Leather Upholstery Do's and Don'ts

2019-04-10 08:00:59

auto service Falconer

The automotive service team at I-86 Truck & Auto Repair is passionate about keeping vehicles properly maintained so they can perform at peak condition for as long as possible. Some of our clients' vehicles have 200k+ miles, are still in exceptional condition, and have many more serviceable years left in them. And, by the way, they welcome the fact that these dependable rides were completely paid off years ago.

Sadly, we also occasionally see newish vehicles that have been utterly thrashed and abused. We often remind our customers (for good reason) that skipping maintenance services like oil changes has some pretty serious consequences, but we don't stress the importance of interior care nearly enough. In today's post, we turn our attention to caring for leather auto upholstery. Leather is quite durable and will serve you well if properly cared for. If you have ignored your leather auto seats, we urge you to spend twenty minutes on your next day off and give them a good cleaning and conditioning.

Do: Consult your owner's manual to see if there are any special guidelines for your leather upholstery.

Do: Clean and condition your leather car seats at least four times a year. Once a month is even better. Start a regular cleaning schedule as soon as you buy your vehicle, whether new or used. It will only take a few minutes each time and they will remain looking new.

Do: Use cleaners and conditioners designed specifically for leather upholstery, or make your own with olive oil and vinegar, or Castile soap and warm water.

Do: Follow the product directions.

Don't: Use products with ammonia, bleach, or silicone.

Do: Test the cleaner on an inconspicous area to make sure that there are no unintended effects.

Do: Vacuum the seats first to clear away particles of dirt. If the grit is left on the seats, it may scratch the leather when you wipe them down.

Do: Use a vinyl or horse hair brush. Wipe dry with a micro-fiber cloth. There are also special brushes that can be fitted to a cordless drill or rotary buffer.

Do: Repeat the cleaning process several times if there is a lot of dirt build-up.

Don't: Saturate the seats with the cleaning products. This could lead to stains, or the liquid could soak through to the cushion. Be especially careful if the leather is perforated.

Do: Clean up spills quickly to reduce the chance of staining.

If would like to hire a professional detailer, call I-86 Truck & Auto Repair at 716-665-2501 for a recommendation. If you need quality engine repair or maintenance, stop by our service center at 1739 Lindquist Drive in Falconer or call to make an appointment.

ArticleID 7553

"Nose Teams" at Work

2019-04-03 08:06:59

full service auto shop Falconer

Is the distinctive new car smell manufactured? In the Model T days, new automobile smells probably weren't engineered. Now, carmakers have fragrance chemists responsible for creating a car's signature fragrance. (No wonder new cars are so expensive!)

These scientists, sometimes called "car sommeliers." are like any other team of auto engineers. They design, they create, they test. It's a complex process.

"The Audi Nose team analyzes more than 500 different components from the interior of each model separately, as well as the scent of the complete car." https://www.metro.us/news/nose-teams-and-the-science-behind-new-car-smell/tmWjiv---6cEyu8mysDyrs

Sometimes, Auto manufacturers change the fragrance for a different country. According to Ford, Chinese auto buyers are not looking for a "new car smell" but a "new car lack of smell." Because of this, Ford takes special care to make sure cars built for China don't have any scent at all. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ford-china-smell/fords-golden-noses-seek-edge-in-slowing-china-car-market-idUSKBN1A42PO

When you smell a new car, what specifically are you smelling? Fiat Head Materials Engineer Larry Sak explains it this way:

"The primary cause of the new-car smell, when you hear that term, is an off-gassing of organic compounds in the interior of the vehicle. Those compounds have a low boiling point, so they release molecules into the air and that's how the smell gets present." https://www.cars.com/articles/experts-make-scents-of-the-new-car-smell-1420692713740/

The Volvo fragrance designers are striving for understatement. They heat up car materials samples for 24 hours. Then they rate the fragrances from 1 to 6—1 is defined as "noticeable" and 6 is defined as "unbearable."

