are you looking for a smooth and quiet ride or is traction your biggest concern?
Knowing the answers to these questions will help you make an informed decision about your tire purchase.