Volvo's Hanna Sundqvist:

"We try to reduce odor. We tolerate a certain level of odor as long as it is perceived as pleasant—an odor that we like to have in our new cars.https://www.metro.us/news/nose-teams-and-the-science-behind-new-car-smell/tmWjiv---6cEyu8mysDyrs

Bentley takes a different approach. The British luxury brand sells a line of men's fragrances based on the signature scents of various Bentley models.

Here is a description from the Bentley Motors website:

"Capturing the legendary luxury and extraordinary performance of Bentley’s Bentayga luxury SUV, Infinite Rush embodies the spirit of the modern adventurer Freshness from the top notes of pink peppercorns and mandarin evokes a rush of adrenaline, followed by a cocktail of spices, incense and lemon and stirring woody base notes of amber, vetiver and cedar." https://www.bentleymotors.com/en/world-of-bentley/bentley-collection/bentley-collection/bentley-fragrance.html

If you will never be able to afford a 250k car—it's nice to know that you can smell like one. That's just as good, right?

At I-86 Truck & Auto Repair, we might not be able to make your car smell like new—but we can definitely make it run like new. Trust our team of automotive experts for all of your car service needs.


ArticleID 7603

What Do Those Numbers On My Tire Mean?

2019-03-27 08:20:10

tire repair Falconer

Way back in 1971, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) mandated a standard tire identification number (TIN). The purpose of the standard identification was to more easily notify owners when a tire was recalled.

The NHTSA requires tire manufacturers to mold the unique TIN on at least one sidewall of each tire. This applies to both newly manufactured and retreaded tires. The TIN furnishes a wealth of information. Provided, of course, that you know what those numbers and letters mean.

Let's break it down. Keep in mind that not all of these codes are required by law, so not every tire will have every item described here. Here is a sample TIN with all the numbers and letters explained below.

P235/65R15 94H M+S DOT 2M 1812

Metric or Tire Type [P]

The first letter signifies what kind of vehicle the tire is designed for: P for passenger vehicle and LT for light truck.

Tire Width [235]

Next is the three-digit number which represents (in millimeters) the width of the tire as measured from sidewall edge to sidewall edge.

Aspect Ratio [65]

This is the ratio of the height of the tire's cross-section to its width. A 65 aspect ratio the height equals 65% of the width.

Construction [R]

This code represents the type of tire construction. R means radial, B is for bias construction.

Rim Diameter [15]

This measurement is in inches and signifies the diameter of the rim.

Load Index [94]

The load (in pounds) that the tire is able to support when inflated to the recommended pressure. This information is not required by the NHTSA, so it is not always included.

Speed Rating [H]

This tells you the maximum speed for which it was designed. Motorists should know that they shouldn't exceed the speed limit even if their tires are rated for a higher speed.

Capabilities [M+S or M/S]

Mud and snow rating.

DOT Tire Identification Number [DOT]

DOT means the tire meets all US tire manufacturing standards.

Plant Code [2M]

This could be a two or three character code. This tells you the tire manufacturer and location. For this example, 2M is the code for Bridgestone/Firestone in Bloomington Illinois. Fun fact: in 2014, the NHTSA tire coding regulation was amended to expand the tire plant code from two to three characters. The NHTSA had used almost all two-digit plant codes and needed additional combinations to identify the multitude of tire manufacturers.

Date of Manufacture [1812]

These letters and numbers indicate the week and year the tire was produced. "1812" would be the 18th week of 2012.

Now you are prepared to shop for tires with confidence. If you don't want to commit any of this to memory, that's okay. Just consult a service technician at I-86 Truck & Auto Repair. We provide professional tire service and consultation. Let us take care of your tire needs and you won't need to remember any of this.



ArticleID 7591

Lesser-known Things That Affect How Much You Pay For Insurance

2019-03-20 08:15:53

auto insurance repairs Falconer

Most people know the factors that impact auto insurance rates: driver's age, model year, and accident history. There are some lesser-known scenarios that influence how much you pay. Here are some surprising things we found when we looked into it.

Whether You Have A Farm

When you apply for your auto insurance policy, you are asked how you use your vehicle. This affects how much you pay. Those who use their auto for business are charged more. If you are planning to use your vehicle on your farm, you will pay the lowest rates. If you're contemplating the purchase of a 100,000-acre dairy farm (aren't we all?), this may sway your decision.

Whether You Are Widowed or Divorced

It's common knowledge that when a driver gets married, his or her rate drops. (Especially his.) If you become single again, the reason for the marriage ending also affects rates. A divorce increases auto insurance rates more than the death of a spouse.


When you are trying to decide between the 6-cylinder engine and the 8-cylinder, you may be thinking about speed and performance. But there are also insurance rate implications. Higher horsepower can mean higher rates.

Daytime Running Lights

Some automobile insurers give discounts if your car has Daytime Running Lights. We assume it's because better visibility lowers the risk of an accident. 

If You Finished College

The amount you pay for car insurance drops as your education level increases. The discount varies per state but in some places it's significant. "In Delaware, a person with a Ph.D. will pay $131 less than someone without a high school diploma, all else being equal." 

Your Credit History

If you have never been cancelled due to non-payment, you may think credit history doesn't matter. Not so. Consumer Reports found that in some instances, bad credit could raise rates higher than a DUI conviction. 

Your Gender?

Car insurance used to be one of the few places that women had the economic advantage. Despite the "bad woman driver" stereotype, car insurers determined that females got into fewer accidents. That may be changing in some places. The Consumer Federation of America found that in some cities, men were given lower rate quotes than women of the same age.

Based on these facts, we determined that a married farmer with three PhDs who drives a 1995 4-cylinder would get a killer rate.

At I-86 Truck & Auto Repair, we serve all of your auto repair and service needs. (We don't care about your marital status or whether or not you have a farm.) Call us at 716-665-2501 to schedule an appointment.

ArticleID 7625

The Race to Mass-Market an All-Electric Car

2019-03-13 07:57:50

auto repair Falconer

Automakers have always found different ways to incorporate new technology into their cars or advance technology themselves. One of the hot innovations right now, and one that is poised to revolutionize auto transportation forever, is the electric motor. We’ve seen vehicles that have used hybrid technology that combines gas and electric motors, but now we’re seeing autos that are going fully electric. Plus, the mileage range of these new EVs is getting long enough for car buyers to seriously consider purchasing an all-electric vehicle.

Auto manufacturers are now in a race to design the "Volkswagen Beetle" of electric cars, in other words, a competitively-priced daily driver for the masses. Let's look at the main players.

The Trailblazer

You can't highlight electric cars and not give prominence to the undisputed pioneer. Tesla Motors has been the leader in all-electric since their first highly-anticipated beauty appeared on the market, but their two main models, the Model S and Model X, are far from affordable for most people. But they’ve recently brought the price tag down with their Model 3 electric sedan. The Model 3 starts at $35,000 before tax incentives and has tons of signature Tesla features. The Model 3’s base electric motor has a range of 220 miles and the long range Model 3 has an electric motor capable of 310 miles!

Don't Count General Motors Out

Tesla has an advantage because they only focus on electric vehicles unlike other auto manufacturers. But one car maker that is trying to compete in the mass-market category is Chevrolet. Chevrolet has recently introduced the all-electric Bolt EV. They previously had the Volt which was part electric but the Bolt EV is taking it to the next level. Its hatchback styling and modern interior is tempting for motorists considering an electric car. The Bolt EV has a range of 238 miles and starts at $37,495 before tax incentives. Arguably, the Bolt does not have the "cool factor" of a Tesla, but the market is wide open and both models will probably be top sellers. Chevy also has the existing infrastructure to manufacture on a large scale which will help them keep the price down.

Will Another Leader Emerge?

There are many other vehicle manufacturers that have recently put electric vehicles at the center of their attention although (as of this writing) they don’t have any in production yet. Hyundai disclosed that they’re working on an all-electric vehicle called the Ioniq to compete with the Model 3 and the Chevy Bolt. The Hyundai Ioniq comes in a hybrid model right now, but if you’re a California resident, you can get your hands on an all-electric Hyundai Ioniq. One drawback, however, is that it only has a range of 124 miles which is fairly limited compared to the Model 3 and Bolt.

Along with publicizing a shocking $84 billion investment in electric vehicle development, Volkswagen has announced an all-electric VW Bus. Ford, Volvo, Mercedes, BMW, and Audi are also planning to introduce all-electric autos in the next few years.

ArticleID 7530

All About Spark Plugs

2019-03-06 08:16:58

spark plug service Falconer

When you fire up your motor day after day, year after year, you might never give a thought to these small marvels of precision engineering. Until, of course, they start to fail and you notice issues. It's pretty impressive, however, that spark plugs can fire flawlessly for thousands of miles in such a harsh and volatile environment.

What It Does

The spark plug emits precisely-timed arcs of electrical energy (voltage) to ignite the atomized air/fuel mixture in the combustion chamber, literally, "firing up" your engine. After your motor is running, it continues to fire through each combustion cycle. The spark plug also pulls excess heat from the combustion chamber and transfers it to the cooling system.

What is the "Heat Range?"

You may have heard the descriptions "cold" and "hot" spark plugs. Though these terms sound like descriptions of temperature, this is incorrect. These terms refer to the time the plug takes to pull heat from the firing tip to the cylinder head and into the cooling system. The length and thickness of the insulator nose controls how fast the spark plug can transfer the heat.

Spark plug manufacturers assign numbers to indicate the heat range of the spark plug. A plug with a shorter insulator nose (draws heat faster) is described as a "cold plug" and, conversely, those with a longer insulator nose (draws heat slower) is referred to as a "hot plug."

What Type of Spark Plug Do I Need?

The central electrode of a spark plug is constructed with copper, nickel, chromium, platinum, or iridium. The type of metal determines conductivity, lifespan, and cost.

Talk to a service advisor at I-86 Truck & Auto Repair or consult your owner's manual for guidance when choosing replacement plugs. A key decision is whether to replace with the kind recommended by your manufacturer, or step up to a rare-metal variety.

Signs That Spark Plugs May Need to be Replaced

  • Trouble starting engine
  • Pinging or knocking noises
  • Misfiring
  • Rough idling
  • Decrease in fuel economy
  • Difficulty accelerating

What Is Spark Plug Fouling?

When the firing tip (insulator nose) of the plug becomes covered with oil, carbon, or fuel residue, the voltage can fail to bridge the gap and ground out. Under ordinary conditions, spark plugs can burn off residue and keep firing properly for thousands of miles.

Possible Causes of Spark Plug Fouling

  • Air-fuel ratio that is too rich
  • Malfunctioning fuel injection
  • Worn piston rings
  • Worn valve seals

What is Gapping?

The "gap" on a spark plug is the space between the conducting electrode and the plug tip. If the gap is too short, the spark may not be strong enough to fire. A gap that is too long can cause misfiring. When replacing plugs, set the gap to your auto's specs with a feeler gauge.

ArticleID 7577

Nifty Gadgets For Traveling With Pets

2019-02-27 08:17:44

auto safety inspection Falconer

Dogs Are People Too! Cat Lover On Board. I Like Big Mutts And I Cannot Lie! My Cats Are Smarter Than Your Honor Student. These are some of the bumper stickers you might find slapped on the autos of pet lovers. But there are probably some really handy pet accessories inside of those cars too. Here are a few that can keep you and your pets safe and comfortable and avoid some of the wear and tear pets can cause your vehicle.

Upholstery Protection

Seat covers are the optimal upholstery-saver for the pet owner's car, truck, or van. Most covers are for back bench seats (if your vehicle has front airbags, no pets should ride in the front seat without the airbags disabled), but some slip nicely over bucket seats. There are even pet covers to fit in the cargo area of SUVs. All of them are easy to remove for cleaning.

Containing Your Pet To The Backseat

Speaking of the backseat, keeping your pet there can be difficult. There are plenty of options for barriers that stretch between the front seats. These are usually made of a mesh or a large-weave web so you will still be able to see your dog or cat and they will be able to see you.

Entering and Exiting the Vehicle

Steps and ramps are an ideal option to help your pet get in and out of your vehicle, especially as pets get older. There are many ramps that attach to the back of vans and SUVs and neatly fold up when not in use. Drivers who have large breeds of dog will find these accessories to be much lighter than lifting their furry friends into the car by themselves.

Most cats don't find car travel as pleasing as dogs do. The majority of cat owners find that a carrier is the best way to keep the cats and the drivers safe in the car.

And if you are headed on a long trip with or without pets, come see us at I-86 Truck & Auto Repair for a pre-trip auto inspection. Call us at 716-665-2501 to schedule an appointment.


ArticleID 7573

Pet Auto Safety

2019-02-20 08:05:56

top car repair shop Falconer

Today's post is for Falconer dog lovers who bring their furry friend along with them in their automobile but do not use any type of restraint device. If this is the case for you, you are not alone. (I am sure many of us motorists are culpable.) In a recent survey by AAA and Kurgo (a pet supply company), only 16% of respondents reported using an auto safety restraint for their dog.

Key results from the study:

  • 56% of survey participants had driven with their pet in a vehicle at least once a month over the prior year.
  • 29% reported to being distracted by their pet while behind the wheel.
  • 65% of dog owners admit to engaging in potentially distracting behavior while driving with their dog.

Reported behavior while driving with dogs:

  • Petting dog (52%).
  • Using hands or arms to restrict animal’s movement or restraining dog while braking (23%).
  • Using hands/arms to prevent animal from jumping from the back to the front seat (19%).
  • Reaching into backseat to interact with dog (18%).
  • Allowing dog to sit in lap or holding dog while driving (17%).
  • Giving food to pet (13%).
  • Playing with dog (4%).
  • Taking a picture of dog (3%).

All the results can be viewed here: https://www.kurgo.com/dog-travel-statistics/

An unrestrained dog could get severely injured or killed in an accident, but, clearly the same dog could also be the cause of an accident. Drivers who fail to contain their canine friend or purposefully interact with them while driving put themselves in danger along with the other auto owners on the road.

Safety Systems

Pet restraint devices come in many different configurations. There are auto harnesses, dog safety belts that connect to a conventional harness, and box or basket style car seats with an attached harness. Some of the box style seats are elevated which permits smaller dogs to see out of the windows. When choosing one, make sure it is manufactured for your animal's size and weight. At the very least, a pet can be put in a conventional animal carrier. Though it is not attached to the seat, at least the pet can't jump around.

Safety-conscious motorists (hopefully all of us) also need to make sure their auto is mechanically sound. I-86 Truck & Auto Repair is your partner in safety when it comes to quality auto repair and scheduled maintenance. If you are looking for a reliable service center to keep your automobile safe for both your two-legged and four-legged family members, call us at 716-665-2501.

ArticleID 7559

Frequently Asked Question About Brakes

2019-02-13 08:09:35 auto insurance repairs Falconer

Whether you are purchasing or maintaining a vehicle, the quality of your brakes should be at the top of your list of concerns.

How do brakes work?

When you apply the brakes, you are driving a plunger in the master cylinder. This impels brake fluid through a system of hoses. Brake fluid (hydraulic fluid) can't be compressed, so it has enough power to engage a braking unit secured to the wheel.

With a disk brake, the brake fluid comes from the master cylinder to a caliper. The caliper pushes a piston which squeezes two rotors (or disks). The rotors are secured to the wheel.

Drum brakes use a wheel cylinder, brake shoes, and drum to stop the wheel. Brake fluid is forced into the wheel cylinder. The wheel cylinder thrusts the brake shoes away from the drum. This causes the friction linings to press against the drum. The drum is secured to the wheel, therefore, the wheel stops rotating.

Your brake system is pretty fantastic! It can bring a 4,000 pound automobile from 55 mph to a stop in just a few seconds.

There is a long list of components that play a vital role in the braking system. These include:

Fluid condition
Wheel bearings
Grease seals

When you get charged for maintenance on your brakes and wonder where all the charges are coming from, examine all of the parts in the braking system.

How often should you have your brakes looked at?

Unless your car is noticeably shaking when you come to a stop, you should get your brakes maintained once a year.

What are warning signs that your brakes need attention?

Listen for any noise your automobile makes when you come to a stop, especially grinding and screeching noises.

If you feel vibrations from your brake pedal that go up into your steering wheel, it’s time for a brake analysis.

If you feel like you have to apply more pressure than usual when you apply the brakes, it may be time for some new brake pads.

Whatever you do, have them checked right away if your brake warning light glows on your dashboard.

If you have noticed any of these warning signs, or it has just been a while since you had brake maintenance on your auto, call I-86 Truck & Auto Repair to schedule a brake service.

ArticleID 7721

Best Car Accessories For People With Kids

2019-02-06 07:46:03

auto repair Falconer

Play groups, soccer practice, preschool, doctor appointments, trips to grandma's house, music lessons. Shouldn't every parent earn their chauffeur's license with all of this kid shuttling? Thankfully, there are many terrific products that can make the time you spend in the car more enjoyable for the whole family.

Sun Shades

Keeping your child safely secured in a car seat or booster seat is a no-brainer, but have you ever thought of how little movement they have once they are strapped in? And if the sun is just right in the sky, your kiddie might not be able to change their position enough to avoid bright light in their eyes and heat on their skin. How uncomfortable! But side window sunshades can keep your child cool and relaxed. They block out the sun's rays without compromising visibility for the driver.

Travel Trays

Drivers should never turn around to help out in the backseat while the car is moving, so it's vital that kids can keep their toys or snacks secure. Travel trays rest on a child's lap and are specially designed with a raised rim that can corral crayons and contain Cheerios. Their semi-rigid construction allows for lots of different activities without the potential danger of hard surfaces.

Baby Car Seat Mirror

The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that little ones stay in rear-facing car seats until the age of 2 or until they reach the maximum height and weight for their seat. Baby rear-facing car seat mirrors attach to the rear seat headrest and allow you to see your child's face while you drive.

Head Rest Hooks And Organizers

Keeping the family car tidy and organized seems like a losing battle, but there are some inventive gadgets to help out. Headrest hangers turn the back of seats into a perfect place to hang a backpack or a gym bag. There are also organizers on the market that sling to the headrest. They have pockets for toys, snacks, iPads, markers, baby wipes, you name it!

Trash Cans

Speaking of keeping clean, a plastic grocery bag flopping around on the floor rarely does the trick. Instead, look for a rigid or semi-rigid container that closes after you put the garbage inside. Some are even designed to connect to the back of the console or behind a seat.

Backup Cameras

With little ones playing in and around the house, nobody wants to back up their automobile without being 100% sure it is clear. If your car doesn't have a backup camera, look into having an after-market one installed. They are surprisingly cost-effective and the peace of mind they offer is invaluable.

Having a trusted service center also gives you peace of mind. If you are looking for a reliable auto shop in Falconer, give I-86 Truck & Auto Repair a call at 716-665-2501.


ArticleID 7584
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